Friday, October 31, 2008

RIVRON 3 - the Navy's tip of the spear

Three and a half years ago I asked "where" - and there was none. A lot of people asked the same question, spread the word - and more importantly a lot of hard work by a lot of people running over the back of Big Navy (who is still fighting a rear guard action against the RIVRONs) - and it happened.

The Navy decided to reclaim some of its battlespace and do its historical job. RIVRON 1, RIVRON 2, and now RIVRON 3 are doing a job we should all be proud of.
The Small Unit Riverine Craft pulls alongside a tiny fishing boat. Well-maintained and bristling with weapons, it makes the raggedy canoe look like a cheap toy. Fishermen lift up their shirts and pat themselves down to show they have no weapons before reaching for their identification and handing it to the Iraqi police who patrol Lake Qadisiyah alongside the Navy’s Riverine Squadron 3.

They chat with the police for a few minutes before the SURC pushes off to continue on its patrol. It’s those little chats, say members of the U.S. unit RIVRON 3, which have led to caches of explosives, weapons and insurgents.
BZ guys.

Get your politics out of my AOR

That is kind of what I read between the lines from Gen. McKiernan.
"There's a lot of negative reporting. Somebody likes to report an attack somewhere and that becomes the trend in Afghanistan, or they don't report the positive events or the absolute brutality or the illegitimacy of the Taliban," McKiernan told The Associated Press in an interview Sunday.

McKiernan highlighted an event last week witnessed by NATO troops in Farah province in which insurgents planting a roadside bomb grabbed two children and used them as human shields when they were attacked by NATO forces.

The four-star general also pointed to a protest last week by about 1,000 Afghans in Laghman province over the slaying of 26 local workers by Taliban militants who stopped a bus in Kandahar and killed many on board.

"That's a rejection of the brutality of the Taliban by the people of Afghanistan, and that needs to be heard," McKiernan said in the interview Sunday.

"What happens sometimes in reporting is that there's this idea that the Taliban is at the gates of Kabul, or after Sarposa (a massive June prison break) they're about ready to take control of Kandahar, or they're resurgent in Uruzgan or Helmand, and it's just not true," he said.
As Afghanistan has become part of the political football over the last couple of months - the crisis reporting has been a bit too political with who will do what where and when. I can see where as the Commander of such a critical front - it would get old.

We also know that in so much as Afghanistan goes - whoever the CINC is will more likely or not continue the direction we have been turning to in the last year.

That and the fact that ... well .... where are the MSM in Afghanistan doing the hard reporting? None of them are fit to wash Michael Yon's jock if you ask me.

Fullbore Friday

It is time to sing the praises of the pinnacle of what it means to be Fullbore. Time to remember, again, an exploit of the SMS Emden in the Battle of Penang.
On the morning of October 28, Emden, with her false smokestack raised to impersonate HMS Yarmouth and, in a rare lapse of Müller's sense of chivalry, flying British colors, slipped into Penang Harbor and picked out among the many vessels there the 3,050-ton Russian light cruiser Zhemchug. Built in 1903, Zhemchug had participated in the Battle at Tsushima in May 1905 but had escaped that debacle to be interned in neutral Manila. Now she joined her former Japanese enemies in the hunt for Emden, having arrived at Penang on October 26 to clean her boilers. Against the advice of Admiral Jerram, commander in chief of Allied fleets in Indochinese waters, who encouraged him to take extra precautions, Captain Second Grade Baron Cherkassov had gone ashore that night to visit a lady friend, leaving his ship with torpedoes disarmed, all shells stowed save 12 and no extra men posted on watch.

At about 5:13 a.m., Emden struck her British flag, raised the imperial German naval ensign, opened fire, and at 5:18 loosed her starboard torpedo. Half of Zhemchug's shells had been left by the after gun, which was put out of action when a blown-away ship's boat fell on it, and the other six shells were by the No. 2 starboard gun, which was pointing in the wrong direction. Her surprised crew dragged the ammunition to the forward gun and returned fire

but scored no hits, one shell passing over the German cruiser and hitting a merchant ship in the harbor. After reversing course, Emden launched her port torpedo, which struck below Zhemchug's bridge and conning tower and blew her up, killing 89 of her crewmen and wounding 143. Deciding not to press his luck, Müller then headed out of the dangerous confines of the harbor. In August, a naval court at Vladivostok sentenced Zhemchug's captain and his first officer, Senior Lieutenant Kulibin, to a "house of correction" (3 1/2 years for Cherkassov, 1 1/2 years for Kulibin). Both officers were also stripped of their rank, their decorations and their status as members of the Russian nobility.

Of the French warships defending Penang, the third-class cruiser D'Iberville and the destroyer Fronde were laid up with boiler trouble. Although she herself suffered from bearing trouble, the destroyer Pistolet raised enough steam to take off in pursuit of the Germans at 20 knots. Meanwhile, Emden, mistaking an oncoming unarmed patrol vessel for an armed ship, fired on it and left it in a sinking condition, fortunately without inflicting casualties among its crew. Müller next encountered the steamer Glenturret and stopped her only long enough to ask her captain to convey his apologies for shooting at the unarmed vessel and for not being able to rescue Zhemchug's crew. Emden then encountered the remaining French destroyer, the 310-ton Mousquet, which fired one torpedo and engaged the Germans with one of her guns before being demolished in an uneven 10-minute fight. Emden's crew rescued one officer--whose leg would later have to be amputated--and 35 men and cared for them as best they could while raising full speed to outdistance the game little Pistolet, which they finally lost in a rain squall. Two days later, the Germans stopped the British Newburn and transferred the French aboard the steamer to be conveyed to Sabang, Sumatra, minus three who had died of wounds and were buried at sea with full naval honors.

While Emden lost herself in the open sea and lay low, the newspapers spread the word of her latest outrage against the Allies. In Germany, the Kaiser conferred on Müller the Iron Cross First and Second Classes and the Iron Cross Second Class to 50 men to be picked from among his crew.

The Swan of the East. Sigh - what a ship, a crew, and a Captain.

Learn her lessons - and watch out for those who also have.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

And the Salamander did nod in approval

The least we can do.
Secretary of the Navy, Donald C. Winter announced last night at a Navy SEAL Warrior Fund Benefit Gala at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, the name of the newest Zumwalt-class Destroyer will be USS Michael Monsoor. Designated as DDG- 1001, the name honors Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor, a Navy SEAL who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Ramadi, Iraq, on Sept. 29, 2006.

Winter discussed the qualities, values, and dedication to duty that Navy SEAL’s exemplify, including the extraordinary acts of Michael Monsoor.

“Tonight I would like to single out one of those heroes from the community of Navy SEAL’s,” Winter said. “Those who served with Michael Monsoor will remember him always as a consummate professional who faced terrorist enemies with aplomb and stoicism.”

“The full extent of Michael’s courage, gallantry, and self-less heroism were revealed on the 29th of September, in Ramadi. When his team was surprised by an enemy grenade, Michael could have escaped and saved himself,” Winter said. “But he chose a different path, a path of honor that embodies the way of a Navy SEAL. For having chosen that path, Petty Officer Michael Monsoor joined the ranks of those who have earned our nation’s highest distinction, the Medal of Honor.”

