2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bad employment picture for female vets? looks like it...


Generally, when people think of veterans they think of men. Sorry, thats just my opinion and I may be wrong but just google "veteran", click on the pictures tab and take a look. There are way more folks with a "Y" chromosome on there than folks that wear bras out of biological necessity. That is sad because the advent of the female veteran is not upon us....its behind us.

From days of Molly Pitcher , the WACs and WAVES of WWII to women serving today on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan, women have always been veterans in our armed forces. I will be the first to admit that in my early beginnings being an infantryman that we generally saw women in uniform as objects of disdain and sometimes lust. Gotta roll with the truth even when its hard to admit it. Later, after I went to the "pogue" side of the house in the AG corps I was fortunate enough to have some women to work for that were not just fantastic soldiers but leaders as well. Eventually I came to the realization that women not only have the same rights as men to serve but damn well were an important part of my military. Sure sometimes I put pictures of females in a bikini or such on this blog, but that in no way indicates any lack of (well deserved) respect that I have for the women serving in our armed forces.

Fox news did a report on the unemployment numbers for female veterans against the general female population and found that veterans have about a +3% higher chance of not finding work than the rest of America. Not surprising in my mind. Many are coming home to possibly the same economic picture they joined the military to escape. We are still trying to rebound from a recession and unemployment is high to begin with, many of the veterans coming into the workforce have job skills that do not fit cleanly into the civilian workforce and many that have skills that do are in competitive fields to begin with (medical techs for example). Its the same story that happens with a lot of vets. Not to take away from the plight of women vets, but to me its the same story being played out over a slightly different demographic than we are used to hearing about.

What is interesting about the story is that the person that they profile is actually somebody I kind of know. (LT) Donna Bachler was assigned to the 3rd Personnel Command (3PC) when I was attached to it at Camp Arifjan. She has also been a fried of mine on FaceBook previously. She was always cool with me but other people I know saw her in a different light I guess based on their comments on FB about the article. I know she was discharged from active duty before we returned as a unit, maybe something to do with the PTSD. God knows I would have nightmares after removing bodies from rubble and stuff. Her husband was a stand up guy over there and a LTC to boot so I am willing to give her my benefit of the doubt. She did something I wanted to do but couldn't, she called out another officer in 3PC for being a bag of poo, . Seriously, check out his blog, this guy was having a great time in Kuwait while he avoided legal issues back here. I was lucky enough to generally of run with the better folks from that unit in my time with them.


Anyway, good luck Donna. I wish you success, prosperity and happiness in the future. Thanks for being a fellow veteran.

Can you hear me now...good! SOSUS!!

Well, you never know who you choose a chair by sometimes until you start talking to them. This weekend I went to the graduation party for a friend's son and ended us sitting next to the boys' great uncle at a table. The gentleman's name was Walt and was approaching his 80th revolution around the sun. He lives in Florida and spends his time sailing with his wife, who was a lovely lady to say the least. After discussing Ohio weather vs. Florida weather and the like for a while I found out that before he retired he worked as an engineer. He worked on contracts for the US government and that one of this big ones was for the SOSUS system used by the US Navy. For those not in the know or too lazy to click on the link I just posted and read up on it, the SOSOS is a vast array of underwater microphones that is used by the government to track ships and submarines across the globe. The premise is simple, drop a microphone into the ocean and listen for sound. The execution of the array was much more than that. More than just listening for sounds and tracking them the system was able to actually "fingerprint" different submarines and vessels due to slight variations in the sound coming from their operation so we knew that the object 200 miles North of Hawaii was the Russian Akula Attack sub 541 and not the Oscar class missle sub 836.

Hey, that's Sergei's boat...I can tell by the farting noises being given off by the crew!!

That's pretty cool.

Even before the system was declassified in 1991 it was an open secret. It is a technology predominantly used in Tom Clancy's classic The Hunt For Red October. Even after the Russians figured out we just weren't that lucky enough to just happen upon their subs in the vast expanses of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans by chance it didn't matter. The mere existence of the system made the Russians alter the way they deployed and operated during the Cold War. We knew they knew. And they knew that we knew that they knew. It just didn't matter. They were on notice that anything they did was being watched and it helped keep tensions low as we didn't have as many "uninvited guest" show up on our continental doorstep unannounced as we would otherwise.


