Welcome to Licentia Loquendi, founded January 2009. L2 is a team blog that focuses primarily on political, military and Constitutional issues with a Conservative Christian slant. We are two college students, a Navy corpsman, an Army sniper and a Vietnam era Army veteran.

Each writer has free reign over postings. One writer's views are not necessarily the views of all writers.

31 July 2009

The Pause That Reflects

It was $6.99 and totally worth it. $2.00 goes to the USO. I carried it around the Ohio visitors' center hugged to my chest.

30 July 2009

The Best Part of Ohio

Major props to this woman for being awesome! I couldn't read the other side of the vehicle, and I'll post the rear window once I'm able to crop out her license plate number.

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29 July 2009

40 Lashes for Wearing Pants

A Sudanese female journalist facing 40 lashes for wearing trousers in public in violation of the country's strict Islamic laws told a packed Khartoum courtroom Wednesday she is resigning from a U.N. job that grants her immunity so she can challenge the law on women's public dress code.

Lubna Hussein was among 13 women arrested July 3 in a raid by members of the public order police force on a popular Khartoum cafe for wearing trousers, considered indecent by the strict interpretation of Islamic law adopted by Sudan's Islamic regime. All but three of the women were flogged at a police station two days later.

26 July 2009

Blogathon 2009: The End

Blogathon 2009 has come to an end! It was a really interesting experience and I am glad I was able to participate.

Donors raised $115 for IAVA! I would like to thank the following people for their contributions:
Ed B.
Mom and Dad
Dave H.
Your donations mean a lot to me! You will receive an e-mail soon reminding you to donate directly to the website. Thank you again.

Also, now that I've been awake for the past twenty-seven consecutive hours and I have a family reunion and work later today, I am going to go to bed for a few hours.

WWI: Harry Patch

Harry Patch, Britain's last survivor of the trenches of World War I . . . died Saturday at 111 . . . [he] was wounded in 1917 in the Battle of Passchendaele, which he remembered as "mud, mud and more mud mixed together with blood" (Yahoo).

Stay the Course

One more hour. I can't imagine being required to stay awake to work in a war zone for twenty-four fours. I've been awake for over twenty-four consecutive hours already. Major props to our servicemen and women.

Pledges: $115

Currently eating: peanut butter & fluff sandwich

WWII: B-25 & The Doolittle Raid

The B-25 was used during the Doolittle Raid, the first attack on the Japanese following Pearl Harbor. The Doolittle Raid was planned by Army Lt. Col. James Doolittle and involved sixteen modified B-25 aircraft.

Vietnam War: Too Tall

Major Ed "Too Tall" Freeman was born November 20, 1927 in Neely, Mississippi. After serving two years in the Navy, he switched to the Army and became a pilot. During the Vietnam War, he served as a flight leader and second in command of a sixteen-helicopter lift unit. A recipient of the Medal of Honor, Freeman saved thirty lives in fourteen rescue missions, which he flew using an unarmed helicopter when medevac refused to fly to landing zone X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley in 1965. His story was told in the book and later the film "We Were Soldiers." Freeman passed away August 20, 2008.


Vietnam War

2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers.

The usage of helicopters caused the average infantryman to see 240 days of combat of 365.

The average age of the infantryman in Vietnam was 22.8 years.

Vietnam War Myths

Securing the Border II

Mexican police announced the arrests Saturday of [Jose Quintero Ruiz, 43, and his brother Jose Eugenio Quintero Ruiz, 49, and taxi drivers Jose Alfredo Camacho, 34 and Antonio Valladares, 57] suspected of involvement in the killing of . . . U.S. Border Patrol agent [Robert Rosas] as American investigators searched hospitals for gunmen who were possibly wounded in the first such shooting death in more than a decade. . . .

American officials have expressed concerns that the drug cartel battles plaguing Mexico could spill into the United States with the targeting of U.S. law enforcement officials. [The head of the FBI's San Diego bureau] said investigators aren't ruling out the possibility that Rosas was slain by drug smugglers or even human smugglers.

Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.

Whenever I become frustrated with the direction my life is or is not taking, I think of this verse. It reminds me that no matter how many different career paths I wish to pursue, I cannot change God's plans. He has a purpose for me which surpasses any other that I could have devised.

My Platform, Cont'd.

The healthcare system will remain privatized. Nothing is free, not even supposedly free healthcare. Physicians should be able to negotiate with HMOs.

I have grown up defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Although I have many heterosexual friends, I believe in marriage as God intended it.

The United States needs to be more self-sufficient. It may be cheaper to mass produce via outsourcing, but returning companies to the states would generate jobs and stimulate the economy. The US should limit imports while maximizing exports.

Thank You

The above names are those of friends (or their significant others) who have answered the call and taken an oath to defend our country. I am grateful for each of them and for their service.


I am quite tired.
Remind myself of our troops.
Keep blogging onward.

Support IAVA

Fisher House

Props to fellow Blogathoner Michele for supporting Fisher House.

Supporting America's military in their time of need, we provide "a home away from home" that enables family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful time -- during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury.


Information: Coast Guard

Coast Guard.com
Coast Guard.mil
Coast Guard Academy
Coast Guard Foundation

Information: Navy

Navy Times

Information: Marine Corps

Marine Corps Times

Information: Army

Army & Army Reserve
United States Military Academy

Information: Air Force

Air Force.com
Air Force.mil
Air Force Academy
Air Force Crossroads
Air Force Times

Security Contractors

U.S. military authorities in Afghanistan may hire a private contractor to provide around-the-clock security at dozens of bases and protect vehicle convoys moving throughout the country.

The possibility of awarding a security contract comes as the Obama administration is sending thousands of more troops into Afghanistan to quell rising violence fueled by a resurgent Taliban. As the number of American forces grow over the next several months, so too does the demand to guard their outposts.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he wants to cut back on the use of contractors that now provide a wide range services to American troops in war zones, including transportation, communications, food service, construction, and maintenance. As recently as February, however, Gates called the use of private security contractors in certain parts of Afghanistan "vital" to supporting U.S. bases. A contract for the work also creates job opportunities for Afghans, he said.

Wars create jobs!

25 July 2009

What Really Goes On Over There

OIF/OEF: The Hashish Army

This depressed me a great deal. The lack of discipline and will power is appalling. How can they not want to better their country?