Winter concluded that Michael Monsoor’s heroism and self sacrifice for his teammates and his nation epitomize the Navy’s core values, and will forever provide prideful admiration for our sailors.

“Michael Monsoor’s name will now be linked with one of our nation’s most visible examples of military power, a U.S. Navy warship,” Winter said. “His legacy will inspire the hearts of future Sailors who serve on the ship that bears his name.”

The USS Michael Monsoor will be a multi-mission surface combatant tailored for advanced land attack and littoral dominance. The ship's mission is to provide credible, independent forward presence and deterrence and to operate as an integral part of naval, joint or combined maritime forces.

The USS Michael Monsoor will be the 2nd Zumwalt-class destroyer. She will be 600 feet in length, have a beam of 80.7 feet, and displace approximately 15,000 tons. Michael Monsoor will have a crew size of 148 officers and sailors, he will make speed in excess of 30 knots.
Hat tip Christian.

Happy to be wrong

As usual, VDH boils it down.
Individually, the extra-electoral efforts are irrelevant. But in the aggregate, they start to add up. In 1996 Obama goes to court, challenges the petition signatures of mostly African-American voters, and gets all his rivals eliminated from the ballot and so de facto runs unopposed.

In 2004 sealed divorce records were strangely released destroying the chances of his chief Democratic rival Blair Hull; then in the general, lightning again struck, and Republican front-runner Jack Ryan's sealed divorce records were likewise mysteriously released—and he too crashed, in effect, leaving Obama without a serious primary or general election rival.

In this campaign, Acorn galvanizes to register voters and almost immediately runs into serial charges of voter registration fraud. Now an Obama ad runs asking Americans simply to take the day off to help get out the Obama vote: apparently American businesses, universities, and the government all are supposed to sacrifice hundreds of millions of dollars in lost collective work days to subsidize the Obama campaign in order "to change history"?

When one marries all that with the swarming of radio stations when someone like Stanley Kurtz goes on, the threats to go to court to stop ads, or the blacklisting of TV stations who dared to conduct tough interviews, the same old pattern reappears of by any means necessary. And in turn the explanation for all that?

The messianic style—the cosmic tug to "change history", or stop the seas from rising or the planet from heating, juxtaposed with the creepy faux-Greek columns, Michelle's "deign to enter" politics snippet, the fainting at rallies, the Victory Column mass address, the vero possumus presidential seal, and the 'we are the change we've been waiting for' mantra—reflects the omnipresent narcissism: the exalted ends of electing a prophet always justify the often crude and all too mortal means.

If this is considered 'right', I'd rather be wrong with McCain.

Diversity Thursday


They are even going after the apex of critical meritocracy - Navy Special Warfare.

Please note pages 18 and 19. The pic on the right is from page 19. There is some great outreach ideas here - but note the push for undue command influence based on race, creed, and national origin. Note the creation of a grievance bureaucracy and all that goes with it - all based on a false theory promoted by the Diversity Industry to promote their own job security and racial bias.

I don't have to work too hard on this - the Diversity Commissariat's own documentation d@mns them more than my lil words can.

Hat tip Bob.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

When Laffer speaks ...

You should listen.

How is your cash on hand to debt ratio?
Twenty-five years down the line, what this administration and Congress have done will be viewed in much the same light as what Herbert Hoover did in the years 1929 through 1932. Whenever people make decisions when they are panicked, the consequences are rarely pretty. We are now witnessing the end of prosperity.
Panic voting usually doesn't do a Republic very much good either.

NYT Downward Spiral 15 OCT

Watch for the AFG Big Lie.
After years of denial and negligence, President Bush and his aides are finally waking up to the desperate mess they’ve made in Afghanistan. They have little choice, since the alarms are coming from all corners.
In a rare moment of agreement, America’s 16 intelligence agencies are warning that Afghanistan is on a dangerous “downward spiral.” Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is publicly predicting that next year will be an even “tougher year.”
The Big Lie is that the “downward spiral” (NYT’s words) in Afghanistan is due to the Bush administration’s distraction in Iraq. That is a lie. The truth is that in 2005 NATO took over the Afghanistan Operation in the shape of ISAF (International Security Assistance Force).

Without pumping out 3,000 words and relying that most of you are regular readers and therefore know the background – the problem is that NATO as an alliance culminated in Afghanistan about 10 months ago. NATO simply could not generate the maneuver forces that it needed to create the safe and secure environment. Some nations like the Dutch and Canadians did what the entire alliance membership should have done. Smaller nations like Denmark, and Estonia did likewise. Britain and the USA did what they always do. Poland, Australia, and Romania likewise can hold their head high – France as well has turned a bit into the wind and should be thanked for it..

Germany, Italy, Spain – their politicians just will not let their armed forces do what needs to be done – and many of their senior uniformed and civilian leadership think this is some POL/MIL discussion group to talk about what is and is not “Comprehensive” and which comes first – the chicken or the egg – and not a war going on and a failed state that needs to be brought up. Amazing, because most of NATO is European – and it is Europe that is the next trench line in the war if the front line in Afghanistan is lost. At least we with a little help from a few friends held the Iraqi trench line.

Others think that you can put 4 F-16 or a C-130 in and say you have done your bit. No. No credit.

The Big Lie is well outlined by this NYT article and others like it that give the impression that if Obama or McCain are elected that all of a sudden they will clap their hands three times and troops will immediately start moving from the USA to AFG. Let me just say this – this stuff takes months to years to take place. If you think that plans aren’t already in play, then you need to read what SECDEF Gates has been saying for months.

Any politician who says “I will deploy …” really mean that “I will not stop the planned deployment …. ” You can also see in this article a rash desire to have the NYT’s “retreat first – defeat later” policy of a reckless retreat from Iraq. Especially now that victory’s course is well set – their thoughts are madness.

For those multi-lateral fundamentalists out there, a question: what is going well in AFG right now and what is not? Going well is Counter Terrorism and development of the Afghan National Army – responsibilities of the USA and Coalition. What is going poorly? Safe and Secure Environment and Police Training – responsibilities of NATO. What is already in motion is a movement by the USA to respond to what is now seen as NATO’s 4QCY07 culmination in AFG. The USA is, like I said earlier this year – taking back the keys. SECDEF Gates has warned the Alliance publicly.
He and the President have already signaled that the US is heading to do what other’s won’t and can’t.

The British will stay with us – but the other two major fighters - the Dutch and the Canadians are playing the Elector of Bavaria and leaving the field. I honor their commitment and sacrifice to this point – but the job is not done and they are leaving. That is sad.

In the long run, the USA and the UK will create the safe and secure environment with what few allies remain. The good stuff in Reconstruction, Development, and Governance will then follow. It has to.

On the US side of the house the question is - which candidate has the best instincts from the Surge to Georgia – and is comfortable enough with National Security issues and the uniformed leadership to hold their own in the clash of ideas and agendas that is the nature of the Pentagon to Foggy Bottom axis? I know the answer – do you?

Imagine what would have happened to Iraq if we had let it be run internationally like Afghanistan was - and how the 2004 candidate John Kerry wanted.

