This is Blackfive's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Blackfive's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Blackfive
USA
Recent Activity
Image
Holiday wreaths adorn the graves of fallen service members across Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Dec. 13, 2014. Volunteers placed about 700,000 remembrance wreaths on National Wreaths Across America Day. DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at BLACKFIVE
Image
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right sidebar. Liad Shoham’s latest book, Asylum City, has a riveting plot that involves a mystery based around social issues. This is not a typical thriller since the reader is engrossed not only in the crime plot but also the current issue facing Israelis, seeing the predicament through the eyes of the characters. The story begins with the murder of activist Michal Poleg in her Tel Aviv apartment. The policewoman assigned to the case, Anat Nachmias, wonders which of the possible suspects could be the perpetrator. Was her killer a disgruntled African immigrant? Or the lawyer she filed a complaint against for causing so many migrants to be deported, or "The Banker" extorting the migrants, as he lends money to them illegally at exorbitant interest rates? The book allows the reader to be a part of the investigation, as Anat must decide if an “asylum seeker” actually committed the crime after his confession. Anat Nachmias is smart, motivated, more of a listener, and armed with a law school degree. An attractive woman who relies on her intelligence and training to succeed, and knows it is not easy being a woman in the men's club. She is a strong female character who handles herself well in a male dominated profession on a crime that her supervisors would like resolved regardless of the evidence. Besides Anat there are other well-developed characters although the overabundance of characters and the similarity of names are at times a bit confusing. Since the author is a practicing attorney, the descriptions are realistic and accurate. He uses his job experiences to write a gripping novel that is in many ways similar to the US immigration problem: should border security be implanted before solving the immigration problem, what to do with those illegally in the country, and is there a humanity issue. The problem in Israel has arisen from the Eritrea Africans who are trying to escape persecution by migrating to Israel through the Sinai Peninsula. He told blackfive.net, “It does not matter the color of their skin, which is irrelevant. Israel has accepted Jews from all over the world: Ethiopian, Chinese, Hispanic, Eastern European, and Western European, but the underlying thread is they are all Jews. The government does not exploit them, but also do not grant them any opportunities. The problem is those who try to exploit them, that is exemplified by the quote in my book, ‘I’ll never get how people who grew up in this country can exploit other refugees. The Bedouins that are hired to move them across the desert have kidnapped them for sex trafficking, held them hostage for ransoms, tortured the men, and raped 90% of the women. Israel is unable to control the crimes, because they take place outside our border. Within Israel there are those who have set up businesses surrounding the asylum seekers needs. For example, just as in the book, since they are not allowed to open bank accounts, Mafia bosses have become their bankers that transfer money to the asylum seeker’s family.” Asylum City is a fast-paced and riveting novel that is more than just a crime story. It is a gripping thriller with engaging characters and an informative storyline. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at BLACKFIVE
Image
An MV-22B Osprey aircraft lands on the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima, to embark Marines on the ship, in the Atlantic Ocean, Dec. 13, 2014. U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Shelby M. Tucker Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at BLACKFIVE
Image
U.S. soldiers attach cargo to a CH-47 Chinook helicopter on Roberts International Airport in Harbel, Liberia, Dec. 12, 2014. The mission was to airlift incinerators to a new Ebola treatment unit built in support of Operation United Assistance. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brien Vorhees Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at BLACKFIVE
Image
The USS Sterett, left, transits alongside the CNS Yun Chang, right, and the CNS Chao Hu during U.S.-China Counter-Piracy Exercise 15 in the Gulf of Aden, Dec. 11, 2014. The Sterett is deployed as part of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group, and is supporting Operation Inherent Resolve conducting maritime security operations, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric Coffer Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at BLACKFIVE
Image
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right sidebar. Dogs always seem to be an intricate part of people’s lives. Maria Goodavage’s latest book, Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca, is a true story that is also a riveting thriller with action-packed scenes, heart-pounding combat sequences, high tension, and suspense. It is the story of two heroes, one male and one female, one four-legged and her handler. The author shows the passionate relationship between a military working dog and its partner. Top Dog is the story of a German Shepherd-Belgian Malinois mix, Lucca, and her dog handlers, Marine Staff Sergeant Chris Willingham and Marine Corporal Juan "Rod" Rodriguez. The intensity of the book is presented from page one, where readers find themselves immediately rooting for Lucca. Unlike other books the author skillfully goes back and forth