Friday, July 29, 2005

Getting with the program

Yesterday, "American Muslim scholars who interpret religious law for their community issued an edict Thursday condemning terrorism against civilians."
Glad to see that the American Muslim community is coming out and basically telling good Muslims to rat out the terrorists in their midst. Hopefully the faithful with follow this fatwa (definition) and help to undo the damage that terrorists have done to Islam's image over the last 20 years. There was much posturing and "hey, it wasn't me" after 9/11, but finally the Muslim scholars here have laid down the law.
'bout time.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

"Over There"

I just watched the first episode of "Over There" on F/X. I'm not impressed. It's certainly not this generation's "Platoon."
The acting was thin (I've seen better acting in Army training films), the plot (if you could even recognize one) was random, and everyone had a dorky nickname.
They got the uniforms correct, though. I'll give 'em that.
At least I don't have to worry about getting HouseholdSix to tape it for me while I'm gone.
update: my biggest beef was that the "battle-tested" NCO let one of his soldiers (the female who got shot taking a dump) sit outside his perimeter without sending someone to go find out what happened to her. It's part of our creed that we don't leave a fallen comrade. We certainly don't leave one of our folks to bleed out by herself without going to find out what happened to her.

Monday, July 25, 2005

He's baaaack

CPT Chuck Ziegenfuss typed a short post with his hand in a cast to let everyone know he is doing better after his close encounter with an IED a month ago in Iraq.
Go Chuck!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Raising the Recruiting Age

From the NY Times:

"On Monday, the Pentagon filed documents asking Congress to increase the maximum age for military recruits to 42, in all branches of the service. Now, the limit is 39 for people without previous military service who want to enlist in the reserves and the National Guard, and 35 for those seeking active duty."

This is disturbing news for me. Doesn't anyone remember the waning days of World War II, when Germany was forced to put "old men and boys" into the field against advancing American forces? Raising the maximum age of recruits is a sure sign that the services are getting desperate to fill foxholes. Wouldn't it be a better approach if President Bush had a special prime-time news conference to encourage young, fit Americans to join the military in a time of global war?
Let's put it this way: the Reserves, on average, have soldiers that are 10 to 15 years older than active duty troops of the same rank. I've been training with some of these fogies (male and female) for the past three months and it is readily apparent that they cannot survive the rigors of close-quarters combat. I have to give the older folks in my unit credit... they pushed themselves hard and got father than I ever thought they would, but the sad truth is: THEY CAME UP SHORT OF THE STANDARD. The terrorist who has you in his sights doesn't care if you are sick, old, or can't cut it physically. He is like a hyena on the African plain: If you are a weak target, you are going down.
Let's keep the standards where they are and get the Prez on the tube to encourage young people to serve. Something on the order of JFK's "ask not what your country can do for you" speech. That speech motivated an entire generation.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Milblogger Rules

For you new milbloggers out there, here are the rules.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


It looks as though the Army is re-thinking its training on tourniquets. When I took Combat Lifesaver training way back in 1997, our instructor told us that a tourniquet was a last-result effort to save someone's life after all other means of stopping the bleeding had been exhausted. This was because the patient would have everything amputated below the tourniquet.
Apparently, our experience in Iraq has changed things. Now, the US Army Medical Command writes: "Extremity hemorrhage continues to be the leading cause of preventable death on the battlefield. The tactical situation may not allow the time nor safety for conventional methods of controlling bleeding. The recommended means to control bleeding in a tactical environment while under fire is a rapidly applied tourniquet."
So, the Army needed a rapidly accessable tourniquet that you didn't have to improvise (like I had to do in Combat Lifesaver way back in 1997). Enter the Combat Application Tourniquet System (CATS). "CATS (NSN 6515-01-521-7976) is the tourniquet of choice for issue to individual soldiers. It is lightweight, easy-to-use, and could be the primary factor in saving a life on the battlefield."
I keep hearing from my medics that most of us will get issued a CATS to carry with us when we get overseas. In the event of substaintial blood loss, a soldier can even apply it with one hand to themselves.
(update: ROFASix also blogged about tourniquets and how difficult it has been to get them into the hands of soldiers in the field.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

CPT Chuck Ziegenfuss, one month later

It's been a month since CPT Charles "Chuck" Ziegenfuss, the author of TC Override, was on a foot patrol when he was blown into a canal by an IED and rescued from drowning by his executive officer. He sustained shrapnel wounds to his left arm/hand (including having his pinky finger blown off), right leg, right thumb, and a few other places on his body.
His wife has been posting to his blog about his progress. They even got to meet President Bush when he came to visit the wounded troops at Walter Reed.
I hope CPT Ziegenfuss returns to duty as soon as he is able. Thanks for your service, Chuck.

