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America's First Region...
Retired Army Officer; Currently a Defense Analyst focused on Cyberspace Operations
Recent Activity
Perennial media darling (and President-anointed in waiting) Hillary Rodham Clinton weighs in on Bowe Bergdahl. Among her erudite comments was this gem: "If you look at what the factors were going into the decision, of course there are competing interests and values," Clinton told Sawyer. "And one of our values is we bring everybody home off the battlefield the best we can. It doesn't matter how they ended up in a prisoner of war situation.” What is insane about all this are two competing, yet compelling problems: (1) The circumstances under which Bergdahl was captured were essentially manufactured by his own stupidity. That said, it is in our charter to bring back everyone we send to a combat zone. And if there is dishonorable conduct, we have methods to deal with that, upon recovery. (2) The circumstances that led to the release involved an onerous penalty that included release of five notorious AQ operatives and (maybe) some transfer of funds. We paid ransom. This would be a scandal if the detained person/POW were captured in otherwise honorable conditions. Either one of these is bad. When the two situations are merged, it should be cause for removal of exective leadership. For the former Secretary of State cum presumptive Dem nominee to rationalize the second action under the guise of the first is doubly damming. But this is the world we live in these days. Someone said it during Slick Willy's administration and it is still true. HRC is like a soap opera villainess. They never die, even when they get killed. In the sane world that we used to live in - before being transported to this dystopian world we currently occupy - this woman would have been relegated to the dustbin of history years ago. It is unreal how she remains not only omnipresent, but still touted in many circles as damn-near inevitable as the next President of the US. Washington Post story linked here: Hillary - What Difference Does it Make (again) Continue reading
Posted 13 hours ago at BLACKFIVE
Just saw this posted elsewhere...may pertain to some who frequent this site: OPERATIONS IN SOMALIA CAMPAIGN PARTICIPATION CREDIT. Announcement is made confirming campaign participation credit for the following units for operations involving Somalia under the provisions of AR 600–8–22, paragraph 7–18: 1. Designated Area of Operations: Limited to units deployed abroad to Somalia in support of Operations RESTORE HOPE and UNITED SHIELD Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Army Capt. Will Swenson received the Medal of Honor for his bravery while defending his country. The small act of kindness caught on video shows his real nature, even in the middle of combat. Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Patriotism is not a part of our DNA — it must be learned. A healthy patriotism is rooted in a willingness to serve a cause larger than the self. It is demonstrated in the ability to sacrifice one’s own comforts, even one’s own needs for the greater good of others. This is at the heart and core of military service. Those who serve the nation, who lay their lives on the line for the defense of the nation, for the security of its people are the embodiment of healthy patriotism. Apparently he wanted to do this at the D-Day Memorial but was unable to gain entry. Instead, with his dad, he went to Omaha Beach. The story can be found here. Project Vigil Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Remember when Dr Evil was talking about Lasers? Well.... Boeing and the U.S. Army have proven the capabilities of the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) in maritime conditions, successfully targeting a variety of aerial targets at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The interesting part is that they were able to hit targets through sand, rainy and foggy conditions. Read the story here. (No word if sharks were involved) Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Let the anti Contractor/antiPMC/Halliburton/Blackwater/Xe/TripleCanopy/KBR/DynCorp et al screaming reach a new cresendo. In place of 'boots on the ground,' US seeks contractors for Iraq Wary of putting combat troops in Iraq, the U.S. government is gauging contractors’ interest in advising the Iraqi Defense Ministry and Counter Terrorism Service in a range of capacities, including force development, logistics and planning and operations. The cynical will see this as naked wordplay to do what is needed without doing what is needed. And of course, the advantage of using contractors is that, should anything go haywire, they can be ignored, denied, or flat out left hanging. For those of you interested, there has been some professional writing done on the subject, such as this this and this from TX Hammes Here's another story on same theme: Contractors In Iraq? <Those of us who've seen the classic movie "The Wild Geese" will know that leaving contractors (mercaneries if that is your preferred term) to twist in the wind with the change of political (or business) priority is a bad idea. > Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Frank Caliendo, rendering the famous "You can't hand the truth" speech from "A Few Good Men" Charles Barkley... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
This is a neat little article I saw this morning and thought I'd share. Although focused on the Army, I'm sure all 5 Services (yes, even the Coast Guard!) have these groups or variation on this theme. As you read this, I'm sure you'll look back and put names to each of these categories. Enjoy! Click here for "Five People You Meet In the Army" Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
