31 August 2007

What a country

My Dad loves to go to Atlantic City and play Blackjack so we went today. Day trip on one of those buses. 2 hours each way, costs $27. When we arrived a casino employee got on the bus and gave each of us twenty bucks.

What a country.

29 August 2007

One of my favorite things

While in the US one of my favorite activities is going to the gas station. Gasoline is so incredibly, unbelievably cheap here! Just put a half a tank of gas in my Dad's car for $20 (!!!)

Maybe my Mom will let me take her car and fill it up later...

28 August 2007

...and now more Hornets

F-18 Hornet from the USS Abraham Lincoln flies past sailors on swim call in the Gulf of Thailand. Notice that the aircraft is flying so low on the first pass that it actually parts the water.

25 August 2007

More fixed-wing love

U.S. Marine Corps photo by LCpl Andrew Williams
A 2003 aerial shot over Iraq of a KC-130 USMC tanker firing flares used to counterattack surface-to-air missiles.

An AC-130H gunship dispenses IRCM flares.

This is a time lapsed photo of an AC-130 gunship firing its guns and cannons while flying a circular pattern over Afghanistan. Every fifth round is a tracer, so you can imagine how many are raining down on the enemy. You do not want to be under this.

24 August 2007

Fill 'er up with JP-8, please

Another Vietnam?

In a recent speech, President Bush outlined the dangers of not completing the mission in Iraq. Max Boot argues he didn't go far enough:

That assessment actually understates the terrible repercussions from the American defeat, whose ripples spread around the world. In the late 1970s, America's enemies seized power in countries from Mozambique to Iran to Nicaragua. American hostages were seized aboard the SS Mayaguez (off Cambodia) and in Tehran. The Red Army invaded Afghanistan.

It is impossible to prove the connection with the Vietnam War, but there is little doubt that the enfeeblement of a superpower encouraged our enemies to undertake acts of aggression that they might otherwise have shied away from. Indeed, as Mr. Bush noted, jihadists still gain hope from what Ayman al Zawahiri accurately describes as "the aftermath of the collapse of the American power in Vietnam and how they ran and left their agents."

If you were an Iraqi faced with a choice right now - to work with the Coalition toward a unified Iraq or to throw your lot in with a sectarian group - would you trust us not to run and leave you?

No End but Victory.

23 August 2007

Now his mama raised him right...

U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Serena Hayden, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs.

While conducting a foot patrol in support of Operation Lightning Hammer in Mukeisha, Iraq, Sgt. Nic Root, a Soldier from Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, attached to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, holds the door open for a local woman returning from the canal, Aug. 14.

Happy Birthday, DJ!

DJ in the Physical Therapy room at Walter Reed. Look at that smile!

Can't think of anyone I'd rather share a birthday with than this guy! DJ will be celebrating at home in Bellafonte, PA. I hear he's been very busy already, but there's events lined up during the rest of his visit including the Spikes Military Appreciation Night (Aug 26) and DJ's Riders Motorcycle Ride (Sept 2).

See the "DJ Emery: Our Hometown Hero" website for more event information and other news.

Click to read more stories about DJ here at SAG.

22 August 2007


In early July the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team began work on Fire Base Lonestar in preparation for the "Return to Tora Bora" and other operations. The new base is situated 20 km from the Pakistani border and is along one of the major infiltration routes for Taliban and al Qaeda operatives.

Click here for more 173rd ABCT Afghanistan posts.

Rest in Peace, Warriors

21 August 2007

If you can't say anything bad, don't say anything at all

That's what my mother taught me. (Or something like that.)

U.S. media curtail Iraq war coverage: study

Attention to the war dropped in all five media sectors surveyed. Network evening news, the sector that gave the war the greatest share of attention in the first quarter, scaled back more than 40 percent, from 33 percent in the first quarter to 19 percent in the second, the study showed. ...

The bulk of the fall took place after May 24, when Congress approved war funding without including troop withdrawal timetables.

Let's see... what else happened around that time? Oh, yeah. That's right. The "surge" operations began and things started looking up.

h/t The Tank

The Battle of Donkey Island

From Sunday's Washington Post, a great follow up article on the battle of Donkey Island in which two Apache pilots, CW2 Crist and CW4 Purtee, executed an unusual CASEVAC of SPC Jamaledine.

