Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all!
Please take a moment today to remember those who are far from home defending our freedom.

Rest easy, sleep well my brothers.

Know the line has held, your job is done.

Rest easy, sleep well.

Others have taken up where you fell, the line has held.

Peace, peace, and farewell.


Merry Christmas or PC Greeting- Your choice

Greeting A:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

Greeting B:
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Been there, done that . . . . And I have multiple copies of my “Certificate of Completion” to prove it . . . . Mine was Jan 1972.

This was posted recently on a “Fighter Pilot” board. It will be very familar to a lot of us that have been to Warner Springs.

A SERE-ing Experience for Tens of Thousands of US Military Personnel by Cdr. Frank ‘Spig’ Wead [“Spig” Wead is the pseudonym of a retired Naval aviator who served in the post-Vietnam era.]

Water-boarding, like many other interrogation techniques, could be torture in the hands of a sadist. But — as the following article demonstrates — it can be an effective interrogation technique and an essential tool of training, as it has been for US Navy and Air Force pilots.

“Train like you Fight, Fight like you Train” is the motto of the world’s most elite pilots, the US Navy’s. Based on lessons learned from survivors of the brutal North Korean and North Vietnam torture of US military prisoners of war, the Department of Defense ordered all branches of the services to implement comprehensive Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (S.E.R.E.) training programs. Every member of Congress should be extremely well versed on the military S.E.R.E. programs since they have had direct oversight and funding of these programs for over 40 years. Viewing the most recent Congressional hearing, one must assume that they are ignorant of or intentionally misrepresent the very programs that they fund and support.

My personal experience with S.E.R.E. training came as a junior pilot flying the F-14A “Tomcat” at NAS Miramar, California. The US Navy S.E.R.E. program requires all Aircrew Members and members of Special Operation Teams (SOF) to undergo both classroom and field experience in these vital techniques. Classroom and field training was accomplished by a cadre of highly trained and disciplined personnel, many of whom had been held as POW’s and tortured by the North Vietnamese.

What actually happens in S.E.R.E. in the field? Classes of 40 or more “students” are put through beach and water (swimming) survival techniques, similar to the TV show “Survivor” but without the rewards challenges. The class is then moved to a remote location to survive and evade prior to entering the US Navy run POW camp. The operation of the evasion complex is based on the trainee being briefed on the enemy position and the location of friendly forces. The object, “to make like a bush”, be patient and deliberate and use all your new taught skills to evade a large contingent of simulated enemy combatants in uniform. They speak like the enemy, act like the enemy, and most importantly train you on how to react to the enemy. While they fire AK-47’s over your head, and search for the ugly “American War Criminals” (thanks Jane), you spend agonizing hours crawling and hiding in an attempt to reach safety.

As in real life, few if any make it to safety when behind enemy lines.
When captured you are brought to an initial holding facility. Hands and feet bound and hooded you are thrown into a barbed wire holding cell. As a former football player and wrestler I felt confident that I had that “John Wayne” attitude, Name, Rank and Serial Number….nothing more.

Life and the Navy were about to teach this million dollar trained, blond headed, college, Fly Boy a new and most important lesson.

When brought into the first “interrogation”, hooded and hands bound, I was asked the basic questions, no problems…then I was asked a question
— the first among many not permitted under the Geneva Convention.
Congress, the media and some of the public have forgotten a very basic and important tenant of the Geneva Convention. Terrorists, insurgents, IED Specialists, Suicide Bombers and all those not wearing a uniform in war are not in any form protected by the Geneva Convention. I did not answer the interrogators’ questions: then the fun and games began.

Carefully using a technique of grabbing your shirt at the pockets and wrapping his fists so that his knuckles pressed into the muscles of my breast plate, the instructor flung me across the room karate style and into a corrugated wall. No more questions; around and around the room I flew, a dance which while blind folded and hooded made me feel like “Raggedy Andy” in a tug of war with two bullying kids. Following the first interrogation we were loaded into trucks, bound and hooded, head to who knows were…for the first time real fear starts to set in and you look for inner strength in your heart, training and comrades.

