Lieutenant journeys back from the dead – Military News | News From Afghanistan, Iraq And Around The World – Military Times

Nick Vogt graduated from West Point in 2010 with an acceptance to medical school and plans to become one of the Army’s top trauma surgeons.

But first, the Ohio-born 22-year-old wanted to understand the physical and mental demands on an infantryman in combat. So he went to Ranger School and Airborne and landed with 1st Stryker Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, first in Fort Wainwright, Alaska, and later, Afghanistan.

“It felt necessary for me to go out there, to experience what the soldiers experience, so when I’m a doctor, I’ll know,” said Vogt, now 24.

In Panjwai, near Kandahar, Vogt’s affable demeanor and willingness to learn quickly earned his men’s allegiance.

“I really liked the guy. He was really motivated to get out there and work with us,” recalled team leader Sgt. Adam Lundy.

But within two months, the popular lieutenant would be clinically dead, having taken a wrong step onto an improvised explosive device.

And what happened afterward is now a chapter in the annals of military medicine.

On Nov. 12, Vogt, now a first lieutenant, will celebrate his first “Alive Day,” the anniversary of the day both his legs were shorn off by a makeshift bomb. He survived, receiving 500 units of blood, more than any other casualty survivor in U.S. history.

His story epitomizes the advancements in casualty care in the past decade and illustrates just how far the U.S. military will go to save one of its own.

via Lieutenant journeys back from the dead – Military News | News From Afghanistan, Iraq And Around The World – Military Times.


Morning Links

Well, it’s still morning here, if only just…

Carrier Strike Group Commander tells carrier skipper to tighten up. Carrier skipper complains to the Inspector General. IG spends five months conducting  witch hunt investigation. Investigation finds completely unrelated, trivial issues, ruins Admiral’s career.


The poor farmers swept up in Afghanistan are enduring unbelievably inhuman treatment at Gitmo.

I think they are butthurt that COD II doesn’t give them the option to play the Jihadi side.


Here’s a little nostalgia for you.



The US embassy in Seoul, South Korea, sends a not so subtle message.


More later.

The Falklands: Small Islands, Big Questions | Hoover Institution

The most interminable and seemingly intractable international island dispute is over the Falkland Islands in the remote South Atlantic. The islands have been under de facto British control continuously since 1833, even before Victoria became Queen of the United Kingdom.

Thirty-one years ago next month, Argentina invaded the Falklands—which Argentines call the Malvinas—claiming, as they have for 180 years, that the islands are theirs. Great Britain repelled them in ten weeks, but not before the loss of more than 900 lives, much treasure, and good will. Argentina has pledged not to invade again, in large part because Great Britain has fortified defenses in the islands since the war and the Argentine military is more restrained.

The Falklands: Small Islands, Big Questions by William Ratliff

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (Photo credit: The office of the President of Ecuador)

But while shooting is currently out, that doesn’t mean diplomacy is in. Just mention the Falklands anytime in the presence of Argentine and British politicians and they usually shout past each other in monotonous scripted sound bites. What is needed, but seldom found, particularly in Argentina, are cool heads to replace political grandstanding of the sort demonstrated by Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner when she recently visited Rome to lobby the new (Argentine) Pope Francis to support Argentina in the Falklands dispute.

via The Falklands: Small Islands, Big Questions | Hoover Institution.

A nice piece from the Hoover Institution, though I don’t think there is any real chance for Britain and the Islanders to reach out to Argentina while Kirchner is still in charge.

Frankly, that’s one of the things that greatly annoys me. Argentina by all rights should be a fabulously wealthy nation, but they consistently drag themselves back to mediocrity at best by choosing the divisive politics of class warfare. Want to see what decades of Obama style government get you? Look at Argentina.

Jerks, Knee-jerks, and jerking the leash

So, we wrote about the 2nd Infantry Division taking some rather drastic actions with regard to alcohol and off post passes in reaction to some incidents involving soldiers stationed in Korea.

I’ll maintain my position that mass punishment is a bad idea, and usually a tool of a weak leader.

Having said that, it would seem I was  a bit hasty in my post on the matter.