Oh, he is to the right politically from Obama. OBTW.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Peggy on loyalty - Part 2: Perplexing Peggy

A disclaimer I only hinted at in Part 1 yesterday; I have been an adoring fan of Peggy Noonan since the 1980s when I read her book about her time with Reagan and then started reading her regular stuff. Yes, I know – she can be a bit Maternal and soft-edged with a little bit of a feel of the girl who would love to be part of the in-set, but just doesn’t think she can pull it off – but she socializes with them and tries to understand them – but just can’t quite get it – and keeps apologizing for her geeky and uncool friends.

You can see that in her quasi-“sorry I have such goofy, dorky, friends” apologia when she goes on The Daily Show in her role as the friendly conservative that just might snipe at her own team – but that is OK, we all have our personality issues – and I like Peggy anyway.

This election cycle though has been a train wreck for her. She has reached the point it seems that she doesn’t know what she wants or thinks – she just knows that she doesn’t want anything offered and she thinks that everything out there is just pre-grind sausage material – on her side.

Some may think this just started back with her “it’s over” comment about the selection of Gov. Palin for VP and her stumbling responses that rambled all over the place. Her bi-polar vulgarization attitude towards Palin since has just made it worse – almost as if she doesn’t want another Alpha Female out there, though let’s be honest Peggy, you are a Beta Female anyway – and that’s OK.

As I have tried to get a handle on what looks like a political mid-life crisis with someone I actually like, I was reminded of this article (see yesterday for Part 1) that she wrote on loyalty in MAR of 07. Where yesterday I praised her article, here I want to discuss where you can see the beginnings of Peggy’s inner self-doubt.

One thing you must understand is that Peggy, like Christopher Buckley, David Brooks, Ken Adelman and others – is a strange duck – the token Conservative in a social and geographical sea of the Left that runs from DC through Boston. It is tough to keep your perspective after years of constant grinding isolation. She is also a Northeastern “Them” culturally as I am a Southeast “Them.” I have the much easier job – especially as a career Navy Officer, my peer group is a Red has her’s is Blue.

Perspective is not something what we can call “Vanity Fair Conservatives” have about much of what makes up the right-of-center in the country – and to be honest, they are as uncomfortable with and as embarrassed of that part of the right as their leftist friends. They are small-tent Republicans in that they don’t care much for the unwashed masses in the back of the room and outside the box seats. The old Rockefeller “Country Club” Republicans that are best represented by that beautiful loser of a foil, former Minority Leader Bob Michel. They never cared much for the big tent – but unlike European Parliamentary systems where you can have all sorts of boutique Parties to find your niche and the glom together when you think some power would be fun – in our Two-Party system you have to take your friends as they come and dance with who brought you. That is the foundation understanding you need to go in with.
It was a sparkling and unusual event, a dinner that was as interesting as a Democrat’s (the talk was culturally broad, if sober—“life is real and earnest”) and as handsomely done as a Republican’s (the flowers were white, crisp, so expertly arranged they seemed a natural outgrowth of the mirrored table; life should not only be grumbled about but celebrated.)
In this little bit we learn that Peggy sees her (Republican) side as dull, narrow, boring, and superficial. OK. Not like some of the guys I saw in Las Vegas – but that a part of the Big Tent you can’t see from the head table that well.

Then we get a bit deeper into the selective self-loathing.
In New York, in the Second Gilded Age—the age of the thousand-dollar pizza—wealthy Democrats, when they entertain, seem careful not to have things too physically perfect. It might suggest they’re unserious, that their thoughts are not always focused on the oppressed. Wealthy Republicans, on the other hand, will go all out to make it lovely. “The oppressed? I make jobs for them!” As for being thought unserious, one senses it does not trouble them. They made money in the world; they correctly apprehended the lay of the land and moved. That serious enough for you?
Now she sees the Republicans as unserious, vain, and a bit cold-hearted. Well, she has a point for those I know in NYC and Connecticut, I guess – but that isn’t the Republican party everywhere.

The Democrats in her circle she sees as that lovable Limo Liberal that makes you breakfast in the morning in his worn out jeans and a t-shirt at his house in The Hamptons while talking about tax policy differences …..and he is so serious; and dreamy…unlike my boring Republican who just wants to avoid taxes and always wears Lands End khakis and a golf shirt….and doesn’t even have a house to get away to – always wants to go to those tacky all-in-one resorts…

I think to be fair, both Republicans and Democrats both have ideas and personalities – or a mix of both – that they support like their home football team (…or for Peggy’s friends, their old field hockey team at Brown…). Everything is a compromise – and never let the perfect be the enemy of the good. That helps keep my sanity, and stops me from writing stuff like this;
For me its good to see Republicans who are loyal to ideas, and not to people. Who are faithful to the cause, and not to people with whom you merely have a history. Who have fidelity to principles, not to political figures, no matter ho interesting or compelling they are.
Read that again and then tell me if that does not describe Gov. Palin. Peggy, Sara Palin fits your description – and from a Southerner’s ear her accent is no more irritating than yours.

Huh. I just realized I have done what I didn’t want to do – this reads like I am attacking Peggy more than scolding her – which I don’t want to do, but geeeeeee – she doesn’t give me much of a choice.

She is in a funk. Will she snap out of it? I don’t know. I think perhaps she has grown weary of constantly fighting for her principals in a sea of Blue that is NYC, DC and the rest. Perhaps she should buy a little house in Micanopy, FL and get away there for awhile. About as opposite from NYC as you can get, but still a little cosmopolitan in a fashion, and a short drive from Gainesville if you need a Liberal fix.

Peggy, help me out – what do you want? If you want to write about a mounting Socialist wave of a nightmare – I guess you are doing the right thing. Politics is like warfare in some ways – there are us and them. Someone will win, some will lose. You rarely get the forces, terrain, allies, or time that you want or need. You often will think one Course of Action is better than another – but when the Commander makes his choice you do your best to execute his plan to the best of your ability and do your best to avoid any Blue-on-Blue in the process. You don’t stomp away, or set to the side and pick at your belly button as the battle rages – and you unquestionably don’t switch sides right when the front lines have made it through the artillery and are about to loose the first volley of musketry – or when the square if formed and the first line of Guards Cavalry is coming over the ridge; no – that is a bit more than a loyalty issue. Much more.

If you have signed on, some things in life are more important than you are. Have your midlife crisis in private – not public – and remember, no one looks kindly on the actions of the Elector of Bavaria at Blenheim.

I love "by direction" authority

Out of respect for this UIC's CO and the good work his/her Sailors do - I won't out them.

This is the POW (Plan of the Week) entry of 2008. A bit of history even Skippy would approve of.
1. NAUTICAL TERMS AND TRIVIA. Hunky-Dori. This term, meaning everything is OK, was coined from a street named Honki-Dori in Yokohama. As the inhabitants of this street catered to the pleasures of Sailors, one can readily understand why the street's name became synonymous for anything that is enjoyable or satisfactory.

3 As, 3 Gs, and 3 Rs

Three vowels from the 70s; what can we expect from Senator Obama?

- Amnesty: The anti-war crowd will take over policy - those who smeared those in uniform will get a gov'munt paycheck.
- Acid: Actually, a slow down in the domestic drug war against pot may not be a bad thing.
- Abortion: pro-abortion will own the Judicial nomination. Remember, he has no problem with letting a child who survived and abortion to be left cold in a garbage to die.

