Scott the Badger reminds us all that today, 4 June, marks the 68th anniversary of Torpedo 8's famous attack against the Japanese fleet during the Battle of Midway. Of the core group onboard Hornet, 15 aircraft went into battle that day, and all were shot down by Japanese fighters or anti-aircraft fire, with the loss of every man except one, …
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Private First Class Andrew R. Small, B co, 1/32 Infantry, 10th Mountain Division.
Andrew was a friend of my son, and lived up the road in Wiscasset, Maine. He was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2006, and his death was mourned through the area. Almost every store, business, church, school, had a message on their fronts, and hundreds lined the streets to view his funeral procession.
Sadly, AW1 Tim was unable to attend this year’s event. An unfortunate cabal of real life situations conspired to prevent me from attending and from meeting up with many of my old friends. But there’s always next year. Sigh.
Regardless, the winners of this year’s Milbloggies have been announced and they are as follows:
Best U.S. Army Blog The Rhino Den
Best U.S. Military Spouse Blog **Wife [Widow] of a Wounded Marine**
Best U.S. Military Parent Blog Semper Fi Parents
Best U.S. Military Supporter Blog Character Does Matter
Best U.S. Marine Corps Blog One Marineâ€™s View
Best U.S. Navy Blog USNI Blog
Best U.S. Coast Guard Blog ryan erickson
Best U.S. Air Force Blog Aim High Erin
Best U.S. Military Veteran Blog You Served
Best U.S. Reporter Blog The Unknown Soldiers
My congratulations to each of these winners. If you haven’t checked out these blogs, be sure to do so.
I’ll have more info on the 2012 MilBlogger’s convention in a later post.
AW1 Tim’s good friends at “This Ain’t Hell” have this in the bag. Head operator there, Jonn Lilyea, Got credentialed and is live-blogging the entire proceedings for us.
Anyone who is interested can follow the proceeding here: Gitmo Trial Live Blog Just hit your F5 key to refresh.
Of course, Jonn has an image of the car at least one of the “unbiased” media is driving, complete with Obama 2012 sticker on it. Can’t wait to read THOSE shaded half-truths.
Jonn starts of this way:
So here I am at Fort Meade, MD with the unbiased media. That’s one of their cars in the parking lot when we met up with the ‘splody smelling dogs. Just thought I’d let you know that there might be a bias in the reportage. Not from me, though. The trial starts at 9AM, so here’s your program for the fun.
The defendants are Kahlid Sheik Mohammed, Walid Muhammad Sakith Mubarak Bin ‘Attash, Ramzi Binai Shibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi. The lead prosecutors are General Mark Martins (DoD), Edward Ryan (DoJ) and Robert Swann (DoD).
There’s another site here on Fort Meade for CCTV broadcast from Guantanamo for 9-11 victims’ family members. The media doesn’t have access to them (rightfully) until after the broadcast and then both groups are out of the control of DoD. There are also ten family members in Guantanamo watching the trial through one-way glass who were picked by lottery.
The way I plan to do this live blog is like the way I did Winter Soldier, continually update this post once the trial begins. All you have to do is hit F5 to refresh the post. That’s so interested bloggers can just post this link for their readers.
The DoD PAO promises us “high adventure” today, so stand by for the fun.
For those who don’t comprehend WHY these trials are finally taking place, let me remind you:
Iowahawk has once more used his own personal philosopher’s stone to change the lead of the Obama campaign’s Julia to the Golden Book edition it was meant to be. Go and read, and understand what the left REALLY means when they talk/tell/mandate how things should, er WILL be if they have their way.
I give you the Pravda edition of “The Life of Julia”, episode 1.) The rest are just as wonderful. Go, and be (re)educated.
I believe that this video is a GREAT recruiting tool. I There are darned few things I’d recommend to a High School musician more than considering one of the Military Musician programs. AW1 Tim was a music major in College, and had not there been openings in the Aviation Rates, I would have been in line to audition for the Navy Band.
You heard that right. Audition. NO ONE gets into any of the Military Music programs without passing an extensive and difficult audition. If you think you have what it takes, and seriously, what musician worth his or her chops doesn’t have an ego, then you owe it to yourself and your country to consider one of the Military’s Band programs. Excellent pay & benefits, plus extensive travel around the world. Even if you only do one enlistment, you’ll have experience and skills that will place you head & shoulders above others your age.
Further adventures of our friend TSO going on Patrol in Afghanistan. Interesting observations by him and our own military about the Afghans and the ANA.
In my defense, a first call of 0300 for a media embed is unconscionable. (Joes were 0200)
Nonetheless, when I showed up at the vehicles this morning for our SP time, my vehicle-mates would have been well within their rights to just send me back to my hooch. No MRE. Camelback empty. No gloves. Wearing sunglasses and using a white light (I honestly just thought it was dark.) And my field and stream shirt was inside out, so not only was the collar on the inside of my armor and rubbing the wrong way, but the interior mesh of the shirt was on the outside. And I might never have known about this deficiency until I caught sight of my shadow, and realized that those straps you use to make your shirt short-sleeved were hanging down from me. Dude, soup sandwich don’t have [stuff] on me.
