Politics, Actresses, and Stuff

The morning coffee hasn’t completely kicked in yet. So you get stuff, instead of a post  on the construction boom of WWII.

We’re just a teensy bit obsessed with former One Tree Hill and current Chicago PD actress Sophia Bush.  She’s a three time Load HEAT feature, here, here, and here.

Season 2 of Chicago PD starts next week.





I don’t game, so I haven’t seen the ins and outs. Suffice to say, a small, vocal cabal has corrupted the gaming community, especially news media devoted to it, and anointed themselves as the morality police.

If you have to modify “justice” with “social” or other modifiers, your goal isn’t justice.


We’re going to send about 3000 troops to Africa to fight Ebola. I’m conflicted, I’ll admit. I think it is in our best interests to do something to curb the outbreak. And our troops will not be directly providing care to patients, but building treatment centers and setting up transportation and logistics. Things we do very, very well.

On the other hand, I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be sent on this deployment. And if one of our troops does become infected… ugh.


Marc Thiessen’s piece in the WaPo a couple days ago was good.

We firmly, devotedly, believe in the civilian control of the military. And the boss gets to follow, or reject, the advice of his generals.  And the job of the generals is to salute and do the best they can from there.

But there is a consistency in this president in rejecting sound advice that is remarkable.

Pity poor Gen. Lloyd Austin, top commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East.

Rarely has a U.S. general given his commander in chief better military advice, only to see it repeatedly rejected.

In 2010, Gen. Austin advised President Obama against withdrawing all U.S. forces from Iraq, recommending that the president instead leave 24,000 U.S. troops (down from 45,000) to secure the military gains made in the surge and prevent a terrorist resurgence. Had Obama listened to Austin’s counsel, the rise of the Islamic State could have been stopped.

But Obama rejected Austin’s advice and enthusiastically withdrew all U.S. all forces from the country, boasting that he was finally bringing an end to “the long war in Iraq.”

Now the “long war in Iraq” is back. And because Obama has not learned from his past mistakes, it is likely to get even longer.

Last week, Obama announced a strategy to re-defeat the terrorists in Iraq. But instead of listening to his commanders this time around, Obama once again rejected the advice of . . . you guessed it . . . Gen. Lloyd Austin.


Our friend Brandon gets a nice bit of recognition for the outstanding work he’s done on election coverage this year.

Kindly Uncle

Your humble host is playing kindly uncle to his niece’s children. They’re pretty good kids. But I’m very, very new to being left in charge of children.* They’re doing a good job training me. Who knew snacks and junk food were not just part of a healthy diet, but the cornerstone thereof?

The kids are being very, very quiet right now, which I take to mean they’re being very well behaved. Which means I have time to post a couple links.

I was going to write on this subject yesterday, but the Bangor Daily News website and I don’t get along. So I tossed it to Craig for his blog, and since he did all the work of writing, I’ll just crib back from him. To wit- it appears the original Medal of Honor presented to Joshua Chamberlain has been discovered, and is now being exhibited in Chamberlain’s hometown of Brunswick, ME.

Joshua Chamberlain’s original 1893 Medal of Honor found at church sale, donated to Brunswick history group

Brunswick, Maine — One of the most prestigious medals earned by one of Maine’s most decorated sons was discovered at a church sale and turned over to a Brunswick-based organization for safe keeping, the group announced Monday.

The U.S. Army Medal of Honor was awarded to Civil War hero Joshua Chamberlain — who would go on to become president of Bowdoin College and governor of Maine — in 1893 for “distinguished gallantry” in the Battle of Gettysburg 30 years earlier.

The artifact was given to the Pejepscot Historical Society, which owns the Joshua L. Chamberlain Museum in Brunswick, by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, the organization announced Monday afternoon. The individual who came to own the medal found it in the back of a book he had purchased “several years ago” at a sale held by First Parish Church in Duxbury, Mass., according to the society.

Read the whole thing, of course. And while you’re over there, take a moment to peruse Craig’s excellent historical overview of various campaigns of the Civil War.

An aside about the Medal of Honor during the Civil War. At the time, the MoH was the only award for valor. And the conditions under which it was awarded were not quite as defined as today. As a result, one might see awards for actions that today wouldn’t merit such an award. But surely Chamberlain’s award is one that even today the professional warrior, the citizen soldier (of which Chamberlain may be the most worthy example) and the armchair general can all agree was righteously given.


BusBob over at the Lexicans has another of his very entertaining sea stories.


It looks like budget cuts have the Army trimming its Combatives program. Combatives, as they are trained today, are a new development. In my days, we had bayonet training, and hand-to-hand combat training. But both were so stylized and unrealistic, neither was really worth much. As far as the Combatives program goes, I like it. Not because very many soldiers will ever need to fight that way, but as some folks in the Army Times article note, it goes a long way to help instill a warrior ethos into the soldier. Grappling, struggling, fighting. Those are good things.

But the Army-wide competition seems to me to have almost become an “MMA-Lite” obsession with some folks. My only concern is that a lack of qualified Combatives instructors can lead to injuries in training.

On the other hand, it’s staying in the basic skill set for soldiers. And the Army has also been trying hard to trim back the number of tasks that are “everybody must know” tasks. After all, if everything is a priority, nothing is.



*I’ve long said the Army is just like the Boy Scouts, but without adult supervision.


It’s a travel day for me. I’m on the road all day, so here’s some food for thought.