between Lucca surviving an IED bombing and how she became such an important part in the effort to save her fellow Marines’ lives. The reader is taken on a six year journey with Lucca from her youth in the Netherlands, her formative months in Israel as part of the elite Israeli Oketz K-9 group, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the death of her best four-legged friend, to losing a leg and being adopted by her handler and his family. A Specialized Search Dog, Lucca belongs to a group trained to work off-leash at long distances from her handler. She served alongside both Special Forces and regular infantry, and became so sought-after that platoons frequently requested her by name. But this is more than a war story, it is also about the extraordinary bond that developed between Lucca and Marine Corps dog handlers Chris Willingham and Juan Rodriguez. Chris Willingham commented, “Military dogs have drive, loyalty, intelligence, are trainable, can handle the rigors of combat, and can take directions. The handlers have to be independent thinkers, mature, responsible, have confidence in themselves and the dog, but are never cocky. Being a kennel master at Pendleton, and a supervisor for all the Marines and the military dogs including training and operational readiness I can tell a special dog. I personally think the best breeds of dogs for the military are the German Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois because they are the easiest to train. Lucca being a mix of both these breeds had the best of both worlds. I know all handlers think their dogs are the best but she is truly the best. She is a real Marine and we are called a team for a reason.” Kris Knight a fellow dog handler and a supervisor will be retiring this month. He is called the “dog whisperer,” since he knows so much about training a dog. (Gpscanine.com) He describes the relationship between Lucca and Chris as “the perfect match. They are absolute rock stars. Like one in a thousand who did something no one else will be able to duplicate during my lifetime. They had such a rapport. Too bad she could not be cloned. She went on over four hundred missions and no one lost a life to an IED.” It is not necessary to read the first book in the series, Soldier Dogs, but in doing so readers will get an understanding of military working dogs as a unique part of the military tapestry. This book goes into great detail about the military working dog program, the training of these dogs, their deployments, and their retirement. While researching this first book the author was able to speak with Gunnery Sergeant Chris Willingham about his time in Afghanistan when he was kennel master in charge of 30 dog teams. Maria later connected the dots and found out that Chris was the handler of Lucca, and decided to write a follow up book that would concentrate on this special dog and her military partners. Maria noted, “I decided to write these military dog books because the program is so important regarding the number of lives saved. I put this quote in Soldier Dogs, ‘There is one response that the Taliban has no answer for: the soldier dogs.’ Lucca would frustrate the insurgent bomb makers because she was so smart, calm, and heroic. She saved those serving from getting killed, hurt or maimed. Lucca was one of the first off leash US military dogs, which allowed her the freedom to find the explosives, a great force multiplier.” Top Dog is an appropriate title for this special canine. This book is a great present for the holidays. It is a very heart warming story since this heroic animal and her Marine buddies had an unbreakable bond. Everyone should read this book if for no other reason than to be a part of the deep loving relationship between Lucca and her handlers, where they overcame the endless brutalities of war and the traumas created by this violence. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at BLACKFIVE
Image
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right sidebar. Sharyl Attkisson’s book, Stonewalled, is a must read for all Americans. Her book reads like a mystery straight out of a John Grisham or Vince Flynn novel. Unfortunately the bad guys are not Islamic terrorists but those in government today. Instead of using guns and bombs they use intimidation and harassment. Stonewalled is an account of an investigative reporter that wanted to follow the facts and refused to be intimidated by the Obama Administration. She was one of the few mainstream journalists that tried to seek out the truth regarding what happened on that tragic day of September 11th, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya when four Americans were murdered by Islamic terrorists. It is stunning how this administration tried to push their narrative on reporters. In the book Sharyl recounts how she was told that the President early on referred to the attack as terrorist based. This quote from the book shows that the White House viewed her as uncooperative in pushing their narrative, “I give up Sharyl…I’ll work with more reasonable folks...” Unfortunately, Candy Crowley seems to be one of those that did cooperate with the White House considering her actions in the national Presidential debate. Crowley obviously did not check the facts herself. It makes readers question, if the “substitution” technique Attkisson talks about in the book was used: would a journalist from Fox News who had jumped in defense of Romney be drummed out? Sharyl speculates, “As I say in the book, it did make me wonder if Crowley, like me, had received an advance call from a White House official prompting her with the claim that the President had called Benghazi a terrorist attack the next day when, in fact, that was questionable.” Regarding Hillary Clinton’s involvement in pushing the