"Bullets were pinging off the windshield, the tires, the side," said Young's driver, Spec. Jason Willette, 33, of Honolulu. The insurgents' marksmanship was extremely accurate, aided by the moonlight, which diminished the advantage of the U.S. troops' night-vision goggles.

Young's gunner, Sgt. William Fellows, had nearly exhausted the 1,800 rounds he carried for his M240 machine gun. So the 24-year-old from Springfield, Mo., grabbed a Vietnam-era M-14 rifle and fired off five magazines. With only 100 rounds left, he was minutes from running out, he recalled: "We all basically went black on ammo."

At a mud-brick outpost a few miles southwest of the battle, a scout platoon set off in seven Humvees loaded with machine gun rounds. They arrived about 11 p.m., just in time to resupply Stark's patrol, and together the soldiers advanced toward the trucks.

"Spray it down!" ordered Capt. Jimm Spannagel, the scout platoon's leader. The trucks caught fire, munitions inside shooting off like fireworks, then exploded in gigantic red balls. Meanwhile, the insurgents, who outnumbered the Americans throughout the battle, were repositioning. Some swam across the canal to set up machine gun nests midstream on a small piece of land known as Donkey Island. Others dug in on the canal's beaches or behind its four-foot-high banks.

Capt. Ian Lauer, commander of the 1-77's Charlie Company, sped to the scene from the U.S. base in Ramadi and instructed his men to "assault to the south" along the canal....

Down the bank from the Humvee, three insurgents fired armor-piercing rounds. Unable to pivot his machine gun down steeply enough to hit them, Spec. Jeffrey Jamaledine lifted the gun from its mount and reached over to spray them. As he did, he was shot in the jaw.

Jamaledine was later evacuated by an Apache helicopter, one of whose pilots, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Allen Crist, gave his seat to Jamaledine and rode strapped to the aircraft's exterior.

Meanwhile, Lauer, out of his Humvee, had been shot in the shoulder and was pinned down in a ditch.

Nethery left his Humvee and crawled over the beach to find Taylor.

"You good?" asked Nethery, 24, of Englewood, Fla.

"Do I look good?" Taylor responded, adding an expletive.

"Can you walk?" Nethery asked.

"Do you think I can walk!" came the reply, again with an expletive.

"Can you crawl?"

Nethery grabbed Taylor by his gear. "One, two, three, push!" he said, pulling while Taylor shoved with his good leg until they finally reached the Humvee.

The rest is here.

The importance of getting over yourself

Here's a distinction many war opponents avoid because they simply can't get past their juvenile, egotistical need to win the argument instead of the war:
Whether Congress made a mistake in authorizing Iraq's liberation is a separate question from what to do now. Yet war opponents act as if favoring a precipitous withdrawal logically and necessarily follows from regretting the decision to liberate.

Why? Part of it, we suppose, is a sort of binary simplemindedness: It was bad to go in, ergo it would be good to get out. Real life is more complicated. It may be that it was a mistake to go in but a precipitous withdrawal would compound the error.

But maybe those who argue for withdrawal seek precisely to compound the error. Failure in Iraq would vindicate the position of those who originally argued that the war would be a mistake. Likewise for those who supported the war but later change their minds--they may be cynical opportunists, but they may also have the zeal of a convert. If America loses the war, they win the argument.

And defeat in Iraq would vindicate not only opposition to Iraq but an entire worldview - what we've called the worldview of baby-boom liberalism. America's defeat in Vietnam was a triumph for baby-boom liberalism - a triumph that some seem never to have given up trying to relive.

There comes a time in life to grow up, get over yourself, and face the fact that your actions have consequences.
This isn't a time to debate, again, how we got where we are; it's not the moment to re-fight the question of whether we should be here. It is the time to recognize that we are the only thing standing between Iraq having the space to grow strong and independent, or casting the region into a wider war. We will have to consider Petraeus' report carefully, and look hard at what he suggests. We must also consider the consequences of our choices.

20 August 2007

"We do it all for you"

The 173rd Airborne Brigade doin' it all for you in Afghanistan.

Courtesy of the 173D ABN BDE PAO.

Click here for more 173rd ABCT Afghanistan posts.

Zasko saves the day: Working dog identifies explosives

U.S. Army photo by Spc. L.B. Edgar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Malbern, Ark., native Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob Holm, a military working dog handler, rewards Zasko after his canine companion identified homemade explosive materials hidden outside an abandoned building during a patrol of western Baghdad supporting Company C, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Aug 2.

