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While you surely know about iconic Vietnam-era planes like the F-4 Phantom II or the UH-1 Huey helicopter, you probably haven't heard much about aircraft like the Black Spot, Skyknight, or the Dragonfly. Although they aren't as well-known, these fascinating warplanes played crucial roles during operations in Southeast Asia. Hiller OH-23 Raven The OH-23 was used as a scout helicopter during a time when the U.S. military was still figuring out how to best utilize helicopters on the battlefield. Ravens would scout ahead of friendly units, but were underpowered for Vietnam's terrain and their skid guns (when they worked) weren't adequate either. Nearly 100 of these lightweight helicopters were lost before the Army replaced them with the vastly improved OH-6 Cayuse in 1966. Grumman HU-16 Albatross This flying boat made its combat debut during the Korean War, saving some 1,000 downed pilots and aircrew. By the time the Vietnam War erupted, the Albatross was still in the air, conducting combat search and rescue missions and occasionally inserting/extracting special operations forces. Equipped with jet-assisted takeoff (JATO) rockets, the HU-16 could take off from seas over eight feet. Douglas EKA-3B Skywarrior The A-3 (right) was, by far, the heaviest aircraft to operate from an aircraft carrier during its day, earning it the nickname "The Whale." A-3s laid mines and dropped bombs during the early stages of the Vietnam War, but were later modified to the multirole EKA-3B. This plane could carry refuel other Naval aircraft, but the Whale still had plenty of room to spare for electronic jamming equipment, which it used to jam enemy radars when not topping off other warplanes. Douglas EB-66 Destroyer When Douglas designed the B-66 Destroyer (a derivative of the A-3 Skywarror), it was intended for a high-altitude nuclear strike role. During the Vietnam War, the warplane had traded its weapons for antennae and countermeasure equipment. The EB-66 Destroyer collected signals intelligence on enemy anti-aircraft systems and would accompany F-105 strikes, jamming enemy radar. North American RA-5C Vigilante The A-5 Vigilante entered service as a supersonic carrier-based bomber, but with advancements in ballistic missile technology, the platform adapted to the fast reconnaissance role. After U.S. planes conducted a strike, enemy anti-aircraft guns, surface-to-air missiles, and enemy MiGs were waiting on Vigilante crews to follow up with a bomb damage assessment, and 18 RA-5s were shot down during the Vietnam War. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REMAINING 15 AIRCRAFT AT UNTO THE BREACH Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2018 at BlackFive
On this date in 1942, Lt. John J. Powers tells his fellow dive bombers as they prepare to climb into their planes to attack the Japanese aircraft carrier Shokaku during the Battle of the Coral Sea, “Remember, the folks back home are counting on us. I am going to get a hit if I have to lay it on their flight deck.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt will tell the nation during one of his fireside chats in September that Powers flew “through a wall of bursting anti-aircraft shells and swarms of enemy planes. He dived almost to the very deck of the enemy carrier, and did not release his bomb until he was sure of a direct hit.” “He was last seen attempting recovery from his dive at the extremely low altitude of two hundred feet,” said the president, “amid a terrific barrage of shell and bomb fragments, and smoke and flame and debris from the stricken vessel. His own plane was destroyed by the explosion of his own bomb. But he had made good his promise to ‘lay it on the flight deck.'” SBD Dauntless scout pilot Lt. (junior grade) William E. Hall attacks and destroys three enemy warplanes during the Battle of the Coral Sea and is wounded during the dogfight. The previous day, Hall assisted in the sinking of the Japanese carrier Shoho. Meanwhile aboard USS Yorktown (CV-5), Lt. Milton E. Ricketts (who graduated alongside Lt. Jones from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1935) is leading a damage control party while Japanese pilots target the aircraft carrier. An enemy bomb falls right next to Ricketts and his men, exploding one deck below them. The blast kills and wounds several of Ricketts’ team and although mortally wounded himself, Ricketts charges a fire fighting hose and works to extinguish the blaze until he perishes. On this date in 1945, acting squad leader Private First Class Anthony L. Krotiak and his soldiers are engaged in a firefight on Luzon Island’s Balete Pass. When Krotiak spots an enemy grenade thrown into their trench, he knocks his squad mates out of the way, jams the grenade into the ground with the butt of his rifle, then shields them from the blast with his body. Krotiak will die within moments. When Lance Corporal Miguel Keith‘s outnumbered platoon was engaged in South Vietnam’s Quang Ngai Province during an early morning attack in 1970, the already-wounded Marine charged into heavy fire, raining down fire that downed three and chased off the remaining two enemy soldiers in their failed attempt to rush the American command post. An enemy grenade wounds him again, but he ignores his serious wounds and charges once more at a force of 25 men, killing several more with his machine gun and breaking off the attack. Keith is hit again after his second charge, this time fatally. Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2018 at BlackFive
1863: During day two of the Battle of Chancellorsville, Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson is shot by a Confederate sentry while performing a leaders-reconnaissance mission. Following the amputation of Jackson’s shattered arm, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee will lament, “He has lost his left arm, but I have lost my right arm.” The revered Jackson will die in eight days of pneumonia. 1945: Soldiers with the 82d Airborne and the 8th Infantry Division liberate the Wöbbelin concentration camp in northern Germany. The Nazis allowed many of the 5,000 inmates to starve, and U.S. soldiers found 1,000 dead upon arrival. The soldiers force nearby German townspeople to visit the camp and bury the dead. Conditions were so extreme at Wöbbelin that some of the inmates had resorted to cannibalism, and hundreds more would die after the camp's liberation. That same day, Gen. Heinrich von Vietinghoff surrenders all Wehrmacht forces in Italy and the Red Army flies the Soviet flag over the Reichstag building. Berlin has fallen. 1946: When prisoners at Alcatraz riot - breaking into the prison armory and taking hostages - Marines from Treasure Island Naval Base assist in suppressing the riot. Prior to becoming a federal prison, Alcatraz was a military fort and detention facility, housing Confederate prisoners during the Civil War and conscientious objectors during World War I. Read the rest of the post at Unto the Breach Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2018 at BlackFive