false narrative of Benghazi and her many differing statements Sharyl noted to blackfive.net, “She appears to want to revise the facts on Benghazi in her book. Clinton begins her Benghazi discussion acknowledging ‘Americans were killed in a terrorist attack,’ the very thing that the administration had worked so hard not to say initially. Her contradictions in her book include discussions explaining why no rescue mission was launched and the supposed surprise nature of the attack, while at the same time she argues the US was on alert and well prepared because of the anniversary of 9/11. She also claimed the Foreign Emergency Support Team was not deployed because the attack wouldn’t last long enough for them to arrive to help; yet, she also said she believed there would be more attacks in the region as there had been in Egypt. In the days after September 11, she didn’t attribute the attacks to terrorism but mistakenly blamed a YouTube video, and later said that was due to the confusion caused by the ‘fog of war.’ Yet documents we now have show officials concluded from the start that the terrorists were at fault and even told the Libyans that right away. Mrs. Clinton eventually testified before Congress asking, ‘what difference does it make?’ as to who was behind the attacks. My response, if it doesn’t make a difference, why did the administration work so hard to steer the public in the direction of the video rather than the truth?” She also reminds readers of the Fast and Furious debacle: the issue of corruption, cover-ups, and government misdeeds. Early into the Obama Administration ATF officials came up with a plan to secretly enlist the help of licensed gun dealers in Arizona and encouraged them to sell firearms to suspected traffickers for the cartels. Part of the plan was to allow these guns to be used in crimes that would lead to the arrest of major drug cartel figures. Sharyl kept pursuing the story and was told by an Obama Administration official, “Every other outlet is ‘reasonable’ except you. Nobody else thinks there is a story. Just you. You’re the only one. Sharyl Attkisson is right and everybody else is wrong?” She noted to blackfive.net, “There was a great deal of pushback, attempts to manipulate opinion by the Obama Administration. According to my sources, other reporters were trying to publish stories on Fast and Furious, but their managers or editors apparently blocked it.” However, the mystery of the book comes about when she is targeted by a government agency or official that infiltrates her computer and cell phone. They are not listening to a terrorist plotting to kill Americans, but are trying to find out what information this CBS reporter has that will be damaging to them. Big brother is not only listening but in Sharyl’s case has actually put damaging classified information on the computer. Sharyl pointed out, “For a reporter to have classified information is not a crime in itself. What could be a crime, if the person who took them, and handed them over, broke the law. My sources have theorized that perhaps they could put something in someone’s computer for some pretense to justify a legal wiretap at some point. The long story short, they could then get a court order, frame a federal source, or frame the owner of that computer. Whoever did this to me is very sophisticated. I have decided to pursue it to let them know I was not just going away and to make the public aware. It is almost humorous that people think my accusations are outlandish and they call me paranoid. It is part of the propaganda campaign. This is not a figment of my imagination if you look at the undeniable forensic reports and the CBS press release.” Stonewalled needs to be read so Americans can understand that currently this administration is targeting journalists and the sources. But a word of warning, anyone can be targeted. This book shows how corporate and political interests try to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
From Gruntworks.com U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer had this message for ISIS, via Scout.com: Let me say what a lot of us are thinking...If ISIS is using social media to track me, that's a dream come true in my book. These guys are a bunch of bullies that just prey on the weak," says Meyer. "I can't travel over there anymore now that I'm out of the Marine Corps, so having them come to me would help out a lot. ISIS targeting the U.S. military is like a sheep targeting a lion. Hopefully one of these assholes actually shows up. They'll definitely get more than they want at my place! Visit Scout.com to read the whole piece and see a hilarious photo of how worried he is... My main problem with the ISIS threats is the federal government asking veterans to take down any online reference to their service. This is an absolutely ridiculous request and one from the nanny state. Let me get this straight...we are supposed to not be proud of our service, particularly against the evil that is Islamic Fanaticism?! What? Should I take down the flag in front of my residence, too? What the @#$%?! We should be aware of the threat. We should not fear the threat. We should know what ISIS is capable of. We should end that capability. Last, Dakota Meyer and RangerUp have teamed up to create a new shirt that says it all. Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right side bar. Woman With A Gun, the latest by New York Times Bestselling author Phillip Margolin is a very unique crime novel. What inspired this riveting thriller is the photograph seen on the cover of the book, which works as the focal point for this mystery. This book is really a story within a story as Margolin takes his personal experience and transfers it to Stacey Kim. She wants to become a writer and sees this Pulitzer Prize winning photograph at an art museum that inspires her to find the history behind it. Deciding to travel to Oregon, the setting for the photo, she discovers there was a Cold Case murder associated with it. The other piece of the plot has readers trying to unravel the killing of Raymond Cahill that occurred the night of his wedding. That evening, amateur photographer Kathy Moran took a stunning photograph of newlywed Megan Cahill standing on the beach, facing the sea, in her wedding gown, holding a western six-shooter. Moments later, Kathy discovered the body of Raymond Cahill, Megan’s millionaire husband, in their beach house. Margolin commented to blackfive.net, “In Georgia. I was keynoting a writing conference. In a restaurant restroom over the toilet was the photograph seen on the cover of the book. I was blown away with the many possible scenarios that were running through my mind. Has the woman killed her husband on their wedding night? Is she going to commit suicide? Is she waiting for someone she plans to kill? I knew then I had the name of the book and the cover. The real story behind the photograph is not romantic and is actually bland. I asked the photographer, Leslie Jeter, because I was really curious. She was a commercial photographer at this wedding rehearsal. Everyone there were gun enthusiasts and had her take pictures, each one holding a different type of gun.” The two main characters are very compelling, complex, and well developed. Kathy Moran was a defense attorney that went up against a young prosecutor, on the fast track to success. After her drug dealer client was found not guilty, she appeared to have everything at her fingertips. That is until she was disbarred for possessing drugs. She quits law and finds peace in Palisades Heights, a town on the Oregon Coast, while pursuing her dream career as a photographer. Margolin is able to have this character that uses sex as a way to get ahead, appear at times sympathetic, and alternately between being good and bad. The male lead is Jack Booth who was demoted after being humiliated by losing to Moran and is now a special prosecutor. He is a womanizer, and someone who drinks and smokes way too much. He also is obsessed with Kathy Moran and allows this ten-year-long infatuation to influence how he handles his job. Margolin thinks that readers will appreciate “that the tone of the book became decidedly noir. I realized I was writing a story that could have been filmed in black and white in the 1940s starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall as Jack and Kathy respectively.” Woman With A Gun is fueled by a very intriguing picture and well developed characters. Margolin has a straightforward and natural style with his many twists and turns throughout the plot. Readers are kept off balance, suspecting many different characters as the killer, as they engage in this page-turner story. Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right side bar. Harry Bosch is back with Michael Connelly’s novel, The Burning Room. Readers will not be disappointed in this thrilling story that has Bosch at the twilight of his LAPD career mentoring a “mod squad” cop, full of ambition, vim, and vigor. As with his previous novels Connelly has Bosch being the victim’s advocate and always thinking “Everybody counts or nobody counts.” This book differs a bit in that Connelly has Bosch attempting to solve not one, but two cold cases as he works in the LAPD's Open-Unsolved Unit. Because the murder rate is significantly down in Los Angeles there is more manpower devoted to solving crimes that are decades old. The first case is highly charged and politically sensitive that involves a former Mayor who is now a possible Gubernatorial candidate. He used the case of Orlando Merced to promote his career. Merced, shot by a sniper, survived in a wheelchair with a bullet lodged in his spine. He died ten years later from complications, and Harry knows that the bullet can be the key to finding the shooter. Making matters more complex is the possible connection between this case, an arson blaze, and two robberies. Bosch’s new partner, Lucia (Lucy) Soto is investigating on her own time the deaths of a number of children killed in a fire. Although she was one of the lucky ones that survived, her life changed forever. After finding out Soto’s involvement in the Bonnie Brae killings Harry is willing to go along with her, bending some rules in order to have the cases intertwined. The book takes the reader on a journey as Soto and Bosch search for clues to finding the culprits. Connelly noted to blackfive.net, “The Los Angeles murder rate is way down. Their detective bureaus and staffing was built on the larger number of killings. They shifted to working on unsolved murders that are benefitted by all this new technology. When I started writing about Harry and the Cold Case squad I think there were six or eight detectives which was very realistic because I had access to it. Now its way bigger, like 24 to 28. I understood that in solving cold cases sometimes it could be very unsatisfying since both the victim and the perpetrator are already dead. Murders are cleared but tons of people do not necessarily go to jail. What is important is that family members get closure. This pretty much motivates Harry and the real homicide detectives.” Bosch is paired with a new partner, Lucy Soto, who can best be described as a female Harry Bosch. Although having no previous homicide experience, she is seen as a young and shining star in the LAPD. She matches Harry’s dedication; coming to work early, leaving late, and following the evidence no matter where it leads. They are both willing to be less than candid with their superiors and are not beyond upsetting high-profile people. Harry is willing to mentor her