Monday, February 28, 2011

I hope you'll dance

For my precious Bratchild:

Afghanistan's future

Sometimes, one picture really DOES say a thousand words.

02/23/2011 - U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Brittany Martin, right, a public affairs officer with the Laghman Provincial Reconstruction Team, working with 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, which is part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, presents a certificate to an Afghan journalism seminar participant at the Information, Culture and Youth Center in Mehtar Lam, Laghman province, Afghanistan, Feb. 23, 2011. (DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, U.S. Army/Released)

RIP Cpl Frank Buckles: An original Every Day Hero

RIP CPL Frank Woodruff Buckles - Pershing's Last Patriot


CPL Frank Woodruff Buckles, 110, of Charles Town, West Virginia, last surviving U.S. veteran of World War I, died at 12:15AM, 27 FEB 2011. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetary at a date to be determined, with special Honors from the French and United Kingdom. President George W Bush signed a bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, WV, for the burial at Arlington in 2008.

(More at War on Terror News here.)

Cpl Frank Buckles was one of the first Every Day Heroes I profiled over at Tanker Bros.

Meet Corporal Frank Buckles:

Last surviving U.S. World War I vet honored by president

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Frank Woodruff Buckles was just 15 years old when he joined the U.S. Army. Soon, he was deployed to war and headed overseas on the Carpathia -- the same ship used in the rescue mission of the Titanic.


World War I veteran Frank Buckles entered the Army at age 15. "I didn't lie," he said with a laugh this week.

He drove ambulances in Britain and France for soldiers wounded during World War I.

A few decades later, Buckles was in the Philippines as a civilian, on December 7, 1941, the day Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. He was taken as a prisoner of war for 39 months in Manila, eating his meals out of a single tin cup.

More than 60 years later, he still clings to that cup, the one that sustained his life. Weathered with age, the cup has flecks of white paint chipped off. He keeps it as a reminder of his sacrifice for the country he so loves. He also still has his dog tags.

At age 107, there's not much the war veteran, POW and West Virginia farmer hasn't seen. But this week, this quietly accomplished man was humbled.

Buckles, the last known surviving World War I U.S. veteran, met the president of the United States and received a standing ovation at the Pentagon.

"I didn't lie; nobody calls me a liar," he said with a chuckle, referring to how he became a soldier at just 15....

Go here to read the rest of the story about this amazing man being recognised, acknowledged by President Bush.

107-year-old Corporal Frank Woodruff Buckles of West Virginia met with President Bush in the Oval Office yesterday. Buckles had fudged his age to join the Army.
107-year-old Corporal Frank Woodruff Buckles of West Virginia met with President Bush in the Oval Office yesterday. Buckles had fudged his age to join the Army. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Did you know that WW1 veterans still have no national memorial in America? I did not, until I read the following story:

Pentagon honors last American veteran of WWI

Corporal, 107, joined in 1917

WASHINGTON - World War I veterans still have no national memorial. There has been no Hollywood blockbuster in recent years to bring their story to life. But they still have Frank Buckles.

More than 90 years after he fudged his age to join the Army, Corporal Frank Woodruff Buckles, the last surviving American veteran of World War I, came to the Pentagon yesterday to represent the more than two million "doughboys" who braved the trench warfare and gas attacks of the "The Great War."

"It is an honor to be here to represent the veterans of World War I. I thank you," the 107-year-old Buckles, of Charles Town, W.Va., told a packed auditorium. Buckles spoke softly but clearly, and shared stories - including a meeting with General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates unveiled portraits of Buckles and eight other veterans who were photographed over the past 18 months - but seven have since died, and the eighth served with Canadian forces.

At 16, Buckles sailed from Hoboken, N.J., in December 1917 on the HMS Carpathia, the ship that saved Titanic survivors five years earlier. He drove an ambulance in England and France and later guarded German prisoners...

Be sure to go read the rest of this story here. And, please watch part 2 of the above Outlook programme:

What an amazing hero! And yes, you KNOW the President had something to say to Cpl Buckles:

President Bush Meets with World War I Veteran Corporal Frank Woodruff Buckles
Oval Office

THE PRESIDENT: Sitting next to me is Mr. Frank Buckles, 107-years-young, and he is the last living Doughboy from World War I. And it has been my high honor to welcome Mr. Buckles, and his daughter, Susannah, here to the Oval Office.

Mr. Buckles' mind is sharp, his memory is crisp, and he's been sharing with me some interesting anecdotes. I asked him where he lived, and he said, that reminds me of what General Pershing asked me. And he told the General that he was raised on a farm in Missouri. And the General said, well, you know, as the crow flies, it's 40 miles from where I was raised.

And so Mr. Buckles has a vivid recollection of historic times. And one way for me to honor the service of those who wear the uniform in the past and those who wear it today is to herald you, sir, and to thank you very much for your patriotism and your love for America.

So we're glad you're here. Thanks for coming. (Bratnote for 28.2.2011: The source for this was on the White House official site. Quelle surprise, or maybe not, but this page is now designated "404. Page not found")

America is blessed to have such men as Cpl Frank Buckles in their midst. Thank YOU for your service, Sir! (all originally written on March 16, 2008)

Rest in Peace, Sir! America is the poorer for your passing.

Pay no ransoms - NONE!

News out of Afghanistan says a Canadian is missing:

Taliban claim to have captured Canadian

Ontario man had been in Afghanistan for a month

Posted: Feb 28, 2011 6:19 AM ET

Taliban insurgents claim they have captured an Ontario man who is missing in Afghanistan.