[Originally published at] 1812: Immediately after war is declared, a squadron of American ships led by Commodore John Rodgers sails to intercept a British convoy sailing from Jamaica. When the frigate HMS Belvidera is spotted, Rodgers personally aims and fires the first shot of the War of 1812 - the cannonball striking the British ship's rudder and penetrating the gun room. 1865: Confederate Brig. Gen. - and Cherokee chief - Stand Watie surrenders his First Indian Brigade of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi to Union forces in Oklahoma Territory, becoming the last general to surrender in the Civil War. 1923: Over the skies of San Diego, an Army Air Service DH-4 biplane flown by Capt. Lowell Smith tops off its fuel tanks from a hose attached to another DH-4, marking the world's first mid-air refueling operation. 1944: During one of the largest bombing missions of the war, 761 bombers of the 15th Air Force attack the oil fields at Ploesti, Romania. When one of the B-17s on the raid is damaged by flak and has to drop out of formation, bombardier 2nd Lt. David R. Kingsley drops his bombs and goes to the back of the aircraft to administer first aid to the wounded tail gunner. When another gunner is wounded by enemy aircraft, Kingsley attends to him as well. When the pilot orders the crew to abandon the plane before it explodes, Kingsley gives one of the wounded gunners his own parachute, sacrificing his life. His body is later discovered in the burned wreckage of the plane, and Kingsley is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. 1945: As the Sixth Army drives north to encircle the remaining Japanese forces on northern Luzon Island in the Philippines, paratroopers from the 11th Airborne Division perform their last combat jump of the war and cut off Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita's Shobu Group's retreat. 1969: The Special Forces Camp at Ben Het in Vietnam's Central Highlands, eight miles east of the border with Laos and Cambodia, is cut off and besieged by North Vietnamese Army. Over the next several days B-52s fly 100 strikes while fighter-bombers, artillery, and helicopter gunships hammer the NVA until the Americans are relieved on July 2nd. Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2017 at BlackFive
Today we honor the memory of recently departed Medal of Honor recipient Arthur J. Jackson. On Sept. 18, 1944 on Pelelieu, Private First Class Jackson charged towards a large enemy pillbox containing 35 Japanese soldiers. Facing an intensive barrage, he suppressed the enemy with automatic weapons fire and then destroyed the fortification with grenades and explosives, killing all of the occupants. Despite incoming fire from all sides, Jackson single-handedly moved on another 11 positions, killing 15 more of the enemy. For his incredible one-man assault, Jackson is awarded the Medal of Honor. His citation can be viewed here. Jackson was wounded on Pelelieu and again at Okinawa, where he served as a platoon sergeant. He received a commission from the Marine Corps in August, 1945 and would serve in the Army during the Korean War. He returned to the Marines in 1952 and while serving at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Jackson killed an alleged Cuban spy that attacked him. Fearing an international incident, the military silently discharged Jackson after the event. He entered the Army Reserves and ultimately reached the rank of Captain in 1954. Jackson, one of the few surviving recipients of the Medal of Honor from World War II, passed away on June 14, 2017. Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2017 at BlackFive
1862: Disappointed in the lack of progress of Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's Peninsula Campaign, President Abraham Lincoln departs for Hampton Roads, Va. on the Treasury Department revenue cutter Miami to personally oversee operations. Over five days, the president - a former militia rifle company commander - directs the bombardment of Confederate positions and lands to conduct reconnaissance of the area with Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase. 1864: The bloody albeit inconclusive Battle of the Wilderness (Virginia) opens between Union Army forces under the command of Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, and Confederate forces under Gen. Robert E. Lee. Fighting is grim: Casualties will be heavy on both sides. Union and Confederate generals will be killed. Wounded and trapped soldiers will be burned alive by a battle-sparked woods fire. Within two days, Grant will disengage and advance toward Spotsylvania Courthouse. 1916: Two companies of Marines from the transport USS Prairie (AD-5) land at Santo Domingo, beginning the United States' eight-year occupation of the Dominican Republic. The leathernecks provide protection for the U.S. Legation and Consulate, and occupy the nearby Fort San Geronimo. 1917: Eugene J. Bullard becomes the first black combat aviator, earning his wings with the French Air Service. The Columbus, Ga. native's father came to America from the Caribbean island of Martinique and his mother was a Creek indian. Bullard fled to Europe to escape racism in the United States and joined the French Foreign Legion as a machine gunner, seeing action in the Somme, Champagne, and Verdun campaigns before being wounded. After recovering, he joined the air service and earned his pilot's license. The "Black Swallow of Death" would fly 20 combat missions for the French - claiming two aerial kills - before war's end. He volunteered for the infantry when Germany invaded France again in 1940 and was wounded. Excerpt - the rest of the post can be found at Unto the Breach. Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2017 at BlackFive
Providing humanitarian aid, going after Islamic State funding sources, and merely identifying the enemy's true nature counts as being part of the "coalition." And the Obama administration might just throw a few other countries on the list (like Slovenia) to prop up their narrative of a massive global coalition.