I whole heartedly support this call to ban the incidious AR 670-1! The "gun zealots" have finally gone too far and produced an incidious new...... <ok... that's about all i can do with a straight face....> Yes....this is real...satire... A well done bit from a group called "Mom's Against Everything" that's been having some fun with the latest over the top, anti-gun protest group "Moms Demand Action". (For those not not in the know, "AR 670-1" is Army Regulation 670-1, Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia) Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
This one's been making the rounds lately..from Billings, Montana... Some B1B bombers, stationed in Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota were operating around the Billings, Montana area. The story goes like this: One bomber was doing practice approaches and touch and go’s. On one of the landings the pilot lands long and in attempting to stop, sets his brakes on fire. He taxis in, and the airport parks him on a taxiway and then puts cones around him until parts and mechanics can be brought in from Ellsworth AFB the next day....and provided an opportunity for an enterprising practical joker.. The next day is a Saturday, which doesn't have much going on, so we get to laughing in the tower that maybe somebody should hang a For Sale sign on the plane. We convince one of our guys who's well known for doing things like this that it would be a good idea. So he takes off for the hardware store to buy a For Sale sign. On the way back he stops at a car dealer and gets one of those "As is/No Warranty" signs that hang in all used cars. On that sign was written something like low miles, new engines, needs brakes and tires. Those signs were taped together, and off goes our hero. He climbs over the fence, leaving some skin on the barbed wire, and makes his way the 1000 feet or so to the aircraft. As he's doing that, we see a couple of airport vehicles starting to gather with the recently arrived mechanics as well as the plane's crew. Not looking good for our intrepid airplane salesman. He gets to the nose wheel and tapes the sign to the nose strut. Then he starts to make his way back from the plane as the vehicles start to head out from the shop on the way to the bomber. Somehow he makes it without being seen. The vehicles arrive at the plane, and of course notice the sign right away. The Air Force guys are in stitches, funniest thing they've seen in a long time. Airport guys are not sure what to think. Airport management is livid as they've been tasked with security. Pretty soon a camera appears and all the Air Force guys are taking pictures of each other by the sign. Our hero is back in the tower now, and notices the bomber's commander is talking on a cell phone. Our guy gets on the radio to the airport truck and asks for that guy's phone number. As soon as he finishes that call, our guy calls the aircraft commander on the phone. When he answers, our guy says "I'm calling about the plane you have for sale." Aircraft commander about falls over from the laughter. It just so happened that the chief photographer for our local newspaper is a pilot and he may have been called prior to the sign being placed. He was told to get up here with a big lens. Here's one of the pics he got: An article showed on the front page of the Sunday paper. When that came out, the Colonel running Ellsworth called the airport director and read him the riot act, wondering what kind of dog and pony show he was running up there. We were later informed by the crew that the sign was framed and is now permanently mounted inside the aircraft. Hard to have that much fun anymore. Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
I saw this interesting story out of Houston: LCPL Fred Maciel was among 31 Marines killed in a helicopter crash in Fallujah in 2005. He was laid to rest and the family (in Houston, TX area) received his effects...or at least they thought they did. In Hemphill, Texas, a couple walking through a flea market spied an American flag with writing on it. The wording: tributes to Maciel by his platoon mates. The couple ( Lanie Mae and Wally Brown ) undertook the search and found the Maciel family. The Initial Story The flag was presented to the Maciels yesterday (Saturday July 26) at the cemetary where the fallen Marine is interred. Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
COL David Maxwell posted this and I think you'll find it interesting: 6 modern U.S. troops whose extreme heroism didn't get the Medal of Honor By Dan Lamothe July 22 at 8:44 AM Then-Lance Cpl. Brady Gustafson, a machine gunner with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, stands at parade rest on March 27, 2009, after receiving the Navy Cross for heroism in Afghanistan on July 21, 2008. His former battalion commander, Col. Richard Hall, says he regrets that he did not submit Gustafson's actions for consideration for the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for combat valor. Gustafson received the Navy Cross instead. (Photo by Pfc. Michael T. Gams/Marine Corps) Marine Lance Cpl. Brady Gustafson was manning a gun turret in an armored vehicle in Afghanistan when chaos struck. His squad was ambushed from multiple positions by enemy insurgents wielding rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, including an RPG that burst through the hull of his vehicle and delivered a devastating injury to his right leg. Gustafson refused to back down, however. Bleeding