August 16, 2012
SPECOPS is Pissed About Lack of Obama’s OPSEC
Translation… Special Operations Forces are very not thrilled with “The Administration’s” universal lack of respect for Operational Security.
“They leak more than the Titanic!”
Apparently some Special Ops Guys have had it with leaking Operational Secrets in the name of Political Grandstanding, Showboating or Gasconade. "Spiking the football" and sharing too much with your NYT reporter buddy have serious consequences for National Security and more importantly, in my view... the lives of those 'Boots on the Ground' who have to first execute these highly dangerous missions and then have to suffer through a Political Narcissist's Braggadocio at their expense!
Granted, the focus and the catalyst of this message can be construed as political in nature, as the target of the angst shared by these Special Forces operators is directed at the current Administration, calling out President Obama specifically... and as CNN was fast to point out...
"...shares offices with two Republican political consulting firms in Alexandria, Virginia. Its spokesman Chad Kolton worked for the Bush administration as a spokesman for the Director of National Intelligence..."
(… Hmm, sure wish more news organizations including CNN! would divulge who shares offices with who and who worked for who...)
But the message is one that transcends Administrations and needs to be learned and applied by all Administrations, current and future! I know a number of Special Ops guys (many retired and some still active) and the feelings on this matter are indeed universal. "Shut the F*ck Up!"
There is NOTHING to gain from sharing methods! Those on active duty cannot (by law) speak their mind publicly regarding their opinion of their chain of command, all the way up to the President. But I can assure you, the "Snake Eaters"?... they are not fans of politicians of any ilk... but they especially loathe the guy in the chair now. Not (as many of his political class would like you to believe) because of his Race, his Religion, or even his political party affiliation... it is simply because "He Doesn't Get It!"
September 21, 2011
No I’m not looking for a new job…
I am starting a project, of both a personal self-interest as well as an historical interest. As most of my readership is aware, I am the son of a fairly successful Naval Aviator. Recently dad was approached by a friend of his who was interested in his “History”… he, having been there done that and owning the tee-shirt. Dad has never been one to share too much about his Naval Aviation history, it was simply a job after all… However, this particular query got dad to thinking that he is indeed willing now to regale us with a few of his tales and share some of his hard earned knowledge of how things were, how things should have been, and what we may learn from the experience.
To wit, he has asked his #1 son for my help. As you know, him being a proud father and all, has some misguided thought that I am a proficient writer who despite never having worn the wings of gold, nor trapped upon a 98 thousand ton aircraft carrier is still a slightly knowledgeable Naval Aviation Historian who can assist in this pursuit. Helping him remember critical dates and event in which he was personally involved will help jog the memories of long past exploits, will be my charge.
Obviously, I am going to leap at this opportunity. In the ides of October we(Ginger and I) are heading back to Jacksonville for a few days to assist Mom and Dad in Mom’s requirement to return yet again to Tampa for her quarterly CT scan and ongoing cancer treatment follow-up. I plan to use this time to begin in earnest to capture and document pieces of the Hoagy Carmichael and Carmichael family historical record.
Where I need your help faithful readers, is asking what should I ask?
What is most interesting in understanding the personal insight of a Man who was always there in the thick of historical events that even today continue to shape our nation’s decisions. Events like the Iranian Hostage Crisis, where as Commanding Officer, his ship USS Midway was first on Gonzo Station, the Mayaguez Incident in May of ‘75 where his Airwing (CVW-15) was called upon to strike Kompong Som on the Cambodian Mainland, or numerous critical airstrikes in and around Hanoi in 1971.
I lived though this history, yet was not personally involved. He lived, making this history, and I think it will be an interesting opportunity to see and hear though his recollections what it was really like, in a more human and personal way. Not just hardware, tactics and timelines, but from a human perspective of friends, family, squadron mates, ship mates and the ever present politicians.
What do we want to know?
