29 November 2008


From a point found here "What separated Ayers from McVeigh was chance; had the stars aligned, the Weathermen would have killed hundreds as they planned."

The Fringe Right is justifiably feared because they will be effective. Tim McVeigh was effective. It may be distasteful to classify the Michigan militia, Appleseedinfo.org, or any other "dangerous paramilitary training group" as Fringe Right, but that is exactly what they will be painted as by the mainstream media.

The Extreme Left, well, they may kill a few people a la the Weather Underground or the Unabomber.

What makes the Fringe Right more effective than the Extreme Left? The same things that make Republicans leaders of industry and Democrats college professors. If you can you do, if you can't you teach.

Discipline. Planning. Training. Skill. Sacrifice.

I don't think that Obama is cause for armed revolt or revolution, but I do expect to see another "crackdown" on the Fringe Right. Will Ruby Ridge happen again?

Speaking of bombing....

If someone nuked; Seattle, Portland, LA, Denver, Chicago, and New York, it would significantly change the political landscape of the United States.

American cities are a disgrace not because they are cities, but because the inhabitants have been indoctrinated into socialism.

When there are no fields to plow or hay to buck and a successful businessman means the dope dealer who didn't get caught, I guess it is easy to buy into some version of socialist utopia. I guess it was prophetic that "The Jungle" was set in Chicago.


Via Firehand I found this quote:

So you think that ordinary citizens armed with handguns would slow down a surprise attack by trained paramilitary forces armed with automatic weapons, grenades and who knows what else? I’m curious how you see that scenario playing out.

The way I see it, if terrorists such as these could rely on a “significant number” (and I don’t know what that means, exactly - 10 percent? 20 percent?) of their targets carrying guns, they wouldn’t bother taking hostages. They’d just slaughter everyone in sight. They might take a few hits, but they’d have planned for that, just like any army would.

My answer, being a professional soldier, is that private citizens carrying firearms would save the lives of OTHER citizens by slowing down and disrupting the plans of the attacking force, and possibly prematurely ending the attack.

In Israel armed citizens have stopped attacks, and it was a Holocaust survivor who saved lives at Virginia Tech by using his body and a door.

My other opinion, being a professional soldier, is that nobody plans for every contingency. The best thing we can do, that we do, is plan a desired endstate and give our soldiers all the resources they need to bring about that endstate within the restrictions placed on us.

My final observation, this pussy overestimates the enemy. The enemy is a poorly fed religious fanatic who received only enough training to do the job his handlers need him to do. His handlers train him to do one specific series of tasks, and that is it. He is not a thinker, not trained to adjust on his own.

I just want to reach out through the internet and slap the guy who would rather roll over and piss himself than grab a pair and be a warrior.

Blogger super-hero team...

Since I happen to be a bit of a nerd (although not as cool a nerd as RobertaX) I wondered how I would assemble a team of bloggers to be the next Avengers.

Before getting to the list, we need to consider what this team is supposed to do, and exactly how many team members are allowed. The Fantastic 4 obviously can't have 5 members, but teams like the X-men or Justice League (don't get me started on Marvel vs. DC) are more fluid in their makeup. Normally a team will be broken up into a few categories such as; brain, brawn, graceful, brawler, empath, technical, and comic relief. Imagine a matrix like this:

Brain -
Brawn -
Grace -
Tech -
Comic -

Each character would fall somewhere between the intersection of two characteristics (after all, most heros are two dimensional anyways) such as Brains and Tech or Brawn and Brawler. One characteristic becomes the job you fill in the team, and the other is how you go about it.

Joe Huffman would be a Brain/Tech character, he solves problems with logic and then fixes the situation with specialized tools and knowledge. Brigid would be a Brain/Empath, able to understand why things happened, and recognizing the signs that trouble is coming. Brain characters provide leadership, long range planning, and long range firepower.

Roberta X falls into Tech/Comic, happily solving problems created by people who really should know better, lending a hand in getting things done. Techs provide services like hotwiring, repair, and lockpicking.