because he sees a lot of himself in Soto while Lucy is very willing to learn and listen to his words of knowledge. Connelly see similarities, “What I liked about this book is how Harry picks up that Lucy, his new partner, has a sense of mission like he has. It has been rare that he has come across anybody, any partner, that has the same sense and has been formed by a past drama that can rival Harrys. When he picks up on that he wants to pass his mission on and to share his knowledge with her. People do that with those who are like minds. Lucy can continue on as a cop and Harry can be in the background as a mentor. Especially since it is very clear from the last few books his time is up with the badge, but not as a literary character. I planted a number of seeds in the last three or four books that can show his continuation in some way. It does not necessarily have to be Harry Bosch up front.” Fans of Harry Bosch will be able to get multiple doses. Besides The Burning Room, there is a new series being produced by Amazon that will premiere in February of next year. It can be a binger’s delight as they see Harry “live” starting with the ninth story in the Bosch series, City of Bones. Also, the next Connelly book will include Harry Bosch, Mickey Haller, and Lucy Soto. The Burning Room is a fast-moving and engrossing police procedural. The interplay between Bosch and Soto is very dramatic. Readers will be riveted to the storyline, but also learn about forensics, Los Angeles history, investigative techniques, and when to say good-bye to a job. Anyone who wants an exciting novel with a fascinating ending should read this book. Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
The latest from the guys at Ranger Up (Timmay!) - with a special guest, Mat Best of Article 15 Clothing. Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
"...against that onslaught, one American held the line ... just 22 years old, nearly surrounded, bloodied but unbowed..." - President Barack Obama, about SSG Ryan Pitts Over at the Burn Pit, TSO has a great piece about SSG Ryan Pitts, someone we've written about for a long time: ...Wounded in both legs and with shrapnel in his arm, Pitts crawled onto the sandbags and fired a machine gun at the approaching insurgents. Alone and bleeding, the perimeter of his position breached, his predicament was grave. He could hear enemy voices as they closed in. He made a prediction about his fate: “I was going to die and made my peace with it.” Pitts would not go down without a fight, though. He began throwing grenades, but because his attackers were so close and the grenades had a five-second fuse, he would “cook them off” for three seconds before hurling them. After exhausting his supply of hand grenades, he picked up a grenade launcher and began firing almost directly straight up to hit targets surrounding his position... Go read the whole piece and the full article at the Legion. Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
TSO at This Ain't Hell has a MUST READ about the Veterans Affairs committee going down the shitter...thanks to the Democrats supporting a completely worthless member. Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
Or Combat Units vs Support...whatever you want to call it... Well, the Marine Corps Times thinks it's a big deal. Is there a problem in the Marine Corps...? This NSFW video via FunkerTactical obviously shows that there is no problem AT ALL. Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
From our friends over at the NRA... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
[Annual repost] The Fallen Angel remembers the 173rd Airborne today...on the 8th of November in 1965, one of the toughest Airborne battles was fought in the jungles of Viet Nam. At about 0600 on the morning of 8 November C Company began a move northwest toward Hill 65, while B Company moved northeast toward Hill 78. Shortly before 0800, C Company was engaged by a sizable enemy force well dug in to the southern face of Hill 65. At 0845, B Company was directed to wheel in place and proceed toward Hill 65 with the intention of relieving C Company. B Company reached the foot of Hill 65 at about 0930 and moved up the hill. It became obvious that there was a very large enemy force in place on the hill,C Company was getting hammered, and by chance, B Company was forcing the enemy's right flank. Under pressure from B Company's flanking attack the enemy force—most of a Viet Cong regiment—moved to the northwest, whereupon the B Company commander called in air and artillery fires on the retreating troops. B Company halted in place in an effort to locate and consolidate with C Company's platoons, managing to establish a coherent defensive line running around the hilltop from southeast to northwest, but with little cover on the southern side. Meanwhile, the VC commander realized that his best chance was to close with the US soldiers so that the 173rd's air and artillery fire could not be effectively employed. He attempted to out-flank the US position atop the hill from both the east and the southwest, moving his troops closer to the Americans. The result was shoulder-to-shoulder attacks up the hillside, hand-to-hand fighting, and isolation of parts of B and C Companies but the Americans held against two such attacks. Although the fighting continued after the second massed attack, it reduced in intensity as the VC commander again attempted to disengage and withdraw. By late afternoon it seemed that contact had been broken off, allowing the two companies to prepare a night defensive position while collecting their dead and wounded in the center of the position. Although a few of the most seriously wounded were extracted by USAF helicopters using Stokes litters, the triple-canopy jungle prevented the majority from being evacuated until the morning of 9 November. The result of the battle was heavy losses on both sides—48 Paratroopers dead, many more wounded, and 403 dead VC troops. Here is the link to the tribute video by Big and Rich: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozpdBvB0hek If you get a chance, raise a glass to the Sky Soldiers of the 173rd tonight ("Airborne!"). Many of the Viet Nam vets that trained me and my generation of paratroopers wore the 173rd patch on their right shoulder. Thank you. Update: In the Company of Soldiers has more on Lawrence Joel who saved a lot of lives on the 8th of November in 1965 and was awarded the Medal of Honor. Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