Toggle Commented Nov 13, 2014 on Who is actually part of the coalition? at BlackFive
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The Obama administration claims to have partnered with over 60 nations in "degrading and defeating" the Islamic State. Several nations have provided humanitarian support, but very few have in fact provided military aid - and details of what each nation has contributed have been scarce. Below is a list of other nations’ known involvement in terms of military assistance. Albania: Transported arms and ammunition to Iraqi Kurds. Australia: Has sent hundreds of military advisors to the region. Conducting airstrikes against targets in Iraq and also supplying arms and ammunition. Bahrain: Conducted airstrikes in Syria. Belgium: Conducted airstrikes in Iraq. Bulgaria: Contributing arms and ammunition to northern Iraq. Canada: Providing several million dollars-worth of military assistance. Has sent several dozen military advisors. Conducting airstrikes against targets in Iraq as well as airlifting supplies. Czech Republic: Supplying Iraqis with arms and ammunition, including fighter jets. Also pledges training assistance for Kurdish forces. Denmark: Conducted airstrikes in Iraq. France: Conducted airstrikes in Iraq... Read the full list at the Victory Institute. Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2014 at BlackFive
Gen. James Jones, former National Security Adviser and Commandant of the Marine Corps, said "Half of our trade deficit goes toward buying oil from abroad, and some of that money ends up in the hands of terrorists." This has to stop. About 40 percent of our oil is imported. Much of that comes from countries like Saudi Arabia that use oil revenues to fund the jihadist ideology to the tune of billions of dollars each year. Money that goes towards killing Americans. Every president since Dwight Eisenhower has informed Americans that we must reduce our dependence on foreign oil. But that statement has become nothing more than political rhetoric as imported oil has climbed steadily since. An abundant flow of inexpensive oil is essential for a prosperous American economy. Once the flow of oil is interrupted, we are in a world of hurt as we saw in the oil embargo by Arab nations in 1973. Tom Mullikin - environmental lawyer, global expedition leader, and soon-to-be commander of South Carolina's State Guard - recently briefed the Columbia (S.C.) Chamber of Commerce on how climate change and American energy affects our military and national security. From Midlandsbiz: “If you look at a graph of global energy reserves from around 1960 compared to now, you will see that state-owned companies control around 80 percent of these reserves compared to 15 percent decades ago,” said Mullikin. “Needless to say, many of these state-owned companies are controlled by governments of hostile nations. We are buying energy from our opponents, and they don’t want to see us energy independent.” It shouldn't take an expert to tell us it is a bad idea to depend on nations hostile to U.S. interests for strategic resources. Especially when we sit on massive reserves of oil and natural gas. Enough to turn the United States into the Saudi Arabia of the future... if we can get Washington out of the way. Mullikin urged veterans to speak out in support of shale energy and technologies such as “hydraulic fracturing, also known as ‘fracking,’ which has made production of these resources possible.” He emphasized that the emergence of American shale resources “provide the U.S. the opportunity to stop putting bullets in the guns of our adversaries. The people opposing the development of these energy resources are those whose funding has been traced back to – and this probably won’t surprise you – the Middle East (specifically the United Arab Emirates) and Putin’s Russia.” Mullikin also spoke on climate change: “The folks on one side [of the climate change issue] will say the sky is falling today and we need to turn the lights out in the country. The people on the other side of the equation will say the climate is not changing. If I’m here to dispel anything, it’s to tell you that both parties are dead wrong. There is a lot of room in between. And there are a lot of reasons why we all need to be concerned about this issue from both a national energy security and economic standpoint.”​ Humans certainly do have some degree of impact on the environment. Some parts of our planet are cooling and some are heating. But we have seen numerous cases of agenda-driven scientists manipulating data to fit the man-made global warming narrative. So who can we trust and how much is the planet's climate actually changing? The debate is certainly not "over" as Al Gore wants us to think - there should be a healthy debate about how much of an impact humans actually have on the environment and what should be done to reduce the effect. Thoughts? Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2014 at BlackFive
Maj. Lee is definitely worth mentioning in another post. Thanks!