Zasko, a Belgian Malinois, had never been trained to identify homemade-explosive materials, but used a sample as a reference and soon found a cache of approximately 15 pounds.

16 August 2007

Today's Action Item

Here's something everybody can do - make a couple of phone calls. Do it in honor of SGT Mike Stokely, who was KIA 2 years ago today in Iraq.

This call to action is from Pete Hegseth of Vets for Freedom.

On Thursday, August 16th, as a direct response to MoveOn.org's crass attempts to politicize the Iraq War, Vets for Freedom is asking all of its members to participate in our "Cost of Defeat" Call-in Campaign.

And we are not alone in this effort. We are proud to be partnering with Families United for the Troops and Their Mission, a grassroots coalition of thousands of Gold Star and Blue Star families including some with loved ones currently in harm's way. Both the troops-and their families-will be making calls this Thursday!

So mark your calendar and call your members of Congress to explain the "Cost of Defeat" in Iraq. Tell them that defeat in Iraq would mean the following things:

- A bloodbath in Iraq, costing hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives and possibly destabilize the entire Middle East region.
- A failed state in Iraq and a safe haven for Al Qaeda to plan future attacks against America and her allies.
- An emboldened Iran in pursuit of nuclear weapons and a victorious Al Qaeda in pursuit of new ways to kill Americans at home and around the world.

For more tips and information about what to say when you call, please read the "Call Tips" section at the end of this email. We have provided a word-for-word script.

Call Instructions:

1. On Thursday, call your 2 Senators and 1 Representative. Call their offices in your home state and remind them of the "Cost of Defeat" in Iraq. Use the links below to find the phone numbers for your members of Congress:

Contacting your U.S. Senators
Contacting your U.S. Representatives

2. After you have called your members of Congress, call the following 10 Senators and remind them what the "Cost of Defeat" would look like if they vote to undercut General Petraeus and the mission in Iraq in September. Phone numbers are provided below for phone numbers in their home state:

Senator Chuck Grassley R - Iowa 515-288-1145
Senator Sam Brownback R - Kansas 785-233-2503
Senator Pat Roberts R - Kansas 785-295-2745
Senator Ben Nelson D - Nebraska 402-391-3411
Senator Mitch McConnell R - Kentucky 502-582-6304
Senator Norm Coleman R - Minnesota 651-645-0323
Senator John Sununu R - New Hampshire 603-647-7500
Senator Judd Gregg R - New Hampshire 603-622-7979
Senator John Warner R - Virginia 540-857-2676
Senator Mark Pryor D - Arkansas 501-324-6336

When you're done with the calls on Thursday, please shoot a quick email to info@vetsforfreedom.org and let us know. And if you had any particularly interesting exchanges, we'd love to hear about it.

Call Tips

When you call the senators, a few important things to remember:

* Always be courteous. The person answering the phone is likely a young staffer.

* If you are calling a Senator who represents your home state, say "I am from [City, State] and am a member of Vets for Freedom. I recently returned from Iraq [or insert relevant experience] and I respectfully request to speak with Senator [name]." When they ask to take a message, say "I'm calling to tell Senator [name] that I oppose MoveOn.org's attempts to undermine the mission in Iraq and to remind the Senator what the "cost of defeat" in Iraq would be. Defeat in Iraq would mean [cite three reasons above]... Please pass along this message to the Senator."

* If you are calling a Senator who is not from your state, say "I am a veteran of the Iraq War [or insert relevant experience] who served with [insert unit] in [insert location] from [insert dates]. I am a member of Vets for Freedom and I'm calling to tell Senator [name] that I oppose MoveOn.org's attempts to undermine the mission in Iraq and to remind the Senator what the "cost of defeat" in Iraq would be. Defeat in Iraq would mean [cite three reasons above]... Please pass along this message to the Senator."

Our comrades in Iraq have Al Qaeda on the run-and it's up to us to keep radical anti-war groups on the defensive for their ill-informed and partisan viewpoints.

Move out and draw fire!


Pete Hegseth
Iraq War Veteran 2005-2006
Executive Director, Vets for Freedom

Please also visit their "Live From Iraq" Blog with updates from Jeff Emanuel, Iraq war veteran and Vets for Freedom member, who is reporting from the front lines in Iraq.

