“Demo Dick” Passes On……

Loved him, hated him….just confused about him? Regardless of how you felt, Richard “Dick” Marchinko, has passed on, on Christmas Day, at age 81.

For those unaware, he can legitimately be spoken about with the same reverence as Charlie Beckwith of Delta Force [1st SFOD-D]. Dick Marcinko stood up the now legendary Seal Team 6…..first as a ‘Red Cell’…then as a nascent Tier 1 anti-terrorism unit.

He’s had his share of controversy, authoring self-laudatory books and trouble with the law……but his service in Vietnam and after…..is to be commended and remembered.

For a more thorough write-up, visit The War Zone.

Fair Skies and Following Seas, Commander Marcinko…….

The Tomb…..Up Close

For the 100th Anniversary of the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery allowed members of the public to lay flowers at the Tomb. People were allowed within a few feet of the Tomb, normally only accessed by dignitaries laying wreaths on occasions of remembrance, and of course the Tomb Guards and Sergeants of the Guard from the 3rd US Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).

Like many, I had visited the site over the years and watched the changing of the guard, or just sat in solemn thought, from the marble steps overlooking the Tomb. Nothing was going to stop me from participating in this (literally) once in a lifetime event. Living within driving distance helped quite a bit.

So, reminiscent of countless days serving in uniform, my wife, youngest daughter and I……spent right around 5 hours commuting and standing in line…..for about a 45 second walk across the marble.

Absolutely worth it.

Snapped a couple of photos afterwards.

The Tomb Guard on the opposite side of the Tomb, due to the occasion. Will certainly never see that again.
Hopefully this kid remembers this Veterans Day.

The Cheapening of Veterans Day

Not just Veterans Day to be fair, but nearly everything that we (used to) hold in humble reverence.

This week is when we start seeing social media awash in memes and proclamations, exhorting that “if you support Veterans” you’ll share/repost some meme or another……that may or may not actually depict U.S. service members to begin with.

This is garbage.

If you support Veterans, go visit somebody at a care facility; go tidy up a forgotten grave site; attend a short commemoration hosted by a Veterans group, or a church, or the Boy Scouts; give a couple of dollars to a worthy charity. Heck, lobby your elected Representatives to lower the drinking age for serving military, to the age of enlistment. If you’re old enough to fight and die in the name of your country, you should be able to legally crack a cold one.

But good grief, stop proliferating the cycle of lazy, numbed garbage. It’s bad enough that we’re inundated with the commercialization of these remembrance days.

I’m fortunate enough to have the honor of participating in a once in a lifetime event today, and I’ll plan to post about it tomorrow.

Damn Girl……One Shot, One Kill!

A female Montana Army National Guard Soldier graduated from the U.S. Army Sniper Course at Fort Benning, Ga on Nov. 5, becoming the first woman in history to complete the course.

The Soldier began the U.S. Army Sniper Course in Sept. 2021. This intensive seven week course trains selected individuals assigned to sniper positions in the skills necessary to deliver long range precision fire and the collection of battlefield information.

Link

A momentous achievement. This course is not for the faint of heart, will or body. As a graduate of the Army Sniper School in 1992, I can attest first hand on what it takes to complete the course, and graduate to be qualified as a Sniper. Good on her!

Me on the Sniper School stalking course, 1992. Rifle is on front of me, in the drag bag.

Rest in Peace, General Powell [Updated]

We lost a solid military leader today, and an inspiration to many people that I know. If not for the stain of being complicit in the false justifications leading up to the invasion of Iraq…..I wouldn’t be able to think of anything unkind to say about him. Gen. Powell was part of a cadre of officers who helped rebuild the military, the U.S. Army in particular….and the Vietnam War…..and propel the force and strategies for victory in Grenada, Panama and Iraq [Desert Storm].

He will also be remembered for a list of pre-requisites that should be followed [but won’t be] prior to any armed engagement overseas: the “Powell Doctrine”.