Tamara would be a Brawler/Comic, primary purpose is to pull a trigger while snarking out one liners. Comic books have to be readable doncha know? Witty banter makes life more enjoyable.

Since the girls outnumber the guys I'd classify myself as a brawn/brawler. I can lift heavy objects and take orders. Usually these characters are there simply for muscle, and to have probems that make for interesting back story. Wolverine wouldn't be anything but a brawler if he didn't have a murky past, Colossus has that broody Russian thing going on.

Anyways, it's been fun thinking about assembling a team to save the world.

27 November 2008

Chuck Norris Facts and Rick Rolling

Internet phenomena that become pop culture trademarks.

Chuck Norris became a talking point for Mike Huckabee, and he was featured in a commercial for the Honda Ridgeline "tough meets classy".

Rick Astley participated in the largest "Rickrolling" ever when he rickrolled the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade today.

Perhaps the only thing that is strong enough to stop the "Rickrolling" is Chuck Norris.

26 November 2008

Ruby Ridge and government investigations

The sad parts about Ruby Ridge are:

The death of Randy Weavers wife at the hands of Lon Horiuchi.
The clearing of Lon Horiuchi of the crime of murder.

The saddest part? The only charge that ever stuck to Randy Weaver was "failure to appear".

In his book "Soldier" LTC Tony Herbert wrote about the "internal investigation" process that exonerated soldiers who committed war crimes because a court martial would drag down moral, the prestige of the Regiment, and the image of the US Army.

If a US Army sniper pulled the trigger on a woman holding a baby he needs to be able to demonstrate that he has: clearly identified a threat to himself or others and has the authority to shoot.

When you shoot the wrong people there had better be a damn good reason for it. The guy who rushes towards a Soldier while wearing a bulky sweatshirt is a legitimate threat, the kid with a knife in hand inside of 25 meters is a legitimate threat (some of you CCW holders should practice with a buddy and see if you can draw, aim and fire faster than someone with a knife can cover 25 meters and start poking holes in you).

When you have a family in a cabin, surrounded by FBI, and you cannot clearly identify what a woman is holding, there is no excuse for not positively identifying that target. Lon Horiuchi did wrong, his supervisors botched the attack, and then covered it up by clearing each other of wrongdoing.

Do not forget Ruby Ridge.

There are worse things to be...

I figured I'd be a working breed instead of a sporting breed, but as any Retriever knows, those ducks don't fetch themselves.

Hat tip to Roberta X.

25 November 2008

Political Behavior

Gay_Cynic wrote about the behaviors that are not desireable, by ANYONE, when it comes to political debate. It is worth reading and passing on.


While I am in favor of the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, or a man and several women, I fully agree with GC's analysis of the legal process. I find myself noting that even cultures that embraced homosexual relationships (Japan, Rome, some Native American) did not recognize a homosexual relationship as "marriage". It is my opinion that we can respect the historical meaning of marriage that is important to quite a few people as well as respecting the relationships of the GLBT community.

We live in a society where "marriage" is a legally binding contract that gives the participants some rights and expectations that you don't normally give someone who just happens to live with you, no matter how meaningful the relationship. Those rights and expectations are tied in with our past history and culture. Just because something is "traditional" or "historical" doesn't make it necessarily the best thing for us here and now. After all, there the traditional form of slavery is a time honored tradition, written into the Torah and Koran. Heck, "The Zero" want to "move beyond the limitations of the Constitution" (those are his own words) because our Government just isn't big, powerful, or intrusive enough to suit him.

But times change, cultures change, and not always for the better. Sometimes things fall apart and life sucks for a while. As much fun as "RenFaires" are I wouldn't actually want to live in such a time.

How our generation deals with the legal issues of homosexual relationships is something for us to work out. And we can work it out without resorting to violence, intimidation, or other uncivil behaviors. The GLBT community will not rest until they have their version of equality, and I have no doubt that like any other special interest group they will get what they want if they can hold out longer than the opposing special interest group. I expect this issue to be old news within my lifetime.