He told me about how his entire crew on a 175 foot "research" vessel that laid cable was expendable as evacuating the ship was the last item of a checklist of what to do in case they were subject to capture....apparently they were to scuttle it before they abandoned it. He seemed to think them being an all civilian crew was bad because the wouldn't be covered under the Geneva Convention, I think otherwise. It seems to me in the global spotlight it would be worse to be seen holding American civilians versus American sailors and would be a chip to bargain on in getting them back. Luckily for Walt, our theories never had to be tested for him and his crew.

Since the end of the Cold War the SOSUS array has also been tasked with non-military type studies...like listening for the sounds whales make while having sex and stuff like that. Still, it stands as a silent sentinel always listening just in case the Ruskies feel frisky again...or maybe those sneaky Chinese.....

Remember comrades...Jonsey is always listening...always....

I love mail.….blades and rods..

I love mail...especially from the CMP...

Got a couple of boxes in from FedEx a couple of weeks ago from the CMP...wonder what might be in them?


First the smaller box…


Ah ha! A cleaning rod section kit and bag for the trap door holes in the butt of the stock. It comes with the M10 combo tool (bottom pic) which in addition to being the handle for the cleaning rod sections once assembled, also does duty to take off the cap of the gas tube, adjust the sights and also help disassemble the bolt. I felt kinda of bad breaking open that green tube and silver bag, the date on this item shows its over 50 years old. Surplus or not, its just a good and serves the same purpose for the same item now as it did when produced in 1960.

And for that bigger box....hell yeah, a M1 bayonet!

Stabby stabby thingy.....M1 Bayonet for the M1 Garand!

Bayonets for the M1 are a tricky thing to nail down. The design was originally designed to use the 16” long M1905 bayonet that was used on the 1903 Springfield. That bayonet was designed in an era when the rifleman still used a bolt action rifle and horse ridden cavalry still roamed the battlefield. The usefulness of a 16” blade on the end of his rifle to turn it into a short pike to dismount a rider or protect against a horse charge (see Braveheart) made sense then. Fast forward 30+ years to a new mechanized age when the troops had a state of the art semi-automatic rifle and a shorter, more manageable blade makes sense. They opted on a 10” length blade and called it the M1 bayonet, to go along with the new rifle the Army adopted. The military’s first option was to cut down existing M1905’s to a 10” length and reshape the point. These bayonets are sometimes called M1905E1 models, which is technically incorrect. Once cut down they were called M1 bayonets and issued along side of newly manufactured 10” bayonets. Some of these early models had the blade sharpened to a spear point but this practice was eventually changed to more of a clip or drop point style (depending on the manufacturer) to keep the point of the blade away from the thinner metal in the area that had been the fuller (“blood groove”) that ran down the length of the blade. Because most were cut down, original M1905s are rare and draw a premium price for collectors.

With WW2 in full swing, the supply of older M1905 bayonets waning, and the economic worries of the Great Depression behind them, the government ordered massive amounts of new M1 bayonets to be produced by a bevy of companies both large and small. These newer bayonets can be identified by the spear point solid tip without a fuller grove present. The blades themselves were 10” as I mentioned before, which is longer than the bayonets that have come after. If you think about it not many people have their vital organs located much deeper than 7” – 10” in their body (at least the fit types you would expect to fight against on a battlefield) so the length makes sense. The bayonets did not come very sharp from the factory as that took additional skilled tooling time to accomplish, the spec for sharpening one to standard was hard to nail down and most of the bayonets would either be issued to new troops training that may not of necessarily warranted a razor sharp blade or for general issue it was just easier to get a general blade formed and let the troops in the field sharpen their own. The bayonet is generally a thrusting weapon so the point provided was adequate for that purpose. Some types of bayonet attacks do use a slashing motion so the blade was generally sharpened by the soldier or marine to a usable edge and also used as a general purpose tool as well..as have all bayonets in the past.

GARAND_BAYONET

Top to bottom, M1905 bayonet with 16” blade, “M1905E1/M1 with 16” blade cut to 10” with a drop point, “M1905E1/M1 with 16” blade cut to 10” with a spear point and M1 bayonet made with a 10” blade in a spear point.