35
Image
A V-22A Osprey lands on the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu during routine flight operations in the South China Sea, Oct. 31, 2014. The Peleliu is the lead ship in the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group and is conducting joint forces exercises in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. The Osprey is part of the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Hammond Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
From the folks at A&E: DOGS OF WAR spotlights combat veteran Jim Stanek, who returns home struggling with PTSD. He looks into getting a service dog to help him heal, only to discover how expensive they are, and how long the wait to be paired with one is. So he starts his own nonprofit to rescue dogs from kill shelters, train them as service dogs and partner them with struggling veterans at little or no cost. The show premieres Tuesday, Nov. 11 at 10PM ET/PT and then moves to Sundays at 10PM ET/PT beginning Nov. 16. In an era when most reality TV is hypersexualized, about cutthroat competition or designed solely to make us laugh at the culture of its “stars,” it is so refreshing to be associated with a series like this, which spotlights a man who uses the greatest pain in his life to offer the greatest comfort to the lives of others. Dogs of War is really the culmination of the work that Jim and Lindsey Stanek have done with their charity - Paws and Stripes. Jim and Lindsey found the perfect intersection of veterans needing a companion to deal with feeling isolated and shelter dogs (most likely heading to an untimely death) needing a home. In turn, they rescue each other. Catch "Dogs of War" on A&E this Veterans Day. Spread the word! B5, Out. Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
U.S. Navy divers and divers from the Royal Naval Force of Jordan conduct a search dive while participating in International Mine Countermeasures Exercise in the Gulf of Aqaba, Jordan, Oct. 29, 2014. IMCMEX includes navies from 44 countries whose focus is to promote regional security through mine countermeasure operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. The Navy divers are assigned to the Fleet Diving Unit 3, assigned to Task Group 523.3. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Daniel Rolston Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
U.S. Marines and U.S. Public Health Service members return during Operation United Assistance at Roberts International Airport in Monrovia, Liberia, Oct. 31, 2014. The operation is providing command and control, logistics, training and engineering support to the U.S. government’s efforts to contain the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Over at Foreign Policy, retired Navy Commander John T. Kuehn writes about "If I could change one thing in the US military personnel system (1): It is time to extend the age of military retirement." Kuehn is the Major General Willam A Stofft chair of historical research at the Command and General Staff College, and, yes, he has a PhD. Here is why Commander (ret) Kuehn believes a change in the retirement system is needed. ...The current system was designed because between the 20 to 30 year stretch was statistically when military personnel had been physically and emotionally "used up." However, these conditions no longer apply. Today, folks are a lot healthier when they retire and could reasonably be expected to serve under the generally harsher circumstance of military service longer than they could in the past. The current system needs to recognize and account for the improvements in healthcare and lifestyle by those Americans who qualify for military service in its promotion and retention policies, and it should do this with meaningful policy change. .. The problem with this argument is that the author seems to be entirely disconnected from the last 13+ years of combat, and what that combat does to young men and women...possibly the disconnect exists because he is a reseracher and a retired Navy Officer, not a 40 year old infantry platoon sergeant in the 82nd Airborne Division. In backchannel discussions on this piece, Army soldier TCOverride offers up a solution for the retirement situation. I think you'll enjoy it. I call this the risk = return method. Combat tours--real tours, not quatar/doha/buehring tours--earn 2.5x the retirement rate. A one year tour counts for 2.5 years towards retirement (but not pay.) A non combat, but unaccompanied tour counts for 1.5. Tours based on any LSA earn 1.75%, except for individuals listed below. Any tour during which a person receives a PH, or Valor medal, counts for 3x. No multiplier is added for E9, or O6 and above. Especially E9, as they have, as a population (albeit with notable, and damned few exceptions) contributed nothing of measurable value. Unless E9 has PH or Valor awards. BSM without 'V' is pretty, but worth squat. No multiplier is added for people beyond minimum retirement (20 years) unless the recipient has a PH or Valor award (multiplier always counts for these people, regardless of length of service.) PH or valor award multiplier is not limited to tour in which award is earned, once earned, modifier applies to any and all future tours and the tour where award was earned. Additional awards gain a .5 modifier. 