But no matter my personal view on the matter, I have to support individual freedom. Whether someone else owns a Lamborghini or a Schwinn, has sex with a man or a woman, drinks red wine or white wine, doesn't impact my life one bit. Unless I happen to be a busybody who can't stand the thought of someone actually LIVING THEIR OWN LIFE as they see fit.

After all, the guy telling the gay man that he can't get married today is going to be the same guy that wants me locked up tomorrow for being a menace to "public safety" for owning a firearm. I may not agree with someones choices, but I will defend to the death their right to make those choices. I could only hope that those who don't agree with my choices feel the same way, but if the internet is any indicator of a Liberals true feelings and actions they would have me forced into subjugation.

22 November 2008


The Holy Grail of both m98 collectors and m98 sporterizers is the genuine Mauser Obendorf action.

They are rare because they are popular.

My older brother, the AK guru, was pawn shop hopping and noticed a very ugly "bubba" mauser for 60 bucks. Knowing that I've paid 75 for just an action he picked it up. It is an Obendorf dated 1906 with all the metal in stock military configuration except for the rear bridge being drilled and tapped for the still installed Williams micrometer style sight. The stock was cut back and recontoured to a sporter look, the sling swivels were homemade from sheet metal and nails.

So today I took her apart and found that the surface discoloration is only that, there is no pitting beneath the woodline. The stock is either going to be a keeper or a complete write off, I haven't decided how much money I want to sink into this project just yet. I think I'll try to do this one on as cheap as possible, but I'll have to pay someone to bend the bolt handle.

The barrel still has strong rifling with some usual wear near the muzzle. Depending on accuracy I may cut the barrel back to 24~26 inches. Will have to shoot it first.

While I had it apart I ground down the second stage on the trigger so that it is a long single stage with a surprising break instead of the standard two stage trigger. This leaves it looking stock from the outside.

Keep your powder dry.

21 November 2008

The scents of home

Different woods smell different as they burn in the woodstove. Pine has a strong almost citrus smell that makes me remember camping. Alder has a flavorful aroma that reminds me of a smokehouse and a butcher shop, Stewart's Meats in Mckenna, WA. Maple reminds me of my Grandparents home, how warm it was in the winter time, large windows showing Mt. Rainier.

Here in the North West vine maple is a "weed tree" that along with alder is first generation regrowth in our forests. Most of the forests here are working forests, and anyone who notices the little things will notice a lack of pine cones. The hybrid pine are sterile, the forests now require human intervention in the cycle of replenishment. This was done on purpose so that the trees would not wast energy on seeds and reproduction, that there would be no distractions from their purpose of using sunlight to turn carbon dioxide into sugar. But if you clear a field, expect the vine maple and alder to pop up the following year.

The house I now live in was built in 1977. The neighborhood is ok, the location has one thing going for it, proximity to Ft. Lewis. I have a fifteen minute commute that is worth every penny. The previous owners retrofitted the fireplace with a woodstove insert, which massively increased the efficiency with which the house is heated.

Whenever I have a fire going it feels less like a temporary lodging and more like "home". This summer my father cut down a small vine maple to make room for the goats and the chickens, and I got the firewood for the cost of hauling it away. Now it burns, and the hint of smoke that kisses the air after I toss in another log reminds me of my grandfather.

Tonight my wife cooked turkey meatloaf, and a maple wood fire burned slowly. Tomorrow is my first day off in 18 days. I'm happy. Full belly, soft couch, Pipeline porter all done. Life is good.

20 November 2008

Reloading equipment

There have been a lot more words written about reloading by people who have years more experience.

Reloading is like any other hobby, you an put as much or little into it as you want. A simple Lee handloader that neck sizes only takes a long time to crank out rounds, but can produce very accurate ammo. A progressive press is great for cranking out hundreds of rounds, but costs a bit more.

A good middle of the road starting place is a single stage press (and bullets and brass), powder scale (and powder), priming tool (and primers), dies (and lube), and some way to trim cases to length. Some say that you need to have a reloading manual on hand, but reloading data is free on the internet from pretty much every major powder and bullet maker out there. I went around saving all the data on the cartridges I reload and created my own reloading book.

