17 National Guard Leaders in ONE company relieved.

More than a dozen leaders from a National Guard company deployed on a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo have been removed from the unit following an Army investigation into allegations about harsh tactics used to initiate junior troops, the commander of U.S. Army Europe said Thursday.

“The ones pulled out were all NCOs and officers. Right now, we have a total of 17,” Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling said in an interview with Stars and Stripes. “Some have committed more serious offenses than others.”

via News – Stripes.

Holy crap! Who didn’t get relieved? So, a Company Commander, his officers, and his NCOs ignore the Army standard, and end up having their own private little set of rules.

Nice going, guys.

Notice that now, active duty platoons from Germany get to go on a no-notice deployment to fill in the leadership positions, and fulfill your obligations.

Ray Harris’s World War II Podcasts

I posted this earlier on my blog, but XBrad elbowed me to cross-post over here too:

Recently I discovered Ray Harris’ The History of World War II Podcasts.  Thought I’d mention his excellent work as there are a few readers out there who’s focus is in that direction… and a good number of us who really need to diversify our military history!

Ray’s approach is somewhat different than other podcast series on the subject.  Instead of touching upon several different aspects of the war, he takes the listener through major events or campaigns providing both a macro- and micro-viewpoint.  For example, over the span of six episodes Ray covers the Dunkirk evacuation.  He addressed the rather sticky situation between allied Britain and France, the failures and successes in German high command, all the while detailing the daily operations in the port and on the beaches.

He devoted a full episode to the destruction of the French fleet in 1940.  As I’ve mentioned before I am rather familiar with that topic, having written my thesis on Operation Catapult.  I found Ray’s coverage well rounded and complete for the allotted time slot.

Currently he is working through the Battle of Britain.  The last few episodes have covered the opening actions in that air-battle – three days at a time.  Beyond just the standard trip through the Battle of Britain – Hurricanes, Spitfires, Me 109s, radar, Fighter Command, Goering, the Blitz, perhaps a bit about tactics, and then “the Few” – Ray’s approach walks us through the changes with strategy and tactics, all the while pinned against the backdrop of two nations at war.  The listener is not lost in the weeds discussing the aircrews and aircraft, but not held too high aloof considering the national leaders making grand decisions.

Ray’s got a great series going.

Italians to the USAF-Thanks for nothing~!

You know, I didn’t even think of this. Not only has the USAF screwed over the Army with the decision to cancel the C-27J program, they really screwed over the Italian firm that builds the plane.

Now, before you chide that the US should be buying US made aircraft, ponder on this. Italy, and virtually every other nation in the West, have ALWAYS been pressured to buy American planes, to the point where the US government has subsidized the purchase price, in effect, crowding out European contractors. Right now, enormous pressure is being placed on Italy to buy the F-35 JSF. Is it too much for them to ask we treat them a little less shabbily? Are they our partners and allies, or are they our serfs?

And when Alenia first got into the JCA program, the idea was to buy almost 150 airplanes. With a purchase that large, Alenia and its (eventual) US partner had planned to open an assembly plant in the US. Guess what? Those US jobs aren’t gonna happen now. 

And if the USAF dumps these brand new planes on the international market, they’d effectively be in competition with the original manufacturer. Is there anyone the Air Force hasn’t managed to screw over here?

Alert 5 » KC-130J Harvest HAWK gets pressurized launcher – Military Aviation News

KC-130J Harvest HAWK crews no longer have to depressurize the aircraft and lower the cargo ramp to fire Griffin missiles as a new pressurized, standoff precision precision-guided munitions launcher has been installed.

via Alert 5 » KC-130J Harvest HAWK gets pressurized launcher – Military Aviation News.

The Marines Harvest Hawk armed KC-130J program has been well run, timely, low cost, and effective. Here’s further evidence that someone knows what they’re doing.

If only we could scale up that innovation and cost effectiveness to larger procurement programs. And maybe nudged the Air Force into joining in… nah, they’d just screw it up.

Wednesday Links

So, instead of working hard to finish I post I’ve been chipping away at, I spent yesterday playing flight simulator. Sorry.  (If you must know, FSX/Acceleration, along with JustFlight’s Traffic X and Cargo Pilot, and their superb C-130 add-on).

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Jules Crittenden’s blog may have gone silent, but his reading list is still there. I’ve read quite a few books on the list, mostly those concerning World War II, but there’s no way I’ll ever get around to reading them all.  But if you’re looking either for suggestions for something to read, or on a specific time or place of battle, chances are good you’ll find something of interest.

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Instead of Reagan’s “Trust but verify,” this falls under “Don’t trust, doubly verify, and just presume they’re gonna try to screw you.”