1 reply
"A nation reveals itself not only by the the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers..." - President John F. Kennedy Last week, America lost two outstanding warriors. Ola L. Mize, veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars and Medal of Honor recipient, and William J. Guarnere, from the legendary "Band of Brothers" unit of World War II. Alabama native Ola Mize tried repeatedly to enlist in the Army, but at 120 pounds was told he was too small. He also had to trick his way past a vision test as he was also blind in one eye from a childhood accident. Eventually, the Army relented and he served in the 82nd Airborne, re-enlisting once the Korean War broke out. On June 10, 1953, a battalion-sized force of Chinese troops attacked and overran Mize's outpost. With his company officers dead or wounded, Mize organized a defense, dragged wounded to safety, and formed a patrol to fight the Chinese bunker to bunker - despite having been hit by grenade and artillery blasts multiple times. Fighting for hours - hand-to-hand at times - Mize killed several dozen enemy soldiers with his carbine and many more by calling in American artillery fire. His full citation can be read here. Mize was one of only eight Americans of the original 56 to survive the attack on the outpost. Initially, he refused the Medal of Honor, but eventually accepted it on behalf of his men. Following the Korean War, Mize earned his commission and served multiple tours in Vietnam with the 5th Special Forces Group. He later founded the Combat Diver Qualification Course in Key West, Fla. and commanded the Special Forces School at Fort Bragg. Col. Mize retired in 1981, having earned the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, five Bronze Stars, and the Purple Heart. He passed away in his Gadsden, Ala. home on March 12 of lung cancer. "Wild Bill" When the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor, William Guarnere dropped out of high school and went to work building Sherman tanks. His job was considered essential to the war effort, which allowed him to stay stateside. But he enlisted in the Army, and trained for the newly formed parachute infantry. He would be assigned to Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, which would be immortalized by historian Stephen Ambrose in the book "Band of Brothers." Guarnere's oldest brother Harry was killed fighting the Germans at Monte Cassino, Italy, and William couldn't wait to kill every German he could. His fierce fighting earned him the nickname "Wild Bill." Guarnere parachuted into France prior to the D-Day invasion, and was platoon sergeant during a June 6 assault on German artillery at Brecourt Manor featured on "Band of Brothers" miniseries, for which he earned the Silver Star... More at Unto the Breach Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2014 at BlackFive
Walter D. Ehlers, the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient for the Normandy campaign, was laid to rest March 10 at Riverside (Calif.) National Cemetery. Ehlers was born in Junction City, Ks. on May 7, 1921. He enlisted in the Army with his brother Roland and the two served together throughout the North Africa and Sicily campaigns, but anticipating high casualties, their company commander separated the brothers for the Normandy invasion due to fears that the two would perish together. Walter learned on June 14 that his brother perished when a mortar struck his landing craft at Omaha Beach on D-Day. As Walter's reconnaissance squad fought through France on June 9 and 10, he repeatedly moved far forward of his men, leading a bayonet charge and assaulting multiple heavily defended strongpoints - at times, single-handedly. While covering the withdrawal of his platoon from heavy fire, and despite being wounded himself, Ehlers crossed a killzone to retrieve his wounded automatic rifleman. Once his man was secured, he returned for the soldier's weapon. His full citation can be read here. He was wounded three more times as the First Infantry Division fought across Europe. In addition to his Medal of Honor and Purple Hearts, he also earned the Silver Star and Bronze Star. He served as a counselor for the Veterans Administration, and his son Walter Jr. retired as a lieutenant colonel, also having served with the First Infantry Division. Ehlers spoke at the 50th anniversary commemoration of the D-Day invasion in 1994 and walked alongside President Bill Clinton on Omaha Beach. Many who worked alongside Ehlers never knew he was a Medal of Honor recipient. "This was a man who was a warrior," recalled former California governor Pete Wilson. "There's no doubt about that, but this was also one of the most gentle, kindest, most modest human beings I've ever encountered." Hundreds attended his funeral. With Ehlers' passing, only 75 surviving Medal of Honor recipients remain. However, the Marine Corps Times reports that former Marine Corporal Kyle Carpenter will receive the award for shielding his comrades from a grenade blast in Afghanistan back in 2010. Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2014 at BlackFive
Seeing the "silvers" and the P-19 truck in the background brings back some fond memories. Those trucks have been around for a long time.