Today was day 2 of actual patrols with the ANA, and I remain impressed by them. I was sitting outside one Qalat with an E4 (maybe an RTO) who looked up at his ANA counterparts and waved to one of them. “You know what pisses me off about the media and civilians?” he asked. “They either badmouth the ANA or they think all of these people are savages. Neither is true.” he lamented as he shook his head.
The man “Parachute Cutie” calls “Captain America”, the CO of Able company agrees. “Look at ‘em, doing everything we do.” The CO and the 1SG are a hilarious couple. They remind me of the guys from the old Bartles and James commercials where one guy talks nonstop, and the other just sort of nods. You could ask 1SG if he could pass the salt and somehow, without breathing, he’d be still talking 20 minutes later, and telling you how much he is pulling for some girl on The Voice. The CO is more like me, you have a certain number of spoken words you can use each day, and he is economizing them, and his are spoken in this Tennessee drawl so I listen pretty close to every one of them.
The two of them never stop smiling, answer everything I ask, and tease the troops and each other mercilessly. In fact, everyone in this unit smiles a lot. My only complaint at all is that the PSG I am with smiles right before he launches into epic arse-chewings, and I never get a chance to get it on video. It’s not what he says neccessarily that makes them epic, but he has this certain panache that makes his rants so enjoyable. I swear, I look around before patrols in hopes someone isn’t wearing knee pads, which to hear him tell it might be worthy of a court martial.
But today I got to follow the CO around, and watch him interact with the troops, the terp (“Cletus” is probably not his given Afghan name, but it is on his nametape) and the Afgan Army guys. He pointed out all the stuff they were doing. For instance, we were moving through one village, and it had probably 20-30 qalats, and in-between the houses were 2-300m open spaces. Where on my deployment here (’04-05) I had witnessed similiarly situated ANA guys walking around in circles or playing soccer with UXO (well, it probably wasn’t unexploded ordinance, but it was a cylinder that looked unhealthy) these guys set up overwatch positions, and then bounded in 2 elements.
When we went into the compounds, they didn’t steal everything that wasn’t tied down, they talked to the homeowner first, requested permission to climb up on the roofs, didn’t leave litter everywhere, and then thanked the guy when we left. They continue to not get the total concept of safety* but on tactical stuff they are great. They understand how to use the maps, and communicated through the radios pretty effectively. When one guy was apparently not pulling his weight yesterday morning, he literally got a boot to his arse, and then the ANA Commander took away the guys weapon and chased him back on the compound. They seem to take real pride in the work they are doing, and seem very cognizant of the importance. It may be a small thing, but they decorate all their vehicles with the Afghan flag, and they seem to be very cogniscent of emerging nationalism.
*Case in point was the weapons test fire the other day, and this other poor cat that was in the back of a pickup that I saw the other day. Undeterred by a man standing in the back with a DShK attached to the roof, the driver decided to take a series of bumps at about 30 MPH. Guy in the back had to let go of the gun, and grab onto the side of the truck. The perturbations of the vehicle of course send the DShK spinning in a circle, so now the guy is holding on for dear life to the sides, while simultaneously channeling Jackie Chan’s ducking ability to keep from getting his block knocked off by a machinegun.
Another patrolmate today was Pookie, some sort of mutt that the guys think is a guardian angel. It should be noted that this Talisman of Luck is not being fed, owned or in anyway controlled by the Joes (that would violate General Order 1B prohibiting pets) but rather appears to live over at the ANA compound, and runs out at the sound of vehicles. This isn’t a dog I would take home to play with mine. The only reason I was upset about not bringing my gloves this morning was because I would rather shower with turpentine than pet that dog without gloves on. MOPP 4 would even be preferred. But that guy was running alongside the vehicles as we left and then patrolled with us when on the ground. A few times he got a little lazy and just skipped large portions of the road on cut-backs, but most the time he ran right behind one of our vehicles. Was glad to see Pookie with us today though, since I saw a dead dog yesterday on patrol, and it made me a bit sad. The guys think nothing bad will happen when Pookie is around.
Anyway, that is it for today. It’s noon and I am exhausted. And I just ate what they refer to as “chow” here, and I therefore know I have a date with the restrooms in my near future. After that, a shower, some laundry, and then a nap that will last through first call tomorrow. Let’s hope common decency prevails and that first call isn’t before….oh, let’s say 0900.
AW1 Tim’s friend and fellow veteran, TSO, also known as Mark Seavey, checks in with his first official post from Afghanistan. Mark is currently embedded Able Company, 3-66th Infantry. Mark is many things, Veteran, blogger, Pats fan, devoted husband, and runs the American Legion’s official blog: The Burn Pit.
His intro pieces, describing his journey to Afghanistan are:
His first official embed piece is posted over to “This Ain’t Hell” another great blog, btw, and may be read in full there. Here’s the opening and I encourage you to visit TAH and give it a read. I’ll continue to post Mark’s other articles as they become available.