2 PH would earn 3.5, 2 PH+BSV earns 4.0, etc. E9 with BSV would earn the 3% modifier. Sailors and other undesirables only get tour multipliers if they participate in actual combat. Being a cook on a carrier is not actual combat. Being on a seal team is. Unaccompanied tours multiplier still counts for sea duty. Having a missile fired at your ship is combat. Docking at a port in a terrorist threat nation (like Yemen) would result in earning the multiplier only while docked/underway in that nation's waters. Marines on embassy duty in nations where Ivan or Mohamed are the given names of over 40% of the male population, or where women dress like ninjas, or where goat buggery is commonplace (with exclusions for Australia, Scotland, New Zealand) would receive a special rate of 1.75%, which would go to 5% if at any time a clinton or kerry is the SECSTATE. Of course, they could also do silly things to reduce the VA claims backlog like analyzing your medical condition(s) annually according to VA standards, and determining the severity/rating as you go, so that when you retire you already have a rating. MOH: automatically qualifies for 20 years' service retirement eligibilty. Service in any TRADOC (or other service equivalent) posting beyond 24 months without at least three requests by the soldier for immediate worldwide reassignment result in no accrual of years' service for retirement. Goes along with this Military Motivator: Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right sidebar. Capital Offense, by Kathleen Antrim, has just been re-launched for this political season. The author used her vast experiences of being a national correspondent to create a very intriguing premise: how far will a political machine go to achieve ultimate power. This book takes the reader behind the scenes of a political race, touching on journalistic integrity and the power brokers. The author noted in the beginning of the book that she was inspired by the unregulated power of first ladies, with Hillary Clinton the spark that ignited the story. It is more a story of manipulative politicians as seem through the life of Warner Lane, his wife Carolyn, and his political pundits. In attempting to grasp political power they will stop at nothing, even murder, to achieve their goal. They are obsessed with the desire to see him become President, even willing to frame Carolyn for the killings they committed. The story exposes this and how many journalists look the other way, while never questioning relevant facts. That is until one reporter, Jack Rudly, investigates his dad’s death wondering if it was murder instead of an accident. Throughout the novel readers see the inner workings of getting someone elected while avoiding the many barriers in their path. Although people think the main character draws a comparison to Hillary Clinton she is more like Jackie Kennedy and Laura Bush combined. She is intelligent, sympathetic, and altruistic. It is obvious that Carolyn’s marriage to Warner is one of convenience, a business and power agreement. This marriage was not bound together by love but by ambitions. The author skillfully contrasts her with Warner Lane, showing how she is very successful professionally but has demons in her personal life, including an abusive husband. As the story progresses so does the reader’s dislike for Warner who never takes any responsibility, degrades in personality, and erodes into the world of moral bankruptcy. This can be seen in a quote from the book when Warner blames Carolyn who “caused him to lose control, caused him to hit her...” Antrim explained to blackfive.net, “I thought about how certain First Ladies want a voice in the administration. Carolyn had issues dear to her heart and did what she felt was needed to stay in power. She thought she had a good reason for what she was doing. Compare her to Hillary Clinton who has a forward aggressive personality. Even though she was not elected or appointed by the President she had enormous power. She demanded an office in the West Wing, which is very valuable real estate. Every other First Lady, past and present, has an office in the East Wing. Think about it, even national security advisors have some kind of oversight while the First Lady has none.” Readers might question if the plot sustains believability but they should think no further than some political pundits who had controversial deaths. In December 1972 Dorothy Hunt, the wife of convicted “plumber” E. Howard Hunt died in a suspicious plane crash. The Clinton White House counsel, Vince Foster, supposedly committed suicide; yet, there is forensic evidence that his body was dumped in a park. Ron Brown, the Secretary of Commerce in 1996 also died in a plane crash, but Antrim noted, “The autopsy report shows a cylindrical hole in Brown’s head consistent with a bullet wound. People might not believe the killings in this story but let’s remember people have been killed for far less than aspiring to achieve the most powerful position on the planet, the President of the United States.” The story faults many journalists for not wanting to expose the truth, as evidenced with this quote, “If the press doesn’t report the truth, the people don’t get the truth.” Antrim wanted to hammer this point home, that objective journalism is basically dead. She did a great job with it in this story even if some events were a bit exaggerated. She is discouraged with today’s reporting, “When reading the front page of a major newspaper you can see how biased the writer is by the word choice and the angle chosen. Even