Category Archives: The Troops

Sea Punt

US Marines UHAC Vehicle

Behold! The pride of the Obama administration’s defense department… the sea tank?

The Ultra Heavy-lift Amphibious Connector (Uhac) was unveiled at the Marine Corps Training Area Bellows in Hawaii during a month-long training and demonstration exercise. When it enters service at an unknown date the final vehicle will have a top speed of about 25 miles per hour and be capable of scaling obstacles such as sea walls 10 feet high.

The Uhac model consists of two tracks that are composed of dozens of air-filled foam blocks, which gives the vehicle the propulsion it needs for land and sea travel. In the water the tracks act as paddles but on land they are similar to a tank, letting it traverse across difficult terrain such as mud and sand.

It’s also very stylish. Our enemies will cower in fear when they see the Cape May-Lewes ferry barreling down upon them! “Lay down your weapons or we’ll be forced to blow our air horn!”

The Longest Day

D-Day Landing Omaha Beach

Seventy years ago today, Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy; the first step toward the liberation of Europe.

“Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon a great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened, he will fight savagely…

…I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory! Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.” — Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

God bless and keep those men and women who risked it all to vanquish tyranny.

Remember…

Memorial Day

I posted this photo on a previous Memorial Day. Today, I want to post the story behind it.

Mary McHugh sat in front of the grave of her fiance James “Jimmy” Regan [at Arlington National Cemetery], talking to the stone. She spoke in broken sentences between sobs, gesturing with her hands, sometimes pausing as if she was trying to explain, with so much left needed to say.

Mary told me about her slain fiance Jimmy Regan. Clearly, she had not only loved him but truly admired him. When he graduated from Duke, he decided to enlist in the Army to serve his country. He chose not to be an officer, though he could have been, because he didn’t want to risk a desk job. Instead, he became an Army Ranger and was sent twice to Aghanistan and Iraq – an incredible four deployments in just three years. He was killed in Iraq this February [2007] by a roadside bomb.

Mary said that they had planned to get married after Jimmy’s four years of service were up next year. “We loved each other so much,” she said. “We thought we had all of the time in the world.”

We don’t. Our time is limited here, so we need to make the most of what God gives us. Thank you, Sergeant Regan, for your service. We owe you a debt we can never repay.

UPDATE: The boys and I are watching the NCAA Division I Lacrosse Championship between Duke and Notre Dame on ESPN2. Apparently, Sergeant Regan payed lax for the Blue Devils. They honored him before the game.

This One’s For Dad

VoteMy plan for yesterday was to be lazy. Sit on my backside and vegetate in front of the boob tube. I was going to do absolutely nothing.

Yes, it was Election Day. I should have included stopping at the polling place in my evening plans. If I thought anyone I voted for was actually going to do something to help my community it would have been a priority.

My plans to be lazy changed after visiting my father. He, as far as I know, has never missed an opportunity to vote. NEVER. My father will call all of his children every election day to be sure we go out and vote during every election.

A year ago, my father had a mini-stroke and his health has declined since then. I stopped by his house with the intention of taking him to cast his ballot. He said he was not going this election day. I was shocked, then sad. I realized it was not actually his choice. He has such trouble walking and getting out of chairs/seats and he did not want me to pick him up. The prideful Marine in him will not allow his baby girl to assist him.

So, instead of being lazy I went out and did what my father could not. I voted. I can tell him when he calls. I hope I made him proud.

Thank You

Troops

Thank you all – especially Dr. Evil – for yesterday. I don’t like a fuss on my birthday, which is ironic because I’m such an egomaniac. I did, however, appreciate the Doc’s kind words and your nice comments.

Not going to lie; I’m feeling my age today. 45. That’s really freakin’ old, and I realized yesterday I’m on the down-slope of life. I’m not making 90, kids. My father died at 66, and his father died (I think) even earlier. In the last week, I’ve had a brush with skin cancer, pulled a muscle in my back from walking, and most likely sprained my wrist. My left one, so brushing my teeth and wiping my adorable apple-shaped tushie is rather difficult. The only good news is I’m down ten pounds since January 1st.

That said, I think I’m happy. No, I know I’m happy. I’m writing another book – it’s going slower than I hoped, but I’m almost done the first chapter – I have the best job in the police department, and the blog is still going strong. That’s more a testament to you than me.

So I wanted to thank people. I wanted to thank Jim, Dr. Evil, and Mollie for helping keep this blog afloat. You may not know it to see it, but writing a blog takes a lot of time and effort. Doc, Mollie, Jim, and I sacrifice our personal time to keep you entertained. I can’t do it all anymore – I’m tired – but their occasional posts and/or tech guru work has rejuvenated me.

I wanted to thank the readers – whether you comment or lurk, I appreciate you stopping by. If you leave, so does the blog. Doc, Mollie, and I would be yelling snarky comments at passersby. Jim would be holding a sign saying, “Will fix HTML for food.”

I want to thank those of you who keep us safe, work long hours and shift work, and do the things no one else wants to do. Soldiers, police officers, fire and medic personnel, nurses, teachers, everyone who works a truly thankless job. I this little piece of hell can make your days a bit brighter – or rainier, whatevs – we’ve done our job.