15 August 2007

A New Tune for Iraq

If you like James Taranto's "Best of the Web" column in the WSJ, you'll enjoy his video discussion today, A New Tune for Iraq? about the new narrative developing in regards to the Iraq war.

View the video here.

Subjects include how the New York Times ("the leading voice of defeatism") retook a poll showing war support increasing (you mean the "surge" is working?), the resulting realism of the political Left ("although pro-genocide voters can still vote for Obama"), and Der Spiegel calling Ramadi "an irritating contradiction".

"With your support and with your love we will never be alone, and make victory"

No end but victory.

(Postcard received from this Iraqi gentleman.)

14 August 2007

Abbey Stokely's tribute to her brother, SGT Mike Stokely

From our friend Robert Stokely.

As we come upon the eve of the 2nd year of Remembrance of the death of my beloved son, SGT Mike Stokely, KIA 16 AUG 05 near Yusufiyah Iraq, I wanted to do something to remember this event with my friends in the blogosphere. I am a little tapped out on words as I am so busy coordinating the last minute push to have a successful car and motorcycle "Ride to Remember..." in his honor on August 25, 2007.

I am driven to have a successful event, not just to honor Mike and raise money for a scholarship in his name at his college, but to set the stage to do this in coming years and use the proceeds to honor each and everyone of the other 25 fallen GA National Guard Soldiers from Georgia's 48th Brigade Combat Team GAARNG with a scholarship in their name and memory.

At the road dedication ceremony last October 6, Abbey produced a video on the lap top at home as a tribute to Mike. The song "American Soldier" by Toby Keith is set to photos Abbey selected as a tribute to her beloved brother and fallen hero, SGT Mike Stokely. Toby Keith most likely will never know who Abbey Stokely or Mike Stokely are, or just how much this song means to a younger sister who lost her American Soldier, Hero and Brother in war. He certainly couldn't envision how many times I have replayed Abbey's video tribute and cry each time, for the words and his melody are so "Mike" to me.

To say the least, American Soldier is a fitting song chosen by Abbey to sum up Mike's life as a soldier with but one exception - he never got to have children with his high school sweetheart (Niki) who he married just ten days before he went to Iraq. Mike Stokely was a great husband, and would have been a great Dad. Obviously, he was a great brother. As a dad, I can say he was a great son as well as a most dear friend.

I would hope Toby Keith wouldn't mind this use of his song. I wish that one day I might have the brief chance to thank him in person and tell him the real "value" of his song and what it means to me and our family. But, for now, I'll just say thank you Toby Keith in cyberspace.

Now, I'll turn it over to 15 year old Abbey Stokely and invite you to take four minutes and see an up close and personal view of what the cost of freedom is to our family - A Lifetime of Love.

It is no wonder we remember with honor and on August 25 we will "Ride to Remember..." Mike Stokely.

When asked what I would say to those who built the bomb that killed Mike, my answer is "They would have better served their cause by leaving him alive to have come home to a family who would have gone on to live ordinary anonymous lives. Instead, by their acts which caused Mike's death, an enemy has brought our family and entire generation of friends alive for the cause of freedom, without bitterness, anger, or bent for revenge, as we Remember with Honor what Mike Stokely gave. We have not wavered, we shall not retreat, nor shall we forget."

Robert Stokely

proud to be the dad of Wes and Abbey Stokely and
proudly remembering my beloved son, SGT Mike Stokely
KIA 16 AUG 05 near Yusufiyah
USA E Troop 108 CAV 48th BCT GAARNG

First improved Thunderbolt II arrives at Moody AFB

U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Parker Gyokeres.

The first A-10C Thunderbolt II sits on the ramp after its arrival Aug. 7 to Moody Air Force Base, Ga. This aircraft is the first of approximately 50 upgraded A-10Cs moving to the Georgia base as a part of force realignment. The move is expected to be complete in early spring 2008.

The upgrades enable the A-10C to deliver the Air Force's latest generation of precision guided munitions and improve the A-10's communications capabilities, allowing the aircraft to share detailed information with ground-based warfighters.

Nothing like a good excuse to post Warthog pics!

13 August 2007

Father of persecuted Haditha Marine on Pundit Review

Darryl Sharratt, father of innocent (or, as Darryl says, persecuted) Haditha Marine Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, returned to Pundit Review Radio on Sunday to tell about the great news received by the family last week.