profusely, he engaged numerous enemy fighters while a Navy corpsman inside the vehicle cranked a tourniquet onto Gustfason's leg. The hundreds of rounds of gunfire he delivered allowed Marines to evacuate another vehicle after it had burst into flames. The RPG blast knocked the Marine driving Gustafson's vehicle unconscious, but Gustafson shouted at him until he woke up to push the burning Marine vehicle behind them out of the kill zone. With the U.S. war in Iraq over and combat operations in Afghanistan winding down, Gustafson is now part of a select group of U.S. troops who didn't receive the Medal of Honor, but who have advocates who say they should. In Gustafson's case, that includes his former battalion commander, Col. Richard Hall, who says he regrets not nominating him for the higher award. Gustafson was put in for the Silver Star, the nation's third-highest award for combat valor, and ultimately received the Navy Cross. He left the service as a corporal in 2009. As my story in The Washington Post on Sunday noted, President George W. Bush awarded just five Medals of Honor for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, all posthumously. Three were the most obvious of cases, in which a nominee smothered a grenade to protect fellow service members from harm. Those recipients are Army Spc. Ross McGinnis, Navy Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Michael Monsoor and Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham. President Obama - and more specifically, the Defense Department under his watch - has awarded 11 Medals of Honor. Nine of them have gone to living recipients, a change since the Bush era that is roundly cheered in the military. Still, there are numerous cases of valor in Iraq and Afghanistan that have not resulted in the award, and they have caused frustrations for years. Consider the following: 2. Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe Drenched in fuel, Cashe scrambled into a burning Bradley Fighting Vehicle that had hit an improvised explosive device in Samarra, Iraq, on Oct. 17, 2005. He pulled six soldiers from the burning wreckage, suffering devastating burns in the process. He died a few weeks later on Nov. 8 Family and friends have been pushing to get Medal of Honor consideration for Cashe for years, as this Army Times story points out. His former battalion commander, Col. Gary Britto, put Cashe in for the Silver Star, and that's what he got. He has said since that he did not know the full extent of Cashe's heroism at the time, and wants to submit him for an upgrade. Then-Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz presents the Air Force Cross to Staff Sgt. Robert Gutierrez during a ceremony at Hurlburt Field, Fla., on Oct. 27, 2011. Gutierrez was awarded the Air Force Cross, the second highest military decoration, for displaying extraordinary heroism in combat while deployed to Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Sharida Jackson) 3. Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert Gutierrez Gutierrez was on the ground in a Special Operations mission in Herat province, Afghanistan, when he was shot by an armor-piercing round in the left shoulder. The airman thought he was going to die, he later said, but he refused to remove his body armor because he was the only joint terminal attack controller, a position that coordinates air support with pilots overhead, on the mission. Gutierrez stayed calm and worked with an A-10 attack jet pilot overhead to coordinate fires, and did not learn of the full extent of his injuries until arriving in a medical evacuation zone, Air Force officials said. The gunshot wound is said to have damaged his shoulder, triceps muscle and chest, and left a softball-sized hole in his back. The strafing runs that the A-10 ran were so close, they ruptured his ear drums. Gutierrez received the Air Force Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor in the Air Force, on Oct. 27, 2011. At least one columnist has said he deserves consideration for the higher award. 4. Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta Peralta is perhaps the most famous example of a service member who didn't get a Medal of Honor. He was submitted for the award after dying in house-to-house fighting in Fallujah, Iraq, on Nov. 15, 2004. His fellow Marines say he pulled a grenade under him that day shortly after being hit with a ricocheting rifle round, but his case languished for years due to uncertainty about whether or not he had the cognitive ability to do so despite sustaining a gunshot wound to the head. Two Marines told The Washington Post in February that Peralta's fellow service members concocted a story on the spot to honor Peralta in part because they feared he had been killed by friendly fire. Other Marines there that day have continued to insist that Peralta covered the grenade, citing forensic evidence and their own lack of injuries from the blast. The Navy Department awarded the Navy Cross to Peralta, saying in his award citation that... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Obama hands Perry the GOP Nomination on a platter and Perry punts. *facepalm*
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2014 on Texas Governor Perry wimps out at BLACKFIVE
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First Twitter shot is fired.... Hashag #BigStick
Toggle Commented Jul 18, 2014 on Bring the fun to National Review at BLACKFIVE
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That kind of takes away the effect if i give away the surprise up front. I also read the mystery novel from cover to cover. But i think you got the point... :) Cheers...
