Monthly Archives: January 2019

MCRD

Before I left for San Diego last week, I learned that one of the Lexicans has a son who was to graduate at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. A couple of us Lexicans wanted to meet him there.

I had always seen the entrance there at the base of Washington Street – right next to Lindbergh Field. It appeared like it gained entrance to a small facility.

Appeared.

I thought it looked strange to see a parked 757 literally feet from the fence.

And I thought that there would be 100-200 parents and family that would be in bleachers like a Little League game. That the Lexican would be easy to find.

After going through a thorough search, Marine Corps style (no pictures were allowed) I gained entrance and was I in for a surprise.

The bleachers, nearly full, were more befitting of a small stadium.

The parade ground alone could be used as a runway!

And when I saw the “bleachers” and how full they were, it was obvious that I would be watching this ceremony by myself.

It looked like there were a thousand or 2 Marines all standing out there at parade rest, but I learned later that there were 488 graduates.

I have always felt that a pass in review, with all of the soldiers or Marines in perfect harmony and precision, is a thing of beauty to watch, and they did not disappoint.

Anyway, congratulations after that long road to becoming a Marine.

mcrd

 

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An Invitation From Mr. Hearst

an invitation from mr hearst1

I just got back from a quick drive down to San Diego and because I have come to think of the 300 mile I5 slog from Stockton to the Grapevine as mind-numbing (literally, other than the Harris Ranch near the middle for a nice steak) – there is literally nothing. I’m trying to decide which is more boring – this or driving across the Texas panhandle on I40. At least there you have Amarillo and The Big Texan (if you can eat their monster 72 oz steak it’s free! Pepto-Bismol included!). Years ago, I used to think of the 500 mile drive to San Diego as long but certainly doable; these days I like to break it up.

Particularly with LA traffic. Used to be you could time it to be there outside of rush hour, but these days it just seems like it is bad – and worse. A  couple of years ago, I hit Los Angeles area at about 1600 and it took me literally 4-5 hours to traverse the LA – and Orange County – area. First thing in San Diego I had late at night was a martini at Anthony’s on the waterfront. Now closed.

Anyway point is, these days I like to take the roads less traveled. Make the journey an adventure too.

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By the numbers

By lex, on June 2nd, 2008

As promised in their political campaign last year, Oz packs it for combat forces ashore, taking 550 diggers – men you’d want alongside in a fight – along with. We’ll miss ‘em:

Australian troops ended their main combat mission in Iraq on Sunday, handing over their responsibilities in southern Iraq to U.S. forces.

An estimated 550 Australian troops, who served in a training and backup role to Iraqi forces in the provinces of Dhi Qar and Muthanna, made the transfer in a ceremony at Camp Talil outside Nasiriya, said Capt. Chris Ford, a British military spokesman in southern Iraq.

In the Af, a 44-year old British brigadier claims 7000 Taliban heads over the last two years, along with a great many senior leadership in recent months:

The new “precise, surgical” tactics have killed scores of insurgent leaders and made it extremely difficult for Pakistan-based Taliban leaders to prosecute the campaign, according to Brig Mark Carleton-Smith.

In the past two years an estimated 7,000 Taliban have been killed, the majority in southern and eastern Afghanistan. But it is the “very effective targeted decapitation operations” that have removed “several echelons of commanders”.

Some of those strikes were executed by SOF, including the SBS raid on Mullah Dadullah. Others have been executed by the Brits using American-made MQ-9 Reapers. Hundreds of which occupy the airspace over Iraq and Afghanistan over the course of a day.

We may or may not be able to win the war on terror just by killing bad guys. From Tom Rick’s Inbox (WaPo):

The numbers here, sent to me at my request by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq, pretty much speak for themselves. This chart shows a major improvement in the safety of driving around Iraq with the U.S. Army. In January 2007, about 1 in 5 convoys in Iraq was attacked. By the end of last year, that ratio had fallen to 1 in 33. By April, it was just 1 in 100…

Al-Qaeda in Iraq ** has come under severe and prolonged attack over the last 12 months, with many of its leaders killed or captured. Finally, the redeployment of U.S. troops out into the Iraqi population, along with a rise in the quality of Iraqi forces, has helped produce better intelligence on the people carrying out roadside bombings.

It’s a good start.

** 08-21-2018 Original link gone; replacement found – Ed.

 

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, GWOT, Iraq, Neptunus Lex

It’s Hedy

itshedy

Saw a great program on Hedy Lemarr on Netflix awhile back. After learning what she invented, I think she should be remembered more for her invention side than her movie star side.

She was a refugee from Hitler’s Austria, yet the Govt seized her “frequency hopping” invention as an “enemy alien”; still they asked her to tour the country as a Hollywood star selling war bonds.

That invention today is the basis for cell phone technology.

Today that one invention of hers alone is worth an estimated $30 Billion.

Awhile back I posted what I considered to be signs of genius; Hedy certainly makes the grade.

I remember from the Netflix documentary that she used to work on her inventions while in her movie trailer waiting for the next scene.

David Foster of Chicago Boyz has a great post on her.


 

Update – 01/22/19 22:16 – I just saw Bombshell , the Netflix documentary, again. What an amazing woman. Her main invention, which was taken from her without any compensation, is today the basis of cell phone technology, secure WiFi, military communication…

The documentary closed with her quoting a beautiful poem by Kent Keith towards the end of her life:

 The Paradoxical Commandments 
 
 People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
 Love them anyway.
 
 If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
 Do good anyway.
 
 If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
 Succeed anyway.
 
 The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
 Do good anyway.
 
 Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
 Be honest and frank anyway.
 
 The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
 Think big anyway.
 
 People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
 Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
 
 What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
 Build anyway.
 
 People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
 Help people anyway.
 
 Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.”

 

 

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On the Basis of Sex

on_the_basis_of_sex

Courtesy of Focus Features

A couple of years ago at a dinner, I had the honor of meeting a well-dressed elderly woman while sipping a martini (both of us!). I learned that she was one of the 1,000 or so female pilots in WW2 who became known as WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots).

onthebasisof sex1

Fifinella, the official Mascot of the WASPs

The WASPs weren’t the Army’s idea, but the idea of famed aviatrix Jackie Cochran, who, with so many men going off to war, suggested the idea of women ferrying new planes to bases to Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor made it happen, but the WASPs were not really taken seriously by the Army Air Force.

They were issued used mechanic’s overalls that the women called Zoot Suits, men’s sizes only, 44 and up. Of course these were too big for most women. But the women actually turned lemons into lemonade, making them look fashionable (with the sleeves rolled up).

They were not even integrated into the military, but seen as a civilian auxiliary.

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Interesting Turn

By lex, on March 17th, 2010

For the Fallujah SEALs **:

The case against a Navy SEAL accused of not protecting an alleged Iraqi terrorist took a major turn Friday when a military judge ordered that five key defense witnesses be granted immunity to testify on his behalf…

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Iraq, Lex, SEALs

Bankruptcy

bankruptcy

The town of Paradise, CA being engulfed by fire

Funny that I just wrote about visiting the epicenter of the Camp Fire, the most destructive wildfire in California history, and all the news today in Northern California is about the impending announcement of declaring bankruptcy by the utility that covers most of Northern California, PG & E (Pacific Gas and Electric).

“Under California law, utilities are exposed to liability from wildfires regardless of their negligence.” 

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