May 31, 2010
Paid my respects…
In a non-descript neighborhood about 3 miles from my house stands a memorial, to a true American Hero. A Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class, who on June 28, 2005 joined the ranks of those forever young.
Here’s to you Danny, and all of those like you, who placed Duty over Self.
I know this day is recognized more of a “Day Off” from our busy work lives, and I certainly do not begrudge anyone from relaxing with friends and family, playing a round at the local 18, or slapping some steaks on the grill and enjoying the sunshine.
All I ask is that you take a moment, pause and remember what Memorial Day is all about. It is our day to remember and recognize those who gave all in service to their country and countrymen.
They paid the ultimate sacrifice so we can continue to enjoy all the days God has given us.
"...gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime....let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation's gratitude,--the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan." --General John Logan, General Order No. 11, 5 May 1868
May 20, 2010
There Oughtta be a Law!
Now I’m not one to go around lightly stating “There Ought to be a Law” about damn near anything… I am especially against laws that state you MUST do something!
However, as a constitutionalist I am for a number of laws that protect our ‘right’ to do something. Speak, Practice whatever religion we want, etc… One law I would like to see passed, and I’ll probably have to wait another 3 years to even have a chance at this one, (and unfortunately it would probably have to be an amendment to the US Constitution…) but pending that I would like to see the states pass individual laws that simply state:
“No government, no organization, no business, no association, can lawfully prohibit an individual from reasonable display of an American Flag, a State’s flag or a Military Service Flag.”
“Reasonable” meaning appropriate size for the venue and properly affixed to ones residence or property. Limits on free-standing flag poles will be exempted. But certainly we can come up with a law absolutely granting a right to fly a flag 4’x6’ or smaller.
This would insure that all peoples desire to show their individual patriotism, alliance, support is protected. And it would help prevent home owners association presidents from making complete asses of themselves!
HILLSBOROUGH, N.H. -- A Navy veteran in Hillsborough will now be allowed to fly his U.S. flag outside his apartment building.
Hillsborough police said an agreement has been reached to allow residents of the Maple Leaf Village complex to fly flags.
Joe LeVangie, 88, and his neighbors had been told to take down the flags because they were displayed in violation of a policy set by the management company. LeVangie is a World War II veteran and said he flew his flag to honor troops serving overseas.
Police said that under a preliminary agreement reached with management company EJL Management, the Hillsborough Police Association in partnership with American Legion Post 59 agreed to keep an eye on the flags and make sure they are in good condition. If not, the police association will talk to the owner of the flag to see if it can be replaced.
If the owner can't replace it, the police association will cover the cost to replace the flag at no cost to the town or owner of the rental property.
Police said all parties are in agreement, and the details will be worked out with the property custodian.
LeVangie's story gained national attention after it was first reported on News 9. Many viewers who saw the story on-air or online said they were shocked by the order to remove the flag.
Here’s what the original stink was about [link]
Veteran Ordered To Remove Flag From Outside Home
Management Company Says Flag Displays Violate Policy
EJL Management said the flags violate a blanket policy prohibiting such displays. A letter sent to LeVangie said a letter sent to him by the company said it was part of a policy that also prohibits lawn ornaments and grills.
The company said that to honor residents' patriotism, a flag was placed at the entrance of Maple Leaf. But LeVangie said a single flag is not enough.
"Why should it be sufficient?" he said. "Is the one in Concord sufficient for the state of New Hampshire?"
LeVangie's rent is subsidized by the federal government. A representative from the Department of Housing and Urban Development said EJL is complying with the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005.
Its that last paragraph that pisses me off… If flying a flag in front of a residential community satisfies the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005… well than that act doesn’t go far enough!
January 18, 2010
The United States Navy Should Always have a USS Enterprise!
And you can help…
One of my fellow contributors to the Tailhook Association’s Blog “The Tailhook Daily Briefing”, is a well respected military blogger in his own right and goes be the nom de plum of Stealjaw Scribe. He’s the brains behind many of the more historical in nature articles.