Three consonants from the 1980s:

- God: I guess Rev. Wright wins. A wash on balance though - which is good. That being said: you may want to take pictures of the mention of God on all those Federal buildings in DC. They may not make it through the ACLU types he will appoint.
- Gays: DADT is dead. Expect starting with the military to see normalization of everything gay. Good and OK by me in most places, BTW. I really don't care what you do with your tender viddles - just don't call marriage something it isn't and a few other areas - that is about it for me.
- Guns: Oh boy - cling as tight as you can. The gun-grabbers are going to go nuts.

Three consonants from Obama:

- Redistributionism: He will tax. He will try to create a Continental Welfare State. Believe him when he says he wants to redistribute.
- Revisionism: He doesn't care too much for this nation's history or founding documents including the Constitution. He has said it. Expect the PC and Newspeak of our national museums and national monuments to go to insane levels.
- Radicalism: Who do you think is going to want all those gov'munt political appointments?

If you vote for Sen. Obama - just know what change you are getting.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Peggy on loyalty - Part 1

This was one post – but I decided to break it into two because it was too long and two very different bits. I have two things to do; one to praise, and one to scold – and both towards someone, at a distance, I have great affection for; Peggy Noonan.

First, I want to praise. We are going to go back to MAR 07 to one of her best articles – something that I will explain tomorrow why it was brought back to mind recently, her Opinion Journal article, “The Trouble With Loyalty.”

Now, go to the link and read the whole thing because Peggy does such a good job outlining a problem/challenge – the good and bad of personal loyalty. Here you go;
I didn’t know Reagan when I went to work with him; I only knew his views and philosophy and supported them. I wanted him to succeed because I wanted what he stood for to succeed. In time I came to feel personal loyalty. But agreement came first. And if, in his Presidency, Reagan had turned into some surprising, weak, tax-raising, government-growing, soft-on-Soviets guy, I would have stopped backing him. I would have thought him very nice and a a bit of a dope, like Jerry Ford. I wouldn’t feel I had to hold high his memory and meaning.

Loyalty has nothing to do with it, not if you’re serious. Or rather personal loyalty has nothing to do with it.

Why is Personal Loyalty Blight a problem? One reason is the one Hannah Arendt pointed out, the obvious one. “Total loyalty is possible only when fidelity is emptied of all concrete content, from which changes of mind might naturally arise.”
Where in the Navy do we see the Personal Loyalty Blight? Here is a few ideas taken from first hand knowledge and slightly changed where needed to protect the guilty:
-- When a successor continues the program he personally knows is wrong because, “XXX is a good friend who I have been loyal to for years. I don’t want to destroy his legacy.”
-- When a CO changes a #1 EP to a #3 MP because, “I have worked for the Commodore for three times in my career. He has always been there for me. He told LCDR XXXX to take those DC orders, because that is what a front runner does for the Community that has taken care of and doesn’t want to been seen as taking-off-the-pack. The Commodore was embarrassed when he found out LCDR XXXX said no to the detailer and worked some Norfolk orders instead. Yea, LCDR XXXX is my #1, but I own the Commodore. I’m changing the FITREP and I don’t want to hear any more about it.”
-- “LT XXXX, you need to run that up through the Admiral’s Staff if you want to publish that. You need to make sure it folds in with the Admiral’s policy otherwise you publish at your own risk. Oh, and I want to see it before you send it to the Admiral as well – I don’t want you wasting his time.”
-- “Why didn’t the XO recommend to send YN2 XXXX to mast?” “Well, according to the CMDCM, the front officer found out that the Admiral’s JAG is tracking minority Mast cases based on a complaint filed earlier this year. The Captain has already fielded one call about his Mast numbers and doesn’t want to be the Command that gets the Admiral more calls – YN2 going to Mast will just make it worse. The CO was once the Admiral’s N3 and they have known each other since he was an Ensign. He isn’t going to make trouble for the boss. Keeping it at XOI should be fine anyway. We’ll give him another chance.”

Loyalty is a tough thing for a Navy guy though. I can look through the Salamander FITREPS and Loyalty is all over it. Over and over again in the Navy we hear about Loyalty. We want it and we try to give it – because that is what we are trained to do.

The question is, where should our loyalty lie? Is it put where it should be? The Constitution? The President? The CNO? The Navy? My CO? My CMDCM? My family? My conscience? My God? Do we have them in the right order?

Do we personally or as an institution use or abuse Loyalty? Do we misplace our Loyalty? Who/what do we have/should be loyal to? Who expects us to by loyal? Who do we expect to be loyal?

What price are we willing to pay to be loyal to someone who expects it from us?

More importantly, what are expecting others to sacrifice to be loyal to us – and for what reasons?

Launching the Counter Revolution at Sea

Have we been transforming our pants down to our ankles?

In the last year, there has been a slow move toward understanding that there is a huge, systemic problem in our Navy from a warfighting perspective. I think the tipping point was when the new Maritime Strategy came out and the general response was; feh.

In many ways I credit SECNAV Winter in the Chain of Command, but others who have been yelling into the winds for years. One of the best representatives of the breed is Robert D. Kaplan's NOV 07 piece in, of all things, The Atlantic titled Americas Elegant Decline. I am not going to get into that – I’ll let you read it. Instead I am going to do a little single draft string of consciousness on a subject, to be frank, I have almost tired of discussing, but … like hitting a rough spot in a marriage, true love faces problems and works through them. So, let’s see where we wind up.If we are turning my way – i.e. power to the Antitransformationalists – then let’s do a summary review of a few dozen posts her over the last few years as some things just need repeating.

Time to break one taboo - I am going to praise the Army for a bit. For the US Army, it wasn’t supposed to have worked out like this. Though the Army is on the right path in 2008; 2004 to 2007 were very tough times for the Army. Exceptionally tough. A well loved theory was experiencing a slow bloody death. Transformation - Revolution in Military Affairs - Army After Next - etc ...

The facts of war have a habit of ravaging a many precious theory. In 2001-02 as military forces swept up the Kandahar plain in 2001-2002 without the burden of artillery and armor in unarmored HUMVEEs, through the first heady days of “shock and awe,” Transformationalist forces of the Army and the Air Force who were leading champions pointing to a brighter future of quicker, lighter, faster, cheaper all seemed to be heading to a bright shining down of promise. It was all a false dawn, a mirage.

All that wonderful theory came crashing into the wreckage of Iraq to the point that six years later the Army is straining to recapitalize the once thought unnecessary armor, and the rest of its equipment. Even Canada was going to get rid of their BMT are now getting new Leapoard 2s based on the reality of Afghanistan. The helicopters, A-10s, C-130 and all the unsexy stuff that was once thought to be just excess overhead now cannot be found in numbers needed – and are being worn out at an alarming rate.

Seeing what the Army and Air Force has seen – mostly the Army and Marines though – what lessons does it hold for the Navy? We have been lucky – except for our Special Forces, Seabees, Corpsmen and a few specialty areas (like the resurrected RIVRONS I love so much) – we have remain untested by the harsh teacher of war.