Thanks again.

All The Distortion That’s Fit To Print

NYT EditorialA despicable article in the New York Times has veterans fuming. No wonder; it paints our servicemen as hateful, gun-toting Klansmen. Stay classy, NYT.

An unsigned Wednesday article in the Military Times spotlighted how veteran groups have rebuked the New York Times for an opinion piece that played up the recent shootings at two Jewish community centers as apparent proof that white veterans are susceptible to joining hate groups. Paul Rieckhoff of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America hammered the liberal newspaper for its “sensational, slanderous and incredibly offensive” attack on his peers.

In the Wednesday op-ed, author Kathleen Belew cited a controversial 2009 Department of Homeland Security report that hyped the potential for “right-wing extremists…to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities,” and targeted conservatives for their criticism of its findings. Belew even threw the race card into the mix:

…This short document outlined no specific threats, but rather a set of historical factors that had predicted white-supremacist activity in the past — like economic pressure, opposition to immigration and gun-control legislation — and a new factor, the election of a black president….The agency was “concerned that right-wing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities.” (H/T – Realwest)

So Belew has no facts on her side, just “indicators.” Hmm, I must have been out sick the day journalists ruled op-eds didn’t have to be factual, as long as there is an agenda involved.

Another Shooting At Fort Hood

Ford HoodA mentally disturbed soldier shot his fellow service-members at Fort Hood yesterday, killing three and injuring sixteen. I wonder how many times this base needs to be attacked before we trust the Army with guns?

An Iraq war veteran who suffered from mental health issues opened fire on fellow service members at Fort Hood on Wednesday, killing three and injuring 16 before turning the gun on himself, military officials said. The attack was latest mass shooting at the post since a 2009 massacre that left 13 people dead.

NBC News identified the deceased gunman as 34-year-old enlisted Army soldier Ivan Lopez, but military officials declined to name him Wednesday, pending notification of family members. Military officials said the gunman’s rampage was stopped after he was confronted by a female military police officer, which led to the shooter turning the gun on himself.

Of course, the “commander-in-chief” had top men on the case:

President Barack Obama addressed the shooting in brief remarks in Chicago, where he was attending a fundraiser Wednesday night.

Top. Men.

Oh, and at the risk of offending my readers, let me say a word. There has always, in my personal experience at least, an animosity toward police officers by some – some – in the military. I cannot count the amount of times people have sent me e-mails ranting about the time I referred to citizens as civilians. “You’re not military! That’s our word!” (As if I called people the N-word.) And if it’s not that, it’s the omnipresent complaints of the “militarization of the police.” I carry a .40-caliber Glock 22 pistol. I guess that makes me Rambo.

That said, this story verifies what I thought all along. The military – like the police – has its share of f**k-ups and malcontents. While I support the military wholeheartedly – people who read this blog know that – I don’t lionize every single soldier. I take them on a case by case basis. There are bad cops, and there are bad soldiers. The people who agree with the former and deny the latter are the problem.

America Loses A Hero

Walter Ehlers Medal Of Honor D-DayWalter Ehlers, the last surviving D-Day Medal of Honor winner, has passed away. Ehlers was 92 years old.

Staff Sergeant Walter Ehlers, 92, of Buena Park, CA., earned the nation’s highest honor and multiple other medals for his heroic actions during the taking of the small sliver of French beach from German soldiers. He also received three purple hearts and a silver star.

He “repeatedly led his men against heavily defended enemy strong points exposing himself to deadly hostile fire whenever the situation required heroic and courageous leadership.”

Ehlers defended his unit from “withering machine gun fire” and mortars, personally killing at least seven Nazi soldiers, taking out multiple enemy positions and even carrying a wounded soldier back across enemy lines to safety despite being shot in the back himself.

He then went back through the hail of bullets to retrieve a US Army-issued automatic rifle which he had to previously leave behind to carry the rifleman to safety. Ehlers refused to leave his unit after being treated for his bullet wound upon returning and continued to lead his squad deeper into France.

Wow. Godspeed, Staff Sergeant Ehlers. Thank you for your service.

What The Frigate Just Happened?

USS TaylorA US frigate ran aground near Turkey this week while on an Olympic security patrol. Initial reports claim the helmsman tried to ram an Islamist surfer.

One of two US naval ships sent to the Black Sea as a security precaution for the Sochi Olympic games ran aground at a Turkish port, officials said Tuesday.

The frigate USS Taylor briefly ran ground last Wednesday as it was preparing to moor at Samsun, where it was due to refuel.

The ship was able to dock at the port and an initial inspection indicated the ship’s propeller blades suffered some damage, but there was no damage to the hull, officials said.

The only injuries were to the ship captain’s career. Welcome to Desktown, skipper. Population? You.

150 Years Ago Today, America Was Reshaped…

LINCOLN 1863

As Wyatt is holed up, and doing quite well I might add, there was no way I could pass up a chance to write about one of my favorite subjects: US History. For those not in the know, or if you didn’t Google anything today, 150 years ago today a man from Illinois visited the great state of Pennsylvania and delivered one of the greatest speeches in American History. NO! It wasn’t a Cubs World Series Victory speech!

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