Posted by lex, on April 3, 2008
The Castle’s CW4 BillT is doing the flight school thing himself, although admittedly on somewhat less congenial turf than Palomar. Interesting conversation with his student:
The (Wahabi) sniper looks up over the balcony and all the (Iraqi) policemen shoot. They stop shooting when the sniper hides, then all shoot when he looks up over the balcony, then they stop when he hides again…
“Suddenly, there are some American soldiers running around the corner toward the mosque. They run to the door with a shotgun, they shoot the hinges and kick the door in, then they run inside, then some of the policemen stop shooting and run inside with them. The other policemen stop shooting at where the sniper hides in the minaret, but they keep aiming up there…
“When the soldiers and the police go into the mosque, there is a fight. When it is over, they search the mosque and find IEDs, mortars, RPGs. The Wahabis are two Afghans, one Syrian, three Saudis. No Iraqis.
“So, why do the CNN reporters say this is *Iraqi* insurgency?”
Probably for the same reason many pundits are casting Maliki’s Basra campaign as some sort of latter day Tet.
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Posted by lex, on March 11, 2008
An edited version * of the John Ford tribute to the men of Torpedo Squadron 8, 30 of whom died in the first strike against the Japanese assault forces gathering around Midway island, 4 June 1942.
I can’t imagine what it felt like to be in that formation, watching your wingmen and squadron mates go down in flames one by one, cartwheeling into the sea. Seeing the nimble Zeros move from one to the next until – knowing that any other choice only delays the inevitable – they finally saddle at your six as you Stay. On. Target. What it felt like to hear their rounds strike home. To see the ocean loom up in the windscreen, the joyous dance of the sun sparkling on the wave tops, through the oil smoke and the pain.
I’ve often wondered what it felt like to be Ensign George Gay, fished out of the water at last and returned to the Hornet. Walking into that ready room; now an empty mausoleum. Personal things in suspense everywhere – a flight jacket draped over a chair. A necktie. A paperback novel left open to its place. Coffee cups hanging from their hooks. Letters from home that would never be read. Stern tactical guidance on the chalk board written in a dead man’s hand. The echoes of fled voices.
In every modern day air strike, training or tactical, the strike lead will brief “abort criteria” – the airborne fallout of a critical asset, or the presentation of an unanticipated type or number of threats which would tend to make the mission risk unacceptable. We always brief it, but it seems so often to be merely an intellectual exercise – we almost never abort a strike once it has “pushed.” Some of the bombers launched into Lebanon against anti-aircraft artillery in 1983 weren’t even loaded with ordnance. They went anyway. To help out, maybe. By drawing fire.
This “damn the torpedoes” thing is a cultural foible of ours. Torpedo Squadron 8’s example may be a part of the reason why.
** Lex’s link was gone; found similar on YouTube – Ed.
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Posted on November 26, 2006
In the New York Post today, Ralph Peters asks us not to fret about that whole “Eurabia” thing. Citing history going back as far as the famed Spanish Reconquistaand the subsequent but somewhat less heralded Jewish Expulsion, Peters opines that if the second and third generation Muslim immigrants propping up the Continental social scheme get too uppity, why then, they’ll just have them another one of those good old fashioned genocide thingies they do so well over there:
Posted on May 20, 2006
Today is a sad anniversary – from occasional reader Sid:
Thought you might be interested in this little vignette that I posted on a forum a while back. The 39th anniversary is in just a few days:
Was watching a Military Channel rerun (Do They Have Any NEW Shows?) about A-4s on the Mighty O…Oriskany…and the obligatory discussion about John McCain. The footage of aircraft debris that is shown in the Hanoi lake this is usually attributed to his shootdown is not wreckage from his aircraft.
If you look closely (or better yet slow it down with DVR) you will see a “602″ on a piece of wreckage in the lead boat, and then in the tethered 3 boats behind you will see more wreckage with “NH” in a faux asian style popular in the 1960s and the Bureau Number (BuNo) 150826. Several different productions have used pieces of this footage and in some “Kitty Hawk” is visible as well. NH were the tail letters for CVW-11 deployed on the Kitty Hawk, and 6XX series were the side numbers for the R-A5’s
Posted on April 5, 2006
Shortly after 9/11, and before the warship upon which I then had the pleasure to serve departed for an extended deployment to the Arabian Gulf in the winter of 2002, I read “The Middle East – A Brief History of the Last 2000 Years,” by Princeton Professor or Near Eastern Studies Bernard Lewis. It’s an impressive book if you haven’t had the chance to read it, and Lewis deals with his topic in scholarly – but accessible – detail. He demonstrates not just an understanding of his subject, but also a genial admiration of Islam’s many social, scientific and medical triumphs during a time when all of Europe was in darkness.
On April 21, 2006
Many students of American history are aware that George Washington put down a nascent officer’s revolt during the Revolution – the officers had sacrificed a great deal for the country’s benefit, and a dilatory Congress had for far too long delayed in making good their compensation promises.
Posted on March 8, 2006
When, under pressure, a politician blurts out the truth?
The people doing the fighting think it’s going pretty well. The people doing the writing think the whole thing is doomed. Has been, really, ever since that sandstorm. That was when the tide shifted: