Saturday, April 30, 2005

Stretched Pretty Thin

How many times can we go the well without declaring war?
I have it on good authority from one of my readers in the California National Guard that they are almost tapped out of Army guardsman that can deploy in support of the Army. (this reader didn't know the Air Guard's status)
Of the 15,301 soldiers on California's books, 5,200 are currently deployed, almost 2,400 have already maxed out the two-year presidential callup, another 1,800 are on the way out the door...
and there are only 1,682 soldiers available for callup now.
(for you math whizzes, the rest are in school, medically unfit, or "vital to the day-to-day operation of the California guard" and can't be deployed)
If California, one of the largest National Guards in the nation, is only able to muster 10% of its soldiers for future deployments or state emergencies, how are the rest of the states and the Army Reserve holding up?
I'd like to know.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Trust Me

I know I've been slacking around here and not posting very much. I only have a couple more days before I start my active duty orders in preparation for mobilizaton to the sandbox.
I need to spend time with my family squaring things away, but I promise that the insightful and witty commentary that you have grown to love (yeah, right!) will be back in a few days... after I get on active duty.
Isa 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I; send me."

Monday, April 25, 2005

Update on BG Karpinski

Despite her attempts at "spin" in the liberal press, BG Janis Karpinski, who commanded the 800th Military Police brigade in Iraq before being suspended pending the Abu Ghraib investigation, is expected to receive a reprimand for dereliction of duty.
"Everything that happens or fails to happen," ma'am.

New Boss Man

the first Marine nominated for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Hello? Anybody home?

I'm back to blogging after a week off to see friends and family before I deploy. To be cliche, it was bittersweet saying goodbye. It's good to have friends and family who will miss me, but it was really hard saying goodbye. I have about a week left with my family and have been concentrating on Household 6 and SixPointFive. They come first and the blogging has been slacking...

Monday, April 18, 2005

Special Forces wanna-be bullshit-O-meter

If you haven't been over to SFalphageek's blog lately, he's a scream. Here's an older post that he referenced recently... you can use it as a Special Forces wanna-be bullshit-O-meter the next time some old guy tells you that he was in a "Special Forces Flamethrower Unit" (that actually happened to me. I just nodded and smiled, "wow, that must've been cool.")

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Meet your (blog) neighbors

If you haven't already done so, check out some of my neighbors on the milblog ring (some are on my blogroll, too):
- Boots in Baghdad, who is wise beyond his 21 years, is sure we can win this war. (his blog is the one you go to when you click "next" on the milblogs ring link on the bottom right side of this page)
- Andi has some choice words for SGT Hasan Akbar. (her blog is the one you go to when you click "prev" on the milblogs ring link on the bottom right side of this page)
- Firepower Forward has a good day: "No rockets exploded in the FOB today, and all the aviators all returned under their own power. The marines all returned from their patrols, and there wasn't a commander thinking about how to write a difficult letter."
- Smash links to Ann Althouse's report on a college protest where American students are actually rooting for the terrrorists in Iraq who are killing Americans.
- Alexander the Average has a new son. (welcome to the club... i'm "sssshhhhing" my son as i type this one-handed)
- Thunder6 and MajorK are both serving in Iraq with the California National Guard's 1-184 Infantry (Air Assault). They are mourning the loss of CPL Watkins, who was in Iraq last year with the Washington National Guard's 81st Brigade and volunteered to stay on for a second year with his old battalion, 1-184. Godspeed, CPL Watkins, and thanks.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

How to meet your favorite sports team

Maybe Matt from Blackfive can use this scam to meet his Chicago Cubs.
(thanks to Fark for the link)

Fry him

I hope SGT Hasan Akbar gets the death penalty for killing two officers by tossing a grenade into a sleeping tent right before Op Iraqi Freedom kicked off.
By the way, the last U.S. soldier sentenced to death was SGT William Kreutzer, who killed an officer* and wounded 18 others in a sniper attack during morning PT at Fort Bragg in 1995 (Six note: I was 150 meters away from the shooting and helped wounded soliders make it to the hospital afterwards).
However, military appellate courts have thrown out four death sentences since 1998, including Kreutzer's.

*that officer was MAJ Stephen Badger, the 2nd Brigade S2 and a father and stepfather of eight children.