The Taliban published a statement Sunday that claimed a Canadian "spy" had been captured in Ghazni city, in the eastern part of the country.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that Colin Rutherford is missing in Afghanistan. They said he was travelling through the country as a tourist...[emphasis mine] (Read more here)

Leaving aside the foolishness of anyone going to a country engulfed in war as a tourist, War on Terror News has this to say:


Pax Americana


The Official Policy of the United States is and has been for decades that we "don't negotiate with terrorists." It's a great policy, so long as its practiced. It can be difficult for the families of hostages, who really don't care as much about the long term effects, as they do about getting their loved one back. For them, it doesn't matter who spends how much to whom, as long as their loved one walks away, as soon, and as unharmed as possible.

The problem is that if hostage takers get their way, it gives them an incentive to take more hostages. Conversely, if the bad guys realize that hostage taking is a losing proposition, they'll decide against the practice.

I propose (and others have in the past) a policy of Pax Americana. (Pax Britanica for our pals in Britain, and other names for other Nations with the stomach for it.) The policy is simply: if you're stupid enough to attack American Citizens, we will hunt you down and deliver justice to you. ...

WOTN has much more to say, and it is a MUST READ. Go HERE.

British Army FET

Captain Lisa Irwin is a Territorial Army Officer, currently deployed to Afghanistan as a Female Engagement Team Commander. The second three months of her diary are presented here, covering January to March 2011.

Captain Lisa Irwin with an Afghan baby

Captain Lisa Irwin with an Afghan baby

14 February 2011

Today I went back to the village I visited at the start of tour as the Officer Commanding (OC) the company covering that area felt it would be ready to engage with the Female Engagement Team (FET). I went to attend a shura and to promote FET to key elders – however the plan backfired slightly as none turned up! Afghans do have a tendency to come to meetings when they feel like it and also to work to ‘Afghan time’ which for UK military personnel, who always work to the “five minutes before” rule, can be incredibly frustrating. The Afghan concept of time management is no surprise to me as I have also lived in Cyprus and the Cypriots adopted a very similar way of living- perhaps it is something to do with living in a hot climate!

I was beginning to feel very pessimistic about female engagement in this particular village as this was my third attempt at engagement with no positive result, but the Afghan National Police (ANP) officers at the police station where the shura was meant to be held were more than happy to sit and talk to me and the OC, resulting in us being there for 3 hours. The police officers were fascinated by my attempts to talk to them in their own language, and fascinated by my being female – unfortunately sometimes too fascinated as they did have a habit of talking to my chest not my face. I was, however, able to talk to some of them about their lives in the village and about the possibility of engaging with their wives in the future. Initially they were uncertain about the idea, stating that their wives didn’t need any help with anything, but I spoke to them about the Health Initiative and they seemed to be in agreement that it might be good for their women to attend training. Talking to them allowed me to gather information on their opinion of the government, local healthcare, schooling for girls and women ANP officers. To my surprise they were supportive of women joining the ANP (though in all likelihood not their women) as it would make female searches more culturally sensitive. There are female police officers in Lashkar Gah, the Provincial Capital, but I think it will be a long time before rural Helmandi women are anywhere near being able to join the police – or even want to. At the end of the meeting all the police men were keen to have their photo taken with me – quite disconcerting! I now have some idea of how it must be to be a minor celebrity!...

There is much more on the important work our FET heroes are doing, here.

Michael Hastings of Rolling Stone did NOT do his homework: This Ain't Hell DID

Remember this the other day?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

On the cover of the Rolling Stone: Hastings aims at another General - the military fires back

Michael Hastings of Rolling Stone is at it again. Little punk Mikey, whose most recent claim to fame was writing a story on General Stanley McChrystal, decided to milk his 15 minutes of infamy, and has set his sights on yet another General, in this case LTG William Caldwell IV.

I really did try to read Mikey's latest breathless prose, but honestly? I just couldn't get past the first few paragraphs to know that, once again, this 'award-winning "journalist" is so intent on claiming another scalp, and yet more notoriety, he doesn't do his homework.[my emphasis added]

Fortunately, others in the military community did manage to read all of Hastings' latest, and they are firing back on all cylinders (or whatever the appropriate military metaphor is):...

You can refresh your memory here.

Today, from This Ain't Hell comes this:

Michael Holmes vs. the Army and common sense

What if I told you a story about a married US soldier in Afghanistan who repeatedly sneaked off of the base in his civilian clothes, accompanied by his girlfriend, a subordinate soldier. That they took their weapons with them, concealed in their clothing, and then willingly turned their weapons over to the owner of the restaurant where they dined. And then bragged about their exploits on Facebook and included pictures....

TAH has much more, HERE, and they confirm what even this civilian writer knows: DO YOUR HOMEWORK before you rush to print with your 'scoop.' Oh, and a smidgen of commonsense doesn't hurt! As I have written before, everybody has a story to tell, and yes, every journalist loves a scoop, but as TAH quotes Holmes as saying:

“Do I have an ax to grind? Yeah...

I am not one to yell conspiracy at every corner, (well, not much,) but once again, Hasting has proved an anti-military bias in the msm in his zeal to go with a story that shows our military in a bad light. However, as TAH has proved, if little punk Hastings had done even rudimentary research, he would have found that Holmes' story was not all as it seemed on first breathless blush.

It's called reSEARCH for a reason, Mikey. Hastings, in an interview I found somewhere when I was researching him (yes, I did research Hastings): "I am a journalist, not a stenographer." Seems to me there might be a stenographer's chair with his name on it about now.

Meanwhile, our military - our veterans - has done the research that Mikey Hastings did not bother to do. Get out your stenographer's notebook, Mikey, and take note. Better leave the real journalistic research to the big kids. THIS is how a story is really covered.

