Thursday, August 30, 2007

Not Looking Forward to Class Tomorrow

Specifically, my Pol S 235, "Intro to Ethics in Politics." First, a bit of background about this class. One thing that's frustrating jumping into Political Science late is having to take three of the four "Intro to" classes the Department offers. (I got out of one due to some AP credit I brought in from High School.) These classes consist primarily of underclassmen, mainly freshmen, in political science and upperclassmen from outside the department taking it to fulfill an elective requirement. In both cases, the level of education, logic, and argument crafting is not what one would encounter in a 300 or 400 level Pol S class. I took the Intro to International Relations and Intro to Comparative Politics last semester; both were easy and, not to sound haughty, but rather beneath my level of competence. The same seems to be applying so far for the Intro to Ethics class.

An example: We are currently delving into the ethics and laws of war, international relations, etc. Machiavelli, Hobbes, Aquinas so far, Kant and Grotius a bit later. Anyway, the class was discussing Summa Theologica (specifically the sections regarding self defense and waging war) and people kept bringing up "interests." You should not sound like Kissinger when you are discussing Aquinas and just war theory. The worst part was that even after the Prof called the class on it people continued to discuss things using interests arguments. It was like it was an IR class. Rather frustrating. Going along with that, it should come as no surprise that people like to get off on tangents, especially on contemporary issues, things like torture, terrorism, etc. In an upper level class, the rare times this would happen the professor would simply shut whoever it was down before they got started. The Profs in the intro classes tend to be a little nicer (which is probably part of the reason why they're teaching intro classes) and will never flat out tell someone they're wrong or shut them down. It's EXTREMELY frustrating.

So, why am I not looking forward to class tomorrow? We're discussing the decision to invade Iraq. I have no interest in sparring with most of the morons in the class because we'll be talking past each other. If you can't agree on a bedrock of common facts, there's no point. I doubt I would get much past "Bush didn't lie" before the screams of disagreement started. I am, however, sorely tempted to record the class, because I'm sure the discussion would make for a wicked drinking game.

Every time someone mentions:
-oil, drink.
-"the troops," drink.
-neo-cons, take a shot.
-WMDs, drink.
-Abu Ghraib, take a shot.
-Rumsfeld, drink.
-9/11, take several shots.
-ZIONIST neo-cons, finish the bottle.

How to Be the Perfect Girlfriend

You may laugh, but everything in this video is VERY true. If more women understood this the world would be a much better and happier place.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Friend of mine from Grade School and High School is deploying over to Iraq today with his Marine Reserve unit.

Good luck, Greg.

UPDATE: I almost forgot, back in High School, Greg wrote a poem before he shipped out to MCRD San Diego about how he felt about serving. I put it up here. It's well worth reading.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Was going through the old email looking for something and came across an old AFMC news email featuring a "Military Working Cat."
7/31/2007 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Fighting the war on rodent infestation, the 95th Mission Support Group is using a "military working cat" to help reduce the amount of damage to equipment caused by rodents living in the supply warehouse.

The cat, named Wizzo, calls the 95th Mission Support Group's supply warehouse his home. The feline lives and works around the clock to help support the supply group's mission.

"Wizzo is our mobility rodent deterrent," said Heather Chapman, 95th MSG warehouse specialist. "He was brought in for pest control and is earning his keep by doing his job."
System is low cost, easy to maintain, and even easier to maintain accountability on:
"Maintaining Wizzo is low cost," said Jennifer Starr, 95th MSG mobility lead supervisor. "Everyone in the supply warehouse contributes by donating supplies and food for him. It is really a team effort."

Ms. Starr said Wizzo meets the first person who comes through the door in the morning with his prey. He drops it off at their feet as though he is offering them a gift or handing in an assignment.
Most importantly, weapons system is effective:
So far, Wizzo has caught a bird, a rat and three mice, which officially makes him an ace. The supply team keeps his kill count posted on a board for him.

"It seems that whenever anyone starts to doubt his worth, he comes up with another mission completed," Ms. Starr said.
I'm sure the CDR, Chap, et al. could have a field day with this one, but I just want to know if the cats have lasers.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Liberal Arts Majors, Anyone?

