You Leave It but it NEVER Leaves You

Those who have never served the nation in a military capacity or shared the life of a military man or woman in some way may benefit by this retrospective glance:

By Dick Roberts

Once in a great while I venture back to a military post where I’m greeted at the gate by an imposing security guard who looks carefully at my retired ID cardands it back and says, “Have a good day, Colonel!” As I return to any military post it feels a bit strange to be called by the rank I once held and at the same time a bit odd to be in civilian clothes, walking among the today’s servicemen and servicewomen who are going about their business with the same zeal that I once did many years ago. It’s somewhat of an out of body experience for me, and I am so impressed by what I see and hear.

The military space provides a comfort zone of sorts for anyone who has ever worn the uniform. It’s a place where you still know the rules and know that they are enforced — a place where everybody is very busy, but not too busy to take care of business in a professional manner. There exists behind these gates an institutionalized understanding of respect, order, uniformity, accountability and dedication that became part of your marrow and never left you. Going back heightens your awareness of that fact as you witness it again , now a spectator, in spades right before your eyes. Was I ever part of this you might ask?

If pressed I might say that I miss the fact that you always knew where you stood in the military and with whom you were dealing . You could read somebody’s uniform from 20 feet away and pretty much know the score. One might say that military personnel wear their careers on their uniforms. As you approach each other you can read the person’s name tag, see his rank and, if he is in dress uniform, read patches and awards to get any idea where he ‘s served and what he’s done before you even get to know him. That has not changed.

I might also admit that I sometimes miss all those little things you take for granted when you’re in warrior ranks — the sight of troops running in the early morning mist, the sound of boot heels thumping in unison on streets, the cadence bark of a formation leader and the sing-song responses from the formation .

Trust me though, I would never romanticize military service too much by its “jodie calls” because it’s very serious business at all times, and especially in time of war to which I can attest. But just the same I miss the professional camaraderie of airborne infantryman and their swagger/ esprit de corps, the “can do” Ranger mindset. I also miss the smell of jet fuel hanging heavily on the night air and the sound of engines roaring down runways and soaring into the clouds and lots, lots more.

I even miss a tiny bit “ the hurry-up-and-wait” mentality that enlisted men griped about constantly, a masterful invention that bonded our soldiers more than they’ll ever know or admit.

I do miss people taking off their hats when they enter a building, speaking directly and clearly to others and never showing disrespect for rank, race, religion or gender.

I miss being a player in this vast team whose arms circle this Earth and always cares for the needs of all its players as its first priority.

Mostly though I miss the likes of you and the many fine young men who were entrusted to my care in peace and war, a privilege like none other in this life …

Frankly , I don’t know anyone who served who regrets it and does not feel a sense of pride when they pass through those gates and ever so briefly and re-enter the world they left behind many years ago – even if we are a bit out of place now.

Face it guys – we all miss it`to one degree or another …………Whether you had one tour or a career, it shaped your life.

DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP by Bob Lonsberry

This is the stuff of that should prompt a Congressional Investigation or Naval Court of Inquiry.  Call your US Congressman.

  DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP
Bob Lonsberry © 2016

 

The account of two U. S. Navy vessels being seized by the Iranian navy earlier this week seems completely implausible.

No part of it makes any sense.

The story is that two river patrol boats – bristling modern-day incarnations of the Vietnam swift boats – were navigating south from Kuwait to Bahrain. At some point, via some means, the two boats, with their contingent of five sailors each, surrendered to the Iranians.   

Two accounts have been offered as to how that happened. The first was that one of the vessels lost its engine and that they both then drifted into Iranian waters. The other was that the two boats had been operating fine, but inadvertently navigated into Iranian territory.   

Simply put, they got lost.

Neither account seems possible.

First off, if one of the boats broke down, and the sailor aboard trained to tend the engine couldn’t fix it, the other boat would merely take it in tow and they would proceed on their way. That is not a novel maritime undertaking.   

The second scenario – oops, we got lost – is even less likely. It turns out that navigation and navigation equipment are kind of a high priority for the Navy. Boats don’t get lost. Highly technical navigation equipment on both boats would have told crew members exactly where they were.   