“Outside The Wire, Fun With The ANA”
Even before I made it out here (FOB Andar) I had heard an NCO tell me how lucky I was to get embedded with Able Co, 3-66. “Awesome unit, awesome leadership”, he said. “They love the CO, but they worship the 1SG, dude is a stud.” That was my first impression when I met the leadership as well, but I decided to ask one of the NCO’s I was out with yesterday. He sort of smiled, “Well, that’s half right, we pretty much worship the CO too.”
Getting here wasn’t easy, and it was rife with anxiety. KAF-BAF-Sharana-Andar is a pain in the ass travel scenario. At one point a AF person told me my ticket would cost $122. I was somewhat stunned, since the orders just said I was to have access to anything I needed, but I said “ok, how can I pay.” What followed was a surreal experience as they explained that I couldn’t pay cash, couldn’t pay credit card, couldn’t be billed for it. Then the AF female and a KBR person just started screaming at each other, and the loadmaster that was for my bird whispered to me, “We’ll get you on the bird man, don’t worry about this horse[expletive.]“ At the next stop, an Army female and a KBR guy also got into it over who had priority for weighing folks on the one scale they had.
So by the time I made it here, I was pretty tight and apprehensive all around. Every unit I’ve been in has had some defect. Whether it is the leadership being not up to par, or the troops not getting along, there’s always s0mething. Here, not so much. Everybody gets along great, and they play jokes on each other constantly. And the PLs and PSGs all seem top notch, none more so than the Platoon I went out with yesterday.
Go and read The Rest. It’s good to see real MilBlogging like it used to be.
Milton Eugene Carlisle passed away on the 20th of April, 2012 after a long and productive life. I never met the man, but I’ve known many like him. He was a member of that “Greatest Generation” of Americans, those who set aside their lives to help win WWII, and keep our nation, and the world, from being plunged into darkness.
Seaman Carlisle served as a Captain’s Orderly aboard USS Kwajalein, CVE-98, an escort carrier. His wasn’t a fancy job, nor particularly dangerous, though there are many ways to be injured or killed aboard any vessel. He ran messages, helped with paperwork, and did any one of a number of things that needed to be done in order for the Captain & his staff to function. It was an important job, just as every job in the military is important, and THAT is what should be remembered. His country needed young men, he saw where his duty lay, and he raised his hand and took the oath. That set him apart, and made him someone special.
After the war, Milton moved to Cache Valley, Utah, and started from scratch to build a new life. I also grew up in Cache Valley, and knew many, many men like him. Noble in their straightforward way, their willingness to do whatever was needed in order to put a roof over his family’s head, food on their table, and to increase his family’s prosperity.
Milton represents the kind of man that Americans used to be, the kind found everywhere. He didn’t need welfare. He was willing to work for what he had, to give a day’s honest work for a day’s honest pay, and he succeeded. He started out doing this and that, including driving an ice truck. But when he saw an opportunity, he took it. From his obituary:
He moved to Logan, Utah, in 1959 when natural gas was brought to Cache Valley. …… He worked for Mountain Fuel Supply Company, currently known as Questar Gas Company, for 43 years. He started out as a ditch digger and worked his way up to be the service manager of the Northern Division.
Imagine how many of today’s youth would be willing to dig ditches laying pipe. They’d rather wait for “something better” to come along, and draw welfare while doing it. But Milton worked with his hands, and through the years steadily advanced from one of the pipe crew to management. He climbed that ladder of success, and was rewarded for his hard work. But there was more to him than that.
He was an avid fisherman, hunter, square dancer, boater, bowler, gardener and jack of all trades. His mother always said, “Gene can do anything.”
He served as president of the Cache Valley Boat Club. He was a varsity Scout leader, in the Elder’s Quorum presidency, Sunday School presidency, stake building security supervisor, assistant librarian, Sunday School teacher, and Priests Quorum advisor in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. ……. He will be widely remembered as an excellent pickle maker, apple cider maker and right-hand helper to his wife’s canning. With a pocket knife, shovel or tractor, there wasn’t anything that he couldn’t do.
A full life, lived in a wonderful area of the country, and a productive life. I wish I could have met him, but I knew so many just like him. Men whose youth was set aside to risk their lives in the crucible of war. Men who, having seen the worst of humanity, came home to make a better life for themselves and those around them. They used their skills and self-discipline to work hard and become successful, to be a PART of society, and not dependent on it. They had eachother, and that was enough. There is much we can learn from them and their lives, so much worth emulating. We don’t need a large, intrusive government to help us. All we need is ourselves. Faith in eachother, faith in ourselves, and faith in God.
Milton’s obituary may be read here.
More on USS Kwajalein here:
Fair Winds, and Following Seas, Shipmate.
Here’s a great old commercial. I haven’t a clue when it was made, but it’s pretty doggone good. It certainly captures the beau ideal that we of the Navy’s Aviation side of the family see ourselves as filling.
BTW: For a great and insightful look at what life was like on liberty for my fellow blueshirts, There’s a wonderful article from The Goat Locker entitled “Airdale Liberty Bars“. If you have a few moments, it’s a good read and good gouge. That was my youth.
H/T to my friend Thomas Cheever for the link.