'87 Sir

Thirty years of service ----USNA Class of 1987 '87 Sir

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I was reading the syllabus for one of my Master's classes in Military Studies (more on that later) when I came upon a sentence from my instructor. "(12) Judge people's actions within the context of their society, moral code, legal system, economic position, religion, culture, etc. Remember that humans are complex and so are societies. DO NOT assign 2008 mores or value judgements to people of other periods or cultures. (13) Failure to heed the advice of paragraph 12 will result in a severe grade penalty. An historian must be objective, analytical, and critical, otherwise he/she is merely a propagandist."

I found this interesting when I was watching the Military Channel the other day. They had on a program about the Revolutionary War, you know, the war waged primarily by Anglo-Saxon, white males, some of whom [gasp] owned slaves. Now when I was a kid in school, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and their peers were still rather esteemed men who were given the proper credit for founding this country and winning our independence through a long and arduous struggle. Now it seems, every historian on the program has to mention that they owned slaves. Now I understand about the evils of slavery and how the Founding Fathers were less than perfect, but please, is that all historians talk about these days? And, I hate to be way PC, but women and Indians did not have a whole lot to do with the fighting and dying in the Revolution. Certainly, many patriotic colonists did their part, but most of the fighting was done by white males.

Just my thought on the issue. I wish more historians would heed my instructor's admonition, maybe history would make more sense than trying to rewrite it with 2008 morals and values and make sure that every ethnic and cultural group is given equal credit.

By the way, before we lay too much judgement on our ancestors, just think how some of our mores and values will seem 100 years from now...

Speaking of Which

As I finished ranting yesterday, I thought I would put my money where my mouth is so here they are courtesy of the Army History Site for Iraq and Afghanistan

Sure beats reading about Britney's latest antics or the latest barbs being thrown by Hillary and Obama, huh?


Rank and Organization: Corporal, United States Marine Corps
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Rifle Squad Leader, 4th Platoon, Company K, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines (Reinforced), Regimental Combat Team 7, First Marine Division (Reinforced), on 14 April 2004. Corporal Dunham's squad was conducting a reconnaissance mission in the town of Karabilah, Iraq, when they heard rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire erupt approximately two kilometers to the west. Corporal Dunham led his Combined Anti-Armor Team towards the engagement to provide fire support to their Battalion Commander's convoy, which had been ambushed as it was traveling to Camp Husaybah. As Corporal Dunham and his Marines advanced, they quickly began to receive enemy fire. Corporal Dunham ordered his squad to dismount their vehicles and led one of his fire teams on foot several blocks south of the ambushed convoy. Discovering seven Iraqi vehicles in a column attempting to depart, Corporal Dunham and his team stopped the vehicles to search them for weapons. As they approached the vehicles, an insurgent leaped out and attacked Corporal Dunham. Corporal Dunham wrestled the insurgent to the ground and in the ensuing struggle saw the insurgent release a grenade. Corporal Dunham immediately alerted his fellow Marines to the threat. Aware of the imminent danger and without hesitation, Corporal Dunham covered the grenade with his helmet and body, bearing the brunt of the explosion and shielding his Marines from the blast. In an ultimate and selfless act of bravery in which he was mortally wounded, he saved the lives of at least two fellow Marines. By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty, Corporal Dunham gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.


Rank and Organization: Sergeant First Class, United States Army
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy near Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad, Iraq on 4 April 2003. On that day, Sergeant First Class Smith was engaged in the construction of a prisoner of war holding area when his Task Force was violently attacked by a company-sized enemy force. Realizing the vulnerability of over 100 fellow soldiers, Sergeant First Class Smith quickly organized a hasty defense consisting of two platoons of soldiers, one Bradley Fighting Vehicle and three armored personnel carriers. As the fight developed, Sergeant First Class Smith braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons, and organized the evacuation of three wounded soldiers from an armored personnel carrier struck by a rocket propelled grenade and a 60mm mortar round. Fearing the enemy would overrun their defenses, Sergeant First Class Smith moved under withering enemy fire to man a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a damaged armored personnel carrier. In total disregard for his own life, he maintained his exposed position in order to engage the attacking enemy force. During this action, he was mortally wounded. His courageous actions helped defeat the enemy attack, and resulted in as many as 50 enemy soldiers killed, while allowing the safe withdrawal of numerous wounded soldiers. Sergeant First Class Smith’s extraordinary heroism and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Third Infantry Division “Rock of the Marne,” and the United States Army.