Different sources will have different starting and max loads, always be conservative.

With those tools you can reload a moderate amount of precision rifle ammo, and crank out pistol ammo pretty quickly. You can reload quicker if you buy a powder measure, some work better than others.

When you are starting, don't break the bank buying gear. I buy a lot of used gear, other people upgrade along the way and their old gear gets put on the market for cheap. I know a record setting sniper who swears by Lee trimmers, and they are as cheap a way to trim cases as they come.

If you are going to reload a few hundred to a thousand rounds in a sitting, a progressive press setup will be a lot faster than a single stage. I can load about 40 rifle rounds in an hour with a single stage press, and triple that for pistol, but I'm not going to break any speed records.

Safety First.

And keep your powder dry.

19 November 2008

Rolling out

Tomorrow I saddle up and lead my convoy of troops, vehicles, and equipment back to Ft. Lewis.

Two and a half weeks of being away from my wife has never been a particularly favorite hobby of mine. The truth is that it gets easier as time goes on, and then harder as it gets closer to go home.

Hopefully I'll be able to get those pictures up soon.

It'll all be roses and puppies from here

Now that "The One", or as I like to call him, "The Zero", has been elected we can expect the mainstream media to back off in any muckracking activities and critical editorial pages.


A NEW ASSESSMENT PRODUCED BY THE U.S. ARMY HAS FOUND THE MILITARY’S FIERCEST FOES DID NOT RECEIVE THEIR TRAINING from al-Qaeda, Ansar al-Islam, or Hezbollah, but from Harvard University, the Columbia School of Journalism, and the New York Times editorial board.

An assessment produced by analysts at the U.S. Army's National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) has found the hardest-fought battle of the Iraq War, the siege of Fallujah in April 2004, was lost not on the battlefield but in the court of public opinion. The authors called media coverage “crucial to building political pressure to halt military operations,” in the Arab world and within Coalition member nations. The report stated:

Hat tip to Sondrak

National Ammo Day

Kim Du Toit's legacy to the free world, National Ammo Day and Buy A Gun Day.

I cannot participate on the exact date, but I will make up for it when I get home. Already planning on buying more pistol ammo and components for 308. A few years ago I bough a brick of CCI BR-2 match primers when they were *shudder* 33 dollars a brick. I took a look at prices now and consider that money wisely invested. Two years ago you could still find quality Winchester 308 brass for 24 or 25 dollars per hundred. Now it is closer to 33 to 35 dollars depending on where you shop.

Reloading helps keep my costs down, but I still don't shoot enough pistol ammo to justify a Dillon press. Maybe next year, depending on whether or not I'm in country.

Remember, 100 rounds of ammo minimum (and 22 lr doesn't count unless that is all you own, which isn't a bad thing, but kinda defeats the purpose of Ammo Day). I plan on a mix of 9mm and 45 ACP to hit my 100, and some Winchester brass for the long guns. Just bought another can of 4064 before I left so I'm covered there for a bit, but the way I go through 4064 I might as well just order an 8lb keg from Natchez.

I try to keep my powders very very simple. IMR 4064 for all my standard rifles, (308, 30-06, 8x57, I have 270 dies and 9.3x62 dies but not worked up loads for them yet), IMR 7828 for magnum rifles (currently 7mm Rem Mag, but it may work well with the 270 for some loads, haven't tried yet), and Unique for all pistol loads (mainly 357 and 38 special). I tried Varget for the 308 but didn't get as good results as I did with 4064 pushing 168 gr bullets, however most shooters pair Varget with 175gr SMK's.

Since I load for accuracy instead of velocity I can get away with such a small selection of powders. I figure that anything faster than 2500 fps at the muzzle will kill pretty much whatever I am hunting. If I get the 9.3x62 to Alaska I'll probably load a 270 gr bullet around that velocity, depending on accuracy. Speed is fine, but accuracy is final.

Since I'm not Canadian or a hockey fan I can't say "Keep your stick on the ice". I figure something a little more appropriate along the lines of, "Keep your powder dry" is better sign off for me.