Happy Birthday !

And when she wraps her hand
around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about

It's hangin' on when your heart
has had enough
It's giving more when you feel like giving up
I've seen the light
It's in my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes I can see the future
A reflection of who I am and what will be
Though she'll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I'm gone I hope you see how happy
she made me
For I'll be there
In my daughter's eyes

"To infinity and beyond..." Yes! This much...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The End is Nigh???

From Israel National News:

The End is Near for Qaddafi: Rebels Control Most of Libya

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Libyan rebels control most of Libya’s oil production facilities, have taken over another town and are closing in on Tripoli, Muammar Qaddafi’s sole base.

Reporters in the city of Zariwa, where Qaddafi’s supporters took them to show how its forces were in control, saw opposition fighters flying their own flag and controlling barricades in the city, where intense fighting took place last week.

Qaddafi continued to thump his version of events, charging that Libyan youth are being drugged to go on a rampage of "destruction and sabotage.”

He continues to hold on to the capital of Tripoli, but the opposition has firm control of most of the oil production facilities in Africa’s richest oil country....

Read the rest here.

Attention all veterans!

From Yankeemom:

From my inbox:

From the desk of the CEO, Veterans-For-Change

It’s hard to believe that 20 years have passed since the ground assault of Desert Storm began, or that 57 years have passed since the war in Vietnam began, or that 61 years have passed since the war in Korea began.

Many of the specific memories and details of those days-and of subsequent days after our soldiers had advanced - have faded, some memories have remained very clear. Among them are the character, the personalities, and the faces of the Soldiers you served with.

Like American Soldiers of every generation, those with whom you served were a great and diverse mixture of young people-from every part of our great country and from every culture, ethnicity, and economic background. But their differences did not define them. What defined them, was their willingness to serve, their dedication, and the way they put their hearts and souls into every assigned task-no different than the young men and women serving today, and over the past decade, in Iraq and Afghanistan. All of them personify the four simple promises of the Soldier’s Creed:

Ø I will always place the mission first.

Ø I will never accept defeat.

Ø I will never quit.

Ø I will never leave a fallen comrade.

Many of you never thought of the day you’d be a Veteran, or of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

That’s why we must double our efforts to care for Veterans, their families, and their caregivers-of every generation....

Yankeemom has more here. Please go read.

NASA: Discovery docked at the ISS

Sat, 26 Feb 2011 17:24:41 -0600

Space shuttle Discovery docked to the International Space Station at 2:14 p.m. EST Saturday with its cargo of a new station module, equipment and supplies for the orbiting laboratory.

After a delay to let the relative motion between the two spacecraft, with a combined mass of 1.2 million pounds, dampen out, hatches separating crews were opened at 4:16 p.m. Shuttle astronauts, Commander Steve Lindsey, Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Alvin Drew, Steve Bowen, Michael Barratt and Nicole Stott moved into the station.

Following handshakes, hugs and a welcoming ceremony by the station crew, Expedition 26 Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka, Alexander Kaleri, Dmitry Kondratyev, Paolo Nespoli and Catherine Coleman, Discovery astronauts received the standard station safety briefing.

The crews promptly went to work, with Barratt and Stott preparing to use the station’s robotic arm to pluck Express Logistic Carrier 4 from the shuttle cargo bay and hand it off to the shuttle’s arm, operated by Drew and Boe. After moving the base of Canadarm2, the shuttle arm was to hand ELC4 back for installation on the Earth-facing side of the station’s starboard truss. There it will be used for stowage of spare parts, including a spare radiator launched aboard Discovery.

(source: NASA)

Every Day Hero

Meet Major Troy Scott:

U.S. Army National Guard, Troy Scott

"We have the world's largest, baddest army," said Major Troy Scott of the Army National Guard, while explaining how easily stereotypes against other nations' militaries can often arise. "But when you're building a coalition, you have to get past those obstacles."

MAJ Scott ‘s deployment to eastern Afghanistan in 2008- his first and for which he has received a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, and the Army Commendation Medal with Valor for his service- was spent in the company of those whom many back home may not have expected. Two thirds of the "Herculean" Task Force he commanded were members of the Polish military brigade - not American soldiers.

MAJ Scott was assigned as Senior U.S. Advisor to the Polish Military Contingent in Afghanistan, operating as the Deputy Commander of the 1200 man Task Force White Eagle- predominately Poles- from March 2008 to October 2008. It was the only coalition battalion-size task force under the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division.

On October 31, 2008 the Polish Military Contingent assumed responsibility of their own Brigade battle space, with MAJ Scott continuing on as advisor to the Polish brigade.

Said MAJ Scott, "Sometimes U.S. Forces, we look at ourselves- and rightly so- as a superior force." But, he explained, to watch one of our NATO partners (particularly the Poles) operate in Afghanistan and exceed expectations proved to be a tremendously gratifying experience

There has been a further impact to maintaining such a partnership as well. Keeping the Poles in Afghanistan allows the U.S. to keep 3 times the number of our soldiers out of Afghanistan.

"The value is expediential- a combat multiplier," he said.

It was MAJ Scott's job to ensure that the American expectations were understandable for the Poles, for whom English was not their second language, but their third. Scott, who had no previous experience with the Polish military or even the Polish language, observed the melding of two differing armies and cultures, fighting alongside one another for a shared goal in a foreign space.

Learning the land and history of the region was key to both MAJ Scott and his Task Force. During his deployment, his brigade participated in the largest coalition movement of personnel in Afghanistan, moving battle spaces from the Paktika province to the Ghazni province.

"You have to be a little bit politician, engineer, city planner, lawyer," described MAJ Scott.