Arriving at the POW Camp I was kept hooded and placed in a small box, 2 feet wide, 3 feet long and maybe 3 feet high. I was left the fetal position, sitting on my butt, stripped nearly naked (just week old BVD’s) and left sealed with your defecation can inside your box. Heat, cold, isolation, no communications, and constant noise, music, propaganda, coupled with verbal abuse by your captors is the norm, 24/7.

Every twenty minutes or so the guards come by your box and rattle it, sneaking up and demanding to hear your War Criminal Number (thanks again, Jane, for the classification). No more name, rank or serial number, they want some real answers to real security questions. You agonize in your isolation as your hear other members of your group being pulled out for more “personal one on one interrogation”. Then it’s your turn. Pulled from your box you are again brought in for questioning. If unhappy with your answers or no answers, the “Raggedy Andy” dance began again with vigor in the cold night air.

Then it was time for the dreaded waterboard. What I didn’t know then, but I do now, is that as in all interrogations, both for real world hostile terrorists (non-uniformed combatants) and in S.E.R.E. a highly trained group of doctors, psychologists, interrogators, and strap-in and strap-out rescue teams are always present. My first experience on the “waterboard” was to be laying on my back, on a board with my body at a 30 degree slope, feet in the air, head down, face-up. The straps are all-confining, with the only movement of your body that of the ability to move your head. Slowly water is poured in your face, up your nose, and some in your mouth. The questions from interrogators and amounts of water increase with each unsuccessful response. Soon they have your complete attention as you begin to believe you are going to drown.

Scared, alone, cold and in total lack of control, you learn to “cooperate” to the best of your ability to protect your life. For each person that level of cooperation or resistance is different. You must be tested and trained to know how to respond in the real combat world.

Escape was the key to freedom and reward.

Those students escaping would be rewarded with a meal (apple, and PB&J
sandwich) was what we had been told by our instructors. On my next journey to interrogation I saw an opportunity to escape. I fled into the woods, naked and cold, and hid. My captors came searching with AK-47’s blazing, and calls to “kill the American War Criminal” in broken English. After an hour of successfully evading, the voices called out in perfect English. “O.K., problem’s over…you escaped, come in for your sandwich.” When I stood up and revealed my position I was met by a crowd of angry enemy guards, “stupid American Criminal”! Back to the Waterboard I went.

This time we went right to the water hose in the face, and a wet towel held tightly on my forehead so that I could not move my head. I had embarrassed my captors and they would now show me that they had total control. The most agonizing and frightful moments are when the wet towel is placed over your nose and mouth and the water hose is placed directly over your mouth. Holding your breath, bucking at the straps, straining to remain conscious, you believe with all your heart that, that, you are going to die.

S.E.R.E. training is not pleasant, but it is critical to properly prepare our most endangered combat forces for the reality of enemy capture. Was I “tortured” by the US military? No. Was I trained in an effort to protect my life and the lives of other American fighting men?

Yes! Freedom is not Free, nor does it come without sacrifice. Every good American understands this basic principle of our country and prays for the young men and women who have sacrificed and are out on the front lines protecting us today.

Now, let’s see Congress: Maybe forty or so students per week, let’s say 100 minimum per month, 1,200 per year for over twenty or thirty years?
It could be as many as 40,000 students trained in S.E.R.E. and “tortured” at the direction of, and under the watchful eye of the Congressional Majorities on both sides of the aisle. Be careful that the 40,000 of us who you have “tortured” don’t come after you today with tort claims. I heard it pays about $3 million per claim.

Congress, you need to get the politics out of the war zone and focus on your job. Gaining information in non-lethal interrogations against non-uniformed terrorists is what is protecting our country today. If you had done your job the past twenty years perhaps one of my favorite wingmen in the F-14A would be alive today.

Lt Tom “Stout” McGuinness of the VF-21 “Freelancers” went through S.E.R.E. training during my tenure. But when it came down to the crisis moment, his “interrogators” did not give him the waterboard. They merely went into the cockpit of American Airlines Flight 11, slashed Tom’s throat, and flew the first aircraft into the North Tower of World Trade Center on 9/11.
Congress, let me ask you a very simple question about your leadership and your sworn responsibility. It is a yes or no question, and you have a personal choice to make.