So "Keep your powder dry"

18 November 2008


Soldiers routinely deal with several of the most stressful situations that human beings can go through.

Weddings, divorce, long seperations, violent confrontations, moving, death of a friend, money issues (there is never enough), and a bunch of other stuff that is beyond our control.

Stress is simply stimulation. Stimulation always comes from outside sources, but we can also stress ourselves out from inside.

There are a lot of coping methods for dealing with stress. Fishing, exercise, drinking, chain smoking, pornography, practical jokes, I've seen quite a few. The least effective ones are violence, drugs, and suicide.

I was talking with my buddies and listing all the craziness that we go through, and the reactions that come from us. His comment, "You know six weeks ago I was in Germany, then poof I'm back at Ft. Lewis like I hadn't been gone, now I'm in the desert. It is kind of surreal" struck home.

When I got out of Ranger school I was a very angry individual. That is my "tell" that I am stressed. I don't get angry unless the grinding overstimulation of my mental and emotional being has been rubbed raw. When I'm sick my normal coping methods get taxed as well.

There is an acronym, H.A.L.T. which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. These are the four states in which you should avoid making major decisions. Once again leaders are constantly making such decisions precisely in three or four of those emotional states at the same time.

We are not superhuman, and we know that every human has a breaking point. We've gotten a lot better about not pushing people past their breaking point, and helping each other calm down.

But it is normal behavior to drink a little more, raise a little hell, and be angry with the world when you come back to the land of the big PX. America goes on without noticing, only your loved ones missed you, and they want (especially children) ALL your attention RIGHT NOW!, or even worse, they don't want any attention at all.

Even soldiers who come back having never fired a shot in anger can have the same problems as a fire team leader who spent his year kicking doors and spilling blood. The source of the stress doesn't matter, just the amount of stress.

I found myself getting angry with civilians today. I wanted to grab him by the throat and tell him that the only reason we were out here on "his" base. I wanted to force him to do things my way because I'm the one with the guns.

But it doesn't work that way. No matter how "just" it would be to get things done by simply getting things done, we still have to suck crap and smile at civilians just to keep on with the mission.

It won't be a lack of patriotism that finally causes me to quit the Army. It will be the parasitic civilians who ram through some regulation that gives them a job or product to sell and some asinine rule to enforce. Like a once proud wolf finally turned to a flea bitten cur I'll limp off into some corner to die with what little dignity I can muster.

Is Blackwater is hiring? Maybe they don't have to worry about an environmental impact statement if a vehicle leaves the washrack not completely dry. I hear the pay is better too.

I have enough stress in my life without the petty beurocrats doing their damndest to stop me from completing a mission.

17 November 2008

Camera work

Some people have innate artistic abilities that leave mere mortals like myself awestruck. The way Brigid mixes words with photographs is likely the number one reason why I visit her sight regularly.

I seem to lack the artistic gene, at least when it comes to visual arts (I happen to play a mean tenor sax, but that is beside the point). To compensate for talent in setting up a shot, I use the "scattergun" approach and take lots of pictures. Every once in a while I'll get a good shot in, something that happens to have randomly captured the mysterious ratios between objects that make a picture eye catching.

Using a borrowed a camera to take photos of a recent training event left me with a few good snapshots, and in the next week or two I'll get copies back. I'll have the wife photoshop out any identifying nametapes and whatnot as to protect the identity of the individuals involved.

The ACU camouflage pattern actually blends in really well to the high desert sagebrush of Yakima. I was amazed. Normally this stuff only blends into gravel pits and really ugly couches.

Expect photos soon. Maybe nothing emotionally moving, but hopefully educational in some respect.

16 November 2008

Why would Obama want a separate force with military might?

As I was joking around during some down time with the CO and 1SG yesterday it turned up that the CO was the only one in the room who didn't have a Concealed Pistol License. He looked at the two of us as if we were growing an extra appendage from our foreheads (extra points if you can guess which appendage).

I've known for years that the bulk of the Military is conservative. Not necessarily "Republican" but definitely conservative. This is why Democrats fully support "Getting out the Vote" and "Making every vote count" except when it comes to Military voters.