The Powell Doctrine states that a list of questions all have to be answered affirmatively before military action is taken by the United States:

  1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?
  2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?
  3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
  4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
  5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
  6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
  7. Is the action supported by the American people?
  8. Do we have genuine broad international support?

Blue Skies and Airborne All The Way, Sir…….

***To no great surprise, Dear Leader [former POTUS] has issued a public statement on General Powell’s passing, through his spokespuppet:

He was a classic RINO, if even that, always being the first to attack other Republicans. He made plenty of mistakes, but anyway, may he rest in peace!” – President Donald J. Trump

The insecurities and low self-esteem of a guy [not a Man] who couldn’t be bothered to actually serve his country….is hardly unexpected. Stay classy Donnie….

The SecDef Should Tender his Resignation

A lengthy article from Andrew Milburn over at Task & Purpose, but suffice to say……Austin is not the Secretary of Defense that we need right now, with China staring us down over Taiwan. Clean house and clean it quick.

As for what the country wants, it must surely include general officers who haven’t surrendered their moral autonomy to the political administration of the day: Generals who understand that it is their responsibility to set the right balance between the mission and the men because they also have an obligation to subordinates – the sons and daughters of the American public that General Milley so readily brings to his defense. Generals that have thought deeply about what their obligation to the nation really entails.

This is an obligation that defies neat categorization. It can’t be captured on a PowerPoint slide or be easily explained in a chummy press conference. Understanding it demands intellectual and moral rigor. I would guess that these are the qualities that America expects of its generals. 

Resignation won’t atone for lives lost, or the debacle that American involvement in Afghanistan became, but it would at least demonstrate that these men understand the ethics of their profession. It would help calibrate the moral compass of thousands of officers beneath them. It might even help all three find absolution if such a thing still matters to them.

Sadly, the men and women at the pinnacle of our institution are a product of a culture that doesn’t nurture initiative, disciplined disobedience, or a profound understanding of our professional ethics. “I’ve taken an oath to the Constitution” is only the beginning of that intellectual and ethical journey, not the destination. 

The hearings were a blow to those of us searching for redemption among our senior uniformed leaders. Instead, they illustrate the pernicious effect that having men such as these in positions of the highest responsibility can have upon America’s standing in the world. 

Resignation may solve little, but is simply the right thing to do. And, at the very least, it will clear the way for those better qualified to begin the task of restoring this nation’s credibility on the global stage.

Any defense wonks have a pick who would fill that role nicely?

On this National Dog Day……Support 2 Vets at Once

Forget about politics for a moment and remember who is always there for us….our dogs. Consider giving a donation to Second Chance K9. In their words:

Second Chance K9 is a rescue organization that pairs working military dogs and rescues with special operations veterans who suffer from PTSD. It’s a very focused program that places dogs who thrive on having a job, with veterans who desperately need a purpose. 

Your tax-deductible donation to Second Chance K-9 could be the key to saving not one, but two lives. Often, military dogs end up being euthanized once their service is complete. And in many cases, veterans who have seen and experienced unbelievable trauma take their own lives as a result. 

Connecting a military-trained dog with a special forces veteran unites them both with a purpose. That’s what Second Chance is all about. 

Founded by special forces Veteran and former Special Forces dog handler Travis Hall, Second Chance has evolved from Hall’s own experience with Bear, a dog who was deployed four times to Iraq. Hall said of Bear, “I didn’t realize it at the time, but that dog changed my life.

Give until it feels good. Now……who’s a good boy?

What Exactly Did They Die For

Fort Smith National Cemetery-Author

Was it worth the cost, were they able to see what a fat, lazy and entitled society that we’ve become? Soft (in mind and body) devotees of political idols and charlatans……concerned more with assuaging low self esteem with impotent rage on the internet, than working to provide a better future for the next generation……On one side, a clique that eschews the intrinsic value of labor……and the other who has perverted patriotism into pornography. What words would they have for what’s left of this Republic?

Not kind ones too be sure.