Where do we find ourselves in the second half of the first decade of the 21st Century? Far from the light and mobile, everything is getting uparmored, having .50 cals put on the roof, and covered with RPG cages right out of 1970. The MBT has become a critical enabler in the urban and exurban battlefield we find ourselves in. None of this should have been a surprise or a bolt out of the blue. From Vietnam to Somalia and countless of conflicts in between – it was all there to see…if you wanted to. But that wasn’t the peacetime fashion for most.

What happened was senior leadership on balance became seduced by the sexy new theories and ignored the battlefield lessons looking them right in the face. Simple things. There was no need for the unarmored HUMVEE crisis of ’03 and ’04 when that requirement was made obvious a decade earlier in Somalia – and answer was available even earlier with the early version of the MRAP developed in South Africa during the last stages of the Apartheid Struggle.

The RPG cages you see on all the Strykers and like APC should have been standard kit when first deployed. We knew about them in Vietnam. Notice all the protection for the 50 cal gunners you see now? Ditto – but that lesson goes back to WWII even.

The shockingly obvious utility of the MBT, A-10 and even dogs that fell out of fashion all have similar stories. We are relearning these because the battlefield is not going to follow the pet theories and protected projects of people who are not focused beyond the PPT or the spreadsheet. War is not new. Not on land, not at sea.

As a Navy, we need to ask ourselves, “What are we ignoring? What is our unarmored HUMVEE? What is our RPG cage? What is our 50 cal ammo shortage?”

As we push our own Future Think, what lessons of history are we forgetting for reasons of convenience, neglect or ignorance that will come back to haunt us during the next Navy war?

That war is coming. It may be in a month, a year, 10 years or 20 – or 100, but it is coming. When the Congressional Committee asks the questions about our shortfalls – are we sure that we have done our best to take care of the obvious ones? Are we ready?

Though not a comprehensive list by any stretch, here is a quick list of the top 6 Phibian’s Phacts of Naval Warphare of the Last 30 Years:

-- Your anti-submarine weapons will work as well as you thought, and you don't have enough.
-- Mines will show up where you don’t expect them – starting underneath your capital ships.
-- You do not have enough or large caliber enough gunfire available to engage targets at sea and ashore.
-- You will work in crowded waterways closer to shore with less support than you expected. As a result you will be doing one mission set when the other mission set shows up inside your screen when you don't what him to.
-- You will not have enough anti-air capability in number and redundancy.
-- You are not ready for ground-based ASCM.

You will go to war with the Navy you have. Surprised will happen, but there are few excuses for ignoring the lessons of the past. Without going back to WWII even (which would chew up 1,000 words of things valid in 2008), let me give you a few examples of what informs my Phacts from the last 30 years.

-- ASW: Do you have a diversity of weapons? Are they tested where you expect the enemy to be? Are they tested in optimal conditions, or what could be expected by a standard Navy condition and standard Navy crews? Do you have enough warshots available for sistained surege operations with attacks on false targets? What is your backup plan if your primary weapon does not work? Review the Falkland Islands War and the Indo-Pakistanin wars.

-- Mines: DESERT STORM. Iran-Iraq War. Nuff said.

-- NSFS (guns): Falkland Islands War, 5-Inch Friday off Al Faw during OIF, DESERT STORM.

-- Shore anti-ship cruise missiles and close to shore operations: Israel-Hezbollah War, Falkland Islands War, DESERT STORM, OIF. We don't need to worry about anti-ship ballistic missiles - we aren't where we need to be for sustained anti-ship cruise missiles defense - fix ASCM then worry about ASBM.

-- AAW: Falkland Islands War.

Looking around the Fleet, what do I see as the trends?

-- ASW: Red going to Red.
-- MIW: Red going to Red.
-- Gun: Yellow going towards Green – but under threat.
-- AAW: Yellow going to Red.
-- ASCM: Yellow going to Red.

Remember, the enemy gets a vote. We cannot be static in our thoughts. We cannot remove SM-1 from FF (not-so-G) without replacing a like weapon similar to the Australians with a 8-cell VLS – and launch DDG without CIWS and not think that is a poor response to an expanding air threat.

As a VADM asked of me recently – here is an solution option forward. Easy to point out problems – a little more difficult to offer solutions. Cost? Well --- that is a different post --- and you won't like it.

ASW: SSN are doing quite well from what I see – but they aren’t the single stop shopping for ASW. They know it and we know it. Surface and Air must have better Light Weight Torpedoes in a number that gives us time to fight and win. Nuff said on this net. We also need weapons diversity – putting all our ASW hopes in one weapon is asking for defeat. If you only have one way to kill a sub and they can counter it - then you might as well never leave port. Crude but effective weapons from a hydrostatic fuse that will turn any dumb bomb on any aircraft into a depth charge is a start. Everything that flies becomes a sub killer when you need it. It is there – all you need to do is fund it. The Europeans have some outstanding secondary ASW weapons for knife fighting that will go where SSK like to play dead. Also, helos are great – but if their one weapon in the LWT is either Winchester or ineffective – all they are good for is telling you where the torp is coming from. There are no perfect sensors – and war winning technology has never won a war. We know that the MK1 Mod. 0 eyeball and the flaming datum will always be the best submarine finder – once you find it, do you have confidence that you can kill it so it can’t kill again. Do you have the numbers of ships to lose a few and still fight until our learning curve come up to a point we can find them before the flaming datum?

MIW: stop killing it. That simple – the tools are there to rescue our capability to conduct MIW before it all goes away. We rely on our allies’ shrinking assets at our own peril. LCS is not the answer.

Guns: make 155mm the new standard – make sure the load-out is multi-mission - more than one mount is preferable - but a pipe dream I know.

AAW: more and varied. Not every threat is going to be a ASCM or ASBM. Bad things usually come at you in numbers. It is safe to say that what you have now is not enough regardless of what platform you are on. The Brits resorted to having every weapon down to pistols and rifles topside for AAW shooting at jets - all because they thought Sea Dart and 4.5" could handle everything. It can't. We will improvise too if we have to. More than one missile system and more crew served weapons and the crews trained in their use. They are also nice for close ASUW – especially the 50 cal to 30 mm variety.

ASCM: respect and prepare. 10nm from shore is less than 1 minute warning if you are watching. In a day where they can park in a house’s garage – travel 50 meters and shoot at you visually – we need to respect and prepare for that fact. Damage control ready? We will be hit.

War is hard – the enemy will want to make it harder – shouldn’t we want to mitigate the known-knowns?

Vince Lombardi would agree - you have to master the fundamentals.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Me wantie

I know fellow gun nuts - we're talking a Mini-14. I have one about 15 yrs old that is what the old Mini-was....but in 6.8 SPC...
It had the friendly ergonomics of an M1 Carbine or 10/22, and it possessed coyote-dropping potential with its .223 chambering. And it’s been reliable, even after months of being ignored behind the seat of the F-150. Later, the Mini 30 brought ballistic espectability, but accuracy had always been so-so. It had the right feel and Garand lineage, but four- to six-MOA groups frequently kept it in the back of the safe.

Three years ago Ruger resolved to realize the design’s potential, retooling and tightening up critical tolerances to finally recreate the Mini into a rifle that Townshend Whelen would consider “interesting.”