By my totally bogus method of SWAGing it, I figure about 15% of the Military aligns with the Democrats, and the remaining 85% range from Republican, Libertarian, and even Anarchist. Most of us fall somewhere between fiscal conservative/social conservative to fiscal conservative/social permissive.

And a metric crap ton of us are gun owners. When National Guardsmen were used to confiscate privately owned weapons during the aftermath of Katrina it did more to crumble the faith of the American public in the Armed Forces than any other event in history. Posse Commitatus not withstanding, such an order to confiscate private property and deny citizens their rights should have been ignored or blatantly disobeyed.

It was an unlawful order. An emergency doesn't suspend someones rights. And yet we know from Katrina that when democrats are in charge, your guns are not safe. In California confiscation of semi auto M2 50 cal rifles have been confiscated because a California judge ruled that linked ammunition is "A high capacity magazine" and therefor 60 pound blocks of steel are now a menace to public safety (after all, the government would only target "bad" guns right?). Never mind that the death count from 50 caliber rifles in California is a staggering "0".

I hear a lot of scuttlebutt, and I'm not the only one in place to keep a few guns stashed if/when someone comes to take them.

Which brings us to why Obama would want a national defense force seperate from the traditional military. To do things that the traditional military cannot do. We are not a police force, not on American soil.

There is no external threat that justifies building a seperate yet different military force. And if an internal threat did rise up that required military might then the President has the option of using the military by the exemption of the insurrection clause. Crushing rebellion with Federal troops didn't start with Lincoln, George Washington had the "Whiskey Rebellion".

I don't want armored personnel carriers conducting presence patrols in your neighborhood or mine. I don't want jack booted thugs tossing in flash bang grenades to storm a house in order to confiscate grandpa's Marlin 60 and a few boxes of 22 lr.

This has brought some heavy thinking on my part. Where would I stand when doing what is right is not doing what I'm ordered to do? An officer is not sworn to obey, and all soldiers are expected to know the difference between a lawful and unlawful order.

I can only assume that Obama would want a force unrestricted by the rule of law to carry out actions that are illegal for the military to carry out. I can think of no other explanation. And that scares me, because I would likely be a target of those activities.

"We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded," Obama

15 November 2008

Truth in the eyes

Happy mischief shows in the eyes of the mischief maker. Whether those eyes belong on the face of a young woman doing her best to catch the eye of a young man, or whether it is between a grandfather and his grandchild playing a game of "peekaboo". Most recently I saw it in the eyes of a young Sergeant telling a funny story about the last tour in Iraq.

One of the enduring myths from the Vietnam era hippies is that when a human kills another human they kill a portion of themselves. Somehow taking another human life leaves us less human, and eventually we will end up as hollow shells of human beings living a grey existance, never able to feel joy or close intimacy again. It is complete and utter bullshit.

That particular myth stems from an intellectual elitism taken and bastardized from the likes of Thoreau, Ghandi, and King. There is a time for non-violent protest, it works very well when the establishment allows you to have non-violent protest. And then there are places like China, Russia, Cambodia, etc. Those places don't care about your "rights" or "humanity".

Mao was a great leader. Not a good leader, not even a good man, but he lead his people greatly. His failures were great, and his successes were great. Mao is the model of Asian Communism that has spawned guerrilla conflicts the world over. Few men have had the impact on the world as Mao.

Mao said, "Power comes from the barrel of a gun". All power comes from the capacity for violence. If you have no capacity for violence then you are powerless. If someone wants to reduce your capacity for violence, they want to reduce your power.

I have looked into the eyes of experienced snipers and seen the humanity within. There is no tortured soul behind those eyes, only a man who did his job and kept his friends alive. I have seen a 34 year old fire team leader who remembers his boxing matches in Iraq with fondness, even though he saw his fair share of gore. These men exercised their capacity for violence, tasted the ultimate power that one human being can have over another, and came away with their "humanity" intact.