WWII: Rape of Nanjing

For most Americans, December 7, 1941 was a day that would live in infamy. For the Chinese, it was December 13, 1937 and the six weeks that ensued. On December 13th, China fell to the Japanese Imperial Army. Fifty thousand Japanese invaded near the mouth of the Yangtze, and executed 57,000 Chinese civilians and former soldiers at the base of Mufu Mt. by shooting and bayoneting each man individually.
On December 12, the Panay was sunk and strafed by Japanese aviators.
To promote safety for the residents (of which there had been over 590,000 at the start of the invasion), the International Committee for the Nanjing Safety Zone was created by a group of physicians, missionaries, executives and professors who had not boarded the Panay. The Zone leaders included Nazi John Rabe, surgeon Robert Wilson (the only surgeon in Nanjing), and Professor Wilhelmina "Minnie" Vautrin.
Over the course of the next several weeks, Chinese were killed by live or partial burials, mutiliation, death by fire or ice, partial burial and dog attacks, water treatments, dislocation of joints, extraction of fingernails, electric shock, flogging, cannibalism, and being forced to kneel on sharp instruments.
Women of all ages, from eight to eighty years of age, were raped -- some were raped more than twenty times daily, and often before their families.
The Japanese also conducted scientific experiments via Unit Ei 1644. Prisoners were injected or fed lethal gases, poisons and germs such as acetone, arsenate, cyanide, nitrate prussiate, cobra venom, habu venom and amagasa venom. They were also infected with the bubonic plague and carved open without anesthesia. More than ten people died daily and were incinerated. Unit Ei 1644 was also responsible for spreading germ-carrying fleas, and threw flasks of microbes -- including cholera, dysentery, typhoid and anthrax -- into houses, wells, rivers and reservoirs.
Journalists in Nanjing published stories of the atrocities committed in Nanjing, including the New York Times and Chicago Daily News. Newsreel men for Universal and Fox Movietone filmed the sinking of the Panay. As a result, foreigners were forbidden to enter the city. Committee members were also active in spreading the word. Administrative director George Fitch sent his diary to Shanghai, where it was then forwarded to Time, Reader's Digest and Far Eastern magazine and John Rabe sent a letter to Hitler.
In August of 1945, Japan surrendered. One hundred and twenty air raids and arson had contributed to the burning of one-third of the city and the destruction of three-fourths of the stores. Although the number is disputed, the end of the rape saw approximately 260,000 victims. Statistics range from 38,000-300,000, but some Japanese place the figure at 6,000.


我 叫李。 我是的韩国, 可是我是美国人。 我家有四个人, 我爸爸, 我妈妈, 一个妹妹和我。我喜欢学中文, 吃中饭。 周某我喜欢看书。


English: My last name is Lee. I am from Korea, but I am American. My family has four people, my father, my mother, my younger sister and me. I like to study Chinese and eat Chinese food. On the weekend I like to read books.

Interview with an Airman

A brief interview with Airman First Class Keefer. Mainly because he's sitting right next to me.

LL: Why did you enlist in the Air Force?
A1C: To serve my country.

LL: Why did you choose the Air Force?
A1C: I felt it would help me accomplish all of my future goals.

LL: How long have you currently served in the Air Force?
A1C: Two plus [years].

LL: How long do you plan on serving in the Air Force?
A1C: Twenty plus [years].

LL: What is your MOS and what does it entail?
A1C: Security Forces, a combination of military police and combat infantry.

LL: What do you like most about the Air Force?
A1C: Not coming home to see my girlfriend that often . . . haha.

LL: What was BMT like?
A1C: Briefer than other branches', though it focuses more on human relations.

LL: What is your work schedule like?
A1C: It changes all the time -- currently four days on, four days off, twelve hour shifts.

I'll add more if I think of more questions.


Making the guys hook up the NES.

Halo! Sarah's and my first time playing. I'm the top right screen. I was a non-combatant. After I shot Sarah a few times.

How to Help the Troops

Operation: Love Reunited
Photographers send albums to your loved ones overseas.

Soldiers' Angels
Adopt a soldier.

Operation Troop Aid
Provide care packages through the revenue generated from concerts.

Any Soldier
Send mail to military personnel.

Homes for Troops
Providing homes for disabled troops.

Thank You, Alex

"Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Alex . . . was one of more than 900 service members and other medical experts who daily met thousands of locals awaiting medical care during a four-month humanitarian and civic assistance mission at ports of call throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Alex is a corpsman aboard the USNS Comfort. . . .
The men and women assigned to the Comfort are providing medical and dental care both on board and on shore. They are also providing engineering assistance at various sites in the host nations by doing everything from repairing school playgrounds, to renovating medical clinics.
They are also trekking through the jungle on foot to help a native Panamanian tribe to build a dam to allow them to gather clean drinking water."

Thank you to Alex and props to his girlfriend, Steph.

My Workspace v. 2.0

The Army race car is from SFC Bills, which he gave me the day I job shadowed him the summer before my Junior year of high school. He also gave me the Army mouse pad. The print-out below the car is a screenshot of the Glenn Beck episode my dad and I attended. The Mary and Joseph statue was a Christmas gift from my parents -- I love it. The three papers in front of the stack of books are Afghani propaganda. I also love my autographed Glenn Beck Show ticket, and there are random bobby pins all over my room. The die-cast HUMMVW was a yard-sale purchase eons ago, but I still love it. And the half-visible woodcut is my grandfather's garage. I'm also obsessed with Post-Its.

My Platform, Cont'd.

Members of the military will receive a wage increase, and on-base housing should be improved. Support and care for veterans should also be improved, and regulations for veterans' hospitals should become more stringent. Combat veterans should also be allowed to purchase alcohol (I'm not sure if that's a law my combat vet friends made up or if it's actually true).

Gun Control
Every law-abiding citizen should have the right to possess a gun if he or she desires. Gun safety classes will be required of anyone who registers a firearm.

I believe that abortion is murder, though can be the woman's choice in the event of rape or incest. However, impregnation by rape or incest rarely occurs. Otherwise, I oppose abortion.

If you ran for President, what would your platform be?

First of all, a twenty-eighth amendment would be needed.

Any person who has completed no less than twelve years of military service or who became a naturalized citizen of the United States of America prior to his or her sixth birthday, and who has attained at least thirty-five years of age shall be eligible for the office of President.

Illegal immigrants shall be deported immediately upon discovery of their status. I believe the security of our nation is vital. However, the immigration interview fee shall also be reduced and/or be made partially refundable if citizenship is not granted. ICE shall also be expanded.
A wall with lasers or a DMZ could also prove helpful, as well as a shantytown constructed along the border and inhabited by gun-clinging rednecks. Also, the military could use the southern border as a training ground. Those drug dealers would be pretty tough targets.

I do not believe in global warming -- Earth's climate changes over time. However, I do believe that humans do impact the environment (though perhaps not to the extent that many believe). We must be responsible for ourselves, and eco-friendly options should be made more readily available.
If border patrol loses effectiveness and aliens continue to cross the border, littering and devastating the southern wildlife and ecosystem, then we might as well start drilling in Alaska.

SFC Jared Monti

Thirty-year-old SFC Jared Monti of Raynham, MA was killed June 21, 2006 in Afghanistan. Monti had been a fire support specialist assigned to 3rd Squardron, 71st Calvary, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Div. of Fort Drum, NY. For his actions in combat, Monti will posthumously receive a Medal of Honor.

C Rations & MREs

Army colonel Henry A. Moak, Jr. not only opened, but also ate, "an old military 'C' Ration can of pound cake from 1969 at his retirement ceremony" (FNC), which obtained "as a Marine helicopter pilot off the Vietnamese coast in 1973. He vowed to hang on to it until the day he retired, storing it in a box with other mementos" (FNC). After taking a bite, "Moak pronounced the cake 'good' . . . [and] even a little moist'" (FNC).

Speaking of old rations, does anyone know how old this MRE is?

If donations reach $250 by the end of the Blogathon at 9AM EST, I will eat this MRE. It's been setting on my desk as more or less an artifact.

My Workspace

This is Sally, my eight-year-old Golden Retriever. I grew tired of watching the television screen (I've watched part of "The Last of the Mohicans," "The Patriot," and "Home of the Brave"), so we spent part of the afternoon outside. Unfortunately, it was rather humid so we decided to return to the central air.

Another sponsor! Sponsors have pledged a total of $115 to IAVA as of this moment.