Toggle Commented Nov 24, 2013 on Photo: Hosers at BlackFive
1 reply
Following World War I, the Belgians built a system of fortifications - similar to France's Maginot Line - surrounding Liège to prevent another German invasion. Fort Eben-Emael, the largest fortress ever built, anchored the network and was completed in 1935. Eben-Emael featured multiple 60, 75, and 120mm gun emplacements protected by armor plating and reinforced concrete as thick as 13 feet. Barbed wire, cliffs, anti-aircraft batteries, machine guns and additional - albeit smaller - fortifications in the surrounding area protected the underground fort. As the Wermacht moved west toward France in May, 1940, the Germans had to capture the bridges spanning the Albert Canal intact (they were rigged to detonate), and the guns at Eben-Emael had to be neutralized. With some 1,200 soldiers manning the technologically advanced fortress, defeating Eben-Emael would be extraordinary difficult. But Adolf Hitler himself figured that a few dozen engineers with specialized explosives landing directly on top of the structure could pull off the operation. What followed was the world's first combat glider landing and perhaps one of the most daring raids in military history. Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2013 at BlackFive
Today's Democrat Party views the United States military as nothing more than a political tool to further their agenda. And after Benghazi we see that our troops and intelligence operators are expendable if Democrats think sacrificing them is in their best political interests. But don't take it from me; just look at what they do. Instead of preserving the world's most effective combat force, the Democrat Party views the U.S. military as a massive source of funding (defense budget cuts), an opportunity to shore up political support through social engineering (allowing openly gay service members), and a means to further their liberal internationalist agenda (so-called “Responsibility to Protect” operations like Libya). They know that the military community tends to vote strongly Republican, which partly explains their open contempt of the men and women that serve in the Armed Forces – whether falsely labeling them cold-blooded murderers (Rep. John Murtha), comparing them to Nazis, KGB, and the Khmer Rouge (Sen. Dick Durbin), joking about their intelligence (Sec. John Kerry)... the examples of the Democrat Party's distaste for the military could easily fill an entire article. But throughout American history, our troops knew at least if they were wounded, in danger of being overrun, or even killed, our military will do everything in its power to get rescue or recover you. No one gets left behind. At least that's how it used to be. That is, until Benghazi, which has become one of the most dishonorable events in American history. When our consulate was attacked and overran, President Obama left Americans to die. Any rescue attempt was cut off – not by our enemies, but by the Obama administration. Even worse than the tragic and preventable deaths of four Americans, Washington's reaction over the last eight months shows the utter disregard the Democrat Party and media have for not only the fallen, but for all of our troops and operators. I am not saying that each and every Democrat politician wanted those men to die. But can you name any Democrat politician that has said we need to get to the bottom of Benghazi? Has any Democrat even so much as distanced themself from their party's callous disregard for the fallen? Washington can say they support the troops all day, it's time they show us how they support our troops. Since day one, the Democrat Party – primarily the Obama administration – and their media allies have sought to make the story go away. Since that didn't work, they have resorted to distracting the American people and redirecting the focus by claiming Republicans are only making this an issue for political gain. Just imagine if your son or daughter was killed in the attack and politicians reacted by saying that anyone trying to find out answers was only using the tragedy for political leverage. That really says something about our nation when the majority party can shamelessly stoop so low – and get away with it. We need to be asking ourselves: what kind of people are we electing when merely investigating Benghazi somehow becomes politicization of a tragedy? After all, the men left to die in the consulate weren't Democrats or Republicans; they were Americans. In our society, the government serves the people, and therefore owes us answers. But the aspiring tyrants in Washington view everything – which now includes the lives of our troops – in terms of advancing their agenda and narratives to gain political power. Information or events harmful to the party or agenda must be rewritten or covered up, as was the case with Benghazi. With the president only weeks away from a potentially close election, the White House had no options that would serve them politically. A rescue operation could draw attention to the operation in Libya and lead to more questions (such as what were they actually doing in Benghazi) – questions that would likely lead to more problems for the administration. It already doesn't look good when al Qaeda-linked militants strike U.S. soil again on 9/11 when you have already declared the War on Terror over. To the Obama administration, they had nothing but bad choices, so to them, the answer was to let the consulate fall, then handle the problem by managing the story. So, a co-ordinated, heavily armed assault magically becomes protestors angry about an American anti-Islam YouTube video that nobody had actually seen. It is unlikely that anyone in the newsrooms believed that the narrative was anything but outright lies, but they played right along, because their agenda aligns with that of the Democrat Party. The false narrative allowing them to shift the focus as much as possible to keep things in a more manageable and politically palatable light. The administration bet that their fabricated account on Benghazi would hold out until the news cycle moved on, thanks to a complicit media. Anyone looking into the attack is attacked for politicizing the tragedy. Hope the lies stick, and once the story becomes “old” news, they could just dismiss it. Fortunately, the story didn't go away. As of this writing, no one has been held accountable or has admitted responsibility over Benghazi. There has been no real response to discourage our enemies from further attacks on the United States. Sure, there have been meaningless platitudes and grandstanding, but that is only going through the motions; no one believes that Obama will actually do anything because he clearly doesn't take our national security seriously. The Obama administration, the Democrat Party, and their allies in media have indicated by their actions and inactions that they simply don't care about what happened in Libya – they only care about their political agenda. What few reporters that are actually looking into Benghazi are being ostracized by their own organizations. Politicians looking into Benghazi are smeared by Democrats and the media. Commanding officers in the military have been fired. State Department employees coming forward are no doubt doing so at the risk of their careers. Have we,... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2013 at BlackFive
The worst idea ever is to sit around and watch while our government destroys everything we fought for. This armed march is only slightly less bad than doing nothing, and will only play into our enemies' hands. Protest in Washington, but do it unarmed. Breaking the law will significantly hurt the cause.