Would you endorse the use of a waterboard interrogation technique against a terrorist like Mohamed Atta al Sayed, the leader of the highjacking of American Airlines Flight 11 or not. The answer for me is simple: “turn on the hose.” If you answer anything else, then God help America because Tom died in vain.

On a personal note- When they raised the American Flag on the 5th and final day, 30+ grown men stood there shivering and crying like babies at the sight of the Stars and Stripes. Even today, 35 years later, I am tearing up as I write this, remembering that day…

A new Perspectives is up

For those who enjoyed the last Perspectives, a new one is up at Law Dog Files, Ambulance Driver, and Babs. Bring Kleenex…

These folks give you a perspective that not many know of, or ever see on the inter-relationships of their jobs dealing with the public sector and how they cope with them.

Go- Read- You will not be bored!

I feel better now…

A couple of us decided to get out an do something to relieve the stress and frustration, so we loaded up and away we went.

It was time to go shoot something…

Of course it is a ‘little’ chilly up here, 38 degrees when we started but not bad.
I took the big boy toy out to check and see if I had put everything back together right and it would actually hit the backstop.

The picture is the M-24 with US Optics SN-6 sitting on the shooting bench. I was shooting .308 FGMM 168 gr.

As you can see, it wasn’t a real bright day, medium overcast with about 5 knots of wind. We traded off spotting for each other so at least someone was getting warm (and we burned about 1/4 tank of gas), but at least the fingers worked most of the time…

One of the guys was trying to figure out why he had missed two deer last weekend, so we started with him. His first round was 11 inches LEFT of the bull!!! No wonder he missed the deer! Somehow his scope had been knocked seriously out of alignment between his sight-in and first shot, so it was back to square one…

Break out the tools, some disassembly required, and ye olde boresight alignment at least got him a little closer. We finally got him pretty much on the bull, when suddenly intermittent rounds started going 2-3 inches low… WTH????

Rechecked everything, all tight, no slop anywhere. Okay, back on the bench- Two rounds in the bull, then one 2 inches low… One of the guys was picking up brass and noticed there were two different headstamps! Turns out he had grabbed his son’s ammo pouch, which had both 150 gr. and 170 gr. rounds! Mystery solved…

The temp was dropping so I only shot about 20 rounds, but I’m happy with the results.

Target on the left is 100 yards, cold bore dead center, total group .78″ for five shots. Target on the right is 300 yards, cold bore dead center, total group with the flyer 2.95″ without the flyer 2.0″. I’ll take that, especially with the cold and numb fingers!

The gunsmith did an OUTSTANDING job of smoothing the trigger out and setting the break at just over 3lb. This rifle is truly a sub-MOA gun, even with me shooting it!

At this point, it was about 34 degrees so we decided to shoot one round each of plates at 15 yards with the carry pieces and loser had to buy the coffee.

I didn’t have to buy!

I don’t know about the rest of the guys, but I feel MUCH better now (or will when I warm up). Now I’ve got to go clean everything…