Military Room

Major props to "Reverend W. Lee Eames, a chaplain at [the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International] airport and Pam Porter, then the communications coordinator," (Military Times) for persuading Delta to allow them to provide service members with "a room on Concourse B where they could go and have a snack, or talk to someone if they needed to. . . . Eames -- a certified therapist and ordained minister -- now provides guidance in that room, called the Military Room. . . . The room is marked with a simple banner featuring a bald eagle, and it provides Internet, television, lounge chairs and sleeping spaces" (Military Times). The Military Room is contributed to by various members of the community -- "food is donated by churches throughout Northern Kentucky and drinks are provided by Delta. . . . Children all across Northern Kentucky have helped stock the lounge with letters, as well as magazines and books, which the veterans can read at their leisure" (Military Times).

The best part is that the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Int'l airport is not the only one involved. Rev. Eames has also received requests from other airports asking how they can start their own Military Rooms.

Cold War: Maj. Rudolph Anderson, Jr.

Major Rudolph Anderson, Jr. was born September 15, 1927 in Greenville, South Carolina. He served with the United States Air Force 4080 Strategic Reconnaissance Wing of Laughlin AFB as a U-2 pilot. Anderson – the only casualty of the Cuban Missile Crisis – was shot down near Banes, Cuba on October 27, 1962. Anderson was also the first recipient of the Air Force Cross, and posthumously received the Distinguished Service Medal, Purple Heart and Cheney Award, as well.
Photos taken from Anderson’s U-2, as well as other spy planes, later proved that nuclear missiles were present in Cuba.

Rudolph Anderson

Securing the Border

Federal investigators are combing hospitals along the U.S.-Mexico border for at least two suspects who may have been injured in gunfire that killed a Border Patrol agent in Southern California.

Law enforcement agencies were pursuing "a number of leads" in the United States and in Mexico but no one had been arrested or charged with killing Agent Robert Rosas, the FBI said late Friday.

This is why we need a wall. That's all I have to say.

What factors led you to support or not support the war?

Following September 11, I was caught up in the patriotic fervor that embodied the nation, though I didn't really understand it. The French? I hated them. Iraq? We should bomb it. Later, though, I became more educated on matters and as I matured, I was able to make my own decisions regarding the war.
I will always support our troops. Supporting our troops also means supporting their cause, in my opinion.
I believe that this war was declared under completely legitimate circumstances. Based on what my deployed friends tell me, the American military is doing great things for the Iraqi and Afghan peoples. I support what they do, the sacrifices they make.
Many of the men in my family have served in the armed forces. My paternal grandfather was at Pearl Harbor. My maternal grandfather is a Korean War veteran. My dad and uncle both served during the Vietnam War. Burning flags and thanking God for IEDs simply doesn't register in my brain.
Having close friends in a war zone truly changes one's perspective on things. Regardless, I am very proud of all of our men and women serving in the armed forces.

If your family members are overseas in the war effort, how do you cope with this?

I now view this as more of an honor of sorts than a "coping" sort of thing. Although I have no family members in a war zone, I do have a very close friend in Afghanistan. When he first told me he was deploying, in December, I cried for a very long time that night. The war was finally here for me. And then I was miserable for the next three days. Afterward, I realized that crying solves nothing and people deploy all the time.
Although I don't talk to him very often (perhaps once every week or two), I now find that the most difficult part is finding things to talk about. I have a million and one questions (which, I suppose, is a good thing since I want to be a war correspondent), but I refrain from asking any of them, partially because I don't think he can answer them anyway, and mostly because I don't want to be callous or too inquisitive. I've learned not to worry too much and not to dwell too much on "what ifs."
I also keep the Kabul time zone clock on my cell phone, so that I can compare times on occasion. It makes the world seem a bit smaller.

Military History

Horse Soldiers is about a group of Special Forces soldiers who went to Afghanistan shortly after 9/11 and literally rode to war on horseback. They worked with Generals Atta and Dostum to defeat the Taliban, and this book chronicles their journey, as well as that of their families stateside.

As You Were was incredibly helpful in enabling me to better understand what our troops go through in a war zone. As You Were follows several soldiers as they are deployed to the Middle East. I found Miranda Summers' story particularly interesting, as she was a student at a fairly close college. I cried quite a bit while reading it, but the information I gleaned from reading it is invaluable.

Over There!

Emily has been posting about the Civil War, so I'll skip that and continue on to WWI. This is one of my favorite songs.

The Food Network isn't my calling.

American Revolution: Banastre Tarleton

Although he was British, I decided to focus on Tarleton because Jason Isaac's character Col. William Tavington of "The Patriot" was based on Banastre Tarleton.

Banastre Tarleton was born in Liverpool on August 21, 1754 to a wealthy family. His father died when Tarleton was nineteen, leaving him with an inheritance that he quickly squandered. Penniless (actually, he was in debt), he convinced his mother to purchase him a rank in the cavalry. In 1776, he volunteered to ship out to the Colonies, where he was stationed in New York. Along with New York and Pennsylvania Loyalists, he worked in the Green Dragoons -- their coats were mostly green, not red, as is depicted in "The Patriot" -- and became known as "Bloody Ban" or "The Butcher" following the Waxhaw Massacre.
His ruthless effectiveness earned him a promotion to Major under Gen. Lord Cornwallis, and he was transferred to Col. William Harcourt. On Dec. 13, 1776 Tarleton captured Colonial Gen. Charles Lee, and in 1780 he moved south and captured Charles Towne, SC. On May 29 of the same year, Tarleton butchered 113 of 350 Virginia Continentals at the Battle of Waxhaw. Although 203 were captured, only 53 were able to travel with them -- the rest were left behind. Reports conflict as to whether Tarleton's men began the massacre under his orders or because his horse was shot and pinned him to the ground, leading his men avenge him because they thought he'd been shot under truce. Thereafter, the Patriots were known to refer to "no quarter" as "Tarleton's Quarter."
As is portrayed in "The Patriot," Tarleton did hunt for Francis Marion (Mel Gibon's character Benjamin Martin), and gave Marion the nickname "Swamp Fox."
Following the defeat of the British at Cowpens and then Yorktown, Tarleton returned to England (he wasn't bayoneted through the throat by a vengeful Francis Marion) and held political office in Parliament.

Military History
Patriot Resource
Cowpens NB
Banastre Tarleton

American Revolution

The Revolutionary War (one of my favorites to study) began in 1775 and ended in 1783. The Revolutionary War included English forces, American Colonial forces, Hessians (defeated Christmas Day when George Washington crossed the Delaware!) and the French (most notably Lafayette, who was thanked and repaid on the beaches of Normandy in the nineteen-forties).
In 1766, the British imposed the Townshend Act, which taxed a great deal of British imports. The Colonists, however, were not represented in England, hence "no taxation without representation." In 1773, frustrated Colonists dressed up as Mohawks and dumped boxes upon boxes of tea (342 chests) into the Boston Harbor. It was repeated in spirit across the country earlier this year.

History Central

Where Were You On September 11, 2001?