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I've been writing about the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea for years. This sovereignty stripping, wealth transferring treaty has periodically reared its ugly head since Ronald Reagan was president, and its ratification is still sought by today's political, media, and even military elite. But aside from the fact that we will be sacrificing our Naval superiority and paying exorbitant fees to the UN for mining our own resources, the underlying principles of the treaty - an internationally agreed-upon "constitution" and rule of law for the world's oceans - sound great. Problem is, China - who signed UNCLOS in 1996 - is claiming islands surrounded by oil and natural gas deposits. Islands they appear to have no valid claim to. Islands that already belong to other nations. Chinese naval vessels have targeted a Japanese destroyer and helicopters near the Senkaku Islands. When Japanese officials complained, the Chinese incredibly blamed them for taking a warlike posture. For months, the Chinese have maintained a delicate standoff with the Philippines in the Scarborough Shoals, sending boats 500 nautical miles to harvest fish 124 miles form the Philippine coast. From The US Report: If the UNCLOS actually was worth the paper it was written on, then there would be a legal and naval deterrent to any illegal activity by the Chinese. But corruption, not law, rules the UN. In 1947, the Chinese government claimed virtually all of the South China Sea in what has become known as the “Nine-Dash Line.” China, a member nation of UNCLOS, refuses to explain the details on how they reached their far-fetching boundary. A U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks states that a senior Chinese government maritime law expert admittedly did not know of any historical basis behind the “Nine-Dash Line.” China knows that if they open the door to international scrutiny, their extravagant claim and ambiguous evidence would not survive and any illusions of a legitimacy would vanish. And so would the massive deposits of oil and natural gas surrounding these desolate islands the Chinese want exclusive access to. The Philippines even offered to settle the matter of Scarborough Shoal in a UNCLOS tribunal, but the Chinese have stated they will not participate in any of the treaty's dispute resolution mechanisms – or abide by any UNCLOS ruling. The Chinese claim to seek bilateral talks because they know that the Philippines will refuse, and the issue will remain unsettled. The Chinese interest is to keep things exactly as they are. Diplomacy works great when one side has significant leverage over the other, both parties can find common ground, or if both parties at least wish to avoid war. The problem is, the Chinese political and military leadership has been telling its people to prepare for war. They have the economy, resources, military and naval forces, and the national will to make it happen. And who is going to stand in their way? China can be aggressive because they know that the UN is only out to get paid, President Obama's “soft power” is big on soft and short on power, and no other nation is capable of doing anything about it. The United States has mutual defense pacts with both Japan and the Philippines, but who knows whether President Obama will honor them? Not so long ago, our Navy was continually conducting "freedom of navigation" cruises to deter this kind of aggression. Just our occasional presence alone was enough. Now, our diplomats can only offer empty and meaningless platitudes to assure our Pacific allies that we have their back. While that may be enough for the administration's sycophantic following in the U.S. media, it certainly isn't going to fool the Chinese, who live under the old rule of "you are only as strong as your reputation to back it up." I would love to live in a world where an international law of the sea actually worked and the world didn't expect the United States to solve all their problems with our blood and treasure. But whether or not China starts World War III, let's at least realize that toothless, corrupt treaties are no replacement for naval superiority. Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2013 at BlackFive
1777: Following the surprise American victory at Trenton (N.J.) days earlier, British forces under Lt. Gen. Charles Cornwallis counterattack Gen. George Washington’s Continental Army at Assunpink Creek. The British withdraw after three failed assaults against American positions, and abandon New Jersey after another defeat the following day. 1863: Union Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland defeats Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee in Murphysboro, Tenn. Losses were heavy; casualty percentages were higher during the Battle of Stones River than during any other engagement during the Civil War. 1943: The 32nd Infantry Division captures the strategic town of Buna, New Guinea and its airfield in the first major land victory against the Japanese in World War II. 1944: U.S. forces – including the 32nd Infantry Division – land at Saidor, New Guinea, isolating 15,000 Japanese troops. 1967: Col. (future Brig. Gen. and triple ace) Robin Olds leads a flight of F-4 Phantoms over North Vietnam, shooting down nearly half of the North Vietnamese air force’s fighter inventory without a single loss to U.S. aircraft. Image of the Day: Happy 50th birthday to the Navy SEALs Adapted (and abridged) in part from “This Week in US Military History” by W. Thomas Smith Jr. at Human Events. Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2013 at BlackFive