bloggers need to understand that there are rules unless someone is making a commentary and then they need to find an angle and use reputable sources to support it.” Capital Offense has a very believable plot considering the deceit, revenge, power and murder in this novel, basically, politics as usual. Besides being suspenseful and riveting, every concerned voter should read this book as an eye-opener to what political campaigns are really like. On a side note, Kathleen Antrim will be participating in the Veteran’s Benefit Book Fair on November 8th, because she thinks those who serve are amazing and should be recognized for the sacrifices made day in and day out. She is one of those that does the walk along with the talk considering she is currently the USO Director for International Thriller Writers and has done two tours entertaining the troops in the Middle East since many are readers. Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
Someone sent this cartoon from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald: Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
The following article is a special for BlackFive readers written by Elise Cooper (our favorite book reviewer). On November 8th in San Diego, California, the USS Midway will provide a dramatic setting as best selling authors plan on honoring military veterans presented by the Us4Warriors veteran’s support foundation and American Legion. The authors are hoping this will become a yearly tradition because it falls out on the weekend before Veterans Day. Book enthusiasts are invited to attend this unique event, “Veteran Benefit Book Fair” (www.veteransbookfair.org) between 10 am and 5 pm. Because proceeds go to veteran organizations people who want a book signed will have to buy books at the Midway/Fair bookstore. But the added benefit is that for every book sold a free book is sent to those on active duty. For the price of a Midway ticket, people can meet best-selling authors, purchase a book for signature, and take a tour of the Midway, a ship steeped in history. Readers can also have the opportunity to obtain a collector’s item, a personal written note from an author answering a question they always wanted to ask, or win one of many silent auctions of signed books by number one best selling authors including Nelson DeMille. The organizers hope that people will not be fooled by the title since there will be over forty authors, all from various genres from women’s issues to science fiction. Panel discussions with many of the authors will include: Veteran Characters”; “Female Heroines”; “Hot and Cold Wars”; “Terrorists and Politics” and “Guns and Needles.” In addition there will be a Q/A with Hank Steinberg, the executive producer of the television shows “The Last Ship” and “Without A Trace.” Others in attendance include Catherine Coulter, Charles and Caroline Todd, James Rollins, Ted Bell, C. J. Lyons, T. Jefferson Parker, Jan Burke, D. P. Lyle, Iris and Roy Johansen, W.C. Reed, Amy Hatvany, Andrew Kaplan, and Dale Brown. Also attending is U.S. Navy SEAL CDR (Ret) Rorke Denver, star the movie Act of Valor and U.S. Navy SEAL sniper LTCDR (Ret) Shane Reilly, former XO of the Navy SEAL Training Command. The authors want to emphasize that as Americans, we are living in perilous times and without those willing to sacrifice, sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice, to preserve our freedoms we would be in dire straights. They hope Americans will take the time to attend this patriotic event. Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Image
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right side bar. Saul’s Game is an original novel of the Homeland series written by best selling author Andrew Kaplan. It is a prequel that takes fans of this series back to 2009 and before. The plot includes the backstory on many of the characters and what influenced their current attitudes. The story has Saul Berenson and Carrie Mathison returning to the Middle East, Syria and Iraq in particular. They are trying to find the al Qaeda terrorist Abu Nazir and instead come across different plots that would threaten the American forces and involve Arab tribal differences. Kaplan’s experiences have greatly contributed to the realism of the story. As someone who served in the US and Israeli Army he knows the make-up of the Middle East. In fact, what he wrote could be snatched from the views of former high-ranking CIA officials. These former officials speak about the alienation of the Sunnis, by the former Iraq Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and the corruptness created by the Shiites, which all fits into the narrative of the story. Kaplan explained to blackfive.net, “I put into the book a scene that explains why many Americans just do not get what is happening over there. If the Sunnis take over Syria there would be an increase in massacres of the Christians and Kurds. Don’t forget the book was written over a year ago. In the Middle East there are no losers because all losers are killed. What Carrie and Saul are attempting to do is prevent the real enemy, Iran, from having Iraq as its puppet.” Saul’s Game allows readers to find out more of the early life of the main characters but also gives an understanding of the issues facing the Middle East today and why American troops should not have been completely withdrawn. On a side note he will be attending the Veteran’s Benefit Book Fair on November 8th in San Diego on board the USS Midway. He stated, “I am vey pleased to be included in this book fair that includes some wonderful authors. I think doing it on the Midway is a wonderful idea, including matching every book sold to a giveaway to active military personnel.” Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2014 at BLACKFIVE