Darryl also told us a great story about The O’Reilly Factor. For months and months, Darryl tried to get “The Factor” to listen to Justin’s side of the story. Only when he was 100% exonerated did they come calling. Darryl was having none of it, and good for him!

Things got pretty emotional when Darryl talked about Justin having to end his career in the Marines prematurely. He’s been put through hell, and he deserves to have his story heard. Darryl was upset with the lack of media coverage and their insistence to call this the ‘Haditha Massacre’ even though the facts in the case have proved that to be incorrect.

Justin is now the third Haditha Marine cleared. How does Murtha sleep at night?

Adding insult to injury, Murtha is actually Darryl Sharratt's congressional representative, to whom Darryl made 53 phone calls over 18 months before getting a return call.

Listen here, and follow the links to the prior interview with Darryl.

He's walking! DJ Emery Update

From DJ's mother Connie:

DJ is doing very well today. He walked I would say the length of the PT room today in his walker. And then he walked to the back of the room so he could put his legs away when he was done. It was awesome!!!! That kid has some amazing strength sometimes. You see his face get redder and redder then the sweat starts pouring but he never gives up.

Of course he never gives up. He's a United States Marine.

Don't forget the DJ's Riders Motorcycle Run on September 2. It's a benefit ride taking DJ's favorite 120-mile run through Centre and Clinton Counties in Pennsylvania. Information here.

Click to read more stories about DJ here at SAG.

12 August 2007

‘Big Sky’ troop patrolling Baghdad

U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Nathaniel Smith, 4th IBCT Public Affairs.

Pfc. Michael McKay, an infantryman with the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division’s personal security detachment from Plentywood, Mont., provides security while on a battlefield circulation mission in southern Baghdad, July 31. McKay was conducting operations with the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division’s area of operations.

With a big shout out to Big Sky country!

09 August 2007

With love from the Vipers, 1st Battalion (Attack), 3rd Aviation Regiment

via Michael Goldfarb

Landstuhl-based DUSTOFF unit prepares for next deployment

Sgt. Micah Payne, a crew chief and flight instructor with Company C, 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment, walks toward a UH-60 helicopter before flying a local nighttime training mission July 17 at Kirchberg Kaserne near Landstuhl, Germany. The unit is slated to deploy to support Marines in Iraq later this summer. Photo Ben Bloker / S&S

LANDSTUHL, Germany — Few sounds are more reassuring to wounded troops and their brethren treating them on the battlefield than the churning blades of a medical evacuation helicopter arriving.

This summer, soldiers with Company C, 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment will fill that role, ferry wounded and provide medical care above the sands of Iraq.

The unit based near Landstuhl is excited and motivated about the upcoming deployment, said Maj. Andrew Risio, Company C commander.

“I personally think it’s the best mission in the Army,” he said. “We get to go someplace and take care of guys.”

The unit — formerly known as the 236th Medical Company (Air Ambulance) — returned to Landstuhl from their last year-long deployment in January 2006.

08 August 2007

Navy Begins Diving at Minnesota Bridge

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joshua Adam Nuzzo.

Navy Diver First Class Brian Bennett, bottom, and Navy Diver Second Class Phil Hartman both assigned to Mobile Dive and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2 from Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va., arrive at 934th Air Reserve Base Minneapolis, Minn.

A Navy diving detachment and salvage team arrived early Tuesday morning to search for bodies stilll missing after the Minneapolis bridge collapse on Aug. 1.

The team of 15 divers and a five-member command crew arrived hours before dawn Tuesday, and several divers immediately entered the Mississippi River even though local officials encouraged them to wait until daybreak.

"Two in the morning, they dove into the water," [Minneapolis Police Capt. Mike] Martin said, calling them "the best divers in the world."

"These guys make our SWAT guys look humble," he said. ...

The Navy divers will be tethered to above-ground oxygen tanks, so they can stay in the water much longer than local divers, who had been using scuba tanks. Heavy-duty equipment will allow divers to cut through steel wreckage. The Navy also has sophisticated sonar to scan for bodies. ...

It's also emotionally difficult work, Newsum [executive director of the Association of Diving Contractors International] said. "You have to get your head right before you go down there, because you're recovering a human being."