He, and I and thousands of other US Navy enthusiasts have a request for your support. Many of us are tiring of Congress and the Navy naming our Aircraft Carriers and other ships for politicians. We all know the behind the scenes reasons, and for as distasteful as we find this, somewhat understand the reasoning… nothing ever happens in Washington without politics… can anyone else out there tell how a US Nuclear Attack Submarine receives the name USS Jimmy Carter?
Anyway, there are winds blowing out there recommending that the next US aircraft carrier (CVN-79) be named the USS Barry Goldwater. Now, don’t get me wrong, as most of you know my political affiliations lean far more in the direction of Goldwater than toward say… a Pelosi and I would think naming a Ship of the Line after a man like Goldwater makes more sense than the Jimmy Carter naming, but there comes a time when enough is enough.
We Naval Nostalgics would like to see a return to more traditional naming conventions of our prize warships, to wit our fleet is missing a number of historic names from our registry… Ships like: USS Lexington, USS Ranger, USS Saratoga, USS Coral Sea, USS Midway are all great names to be rekindled, however one name continues to rise above all others, and many do not realize that within a few short years the ship who current possesses the name “ENTERPRISE” will be decommissioned leaving a void in US Naval Tradition many of us would like to avoid.
Here’s where YOU my loyal readers can help… add your name to a petition many of us have already contributed that states:
Be It Resolved
That the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed (CVN-79) should bear the name USS ENTERPRISE in recognition and honor of the fighting men and women of the United States Navy who have sailed in her namesakes through the centuries.
We The Undersigned:
Call upon the Congress of the United States to remand H. CON. RES. 83 and replace it with a resolution supporting the naming of CVN-79 or the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed, the USS ENTERPRISE.
Call upon the Secretary of the Navy to support this petition of the tax-paying people of these United States and name the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed the USS ENTERPRISE.
If you would like to lend your voice, to our drive to return legacy and tradition to US Naval Aviation please click the image below, and add your name to the thousands of others.
December 03, 2009
Tell this guy he can’t fly an American Flag from a Flag Pole in Virginia
Medal Of Honor Recipient! Colonel Van Barfoot
Italy, 23 May 1944. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 23 May 1944, near Carano, Italy. With his platoon heavily engaged during an assault against forces well entrenched on commanding ground, 2d Lt. Barfoot (then Tech. Sgt.) moved off alone upon the enemy left flank. He crawled to the proximity of 1 machinegun nest and made a direct hit on it with a hand grenade, killing 2 and wounding 3 Germans.
He continued along the German defense line to another machinegun emplacement, and with his tommygun killed 2 and captured 3 soldiers. Members of another enemy machinegun crew then abandoned their position and gave themselves up to Sgt. Barfoot. Leaving the prisoners for his support squad to pick up, he proceeded to mop up positions in the immediate area, capturing more prisoners and bringing his total count to 17.
Later that day, after he had reorganized his men and consolidated the newly captured ground, the enemy launched a fierce armored counterattack directly at his platoon positions. Securing a bazooka, Sgt. Barfoot took up an exposed position directly in front of 3 advancing Mark VI tanks. From a distance of 75 yards his first shot destroyed the track of the leading tank, effectively disabling it, while the other 2 changed direction toward the flank. As the crew of the disabled tank dismounted, Sgt. Barfoot killed 3 of them with his tommygun.
He continued onward into enemy terrain and destroyed a recently abandoned German fieldpiece with a demolition charge placed in the breech. While returning to his platoon position, Sgt. Barfoot, though greatly fatigued by his Herculean efforts, assisted 2 of his seriously wounded men 1,700 yards to a position of safety. Sgt. Barfoot's extraordinary heroism, demonstration of magnificent valor, and aggressive determination in the face of pointblank fire are a perpetual inspiration to his fellow soldiers.