Yet another example of why an all engineer military just isn't going to cut it:
A demonstration has been held in south-east Afghanistan accusing U.S. troops of insulting Islam after they distributed soccer balls bearing the name of Allah

The balls showed the Saudi Arabian flag, which features the Koranic declaration of faith.

The U.S. military said the idea had been to give something for Afghan children to enjoy and they did not realise it would cause offense.

The soccer balls were dropped from a helicopter in Khost province.

Some displayed flags from countries all over the world, including Saudi Arabia, which features the shahada, one of the five pillars of Islam -- the declaration of faith.

The words, which include the name of Allah, are revered, and Muslims are very sensitive about where and how they can be used.


Mullahs in Afghanistan criticised the U.S. forces for their insensitivity, and around 100 people held a demonstration in Khost.

Afghan MP Mirwais Yasini said: "To have a verse of the Koran on something you kick with your foot would be an insult in any Muslim country around the world."

A spokeswoman for the U.S. forces in Afghanistan said they made "significant efforts to work with local leaders, mullahs and elders to respect their culture," and distributing the footballs was an effort to give a gift the Afghan children would enjoy.

"Unfortunately," she added, "there was something on those footballs we didn't immediately understand to be offensive and we regret that, as we do not want to offend."

Oops. Good idea, poor execution. Granted, it's soccer balls. And it's 100 people. But it's in Khost, one of the areas of Afghanistan that is on the edge, where soccer balls and 100 people can make a difference. In any case, this is a great example, because all it consisted of was soccer balls. Something as mundane as soccer balls can be the difference between success in reaching out to the people and failure after facing a hostile populace.

Gulfs, islands, and a million other tiny seemingly insignificant things are that on which the fate of nations turns. It might be a good idea to have people in our organization that actually make it their business to know these things.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

USAF Budget Cuts

Are you Hawg Wild?

Sorry for the lack of substantial content lately, but this semester is going to be a little nuts. 19 credits and being a flight commander. 5 of the credits are in a language class. Chinese. Yeah. According to the DoD, I should have a high aptitude for acquiring languages. In fact, according to my DLAB score, I would theoretically be qualified to head out to the DLIFLC at Monterey and pick up pretty much any language, from French to Farsi. Color me skeptical. And like I said, on top of that, I have one of the most time consuming (but also rewarding) jobs in the Corps this semester. I had two situations within my flight to deal with on the first day. Nothing bad or major, but just more stuff for me to do.

Anyway, the bottom line is that I'm going to be busy. I've got several things on deck (first on the list are some commentary on the USAF's COIN doctrine and "strategy") so we'll see when I'm able to get them up here.

In the meantime, "19 Things I Learned From Movies."
6. Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it will not be necessary to speak the language. A German accent will do.


17. One man shooting at 20 men has a better chance of killing them all than 20 men firing at one.
h/t: my roommate Patrick

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Takin' Down the Tangos

Terrorists can be ANYWHERE. You have to be prepared for any and all situations. I, for one, am glad to see our Army is prepared to take them down whenever and wherever necessary.

They Just Don't Get It

When I saw this headline I about spat out my Mountain Dew...

"General Peter Pace can save US - by arresting Bush for "Conduct Unbecoming."

You know things have gotten weird when the left is advocating a military coup. Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot...the author advocates removing the President "not of his Presidency. But of his military role as Commander-In-Chief." He then goes on to quote several Articles of the UCMJ. You know, the Uniform Code of MILITARY (emphasis mine) Justice. Does the President wear a uniform? No, he does not. Is he subject to the UCMJ? No, he is not. Does Martin Lewis have the reading comprehension of a second grader? Yes, he does.

In the comments of the post, the relatively famous " Prisoner 222305759 letter" from Parameters back in '92 was brought up. Still a thought provoking article.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Bomb

Finishing up a paper for my Ethics and Politics class on what was the most morally defensible position regarding Truman's decision to drop the bomb. One of my favorite quotes regarding the decision comes from the movie Crimson Tide...I really wanted to work it into my paper but it just didn't seem appropriate. Comes from Gene Hackman's character...

Capt. Ramsey: If someone asks me, should we bomb Japan? A simple yes, by all means sir, drop that fucker. Twice.

FT Stuff, part VI

Today's installment is basically me at FLX looking like a badass.