For his service and leadership, MAJ Scott has also been recommended for the Silver Star and Distinguished Service Cross.

(source DoD )

Back in December, 2009, CJ named Major Scott Soldier of the Week on YouServed. Go here and read more about the Major. You can also find a YouTube radio interview Major Scott did on the Martha Zoller Show here.

In April 2009, the American Red Cross also honoured Major Scott:

Red Cross praises Guardsman for heroism

Major also nominated for Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star

Posted Apr 17, 2009 @ 11:16 PM


Like many veterans, Maj. Troy Scott is uncomfortable being called a hero.

The local chapter of the American Red Cross, however, doesn’t have a problem heaping praise on him.

Friday, Scott was one of a dozen people singled out by the Illinois Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross during its annual Hero’s Breakfast. Scott got the military award, while others from the health-care and education fields were recognized as well — as workplace heroes, youth heroes and civic heroes.

Kyle Belz, interim CEO for the local Red Cross chapter, said the annual breakfast is a way to share the stories of some amazing people.

“These stories of courage, compassion and resilience reveal to us what the spirit of community is all about. We hope that by sharing these stories, people will be inspired,” Belz said.

Scott, of Springfield, returned home a few weeks ago after spending about a year in Afghanistan with the Illinois National Guard. During that time, his actions on the battlefield earned him nominations for the Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star.

The Distinguished Service Cross is America’s second-highest military honor.

The fight that prompted the nomination occurred Jan. 6. Scott was leading a coalition force into an Afghan village that had been the site of an insurgent rocket-propelled grenade attack the day before.

Scott said he doesn’t like to talk about the incident, so he instead supplied an Army narrative...

Go read the rest here.

Thank you for your service, Major Scott!

Music and Me

You can pour your soul out singing
A song you believe in
That tomorrow they'll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway
Yea, sing it anyway
Yeah, yeah!

I sing
I dream
I love


Saturday, February 26, 2011

On the cover of the Rolling Stone: Hastings aims at another General - the military fires back

Michael Hastings of Rolling Stone is at it again. Little punk Mikey, whose most recent claim to fame was writing a story on General Stanley McChrystal, decided to milk his 15 minutes of infamy, and has set his sights on yet another General, in this case LTG William Caldwell IV.

I really did try to read Mikey's latest breathless prose, but honestly? I just couldn't get past the first few paragraphs to know that, once again, this 'award-winning "journalist" is so intent on claiming another scalp, and yet more notoriety, he doesn't do his homework.

Fortunately, others in the military community did manage to read all of Hastings' latest, and they are firing back on all cylinders (or whatever the appropriate military metaphor is):

First out of the gate was War on Terror News:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hastings Battles Generals on the Pages of Rolling Stone

LTG Caldwell When Michael Yon attacked Generals Menard and McChrystal, his readership soared. When Michael Hastings of Rolling Stone magazine published disparaging remarks by General McChrystal's staff, their hits peaked at 943,000 the day after, 600% of their norm. Their American readership soared from 100k to 753k that day. There's no telling how many copies of that issue were sold. The General was fired within hours for daring to note that the POTUS had hardly given him the time of day. Hastings got an award from his fellow journalists for taking down the General. Their online revenue likely hit 6x the norm as well.

So, it's little surprise, that Hastings and Rolling Stone have decided to try to replicate those numbers. This time, they're going after LTG Caldwell IV, and relying on hearsay and "he said, she said," with a zeal reminiscent of the Inquisition. He's aligned himself with an officer with a bone to pick: LTC Holmes (a married man) was investigated for inappropriate relations with a subordinate and evidently took issue with orders given him by the General, his boss. Hastings decided to get the hackles of Senators up, by implying they had been played.

But there are some things that don't add up in the LTC's story. He claims that his role is "PsyOps," but one insider has called him out on it. Evidently, the officer was assigned in an "Information Operations" (IO) role, and does not appear to be involved in a "psychological operations" position at all. There is a crucial distinction between the two, and an important truth. The US Army places a premium on Truth, so even when it conducts "PsyOps" against the enemy, it uses the truth in order to maintain believability in current and future operations of the kind. While IO is designed to get the truth publicized across the spectrum, psyops (now called MISO) is designed to be used against the enemy. It would be illegal and immoral for psyops to be used against Americans, even though it is still the truth. IO is important though, because the MSM is not getting the full story out. IO is designed to publicize the atrocities of the enemy and the good deeds of Our Own Troops, which seems to be the opposite of what the MSM wants to spotlight...[emphasis mine]...

WOTN has much more here, as they continue to dissect Hastings' contribution to 'truth' and the msm. WOTN presents facts - those pesky things that the msm generally, and Hastings' specifically here - choose to ignore.

A Soldier's Perspective is next, and CJ Grisham, currently serving in the US military, continues to educate peons like Mikey Hastings:

CJ Rolling Stone Targets Another General

February 25th, 2011 by CJ

Matt, from Blackfive, already beat me to writing this, so some of what I say may parrot what's already been written there. But, I know LTC Caldwell and I can't sit silent and let RS get away with stupidity.

Rolling Stone – I'm glad I ended my subscription YEARS ago – alleges that LTG William Caldwell violated laws and regulations by using "psychological operations" against American, specifically Senators and Congresscritters.

The list of targeted visitors was long, according to interviews with members of the IO team and internal documents obtained by Rolling Stone. Those singled out in the campaign included senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Jack Reed, Al Franken and Carl Levin; Rep. Steve Israel of the House Appropriations Committee; Adm. Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Czech ambassador to Afghanistan; the German interior minister, and a host of influential think-tank analysts.