He can do this for his country and his soldiers, yet a home owners association in Virginia will not allow him to fly the American flag from a pole in his front yard.
He is a 90 year old WWII veteran! He’s earned the right to tell the HOA to… well… politely Stick it Where a Proctologist with 3 foot salad tongs would have a tough time accessing!!!
"This is not about the American flag. This is about a flagpole... We are a neighborhood of patriotic Americans, many of whom have served our country in the military as Col. Barfoot has done.."
Uh… No!… MANY have NOT served this country AS Col. Barfoot has! Of the Millions who have served this country only ~ 3,400 have been awarded the Medal Of Honor!!! and many of those posthumously!!!
New law needs to pass… Medal of Honor Recipients can do whatever they damn well please!!!
September 15, 2009
Back From My First Tailhook Reunion and Symposium
As most of you know, a couple of years ago I took on the task of creating, writing, editing, and taking photos for the Tailhook Association’s blog, “The Tailhook Daily Briefing.” In the two years I have been the editor, the blog has received over a quarter of a million hits and is regularly landed on hundreds of times daily as the number one return on various Google and Yahoo searches. All very gratifying for me as I try to give something back the some of my greatest heroes, Naval Aviators.
Well, earlier this year I was informed I had been nominated for “Honorary Tailhooker of the Year” for my efforts. I can never be nominated for “Tailhooker of the Year” as I am not an aviator, nor do I have any traps or cat shots to my name. (Maybe someday…). I was honored by the nomination, hell some of the past winners of the award are former Secretaries of the Navy for God’s sake! Who wouldn’t welcome being included in such revered company?
About a month ago, I was informed by “Tag” Ostertag (Naval Aviator Extraordinaire … and not just in his mind!) that I had indeed won the award, and that I was expected to be in Reno to receive my plaque at the Saturday awards lunch. Again, I was floored! And Honored! And humbled!
So come this past September 10th, Ginger and I fly out to Reno, to attend my first (Ginger’s too for that matter) Tailhook Annual Reunion and Symposium. I am glad I went.
We met up in Reno with my long time friend and fellow Tailhooker, Ken Schoeni, (actually Ken has been a Tailhooker longer than I have). Ken was kind enough to help me take care of a few awkward logistic issues as I would be unable to arrive until late on Thursday night, and would need our registration materials early Friday Morning as we headed off from Reno to see the Blue Angels perform at the September 11th Remembrance NAS Fallon Airshow.
The Airshow was fantastic, Severe Clear and Beer! No better way to see an airshow!
After the show, we boogied back in the bus to Reno to attend the Bug Roach Mixer. A great cocktail party where Hawaiian Shirts and Flight Suits are the Uniform of the Day. It is a great, cocktail fueled, party where one really has the opportunity to meet and greet the greatest pilots and NFO’s on the planet.
Seriously, I met up with dozens of old acquaintances and made an equal number of new friends at this year’s event. I ran into a number of folks who are good friends of my Mom and Dad, as well as many familiar faces I had met at the Colorado Tailhooker parties Hans and Kathy Schmoldt have thrown at their ranch in Grand Junction. Old Home week does not do it justice.
Every night is late night at Tailhook, after the scheduled events everyone regroups at the “Admin Rooms” to continue the camaraderie, the lie story telling competitions, accompanied by various bar games and the obligatory adult beverages! I’m pretty sure one of the communities was serving up Cubi Cocktails AKA Radford Specials! Wow, that’ll put hair on your feet!
We returned to our Hotel much much earlier than the young JO’s and somewhat older LCDRs in the crowd, leaving the olympic drinking events to those better able, and wanting… to deal with the after effects of such activities. Even so it was well after midnight before we turned in.
The next day after grabbing a few extra winks I headed back to the Nugget (we were staying in the Silver Legacy), but as I hailed a cab, at 10:00am mind you, who should get out but a LCDR and LT I had chatted briefly with at the Mixer the previous evening… they were just rolling in! And were planning to return to forward battle area by noon! IN—TREP—ID!