Well, maybe not looking like a badass, but I could sure kill me some Hamanistanis (the name of the Opfor's country) with my rubber duckie.

That's me in the middle wearing the glasses. You'll notice that, unlike the rest of our flight, me and the cadet next to me have our rifles unslung, ready for action. Actually, that was because our rifles didn't have a sling. Nothing but the best for AFROTC. But I like the first version better.Kilo (my flight) and Lima (my sister flight) responding as the QRF (Quick Response Force) to a protest of hippies (aka - CTAs) at the front gate. They promised, among other things, Birkenstocks for everyone. We weren't buying it.

Getting debriefed by the SF MSgt from the FLX Cadre after responding to the protest. Me again in the middle with red rubber duckie slung over my shoulder. Switched out rifles from the earlier picture. Flak vests and Kevlars in Alabama in the summer are hot. Granted, it's hotter and they're heavier over in the desert, but they also have camelbacks. Camelbacks are a LOT more accessible than the canteens we were using. The only way to get your canteens and web belt off your body was to undo or fully take off your flak vest. It was a pretty big pain in the ass.

Real quick funny story from FLX involving some more stupid cadets. When the QRF got to the gate to respond to the protest, there were some SF people already there that helped us out. One of the SF personnel asked me if there was any way for us to simulate throwing tear gas at the protesters, because she thought that would be a good idea.

Again, I was literally speechless. After a second or two of reflection, I told her that a) I didn't think there was any way we could simulate throwing tear gas and that b) even if we could, that is one of the stupidest ideas I've ever heard. Yeah, I snapped. I was hot and cranky. I actually bit my tongue, because I was *this* close to suggesting that maybe the USAF wasn't for her and that she should consider a career with the LAPD.

A comment like that is bad enough, but when you consider that said female was of the African-American persuasion, well...let's just say it was probably a good thing I bit my tongue.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


The U.S. is full of idiots:
One in four adults say they read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Of those who did read, women and seniors were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.
Two-thirds of US adults admit to being in the dark about political issues outside the United States, and only a third are well-versed in US politics, the results of a poll published Tuesday showed.


Global political knowledge was miniscule, with just three percent of women and 14 percent of men saying they are extremely knowledgeable on world politics.

One reason for the knowledge gap is lack of interest, according to the poll.

"Well over half (57 percent) say they do not like learning about political issues in other countries," and 32 percent expressed a lack of interest for homespun politics, the Harris Poll group said.

This explains quite a bit about why we seem to keep electing the same morons.

Open Question

To the old guys (and maybe squids) of the bunch:

Ever seen a movie called Task Force? Caught the last half an hour on TCM yesterday. Dunno about the rest of the movie, but the part I watched was pretty impressive. Featured a lot of good combat footage, including some of the 19 March attack on the USS Franklin (CV-13).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bad Day/Week/Month/Tour

You think you're having a bad day?

Yeah, you've done your duty Specialist K. Rest easy.

More Than a Grain of Truth to This

"How the Far Left Imagines a Conservative Family and Vice Versa"
Husband: Mmmm, honey, these oil burgers are great! Did you add something to the recipe?

Wife: Um, not really, I put a little Sudanese baby blood in the rub, but other than that, they’re the same.

Husband: I should have known! I love Sudanese baby blood. It's delicious.


Boyfriend: Kewl... So what do you want to do after dinner?

Girlfriend: Well, I was thinking we could have premarital relations, of course-

Boyfriend: Haha, yeah, of course.

Girlfriend: Then we can watch an independent movie, listen to some independent music, eat hummus, and then write protest songs.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Best. Summer internship/job. Ever.

This is pretty awesome. General Petraeus and Bill Roggio get an Army ROTC cadet from Princeton who also writes for the Princetonian set up in Iraq for a month or so, touring FOBs, shadowing a Cav unit for a few days, sitting in on briefings for Alberto Gonzalez, discussing his fall schedule with the four star commanding MNF-I only to be interrupted by a phone call from both Admiral Fallon and General know, the standard stuff.

I am SO jealous.

h/t: Chap

So True

If real life was like a comment section. NSFW

h/t: The Agitator

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Lego UAV

This is cool:
AUSTIN, Texas — The reality of a unmanned air vehicle based on a Lego kit was used by the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine to illustrate the democratization of technology, a phenomenon described in his book "The Long Tail."