1775: The Continental Army suffers its first major defeat when an American invasion force commanded by Maj. Gen. Richard Montgomery unsuccessfully assaults the British at Quebec. The attack yields fewer than 20 British casualties at the cost of over 50 killed – including Gen. Montgomery – and over 400 captured. 1862: USS Monitor, the U.S. Navy’s first ironclad ship, sinks during a storm off the coast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., along with 16 of her crew. 1942: Emperor Hirohito permits Japanese forces on Guadalcanal to retreat after five months of fighting. 1946: Although noting that “a state of war still exists,” Pres. Harry Truman proclaims an end to American hostilities in World War II. Treaties with Germany or Japan are not signed until 1951 and 1952, respectively. 1995: The 1st Armored Division crosses the Sava River into Bosnia-Herzogovina to begin a NATO peacekeeping operation. Image of the Day: A tight formation of "Short Little Ugly F---ers" Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2012 at BlackFive
Are we fighting for victory, or fighting because it suits a political narrative? Those that pose a threat to the United States must be defeated, but to do so with tens of thousands of soldiers in a country whose soldiers are murdering our troops and whose corrupt government is taking us for dollar they can get their hands on is not the way to do it. Then there's the mafia-style shakedown from the Pakistani government that costs us tens of billions a year for a supply chain and a far more for all the State Dept., US AID, and NGO projects that we will probably never know the true cost of. Talk about a fiscal cliff! I can think of no reason one more American should die in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iraq, or wherever else Obama's military adventurism will take us in the next four years. Much of our oil does come from this hemisphere. But we deal in a global market and when the Middle East flares up, it keeps the price of oil far beyond what it is actually worth, making tyrants even richer, and our economy suffers. We should support liberal democracies like Israel, but in a post-Soviet era, nothing good can come from dealing with these Islamic supremacist governments. It's high time we utilize the two most effective weapons in our arsenal: our resources and our economy. By exploiting our own abundant energy resources, we can stop funding those who are financing our enemies and isolate ourselves from foreign influence of oil prices.
Toggle Commented Dec 28, 2012 on Doing the right thing at BlackFive
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On this day in 1983, Pres. Ronald Reagan took full responsibility for the October bombing of the Beirut Embassy in Lebanon that killed 241 U.S. troops. Contrast that with the lies, stonewalling, and passing the buck of the Obama administration in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack. Of course, neither president was directly responsible for the death of American service members overseas; we must not lose sight that both of these attacks were perpetrated by America's enemies. However the policies of both presidents and the actions of their subordinates certainly played a role and is worth further investigation (in Obama's case) and discussion. Reagan wasn't perfect. No man is. But by taking responsibility for something that happened under his watch, President Reagan displayed a level class that Americans are unlikely to ever see from the man who currently occupies the White House. I have fought against the restrictive rules of engagement in Afghanistan under Bush and Obama as part of the counterinsurgency doctrine. To be fair, under the Reagan administration Marines were not allowed to have loaded weapons during their peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, and were only allowed to return fire under certain circumstances. Had the Marines pulling security outside the barracks been locked and loaded, then those 241 Marines, sailors, and soldiers probably wouldn't have died. After the attack, Reagan withdrew the peacekeeping force. But why send combat troops to a country that poses no significant threat to the United States in the first place? When a president feels it is necessary to handicap our military's ability to respond to deadly force in a particular theater, then we probably shouldn't send men with guns in the first place. In an age of terrorism, I wholeheartedly support counterterrorism. There are plenty of people who not only feel divinely inspired to kill innocent Americans, but also seek to do so. They must be stopped. But when we go beyond intelligence and special operations - putting "boots on the ground" - there has to be a legitimate reason. We have sent enough young men and women to die in the Middle East, Southwest Asia, and North Africa. No matter how much blood we spill in that part of the globe, they will continue to hate us and themselves. They can hate us for free. Stop the foreign aid. Stop propping up dictators and tyrants - the Soviet Union isn't around any more. Stop sending our young men and women to die. And for the love of all that is good, stop buying their oil. We have enough energy resources at home that no matter happens in that part of the globe, it's not our problem any more. Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2012 at BlackFive