Rank and Organization: Lieutenant, United States Navy
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as the leader of a special reconnaissance element with Naval Special Warfare Task Unit Afghanistan on 27 and 28 June 2005. While leading a mission to locate a high-level anti-coalition militia leader, Lieutenant Murphy demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan. On 28 June 2005, operating in an extremely rugged enemy-controlled area, Lieutenant Murphy’s team was discovered by anti-coalition militia sympathizers, who revealed their position to Taliban fighters. As a result, between 30 and 40 enemy fighters besieged his four-member team. Demonstrating exceptional resolve, Lieutenant Murphy valiantly led his men in engaging the large enemy force. The ensuing fierce firefight resulted in numerous enemy casualties, as well as the wounding of all four members of the team. Ignoring his own wounds and demonstrating exceptional composure, Lieutenant Murphy continued to lead and encourage his men. When the primary communicator fell mortally wounded, Lieutenant Murphy repeatedly attempted to call for assistance for his beleaguered teammates. Realizing the impossibility of communicating in the extreme terrain, and in the face of almost certain death, he fought his way into open terrain to gain a better position to transmit a call. This deliberate, heroic act deprived him of cover, exposing him to direct enemy fire. Finally achieving contact with his Headquarters, Lieutenant Murphy maintained his exposed position while he provided his location and requested immediate support for his team. In his final act of bravery, he continued to engage the enemy until he was mortally wounded, gallantly giving his life for his country and for the cause of freedom. By his selfless leadership, courageous actions, and extraordinary devotion to duty, Lieutenant Murphy reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

And, I just read that another CMH will be awarded to another Navy SEAL in Iraq

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My thoughts for the 5th anniversary of the Iraq War

This is one of my favorite movies and movie speeches. If only some of our politicians and talking heads understood what this is all about they would quit whining about the casualties on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War and get on with the victory that will give the sacrifice of those brave Americans some meaning. I would not want to denigrate or demean those who have died or been wounded in Iraq but come on, FIVE years of combat and all we seem to hear from the legacy media (newspapers, TV, magazines) are the casualties, not what the troops have accomplished our how many bad guys no longer walk the earth planning their missions of death and destruction. What about stories of American bravery and heroism. Too bad the legacy media doesn't provide as much footage and print space to the 3 Americans who have earned Congressional Medals of Honor as they do about Britney's rehab or which politician is screwing around this week (literally!). It's pretty sad when the tag line "If it bleeds it leads" certainly seems to be how the legacy media chooses what they "think" is news.

Just for a little perspective, we lost 20,000 American casualties in one day at Antietam and 50,000 in three days at Gettysburg. What is more important is how many terrorists and thugs will no longer be able to fly jetliners into skyscrapers or blow up buses and supermarkets. Anyway, here it is....

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I was watching the special features the other day of one of my favorite movies, "We Were Soldiers" and LTGEN Hal Moore had an interesting comment which I will paraphrase,"Hollywood never got Vietnam right, until this movie." If you haven't seen the movie you should and get your significant other to watch it as well, it shows the homefront as few war movies ever do.

Which, of course brings me to the topic of the Iraq War. I hope we don't have to wait 30 years for a decent, realistic movie about Iraq. After all there are any number of excellent subjects and books to base movies from. "No True Glory" about Fallujah, "Marines in the Garden of Eden" about the fight for the Nasaryah bridges, "Thunder Run" about the Army's takedown of Baghdad. Even "Generation Kill" could become the next Full Metal Jacket. Instead we get whiny movies like "Stop Loss" and I am sure that movies about Abu Ghrab and Haddith are in the works, Hollywood style you know, Those Evil, Evil American Soldiers persecuting the innocent little insurgents.

I doubt Hollywood would recognize a real American war movie if it smacked them in the face. I guess it's a good thing that John Wayne is dead or these knuckleheads that run Hollywood would surely put him in the grave with the drivel that passes for military movies these days.

Of course I am STILL embittered that "Saving Private Ryan" lost the Oscar to "Shakespeare in Love" a pithy little movie that I guarantee you will only see once. After that year, 1998 or whenever it was, I lost what little teensy, weensy respect I had for the Oscars. Now, of course the Oscars are just another PC exercise in awarding crappy movies that no one actually goes to see.

So, we shall see. There were rumors that "No True Glory" might become a movie. I won't hold my breath.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

First Rant

Well, Here it is, my first blog post.  Although my wife and the other woman in my life have been blogging for a while, they are the kinder, gentler bloggers.  Me, not so much.  I will call 'em as I see 'em, in a PG-13 sort of way.

And believe me, there is a lot of material out there....

Here's one of my favorites from the Military Motivator