The implications were demonstrated through a UAV project Anderson developed along with his 8-year-old son. Using a Lego Mindstorms kit as the processing and control foundation, he added a gyroscope, infrared vision for stability, GPS capability, a cellphone-based coordinates input scheme to guide the model and a basic imaging system to conduct "reconnaisance" at the destination. The data was then sent back over the same 3G network the cellphone communications system used.

To prove feasibility, he took aerial shots of Google Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., to a resolution of 2 cm, disproving the claim that "Google" was painted at the bottom of one of the company's outdoor swimming pools.

But here's the real important stuff:

Undeterred, Anderson explained the fundamental principle of the long tail and the impact it is having on software and hardware design. The long tail principle states that the falling cost of production, distribution and storage of products is allowing producers and retailers to cater to narrower market niches. This in turn increases the aggregate value of those niches and that that value will soon equal the aggregate value of mainstream products.

"Instead of a small number of products for millions, it's a case of millions of products for a small number" of people, he said. "The monolithic software model hasn't addressed this. That's what small companies and individuals are for: We're in the era of 'do-it-yourself'." Anderson also predicted that era of open-source hardware is fast

h/t: The DEW Line

As "do-it-yourself" tech increases, expect to see much more of the solo/small group type terror attacks. I tend to agree with Col. Thomas Hammes (author of The Sling and The Stone) in that this is possibly the 5th Generation of Warfare, a logical extension of the 4th. As this type of tech proliferates, would be terrorists will be able to obtain any necessary technology for their attacks without having to rely on a larger organization like al-Qaida. As Col. Hammes postulates, the possible dawn of 5th Generation Warfare was the anthrax attacks in 2001. A small group of people with access to some high tech gear were able to have a large effect on the U.S. government and populace.

The bottom line is that the terrorists will always be ahead of government counter-terror efforts in this regard. They're smaller, lighter, and more agile. That's why it's up to the government to find ways to unleash the power and ingenuity of our people. It's the only way for us to have a hope of staying abreast with the terrorists. Networks, not bureaucracies, defeat other networks.

This billboard is just funny

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Lou Dobbs is an Idiot

Not really news, but like Radley Balko said, Lou Dobbs just makes me laugh anymore.

h/t: The Agitator

Apparently, in Mr. Dobbs' universe, "free enterprise" and the "free market" are two completely separate things. I'm going to do a bit of reading in between the lines here as to what Mr. Dobbs is trying to get across to his audience, none of whom I would be willing to wager are under 50.

The first is good, where men would go to work at their union job at the factory every day as hard working WHITE Americans, come home to a "loving" wife and family in a crappy house in the suburbs, and give half their money to government so when they got old they could have a not so nice existence for the last of their pitiful life.

The second is when we open the borders and let all the eeeeeeeevil MEXICANS across, thereby causing every decent white American to be put out of work, because, well, no REAL American should have to work for less than $10.00 an hour, there'll be a few terrorists in the mix and before you know it we'll have mushroom clouds in every major U.S. city. It'll be like 24 brought to life, except there will be a burrito stand on every corner and everyone will be speaking MEXICAN. And then the U.N. along with the Chinese use NAFTA to take over the country.

I apologize for the incomprehensibility of the previous paragraph...I was just channeling Lou Dobbs' viewers. They don't seem to be the type that are very good at rationality.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Back (momentarily)

Back but incommunicado for the time being, as I will be moving back to Ames tomorrow. In the meantime, to keep yourselves amused, a few things. First, the USAF released new doctrine: AFDD 2-3 Irregular Warfare. Check it out if you're interested. I haven't had time as of yet but will be reading it in the coming days. (h/t: SWJ Blog)

If you're interested in something a little more simplistic and entertaining (not 103 pages of doctrine, in other words), I deliver!

Minesweeper: The Movie

Where the F**K is Carmen Sandiego?

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Heading out to the mountains of Colorado to do some climbing. Will be back late Sunday.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Rest assured that when this movie comes out, myself and about 5 of my (male) AFROTC friends will be among the first in line at the theater. One of the creators said that he more or less had this entire movie written when he was in 8th grade; he just had to add a bit for marketing purposes.