07 August 2007

Against all enemies

"The moment you give up your principles, and your values... the moment you laugh at those principles, and those values, you are dead, your culture is dead, your civilization is dead. Period." - Oriana Fallaci

Fascinating - and, frankly, depressing - WSJ editorial today from Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking intelligence official ever to have defected from the Soviet bloc.

During the decades he spent scrutinizing the U.S. from Europe he learned that international respect for America is directly proportional to America's own respect for its president. Therefore,
Sowing the seeds of anti-Americanism by discrediting the American president was one of the main tasks of the Soviet-bloc intelligence community during the years I worked at its top levels.

Here's some of the many examples he cites, and much of it sounds frighteningly familiar (and there are many more in the column):
We were tasked to take advantage of the reawakened patriotic feelings stirring in the European countries that had been subjugated by the Nazis, in order to shift their hatred for Hitler over into hatred for Truman--the leader of the new "occupation power." Western Europe was still grateful to the U.S. for having restored its freedom, but it had strong leftist movements that we secretly financed. They were like putty in our hands.

We went on to spend many years and many billions of dollars disparaging subsequent presidents: Eisenhower as a war-mongering "shark" run by the military-industrial complex, Johnson as a mafia boss who had bumped off his predecessor, Nixon as a petty tyrant, Ford as a dimwitted football player and Jimmy Carter as a bumbling peanut farmer.

Compare John Kerry's infamous Winter Soldier testimony ("reminiscent of Genghis Khan") with this paragraph:
During the Vietnam War we spread vitriolic stories around the world, pretending that America's presidents sent Genghis Khan-style barbarian soldiers to Vietnam who raped at random, taped electrical wires to human genitals, cut off limbs, blew up bodies and razed entire villages. Those weren't facts. They were our tales, but some seven million Americans ended up being convinced their own president, not communism, was the enemy.

Other examples of the parallels between Soviet-style anti-American propaganda and the partisans on today's Left:
At the 2004 Democratic National Convention, for example, Bush critics continued our mud-slinging at America's commander in chief. One speaker, Martin O'Malley, now governor of Maryland, had earlier in the summer stated he was more worried about the actions of the Bush administration than about al Qaeda.

On another occasion, retired four-star general Wesley Clark gave Michael Moore a platform to denounce the American commander in chief as a "deserter." And visitors to the national chairman of the Democratic Party had to step across a doormat depicting the American president surrounded by the words, "Give Bush the Boot."

Lt. Gen. Pacepa notes this reaction to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's recent statements in which he thanked President Bush for leading the global war on terror, acknowledging "the debt the world owes to the U.S. for its leadership in this fight against international terrorism":
Mr. Brown's statements elicited anger from many of Mr. Bush's domestic detractors, who claim the president concocted the war on terror for personal gain.

But as someone who escaped from communist Romania--with two death sentences on his head--in order to become a citizen of this great country, I have a hard time understanding why some of our top political leaders can dare in a time of war to call our commander in chief a "liar," a "deceiver" and a "fraud."

Back to the Cold War:
The final goal of our anti-American offensive was to discourage the U.S. from protecting the world against communist terrorism and expansion.

The question the Left needs to consider is, who will lead the world against the enemies of freedom and democracy if America doesn't?

And who will lead America, if not its President?
For once, the communists got it right. It is America's leader that counts. Let's return to the traditions of presidents who accepted nothing short of unconditional surrender from our deadly enemies.

No end but victory.

More on the KGB's dezinformatsiya war to demoralize the American public as conceived by Yuri Andropov in this video interview with another senior Soviet defector. Via Soldier's Dad.

Update: To see the results of today's propaganda war in action, go to the comments section of this post at VC.

Update II: Via Ymarsakar in comments, two further segments of the interview below here and here.

06 August 2007


A seriously wounded Soldier regains consciousness in the Landstuhl ICU. A few hours later he's doing well enough for the doctors to extubate him (remove the breathing tube).

After spending about 15 minutes hacking up a bunch of gunk from his lungs he's finally able to speak for the first time since being injured.

"What about Smith and Jones?", he asks. "Are they ok?"

This is a "composite" story, describing regular occurrances about which I write only in general terms. I do not write about specific patients during their stay here. I may write about them later, but only with permission or using previously published material.