The Mini is now available in Remington’s 6.8 SPC, the first cartridge that will fit into a Mini receiver that has the accuracy potential of a .223 but with better terminal ballistics than the 7.62x39. The taper of the 6.8 preserves some of the inherent reliability of the latter round.

Gone is the pencil-thin barrel that produced vertical stringing, as well as the unusual blade front sight. The new barrel is beefy, and the rifle stays zeroed even as ammo boxes empty and surface oil smokes.

Getting the rifle hot required some serious effort with the factory five-round mags, with results like playing patty-cake with Edward Scissorhands. Pro-Mag is working on a prototype and promises larger-capacity, zombie-capable magazines soon.

The new stock has a very narrow grip, suitable for younger and female shooters. The comb has drop for field shooting, which is a sound design feature considering that the Mini is built as a working carbine and not as a creature of the bench.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fullbore Friday

Hope you have some open time - via Dogfights - Taffy 3 and the Battle of Leyte Gulf

Part 1 of 5:

Part 2 of 5:

Part 3 of 5:

Part 4 of 5:

Part 5 of 5:

CAG was right

I once heard CAG say once in the Big E in the middle of a cigar -
"The more senior you are, the more time you have to get in the cockpit or stand watch with your crew."
Of course he didn't mean it literally - but the idea was that you should be in the aircraft or in CIC/on the bridge enough that you are out there. It is hard to do though when everything and everyone is looking to take a chunk of your time. Outstanding Officers and Leaders can be put in a situation where they are sent to war - but their ISIC and entire Admin Chain of Command are still in a peacetime mentality.

---redacted on request of source----

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Are you an Obamacon?

You know who you are - those who have willfully forgotten what it is like to be ruled by Democrats in charge of the Executive and Legislative branches.

Diana West points out some of the Top Shelf Obamacons who define hope over experience.

Here, taken from a couple of such endorsements, is what I mean:

President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit we’ve dug for ourselves.

—Christopher Buckley

I sure hope Obama is more open, centrist, sensible—dare I say, Clintonesque—than his liberal record indicates, than his cooperation with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid portends.

—Ken Adelman

In other words, they hope Obama will not revert to Leftist type.

If you are still willing to have an open mind - you also may want to review the Comprehensive Case Against an Obama Presidency. A lot of people have invested a lot of time, money and reputation to get Obama where he is today - and almost all of them are at the far-left of the Democrat Party. If you don't think they are going to come and collect the bill through appointments and policy - then to be blunt you are a fool who understands little about politics and human nature. Sure, worst 10% might be thrown under the bus and ignored - but it is the 90% that will get the power and influence they want that will create the long-term damage. Remember how "Centrist" Carter was? Obama isn't even trying to be Centrist. Remember Clinton's retroactive tax increase? Remember when all started to complain about it and the response was, literally "You shouldn't complain - you knew we were going to do this." That is what you will seen in spades if Obama is elected.

One last note - I have received a couple of very strange emails as of late. How many times have a said that Sen. Obama is a fine guy - it is his ideas that are a nightmare? Since when did opposing ideas and policy become racist? When I warned that we had reached the point a few months ago where it looked like everything that isn't pro-Obama is racist - I didn't expect if would find its way into my mailbox.

To the Obama fans out there remember, when everything is racist - then nothing is racist --- and as a result it will be harder and harder to get action on real racism out there as it will be lost in the background noise.

Hat tip TheCorner.

Best advice of the week

From someone who decided it was better to burn out (in a narcissistic way) than fade away (but a happy ending for him). Advice we should all think about.
"Throw the Blackberry away and enjoy life."
I also liked this part - about how and from whom he made all his bucks as a Hedge Fund Manager.
"The low-hanging fruit, ie idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking," he wrote. "These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government," he said.

"All of this behaviour supporting the aristocracy only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America."

Lahde became one of the biggest names in the investment industry when one of his funds produced a return of 866% last year, largely by forecasting the US home loans industry would collapse.
Oh, he is retiring at 37 with millions. Stepping out while still on top. Hmmmm.

Required reading at BLACKFIVE

Top shelf post.

And then there's Nick Meo of the Telegraph UK...this guy is a real piece of work. Two of the soldiers involved in his articles have contacted me as well as officers and sergeants on site. This is the greatest honor I could have, to speak for those soldiers who can't speak out for themselves.

Nick Meo should be shunned. His ass should be un-credentialed and tossed out of theater on the slowest garbage scow.

We begin with a self-agrandizing article written by Nick Meo titled "The night I was 'killed in action' by a Taliban ambush". I encourage you to read the sickening piece of garbage for yourself.

The convoy started with a line from a second-rate war film. "I've got a bad feeling about this mission," said Major James Becker, as his unit of National Guardsmen - the US version of the Territorial Army - and Afghan National Police set off through the chaotic traffic of Kandahar city...

Meo goes on to refer to the soldiers as "part-time soldiers who had been in Afghanistan for six months."

I think Major Baker, and just about every other guardsman there, would disagree that they are the US version of "the Territorial Army" or "part-time" which is something that would be apparent had Meo actually knew what he was writing about.

And that is just for openers.

Read it all.

Diversity Thursday

Handing out bigotry.

This is what happens when you are Mau-Mau'd by the
Diversity Bullies.

Look what is being handed out to the single and double digit J-codes boxes at a PAC Echelon II Command.

Just the things my readers notice in a day's work. Note the last story. Here it is, found it reading the, no kidding, "Ask the White Guy" section.

BTW, if you think this is an honest magazine for discussion - you are missing the point; because if you are White, then of course you miss everything.
Your demand that we "Get over the color!" is an expression of white privilege. It's only possible to "get over" it if you are in the majority culture. Assuming you're white, YOU can "get over the color!" but it's simply not possible for people of color to get over who they are, what that means and the damage our society has purposefully done over the centuries by color.

You close with an illuminating contradiction. You can't celebrate "color and different cultures" and embrace the "melting pot" at the same time. The "melting pot" is about subjugating your culture and forcing a person to "melt" into the white culture.
What does it mean if I am mixed race and say "Get over the color?" What if I am Black and say "Get over the color?"

Funny, I hear that all the time. Maybe a White "one drop" rule applies to thought as well?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Strike one more P-3

Yikes! The wages of Transformationalism strikes again.

Remember that little post last month about the spiking P-3 accident rate and the reasons P-3 Spy told us about?

Well, it looks like we may have another data point to look at. We don't know the details; but going off the runway, catching fire, and losing one of a limited number of dwindling assets doesn't happen by accident.
A U.S. navy patrol plane was destroyed Tuesday when it overshot the runway while landing at a base north of the Afghan capital, but none of the crew was seriously hurt, the U.S. military said.

"A Navy P-3 Orion airplane overshot the runway surface while landing at Bagram Air Field. The airplane sustained serious structural and fire damage," a military statement said. One crew member suffered a broken ankle.

The incident was under investigation, it said.

Bagram is the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan, located just north of Kabul.

The P-3 Orion is a patrol aircraft used primarily for maritime patrol, reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare.
No subs in the middle of Central Asia - but there are other things to gainfully employ yourself with. Nuff said.

The most important thing is, besides a broken ankle - all our Shipmates made it out. The question is; did he break the ankle jumping out of the aircraft, or from pressing down too hard on the brakes?