Oh, and be warned...this trailer itself (to say nothing of the movie) is rated R. Very very R.


"Oh shit, the cops! Bail bail bail!"

h/t: Guidons, Guidons, Guidons

Sunday, August 05, 2007

COIN Aircraft

Interesting (and not particularly good) news coming from CSAF Moseley:

US Air Force ( USAF) Chief of Staff General Michael Moseley has told Jane’s he is considering the creation of a new counterinsurgency (COIN) squadron of A-10A Thunderbolt II aircraft for the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC).

Gen Moseley said he is mulling the possibility of putting a squadron of A-10A close-support aircraft inside AFSOC to serve the Special Operations Command, which has the lead engagement role in the US-declared global war on terrorism.

“There’s a variety of … counterinsurgency aircraft and other things out there that we’ve been looking at that would facilitate AFSOC’s partnership with the Special Operations Command,” Gen Moseley told Jane’s on 12 July.

“I’ve even asked: is it reasonable to put a squadron or so of A-10s into Special Operations Command?”

The A-10 is widely used to provide close air support to coalition and friendly forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, it can be used against all ground targets including armoured platforms.

Gen Moseley’s interest in a new A-10 COIN squadron follows recent reports of a new AFSOC proposal for an “irregular warfare” wing. Possible aircraft being floated to fill a strike role in the wing have ranged from a modified air-to-ground Beechcraft AT-6B to an Embraer Tucano or Super Tucano.

However, Gen Moseley cautioned that he is not yet fully committed to the idea of a COIN air unit but is considering it because he believes the USAF needs to be able to meet the “full spectrum” of threats — from COIN to state-on-state conflict.

“I don’t know if I’m wedded to [the COIN unit] so much as I would like to know the pluses and minuses,” said Gen Moseley. (h/t: Captain's Journal via OPFOR)

Here's why the news isn't particularly good. While the A-10 isn't a bad choice for a COIN air unit for AFSOC, it's kind of missing the forest for the trees. Like the article says, the A-10 has some "key advantages." Highly maneuverable, designed for low altitude low speed flight, highly survivable, big-ass 30mm gun, etc. It was designed for CAS; the COIN aircraft for AFSOC will be primarily doing CAS and operational level ISR. However, the A-10 also has a lot of disadvantages. For one, as The Captain's Journal lays out, it's old. The fleet is just starting a $2 billion program to replace the wings. It's a tough airplane, but it was manufactured in the '70s. Airframes get fatigued. The A-10 also is in the middle of getting its avionics updated to give it sophisticated ISR capability and the ability to drop the gamut of PGMs in the U.S. inventory, including JDAMs. Good stuff, but also expensive.

However, this overlooks the primary reason why the A-10 is a bad choice. A COIN aircraft in this vein has a few important conditions. The most important is that it needs to be able to be operated by pretty much any air force in the world. The Iraqi Air Force should be able to buy some of whatever aircraft AFSOC chooses to fill this requirement to provide interoperability within the air forces. The A-10 has a price tag of roughly $10 million a piece. Of course, there's also the little issue that the A-10 production line is long closed. So I think we can safely assume that if the A-10 is chosen to fill this requirement there will be no one else buying A-10s. That's a very bad thing. We need to have that interoperability with the air forces we will be advising. It helps builds relationships, but more importantly, the sooner an indigenous air force can stand up their own CAS capability the better. Operating the same aircraft as what an advising U.S. squadron uses can help to decrease the time needed to develop this capability. Notice I didn't specifically single out one country. If we're going to do this right (and we should want to do it right, not easy or cheap) then we need to make sure this isn't something geared towards just Iraq and Afghanistan. This needs to be an all around COIN aircraft for all future COIN conflicts, ranging from a little brushfire like the Philippines or Somalia to full on war like Iraq.

However, all that said, what's most frustrating to me about the whole thing is that we're 6 years into this war and the USAF is just now finally starting to get the ball rolling on a COIN aircraft. I feel like the good CDR and his riverines. This is one of the USAF's big unique contributions to the fight and we're flubbing it. Just look at Gen. Moseley's commentary: he is "mulling the idea," "not yet fully committed," and "would like to know the pluses and minuses."