Naval gazing is normally associated with self pity, but as I reflect upon the emotional well being of my soldiers I am comforted. There are no "crazed killers" here. Those who do suffer from PTSD get help, medication for the nightmares and counseling for the rest. Are they broken shells of humanity? Hardly, they are the very best of us.

11 November 2008

They knew, and fought on.

On all sides of the war, this day, everyone knew that armistice would be declared.

And up until 11 O'Clock the guns roared, bullets and munitions flying through the air with lethal intent.

Everyone knew, but by some perverse byproduct of human nature the fighting continued. The killing continued. The senseless waste continued. They fought simply because they were unable to stop themselves.

The military lessons of WWI are numerous. The biggest lesson is this: military prowess should never be used just because you have it. There were no winners on November Eleventh, only those that lost less.

Men chose to fight and die for their countries, not caring if they were on the side of devils or angels, a nationalistic fervor consumed reason and festered in a time of peace to flair up again in the form of fascism and Hitler.

And once again a new generation of men would answer the call to go, fight, and die on foreign soil.

After the fight against fascism came the fight against communism in Korea and Vietnam. Nothing major until the Gulf War. Now the war on Terror has created another generation of veterans. And the lessons from WWI ring true once again.

Tactical genius is no substitute for sound strategy.
Operational goals need to be clearly defined, and achievable.
Start the planning process for an attack with the final exit strategy, ie, "We can take this land and hold it, but what do we want to get out of it?"

Much like GEN Ridgway turned the war in Korea around for the US, GEN Petraeus turned the situation in Iraq around. We are still in Korea, we are still in Iraq. Generals can only improve the situation on the ground so much.

WWI was a series of stupid mistakes that cost millions of men their lives, poisoned thousands of acres of land, and the poor handling of the armistice made WWII inevitable. So this Veteran's Day remember not just those who served, but remember those who make the choices to turn men into Veterans.

10 November 2008


For those John Ringo fans, at least those who have read "Watch on the Rhine", I'll pass on a tidbit of my experience training for maneuver warfare inside and Infantry Armored Vehicle.

Observation number one: Individual skills are key to group success.

Observation number two: Group communication skills are key to group success.

I am not new to the Army, but I am new to the Stryker "Medium Wheeled Brigade" concept. Half the weight of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle and it can hold two more squad members (or "GIBs" for Guy In Back), but only packs the punch of a 50 cal machine gun or 40 mm automatic grenade launcher. The BFV packes a 25mm chain gun and two missile TOW pod.

Still, the gunnery exercise is a portion of training that guages how well a crew knows their individual roles and how well they can work together. So even though the training scenarios are slightly unrealistic for how we fight, they hone the skills that allow us to fight better. Just like nobody shoots a bullseye target in combat, it is still good to train using a bullseye target.

Back to "The Watch on the Rhine", the maneuver of vehicles is much like the maneuver of dismounted troops with the exception of scale. The speeds are faster, the distances greater, and the amount of ammo you can haul along with you borders on completely awesome. The last time that a major mechanized force engaged on even slightly equal terms was WWII in North Africa. The combat between Allied and Nazi forces resembled Naval warfare than more traditional land warfare. Something to think about.

My wife texted me the results of the election. I wonder if the military experience for the next four years will resemble that of Presidents Carter and Clinton?

03 November 2008

Light posting for a while.

Will be "away from keyboard" for a bit.

I've cast my vote, the wife will drop it off at the courthouse today. Pretty soon I get to find out who America picked to be my new boss.

02 November 2008

Thoughts on old Sniper rifles, and new ones

Last night I watched "Enemy at the Gates" again. Despite not being true to the history it is still a good movie. Later on I thought about what the director was trying to portray.

The bolt action sniper rifle has been a mainstay in the military arsenal for the last century or so. This is for one reason only: accuracy. None of the minuses of a bolt action rifle; slow rate of fire, slow reload time, long, heavy, really matter when it comes to putting lead on target.

The Mosin Nagant sniper rifle is STILL a potent battlefield weapon after all these years. And the Mosin Nagan sniper rifle is no more "accurate" than a new Weatherby Vanguard or Savage rifle. Think about that next time the VPC or Brady Bunch wants to ban all "sniper rifles".