I have a pretty solid source that clues me in that the draconian restrictions emplaced were not just in reaction to these two events:

On March 16, five soldiers and a spouse were involved in an altercation with a South Korean club owner in the Dongducheon Entertainment District, which features restaurants, clubs, and clothing and souvenir shops. The district includes “a small number” of clubs that have been and remain off-limits to U.S. soldiers, officials said.

The soldiers — a staff sergeant, three specialists and a private — belonged to the division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team.

Three of the soldiers were injured when the club owner stabbed them with a knife. Another was injured when he was hit in the head with a baseball bat.

One soldier was seriously injured, suffering a stab wound to the abdomen. He was flown to U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan for surgery and is in intensive care, officials said March 20.

The other two soldiers who were stabbed, one in the buttocks and the other in the hand, were treated and released. The soldier who was hit in the head also was treated and released.

The club owner was arrested by the Korean National Police, and the soldiers are being made available for interviews as part of a joint South Korean and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command investigation, officials said.

The next day, March 17, one soldier shoved a South Korean police officer who subsequently fell down some stairs, and another soldier struck a police officer, the Stars and Stripes, citing 2nd Infantry Division officials, reported.

Stripes also reported that half a dozen soldiers from the division recently were accused of harassing a South Korean woman on a subway train near Uijeongbu.

On March 2, three soldiers assigned to Headquarters Battalion, Eighth Army, were said to have been firing a soft air gun in a congested area of the Itaewon district adjacent to the U.S. base at Yongsan.

South Korean police tried to stop the soldiers, but the Americans left in a vehicle that was subsequently chased by a South Korean police officer in a taxi, officials said.

The soldiers were eventually cornered in an alley, and as they tried to escape, a South Korean police officer fired four shots — one blank and three live rounds — at their vehicle. One of the soldiers was hit, and the police officer was hit by the fleeing vehicle.

The soldier who was injured was treated on post at Yongsan and has since been released.

Instead, there has been a sustained, widespread pattern of incidents across several subordinate commands within the division. In addition to the incidents the Army Times mentions, there were a couple more, all disturbing, all indicative of a deterioration of unit and individual discipline, and damn near all involving alcohol.  

We like to think that soldiers are paragons of virtue, but sadly, that’s not always the case.  In an offline discussion, I admitted to my source that I was guilty of acting overseas in ways I’d probably never dream of stateside. Nothing criminal like the jerks above, but just generally being a jackass.

Like it or not, personal conduct overseas directly impacts how a host nation sees the United States. While many Koreans fully appreciate the sacrifices Americans have made on their behalf, they also understandably don’t think that gives US troops a license to loot, pillage and rape.

Word is, some of the restrictions emplaced by the Commanding General have already been lifted. Technically, what has happened is he’s restored authority to subordinate commanders to decide issues of alcohol consumption, and off post passes. Whether those commanders have restored permission is another matter. Each commander has to make a judgment of what is best for his unit.

In sum, it sounds like rather than a knee-jerk reaction, the CG has instead given the troops leash a good jerk, reminding his soldiers that the Army, and the American people, expect them to behave as adults.

Morning Links

A little bit on energy independence. While Big Navy is spending money it can’t afford on bio-fuels, and the administration as a whole is trying to curtail virtually every attempt to achieve energy independence, we keep finding more and more ways to effectively extract oil.


The Army continues to work with universities to get credit recognized for Army education and training. Both by practical use, and through the Army formal schools system (and of course, similar programs in the other services), senior NCOs learn management skills easily on a par with their private sector counterparts graduating from colleges, and with the benefit of years of experience.


Britain is doomed.


Thirty-seven girls of the IDF.


Bob Beckel, The Amazing Race, and Linebacker II

I’m a little late to this party.

CBS’s Amazing Race is consistently rated one of the top “reality” shows on television. I don’t watch it, but I know some folks enjoy it. While I don’t expect any great cultural enlightenment from any reality programming, it would be nice if the producers could at least give a nod of sensitivity to the huge numbers of their audience who are either veterans, or close relatives of vets.

During a recent episode, contestants were in Vietnam. Fair enough. We’ve reestablished and normalized relations with them. And many veterans have returned to the land where they fought in their youth. But in this instance, the producers allowed the contestants to be pawns in a propaganda display by the Vietnamese, without even a nod to any opposing view.