Let me lay the pluses and minuses out for you, sir.


-Will help kill terrorists more effectively and efficiently

-Will help build positive relationships with indigenous air forces

-Will help get indigenous air forces to stand up up quicker

-Will remove strain from conventional forces and allow them to refocus some of their energy on preparing for their side of the spectrum instead of having to deploy to perform non-traditional ISR and drop SDBs.


-Doesn't fly Mach 2

-Isn't a jet

-Not very sexy

-Not expensive enough to provide justification for huge increase in Air Force budget.

It really is that simple. This should have been done 3 years ago. There should be AT-6s/Super Tucanos in the CENTCOM AOR right now. We've done it before. We have the people. We need to make it happen.

As postscript, you'll notice in that first link above that the Air Commando units were composite; they flew many different types of aircraft. We need this. AT-6 (or whatever), JCA, some C-130s, some gunships, and some helos (maybe Mi-17s?). But that's a post for a different day.

Fun with YouTube

So 300 came out on DVD last week. Sweet movie, if you haven't seen it, you should. Here's one of the original 300 trailers:

Now, here's the audio from that trailer dubbed to the Simpsons:

Same trailer, dubbed to Anchorman:

Now the one I consider the funniest...same trailer, dubbed to South Park:

Saturday, August 04, 2007

State speaks out...

...and has message for Presidential candidates: shut up.

Traditionally silent during presidential campaigns filled with divisive foreign policy debates, the department on Friday delivered a rebuke to would-be nominees of both parties whose recent comments have complicated U.S. efforts to overcome deep suspicion about the war on terrorism in the Muslim world.

"Those who wish to hold office can speak for themselves and whoever is elected in 2008 and comes into office in 2009 will then be in a position to talk about what they intend or plan to do," said deputy spokesman Tom Casey, a career foreign service officer.

First it was Barack Obama's talk of dialogue with dictators and invading Pakistan to kill Islamist militants, then it was Hillary Rodham Clinton refusing to rule out the use of nuclear weapons to that end. Now, the Democratic front-runners have been joined by radical Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo, who threatened to bomb Muslim holy sites to stop terror attacks.


Casey had unusually harsh words for Tancredo, R-Colo., who said this week that if elected he would threaten to bomb the Saudi cities of Mecca and Medina, Islam's two holiest sites, to deter attacks on the United States.

"It is absolutely outrageous and reprehensible for anyone to suggest attacks on holy sites, whether they are Muslim, Christian, Jewish or those of any other religion," a clearly agitated Casey told reporters, shaking his head in disgust.

Couldn't agree more. Spouting your mouth off like Rep. Tancredo did is at least as hurtful to the long war, if not more so, than someone like Sen. Clinton asking for plans on when and how we're going to withdraw. All a message like that does is give ammunition to the extremists to take back to those in the middle as evidence of what the Great Satan has planned for them and their religion. It doesn't matter that no one in this country takes Rep. Tancredo seriously. He has an office, and that makes anything he says easy ammunition to be turned around and used against the efforts of this country.

His message has no positive consequence. No actual terrorist is going to be deterred by the threat. No one with half a brain on their head actually thinks that anyone in the terrorist leadership cares about Mecca or Medina. Yes, I know OBL included the "presence of U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia thereby contaminating the sacred lands of Islam" (that's paraphrased) as one of main points of both his '96 and '98 fatwas. My point still stands. The only people who are going to be affected by this are your average Abdul Muslims. The extremists already do a good job of cranking out fake propaganda to sway the minds; we don't need to be giving them freebees like this.

As for Sen. Obama, all I'll say is the fact that he is still a serious contender even after his pathetic string of foreign policy faux pas scares the shit out of me.

Friday, August 03, 2007

FT Stuff, part V

One real quick that occurred to me because I've been doing some reading about combat training and such tonight...