R.I.P., Scotty

James Doohan, who inspired two generations of youngsters to become engineers in his role as the Starship Enterprise's Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, died today at the age of 85.
Another note on Mr. Doohan's contribution to America: According to the linked NY Times article, "he served in World War II, and was struck by six bullets during the D-Day Invasion in Normandy. One of the bullets blew off his middle right finger, an injury he would later conceal from the Star Trek television cameras."
No, there will be no cheesy "beam me up" comments. Thanks, Mr. Doohan, for serving your country in a time of war and for inspiring its young engineers. Godspeed.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


(I know recycling older posts is cheating, but check out the updates below)

Looks like those SAPI plates that we wear in our Interceptor Body Armor (IBA) really do work. Jack Army has an amazing video of a soldier getting shot by an anti-Iraqi sniper and then hopping right back up with his weapon at the ready.
I'm glad the IBA works as advertised.
update: Greyhawk has the backstory behind the amazing video.
another update: Jack Army has a letter from the PFC who was shot and pictures of the plate and his chest.
still another update: ROFAsix has some insightful commentary about lessons we should learn from the shooting.

Monday, July 18, 2005

My 15 Seconds

I drafted this post over the weekend, originally just jotting down some notes to save as a draft and then flesh them out and publish during the week. I was originally going to talk about how the 15 seconds of fame that I got from being mentioned in the Army Times was now over. My daily traffic had gone from 40 hits/day before the story to 200/day after the story was published and was back down to 40 again. The spike from the Army Times was small and pretty short-lived.
What changed today's post was Blackfive linking to a post of me linking to ROFA Six's German Shepherd picture.
Due to Matt's link, I have had over 500 600 700 hits today so far. Good Lord, it took me 3 months to amass 4000 hits and a simple link from Matt can bust out almost a thousand referrals in a day. Through, I can tell that over 95% of my hits today came from referrals from Blackfive.
"So what," you ask?
I don't care about how many hits this blog gets, but it just goes to show how much influence Blackfive has over the milblogosphere... WAY more influence than the Army Times.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Inside Story

If you recall my earlier post about the SEALs and 160th SOAR soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan in June, I had hoped that MAJ Delaplane, who is at Bagram and blogs over at Firepower Forward, would have some straight news that he could share with the blogosphere soon.
Well, he's back to blogging and he had a very personal experience to share about the heroes who were killed. It's well worth your time to read.

Recipe for disaster

Here's a recipe for fielding a combat ineffective reserve unit:
- Lie about your strength for years before 9/11. If your sodliers don't show up for drill, still count them as present. If your soldiers can't pass the PT test, pass the weigh-in, or qualify with their weapon, you still count them as "combat ready." In the larger sense, if you are a state national guard or reserve RRC, tell your boss (HRC, or NGB) that you are manned at 100% strength even when you know you couldn't field more than 60% of the people you are supposed to have.
- Early on in OEF, ask for volunteers to do the mission, instead of mobilizing whole units and "inconveniencing" people. This will take 10-20% of the soldiers out of the rest of your units, further exacerbating the strength problem.
- Volunteer to send units to war that you know are broke. Do this so that your boss (HRC or NGB) doesn't know that you were lying all along about your personnel shortages.
- Take the units that are now at 40 to 50% deployable strength and involuntarily strip other soldiers from reserve units in your command to fill them up to 100%. Don't worry if the soldiers you piecemeal together into a unit don't have the right MOS (military occupational specialty) or the right rank. Send the newly cobbled-together unit through some barely-adequate post-moblization training and then it's "off to war" for them.

The 3-star general in charge of the Army Reserves has pretty much said the same thing officially. The reserves are stretched to the breaking point, but it's partly their own fault for coddling sub-standard soldiers for so long.

The Dogs of War

via ROFA Six (no relation)
Doesn't this German Shepherd look just a little surprised?
as Paul of York put in the comments, "he's thinking [that] he's pretty sure this isn't what he enlisted to do."