Are sailors (and other service members) coddled? Meh. I get the threat of laxity in society showing up in the service. On the other hand, for a decade of war, we’ve seen soldiers displaying awesome discipline on the battlefield. I’m always concerned about a loss of discipline in garrison, but that’s an indicator secondary to the performance on the battlefield.


On the other hand, we’ve got very junior officers that want another award. I  think a good rule of thumb for a j.g. is to listen, not speak.


As always, the Air Force is trying to divest itself for the weapon best suited for the war it is currently in, in favor of a weapon that may or may not be suitable for a future war.


Finally, Blackfive brings us one of the very dumbest pieces I’ve ever seen (that is, B5 links to it, not that B5 wrote something stupid).

A female non-combat arms officer (who has sued the government for excluding women from combat arms) writes a vapid, shallow piece in which she tells all us knuckledragging grunts what it really takes to succeed in combat. You know, the very combat she’s been excluded from.

I’m not against women in the service.  They can and have served honorably and with distinction. But the fact is, most jobs in the military don’t require any great strength,  stamina, or resilience to discomfort or injury. The exception to that rule is the combat arms.

Further, every argument is proposed as one of fairness to women. But not once has the issue been sold as improving the combat capability of the services. That’s because it will not, cannot in any way improve the combat arms.


We’re leaving Oak Harbor this morning. I’ll miss it, as always. Hopefully, it won’t take me three years to get back here. The island in August is heavenly.
Many thanks to MaryAnn Fakkema Engle, and Teresa Ortego for the mini-meetups, and it was great to see Pat Crouch, as well.
Too much crab, mussels and clams, loads more great foods. Driving around and visiting some old haunts, and seeing the changes. What fun!
I hate seeing Deception Pass in the rear view mirror. But I know I’ll see it in the windshield again some day.

A couple of quick hits

Since tomorrow is a travel day and you likely won’t get a lot of content from me **nudge**Jason/URR/Roamy**nudge**, here’s a couple of bits.

Naval strategy, power projection, hardcore show of force, however you want to describe it. Back in the early 1980s, the Navy, with the newfound guidance of the Maritime Strategy, went out of its way to show the Soviet Union that our Navy could hold them at risk.

USNI blog as a neat little article about that, and then there’s also this.

Do we still have this strategic level thinking and operation capability after 10 years of supporting the War on Terror? I hope so. The strategic pivot to the Pacific will certainly have the brighter minds of the operating forces trying to attain that capability.


Of course, it’s hard to have a lot of faith in that when the Navy still struggles coming up with a simple uniform for sailors.


Relative to the first piece up there, Exercise Able Archer scared the crap out of the Soviets. They thought the balloon was going to go up. I think it is fair to say that without that near panic, future efforts between Reagan and Gorbachev to reduce tensions would not have come to pass. And without that, we might not have seen the fall of the Soviet Union. Or at any rate, such a collapse may have had a distinctly different flavor.



Did I share this picture of Sox before? I dunno. But I like it. So you get it again.

Quick Links

Some stuff going on.

HMS Ark Royal towed to the breakers.

Hundreds gathered to say farewell to HMS Ark Royal as she began her final voyage to the scrap yard from Portsmouth this afternoon.

Which reminds me of my favorite painting of all time.



The helmet sighting system for the F-35 is still facing issues. You can’t really fight the plane without it.


Iraq needed some armed reconnaissance helicopters. But they don’t have a ton of infrastructure to operate something like the OH-58D. So the US modified some off the shelf Bell 407 light helicopters, and shipped those. What’s interesting is that they didn’t hire a defense contractor to do it, but rather the Army’s Redstone Arsenal.


Sox is not amused.


Morning Links- Vacation Edition

We’re currently on vacation, which, because of social obligations actually means we have less time to devote to you, the valued and esteemed patron of Ye Olde Humble Blog.

Having said that, we’ll still try to get some content of some sort up for you.

The Navy successfully launched the X-47B unmanned aircraft from a carrier yesterday. Of course, once the catapult strokes, it’s going flying no matter what. It’s more a question of how long, rather than if.  Earlier, the X-47B made a successful arrested landing shore-side on a simulated carrier deck. That’s not shabby, but it’s also a far, far different environment than a moving carrier deck.


This IRS scandal grows and grows. Obama’s former campaign converted to a 501(c ) 4 and got approved in about a month. Go figure.


Sexual Assault Prevention Training causes sexual assault, apparently.


You shipdrivers might find this interesting.


Have a great day.


In the Army, supplies are pushed forward to you. In civilian life, (Amazon excluded- use the search box here for all your purchases!) you pretty much have to go to them.

Costco for gas and staples, pick up my new glasses, 99Cent store for groceries and snacks, then Office Depot to pick up a desk calendar.

What an exciting life I lead.

Thin on the ground…

I’m going to be on the road most of the day today, so content will likely be thin. From what I hear, the cobloggers are selfishly spending time with their families previously committed as well.  With a little luck, I’ll have something for tonight, but no promises there.

In the meantime, enjoy this selection of 65 great Army pictures from 2012.


Spc. Tyler Winowiecki, an infantryman with Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, cleans the dust off his M-4 carbine during Operation Buffalo Thunder II, in the district of Shorabak, Afghanistan, June 28, 2012. During the eight-day mission, Afghan and American forces cleared more than 120 kilometers of rugged terrain and escorted approximately 60 truckloads of humanitarian aid for distribution to the people of Shorabak. (June 28, 2012 – Photo by Staff Sgt. Brendan Mackie)