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... This would be surreal: After returning home Taylor Harrington was browsing videos of IED attacks in Iraq to use for a training course, when he came across the video of the actual strike on his vehicle. Check Out the Video Here Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
An interesting OpEd in the New York Times that asks some very cogent questions as we ponder the threats we face, an uncertain fiscal situation, and a populace weary of the in-fighting. After seven years on the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am convinced that we are well along the road to repeating the French mistake. It has been more than 30 years since the last clear-cut American victory, the brilliant and audacious landing at Inchon. Vietnam, the Pyrrhic victory in the Mayaguez affair and the failed Iranian rescue attempt all attest to some deep-seated problems in our armed services. Yet our national defense debate, in Congress and in the press, continues to revolve largely around how much to spend. New ideas, from inside or outside the services, are seldom heard and less often welcomed. A growing number of my Congressional colleagues have come to feel that there is something profoundly wrong. We have joined in what amounts to a military reform movement, an alliance of (mostly younger) military officers, civilian defense analysts and members of Congress. The reformers' goal is to bring our defense priorities back into line with what history tells us is important in winning - and, therefore, deterring - wars. In seeking to determine where we have gone wrong, we must start by looking at the basic building blocks of any military - (1) personnel, (2) tactics and strategy and (3) hardware. Personnel questions are usually discussed in terms of pay, service entrance tests, and so on. But these issues miss many of the most critical aspects of military personnel policy. What's truly remarkable about it is that it was written in 1982. Read the whole piece at the link here: What's Wrong With The Military Hat tip to "Doctrineman" Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
The following is a message by Jack Tobin, President of the Special Forces Association, that he posted coincident with Independence Day weekend. I think it will resonate with many B5 readers: What Do I Say? As I watch the news, each day it seems the Republic sinks deeper into the abyss that has taken so many great countries. Each day another of our freedoms disappears, taken by faceless bureaucrats, controlled by those who disregard our laws. A neighbor’s son, just graduated from high school, ask about joining the military, I was in a hurry and ask him to come back, what do I say? Two of my son’s, both wounded veterans ask me on Father’s Day, “Dad, was what we did worth it? What do I say? I think of one day seeing my Father, Uncles, Grandfather’s all veterans, and they ask what happened to the Republic they passed on to our generation. What do I Say? Growing up near Valley Forge I think of those men in that terrible winter dying of starvation, cold and disease, if they could ask was our sacrifice worth it? What do I say? When I see a Gold Star Mother, and she asks of her son, was his sacrifice worth it? What do I say? Generations of Americans have fought and died not for empire nor plunder, but for a Republic based on a document, not a king or emperor, but a Document, a Document that specified a government of laws, a government “of the PEOPLE, by the PEOPLE, for the PEOPLE”, that proscribed a unique form of government, each branch with specified duties, a system of checks and balances, to ensure that no monarch, no oligarchy could abandon the principles set down in this Constitution. When these generations that sacrificed so much for so long scream, down the hall of history, “What happened? What do I Say? Has the world’s last best hope become like the Arizona Memorial, the Alamo, yes, even Valley Forge, a site of greatness, now merely a faded symbol. I don’t know, I can only reach back in history and quote a document that George Washington thought so important that he had it read to his army as they stood in the freezing wind, the snow soaked with the blood of their rag covered feet, veterans who had suffered every deprivation, that he needed so badly.. 23 December 1776 “These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”……* After this was read, he asked them to stay the course, and led them to the victory at Trenton, and then on to independence. That is what I say, especially to you, all veterans, men who can lead communities, organizations that can reverse the course and rebuild that which is so badly damaged. “Stay the course.” DOL Jack Tobin "Croich Honorah" Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
When you do it right, it's really quick and boring. Which is why there are far fewer D-Force movies this Century than others..
Toggle Commented Jun 23, 2014 on Benghazi lawfare delays at BLACKFIVE
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Apparently Obama thinks D-boys plan like the SEALs do.. rookie mistake.
Toggle Commented Jun 23, 2014 on Benghazi lawfare delays at BLACKFIVE
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Beyond that...US Army Special Forces rarely, if ever, gather in that large a group for one fight. The only time i can think of in recent history is Pecora River Bridge in Panama in 1989. So the number is deceptive on so many levels. And, for you conspiracy nuts out there, I truly doubt that Obama went to McRaven and said, "Admiral, it has to be 300....don't question me on just has to be that many." Sorry, but it's laughably silly.
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Let me disabuse anyone who thinks Mattis is the panacea to what ails the VA... He was the commander of US Joint Forces Command, and vowed to fix that organization... Ultimately, rather that fix it...or set the conditions for a measured downsizing or closure, he bailed.... And he didn't even have the temerity to stay in town for the announcement....he shuffled off on the Friday before the Tuesday announcement of its closure. He left a mess and the "fix" afterward is still struggling to remain relevant because of major mistakes like failing to properly revamp the Unified Command Plan. I do not think Mattis would be any more able an administrator than the incumbent. He'll just make more noise...
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Ok...Time to get the creative juices flowing.... And.....GO! Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Ok.the Olympics is over and TV shows are back to their new episode line ups. Enlisted on Fox is back tonight at 9PM Eastern/8 Central. To pique your interest, the show is running a contest. You can win a custom duffel bag. All you have to do is tune in to Enlisted on Fox at 9pm eastern, 8pm central and answer a question that we will ask here on our Facebook page after the episode airs. You’ll have three and a half hours to e-mail the response to I posted an initial review of the show here. Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
A few days ago I posted about Kelli Serio, a Navy Vet who is a Pinup Model for Pinups For The Troops. Now i have the honor of presenting Gina Elise - the creator of this wonderful veterans outreach effort. She was featured on an AOL Entertainment Segement called "You've Got...." For those that haven't seen Gina's work, this is a wonderful introduction. And so, You've Got....Gina Elise! Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2014 at BLACKFIVE