2nd Cav cases colors in Vilseck

In July, less than a year after arriving in Germany, 2nd Cav soldiers began loading the more than 300 Stryker armored personnel carriers onto trains at Grafenwöhr for the land and sea journey to Kuwait. Seth Robson / S&S

Sunday, August 5, 2007 - While the soldiers of the 2nd Cavalry (Stryker) Regiment received plenty of encouraging words during their farewell ceremony Friday in Vilseck, Germany, they also got a dose of reality from one of the top generals in Europe.

“I’ll venture to say you’ll face a fight as soon as you hit the ground,” V Corps commander Lt. Gen. James E. Thurman, told the soldiers who are heading to Iraq for a 15-month tour.

It’s the second deployment for the 2nd Cav, but its first since moving to Vilseck in June 2006. The unit has been gearing up for the downrange mission for months, culminating with a mission-rehearsal exercise in June before the soldiers took a month of block leave in July.

A Company D, 2nd Squadron 2nd Cavalry (Stryker) Regiment soldier takes a look from a Stryker during an exercise for the Iraq-bound unit in June. Seth Robson / S&S

The soldiers are ready to go, according to Command Sgt. Maj. Victor Martinez, who was with the unit during its last deployment to Iraq.

“It’s tough leaving, but I’m excited to get over there and serve the people of Iraq,” Martinez said in an Army news release. “I get guys who tell me ‘here we go again sergeant major, let’s do this,’ and it warms my heart.”

Col. John RisCassi, 2nd Cav commander, addressed his soldiers and the crowd after the colors-casing ceremony.

“It is our honor and privilege to carry these colors into battle,” RisCassi said in the release. “We will not let down the members of the regiment, past and present, nor our friends and family in Vilseck.”

The 2nd Cav will replace the 3rd "Arrowhead Brigade", 2nd Infantry Division, which recently moved from Mosul to Baghdad as part of the "surge". This is a familiar move for the 2nd Cav, which replaced the Arrowhead Brigade in October 2004 in Mosul. About a third of current 2nd Cav soldiers are veterans of that previous mission and most of the officers are combat veterans.

The 2nd Cav's final destination in Iraq is unknown.

In 2005 the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (Light) moved from Fort Polk to Fort Lewis and was re-designated to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

The regiment's 3,900 soldiers called Fort Lewis home during its conversion into a Stryker brigade before moving to Vilseck in 2006.

The 2nd Cavalry Regiment is the longest-serving regiment in the U.S. Army and has participated in nearly every U.S. military conflict, from fighting Indians in America's West to the invasion of Iraq.

Jalalabad Dustoff

Now I don't want to hear any whining about the Teddy Bears. They're fine ;-)

03 August 2007

A Shout Out to the Sky Soldiers in Afghanistan

On June 6, the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, also known as “The Herd”, held a transition-of-authority ceremony on Forward Operating Base Fenty in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. The 173rd ABCT took over the AO of the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.

This is the unit's second tour in Afghanistan, the first began in the spring of 2005.

In September 2006, 173rd Airborne Brigade of Vicenza, Italy, became the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. The change makes the 173rd the Army's newest and only separate airborne brigade combat team, which is a modular, self-sustaining unit.

The 173rd is also the European Command's only conventional airborne unit and is EUCOM's rapid response force. The brigade was formerly stationed solely in Vicenza, but now also has elements in Bamberg and Schweinfurt, Germany.

In March 2003 "The Herd" landed into the drop zone at Bashur, Iraq, opening a northern front in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

And here's a must-see video of that jump, beginning with almost 1000 Sky Soldiers lining up with their C-17s on the runway in Aviano, Italy.

The weather was bad at takeoff and the drop zone muddy after weeks of heavy storms.

And while the jump was good, the aircraft "jumped long", spreading the brigade out. As the sun rose, it revealed LGOPPs - "little groups of pissed-off paratroopers" - strung out along the impossibly muddy and almost 10,000-yard-long drop zone. LGOPPs form when paratroopers link up with whomever is near them, regardless of unit, and move as a group to the assembly points.

Eventually, over 2000 troops and equipment, including 5 M1A1 tanks, 5 Bradley fighting vehicles, 15 armored personnel carriers and 41 Humvees were airlifted to the field.

Click here for more 173rd ABCT Afghanistan posts.

Jack Army *heart* John Murtha

Ahhh, Rep. Murtha. Another one of those rare and wonderful gifts that just keeps on giving.
30,000 troops out of Iraq this fall?

Via the Army Times,

A key lawmaker said Tuesday that he expects the U.S. Central Command to propose in September an immediate 30,000-troop reduction in the number of U.S. forces in Iraq because of growing belief that the so-called “surge” strategy is working.

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., the defense appropriations subcommittee chairman who made the prediction, said that does not mean that he believes the situation in Iraq is improving, but that an increasing number of White House and Pentagon officials and Republican lawmakers returning from visits to Iraq are all talking about success.

OK, so things still suck, no reason to believe the Surge is working other than folks saying that it is, but CENTCOM will reduce forces in Iraq in the spring because things are not getting better. Uh, has Mr. Murtha lost his mind? Where is the logic in that prediction?

But wait! As JA says, there's more. So go over and say hey to a deployed milblogger.

Cross posted at Villainous Company. Guess you've noticed Cass has asked me - along with several others - to guest blog at her place while she's taking some time off. So if things get quiet around here, go on over and join the party!

Beauchamp Officially Lying Sack of $hit

Update: Matt has two clarifications/corrections to his post. 1. Allegations (plural) 2. Surge Brigade (not battalion).

From Matt Sanchez:

Beachamp Investigation Concluded

After a thorough investigation that lasted nearly a week the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division has concluded that the allegation made by Private Thomas Scott Beauchamp, the "Baghdad Diarist", have been "refuted by members of his platoon and proven to be false"

But then again, you knew that already.

So enough about that jerk. More worth your time is to find out about about The Real FOB Falcon, where Matt arrived just a few days ago. A place where:
The atmosphere is amicable, and despite the big-screen television sets rotating the news from all the major outlets, most soldiers barely look up to watch the smaller than life images of an Iraq they know more intimately.

And a place where, you know, real soldiers are doing their real jobs each and every day. Like this guy.

Cross posted at Villainous Company.

02 August 2007

What kind of person...

...could believe the world would be a better place (and we would be better off) if we turned our backs on this man and the children with whom he works?

It was really honor for me to hear from some one who appreciate what we do for our kids' future in land of freedom and please feel free to write whenever you like.

This kind of wonderful words will encouraging me to work harder and do my job with more loyalty. As far as you and every one in the USA know we are fighting the most brutal groups that have ever known by human history... Islamic radical groups and they are everywhere in the world. We are fighting in 3rd world war without we recognize.

We have to take good care to the new generations by helping them and educating them and teach them what is a reality of the life - not just blow your self up and you go to heaven.

Thanks so much for writing to me and your help and nice word to me making a big difference to hear, even if it is in a small way. We have to start somewhere to show others that there is life outside of oppression and death.

We all have already gotten victory and I say that because of what we are doing every day... Be Blessed...

EMail written to my friend Sara from SA. Soldiers often ask their Angels to support interpreters and others with whom they work. This gentleman agreed to let her share his words and the picture, saying it would "make me proud if I can build a good reputation and nice view for USA people of new generation of Iraq".

Cross posted at Villainous Company.

01 August 2007

Radio notes

Michael Yon is taking a little R&R in Singapore where he joined Dennis Miller by phone for an interview.

Kevin and Gregg of Pundit Review Radio interviwed Marine father Darryl Sharatt together with Bruce of QandO. Darryl discusses his phone call with Rep John Murtha. Darryl's son, Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, is one of the Haditha Marines whom Murtha called a cold-blooded murderer. He's also Darryl's congressional representative. In spite of those two facts, it took 53 phone calls over 18 months before getting a return call from Murtha.


But it's a dry 150.

I wouldn't last 5 minutes. Make that 1 minute.

When Good News is Bad News

This is just shameful.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Monday that a strongly positive report on progress on Iraq by Army Gen. David Petraeus likely would split Democrats in the House and impede his party's efforts to press for a timetable to end the war...

Many Democrats have anticipated that, at best, Petraeus and U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker would present a mixed analysis of the success of the current troop surge strategy, given continued violence in Baghdad. But of late there have been signs that the commander of U.S. forces might be preparing something more generally positive. Clyburn said that would be "a real big problem for us."

What does it say about Clyburn's party that if things go well for America, it would be "a real big problem for us"?

Update: David has some great commentary on this at The Thunder Run, and also points to Steve Shippert's thoughts.