Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Tagged By "Bowramp"...Port-O-Call Summary

The crusty old squid at Bowramp tagged me to answer some port call questions. My experience comes from floating on the USS Midway in the summers and falls of 1981 and 1983. I'll include bingo/divert destinations associated with my tours.

Number of ports visited...about add 5.

Most recent was Subic Bay, for 26 days trying to get a dead Phantom out of there...darn it took a long time to get out of there.

Port (Divert) I never want to visit again Tsuiki, Japan...Miso soup for breakfast...nuff said.

Top three most order:
Subic Bay, single night for munitions...the fastest 14 hours of my life. Half of our aircrew did not make it out of the rack the entire next day.
Pusan, Korea...first night libo in Service Alphas (greens)...lost most of my short term memory, all my money, and one of my socks.
Divert to Taegu, Korea on Novemeber 10, 1981. Det CO dives out of Women's barracks window, pilot attempts to steal APC, me and the other WSO start up a 6-By...ooops right in front of MP HQ. Happy Birthday Marines.

Duty done...thanks brought a smile to my face.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Recycling Can Be fun...and Informative

I am re-playing my third post, which I originally published January's that for leading edge...
All the recent Vietnam comparisons deserve to be courntered. Here I focused, not on Iraq, but the factors about our participation in Vietnam, that eventually made it what it became...use your own adjective here. This is meat and potatos, no fluff...I love recycling.

Iraq Is Not Another Vietnam


While I am sure most to the American population has this figured out, it pains me every time I hear an analogy, a reference, or a prediction that Iraq is, or will turn out like Vietnam.Iraq is not like Vietnam:The terrain in Iraq favors the conventional forces. The terrain in Vietnam favored an asymmetric or guerrilla strategy. The almost contiguous cover afforded to the Viet Cong and the NVA was ideal for insurgency ops. It provided cover for MSRs, staging areas, and nearly all troop movements. It mitigated the effectiveness of our technical advantages and leveled the playing field for the enemy forces. Although the foreign insurgents in Iraq are taking cover in the cities, the lack of secure mobility and their inability to mass forces at critical junctures will keep the insurgency in its current stages. Iraq may be unpleasant, but it is not like Vietnam.

The insurgency in Iraq is not a popular rebellion. The seeds of the NVA victory in Vietnam were planted in the early 1920’s when nationalistic movements of all types were hatched in Europe. The Viet Minh, as did the Communists in China, gained momentum out of their efforts in fighting the Japanese in World War II. Both were modestly successful, but there were no other viable political or military organizations in existence, so they each became the preeminent forces within their countries, regardless of the desires of the US and the rest of the world. The post World War II agreements that attempted to restore French colonialism to Vietnam and the subsequent agreements that divided Vietnam, sealed our eventual fate. The NVA had gained valuable experience fighting the French. They had a safe operating base in the North, and at worst, they had the support of 50% of the entire population of the combined Vietnams. The insurgents in Iraq are largely foreign fighters intent on disrupting the democratization efforts. They have, at best, tepid support from 13% of the population. They are also not a viable political force, which in the end, regardless of the casualties they inflict, will never give them clout in the political arena. They may kill people, but they won’t be a political success.

Our entry into Vietnam was clouded and ambiguous. Our entry into Iraq was clear and purposeful. We were hip deep into Vietnam even before the dubiously credible Gulf of Tonkin incident. President Johnson worked overtime to keep our depth of commitment and troop strengths hidden from the American public. In the end, the depth of our commitment could not be hidden, and the public rightfully became angry at what had been perpetrated. Regardless of if you are for our involvement in Iraq, or against it, President Bush was straightforward in telling the public what he was doing and why he was doing it. Debates about the viability of specific intelligence reports may linger, but there has been no repeat of the rampant lying that hindered our effort throughout the Vietnam War.

The quality of our forces far outstrips the quality of the forces we had fighting in Vietnam. I am not a believer of the “every soldier a druggie” crowd post-Vietnam, but I saw first hand what low morale and poor leadership had done to the USMC on my very first day of duty in MCAS El Toro in 1979. In barracks drug use, unscheduled intramural boxing matches, and complete disrespect for officers and Staff NCOs was common. Those Marines were the remnants of the Vietnam era Corps, and they were a mess. Units failed to meet basic training requirements, such a going to the rifle range…my unit was NOT the exception. It took a long view and hard work to revive the professionalism that had once been the hallmark of our services. Our forces excelled in Afghanistan, a country once thought impervious to outside military operations. They rolled through Kuwait in 1991 and Iraq in 2003 with unmatched speed and precision. They are arguably the best forces this world has seen. While individual soldiers and Marines in Vietnam may have been every bit the match of today’s troopers, collectively they were not nearly the cohesive force we have today.