I can no longer recall whether I was at home sick or "sick," but either way, I was home from school on September 11. Grammy and Papa were spending the day with me, and I was in the living room when Mom called from work. Grammy was upstairs when she answered the phone, and called down the stairs for me to turn on the TV. The first image that appeared when the TV flickered on was that of two thick, grey lines separated with a thin strip of greyish-blue. I couldn't figure out what the image was, though Grammy said that the World Trade Center had been hit. I had no idea what the WTC was. Then, the camera panned out and I realized that the grey lines were buildings, and the blue was the sky. The three of us were glued to the television as reporters covered the action. I watched the second plane hit, and though I didn't fully understand what was happening (I was eleven at the time), I knew that it was bad. Especially when people started jumping from the windows.
After a while, Grammy and Papa took me to their house for the rest of the day, and when Mom picked me up after work later that day, I remember crying most of the way home because I was afraid that terrorists would attack us. The fact that I live in an area so rural the likelihood of a plane actually hitting something other than farmland is one billion to one didn't register in my young mind.

I wish I had been older at the time, so that I would have better understood what was happening. I did understand the patriotism and unity that everyone showed, though.

French and Indian War: American Involvement

The Colonies became involved when George Washington and a few of his men decided to expel the French from Ohio. They marched to Fort Duquesne -- the construction of which had actually been started by the British -- but realized that the fort was too strong for them to capture. So, they built Fort Necessity nearby as a way to challenge the French. It worked. The French not only attacked, but also captured Fort Necessity in 1754. The English did not declare war on France until 1756, but for the Colonists, the war began much sooner. Fort Duquesne was finally captured by the British in 1758.

Fort William Henry was featured in the film "The Last of the Mohicans."

Ohio History Central
Travel and History

French and Indian Wars

The French and Indian Wars were fought from 1689 to 1763, ending shortly before the American War for Independence. The series of wars consisted of four primary wars. The first was 1689-1697 King William's War, which consisted primarily of attacks on British frontier colonies in the Colonies, and ended with the Peace of Utrecht. The second, King George's War, was fought from 1739-1748, though the American Colonies did not become involved until 1744. King George's War ended with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. The French and Indian War lasted from 1754-1763 and ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1763, with the French loss of control over Canada to Great Britain.

Reference Center
Ohio History Central

Blogathon 2009!

Welcome to the next twenty-four consecutively lucid hours of my existence. As a participant in Blogathon 2009, I will be posting a blog every thirty minutes for twenty-four hours -- with a final total of 49 blogs by 9AM EST tomorrow -- in order to raise money for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). So far, donors have pledged to contribute $105 to IAVA. Although I never set a goal, I never expected to raise that much money! Thank you to everyone -- your support really means a lot to me.

After a bit of conversation and chai at the coffee shop this morning, I picked up B and, following a miscommunication that led to an incredibly stressed return sojourn home, immediately stole the living room television and popped "The Last of the Mohicans" into the DVD player (once D gets here, the guys will most likely take over the television with video games of some sort). I had originally planned to watch a movie pertaining to every major American war (hence "The Last of the Mohicans"), but unfortunately it seems that my plans will be undone. But, I couldn't find a War of 1812 or Korean War movie, anyway.

Time permitting, I hope to post blogs pertaining to military history, interspersed with current news or writing prompts. The blog will have a bit of a different atmosphere for the next twenty-four hours, but I hope you will still find it enjoyable.

It is now 9:00 and I have chai. Although I don't think it's caffeinated. At least it has sugar.

War of 1812

On June 18, 1812, President James Madison declared war on Great Britain. His declaration led to a three-year war that is, according to some, the Colonies' true war for independence. The War of 1812 ended on December 24 with the Treaty of Ghent.
The first battle, though not actually part of the War of 1812, occurred on November 7, 1811 between General Harrison's forces and Tecumseh's forces. It ended with Tecumseh's defeat. The final battle occurred on January 8 in New Orleans.
The "Star Spangled Banner" was also inspired by events during the War of 1812, Napoleon was defeated, and Washington was burned.

The War of 1812


Countdown: 15 hours
Pledges: $115
Future Blog Posts: 18

Since I'm strapped down to my laptop, D and Sarah are currently in the kitchen making pizza. Despite the fact that I made a ginormous pot of fried rice earlier this evening, we're all starving.

Dad: Well . . . I'm going to bed -- unlike you!
Me: Thanks, Dad.
Dad: You have my heartfelt support.

24 July 2009

Victory? What Victory?

President Obama has put securing Afghanistan near the top of his foreign policy agenda, but "victory" in the war-torn country isn't necessarily the United States' goal, he said Thursday in a TV interview.

"I'm always worried about using the word 'victory,' because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur," Obama told ABC News.

The enemy facing U.S. and Afghan forces isn't so clearly defined, he explained.

"We're not dealing with nation states at this point. We're concerned with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, Al Qaeda's allies," he said. "So when you have a non-state actor, a shadowy operation like Al Qaeda, our goal is to make sure they can't attack the United States."

First of all, I highly suggest reading the article in its entirety. Second of all. . . .
If they're not being sent to win, then don't send them in. When is victory not the goal? Aside from when it pertains to Afghanistan, of course. Why should we be worried about using the word "victory?" "Victory" is simply a word, some organized characters, until they're given meaning. Until we emerge from this war victorious. Regardless of what our government decides, I believe that our troops will emerge victorious. The politicians may lose this war, but our military will not.

My Role Model

I snagged this from Hot Air. Michael Yon is one of my role models, and I hope to someday follow in his footsteps. I love his photography, his writing, his work in general.

23 July 2009

"Sign me up for the next war!"

U.S. troops say companies that recruit military translators are sending linguists to southern Afghanistan who are unprepared to serve in combat, even as hundreds more are needed to support the growing number of troops.

Some translators are in their 60s and 70s and in poor physical condition — and some don’t even speak the right language. . . .

Troops say low-skilled and disgruntled translators are putting U.S. forces at risk.

“Intelligence can save Marines’ lives and give us the advantage on the battlefield,” said Cpl. William Woodall, 26, of Dallas, who works closely with translators. “Instead of looking for quality, the companies are just pushing bodies out here, and once they’re out the door, it’s not their problem anymore." . . .

The company that recruits most U.S. citizen translators, Columbus, Ohio-based Mission Essential Personnel, says it’s difficult to meet the increased demand for linguists to aid the 15,000 U.S. forces being sent to southern, Pashto-speaking provinces this year as part of President Barack Obama’s increased focus on Afghanistan. Only 7,700 Pashto speakers live in the U.S., according to the 2000 census.

Mission Essential’s senior vice president, Marc Peltier, told The Associated Press that the linguists the company deploys to Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries meet government standards. The military sets no age or weight requirements, he said. . . .

How translators come to believe they won’t face danger could originate with recruiters.

“They’re going to tell you whatever it is to get you hired,” Spangler said.

Khalid Nazary, an Afghan-American citizen living in Kabul, called Mission Essential about a job and let an AP reporter listen.

He asked if he would go to “dangerous places.”

“Oh, no, no, no. You’re not a soldier. You’re not a soldier. Not at all,” the recruiter, Tekelia Barnett, said. “You’re not on the battlefield." . . .

“They say you’ll get a shower once a day, have access to Internet and TV, call home six times a week,” Woodall said. “And when the guys get out, they’re completely shell-shocked. They’ve been lied to." . . .

The translators said dozens of linguists quit soon after arriving in Afghanistan in recent weeks. Spangler declined to provide numbers but said “quite a bit” resigned or were fired because they were too old, unfit or couldn’t speak Pashto. . . .

But Gamez said soldiers need translators now, and that some feign sickness to avoid work.