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I haven’t written a lot about the current war in Afghanistan lately. Mostly because it is so depressing. I think we’ve squandered a chance at victory, and the last three years have been spent trumpeting a time based exit, rather than a conditions based exit. That meant that any tactical success on the battlefield was overridden by the strategic problem that our enemies have known that all they had to do was keep the pot simmering for a while, waiting for their chance. War News Updates, as always, gives us a daily roundup of links of interest on Afghanistan.  Me? I’m rapidly reverting to my 9/12/01 thought that we should just nuke it from orbit- it’s the only way to be sure.

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The Air Force has finally cleared the F-35A to begin flying at the 33rd Wing. The cadre can now make local flights, begin training itself, and establishing the syllabus for new students.  The JSF program has been something of a disaster, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Having said that, I think the F-35A will be a pretty good airplane, with capabilities well beyond the F-16 it is intended to replace.  And other than a lack of an internal gun, the C model probably will do OK. My concern has always been with the STOVL B model. Unfortunately, that STOVL requirement drove so much of the entire design philosophy that it has imposed compromises on the more conventional variants. That and a lamentably tendency to gold-plate what was originally supposed to be an austere “semi-stealthy” low cost airplane has driven the program and unit costs through the roof.

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Overall, I think the vastly increased ability of our troops to maintain contact with loved ones at home via email, phone, and Skype is a good thing. But not an unalloyed good.

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This is why we can’t have nice things.

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To save the planet from Global Warming, we must nuke Iran. And a few other troublemakers!

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I’ve been in this meeting.

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I’m guessing this is a wireless variant of the TOW. Not bad for a 40 year old weapon system. There’s probably not a lot of need to reach out and touch someone at about 7000 meters, but the improved flight time is a good deal.

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A sad day for the Coasties. Three missing from the loss of a helicopter in Mobile Bay.  Brave men and women, those Coasties. As an aside, the entire H-65 program has always been something of a disaster, with decades of engine problems. Why they didn’t dump all the Dolphins, and go to an all H-60 fleet is a wonder.

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We started with a clear day here, but clouds are rolling in. Hopefully it will be a bit warmer today than yesterday. Yes, I know, whining about highs in the 50s is a sign of weakness, but I’ve become acclimated to warm (but not hot) weather. Sox hated the cold yesterday as much as I did. Don’t you care about kittens!?

Tuesday Links

Buck Compton, of Band of Brothers, has passed. I’ve always found it interesting how many World War II veterans went on to do so many interesting things. Compton was the prosecutor of Sirhan Sirhan. And later a California judge.

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Everything else these days has Picatinny rails. Why not a coffee mug?

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If you told the first B-1B bomber crews back in 1985 their primary mission would become close air support, they would have laughed you out of the room. Today, the Bone doesn’t even have a nuclear capability. And almost as soon as it entered service, it got a reputation as a maintenance hog. Back around the turn of the century, the USAF put about a third of the fleet in mothballs, leaving 66 on active duty. To date, those planes have compiled a record of 10,000 combat sorties.

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AF Chief of Staff admits he screwed over the Army pretty badly on C-27J. Shrugs shoulders. Whatchyagonnadoaboutit?

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Skipping a day…

So, sorry for the lack of content yesterday. Between church, going to see Act of Valor (well worth the $10), and a general case of apathy, I just never got around to posting anything.

At church, I was talking with an old friend. Old in that we’ve been friends for years. And old in that he’s 95 or so. An artillery officer in World War II, he’s often told me some hairy tales about life at war in those days. But the subject booze came up, and he mentioned the traditional drink of the Artillery, the French 75. Any semi-formal or formal gathering of gunbunnies well feature a punchbowl of this powerful concoction. It was a popular drink in the interwar years, but rarely seen today. The recipe via wiki:

Commonly used ingredients

  • 1.25 oz gin
  • 1/4 oz. simple syrup (or 2 tsp. superfine sugar)
  • 1/4 oz. lemon juice
  • Brut Champagne or other dry sparkling wine

Preparation
Combine gin, sugar, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into an iced champagne glass. Fill with Champagne. Garnish with a twist of lemon.

Some recipes call for cognac in place of gin. Since I try not to associate with Artillery guys, I don’t recall ever actually having one.

Are there any other branch-specific drinks?

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Well, it’s not a challenge coin, but five of ‘em will get you a coffee at Starbucks. 

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Army identifies remains of last soldier missing in Iraq.

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A little Marine FA to keep URR happy.

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Bob Hoover can still fly a Mustang… with his mind! by phone!

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From the same source, FiFi goes flyin’.

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Boom.

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Why is it the same liberal folks who clamor for a more progressive tax schedule, also praise high gas prices? Do they not realize that high gas costs are just about the most regressive “taxes” around? Do you really think the Koch brothers can’t afford $5 gas? But people struggling to get by, well doubling the cost of their drive sure hurts.

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I’m actually working on some real posts. I may even have one later today.

What do you wanna talk about in the meantime?