There are clearly major differences in our involvement in Iraq and our participation in Vietnam. Calling a donkey a horse does not make it one. There is no excuse for the shallow and off base analysis that is nearly continually comparing these two military operations. Let’s learn from the mistakes we have made in the last twenty months, not from a completely unrelated excursion 30 years gone by.

We clearly need to guard against a protracted low-intensity conflict in Iraq, but the final solution will ultimately be a political one. The Iraqis will have their freedom, and hopefully they will have the will to keep it. Regardless of the ultimate outcome, our participation in Iraq will reveal itself to be less a post-colonial folly, and more a necessary attempt to fight the next battle in the war on terrorism, a battle that is effectively reducing the capability of terrorists. At its worst, it has been a battle that has stopped the murder and torture of hundreds of thousands, and freed millions in the process.

Iraq is Iraq. Vietnam was Vietnam.

Got History?

Reference material: Vietnam, Stanley Karnow. A Bright and Shining Lie, Neil Sheehan, In Retrospect, Robert MacNamara. The Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam. Dereliction of Duty, H.R. McMaster. And about 20 others

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I Have Not Abandoned Ship

Sorry, I will have to take a little more time off from blogging. I am still catching up on work, and have not had time to get to it. I have a conference tomorrow and go on vacation (not wired in) on Friday. I will be back around the 27th. Regards.

Monday, June 06, 2005

One Last Windmill Attack Before My Trip

Judge Bridges denies petition in King County. Tip to Michelle Malkin for her timely post .

My take. "Geez, I don't know where all those votes came from." It is impossible for me to comprehend that a "judge" cannot see the malfeasance that will remain the hallmark of the 2004 Washington State Governor's election. With judges like that, is it any wonder that judges find themselves under siege? Judges are suppose to use...drum roll please...judgement. If the chicanery that was this election is not readily apparent to a judge, then I am missing a nose. His blind eye is damaging to the republic, as voters are now entitled to have zero confidence in the democratic process in Washington. Nice work judge.

For the Dems this is a crime against the country. Stealing elections will come to an end. More than who wins or loses, voters will soon tire of fraud and corruption. Eventually the truth about events in King County will emerge, and the Dems will find the damage to their party was not worth four years of the governorship. Shame on them for the dirty work they have done...I am fairly certain it will come back to haunt them...hopefully in spades.

I, Don Quixote

While I am not carrying but a minute portion of the load, the seemingly endless barrage of bad MSM media is taking its toll on my blogging effort. Their collective density, well above that of uranium, continues to prevent them from seeing their demise on the way. In spite of of their multiple and memorable gaffes, all diligently tracked by the blogoshpere, they continue to push their completely substandard product...often laced with untruths, outright lies, and biased slants, our way (Hugh Hewitt posts today on it). Their persistence is wearing me out... A normal person (or collective group) would have begun to change their ways by now, but our MSM refuses. I felt my energy drain on Sunday morning as I read another vindication of the Newsweek story on Koran mis-handlings, still only bolstered by the Pentagon's own investigation, citing only the same five cases that have already been acknowledged. Huge sigh on my part....I did not have the energy for round five. I avoided blogging altogether. They deserved a blistering, and I failed to produce.

So, luckily I am off to New Orleans on business, and hopefully I will re-charge my batteries.

But I am beginning to think that spending any time correcting, cajoling, coaching, or coaxing the MSM is a Quixote-esque endeavor that may never produce results. It is dis-heartening since there are many fine institutions in this country, and instead of being one of them, the MSM uses their power to trash most, if not all, of them. I am impressed by their blind doggedness, yet not by their product.

While I am gone, I'll try to outline a series of pieces on What Makes the US Different. I'll be back next week. I am not sure how much more time I am willing to spend on the MSM...I am truly beginning to believe that they will never get it. Maybe they are all Democrats...

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Weeds Gunning the A-10s

I thought of this on my way home the other night and I laughed out loud…even though it has been 11 years.