The warm up act before the lunch was the symposium session on “Pushing the Edge of the Envelope” which had current and former Blue Angels on one side pitted against Topgun Aviators on the other! No better stories to be told than when on the opposing side is the “Oh Yeah?” gang. I promise to post few of those tails over at TDB in the future.
Next came the awards lunch, where all sorts of achievement awards were handed to the deserving flight crews, for bombing excellence, missile accuracy, most carrier landings (Traps), 1,000 trap milestones… etc. And finally the Honorary Tailhooker of the Year. There were two recipients this year, Mr. Woody Sales, a man who coordinated more Distinguished Visitors tours of carriers this year than anyone else, and insured that countless crewmembers of the USS Roosevelt received free passes to the Ryder Cup Golf Tournament last year!
And then me…
Wow, what an honor. I was presented the award by Vice Admiral Thomas Kilcline Jr., Commander, Naval Air Forces, COMNAVAIRPAC, RADM Jay Campbell, Capt Russ ‘Galdis’ Knight
Seriously, I am humbled by the honor. I love being a Tailhooker, and contributing where I can. I may not be able to fly for this great nation but maybe I can contribute something on behalf of those who do.
After the Awards Lunch, the Admiral’s Briefing followed, this is really the event to attend! It is comprised of a number of Admirals in the Air Navy chain of command, and is the opportunity for a Honest “No Holds Barred” Q&A session of the Navy Leadership. Cuts to the quick.
And then the final event of the Reunion is the Formal Banquet. Where Ginger and I sat with Hans and Kathy, and had the fortune to sit with the CO and XO of VAQ-140 charming men both, and Capt. “Sterls” Gilliam, one of the officers of Tailhook, and one of the most complimentary gentlemen I could have had the fortune of sitting next to. It made for a great evening of stories and general conversation.
We stayed up late into the morning that night as well, and after Saturday merged into Sunday, and we managed to capture a few hours of shut-eye… not nearly enough… we bid farewell to Reno, and the 2009 Tailhook Reunion, promising to return for 2010’s shindig!
June 09, 2009
Obama Fears Our Navy?
In a note in the Washington Times, it appears that Midshipmen and Officers at this year’s Graduation and Commissioning Ceremonies at the United States Naval Academy were prohibited from wearing their swords as a protection measure for President Obama.
No… seriously… THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF is concerned that his Military may have weapons that threaten him!
Graduating midshipmen of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis are being told in writing to leave at home or in their vehicles all "ceremonial swords" and anything else "that might be considered a weapon or a threat by screeners" for Friday's outdoor commencement ceremonies featuring an address by President Barack Obama.
Inside the Beltway has obtained the academy's list of prohibited items for this year's graduation exercises, which, besides ceremonial swords, includes umbrellas.
I did some investigating and… Yep… No Mameluke on the Marine General or Sword on the Admiral in the following image from the ceremonies. Understand that in formal Naval Ceremonies (even in choker whites) wearing a sword is optional for the Naval Officer, however, for the Marine it is a “Requirement” as the Mameluke Sword is part of the Dress Uniform!
So it got me to wondering if this was some sort of muckraking pointing to Barak Obama as having the same fear as King James I…Fear of Unsheathed Swords.
So I dug through my photos of another recent ceremony involving a formal Navy occasion and hosting not just the current President (at that time) George W. Bush but also his father former President George H.W. Bush (also present were the Vice President and the Secretary of State), the commissioning of the USS George HW Bush (CVN-77). And what did I see? But any number of swords completely within swinging range of any of the VIP’s and honored guests. (See the images below of Capt. O’Flaherty wearing his sword while standing immediately next to the President of the United States.) Were any of VIP’s concerned about these men possessing such threatening carving implements. NOT A CHANCE! They were honored to be in the presence of such heroes and trust these men and women with their lives and freedom!