When you really get lonely for the sea

For all the old Sailors and Marines out there…

A few suggestions on what to do when you really get lonely for the sea

1. Sleep on the shelf in your closet. Replace the closet door with a curtain. Six hours after you go to sleep, have your spouse whip open the curtain, shine a flashlight in your eyes, and mumble “sorry, wrong rack”.
2. Renovate your bathroom; build a wall across the middle of your bathtub and move the shower head down to chest level. When you take showers, make sure you shut off the water while soaping up.
3. Every time there is a thunderstorm, go sit in a wobbly rocking chair and rock as hard as you can until your are nauseous
4. Put lube oil in your humidifier instead of water and set it to “high”.
5. Don’t watch TV except movies in the middle of the night. Also, have your family vote on which movie to watch, then show a different one.
6. Leave the lawn mower running in your living room six hours a day for proper noise level.
7. Have the paper boy give you a haircut.
8. Once a week blow compressed air up through your chimney, making sure the wind carries the soot across and onto your neighbor’s house. Laugh at him when he curses you.
9. Buy a trash compacter and only use it once a week. Store up garbage in the other side of your bathtub.
10. Wake up every night at midnight and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on stale bread, if anything. (optional: canned ravioli or cold soup)
11. Make up your family menu a week ahead of time without looking in your food cabinets or refrigerator.
12. Set your alarm clock to go off at random times during the night. When it goes off, jump out of bed and get dressed as fast as you can; then run into your yard and break out the garden hose.
13. Once a month take every major appliance completely apart and then put them back together.
14. Use 18 scoops of coffee per pot and allow it to set for 5 hours before drinking. (optional: add a dash of kerosene for taste and the proper oil slick)
15. Invite at least 85 people you don’t really like to come visit for a couple of months.
16. Have a fluorescent lamp installed on the bottom of your coffee table and lie under it to read books.
17. Raise the threshold and lower the top sill on your front and back doors so that you either trip over the threshold or hit your head on the sill every time you pass through one of them.
18. Lockwire the lugnuts on your car.
19. When making cakes, prop up one side of the pan while it is baking. Then spread icing really thick on one side to level off the top.
20. Every so often, throw your cat in the swimming pool, shout “Man overboard, ship recovery!”, run into the kitchen and sweep all the pots/pans/dishes off the counter onto the floor, then yell at your spouse for not having the place” stowed for sea”.
21. Put on the headphones from your stereo (don’t plug them in). Go stand in front of the stove; say, to no one in particular, “Stove manned and ready”. Stand there for 3 or 4 hours; say, to no one in particular, “Stove secured”. Roll up the headphone cord and put them away.

The other option is take out a good bottle of Scotch and pull the cruise book off the shelf 🙂

More shootings… Where does it end

Yet another series of shootings has taken place in Las Vegas, the target, high school kids. My thoughts and prayers go out to those injured and the families of the dead and injured…

Sadly, I can just see the gun grabbers salivating over the incidents of the past two weeks, mark my words, there will be a BIG push for more gun laws as soon as the new year hits; not enforcement of existing, but more laws…

What I find interesting is what is not being reported:

The mall in Omaha was a gun free zone, posted against everyone including concealed carry permits. Did anyone see THAT on the news? I didn’t think so…

How many lives could have been saved if someone had been carrying that day????

The church shootings in Colorado were stopped by an armed female church member who volunteered to assist in standing security watches at the church. It so happens she is a former Minneapolis PD officer and has a concealed carry permit.

How many lives did this lady save??? Who knows, since this was at the end of Sunday services… 50? 100? This punk had already killed five people (two in the church parking lot) and had multiple weapons and plenty of ammunition.

A number of other bloggers Captain America, Wyatt, Better and Better to name a few, who in the public service (read fire/LEO) have chimed in on this, the media coverage and the real issues that are NOT being covered…

To me and my little pea brain, these happenings point out the fact that we are responsible for our own protection- We cannot and should not expect LEO’s to be on the scene immediately, the odds are they will be 5-7 minutes in transit at best. As exhibited by the VT shootings, even with arrival within 3 minutes, the need to set up and control the area prevents any fast response (and 33 deaths and 28 wounded in that case).

To me, if nothing else, these shootings point out that if someone wants to get a gun they will… Mental health cases and criminals do not care about laws; to them they mean nothing. When people like this plan something like this (and yes, I DO believe all these instances are planned) part of that plan is to get a weapon, either steal it, borrow it, or buy it as a last resort. And there are plenty illegal ones available.

In NONE of these cases will more gun laws help. What will help is to actually report mental health cases, stop trying to hide little Johnny’s rage issues and behaviour behind a privacy label. Then enforce the laws already on the books…

The hard parts are- you need more police and that is a major budget issue; overcrowding in the jails, another major budget issue; and plea bargains that get felons off with a slap on the wrist for armed robbery among other things…

Another thing that should be re-instituted is victim’s and protector’s rights. Right now it seems the only rights accrue to the criminal thanks to the American Criminal Liberties Union.

Until the city, county, state leaders step up and pony up the $$, nothing will happen. I really don’t expect to see real enforcement in my lifetime, simply because really doing it right costs too much. We were talking at work today about this, and an interesting point was made- One person believed his Grandchildren will grow up in private enclaves in places like Vermont, Georgia, Texas or Arizona. These places will be armed enclaves because he believes anarchy will happen here in the next 20-30 years… That is a pretty sad indictment on the US and it’s current state of affairs…

As an aside, in the last year or so, there has been a big debate in Virginia over open carry, the Washington Compost ran a couple of articles and man-in-the street type reports- One of those interviewed was a criminal in DC who said something to the effect that he was scared to try to rob somebody in Virginia cause he might get shot!!!