Russian bathing beauties

Why is the Russian military all out of sorts? Well, this is who works at their version of Hooters - I guess.
The Russian Black Sea fleet is based in the Crimean port at Sevastopol -- as is the Ukrainian fleet. Tension between Russia and Ukraine is growing in the region. Here, Russian women welcome home warships returning from operations off the coast of Georgia during the brief August war.
The more I look at that photo, the more I think it says a lot about Russia right now.

Compare to this.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tito Munoz for Congress in 2010!!!

Virginia - you need this man in Congress - and I am not saying that just because I am such a fan of Colombians.
After McCain left, as the crowd filed out, Munoz made his way to an area near some loudspeakers. He attracted a few reporters when he started talking loudly, in heavily-accented English, about media mistreatment of Wurzelbacher. (It was clear that Spanish was Munoz’s native language, and he later told me he was born in Colombia.) When I first made my way over to him, Munoz thought I was there to give him the third degree.

"Are you going to check my license, too?” he asked me. “Are you going to check my immigration status? I’m ready, I have everything here. Whatever you want, I have it. I have my green card, I have my passport — “

I was a little surprised. Did Munoz really bring his papers with him to a McCain rally? I asked.

“Yeah, I have my papers right here,” he said. “I’m an American citizen. Right here, right here.” With that, he produced a U.S. passport, turned it to the page with his picture on it, and thrust it about an inch from my nose. “Right here,” he said. “In your face.”

Munoz said he owned a small construction business. “I have a license, if you guys want to check,” he said.

Someone asked why Munoz had come to the rally. “I support McCain, but I’ve come to face you guys because I’m disgusted with you guys,” he said. “Why the hell are you going after Joe the Plumber? Joe the Plumber has an idea. He has a future. He wants to be something else. Why is that wrong? Everything is possible in America. I made it. Joe the Plumber could make it even better than me….I was born in Colombia, but I was made in the U.S.A.”

Read all of Byron York's article so you can find out why we might want to find a District for Connie to run in as well - or simply raise you hands from the keyboard and hollar AMEN!

Note to the McCain campaign. Find Tito the Builder and get him out there - somehow - just think about it.

About Powell

As you all know - I have a soft spot for former SECSTATE Powell. I have forgiven him for SEAL-poseur buddy Armitiage and the fact he has never come to terms publicly for the epic fail of the State Department to step up to the plate to do its part (though to give them credit, in the last 24 months they are helping more - a little bit more).

I won't pass judgment for his decision - a man has to sit with his own reasons. I do know that if you objectively line up Sen. Obama's policies and votes against everything Colin Powell has said and done over his career - you simply cannot match up the two.

I wish he would be more direct in his reasons, because what he has said so far just doesn't click.

I also don't like doing this two weeks from an election - and knowing his long term relationship with Sen. McCain - it is just a bit sad in a way - a little cheap - a little schoolyard. He should have done this months ago - or not at all. He knows that, I think.

I am sure he has his reasons. I puzzle a bit like Lex on this.

Red blinking light

If you can find 'em - grind 'em.
NPR; bleh - shift to DMS on the iPod; better.
A wispy clutter of Fall's first leaves; nice: I like Fall.
I like this neighborhood.

School traffic not bad.

One more day of gas in the tank.

No Interstate. I like no Interstate.

Front Gate. What a great Front Gate. Remember the '90s; clapped out Old Gate - unguarded at an operational base.

SECDEF Cohen. Food trough. Dancing on the Big E. Harumph.

Top of hour. Back to NPR.
Dum, de, Dum, de, Dum, Dum, Dum. Dum, de, Dum, de, Dum, Dum, DUM. Masochist.
Thank goodness I shifted almost all to cash last Spring. Sleeping well.

All praise
Kaltbaum (PBUH). Got me through the DotCom bust - got me through this one.
Good parking this AM.

What a beautiful morning.
I should have run this AM.
Pad, pad, pad; Salute; pad, pad; "morning Chief;" pad, pad, pad, pad; Salute; morning.
Step, step, step, howdy, step.
Pad, pad, pad, pad; door; badge; door - sigh, pivot.

Squeak, squeak, squeak.
Morning, morning, morning. Door. Light.
Blinking red light.

Coffee cup.
Pad, pad, morning, pad.

Wipe, wipe, wipe.
Coffee. Cream.

Pad, pad, pad, morning, pad.

Thanks. Got it.
Blinking red light.
Coffee sloshed on desk. Potty mouth.
Red button, mute; "Cr@p."

Left, left, left, left, left; a good year for short-haired chicks.

Visit that year a couple of times; I was a good defensive end.

Visit Pop Warner once; my last year without responsibility.

Zero; click; shift; clunk.

Sigh. Tough nut to the top of the box.
Red blinking light.
Mmmmm ... ech. Forgot sugar again; deal with it.
Old chair; deal with it.

Halloween; home this year - happy girls. Fun.
Full hunting season at last.
No excuses this year. Baby sitter early this time.

Red blinking light.

Red button; green button; Microsoft, harumph.
What family gets Thanksgiving; which one Christmas?
Weekend with only Mrs. Salamander; no excuses this year.
Red blinking light.

Sigh. Stare. Veg.
Do I really need something sweet in my coffee?
I do like sweet coffee; I'm still thin as I was at 25; ok 30.

Ungh; idiot. Piano tuner.
Red blinking light.
Untangle; press; tap, tap, tap, tap.
Yawn. I need something sweet in my coffee.
Tap, tap.
Phib, Chunk. I need you to call me before noon today, your time, at DSN 867-5309. If I don't hear from you by 0900, I'll call your cell.
Cell in the car Chunk. Good luck with that.
Tap, tap; clank.

Cr@p; surrender.
Thumpa-thump. Thumpa-thump. Breathe.
That was short.
Yep, I need something sweet in my coffee.

Tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap, tap.

I need to buy and espresso machine for the office, something that can steam milk too. Cappuccino. Yum.

"Chunk, Phib - good morning. What can I do for you?"
"Sorry for the short notice, but ......"
"Yep....I have....sure...yep...fairly extensive...easy to do....we'll deal with much flexibility to the firm is the far end...that's all...what happened....huh...when do you need to hear back...don't bother, I'll take care of long until its problem...yep...17-1800...not your fault Chunk ... see 'ya."
Tap, sigh, tap.

No light.

I'll tell her after the kids go to bed-Nothing I am doing here can't be done by others-It is time; not unexpected-I need more coffee-I need new boots.

Pre-deployment checklist; shot card. Ungh.
Too early for hunting. Another holiday season. Kids are solid. Mrs. Salamander was a born Navy Wife.

Yep, the question is; can a Salamander survive in an arid environment?

My turn for Skippy's favorite set of orders. Not a short one - not a long one; call me a gap-filler. A few months to once again put my modest skills in an modest job to enable greater men and women to do theirs.

Having niche skills is nice, but makes it hard to hide when the scramble is on and others are giving so much more than you are; but I'm not in this to hide am I? No; it is time. Not expected this time; but it is time.