The incident offers an indication of just how desperate the U.S. command in Afghanistan is to spin American civilian leaders into supporting an increasingly unpopular war.


Like Blackfive, I wouldn't be surprised if this LTC is out for vengeance and swinging wildly trying to pass the buck. I have worked and do work very closely with Psy-ops units for years and they all know the rules. Being in the military, I see exactly what is happening from this article, but the uninformed that have never served a day in uniform will assume the worst. [emphasis mine] I'm going to try and break this down allegation by allegation in the hopes that it makes sense. Some areas I CAN'T directly respond to by virtue of my access and duties and this is NOT an official response by any means – just my personal opinions based on experience. I will completely ignore those....

*Gasp*! 'Based on experience'????? CJ does go point by point, and Hastings would do well to read it here, before writing his next ' scoop.'

The BlackFive column CJ refers to?:

Posted By Blackfive • [February 25, 2011]

By now, you all have probably heard about or read this story from muckraker Michael Hastings about Lieutenant General Caldwell utilizing Psy-ops resources (personnel) in order to influence American politiicans - specifically some very key Senators.

...The list of targeted visitors was long, according to interviews with members of the IO team and internal documents obtained by Rolling Stone. Those singled out in the campaign included senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Jack Reed, Al Franken and Carl Levin; Rep. Steve Israel of the House Appropriations Committee; Adm. Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Czech ambassador to Afghanistan; the German interior minister, and a host of influential think-tank analysts...

Like Jack Reid and Joe Lieberman and Carl Levin are weak minded fools and LTC Holmes was going to use some kind of mind-kung-fu on them? Come on...

This whole article smells of a disgruntled Lieutenant Colonel who got caught breaking the rules (drinking alcohol, inappropriate relationship, etc.) and is now in full-on reprisal mode. ...

And yes, you know there is more - here - as yet another military veteran takes Hastings' to the woodshed, and continues his education. Hello, Mikey??? You detecting a theme here yet? May I *suggest* that you widen your list of sources before you rush to print? Hmmmm?

Not to be outdone, left out of the fun of pointing out the error of his ways to Mikey, (who is apparently a legendary 'military expert' in his own mind,) This Ain't Hell enters the fray, and attempts to contribute to Hastings' education:

Rolling Stone accuses Caldwell of using brainwave deathray on Congress

Yes, it’s actually news for the pot heads at the Rolling Stone that DoD tries to convince Congressmen to finance their projects. But, apparently the military has a secret mind-manipulation process that doesn’t work so well on detainees (see Tony Camerino posts) but is easily adapted to influencing congressmen...


Who did they target?

John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Jack Reed, Al Franken and Carl Levin; Rep. Steve Israel of the House Appropriations Committee; Adm. Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Czech ambassador to Afghanistan; the German interior minister, and a host of influential think-tank analysts.

Really? Al Franken? They could brainwash him with a used wet nap if they could find the BB-sized organ.

How much convincing would it take for McCain, Lieberman and Mullen? Aren’t they all pro-victory in the first place?

I wonder if Rolling Stone even suspects that they’ve just been the subjects of a counter-intelligence operation...

An informed analysis here. And yes, TAH has other columns up that I recommend that Hastings read.

Susan Katz Keating also has her 2 cents' worth to add:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Rolling Stone Journo to Get Nick Meo Award? Go, Team PsyOp!


Meanwhile, speaking of things that make you reach for the nice tall mug of Whiskey Tango Etcetera...

It appears as if Rolling Stone scribbler Michael Hastings has emerged as front runner in this year's Nick Meo Awards for Journalistic Rectumtude (uhhh... my Spellcheck is broken, so I may be a bit off on my wordsmithery, but you know what I'm trying to say).

Hastings is awesome. First, he wrote the article that likely was a reverse psyop allowing Gen. Stan McChrystal to bug out of Afghanistan. Now, Hastings has unearthed a secret project in the grand old tradition of MK Ultra and other covertness, aimed against... JSM himself, and other Senators! Or so he claims....

WTF indeed! SKK has much more to share with Hastings here. If you don't know who Nick Meo is, you have been reading in all the wrong places, and/or not paying attention. Google him.

All in all, I'd say Michael Hastings need to rethink his approach to serious journalism, that is if expects his 'work' to be taken seriously. Yet again, maybe not, since just these excerpts alone prove how inadequate he is, when set against REAL military experts.

As WOTN points out, for Hastings, Rolling Stone, and yes, most msm, any story is all about the ratings, readership, and by extension advertiser dollars. Based on just this one story alone, no reader looking for facts could/should look to pieces like Hastings' latest for truths. It surely isn't coincidence that while msm numbers continue a downward spiral, online blog sites' readership continues to climb.

It is all about credibility. Once again, Hastings proves that he is more than a tad short in that department. Once again, when it comes to military facts, stories, our military shows people like Hastings up for the inept tools that they are. Of course, I could suggest that Mikey Hastings get together with that other intrepid 'journalist' - Mikey Yon - and compare notes. They both seem to subscribe to the same school of journalism: never let the facts get in the way of a 'good' story.

Meanwhile, our real military experts continue to set the record straight. Pay attention, Mikey!

Release the Hounds: K9's on the frontlines

From War on Terror News:

K9's Key in Combatting Drugs/Explosives in Afghanistan

Karo and SSgt Michael Stevens

Bringing more bark to fight
by Tech. Sgt. Stacia Zachary USAF

FORWARD OPERATING BASE LAGMAN, Afghanistan -- To counter the growing improvised explosive device threat in Afghanistan, as well as detect the well-established drug trade here, the increased use of military working dogs have become a critical part of daily operations. Not only can they detect explosives and drug hoards, they can actively engage the enemy and alert the patrols of imminent danger.