Fighting with a bayonet is a up close, personal and bloody ordeal. Its one thing to shoot somebody from a distance through an ACOG or iron sights, its another to plunge a blade in them so close you can smell their breath and hear them gasp for air. Aggressiveness is the key so most training with the bayonet is designed to install confidence and ferociousness in the trainee. I am sad to say the Army sucks at this on the whole. The training I got in 1987 was woefully inadequate other than teaching us the basic moves against an opponent, we only went “full contact” once and generally it was secondary (as is expected) to the rifle in terms of training. Today the army has all together dropped it from the training cycle being that everyone carries short carbines and they want to focus on other “warrior” tasks. Never mind the fact that there have been documented cases going back over the conflict in Iraq where fighting has been so close that the bayonet, either fixed on a rifle or used as a knife, has settled some engagements. The Marines – God Bless their little over-motivated hearts – are still doing it to instill esprit de corps in their recruits. Matter of fact, the Marines even have their own martial art now that teaches hand-to-hand fighting with a knife….when you have fewer troops you can train them to a higher standard, when you are huge like the Army I guess you bring more to the party but with a little less to offer in some ways.

The bayonet I received from CMP is pretty typical of surplus blades available on the market today, except that buying from the CMP you get it at a good price. I paid about $60 for this one which is less than a lot of places on the internet. The blade shows its age. The edge is gone and the metal is heavily pitted. It does not secure to the rifle as it once did and it rattles like a SOB on there. Still I was able to get one that was made by Union fork & Hoe right here in Columbus and its for show, not use on my rifle. The plastic hand guards are in decent shape and after a good degreasing and cleaning to get rid of the thick layer of goopy cosmoline on it, it looks decent. The scabbard is a plastic impregnated fiber deal with a metal tip and old webbing clips on the pommel end of it to attach to pistol belts. Its in decent shape and I doubt its as old as the bayonet itself, but it shows its age as well also.

yuck...cosmoline..

Bayonet stripped down to its parts for some cleaning with degreaser...seems to have worked...really basic and simple design...I like that.

I chose this model of bayonet from the available ones at CMP for the U.F.H. on it. That stands for Union Fork & Hoe (a company that now makes hand tools under the name Union Tools). It is based out of Columbus, Ohio (here!) and made tens of thousands of bayonets for the war effort. Thought it would be a good idea to let one come home to its birthplace.

The latch button that served to help detach it from the rifle served double duty as a latch to keep the bayonet in the scabbard when moving about on the battlefield, pretty cool.




Fix Bayonets!!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Have a happy and purposeful Memorial Day

Yes, I said purposeful.   In between the parades, cook outs, picnics, yard work, partying and everything else that goes along with a holiday I hope you take a moment to reflect on what this day truly is.  Its not a day to thank our veterans, that’s Veterans Day.  Its not a day to celebrate being an American, that’s the 4th of July.  Memorial Day is a day we remember our war dead, plain and simple.  The guys who didn’t necessarily get to come home to a parade or a free lunch at Applebees.  The guys that didn’t get to sit at the VFW or American Legion drinking beers to their fallen friends, they were the fallen friends.

I am appreciative of all of the thanks given out on days like this, and I think we should enjoy the day too with good eats and drinks as appropriate.  But what we really need to do is stop and pause and thank those that have laid dead in the fields of battle under an American flag, thank them that the flag that they carried still stands today. 

Thank you fallen brothers and sisters.

memorial_day_at_arlington_national_cemetery

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Big kudos to Rockyourglock.com


I have looked at RockYourGlock.Com online before and have been impressed that they carry all of my "must have" Glock accessories and add-ons in one place. At lunch on Thursday I placed an order with them for a few items...got a response that they had been shipped 30 minutes later!! Wow! I placed the order on Thursday at lunch and the items were at my door by lunch on Saturday with the USPS truck dropped them off...man, that is great customer service!!

And what did I get?

Well, I decided having the G26 stock had gone on long enough, so I ordered...