As ROFA Six quoted, "Cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war." - Shakespeare

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I'll take "Duh" for $500, Alex

Reporters have seized upon another Blinding Flash of the Obvious. According to an AP report, "Frequent troop deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched the US Army so thin that many combat units are spending more than one of every two years on foreign battlefields . . . In addition, extended deployments reduce the quality of life for soldiers and their families, threatening Army recruiting and retention."
There's a shocker.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Mother Hubbard's Cupboard Is Almost Bare

The Army has been using significant amounts of Reserves forces since 9/11 to accomplish the missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. That's not anything new, though... It's been that way since Vietnam. The Army cannot go to war without the reserves who make up a significant portion of logistics, civil affairs, and other specialties.
The New York Times published an article today (if you don't want to register or the link is broken, the article's text is here) about the numbers of reserve-component soldiers and marines dwindling overseas. That's because reservists have a limited shelf life.... There is a law that lets the president call up reservists in a national emergency without having to declare war, but it limits the time reservists can serve to 24 months. That time is tracked individually for each reservist. After you have served your 24 months on active duty since 9/11, you don't have to go again, even if your unit is called up. Sometimes, you may have served 12 months on one deployment and you are eligible to serve another 12 on a second deployment, but your unit's deployment requires 18 months... so you don't have to go. That happened with my unit. Several soldiers had already done more than 6 months active duty since 9/11 and did not have the required 18 months left on their "deployment clock." They didn't volunteer to go, so we left them at home.
The nation is running out of reserve soldiers and reserve Marines with time left on their 24-month clock. I've said it before... the guard and reserves are stretched pretty thin.

Monday, July 11, 2005

David and Goliath

The Big Kahuna of Milblogs, Blackfive, recently had his 3 millionth visitor drop by. Roughly about the same time, the little guppy of milblogs (me) had my 4 thousandth visitor drop by.
Thanks to Thunder 6 for referring my 4,000th visitor. Good luck in Iraq, soldier. Make it back to California safely.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

More Solidarity

This is good stuff. Via Smash: for the first time, a foreign flag was raised at the State Department on July 7th in remembrance of those killed in the London bombings.

Rummy Reads "Watch Your Six?"

I was reading Secretary Rumsfeld's comments on the London Terror bombing (hat tip: blackfive) and saw this passage:
The British have learned from history that this kind of evil must be confronted. It cannot be appeased. Our two countries understand well that once a people give in to terrorists’ demands, whatever they are, their demands will grow.
I wonder if he read my post below? :-)
Seriously, though, I agree with his comments and sentiment. It's basically Britain and America back-to-back fighting against the world's terrorists. I'm glad they are with us.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Britain - No better friend

The President said it best after 9/11 when he said that America has no better friend than Great Britain. The coordinated attacks on the British public transportation system will not shake that friendship. I hope that America can provide whatever help Britain needs; I would be happy to go and help them out myself.
I have trained alongside the British Army for years. If the civilian populace of Britain is half as stoic as its military, they are going to be fine.
Al Qaeda needs to remember that Britain has already learned the lesson that appeasement doesn't work. It didn't work when the they tried to appease Hitler with the Sudetenland and the Brits are not about to kowtow to terrorists now.
for more info see blackfive and Winds of Change. I particularly liked blackfive quoting a comment made on Tim Worstall's blog:
"...Yes, we’ll take an excuse for a day off, throw a sickie. But you threaten us, try to kill us? Kill and injure some of us?
Fuck you, sunshine.
We’ll not be having that.
No grand demonstrations, few warlike chants, a desire for revenge, of course, but the reaction of the average man and woman in the street? Yes, you’ve tried it now bugger off. We’re not scared, no, you won’t change us. Even if we are scared, you can still bugger off..."
London is not the same as Madrid. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this cowardly attack. I hope they figure out who did this soon and sick the SAS on them.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

SOF brothers

While on leave, I was following the news about the SEALs and 160th SOAR soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan 9 days ago. SEAL blogger Matthew Heidt has been following the story closely on his blog Froggy Ruminations. He got a hold of the latest info and the story is beginning to come together.
Maybe MAJ Delaplane, who is at Bagram and blogs over at Firepower Forward, will have some straight news that he can share with the blogosphere soon.

Traffic increase

Sorry about the lack of posting this week. I returned from a very refeshing visit with my family and jumped straight into more post-mobilization training.
There has been a huge increase in my traffic since the Army Times article came out last week. It's nice to see some new faces around here leaving comments, but I still love those people who have been with me all along. For those that are interested, I went from ~30 hits/day to over 80. I also jumped from 104th to 68th on the TTLB milblogs ecosystem.
Thanks for the bump in readership. Now I guess I have to keep this going and come up with something insightful and/or witty every now and then.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Home on leave

I got a pass to go home to HouseholdSix and SixPointFive. Blogging will be light this 4th of July.
Happy Birthday, America.

Until Then

Until Then, indeed. If this doesn't choke you up, you're a better man than I.
Thanks for the link, Dan.