Well, Duh!!! That guy got the point- It’s not so easy if you are not sure you are the only one with a gun… Mr. or Mrs. Soft Target might just turn around and blow your head off.

Another is the cases in both England and Australia, guns banned and/or confiscated nationwide! er… except for the criminals, who are now free to rape/rob/murder without fear of their lives… Brits who defend themselves from criminals with knives are now being prosecuted and criminals go free, because they were able to ditch the gun before being apprehended.

FBI crime statistics revealed drops in major crimes against persons when concealed carry was instituted- Va and Texas both dropped over 30% if I remember correctly. Florida also dropped a considerable amount.

What can we do??? I think it comes down to three choices- learn to protect yourself and your loved ones, get a CCP (and carry religiously), alter your habits to maintain an awareness of surroundings, refuse to do business with places that do not permit concealed carry; or continue to be blissfully ignorant of what is happening in the world around you and be a target for the criminals, or live in fear that ‘something’ is going to happen, or move next door to the police department and hope they can protect you.


Arlington Wreath Project

Since this is December 7th, I can’t think of a better post to make thank this. USS Arizona, Dec 7, 1941 L.B Curtis, L.C. Curtis, RIP…

A Christmas Poem

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

‘What are you doing?’ I asked without fear,
‘Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!’

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said ‘Its really all right,

I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.’

‘It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ‘ Pearl on a day in December,’
Then he sighed, ‘That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.’

My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘ Nam ‘,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..

Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.’
‘So go back inside,’ he said, ‘harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.’

‘But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
‘Give you money,’ I asked, ‘or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.’

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
‘Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.’

PLEASE, Would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S. service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.
LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum , Iraq

Nuff Said…

Everett over at Island Voice has an excellent post up about congresscritters and what they are costing us now, and may cost us in the future.

I am in complete agreement with Ev, but howthehell do we get term limits passed???

At the grassroots level, everyone favors it; but try to go any further and you hit the proverbial brick (read congresscritter) wall. I will be the first to admit I don’t know enough about the law and congress to be confident of this, but I ‘think’ this would take an Amendment to actually get it done for all 50 states.

The US Term Limits organization seems to be about the only one out there that is working the issue, and that is primarily at the state level. If you check out their web site, there are a number of states where the critters are trying to overturn/reword the term limits already passed.

I guess once they see the amount of money they can get out of DC, the average critter just can’t let go…

Look at Kennedy, what 40 years plus now for a slob like that- What the hell are the people in Mass thinking, or are they????

I thought it was rather interesting this past week to watch the flailing about over CNN’s screw up and trying to pawn partisan democrats off as uncommitted voters for the You Tube Republican Debate (debacle was more like it).

It was even more interesting to watch the MSM both print and TV and see the lack of coverage… Anybody still think there is no agenda out there to support liberals and democrats????

What ever happened to just reporting the news, not posturing the news or slanting the news to fit one’s agenda???? Huh????

Where is another Edward R. Murrow when we really need one?

There is still a small plaque in the lobby of CBS headquarters in New York City which contains the image of Edward R. Murrow and the inscription: “He set standards of excellence that remain unsurpassed.” During his 25-year career he made more than 5000 broadcasts; and more than anyone else, he invented the traditions of television news. Murrow and his team essentially created the prototype of the TV documentary with See It Now, and later extended the technological reach of electronic newsgathering in Small World (1958-59), which employed simultaneous hookups around the globe to facilitate unrehearsed discussion among several international opinion leaders. Most of Murrow’s See It Now associates were reassembled to produce CBS Reports in 1961, although Murrow was only an infrequent participant in this new series. Over the years, he had simply provoked too many trying situations for CBS and the network’s hierarchy made a conscious decision to reduce his profile. The apparent irony between Edward R. Murrow’s life and the way that he is subsequently remembered today is that the industry that finally had no place for him, now holds Murrow up as their model citizen — the “patron saint of American broadcasting.”

Instead we get Katie Couric… sigh…

Pardon me while I go bang my head against the wall…