A Hunch a Day Keeps the Medic Away…

Via our friend Neptunus Lex we came across an interesting article in the NYT about the role hunches play in survival in combat.

“On one route sweep mission, there was a noticeable I.E.D. in the middle of the road, but it was a decoy,” said Lt. Donovan Campbell, who in 2004 led a Marine platoon for seven months of heavy fighting in Ramadi and wrote a vivid book, “Joker One,” about the experience. “The real bomb was encased in concrete, a hundred meters away, in the midst of rubble. One of my Marines spotted it. He said, ‘That block looks too symmetrical, too perfect.’ ”

I have to confess, this is not a gift I possess. I was never totally blind to subtle clues on the battlefield, but there’s no denying that I wasn’t the guy who was going to spot trouble first. Some people just have an almost preternatural ability to see certain things before the rest of us. I worked with a young trooper in Hawaii back in the 80’s who had an uncanny ability to tell where the Opposing Force’s ambush was. He didn’t spot them by seeing a head sticking up or some such thing. He just subconsciously noticed things that didn’t fit. Perhaps it was a disturbance of the foliage, a bent blade of grass where there shouldn’t be one. And that queued him to look for other signs.

I did have one gift. I had terrific night vision. Now, my vision is actually pretty poor. I’ve worn thick glasses most of my life. And my night vision itself is no great shakes. But I instinctively learned how to use what little night vision I had. People that try to look at something at night will often focus their attention on something, only to have it disappear. This is because your eyes are built mostly to work during the day. The daylight receptors in your eyes are in the center of the eye. The night light receptors are to the sides. If you want to see something at night, look slightly to the side of what you want to watch. You have to learn to use and trust your peripheral vision. Further, you have to learn to change the focal plane of your vision. Basically, your eyes will naturally try to focus on an object somewhere. By relaxing and just starring off into space, you allow the eyes to change their focus, often bringing clarity to an object at night that you otherwise would never have seen.  The other big trick is to look for motion. It’s a lot easier to see something that moves, but you have to be aware of it.

In any event, it’s interesting that the Army (and other services, of course) are looking at why some folks get these hunches, and what training can do to spread the wealth.

Load HEAT

What makes a beautiful woman beautiful? Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t tips and tricks that women can use to enhance their appeal. Take this week’s entry, Dita Von Teese. Her retro glam fashion has made her an icon. I find it interesting. She’s an attractive woman, make no mistake, but it is her presentation that has brought her fame and fortune.

Ladies, you won’t go too far wrong having a set of garters and stockings for special occasions.

Just so there’s SOME content…

We grew up around the Grumman A-6 Intruder. Our father was one of the earliest naval aviators to fly it, and his squadron was only the third to take it into combat in the Vietnam war. The first two squadrons had terrible loss rates, about 50%.  Neither of the previous squadron skippers had completed their tours, either being killed or captured. Mom was a little nervous, to say the least. But by the time Dad lead VA-35 into combat, a lot of the bugs had been worked out of the system, and they were becoming familiar with the best tactics for its use. Just as importantly, the technicians were learning how to keep its extremely complicated electronics working, if only long enough to get to the target. Instead of losing half his squadron, Dad’s deployment lost one plane, with one crewmember captured, and one missing in action. In any even, here’s the “Drumstick” in action…

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.2688441&w=425&h=350&fv=]

Still hot after all this time…

Your humble scribe is still in the desert, and still has limited connectivity. My apologies. I’m thankful that several of you have asked after me. I’m fine, but I’m melting in the heat. The highs for the last 2 weeks have been over 110. And will continue at least that hot for the rest of the week. Today is fairly cool at 113. Yesterday hit 117. I’m just not built for that.

It will be at least another week before we get a chance to post anything of interest, and we may actually miss posting our regular installment of Load HEAT. But fear not, sooner or later, we’ll get some stuff of interest posted.

Thanks for your patience.

Hot, hot, hot!

Yesterday’s high was 115. Today may hit 120.

Dude. I grew up in Washington State. I don’t do 115, much less 120. I’m hot, sweaty, cranky and starting to chafe a little. Between that and limited internet access, I’m not a happy camper.  I’m not sure how much longer I’ll have to stay here in the desert but it’ll be at least a few more days.

I appreciate your patience..

Desert Blues

We’re going to be in the desert for probably another two weeks. That means very limited access to the internet, which of course means limited posting.

US forces have completed their withdrawal from the cities of Iraq. In an attempt to sow instability, terrorists are trying to ramp up a bombing campaign in the cities to undermine faith in the Iraqi government and its forces. So far, while they are succeeding in producing some spectacular bombings, they aren’t having too much success destabalizing the government. We’ll have to wait to see how the campaign plays out.
An American soldier has been captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan. He apparently went outside the secured area of his post without taking along a buddy. He may well pay for a moments folly with his life. Pray for him.

We’ll try to pop in every couple days or so, but no promises.