  • A Ghost 4.5# "Ranger" trigger connector
  • A Lone Wolf extended slide stop and magazine release
  • A pack of those rubber stick on grip panels.
  • A Lone Wolf grip space plug.

Here is the "after" pick...

I like the Ghost connectors, the 4.5# model has a nice clean break and is supposedly more reliable than the Glock stock one (if that is possible). The extended controls are a personal preference and the grip panels as well. I just put the panels on the right side of the grip (away from my body) and on the rear of the slide to aid in racking in reloading from a slide lock if my hands get wet or sweaty. The grip plug is one of those things that I think Glock should just add ad the factory, I like them for aesthetic reasons as well as helping in inserting mags as well.

Soon to be ordered is a set of XS big dots sights like I have on the G19. Couldn't get them this time because I have the ST-1 treatment to buy from Crusader for the winner of my EBR contest (submit pics folks hint...hint)

Thanks again to RockYourGlock.com for their great service. Kudos to you!

Friday, May 27, 2011

OSU Football...its not only about the bad things..

Hey Media...Screw You!


For those of you not into sports or living in a van down by the river, there has been a lot of controversy this spring about the fate of my beloved OSU Buckeye football team. There has been some misdoings going on over on the campus of THE Ohio State University and I am not defending the actions of some of the players and possibly even of head coach Jim Tressel, aka "The Sweatervest".

Everyone loves to hate OSU. I don't know if its because we manage to keep a winning program going up North here when all of the "good" teams are supposedly in the SEC, we walk with a certain swagger during football season that rubs some people the wrong way or if we are just an evil football empire and I am too close to the trees to see the entire forest. Next week a Sports Illustrated article comes out further harpooning the reputation of OSU and even our former players are speaking out against the program. Whatever form the next black eye comes our way, I don't care. On a cold November afternoon against the Wolverines there is nothing you can say that will deter over 105,000 screaming Buckeye fans in the Horseshoe and hundreds of thousands more watching on their TV's that the Bucks aren't the best damn team in the land!


Buckeye Nation wasn't too popular outside of Ohio before "Tattoogate" and probably won't be after its all said and done anyway either. People will always remember us for the two losses in BCS Championship games in the first decade of the 2000's, but not for the fact that we won one and got to three BCS title games in the first place. They will forget our seven national championships and remember we lost to a USC team that now may forfeit that season. The will forget our great run going against our arch rival Michigan but remember that we are down in the overall series. Its cool, we're used to it. I do think that they remember though how well Ohio State fans travel around January to get away from the cold weather when a bowl game in a warm location is though...and how well we spend our dollars there too.

What I wish people would remember though is the Spring practice helmets. Painted a digital camo pattern similar to the Army ACU pattern, 25 of these helmets were sold for $1,000 a piece after the final Spring scrimmage game to benefit the Ohio National Guard Family Readiness program. Supporting the families of guys serving overseas helping to protect our rights to spend so much time and energy on covering what amounts to just a game. Now that is something worthwhile remembering.

Fleet Week


OK, I am not a big fan of NYC. I have never really been there but there are enough reasons for me not to go that I may not ever get there. I hate the Yankees, Michael Bloomberg, I am tired of the elitist image of themselves that many New Yorkers front to the rest of us in "flyover" states and generally don't want to spend my dollars in such an anti-gun city. Still, it does have its shining moments...the city's reaction to 9/11, its dedicated firemen and police and fleet week.

Fleet week is when the city of New York rolls out the red carpet for the Navy and Marine Corps and thanks them for being a vital part of that port cities history. From a formal flotilla parade in the harbor to parades downtown the city goes all out to celebrate those two branches this week.

So my hats off to the folks that board those massive pieces of floating steel and sit miles offshore bombing the hell out of the enemy...

Taking out Bin Laden left a bigger vacuum in Al Queerdo than we thought...

So where does the Taliban go from here? Straight to hell I hope...


Worst Terrorist Video Ever -- powered by Cracked.com

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Should the President send condolence letters for miltiary members who commit suicide?...I say yes.