This is insane. Someone teach me Pashto and ship me over there. I'm nineteen years old, so there's no worry about me keeling over from a heart attack (though heat exhaustion might be a problem). I might not be able to keep up with Marines, but I'm stubborn enough to keep trying. And for $210,000 a year and the opportunity to serve my country, you wouldn't have to worry about me quitting (just surviving). I also won't require Internet service (just give me a journal) or phone calls home six times a week -- which seems a bit excessive in a war zone. But as for showers . . . well. I suppose we all have to make sacrifices.


"The government says the number of newly laid-off workers seeking jobless benefits rose last week, though the report was distorted by the timing of auto plant shutdowns" (FNC).
Unemployment, regardless of the means by which it is dealt, still results in the loss of a job, a steady and most likely necessary income. "Distorted."

In preparation for the Blogathon (for which $40 in donations has been pledged to IAVA!), I've been attempting to do some research on military history. So far, I've found some interesting information on the 4080 Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, as well as the U-2, and I've been looking for information on Operation Grasshopper and Operation Quarterback (Vietnam War). I am very much looking forward to twenty-four hours of blogging, and have even recruited a friend to spend most (if not all) of the Blogathon with me.

21 July 2009

"If it's so good, why doesn't Congress have to be on it?"

I found this on Reboot Congress.

Working Best Under Pressure

Obama noted in a nationally broadcast interview Tuesday that "the House has put forward a surtax," but was noncommittal about whether it should actually be part of the reconstituted health care system he is pushing.

The president also said on NBC's "Today" show that he is pushing hard for legislation before Congress's August recess because "if you don't set a deadline in this town, nothing happens. The default in Washington is inaction and inertia."

However, the administration has already proven that even deadlines don't ensure that action is taken -- they've already missed the six-month deadline regarding Guantanamo.

20 July 2009

Bring Bowe Back

23-year-old [PFC Bowe] Bergdahl was serving with a unit based in Fort Richardson, Alaska, earlier this month when he vanished, just five months after arriving in Afghanistan, officials said. He was serving at a base near the border with Pakistan in an area known to be a Taliban stronghold (FNC).

On July 2, two U.S. officials conceded a soldier had "just walked off" his base near the border with Pakistan with three Afghans after his shift, but wouldn't release details. Four days later, the Taliban claimed "a drunken American soldier had come out of his garrison" and was captured by mujahedeen (FNC).

He said the date was July 14 and that he was captured when he lagged behind on a patrol. It's clear the video was made no earlier than July 14 because Bergdahl repeated an exaggerated Taliban claim about a Ukrainian helicopter that was shot down that day (AP).

So, there are three different accounts of how Bergdahl was captured. The first, that he simply "walked off . . . with three Afghans," would suggest that he was deserting. Who were the Afghans? The second would explain why he was captured, as I doubt a drunk would be much of an opponent, especially were he to forget his weapon. How did he obtain alcohol in a war zone? Why was he careless enough to imbibe in a war zone? The third, a claim made by Bergdahl, states that he "lagged behind on a patrol." That statement doesn't say much for the US Army, if soldiers are letting their comrades lag behind in a war zone and be captured (which I highly doubt they are). However, as I have no combat experience, I have no idea how patrols function, or how one would obtain alcohol, or what Bergdahl was thinking if he strode off the base with the Afghans. Perhaps he was going for a late-night walk.

Honorary War Vet

IAVA to Name Colbert Honorary War Vet
Political pundit Stephen Colbert could be named, if his petition on IAVA receives 25,000 signatures (there are currently almost 15,000), an Honorary War Vet.
Quite frankly, regardless of how entertaining the man is, he's still an entertainer. He hasn't earned a uniform or taken an oath, and he's not a warrior. To bequeath upon him such a title is to mock the true warriors who fight and bleed and die for us. Colbert is already famous and well-recognized. Despite his tour to Iraq to entertain the troops, I still feel that he isn't worthy of the title.

16 July 2009

And We Won't Be Back 'Til It's Over Over There!

The Pentagon's chief said Thursday he could send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan this year than he'd initially expected and is considering increasing the number of soldiers in the Army.

Both issues reflect demands on increasingly stressed American forces tasked with fighting two wars.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates' comments came during a short visit to Fort Drum in upstate New York -- an Army post that that he said has deployed more soldiers to battle zones over the last 20 years than any other unit. Two Fort Drum brigades are headed to Iraq later this year, and a third is currently in Afghanistan.

Asked about Afghanistan by one soldier, Gates said: "I think there will not be a significant increase in troop levels in Afghanistan beyond the 68,000, at least probably through the end of the year. Maybe some increase, but not a lot."

So far, the Obama administration has approved sending 68,000 troops to Afghanistan by the end of 2009, including 21,000 that were added this spring.

I would first like to ask how Sec'y Gates intends to increase the Army's size. Though I've not spoken with any recruiters lately or researched any numbers, I'm sure that the Army's size will increase as long as volunteers are willing. Maybe they'll send roving recruitment vans to kidnap young men off of the streets. Secondly, I would like everyone to note the fact that "the Obama administration has approved sending 68,000 troops to Afghanistan by the end of 2009, including 21,000 that were added this spring" (FNC). That's 99,000 troops. Ninety-nine thousand men and women. The end to the War on Terror Overseas Contingency Plan definitely seems to be in sight.

Racial Condescension

The president and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce accused Sen. Barbara Boxer on Thursday of racially condescending to him during an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing.
Republican members of the committee had sought the testimony of Harry C. Alford, an opponent of a climate change bill that narrowly passed in the House.
Alford said in his opening statement that he spoke on behalf of his organization when he argued that the bill would have devastating consequences for small and minority-owned businesses.
But he took offense when Boxer countered his statement by quoting an NAACP resolution that approved the climate change bill and putting it on the record.

Alford believed the statements to be racially condescending, saying that, "'I'm the National Black Chamber of Commerce and you're trying to put up some other black group to pit against me'" (FNC). In response, Boxer protested that, "'There is definitely differing opinions in the black community, just as there are in my community' . . . adding that she was trying to show the diversity of support behind the climate change bill" (FNC).

While the statements may have been relevant, I'm certain that other relevant statements exist that have been made by other racial communities. In my opinion, Alford played into Boxer's use of the race card with her, "differing opinions in the black community, just as there are in my community" statement. If she's not being racially condescending, then she shouldn't have created the line between the two racial communities, in my opinion. On the other hand, no group, regardless of racial, political, or religious affiliation (or any other affiliation, for that matter), always agrees. It should only stand to reason that the NBCC and the NAACP would be at odds from time to time, and the mention of their difference in perspective should only be noted as such -- not as a condescension. I would also like to note that, regardless of how offensive any statement may be, we do live in a country in which its citizens are granted the right to freedom of speech.

15 July 2009

Sights of Central PA

Welcome to Central Pennsylvania. I noticed this this morning on the way to a babysitting job. And yes, the vehicle was stopped at the time.