What for the blog? Well, in addition to a quickening that includes Army training and all that good stuff, I won't be blogg'n about where I am going or what I am doing anyway. Don't worry though, I won't be going cold-iron either; just for the next few months it may get spotty. Expect the same old Salamander workings here - but remember I am a one Sailor show. I see long days, a lot of time on the road as I get a few months prep work done in a few days, and small IP pipes for a few months.

You might see a FbF or SF from 2005 repeated now and then - and you will know why. No big deal really, I almost never blog about exactly what I do - so the same smattering of goodies will be here. Besides the odd quite day or two when I just can't get online; you probably won't know the difference.
A couple of good things though; a little tax free time and I won't have to worry about what to wear during the weekends. And a request for my spies; please keep your emails to text-only until I give you a thumbs up sometime next year.

Bad thing, I need to find someone to take care of the leaves. I'll be back in time for the grass to start growing at speed though.

Army training on how to make sure a Sailor isn't a danger to himself and others. Harumph - I'm getting too old for this stuff. Hey, it could be Marine training.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

As high as the Hindu Kush ....

Afghan National Army is supposed to the a success story. Ahem.

Dude. (Standard Kristin Warning)

Hat tip LT Nixon.

Talking religion with Phibian

No, I'm not going to even try. There is something close if you wonder how the guy who blogs here can call himself an Evangelical or a Drink'n Danc'n Southern Baptist.

Subscribe to the DennisMillerShow PODCAST and download the 06 OCT Orson Bean interview from

Friday, October 17, 2008

What is waiting for you...

Building off my "I voted" post, I think you all owe it to yourself to review the WSJ's editorial, A Liberal Supermajority. It isn't just some nameless Navy MilBlogger saying this stuff.
If the current polls hold, Barack Obama will win the White House on November 4 and Democrats will consolidate their Congressional majorities, probably with a filibuster-proof Senate or very close to it. Without the ability to filibuster, the Senate would become like the House, able to pass whatever the majority wants.

Though we doubt most Americans realize it, this would be one of the most profound political and ideological shifts in U.S. history. Liberals would dominate the entire government in a way they haven't since 1965, or 1933. In other words, the election would mark the restoration of the activist government that fell out of public favor in the 1970s. If the U.S. really is entering a period of unchecked left-wing ascendancy, Americans at least ought to understand what they will be getting, especially with the media cheering it all on.

The nearby table shows the major bills that passed the House this year or last before being stopped by the Senate minority. Keep in mind that the most important power of the filibuster is to shape legislation, not merely to block it. The threat of 41 committed Senators can cause the House to modify its desires even before legislation comes to a vote. Without that restraining power, all of the following have very good chances of becoming law in 2009 or 2010.
Read it all and digest it. Don't say you weren't warned.

The Obama Thugocracy in full bloom

Last week Michael Barone wrote something that described what my instincts told me was coming should Sen. Obama (D-IL) win. He described it as such;
Once upon a time, liberals prided themselves, with considerable reason, as the staunchest defenders of free speech. Union organizers in the 1930s and 1940s made the case that they should have access to employees to speak freely to them, and union leaders like George Meany and Walter Reuther were ardent defenders of the First Amendment.

Today's liberals seem to be taking their marching orders from other quarters. Specifically, from the college and university campuses where administrators, armed with speech codes, have for years been disciplining and subjecting to sensitivity training any students who dare to utter thoughts that liberals find offensive. The campuses that used to pride themselves as zones of free expression are now the least free part of our society.

Obama supporters who found the campuses congenial and Obama himself, who has chosen to live all his adult life in university communities, seem to find it entirely natural to suppress speech that they don't like and seem utterly oblivious to claims that this violates the letter and spirit of the First Amendment. In this campaign, we have seen the coming of the Obama thugocracy, suppressing free speech, and we may see its flourishing in the four or eight years ahead.
We see a similar attitude in what has happened to "Joe the Plumber." CAPT Ed over at HotAir reviews;
Now, we have people crawling over his tax records, his voter registration, his professional licensing, and whatever else they can find in the public record. Someone has linked him to the long-deceased Charles Keating, suggesting that somehow Obama managed to pick a McCain plant out of a ropeline full of people by accident. How much longer before a certain blogger at The Atlantic demands a paternity test to see if Joe the Plumber fathered Sarah Palin’s baby — or Bristol’s, for that matter?

There is a stench of desperation surrounding this, as if they sense defeat coming from a moment of honesty from Obama about his real intentions to institute a regime of redistribution. They want to discredit the man who only asked the question as if he’s some political operative who magically forced Obama to sound … well, a little like a Marxist. Why? They want to distract people from Obama’s answer by sliming the man Obama picked at random to ask a question.
And so it goes. I like his new rules.

So what have we learned from this episode?

  1. Thou shalt not offend The One by asking him a question. Of any kind.
  2. Anyone who questions The One will have to undergo a public pillorying of a kind unseen since the Red Scare, or perhaps the Inquisition.
  3. The Tanning-Bed Media will happily participate in any inquisition, as long as it keeps them from investigating irrelevant issues like Obama’s ties to the Chicago Machine, William Ayers, ACORN, or his record on protecting infanticide.
Ahhh yes. Change you have to believe in.

Fullbore Friday

If I never have to sit through another JAG lecture on LAWFARE, it will be too soon.

Within living memory, we knew what it was like to go to war against an enemy who gave no quarter - and asked for none.

POW in this war, none. At least Imperial Japan, for all her horrors towards POWs, took thousands. Ponder.

To add to your pondering, I want you to review the last 48 hours of a great warship's crew; the Heavy Cruiser IJN Chikuma in the Battle Off Samar (of Taffy III fame).
On 25 October, during the Battle off Samar, Chikuma engaged U.S. escort aircraft carriers, helping to sink USS Gambier Bay, but came under fire from the American destroyer USS Heermann and heavy air attack. Chikuma inflicted severe damage on Heermann, but was soon attacked by four TBM Avenger torpedo-bombers, one of which succeeded in hitting her stern port quarter with a Mark 13 torpedo that severed her stern and disabled her port screw and rudder. Chikuma's speed dropped to 18 knots, then to 9 knots, but more seriously, she became unsteerable. At 1105, Chikuma was attacked by five TBMs from USS Kitkun Bay. She was hit portside amidships by two torpedoes and her engine rooms flooded. At 1400, three TBMs from a composite squadron of ships from the USS Omanney Bay and the USS Natoma Bay led by Lt. Joseph Cady dropped more torpedoes which hit Chikuma portside. Cady was later awarded the Navy Cross for his action. The destroyer Nowaki took off survivors from Chikuma, and then scuttled her at [show location on an interactive map] 11°25′N 126°36′E / 11.417, 126.6 in the late morning of on 25 October 1944.

On 26 October 1944, Nowaki was sunk by gunfire from USS Vincennes, Biloxi and USS Miami and DesDiv 103's USS Miller, USS Owen and USS Lewis Hancock. It sank 65 miles SSE of Legaspi, Philippines with about 1,400 men including all but one of Chikuma's surviving crewmen.
Did you get that? An Destroyer overloaded with the CHIKUMA's survivors surrounded by three Light Cruisers and three Destroyers and pounded into oblivion taking roughly 1,400 men into the deep.

And we still won't take out pirates that send money to Islamists. We still ... well ... you get the idea.