As you may or may not know, for a year I served as the Information Management Officer (IMO) for the Kuwait Casualty Area Command (CAC) at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. As part of my duties I would routinely have to verify and adjust our reported numbers of killed and wounded in theater against what was being reported by both the DOD and civilian news outlets and other sources (eg, icasualties.org, CNN) if need be. One thing that I found disturbing is that we would occasionally come across a person that was being counted as have died as a result of OIF/OEF action on once of the civilian sites that we would not have. Upon further investigation I would find that they would sometimes be servicemembers who had been evacuated for psych issues from theater and would commit suicide back stateside at a later date. While I am a bit sketchy on the regs after almost 5 years after the fact, I believe there may have been some magical 120 cut off for counting deaths in our number once a casualty reached stateside. That too never made sense to me. I mean if a soldier lost both legs to an IED and went to Walter Reed and eventually succumbed to his injuries six months later we should count him, am I right?

A couple of Senators are asking that the president start sending condolence letters to the families of these military suicides. In a bi-partisan letter, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) urged President Obama to end the "insensitive practice" of not providing such recognition letters to the families under such circumstances. News story from Fox News here...

Senators Call on President to Change Condolence Letter Policy for Military Suicide Victims

I think its only right and just that the military and the president themselves acknowledge the loss of these individuals to the families left behind. Take note, this may be one of the few times that I ever agree with something Senator Boxer states publicly. When you enlist or are commissioned in the armed forces you basically write a blank check to the government to cash if need be at your expense. Its your responsibility to back the check amount if need be, and its the governments responsibility to ensure that the check is used wisely. While I am not saying that everyone with a mental issue after serving over there deserves a purple heart as some would try and make happen (that is an issue for another time). I do believe that the families of those that have taken their own lives after being exposed to the horrors of war and not being able to cope with the long term mental affects of that unseen injury deserve the closure of knowing that a grateful nation mourns with them in their loss.

As most people who served closely with me over at Camp AJ will attest, the numbers drove me nuts. Not that it was a long trip for me to get to nuts to begin with, but the constant re verification game I had to participate in because someone thought that they saw something different somewhere was frustrating. Back in 2007 we were fast approaching the morbid milestone of having 3,000 US deaths in theater since the start of the GWOT conflicts. I was tasked with verifying the names, dates and circumstances of all deceased casualties to that point in our database. To my horror I found out at some previous point the database had crashed and in the place of over half of our records in it there were entries in the form of "Hostile Deceased 147" and the like as placeholders for the original data in order for automated reports to generate. It took me several long and sometimes sleepless days and nights to recreate this data from every source available, yes even from places like iCasualties.org.

This is a pic of my CAC boss, LTC "JC"..he is giving me the "WTH did you do to the numbers now" look...I got that a lot. He was a pretty awesome guy and saved me from myself on more than one occasion, thanks JC...
I should mention about iCasualties.org...professionally as the IMO they were the "enemy" so to speak. An external entity that was doing the same job we were tasked to do but not necessarily burdened by all of the regulations that we were. Personally, I think that the individual or group behind the site did a great job of capturing data and presenting it graphically on the site. They were so good as a matter of fact that they caused my boss and I a lot of headaches when they were used by others as source data to compare against our numbers. No hard feelings guys...whatever your purpose for the site it did provide me with another baseline to use when I had to recover all of those records.

Back on topic, its time we fully recognize fully than not every wound suffered in war is visible and not every casualty of war occurs on the battlefield.

The 2 second zombie survival tutorial...



LOL!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Steven Colbert on the Ohio Resturaunt Carry Bill

OK, you can find humor in this IF you remember that to begin with Steven Colbert's entire schtick is to portray conservatives and republicans as mindless right wing buffoons. Hell, he's on the Daily Show (which I still can't believe people actually watch to get news from) for crying out loud. So keeping that in mind, you can see some humor in this. But, as I pointed out to a co-worker recently, the anti 2A crowd will not get it through their head that those that carry will not be able to drink, and if they do I hope they get arrested. As long as they can put "guns" and "alcohol" in the same sentence they will ignore any other words used in that sentence. For example...

"Even though they are licensed to carry a GUN in a resturaunt that serves ALCOHOL, CCW holders will not be allowed to drink while carrying."
There reaction still seems to be that somehow all control and logic will go out the window and people will just drink regardless of what law is in effect. Trust me Steve, the people that would do that are already carrying illegally in bars and we just want a chance to even the playing field.