While deployed in Aviano, Italy protecting the Some Time Fly Zone, my pilot was Weeds. Weeds was one of the top two or three pilots I had ever flown with, and every hop was a joy…professional, but a blast all the time. Weeds had been a TopGun grad, and he went on to become a Blue Angel. Great stick…nuff said.

Aside from Some Time Fly Zone patrol, we occasionally got to train against some of the other A/C deployed in the area…Mirages, Tornados, and A-10s to name a few.

Weeds and I drew a 2 v 2 against a couple of A-10s. We would plan on three 40 mile setups, to close engagements. No Fox Ones (long-range AIM-7 or Rammer shots) counted. So, we would work to get tactical advantage at the merge. Advantage Hornets with our radars.

It was good practice for the A-10s to try to survive the merge, and it was good for us to try to remain offensive at the merge on such a tight turning A/C. It would be interesting to see what the hop brought.

The long sets went quick, and we were only slightly offensive on the first pass, but in five seconds we were saddled up on our A-10, and Weeds says “I’m skipping heater and going to guns.” Pretty tough move considering the turning radius for an A-10. I was keeping an eye on the other fight, when I hear over the ICS, “Trigger down, bllllllrt, bllllllrt, blllllrt, bllllrt, Guns kill, hog in a right hand turn, 11 thousand.” That was followed shortly by a “knock it off.” Weeds was making the audible sound that is only replicated by clothespinning a playing card to the spokes of a bike. He was “blllllllrting” over the ICS while the tape was rolling. I was busting a gut.

As we went to set up the next engagement, I asked Weeds if he was sure about the kill. He said “no sweat, I was all over him like a hobo on a hot dog.” I was a little surprised, because in a gunfight the g’s are usually greater than 4, and the airplane is rocking all over as the pilot tries to keep the pipper (Constantly Computing Impact Point (CCIP) symbology on the HUD) on the bogey…particularly a highly maneuverable one. If we had crossed 3 g’s I would have been surprised. But Weeds was backing the kill.

The next two set-ups were pretty much the same…

“Trigger down, bllllllrt, blllllrt, blllllllrt, blllllrt, bllllrt, guns kill, hog left hand turn 13 thousand, knock it off.” “Trigger down, bllllrt, bllllrt, blrrrt, blllrt, blllrt, guns kill, hog 8 thousand right hand turn, knock it off.” Each time very little “g”, and the audible “blllllrting.” Each time I questioned the veracity of the kill. Each time Weeds assured me he had 3 seconds of “pipper on,” or tracking time, to qualify as a guns kill.

We terminated the hop, head back to Aviano. The debrief was taking place in our spaces. We debriefed our portion and awaited for the A-10 crews to arrive. We viewed the tapes. Weed indeed had three valid kills…way more than valid. He was extremely smooth with the A/C and easily had 5 –7 seconds of “pipper on” time in each kill, despite the A-10 moving like a snake on a fire…amazing. The tape also played the “bllllllrting.” Each time Weeds had the trigger down he would audible-ize his imitation gun sound. We were in stitches.

The A-10s finally showed up. Weeds took his tape out of the machine and put it away. Weeds was debriefing the first engagement, and he got to the point where we were about the kill the A-10, and he says “here is where Hornet One gets a guns kill on the A-10 nose low in a right hand 11 thousand.” …and he turned away from his kneeboard card, ready to move on to the second engagement. He was interrupted by the A-10 pilot of the gunned ship…

“I’d like to see the tape.”

“It was a valid kill, we reviewed it before you got here.”

“I still want to see the tape.”

“You don’t really want to see the tape.”

“I still want to see the tape to validate the kill.”

Weeds says “OK, but the kill is valid.” Weeds put in the tape, cues it up just before he put the hammer down, and turns the volume down, then hits "play".

It was impressive, steady as can be, he gunned the beeeejeeezus, out of this hog driver. Really no need to go any further…

“I’d like to hear the audio.”

Weeds tried his best to dissuade him, but the hog driver insisted. So Weeds re-cued the tape, turned up the volume. And the A-10 drivers got introduced to the Weeds show. They were not happy at the first “bllllllrt,” and they got no happier by the end of the tape, as Weeds made them watch and listen to every kill. I had tears coming down my cheeks I was laughing so hard…the A-10 drivers had steam coming out of their ears…Weeds just put the pens down and let the tape do the talking.

Here’s to Weeds…his smooth guns kills and his hilarious “blllllrt.”

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