Note the immediate above image was taken by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Micah P. Blechner.
So what gives? Does Obama not trust his Military Officers with cake carvers?
May 05, 2009
Why Won’t Obama Release the Pictures of Air Force One’s NYC Fly-by?
The NY Post is Reporting that the Obama White House has “not technically classified” the photos taken of the VC-25A aircraft circling the Statue of Liberty last week, but has no plans to release them to the public.
The $328,835 snapshots of an Air Force One backup plane buzzing lower Manhattan last week will not be shown to the public, the White House said yesterday.
"We have no plans to release them," an aide to President Obama told The Post, refusing to comment further.
The sole purpose of the secret photo-op, which sent thousands of New Yorkers running for cover, was to take new publicity shots of the presidential jet over the city.
"The photos . . . are classified -- that's ridiculous," Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., said.
The photos have not technically been "classified," a White House aide said, but they are being kept from public view.
New Yorkers said they could not understand how a president who shares intimate snapshots from the White House could justify keeping these secret.
"So we're not gonna see the fruits of this cruel joke?" said Frank Antonelli, 39, one of the Wall Street traders spooked by last week's flyover.
"I'm not surprised. Obama . . . wouldn't further all the bad publicity by putting out those pictures."
Actually, I think I know why.
Outside of the bad PR experienced as a result of the poorly executed photo op, I suspect there was a deeper “Subject” of the photos than is being acknowledged to the public for fear of even further cries of pandering.
Allow me to explain… On the day the VC-25A was tooling around NYC, she was not alone. In close formation was an F-16, two actually, but “dash two” was flying more of a high cover, …or was it? I suspect that “Dash Two” was also the real photo bird. Meaning the intent was NOT just to get photos of the VC-25A Presidential bird, bit to actually get the F-16 flying formation on the 747!
FAA Memo outlining the event: [PDF]
You: So What?
Well normally I wouldn’t attach any significance to this and assume the F-16 flying the wing was indeed “Just the photo plane” however I (and a number of other aviation aficionados) noticed a specific Tail on the F-16 that has historical significance.
This particular F-16 had a Red Tail (not normal camouflage painting for a tactical fighter) identifying this plane as belonging to the Alabama Air National Guard’s 187th Fighter Wing.
The significance of this is that the “RED TAILS” are representative of the World Famous “Tuskegee Airmen” an all African American fighter wing known for flying P-51 Mustangs in WWII with a Vermillion Tail (AKA the RED TAILS).
“To bomber crews of the Fifteenth Air Force-who owed them a particular debt-the men of the four squadrons of the 332nd Fighter Group, the 99th, 100th, 301st and the 302nd, were the Red Tail Angels. Flying P-51 Mustangs with tails painted vermillion, they had by the end of the war won for themselves the distinction of not only having damaged or destroyed 400 enemy aircraft, but of never having lost one of the bombers they escorted on missions over Europe-a rare achievement. [more]
The Alabama National Guard pays reverence to the Tuskegee Airmen by painting the Tail of (at least) one of their F-16s red acknowledging the storied history of these Alabama based African American airmen.
So, as much as I hate to point out what for all appearances seems to be possibly a photo op that may be, possibly, motivated by connecting two racially ground breaking events (first African American Aerial Squadrons and the first African American President), I am led to wonder if this was not the image happy White House’s gratuitous motivation. The F-16 flying wing on the aircraft used for Air Force One was actually meant to be INCLUDED in the images taken that day. This was not a photo op just for Air Force One, rather it was a Photo Op for the White House to connect to another Historically great stride in African American successes in our oft racially troubled history.
Paint me suspicious, and yes very skeptical of this particular photo Op. IMAGE IS EVERYTHING when it comes to staged events like this, so NOTHING is present by coincidence or accident, they know damn well what they were up to, and this was not just a “bad idea” on the part of the Office Of Military Affairs. In reality it is looking more and more like the OMA was scapegoated.