And whats with making fun of Representative Bubp's name...seriously, your writers are cool with going to that level of humor? Not cool...

how about taking shots at the following names as well...

  • Eni Faleomavega
  • Raul Grijalva
  • Anna Eshoo
  • Dutch Ruppersberger
  • Paul Tonko
  • Pedro Pierluisi
  • David Cicillini
  • Ruben Hinojosa
  • Norman Dicks

Oh wait, those are all Democratic congressmen and women...I guess they are off limits (editors note: I am not making any accusation or attack on the character or conduct of any of the above listed representatives, their names are just a bit "different" than "normal"...like Bubp)

Anyway, here's the vid

Career Suicide by PowerPoint


Powerpoint...that oh so ubiquitous PITA that has become a mainstay of military staff pukes for more than a decade claims yet another victim...

Apparently the misuse of Powerpoint cost the jobs and probably the carrers of Lt. Col. Frank Jenio and Command Sgt. Maj. Herbert Puckett, Commander and Command Sergeant Major for the 2/508th PIR, 4th Brigade Combat Team. While in Afghanistan, the unit used "Demotivational" slides in their daily briefings to try and alleviate some of the stress and depression of casualty news and other types of info.

From Army Times

PowerPoint slides spur ouster of CO, CSM


Unfortunately, the material chosen was not necessarily used in the correct context or at the right moment to have the required affect. Slides of a sexist or racist nature will not garner you laughs in mixed company and generally are not what is expected of leaders at that level. It was not so much that they themselves inserted that material, but that their subordinate staff inserted the slides and they did nothing to stop the practice.

For my part, I have been the victim of forced Powerpoint labor for the better part of a year. Daily slides and briefing were a part of my job as the Info Management Officer for the Kuwait CAC. Yes, I did use an occasional humorous slide or graphic from time to time, but it was always with the approval of my OIC.

Monday, May 23, 2011

They are among us...

Two articles about folks helping to finance and aid terrorists right here in the US....another one right here in Ohio...nuts. Bad enough somebody wanted to blow up my local mall a few years ago....



Florida Imam and Son Charged With Supporting Taliban Due in Court

Ohio Couple Pleads Guilty to Charges They Helped Fund Hezbollah


Stay vigilant folks....

Badass Wounded Warrior

Just going to rip this directly off from Army Times...no sense trying to comment on it, read the article..'nuff said. I will sleep well tonight knowing SFC Castillo and others like him are out there protecting us..

Normally I think the ACU doesn't look that impressive, but on this guy....

FORT BENNING, Ga., May 18, 2011 -- Sgt. 1st Class Ray Castillo is again flourishing as a senior noncommissioned officer at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., but that almost didn't seem possible two years ago.

That's when his 10th combat deployment with the 75th Ranger Regiment resulted in a life-changing event on the dusty battlefield of northern Iraq. Today, he's a double amputee - above the knees - but set to graduate next week from Fort Benning's seven-week Maneuver Senior Leaders Course.

"Just because I lost my limbs doesn't mean I can't give my experience and my knowledge to other guys, (but) I understood eventually I was going to be behind a desk," said Castillo, now an operations sergeant with 2nd Battalion. "There's nothing I could've done about that. I still wanted to be in the military, I still wanted to contribute."

The incident occurred Feb. 9, 2009, near Mosul. Castillo was a platoon sergeant with the regiment's 2nd Battalion with the unit in pursuit of a high-value target. The Soldiers had dismounted and were approaching the objective on foot when they got ambushed.

A command-detonated improvised explosive device hit Castillo.

"It was real quick," he recalled. "(The enemy) hid it really well in the ground. I got to that location, and it just went off. I blacked out for a short period of time, but I remember the explosion going off and flying through the air."

Covered in blood, Castillo went into shock. A platoon medic treated him at the scene and he got evacuated within a half-hour. On the ride to the hospital, he slipped in and out of consciousness.

"I was in so much pain," he said. "I told my medic, 'Hey, you need to give me something. I don't care if you punch me in the face or whatever, but I'm in so much pain.'"