All of the books I have reviewed lately have been infantry or special operations, so I really didn't think Viper Pilot, an autobiography of a modern-day Air Force fighter pilot would offer much in the way of excitement. I was mistaken. In an age of low-tech, low-intensity conflicts, dogfights have become all but a distant memory. But while threats facing today's aviators have evolved, they most certainly have not disappeared. U.S. fighter pilots, the world's best at air-to-air combat, have shifted their role towards close air support for ground units. And with all those planes in the sky, somebody has to take on the death-defying job of knocking out enemy surface-to-air missile sites. That job goes to the “Wild Weasels.” The basic objective of a wild weasel mission is for a team of F-16 pilots to fly over enemy air defense sites, forcing the enemy to fire deadly missiles at the pilots. Once pilots detect the launch – assuming the missile doesn't kill the pilot – they use teamwork to counterattack and destroy the launchers and radar stations, making the skies safe for other aircrews in the theater. This process was repeated countless times over Iraq – both during the Persian Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. If you think that fighter pilots are all glory and no guts, soaring 30,000 feet over the mud and blood of combat, then you haven't met Lt. Col. Dan “Two Dogs” Hampton. The now-retired author of Viper Pilot has flown over 150 combat missions in just about every combat operation since Vietnam, earning four Distinguished Flying Crosses for Valor and the Purple Heart... [Read the entire review at The US Report] Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2012 at BlackFive
1862: Realizing an army led by Gen. George McClellan would never defeat Confederate forces, Pres. Abraham Lincoln removes the cautious Union commander, to be replaced days later by Gen. Ambrose Burnside. Two years and three days later, Lincoln would defeat McClellan – a Democrat – in the 1864 presidential election. 1915: Lt. Commander Henry Mustin catapults from the USS North Carolina in a Curtiss AB-2 flying boat, becoming the first American to make a catapult launch from a ship underway. 1917: U.S. Army Maj. (future Brig. Gen.) Theodore Roosevelt Jr. and his younger brother Lt. (future Lt. Col.) Archibald Roosevelt, both sons of former Pres. Theodore Roosevelt (a former U.S. Army cavalry colonel who will receive the Medal of Honor in 2001 for actions during the Spanish-American War), lead the first American patrol into “No Man’s Land” during World War I. Meanwhile in the Atlantic, a torpedo fired by a German U-boat sinks the yacht USS Alcedo, which had been escorting a convoy to France. 21 sailors perish when the yacht becomes the first U.S. warship sunk during World War I. 1923: The submarine USS SS-1 (SS-105) launches a Martin MS-1 seaplane, marking the first flight of a submarine-launched aircraft. 1950: Gen. Douglas MacArthur begins a heavy air campaign against North Korean targets, including bridges over the Yalu River, violating orders from the Joint Chiefs of Staff that restricted operations within five miles of North Korea’s border with China. 2009: U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan kills 13 and wounds another 29 soldiers and civilians at Fort Hood, Texas in the deadliest shooting on a U.S. military installation. Medal of Honor: On this day in 1966, PFC John F. Baker, Jr. attacked and destroyed several enemy bunkers, killed several snipers, and rescued eight fellow soldiers. Capt. Robert F. Foley, Baker’s company commander, earned the Medal of Honor during the same engagement. Adapted (and abridged) in part from “This Week in US Military History” by W. Thomas Smith Jr. at Human Events. For more “This day in U.S. military history” content, visit the Center for American Military History Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2012 at BlackFive
Good catch. But Panay was sunk during the Second Sino-Japanese War, which technically wouldn't become part of World War II until Japan attacked Pearl Harbor four years later.
Toggle Commented Nov 1, 2012 on Oct. 31 in U.S. military history at BlackFive
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1941: Although the United States has not yet entered the war, a German submarine torpedoes and sinks the destroyer USS Reuben James (DD-245), which was providing convoy escort. 115 sailors perish in the first sinking of a U.S. warship in World War II. 1943: Lt. Hugh D. O'Neill, flying at night in a specially modified F4U Corsair, shoots down a Japanese Betty bomber over Vella Lavella, scoring the first kill for the radar-equipped night fighters. 1968: Five days before the elections, Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson ends Operation Rolling Thunder, the bombing campaign against North Vietnam. Over three-and-a-half years, 864,000 tons of bombs fell on the Communist nation - more tonnage dropped than either the Korean War or the Pacific Theater of World War II. Hundreds of U.S. planes and aircrew are shot down. 1971: Saigon begins releasing the first of around 3,000 Viet Cong prisoners of war. American POWs won't be released until Feb. 12, 1973. 1976: The Air Force's E-3A Sentry airborne warning and control systems (AWACS) aircraft makes its first flight. Medal of Honor: On this day in 1972, Navy Petty Officer Michael E. Thornton became the only Medal of Honor recipient to save the life of another Medal of Honor recipient, Lt. Thomas Norris, who was believed to be dead. Thornton fought and ran through a harrowing field of fire to rescue his officer, then swam out to sea for four hours before being rescued while holding two incapacitated teammates - even though he himself was wounded multiple times. Image of the Day: Elvis and a bazooka For more "This day in U.S. military history" content, visit the Center for American Military History Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2012 at BlackFive