"The dogs bring to the fight an inherent ability to sense things that we couldn't even begin to perceive," said Tech. Sgt. Paul Rasmussen, Combined Team Zabul kennel master.

"They can smell things that could be bad news for us, like explosive
caches and [improvised explosive devices]. It's almost like a sixth sense because they can sense something out of the ordinary well before we could detect it."...

There is much more to this story of some of my favourite heroes. Head over to WOTN here.

*This post Bratdog approved!*

Release the Hounds: Part 2

02/22/2011 - U.S. Navy Master-at-Arms Seaman Apprentice Robert Blaton, a dog handler assigned to the Naval Station Mayport military working dog program, and his dog Benny, conduct an explosive proficiency evolution near an empty building during exercise Solid Curtain/Citadel Shield 2011 in Mayport, Fla., Feb. 22, 2011. The annual weeklong exercise, which was conducted on naval bases and installations throughout the continental United States, is designed to enhance the training and readiness of Navy security personnel to respond to threats. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Gary Granger Jr., U.S. Navy/Released)

From NASA: Through Heaven's Eyes

Fri, 25 Feb 2011 06:08:58 -0600

The crew of space shuttle Discovery awoke at 6:54 a.m. EST to the song “Through Heaven's Eyes” by Brian Stokes Mitchell from the Prince of Egypt soundtrack, played for Mike Barratt at the request of his family. Discovery will spend two days heading toward its rendezvous with the International Space Station. Today, the crew will perform the standard scan of the shuttle’s thermal protection system using the orbiter boom sensor system attached to the end of Discovery’s robotic arm. While the inspection is underway, Bowen, Drew and Stott will work on preparing the spacesuits onboard the shuttle that will be transferred to the station after docking and will be used during the mission’s two spacewalks.

A single thread in a tapestry
though its color brightly shines
can never see its purpose
in the pattern of the grand design
and the stone that sits up on the very top
of the mountain's mighty face
does it think that it's more important
than the stones that forms the base
So how can you see what your life is worth
or where your value lies
ohhhh, you can never see through the eyes of man
you must look at your life
look at your life through heaven's eyes

NASA: Discovery ALOFT!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Learn to be still

For two special friends: I have faith..

There are so many contradictions
In all these messages we send
(we keep asking)
How do I get out of here
Where do I fit in?
Though the world is torn and shaken
Even if your heart is breakin’
It’s waiting for you to awaken
And someday you will-
Learn to be still
Learn to be still


Private Nathan McFarland is welcomed home by his son Jack
[Picture: Sergeant Ian Forsyth RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

From MoD:

Royal Welsh soldiers return home from Afghanistan

A History and Honour news article

25 Feb 11

Soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh returned to their base in Tidworth, Wiltshire, yesterday after a successful six-month deployment to Afghanistan.

99 members of B (Rorke's Drift) Company were welcomed back by their families, friends and colleagues after playing a key front line role as the Armoured Infantry Battle Group in Helmand province using Warrior infantry fighting vehicles.

Altogether, 150 soldiers from B Company deployed to Afghanistan in July 2010 and have been assisting with the security and stabilisation programme in Helmand and Kandahar provinces.

Initially based in Helmand they were deployed in a ground-holding role near the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah. Around Christmas time they were retasked and provided security for the rebuilding of Highway 1 in their Warrior armoured vehicles.

Highway 1 links the key economic and political hubs of both Helmand and Kandahar and in recent months has been significantly repaired and rejuvenated. B Company played an integral part in providing the security for this joint Afghan, UK and US project.

The return of B Company also marks the end of two years of operations in Afghanistan for 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh. The first deployment was in February 2009.

Over the past 24 months the battalion has suffered three fatalities and a number of personnel have been wounded. Private Richard Hunt was killed in August 2009, Private James Prosser in September 2009, and Lance Corporal Christopher Harkett in March 2009, all as a result of being caught in explosions.

A welcome home parade for B (Rorke's Drift) Company will be held in Cardiff on 30 April 2011.



Red Shirt Friday


Earthquake Relief

Operation Awhina: Canterbury Earthquake Relief


Thursday 24 February 2011

The New Zealand Defence Force is continuing its effort in support of emergency agencies dealing with search and rescue in Christchurch.

  • 738 NZ Army personnel with approximately eighty vehicles are committed alongside116 Singapore Army personnel who were in New Zealand for an exercise. These personnel are helping man the cordons.
  • Two environmental health teams are working alongside Ministry of Health teams in the city.
  • A 350 bed tent city has been established at Burnham Camp to be increased to 500 beds to support the arrival of international contributions.
  • 150 Air Force personnel are committed to the task with two Boeing B757 aircraft and two Hercules C-130 aircraft continued to support air-bridge task CH-WN deploying emergency response personnel and equipment , bulk water and NZDF resources.
  • 1053 personnel were processed by Christchurch Air Movements. 936 personnel moved by RNZAF Aircraft.
  • 91 Australian citizens have been carried by RAAF to Australia and 26 Singaporean citizens by Royal Singapore Air Force.
  • Two Iroquois helicopters are currently in Christchurch from No3 SQN RNZAF.
  • 200 Navy personnel are committed in the Lyttelton area with HMNZS CANTERBURY alongside Lyttelton and OTAGO/ PUKAKI at anchor in approaches.
  • The Navy’s Littoral Warfare Support Group will complete a survey of the port using Navy divers and a remote underwater vehicle.
  • CANTERBURY provided 700 meals last night and non-armed security patrol of 10 pers remain in the Lyttelton Town centre
  • Army engineers will be setting up two water points including water purification (Lyttleton and New Brighton) later today. They will also be carrying out clearance tasks in the Pages/Breezes Rd area.
  • Forty five dialysis patients were carried out of the city yesterday on a Boeing 757aircraft to Auckland.
  • NZ Defence Force is providing assisitance to Civil Defence and foreign rescue teams.
  • NSW has 72 pers and twenty tonnes of gear, Queensland 70 pers, 3 dogs and 22 tonnes of gear.
  • Japan has 63 pers, 3 dogs and 10 tonnes of gear.
  • Singapore has another 33 pers, 3 dogs and 10 tonnes of equipment.
  • The US will be sending 80 pers and 40 tonnes of equipment.
  • Taiwan plans to send 24 pers, 2 dogs and 2 tonnes of gear.
  • The UK is sending 63 pers and 9 tonnes of equipment.