Castillo had multiple lacerations, including to his liver, spleen, intestines and right kidney. A lung was punctured in three different areas.

After the blast, when he was dragged to a stretcher, Castillo remembered looking down and seeing his right leg severed at the ankle. He figured he might lose part of one leg, but woke up from an induced coma about a month later at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., to find both gone. The infections had spread too quickly, doctors told him.

"I wasn't expecting to see 70 percent of my legs gone," he said. "Because of the infection, they had to keep cutting off more and more and more, because of all that bad stuff they have in the dirt over in Iraq."

He's undergone dozens of procedures, and not just to the legs. Doctors also removed shrapnel from his abdomen area.

"I lost count (of the surgeries). I had so many, I was sick of surgery," he said. "I still have a lot of shrapnel in me. Every once in a while, I'll get a scratch here or there 'cause it's trying to come out. It's all over the place."

There's a little ball of metal floating around a finger in his left hand. Castillo said X-rays at the dentist reveal more pieces in his head.

Castillo spent almost two months at Walter Reed and actually re-enlisted there in March 2009 from a hospital bed, surrounded by most of his family. He'd planned to do that in Iraq before getting wounded.

"I would say it's more frustrating than difficult," he said of his lengthy recovery. "There's a lot of frustration that goes with having some type of new life. Everyone has a goal in life, and then when something happens, it can change."

"You can still stay on certain career paths and other paths you want to do in your life," he explained. "It can be difficult doing those things, but it's more frustrating. There are simple things that you have to try to overcome and adapt to."

After being transferred to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, for rehab, Castillo said he encountered other Soldiers in worse predicaments.

"Looking at them being able to do certain things, it gives you strength," he said. "I remember seeing a woman in San Antonio - she had both arms gone. She was an (explosive ordnance disposal) Soldier missing both arms up high. The wounds were so high up her shoulders that she couldn't have a prosthetic arm."

"Seeing someone like that reminds you, 'Hey, you shouldn't be complaining about certain things.' You don't want to have someone always helping you out, because they're not always gonna be there," he said. "In Texas, they taught (me) how to do stuff on (my) own. I had to figure a lot of things out and learn how to overcome those little obstacles and hurdles."

Castillo was fitted with prosthetics in May 2009. That November, his formal therapy ended and he left Fort Sam Houston the following January. He returned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord but had to clear a medical evaluation board just to stay in the Army - his paperwork was approved four months later.

"My focus was just to get back to my unit," he said. "I worked really hard every day as much as I could because that was my main focus - recovery and getting better so I could get back to my unit and continue working."

Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning Command Sgt. Maj. Chris Hardy was the 75th Ranger Regiment's command sergeant major when Castillo got wounded in Iraq.

"His personal courage and commitment is truly an inspiration to us all," Hardy said. "He epitomizes the warrior ethos - I will never quit, I will never accept defeat. He symbolizes the strength of the American Soldier and I feel privileged to know him."

Castillo said he's driven to stay in and wants to reach the 20-year mark in his Army career. He'd like to become an instructor after his time with the Ranger Regiment ends.

The sergeant first class did a tandem jump at the Ranger Rendezvous in August 2009, only months after the ambush, and plans to return again this year. Calling the regiment a "brotherhood," Castillo said he knows some of the other Rangers better than his own family, and vice versa, after all they've experienced together in war.

The learning process also hasn't ended in his own recovery. Just walking downstairs, along a sidewalk or grass, and downhill can be challenging.

"Even when it snowed in Washington state, just going through the snow and it being slippery, I don't feel where I step until I put my weight on it," he said. "I drive, too, and that's a learning curve. My endurance and balance are getting much better. Being able to do random chores around the house or just doing stuff at work is getting better. It's gotten easier, with time."

Dr. Love is no fan of the POTUS


Now I generally try to stay out of partisan politics on this blog and try to hone in on issues relating to gun rights or veteran issues when it comes to politics....but this clip is just too damn good to pass up.

If you have not guessed, I am not a big fan of the man who sits in the Oval Office at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave for a few different reasons, not the least is his history on gun rights. He has yet to make a full on assault on the 2nd Amendment in his presidency, but I think that is only a matter of time (later this year if polls show he would be trailing a republican challenger or in his second term as a lame duck).