We were getting an afternoon worth of deployment training before going out on FLX. SABC (Self Aid/Buddy Care), Land Nav, and some basic individual and fire team movements. As part of the individual movement we learned how to low crawl, high crawl, and do rush and rolls. Low crawling and high crawling should be self explanatory; I messed up my face pretty good low crawling over some dirt, another cadet low crawled his face right into a fire ant mound. Anyway, rush and rolls, for those of you that don't know, is a basic fire team movement in which two members remain prone and lay down some covering fire while the third member pops up, advances (rushes), gets down, and then rolls to vacate the position in which they initially got down (rolls). You should be up (exposed) no more than 3-5 seconds during this exercise. During that 3-5 seconds you have to advance beyond the furthest member of your fire team so you are gaining ground. As part of the training they had us use some verbiage while we were moving to help us remember what to do and when to do it. When we popped up, "I'm up." When we were moving, "They see me." When it was time to get down, "I'm down." So it went something like this: pop up "I'm up," rush for a second "They see me," rush for another half second to second, get down "I'm down." Now, some of the slower and/or shorter cadets sometimes had trouble making it all the way beyond the further member of their fire team. One such cadet was the only female cadet left in our flight at this point in training. Her fellow fire team members weren't very considerate and had rushed a considerable distance beyond her position. So she gets up, "I'm up," rushes for a second or two, "They see me," continues to rush...and which point the SF SrA instructing us interjects "'re dead."

At which point we all had to stifle a chuckle.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

FT Stuff, part IV

Couple of funnies from FLX today. FLX stands for Field Leadership Exercise, which is the two and a half days you are actually out in the field during 28 day Field Training. Makes perfect sense, what with the Air Force being "expeditionary" now and everything. Anyway, it's when you get rubber duckies, fritz helmets, and flak vests and run around setting up a bare bones airbase, pulling security, running convoys, etc.

While you're out there, each flight gets stuck doing a specific job. Security Forces, Civil Engineering, Medic, Comm, etc. During one of the simulated air attacks, the SF commander lost his head a bit and called his people inside the wire so they could get under shelter. A buddy of mine in a separate flight was pulling security for a group of CEs who were setting up some "comm gear." They all hit the deck when Alarm Red sounded, but my buddy heard some rustling behind him. He turns around just in time to see all the SF guys vacating their DFPs (Defensive Fighting Position, "foxhole," basically a bunch of sandbags piled up 4-5 high with some camo netting strung over it) and running inside the wire. He realizes that he's the only guy outside the compound who is armed. He WAS the defense for the base. Needless to say, the SF commander learned his lesson through a nice "counseling session" with the SF MSgt that was instructing us.

Another time was when my flight was SF. One of the chronic problems during FLX was that we could only eat in the pavilion inside the compound (real realistic, I know) so all the SF guys had to be relieved in order to come in and eat. I was out in a DFP along with most of the rest of my flight until 1430 or so waiting to be relieved while watching everyone else sit down and take their sweet time eating lunch. Something that people had a tough time understanding was the fact that you couldn't leave your DFP until you were relieved. I can't count the number of times people inside the compound would just yell at someone in a DFP to come back inside to eat, or to meet with someone, or whatever, and the person in the DFP would yell back, that's fine, just get me a relief and I'll be glad to come back in. "But we don't have time to get a relief and they need you back inside right now!!" "...I'm not coming in until someone relieves me." Then you'd sit out there for another two hours because they forgot about you.

Anyway, our relief finally shows up. After I've been relieved these four cadets come out and tell me they're out there to relieve my flight. Well, the area outside the compound was divided up into two sections; there were two separate exits from the compound to get to the two sides. You couldn't just walk all the way around. Anyway, everyone on this side of the base had already been relieved, but some of our people still needed to be relieved on the other side of the base. I tell the little five foot nothing chick leading the relief detail this. She responds with, "Well, I know what you're saying, but our flight commander told us to only take orders from him so we're just going to stay here."

I was literally speechless, so I just turned away shaking my head. The group of four then proceeds to each grab one sandbag from a pile the CEs had made before they broke for lunch and walks over to establish a DFP. With four sandbags. In between two already well established DFPs. So they hunker down in pairs behind their two sandbag DFPs. By this time I'm having a hard time not laughing, so before I walk back inside to eat, I try to inform them of the error of their ways. "Y'all know that two sandbags doesn't constitute an effective DFP, right?" Yeah, they pretty much ignored me and stayed with the massive protection that their two sandbags offered them.

Future leaders of the Air Force, right there...