14 July 2009

Stealth Jihad

Coincidentally, yesterday I was reading Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America Without Guns or Bombs. Last night, "The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing . . . to consider a proposal to expand the campus of the Islamic Saudi Academy, a Saudi-owned college preparatory school" (FNC). Community members have been vehemently opposing the expansion, if not because "former students of the school . . . have been convicted in a plot to assassinate former President Bush, and more recently, arrested for trying to board an airplane with a seven-inch kitchen knife" (FNC), then because, according to the chairman of the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force, "the Islamic Saudi Academy . . . teaches and practices Shariah law . . . [which] is anti-constitutional and [the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force] feel[s] that it is the ultimate improper land use . . . in the state where the Constitution was created'" (FNC).
Also, the convicted students were no mere delinquents. "Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, the school's valedictorian in 1999, was convicted in November 2005 of joining Al Qaeda and plotting to assassinate President Bush" (FNC).
I do not profess to be an expert of Islam or Islamic law (or even vaguely close), but after having studied it last semester, I do agree that sharia law is unconstitutional. Islamic men have rights. Women do not. Non-Muslims do not. And, although Islam recognizes both Jews and Christians as "People of the Book" and thereby protected under dhimmi status, Muslims are also encouraged to kill non-Muslims -- conversion is not considered as a possibility.
While I would like to consider myself a tolerant and accepting person, I also believe that our Founding Fathers would roll in their graves had they known that the nation they envisioned would one day cater to sharia law. My prayers are with VAST, the ten other groups speaking out against the expansion, and the 46 who spoke at the hearing.

Also, while driving home from coffee with the gentlemen this morning, I was driving up a hill about a quarter mile from my home when a man began to pull out of his driveway (the incline was gentle enough that he could see me). Both of his tires were on the road before he finally decided to back into his driveway (I still hadn't crested the hill, and therefore couldn't tell if there was any oncoming traffic). As I passed him, he flipped me the spirit finger.
The moral of the story is that the vast majority of bad/obnoxious drivers that I have encountered over my three years of driving have been men. There was absolutely no reason for him to be so rude to me when I clearly had the right of way. And he wasn't a teenager, either. Also, when I was in a car accident last summer (and by "in," I mean that it wasn't my fault), it was because a nineteen-year-old boy decided it would be smart to cross into my lane to get to a gas station. The lesson learned there would be that even if a car is slowing down to make a turn, it's not smart to cross in front of it. Especially if it's a Jeep.

11 July 2009

More On Blogathon

My former roommate has decided to participate in Blogathon 2009, as well! She is supporting the Washington, D.C. based nonprofit Civil War Preservation Trust, which preserves and restores battlefields and other important locations of the Civil War. Her blog is History Speaks, and we are very excited to be blogging for our nation's history!
Also, Poe of Nevermore is the other blogger supporting IAVA. I have never met her, but she must be fantastically awesome if she's supporting IAVA.

"Explain that to me, because I was in the military." -D.J. (Army veteran) to J.C. (Air Force veteran)

"The way I understood it, the ground pounders went to the Army and the smart guys joined the Air Force." -J.C.

Military Smoking Ban

Defense Sec'y Robert Gates is being prompted to ban tobacco sale and use in the military stateside and overseas, due to "rising tobacco use and higher costs" (FNC). However, a study shows that "troops worn out by repeated deployments often rely on cigarettes as a 'stress reliever' [and] . . . that tobacco use in the military rose after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began" (FNC).
Although I personally do not condone tobacco use, I find it a low blow to add more stress on our deployed military by implementing a smoking ban. Then again, smoking kills.

10 July 2009

Agreeing With The ACLU

Forty-six-year-old Vito Congine Jr. of Crivitz, WI flew an American flag upside down in front of the restaurant he hopes to open. On July 4th, police officers confiscated the flag before a parade and returned it the following day. The ACLU "is considering legal action . . . for violating [Congine Jr.'s] First Amendment rights" (FNC).
Flying the flag upside-down typically represents distress. And, because it is the American flag, I have always understood it to mean that one believes that the nation is in distress . . . not "bankruptcy because the village board refused to grant [Congine Jr.] a liquor license after he spent nearly $200,000 to buy and remodel a downtown building for an Italian supper club" (FNC). Also, I find it unprofessional and completely out of place -- though not illegal -- for Mr. Congine, Jr. to disrespect the flag in a public venue; in my opinion, it would have been different had he decided to fly it on his own private property. However, I can't imagine that it would be good for potential business, especially since the county sheriff's reason for having the flag temporarily removed was because "people were upset and . . . 'It is illegal to cause a disruption'" (FNC). A disruption? People were upset. People tend to upset easily.

09 July 2009

Blogathon 2009

I would like to ask for your help regarding something important -- Blogathon 2009. Blogathon 2009 is a world-wide fundraising event in which participants blog every thirty minutes for twenty-four hours or for as long as possible. In return for the surge of blog posts and lack of sleep, bloggers accept donations toward charities of their choosing. Donations can be collected as a flat sum or per hour directly through the website of the selected charity, ensuring that neither the blogger nor Blogathon profits from donations.

This will be my first year participating. Blogathon 2009 begins at 10:00 AM ET Saturday, July 25th and ends at 10:00 AM ET Sunday, July 26th. I have decided to raise money for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), a non-profit organization dedicated to our troops and veterans who are fighting or have fought in Iraq or Afghanistan.

IAVA was founded in 2004 by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and strives to promote awareness regarding returning veterans and issues that they face. I do not pretend to understand what our troops face each day both on the battlefield and after their homecomings, but I do realize that our nation is not offering them the support that they need and deserve -- support that IAVA can provide.

I realize that money is tight with the economy as it is, but I feel that a small donation is precious little to ask in return for the freedoms that our military personnel fight for and defend, for the sacrifices that they make on a daily basis. However, if you really don't have the extra cash (which is completely understandable), I would also appreciate support in the form of comments and views on July 25th! If you would like to sponsor me and donate to IAVA, please click HERE!

[EDIT 7/10/09]
Blogathon 2009 will begin at 9:00 AM EST, not 10:00 AM EST.

07 July 2009

We Will Never Forget

Sadly, it's true -- they don't care about you. Even on Fox News, the main story and several links beneath it are related to Michael Jackson, as is the breaking news headline. The story of First Lieutenant Brian Bradshaw, killed in action on the same day (thought not in Kheyl, as both the Military Times and FNC report), is overshadowed and relegated to a side story.
Where are our priorities? Since when have the men and women dying for our country been so far less important than the death of a man ridiculed for his appearance and shunned for allegations in life, only to be mourned passionately in death?

05 July 2009

SERV & July 4th

Teacher guides vets back to campus
Major props to John Schupp and the Supportive Education for the Returning Veteran (SERV) Program.

Taliban militants were nowhere in sight as the columns of U.S. Marines walked a third straight day across southern Afghanistan. But the desert heat proved an enemy in its own right, with several troops falling victim Saturday to temperatures topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Marines carry 50-100 pounds on their backs. But because they are marching through farmland on foot, they can't carry nearly as much water as their thirst demands.

Few even realized the date was July 4, but once word of the holiday spread through the company, several said they knew relatives would be holding lakeside celebrations — a world away from the strenuous task Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment was taking on.

04 July 2009

Happy Independence Day

Today is Independence Day. While many across the country will celebrate the holiday with family, eating the usual picnic fare and ending the day watching a fireworks display, thousands of men and women will not have that luxury. Instead, they will spend the Fourth of July as they have spent every other day -- away from their families and loved ones or fighting for the freedoms which we so gladly and ignorantly enjoy. They will miss the Fourth of July festivities just as they have missed birthdays, funerals, anniversaries and time that cannot ever be retaken. Are we deserving of that, of their sacrifices? We, Americans who spend our weekends driving to the malls in our SUVs (albeit perhaps not as often in the current economy), attending colleges and sitting in classes in which it is perfectly acceptable, if not normal, to degrade the current war and our troops. We, who rarely watch the news or read a newspaper (they're becoming obsolete, anyway), preferring instead to be content with our reality television and gossip magazines. We who have never seen war, who have never lived under the rule of a dictator, do not know what it truly means to be free. To be grateful. Our troops fight wars abroad so that they stay abroad, but too few understand that. It is a sobering thought. And so I hope that, on this Independence Day, July 4, 2009, you take the time to reflect on what Independence Day really means -- to you, to this country. And I hope you find yourself proud to be living in this nation.