Desert Rats prepare for deployment to Afghanistan 23.02.11

The clock is ticking down to pre-tour leave and then deployment to Afghanistan for the men and women of 7th Armoured Brigade. The Germany based "Desert Rats" have finished the majority of their training in the UK and are now back at home base in Bergen-Hohne Garrison. In the first of a series of reports building up to deployment, British Forces News joined one soldier for his final preparations.

From: BritishForcesNews | Feb 24, 2011 |

And my regular readers will know, I had to go look for information on Desert Rats:

The History of the British 7th Armoured Division

Divisional sign 1940 to end 1944

"The Desert Rats"

During the formal opening of the "Winston" Club, in Berlin, for the 7th Armoured Division Other Ranks, by Winston Churchill, his speech contained the following words;

"Soldiers of the 7th Armoured Division. I am delighted to be able to open this Club and I shall always consider it a great honour that it should be named after me.

I have, not of the first time, had the pleasure of seeing your troops march past, and this brings back to my mind the great many moving incidents in these last, long fierce years.

Now, here in Berlin, I find you all established in this great centre, from which, as from a volcano, fire and smoke and poison fumes have erupted all over Europe twice in a generation. And in bygone times also German fury has been let loose on her neighbours, and now it is we who have our place in the occupation of this country.

I feel that I can go far as to ask Field Marshal Montgomery to signalise this happy event of the Great Victory Parade we have has today by giving a whole holiday to all troops in Berlin and I hope, Field Marshal, that you can accommodate this to operational and other necessities.

Now I have only a word more to say about the Desert Rats. They were the first to begin. The 11th Hussars were in action in the desert in 1940 and ever since you have kept marching steadily forward on the long road to victory. Through so many countries and changing scenes you have fought your way.

It is not without emotion that I can express to you what I feel about the Desert Rats.

Dear Desert Rats! May your glory ever shine! May your laurels never fade! May the memory of this glorious pilgrimage of war which you have made from Alamein, via the Baltic to Berlin never die!...

There is more of Churchill's speech here, [ ]

and lots of other great information here.[] (Yes, tech issues over here.)

Don't expect to find this on any front page of the msm, but go spend some time at the links and learn about these amazing heroes.


From War on Terror News:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bionic Foot Puts the Spring Back in one Veterans' Step

Capture Randy Tipton served three tours in Afghanistan and one tour in Iraq with the Special Forces returning home safely only to have his left foot amputated in a motorcycle/car accident.

In 2005, Tipton retired from the Army. He held the rank of Sergeant First Class. While riding his motorcycle, Tipton was hit by a car, the driver had been talking on his cell phone. Tipton lost his leg as a result of that accident.

On Wednesday, February 16th, Tipton gave a demonstration of just how nicely the iWalk PowerFoot BiOM worked for him, as he walked down a hallway at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas. He is able to walk without a noticeable limp.

The iWalk PowerFoot BiOM uses microprocessors, sensors, a motor and a carbon-fiber spring all designed to help replace the action of the amputee's missing Achilles' tendon, ankle and calf muscle. Even better, the bionic foot can be adjusted by the user on a Droid smart phone, using Bluetooth technology to link them up.

According to Mark Benveniste, a prosthetist at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, the bionic foot is an "active foot" not just a "passive foot." "All other (prosthetic) feet are passive, meaning they may have a hinge to the ankle, but they aren't going to power you," Benveniste said. "This foot is an active foot."...

Go read the rest of this great B*N*S*N story here.


02/18/2011 - From left to right, the guided missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63), fleet replenishment oiler USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199) and 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) conduct an underway replenishment in the Pacific Ocean, Feb. 18, 2011, following a goodwill port visit to Manila, Philippines. Underway replenishments can allow an entire fleet's supplies to be replenished within a matter of hours without a change in course. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian A. Stone, U.S. Navy/Released)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lt Nazar Mohammed at war from age 14

From UK Forces Afghanistan:

Afghanistan special report: Lt Nazar Mohammed at war from age 14

February 23, 2011

by Chris Hughes, Daily Mirror
Pictures by Andy Stenning

Behind enemy lines in Afghanistan: Day Two

THEY call him The Commander. And sitting on a compound roof raking Taliban positions with his PK machine gun this grizzled Charles Bronson lookalike is a master of the terrible art of war.

Lieutenant Nazar Mohammed is a near-legendary Tajik warrior who has been at war since 14 when he picked up a gun to avenge his brother’s death.

Then he was a mujahedeen fighting the Russians, now he is commanding a heavy weapons platoon of battle-hardened Afghan National Army soldiers on the Helmand front line.

These are the British and American-trained troops whose new soldiering skills will be the legacy our forces leave behind when they withdraw by 2015.