A new way to mobilize - by echelon

This mobilization is going poorly right off the bat. The truth from FORSCOM is changing at an alarming rate. Already our mobilization date has shifted up several weeks from the original order and the mobilization station (where we go for stateside training) has changed twice. To top it off, the senior officers and NCOs aren't even at their posts doing their job... they're still in the one-weekend-a-month mode.
I think the Army could do this smarter. All of the senior officers and NCOs in this unit are still in reserve status. They're still at their civilian jobs or off on leave somewhere. What should happen is that the commander and his staff should be federally mobilized 6 weeks before the bulk of the unit, with subordinate leaders mobilized in echelons... Platoon leaders at m-4 weeks, squad leaders at m-2 weeks, etc. That way, leaders could make plans and have them staffed and disseminated before the troopies show up on the first day.
Instead, we are all showing up together on the first day of mobilization with no plans, no forethought, and a distinct likelihood that we will jump through our asses unnecessarily.
God help us. This is gonna suck.

(update: linked to Greyhawks' open post)

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Gender Neutral?

Kathleen Parker suggests that the Army should segregate men and women in basic training. She implies that women are too giggly and girly to make it as rough and tumble soldiers.
I've seen the entire spectrum of women in the Army from physically and mentally weak women who never should have been recruited to a few women that I would want in an infantry squad with me. It seems like men and women fight together pretty well in Iraq these days, though.
Weak women and weak men should not be allowed in the Army. I've always thought that women should have to meet the same standards as men, because the terrorists do no discriminate when they are shooting at you. If a woman or a man can't meet the standard of combat, they need to go.
update: check out the comments section for this post. Mark from Schadenfreude weighs in with his (lengthy but interesting) opinion. I tend to agree... We need to make sure that we don't make the Army as a whole weaker in our quest to fully integrate the "fairer" sex.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

How about it, ma'am?

BG Janis Karpinski, who commanded the 800th Military Police brigade in Iraq before being suspended pending the Abu Ghraib investigation, is now writing a book on the episode - due out in 2005 from MiraMax. She decided to speak out in the San Francisco rag SFGate and blames everybody but herself for the Abu Ghraib debacle. Army officers are supposed to be responsible for everything that happens or fails to happen to their unit. Since the whole incident started, I think she has dodged responsibility and pointed fingers at everyone else. When is she going to take any responsibility?

Conservative Attire

I think SixPointFive needs a new onesie

Maybe I'll be back sooner than planned

...but I'm not holding my breath. My mobilization orders say my tour of duty is "not to exceed 545 days"
(hat tip to Greyhawk)
Army May Shorten Tours in Iraq and Afghanistan
Anticipating progress toward curbing insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army may cut in half the yearlong tours of duty in the two nations that have strained an already stretched service, a senior Army general said Thursday.
At the time of the Jan. 30 election in Iraq, there were approximately 150,000 U.S. troops there. That number is expected to drop within months to 138,000. The U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan is expected to drop from 19,000 to just below 17,000 over the same period.
Army officials hope that shorter combat tours will improve recruiting and retention. The service has missed recent recruiting targets, particularly for the National Guard and Army Reserve.
Typically, the Marine combat tour is seven months, the Air Force tour is three months, and the Navy's is six months.

The Luxury to Protest

From Chrenkoff (hat tip: Blackfive), a marine named Marc Fencil (who gave up his his senior year at Ohio University to fight in Iraq) has some choice words for his fellow Ohio students who staged a recent "die-in" protest against the war. He's still in Iraq and writes back to the university paper.
At the risk of spoiling the article for you, I really like his parting shot to the protesters:
"at least you should sleep well tonight knowing that men wearing black facemasks and carrying AK-47s yelling 'Allahu Akbar' over here are proud of you and are forever indebted to you for advancing their cause of terror. While you ponder this, I'll get back to the real 'die-in' over here. I don't mind."

as my good buddy COL Nathan R. Jessup once said "I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide. . . I prefer you said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand to post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think..."

Friday, April 08, 2005

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

I had to re-create the Blogger comments because my comments are now run by Haloscan. Sorry if there is any frustration over that.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Deliberately Vague

I'm going to apologize in advance for how vague I have to be on this blog. I'm not going to reveal my real name, my real unit, or anything that could be used to figure out exactly who I am. There are two main reasons for this OPSEC (OPerational SECurity) in order:
1. Protecting the other soldiers I serve with. If I write about exactly where we are and what we do, someone could use this information to attack us.
2. Protecting my own sorry ass. The Army has been taking an interest in shutting down soldier's weblogs lately. Even though I don't agree with what this particular individual wrote, I personally know another soldier who was disciplined and then passed over for promotion due to what he wrote on his blog.
I understand that soldiers protect free speech, they don't practice it. I realize that talking bad about your chain of command is "prejudicial to good order and discipline," so if I write about my dealings with someone in my unit, i will be as vague as possible. My goal is to talk about a situation in such a way that a soldier in my own unit, reading my blog, will not be able to connect the dots and realize that someone in his unit is commenting on someone else in his unit. Therefore, I should not be adversely affecting the morale or chain of command in my unit.
I hope this works. Oh, and by the way, the things I write here are not the official word of the Dept of Defense, the US Army, The Army Reserves, my parents, or my spouse. The things that appear on this blog are solely my opinions and thoughts.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Where can I get one?

(up late with the baby again. This sleep deprivation is getting to be like Ranger school. wait, I mean Ranger school)

The Dept of Defense is working on an anti-mortar system called C-RAM (counter-rocket, artillery, mortar) system. This system would "shoot down" incoming mortar rounds to prevent them from hitting friendly forces. The end product may end up looking something like the Navy's Phalanx system which is designed to "engage anti-ship cruise missiles and fixed-wing aircraft at short range."
The current radar system, the Q-36 Firefinder, was not designed to protect troops this urban 360-degree battlefield in Iraq. It has several shortcomings like
1. the Q-36 can't stop the mortar from impacting, only tell you where the round will impact and where it originated from.
2. it's difficult to hit a couple of guys shooting a mortar with counterfire. Also, shooting into the urban area that the mortar was launched from usually just causes collateral damage and pisses off the local populace.
3, the radar only has a 90-degree field of view. It can't see the other 270 degrees to the sides and rear of the radar.

Monday, April 04, 2005

No Shit, Jane

After 30 years, Jane Fonda has finally had a Blinding Flash of the Obvious: On 60 Minutes last night she said her 1972 visit to a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun site used to shoot down U.S. pilots was a "betrayal" of the U.S. military. Well, duh, you traitorous bitch. The minute she came back to American soil, she should've been hauled into court and charged with treason for lending aid and comfort to the enemy.
If you check out the 60 Minutes link above, you can see that she, however, doesn't apologize for meeting with POWs in a North Vietnamese propaganda campaign. Nor does she apologize for appearing on Radio Hanoi at least 10 times, speaking directly to U.S. pilots and saying "I beg you to consider what you are doing. The hospitals are filled with babies, and women and old people. Can you justify what you are doing?"
I really don't care what she says now. I still refuse to buy or watch anything she has made. She still owes those Vietnam vets and this country some hard-core jail time. Not Martha-Stewart jail time, tossed-salad-man jail time.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Who says blogging dosn't pay well?

"Just a good ol boy, never meaning no harm"
Want to make $100K per year for watching "The Dukes of Hazzard" reruns five nights a week and blogging on them?

No Relation

(Baby's sleeping... time to catchup on blogging)

Just out of vanity curiosity, I Googled "WatchYourSix" and found this Cox and Forkum cartoon about the Marine who shot an "unarmed" insurgent from 2004. Although that's not how I thought of the name for this blog, the cartoon is still relavent today. The media is omnipresent and is always ready to show the miltary's smallest (perceived) mistake to the world.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

It Figures...

Sorry I haven't been blogging for a couple days. I've been wrapped up taking care of my son (SixPointFive). As any parent of a newborn can attest, they are a handful. An absolute joy, but still a handful. (he's fussing as i type this)
It figures that the first couple days after I get linked on Milblogs, the baby would need my undevided attention for awhile. I hope anyone who has checked in here in the last couple of days will understand.
Well, I promise that there will be some witty and insightful commentary up here soon... even if I have to just quote Blackfive or Greyhawk. ;-)