03 July 2009

Honor the Fallen - JUN - Navy

Forty-three-year-old Command Master Chief Petty Officer Jeffrey J. Garber of Hemingford, NE died June 20 of non-hostile causes. Garber was assigned to the Dwight D. Eisenhower in the North Arabian Sea.

Ike air wing CMC found dead in stateroom
Staff and wire reports
The command master chief for Carrier Air Wing 7, now deployed aboard the carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower, was found dead Saturday in his stateroom, apparently of natural causes, the Navy announced.
Command Master Chief (AW/SW) Jeffrey Garber, 43, was unresponsive when sailors discovered him at 8:15 a.m. local time Saturday; medical teams responded quickly but he was declared dead eight minutes later, the Navy said.
“Master Chief Garber was one of the finest individuals I have ever had the pleasure of knowing,” said Capt. Calvin Craig, commanding officer of CVW 7. “He was the epitome of what a command master chief should be — at every turn selflessly taking care of the men and women of the air wing and the entire Ike strike group team. To say that he will be sorely missed is an understatement. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the Garber family.”
Garber, of Hemingford, Neb., enlisted in the Navy in 1983 and his assignments included time aboard the cruiser Worden; the carrier Nimitz; the dock landing ship Portland; and service as the command master chief of Strike Fighter Squadron 34, the “Blue Blasters.”
A Navy announcement included fond remembrances from several of Garber’s shipmates, including Rear Adm. Kurt W. Tidd, the Eisenhower strike group’s commander; and the carrier’s top enlisted man, Command Master Chief Bryan Exum.
“The impact master chief Garber has had on the Navy is immeasurable,” Exum said. “Our last conversation was about the importance of CPO history and heritage, and it ended with a firm handshake and smile. I will never forget our last handshake. He was the embodiment of a great CMC. He will be missed by the men and women of team Ike.”

Honor the Fallen - JUN - Army

Twenty-eight-year-old SSG Jeffrey A. Hall of Huntsville, AL died June 1 in Nerkh, AF, of wounds sustained when an IED detonated near his vehicle. Hall was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) of Fort Drum, NY. Also killed were PFC Matthew D. Ogden and PFC Matthew W. Wilson.

Nineteen-year-old PFC Matthew W. Wilson of Miller, MO died June 1 in Nerkh, AF of wounds sustained when an IED detonated near his vehicle. Wilson was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) of Fort Drum, NY. Also killed were PFC Matthew D. Ogden and SSG Jeffrey A. Hall.

Thirty-three-year-old PFC Matthew D. Ogden of Corpus Christi, TX died June 1 in Nerkh, AF of wounds sustained when an IED detonated near his vehicle. Ogden was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) of Fort Drum, NY. Also killed were PFC Matthew W. Wilson and SSG Jeffrey A. Hall.

Twenty-six-year-old SGT Jasper K Obakrairur of Hilo, HI died June 1 in Nerkh, AF of wounds suffered when an IED detonated near his vehicle. Obakrairur was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) of Fort Drum, NY.

Twenty-one-year-old SPC Roberto A. Hernandez of Far Rockaway, NY died June 2 in Paktya, AF of wounds sustained when his mounted patrol was attacked with an IED and small-arms fire. Hernandez was assigned to the 549th MP Co, 385th MP Bn, 16th MP Bde (Abn) of Fort Stewart, GA.

Thirty-one-year-old SGT Justin J. Duffy of Cozad, NE died June 2 in Baghdad when an IED detonated near his vehicle. Duffy was assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division of Fort Bragg, NC.

Twenty-year-old SPC Jarrett P. Griemel of La Porte, TX died June 3 at FOB Salerno AF of injuries suffered from a non-combat-related incident. Griemel was assigned to the 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division of Fort Richardson, AK.

Fifty-year-old Maj. Rocco M. Barnes of Los Angeles, CA died June 4 in Bagram, AF of injuries sustained during a vehicle roll-over. Barnes was a member of the Tactical Command Post, 40th Infantry Division, California Army National Guard, assigned as an individual augmentee to the 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Twenty-three-year-old Sgt. Christopher M. Kurth of Alamogordo, NM died June 4 in Kirkuk, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck by an anti-tank grenade. Kurth was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division of Fort Hood, TX.

Twenty-three-year-old SPC Charles "Dusty" Parrish of Jasper, AL died June 4 in Balad, Iraq of wounds suffered earlier that day in Jalula, Iraq when his vehicle was struck by an anti-tank grenade. Parish was assigned to the 5th Engineer Battalion, 555th Engineer Brigade of Fort Leonard Wood, MO.

Twenty-one-year-old Sgt. Jeffrey W. Jordan of Rome, GA died June 4 near Kapisa, AF of wounds suffered from an IED and small-arms fire. Jordan was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 108th Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition Squadron, 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Georgia Army National Guard, Calhoun, GA. Also killed were SFC John C. Beale and Maj. Kevin M. Jenrette.

Thirty-nine-year-old SFC John C. Beale of Riverdale, GA died June 4 near Kapisa, AF of wounds suffered from an IED and small-arms fire. Beale was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 108th Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition Squadron, 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Georgia Army National Guard, Calhoun, GA. Also killed were Maj. Kevin M. Jenrette and SPC Jeffrey W. Jordan.

Thirty-seven-year-old Maj. Kevin M. Jenrette of Lula, GA died June 4 near Kapisa, AF, of wounds suffered from an IED and small-arms fire. Jenrette was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 108th Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition Squadron, 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Georgia Army National Guard, Calhoun, GA. Also killed were SFC John C. Beale and SPC Jeffrey W. Jordan.

Twenty-five-year-old SPC Eduardo S. Silva of Greenland, CA died June 9 at Bagram Airfield, AF of a non-combat-related incident. Silva was assigned to the 563rd Aviation Support Battalion, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) of Fort Campbell, KY.

Twenty-three-year-old SSG Edmond L. Lo of Salem, NH died June 13 in Samarra City, Iraq, when an IED that his explosive ordinance disposal team was acting to neutralize detonated. Lo was assigned to the 797th Ordinance Company, 79th Ordinance Battalion of Fort Hood, TX.

Twenty-two-year-old SPC Jonathan C. O'Neill of Zephyr Hills, FL died June 15 at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX, of wounds sustained June 2 in Paktya, AF when an IED detonated near his vehicle. O'Neill was assigned to the 549th MP Company, 385th MP Battalion, 16th MP Brigade (Airborne) at Fort Stewart, GA.

Twenty-five-year-old Sgt. Joshua W. Soto of San Angelo, TX died June 16 in Iraq of wounds sustained when an IED detonated near his vehicle. Soto was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division of Fort Bliss, TX.

Thirty-two-year-old Capt. Kafele H. Sims of Los Angeles, CA died June 16 in Mosul, Iraq of a non-combat-related incident. Sims was assigned to the 18th Engineer Brigade of Schwetzingen, Germany.

Fifty-two-year-old SFC Kevin A. Dupont of Templeton, MA died June 17 at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX of wounds suffered March 8 in Kandau, AF when an IED detonated near his vehicle. Dupont was assigned to the 79th Troop Command, Rehoboth, MA.