More than 12,000 are now fully trained in Helmand – just under half the 30,000 needed to secure the flashpoint province – once the Taliban heartland.

All over Afghanistan there are just over 157,000 trained ANA.


The lethal Soviet-made, belt-fed machine gun looks like an extension of the 35-year-old father of two’s arm as he calmly blasts the insurgents, his loyal men applauding every burst.

After 20 minutes he shrugs and climbs down, nodding at Lieutenant Rhydian Emlyn-Williams.

It’s as if he is telling his British adviser – 12 years his junior: “That’s how you deal with the Taliban Afghan-style.”

When RPGs go bang and bullets fly Lt Nazar doesn’t even blink....

Go read the rest of this here.

Music and Me - Just Because

"...Hello God, we've learned our lesson..." Apparently not!

Another day, another rocket

From Israel National News:

Terrorists Fire Two Rockets at Be'er Sheva; IDF Retaliates

by Maayana Miskin and Elad Benari

Gaza terrorists fired two Grad rockets at Be'er Sheva on Wednesday evening. The rockets hit the city. One rocket exploded in a building and caused heavy damage to the place. Police forces are scouring the area trying to locate the second rocket.

Six adults and four children were taken to Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva after suffering from trauma following the explosion, the hospital spokeswoman said.

The attack was the first of its kind since the conclusion of Operation Cast Lead in early 2009. It follows a steady trend of escalation of terrorism in Gaza. During Cast Lead terrorists hit Be'er Sheva seven times, causing injuries and massive damage to property.

In response to the attack on Be'er Sheva, the IAF targeted a terrorist squad in the Northern Gaza Strip a short time after the attack, in the same location from where the rockets had been fired towards. A direct hit was confirmed.

The IDF noted that it "will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians or IDF soldiers, and will continue to respond harshly to terror. The IDF holds the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for maintaining the calm in the Gaza Strip and for any terrorist activity emanating from it."

On Wednesday morning Gaza terrorists fired five mortar shells at soldiers and civilians in the Negev. The IDF responded by firing on several terrorists, injuring them. One of the terrorists later died of his injuries....

Much more here.

And the world shrugs.

Danish commitment to 'Helmand Plan 2011'

From the MoD:

Danish Government agrees troop plan for Afghanistan

A Defence Policy and Business news article

23 Feb 11

Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox has welcomed the announcement by the Danish Government of an agreed way forward for its troop contribution in Afghanistan over the next two years.

Danish soldiers meet with local Afghans

Danish soldiers meet with local Afghans in a village in the Gereshk district of Helmand province (stock image)
[Picture: US Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Aramis X Ramirez, Copyright ISAF 2009]

The Danish Parliament has agreed the 'Helmand Plan 2011' which involves a gradual shift in military efforts from combat to training with a focus on developing the Afghan National Security Forces.

The UK Ministry of Defence has been working closely in past weeks with its Danish counterparts in the run up to this announcement and welcomes the prospect of an enduring Danish military commitment to the ISAF campaign into 2014 and beyond.

There are 750 Danish troops in Helmand and they have been working alongside UK troops since 2006....

Much more here.

Thank you, Denmark!

STS-133: Discovery's Last Flight

STS133-S-002 -- STS-133 crew portrait
Image above: Pictured are NASA astronauts Steve Lindsey (center right) and Eric Boe (center left), commander and pilot, respectively; along with astronauts (from the left) Alvin Drew, Nicole Stott, Michael Barratt and Steve Bowen, all mission specialists. Photo credit: NASA

The STS-133 crew members are Commander Steven Lindsey, Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Alvin Drew, Michael Barratt, Steve Bowen and Nicole Stott. Bowen replaced astronaut Tim Kopra, who was injured in a bicycle accident in January.

Discovery will deliver and install the Permanent Multipurpose Module, the Express Logistics Carrier 4 and provide critical spare components to the International Space Station. This will be the 35th shuttle mission to the station.

All information here (and lots of other really cool 'stuff') from NASA.

Love Letter: The family also serves

From Stars and Stripes:

Wife's letter to deploying husband strikes a chord with others

Read Jennifer Chaloux's entire letter to her husband here

Jennifer Chaloux, newly wed and deeply in love, didn’t know what to do.

Her husband, Spc. Matthew Chaloux, a Georgia National Guardsman, was deploying to Afghanistan for a year.

Should she try not to cry? Give him a hug, get in the car and just drive off?

It was last spring, and Matthew was in his pre-deployment training at Camp Shelby, Miss. There’d be one final weekend at home, then he’d be gone.

She thought about the absence of the husband it had taken her half a lifetime to find.

"It just kind of hit me: ‘He’s going to be in a country with these terrorists who will stop at nothing,’ " she said. "What was he getting into? It really weighed on my mind.

"I said, I’ve got to say goodbye to my husband, and I don’t know how to do it."


So the former hairdresser sat down and wrote a letter to give him before he deployed. She wanted to put down in words all the things she was feeling.

"When you find out your husband/boyfriend is getting deployed, your world changes completely," the letter began. "The man you share your life with is leaving and there is no guarantee he will come home. Days fly by … hugs, kisses and sighs because reality is too close … days on end trying not to cry too hard so you don’t make them feel bad … laying your head on their chest trying to memorize the sound of his heartbeat, the way he holds you. …"

The letter goes on, detailing the awful talks about death benefits, the pride she feels, how she regards her husband as a hero, the worry and loneliness she’s already feeling.

It’s a three-page letter, filled with her innermost thoughts, her most tender feelings, her heartache.

Her husband read it. Then he posted it on the board at Camp Shelby...

The rest of this story is a must read, here.

The family also serves.