Category Archives: by lex

‘Bout Time

Posted by Lex, on July 1, 2010

 

The US military has, after 9 years of grueling combat, finally found a living soldier  * worthy of nomination for the country’s highest award for valor:

The Pentagon has recommended that the White House consider awarding the Medal of Honor to a living soldier for the first time since the Vietnam War, according to U.S. officials.

The soldier, whose nomination must be reviewed by the White House, ran through a wall of enemy fire in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley in fall 2007 in an attempt to push back Taliban fighters who were close to overrunning his squad. U.S. military officials said his actions saved the lives of about half a dozen men…

The nomination comes after several years of complaints from lawmakers, military officers and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates that the Pentagon had become so cautious that only troops whose bravery resulted in death were being considered for the Medal of Honor. Gates “finds it impossible to believe that there is no one who has performed a valorous act deserving of the Medal of Honor who has lived to tell about it,” said Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell, who declined to comment on specific nominations…

Obama presented a posthumous Medal of Honor in September to the family of Sgt. 1st Class Jared Monti for his heroism in exposing himself to enemy fire to retrieve a wounded comrade. But honoring a living soldier with the nation’s highest award for valor would give the president an opportunity to ease some of the military’s feelings of estrangement from the rest of U.S. society.

Such a ceremony also would allow the president to honor military heroism and virtue, sentiments that Republicans say Obama does not celebrate frequently enough.

It’s Washington of course, so the WaPo has to find a political angle.

Which is a damned shame.

 

* Link changed 04-11-18 – Ed.

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Peelings

Posted by lex, on December 23rd, 2011

WESTPAC sailors of a certain age will nod, knowingly.

The more things change, the more they remain the same in the land of Not Quite Right.

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Friends Like These

 

Posted by lex, on December 23rd, 2011

Yesterday I theorized that the airstrike on a Pakistani border station that killed 26 could have had been the result of three possible circumstances; 1) Hanlon’s Razor, 2) front-line forces so accustomed to think of the Pakistanis as their enemy that due diligence is neglected, or 3) the path of least strategic resistance to getting the Pakistani border re-opened is throwing soldiers under the bus. Grandpa Bluewater astutely noted * that the possibilities were not mutually exclusive.

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Kids These Days

 

Posted by lex, on December 26th, 2011

From the 2011 Strike Fighter Ball on the east coast.

  1. It’s still a little strange for me to see the liveries of Tomcat squadrons on Super Hornets.
  2. I know how effective The Helmet can be in close. It still looks goofy.
  3. The NCEA for flares appears to have changed, since I was in. As has the taste in music.
  4. Good on yez.

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On This Day

Posted by Lex, on June 18, 2010

Winston Churchill on the fall of France:

What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”

(H/T to Rand Simberg)

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The Decline of Empire

Posted by lex, on December 26th, 2011

I haven’t completely gotten through my Gibbon, so this brief primer on Late Antiquity was a useful read:

It is perhaps something of a truism to compare our own age with the period of the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Funnily enough, when researching my thesis, which had a chapter about Saint Augustine, I read quite a lot about what historians call Late Antiquity…

So, what can we learn from the twilight of the Roman Empire?

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Ulysses

By lex, on May 14th, 2008

 

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: all times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vexed the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honoured of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.

I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.

How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this grey spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and through soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.

Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought
with me
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads — you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

– Alfred Lord Tennyson

A Toast for Lex

WE TOAST OUR HEARTY COMRADES WHO HAVE FALLEN FROM THE SKIES, 
AND WERE GENTLY CAUGHT BY GOD ‘S OWN HANDS TO BE WITH HIM ON HIGH, 
TO DWELL AMONG THE SOARING CLOUDS THEY HAVE KNOWN SO WELL BEFORE, 
FROM VICTORY ROLL TO TAIL CHASE, AT HEAVEN’S VERY DOOR, 
AND AS WE FLY AMONG THEM THERE, WE’RE SURE TO HEAR THEIR PLEA: 
TAKE CARE MY FRIEND, WATCH YOUR SIX, AND DO ONE MORE ROLL FOR ME.”


Editor’s Note – this was posted by Lex (less the toast, of course) and thanks to SoCalPir8 we have this copy. The only thing we are lacking is Lex’s links in the poem to posts and people throughout – and most were, of course, linked to his old (late) website. Most those can be rebuilt with links here so if anyone has a copy with the links please let us know. 

 

A copy of this hangs at Lex’s favorite place, Shakespeares

 

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