Forty-three-year-old Sgt. Paul G. Smith of Peoria, IL died June 19 in Kandahar, AF when his vehicle was hit by an IED. Also killed was SSG Joshua A. Melton. Smith was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry Regiment, Ill. Army National Guard of Aurora, Ill.

Twenty-six-year-old SSG Joshua A. Melton of Carlyle, IL died June 19 in Kandahar, AF of wounds sustained when his vehicle was hit by an IED. Melton was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment, Ill. National Guard of Marion, IL. Also killed was Sgt. Paul G. Smith.

Twenty-five-year-old SPC Chancellor A. Keesling of Indianapolis died June 19 in Baghdad, Iraq of a non-combat-related incident. Keesling was assigned to the 961st Engineer Company of Sharonville, OH.

Thirty-eight-year-old 1st Sgt. John D. Blair of Calhoun, GA died June 20 in Mado Zayi, AF, of wounds sustained when an RPG struck his vehicle. Blair was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment, Army National Guard of Lawrenceville, GA.

Twenty-six-year-old Sgt. Ricky D. Jones of Plantersville, AL died June 21 in Bagram, AF of wounds sustained when his unit was attacked by indirect fire. Jones was assigned to the 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade of Fort Polk, LA. Also killed was SPC Rodrigo A. Munguia Rivas.

Twenty-seven-year-old SPC Rodrigo A. Munguia Rivas of Germantown MD died June 21 in Bagram, AF, of wounds sustained when his unit was attacked by indirect fire. Munguia Rivas was assigned to the 710th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) of Fort Drum, NY. Also killed was Sgt. Ricky D. Jones.

Twenty-three-year-old SPC Casey L. Hills of Salem, IL died June 24 in Iraq of injuries sustained during a vehicle roll-over. Hills was assigned to the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment of Pago Pago, American Samoa.

Twenty-two-year-old SPC Joshua L. Hazlewood of Manvel, TX died June 25 in Arifjan, Kuwait, of injuries sustained from a non-combat-related incident. Hazlewood was assigned to the 614th Automated Cargo Documentation Detachment.

Twenty-four-year-old 1st. Lt. Brian N. Bradshaw of Steilacoom, WA died June 25 in Kheyl, AF, of wounds sustained when an IED detonated near his vehicle. Bradshaw was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division of Fort Richardson, AK.

Twenty-year-old PFC Peter K. Cross of Saginaw, TX died June 26 at Combat Outpost Carwile, AF, of injuries sustained during a vehicle roll-over. Cross was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) of Fort Drum, NY.

Twenty-eight-year-old Sgt. Timothy A. David of Gladwin, MI died June 28 in Sadr City, Iraq, of wounds sustained earlier in Baghdad when an IED detonated near his vehicle. David was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division of Fort Hood, TX.

Nineteen-year-old Pvt. Steven T. Drees of Peshtigo, WI died June 28 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, of injuries sustained June 24 in Konar Province, AF, when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire and an RPG launcher. Drees was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division of Fort Carson, CO.

Honor the Fallen

In light of the mountains of news coverage pertaining to celebrity deaths, as opposed to Iran, North Korea, or the recent offensive the USMC has begun, I decided to offer coverage of the war fallen. All of the information provided is available to the public, almost word-for-word, on militarycity.com courtesy of Military Times.

02 July 2009

Deja Vu

North Korea test-fired two short-range missiles Thursday, South Korea's Defense Ministry said, a move that aggravates the already high tensions following Pyongyang's recent nuclear test and U.N. sanctions imposed as punishment.

The missiles were fired from the eastern coastal city of Wonsan on Thursday afternoon, a ministry official said on condition of anonymity citing department policy. He did not say what types of missiles were launched, but Yonhap news agency said they were ground-to-ship missiles. . . .

"We had expected that they will fire short-range missiles at any time," South Korea's Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan told The Associated Press at a reception held at the US ambassador's residence to mark the US Independence Day, which falls this weekend. "It's not a good sign because they are demonstrating their military power."

The Obama administration seized headlines June 18 when the Defense Department stated that the United States would deploy ground- and sea-based missile-defense assets to protect Hawaii. This was a response to North Korea's threat to launch a long-range missile on July 4 toward the islands. However, new information suggests that the administration is bluffing and our defenses are inadequate to get the job done.

Missile-defense expert Taylor Dinerman told us that the sea-based SM-3 missiles now deployed to "protect" Hawaii are not equipped with adequate software and communications to intercept a missile traveling from North Korea to Hawaii, which would reach a terminal velocity of Mach 23 to 25. The SM-3s are effective only against targets traveling at up to half that speed. It would take about $50 million to upgrade the software to enable a Mach 25 intercept. The Army's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile, which also has been activated after successful tests at Barking Sands on Kauai, "doesn't come close" to being effective against this type of threat, Mr. Dinerman said. . . .

The Obama administration's hostility to missile defense is inexplicable. The missile threat is growing, and defensive technology is increasingly effective, yet the Obama team has dug in stubbornly behind a losing strategy that emboldens our enemies and places us in greater danger. No wonder Hawaiians are nervous.

I highly suggest reading the above article in its entirety. It's both frightening and angering.

01 July 2009

Blame it on the Protestors

The murder of 26-year-old protester Neda Soltan was staged, Iran's chief of police said Wednesday — a statement that rights groups and Iran watchers are calling a propagandistic lie.

Soltan became the icon of protesters in Iran following her bloody shooting June 20, which shocked the conscience of world leaders and millions more who watched videos posted online that showed her slowly bleeding to death.

Soltan's family and those with her at the time of her death said that members of the paramilitary Basij militia drove by on a motorcycle and shot her in an alley near a major protest in Tehran.

But, according to Iran's Press TV, police chief Esmaeil Ahmadi-Moqadam declared Wednesday that the shooting was a "prearranged scenario" — a "premeditated act of murder" that could not have been committed by Iranian police.

The Great Groundhog Hunt

The following blog contains potentially disturbing content regarding the hunting and killing of small animals.

After another educational enlightenment at the local coffee shop, Dad and I went groundhog hunting for four and a half hours. Despite the fact that I sometimes try desperately to conceal my small town Central Pennsylvania roots, they always come bursting forth again when I mention things like whistle pigs.
Before anyone complains about killing innocent little animals and girls with guns and all that jazz (but, I suspect if you are the sort of person who would do that, you wouldn't be reading this), I would like to inform you that groundhogs are destructive rodents. They not only eat farmers' soybean crops, but they also dig their holes in fields. Cave-ins can cause tractors to tip and farmers to die. Also, it seems that no matter how many groundhogs my dad and Tim kill, they always multiply the following year.
I shot three groundhogs today, though I fired four shots. I wanted to verify that the third groundhog was dead before I approached it, for fear of it still being alive and running into the brush or its hole with a sucking gun wound (after I shot it, it landed on all fours, and typically that doesn't happen). So, I was upset that I had to take two shots for the same groundhog, but overall my shooting today mostly avenged my horrible shooting on Sunday at the rifle range.
My ranges were 97yds, 87yds and ~50yds with a .222.
At any rate, I love going hunting with my dad. We always have heart-to-heart conversations when we're driving or walking, and it improves my shooting skills, and he always makes me feel good about my shots, even if I'm only shooting at a hundred yards.