Soldier builds bin Laden compound replica out of gingerbread | Army Times |

It might be the most infamous, and delicious, terrorist compound of the holiday season.

An Army military intelligence officer stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., revealed on Twitter a series of pictures of “Gingerbottabad” this afternoon, his gingerbread version of Osama bin Laden’s hideout.

Steve — who asked that his full name not be used, “so I don’t limit my career options” — turned four pounds of dough into a scale model of the compound that sheltered bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, until SEAL Team 6 came for him on May 2, 2011.

“Some people on Twitter said that’s the most delicious sand table ever, and essentially that’s what it is,” said Steve, reached at home on holiday leave.

An Army military intelligence officer stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., made a gingerbread house model of Osama bin Laden's Abattobad compound that was raided by Navy SEALs in 2011. Going by the handle @CombatCavScout, he revealed the gingerbread house Monday on Twitter.

via Soldier builds bin Laden compound replica out of gingerbread | Army Times |

Of course he’s a Cav Scout.

Night Skies

Outside just now for a smoke break. Heard a jet flying overhead, and of course, I looked up. I spotted the jet almost instantly (a redeye out of KSAN) but also spotted a slightly bigger than usual shooting star. It blazed across the sky for perhaps a second, maybe a second and a half. But I got to see it.

Living in a desert has its upsides.

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 1,100,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 47 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

One would have preferred out hard hitting posts on MREs to garner the most traffic, but other than that, we’re pretty happy with this year. And that’s thanks to you, dear reader.

Guadalcanal Low Level Attack

To steal some content from ArthurK, here’s a pic of Japanese Betty bombers making a torpedo attack the day after the initial landings on Guadalcanal.

Actually, the low planes would likely have to climb a bit for the actual drop. Too low a an altitude at drop, and the fish might broach and lose control.

US doctrine had drops made from roughly 100 feet at the beginning of the war, but by wars end, the envelope for successful drops was much bigger.



A recent archaeological study commissioned and funded by the United States Army has yielded a surprising discovery just east of Front Street in Philadelphia, Pa. Some military historians are calling this the most astonishing military-themed find since the unearthing of the Terracotta Army in rural China.

The dig has uncovered evidence suggesting that Tun Tavern — the beloved institutional Mecca of the United States Marine Corps — was an active gay bar when the Corps’ first officers used it to recruit the original Continental Marines in 1775.

via Army Study Finds Marines’ Tun Tavern Was Actually A Gay Bar.

Icebreaker now also stuck in the ice – Video

Expedition vessel hired by group of global-warming scientists.

The Chinese icebreaker trying to reach a Russian-flagged expedition vessel trapped for the past four days in frozen Antarctic ice is now also now stuck in the ice, says CNN News.

The Chinese crew is hoping a French icebreaker 14 nautical miles away will arrive and offer relief, said Zhu Li, chief officer of the Chinese ship.

via Icebreaker now also stuck in the ice – Video.



So, this week’s food thread at Ace’s place features the tasty Spanish mainstay paella.

Many, many moons ago, my Dear Sainted Mother made a wonderful dish of paella for a small dinner party. And it was wonderful. It tasted like pure joy. It was a very, very memorable evening.

And because that evening was so memorable, just about every time I managed to come home on leave from the Army, Dear Sainted Mother would carefully, and lovingly recreate that dish with the rice so richly infused with that most expensive of spices, saffron. And as a Loving Son, I would dutifully eat every bit served to me.

See, there’s a reason that first service of paella was so memorable. It turns out of all the multitudes of foods in the world, the only thing I’m apparently allergic to is saffron. Within an hour of eating paella that first time, I was laid low by the most horrific pains and gastrointestinal unpleasantness.

Dear Sainted Mother’s memory somehow managed to remember that paella was significant, but failed to recall that “significant” does not always mean “good.”

And so, being the dutiful Loving Son, I would eat what was served, and again find myself tormented by that golden spice, saffron.

Eventually, I took to writing home to remind DSM that paella, lovely and tasty as it was, would eventually overcome my considerable constitution, and kill me dead. And that if she wanted to achieve that, there were less painful, less expensive alternatives.

Too bad. As it really does taste great.


So, Fox has a new comedy debuting on January 10 titled “Enlisted.” And boy howdy, when the trailer first hit the internet, did vets let Fox know they weren’t impressed.

So the production team behind the show decided to seek constructive criticism.


Blackfive also has a portion of an interview that the producers did with Doctrine Man.

What’s my take? Glad you asked.

This isn’t a show about the Army. It’s a show about people, one that just happens to be set in the framework of people in the Army. The Army setting is simply the vehicle used to tell stories about people. And while the veterans community is large enough to be heard when complaining about the show, it isn’t large enough to carry a show on a major network. The writers have to make the show accessible to the general public, who have little or know knowledge of what the Army is like. Further, the need to tell human stories means that sometimes, creative license will have to override accuracy in depicting Army life. And I’m pretty OK with that.

Do you recall the reams of people up in arms over The Office’s faulty depiction of the reality of the paper products industry?

Was Scrubs (where the producer worked before) a true to life depiction of the lives of health care professionals?

Sometimes, the best stories take a kernel of truth and stretch it to the absurd conclusion.

As long as the majority of the cast is shown as decent people, dedicated, if not always squared away, that’s fine. It’s one thing to mock or hold up for ridicule “that guy” from time to time (and every unit has “that guy”). But if the show makes a sweeping generalization that everyone in the Army is a dolt, that would be unpardonable.

I don’t really know if the show will be good or bad, successful or cancellation bait.

But I’m not going to call for heads on pikes just because the cast isn’t fully versed on AR 670-1.

USS Constitution vs. HMS Java

On December 29, 1812, the frigate USS Constitution fought and captured the British frigate HMS Java.

USS Constitution vs HMS Java, 29 December 1812. Artwork by Anton Otto Fischer. Courtesy of Ms. Katrina S. Fischer. NHHC Photograph Collection

This battle would see the USS Constitution earn her moniker “Old Ironsides” and cement her place in history. To this day, she serves as a commissioned warship of the United States Navy.

To say the British were stunned would be an understatement. In 1812, the Royal Navy was the virtually uncontested master of every sea. By far the largest navy in the world, the Royal Navy had also attained a level of experience and proficiency few other fleets could hope to even approach.

The fledgling US Navy could never hope to directly contest the vast Royal Navy. But the original “Six Frigates” were excellent ships, and in general were well crewed, well drilled, and importantly, very well built and armed.

The US adopted a strategy of commerce raiding. Swarms of privateers were issued letters of marque to prey upon British commerce. And the frigates of the US Navy set out both to raid commerce, and when possible, to interdict British warships that were similarly attempting to interdict American shipping.

The strategy wasn’t to defeat the British, nor even to fully interdict British shipping, but rather impose an inconvenience and cost upon that British, already fully engaged fighting the French, that would encourage domestic political support for the war against American to wane.  The commerce raiding portion of the strategy was arguably fairly successful. But an argument could be made that the stunning series of victories of US frigates against their British peers caused the British to steel their resolve to punish the neophyte American fleet.

The series of frigate engagement of in the War of 1812 had little direct impact on the course of the war. It did give the US Navy a wealth of tradition to build upon, touchstones that still resonate to this day.


Theodore Roosevelt wrote a history of the Naval War of 1812, available for free.