In From The Cold has the details:

For once, we agree with Bob Beckel.
The veteran Democratic operative and panelist on Fox News Channel’s “The Five” was outraged over a recent segment on the CBS’s reality show, “The Amazing Race.”  And rightfully so.  On a swing through Vietnam, someone thought it would be a swell idea to have the contestants pick up a clue in front of the wreckage of a U.S. B-52 bomber, shot down by an SA-2 battery during the war.
From The New York Post:

In the episode, the twisted metal of the downed plane is treated as any other prop, with a bright ‘Amazing Race’ ‘Double-U-Turn’ signed planted in front of it, signifying to contestants the next phase of their scavenger hunt.

The show also had contestants learn a song that was performed for them by children in front of a portrait of North Vietnam communist leader Ho Chi Minh, with subtitled lyrics that included “Vietnam Communist Party is glorious. The light is guiding us to victory.”

“It’s like One Direction,” one contestant said of the performance, referring to the popular boy band.


Apparently few viewers understood the symbolism of that “memorial.”  But one Vietnam vet did, and he sent an e-mail to “The Five” co-host Greg Gutfeld, who mentioned it to one of the show’s producers. That, in turn, led to a segment on the FNC program, which generated this response from Mr. Beckel:

“I’m so outraged by this I can’t believe it. CBS is idiotic; they’re stupid,” Beckel said. “To have people go to a memorial where Americans died, then you ought to get off the network.”

Why should anyone care? After all, we’re talking about a war that most Americans choose to forget–never mind that 58,000 Americans gave their lives in that conflict.  

But for a small group of veterans, the wreckage that served as a prop on a reality show has much greater meaning.  It symbolizes liberation and their long-awaited journey home. 

Bob Beckel is normally a rather odious buffoon, but in this case, he’s quite right. Is it too much to ask that an American show, with American contestants, shown to an American audience, have a little awareness that American airmen fought and died there?

It beggars the imagination that not one person on the production crew has any idea about the air war over Vietnam. Did no one think to say, “You know, some people in our audience may not like our show being a shill for the Vietnamese Communist Party.”

Linebacker II was the campaign that brought about the end of US involvement in the Vietnam War.  Without the intense aerial assault on Hanoi and Haiphong, the North Vietnamese would likely have continued to hold our POWs as bargaining chips to secure a more advantageous settlement. But by the end of the campaign, they could hardly wait to give them back.

CDR Salamander: The Shame of the Name Game

As anyone in the idea business will tell you, the important but dull things need to be repeated over and over and over again until others see the light.

via CDR Salamander: The Shame of the Name Game.

Naming ships is a seemingly esoteric topic, but one in which sailors become surprisingly emotionally invested. And for the Navy of the last 20 years or so, the system has broken down, and become a shambles. And that trend has accelerated.

At Long Last, a Supreme Commander


Ninety-five years ago, on 26 March 1918, at a conference in Doullens, the Allies, the French, British, and now the Americans, finally agree to appoint an Allied Supreme Commander for the Western Front.   For three and a half years, neither the British nor the French were willing to countenance placing their forces under command of a General from the other respective nation for any but the most local and temporary situations.   Differences in philosophy, national pride, individual ego, and centuries-old mutual distrust (exacerbated by the very lack of coordination such a situation made inevitable) created an environment where the alliance became, at times, highly contentious and all but hostile.   The result was most often a stunning lack of coordination of effort and vision that played into the hands of the Imperial German commanders, allowing them to defeat in detail discordant Allied offensive efforts that might have otherwise seriously pressed the Germans.

The Great War on the Western Front is a grim and maddening exposition of military incompetence with the most tragic of consequences.   There are myriad reasons for this seemingly endless phantasm which wasted an entire generation.  Elderly, ossified commanders who had neither the energy or mental flexibility to wage modern war.   Weapons technology that rendered a generation of tactics (and tacticians) dangerously obsolete.

To these shortcomings and failures must be added the lack of a single overall commander to coordinate strategy, impart mediation, and provide the vision for fighting the armies of the Western Front.   Unity of Command, one of the nine principles of war,  did not come until very late in the day, and that under extreme and compelling conditions as the German Spring Offensive threatened to break the British 5th Army and capture Paris.

So it would be Ferdinand Foch, erstwhile Chief of Staff for Marshall Petain, who would finally, at long last, command in the West.