And in the unlikely event that both boats lost all electronic navigational equipment, and the compasses lost track of magnetic north, there is the simple fact that sailing from Kuwait to Bahrain pretty much involves nothing more complex than keeping the shore on your starboard side. And should you lose sight of shore, and can remember that the map has safety to the west and danger to the east, you’d think that the position of the sun in the sky or the fact that prevailing winds in the Persian Gulf in the winter are northwesterly, would somehow have allowed our sailors to find the Saudi shoreline instead of Iranian waters.   

And all of that presumes that these two boats were operating alone in the open seas, which they presumably were not. There is, in fact, a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier battle group operating in the Persian Gulf.   

The USS Harry S Truman owns the Persian Gulf these days, and the significant American military presence in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait – lands immediately proximate to the waters where our sailors were operating – makes us the biggest dog on the block.   

And we’ve got radar and helicopters and airplanes and stuff like that.

And if an American vessel breaks down at sea, or strays from course, under those operational conditions, there are a lot of American assets that would both notice the problem and be able to offer relief.   

Yet no one did.

We’re supposed to believe nobody radioed a couple of inexplicably lost boats to ask where they were going? When one of them supposedly broke down, a carrier battle group had no means to come to their assistance?  

That makes no sense.

It’s completely unbelievable.

So is the apparent conduct of the sailors in the face of a supposed challenge by the Iranian military.

If one of the vessels was disabled, as is claimed, and hostile craft are approaching, bringing with them the prospect of capture and captivity, don’t you put all 10 sailors on the able boat, sink the disabled boat, and race the bad guys back to international waters?   

From the Iranian video, it looks like two or three bass boats and four guys in mismatched uniforms, with a couple of AK’s, captured two far-larger and better-armed American boats, both of which were bristling with mounted machine guns.   

Here’s a fact: When you’re kneeling on the deck of your own boat, with your hands clasped behind your head, and some guy’s shouting at you in terrorist language, things didn’t go right.   

And yet, that’s exactly what supposedly happened here. Ten American sailors, successors to Captain James Lawrence, are on their knees next to their unfired guns, in the face of a smaller and less well-armed opponent – with little American flags snapping in the breeze.   

This is not the stuff of Commodore Perry and Admiral Farragut.

And you wonder whose call it was.

How far up the chain of command did they have to go to find the cowardly lion who ordered this genuflection before a bunch of savages? Did this get bounced all the way to the Pentagon, or the Situation Room? Which secretary of what made the decision not to put a squadron of naval aviators above those two boats to keep the camel jockeys at bay?   

It is shameful, a worldwide embarrassment for the nation and the Navy.

And it is topped off by an obsequious videotaped apology, and pictures of our sailors, captive in hostile hands, the female with a towel over her head.

The President can ignore this.

But we can’t.

We got pantsed. We got humiliated. We showed either weakness or incompetence. And unfortunately either one only invites aggression against us.

It is inconceivable that you could find 10 Americans willing to surrender themselves and their equipment without a fight. It is not plausible that any young man or woman entering into the naval service would willingly kneel on the deck of a combat-capable ship.   

Somebody told them to give up.

And that somebody, and the philosophy he represents, will be the death of us.

– by Bob Lonsberry © 2016

Dangerous Duty

IEDs a fact of daily life and a threat to life and limb:

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Aussie Tribute to Our Heroes

Brothers at War

Ed Morrisey recommends Brothers at War


Jake Rademacher  who made the documentary said of it:

“The honest storytelling of “Brothers At War” has received praise from war fighters, veterans, military families, Hollywood celebrities, and now Medal of Honor recipients. Join them by supporting this film which gives a true depiction of our nation’s warriors and their families.”

Michael Yon says, “Gary Sinise has gotten personally involved in promoting this movie.”

“The film follows Jake’s exploits as he risks everything—including his life—to tell his brothers’ story.  Often humorous, but sometimes downright lethal, BROTHERS AT WAR is a remarkable journey where Jake embeds with four combat units in Iraq. Unprecedented access to U.S. and Iraqi combat units take him behind the camouflage curtain with secret reconnaissance troops on the Syrian border, into sniper “Hide Sites” in the Sunni Triangle, through raging machine gun battles with the Iraqi Army.”