There has been a trend in the last thirty years to a "semi-automatic sniper system" or SASS. The reason behind this is that follow up shots are quicker when you don't have to manipulate the bolt yourself. Although I should give a hat tip to the G43 sniper rifle and M1D sniper rifle of WWII for being the first widespread semi-auto sniper systems.

There are plusses to this, first off you get to use the SASS as a tool for a long range infantryman or dedicated marksman. The minus is that the increased rate of fire is going to decrease the effectiveness of a sniper position. Once the enemy knows where you are you really ought to not be there. Randy Weaver and the Branch Davidians screwed up by getting pinned into a fixed location and taken down by a numerically superior force. I'm not saying they were right or wrong, just that they made a tactical error. If your enemy can maneuver against you he will, and all fortresses fall.

But back to the old bolt action rifle. One shot, on target. Move unobserved to the secondary firing position. One shot, on target. Move to the tertiary firing position. Shoot and move shoot and move, picking out targets that are the biggest threat, enemy snipers, leaders, dog handlers, etc.

I believe that the bed wetters at the VPC and Brady Bunch don't fear the rifle, they fear the rifle in the hands of someone who knows how to use it. Simply having a weapon doesn't make you a skilled warrior. Being a skilled warrior lets you use the weapons you have available.

However, if you do find yourself pinned to a hilltop, surrounded by the enemy, a SASS with a lot of bullets might be the better choice. Depends on the terrain I guess.

01 November 2008

Gun Control

Last night my wife and I had a short little discussion on the use of "semi-automatic weapons" for hunting, and the term "assualt weapon".

I am firmly a bolt action rifle man. That is my bread and butter weapon system. If I had to choose one rifle to carry with me I would have to think long and hard before picking up something other than one of my Mausers.

That doesn't mean I don't own any semi-automatic firearms. I have an AK set up and ready for the wife once she pops out child number one. The wife learned to shoot using Glocks and my 1911. For someone who only three years ago pulled the trigger on a boomstick she has come a very long way.

But when I go hunting, or target shooting, I generally bring mostly bolt action rifles. My wife sees this and so when Barack Obama says that "He respects the 2nd amendment but wants to keep 'assault weapons' out of the hands of criminals" my lovely bride was curious.

She asked the question "Do you really need a semi-auto rifle to hunt?"

I am really the wrong person to have that particular conversation with my lovely bride because I am so passionate about firearms freedoms. But I tried my best, I asked how a man with one arm could work the bolt on a rifle, or if the rate of fire between a lever action rifle and a semi-auto was really all that different.

I explained that no gun ban has EVER had an exception for muzzle loaders. I explained that if we "compromise" on one type of weapon system that they would only use that as more fuel to ban the rest.

I told her that the District of Columbia considers her little Glock to be a Machine Gun. She thought that was pretty stupid.

My wife is an intelligent individual who just happens to be very unfamiliar with the political battle going on, and these are the types of people who are likely to buy into the bull crap that Barack Hussein Obama and the Democrats are spewing about "Supporting the 2nd but for reasonable restrictions".

The truth is that we bypassed "reasonable restrictions" in the 1930s and have been racing down the road to "oppression".

Crossfit agony

My boss took all of us officers to a crossfit gym for a special round of "Officer PT" yesterday morning.

Crossfit works, but like anything it has it's plusses and minuses.

The biggest plus is that you combine your stength, cardio, and flexibility training into a single combined workout so that you don't waste time.

The biggest minus for me is that it is really hard on my joints. After yesterdays workout my right knee flared up and then I threw my back out by sneezing. While conducting dead lifts I could hear my knee cracking and grinding, and my back has been a problem spot for a while.

But today, my knee feels better (good old aspirin and Glucosamine/MSM) and my back is starting to shift back to pain free.

If you happen to be looking for a Gym in southeast Pierce County, you could do a lot worse than CrossFit Pierce County.


But my dismal performance at "Kelsie's Naptime" is a wake up call that it is time to accept some injuries to increase my stamina.