Now I am not one of those "birthers", nor am I someone who thinks that President Obama is a Islamic mole sent to destroy us from the inside out. Its my belief that within both the RNC and DNC there are a group of people that have no other job than to scout out info on the "enemy" and exploit it to its advantage. If there was even a credible vein of info that would make the birth issue legitimate don't you think the RNC would of pushed that way before he got elected and taken legal action if possible? No, what I think is that President Obama is probably a pretty decent guy and family man who just happens to be a liberal idealist. To confess, I am not a "hardcore" conservative and have some moderate views on certain subjects that some of my friends would call "liberal". Call me crazy but until one side or the other can run things flawlessly when they are in charge and everyone stops debating the need for change I am willing to look at all the options.

I hope I don't lose too many readers after this posts tomorrow after saying all of that....

Idealists have their place. Our country was founded by an big group of them that had nothing but an idea of what they could forge on this continent when they started their move for independence from England. They create ideas and push forward solutions to problems. The trouble with being an idealist is in the variables though. In my opinion most idealists give way to much credit to the populace as a whole to go along with change or their way of thinking. I mean change is scary and nobody likes to be told what to think. I think many an idealistic plan for social or economic change is made without fully thinking about how the people that it affects will react, I mean you go to a top tier school, get a masters degree or Juris Doctorate you got to be smarter than the average Joe, right? Wrong.

Kind of reminds me of that scene from Back to School where a saavy business man played by Rodney Dangerfield with no formal education goes toe-to-toe in the classroom with his professor who has spent his entire career in academia..



Getting back to being an idealist, that is what Gene Simmons of the rock band KISS apparently has against the president. In this video he admits that he voted for him..or at least what he thought the IDEA of having him in the White House stood for. But where Gene draws the line is on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. To be up front, Gene has never denied that he is a proud Israeli born American and is a Zionist, so his anger over the president suggesting Israel go back to the same border it had in 1967 is understandable. I admire the tenaciousness of the Israeli military and support their right to defend themselves but I have to feel for some poor Palestinian kid growing up in a ghetto in an Israeli controlled zone with no outlook on the future while gazing at Israeli settlements on what was once his peoples land. I always keep in the back of my find that despite the Israelis being our "allies" that they have done bad things against us in the past as well (see USS Liberty or Jonathan Pollard). Despite these incidents, Israeli is still as close to a stable ally we have in the region.

Still this entire Palestine situation does not sit well with me. I love my God and I support peoples beliefs in whatever they will (within some boundaries of reason of course) but man, religion does a job on conflicts when its tossed in as part of the logic for it. At least an idealist has an idea that he must logically be able to defend or prove, an argument based on two opposing belief systems of faith cannot be placed under the same proofs. I love in my God and believe in him, but I cannot prove he exists by conventional means....I cannot produce him in the flesh, I cannot call upon him to come forth...its all a "leap of faith" as they say.

Anyway, Gene goes off on Obama here for being an idealist who has "no Fucking idea" about what he is doing in Israel internal matters stating that Israel should give back land to the Palestinians and redraw its borders. Hell, Gene even takes some time at the end to flirt with the interviewer....love that Gene...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Meat Tags

Tattoos and the military go hand in hand like beer and pretzels, pizza and beer, beer and brats and...well, you get the idea. The practice of tattooing originated in the South Pacific Isles and it was supposedly early British sailors that brought it back to Western cultures in the 19th century. Personally, I have four of them, none military inspired. I have been thinking of getting one last one to commemorate my military service but something always seems to come in front of it as a priority. Outside of any military base in the US (or overseas) you can usually find a Tattoo shop as one of the 8 required businesses that prey on servicemen and women (the other seven are, in no particular order...a loan store, a used car lot, a pawnshop, a surplus store, a strip club, a Korean restaurant and a bar). In my experience its more of the "high speed" guys that get military tats...Infantry, Airborne, Marines and the like. I think most of the "rest of us" don't have that many cool symbols to work with. But I digress....

A tat that has become popular in our current conflicts is the "meat tag". It seems to be popular with Marines, but I am sure other folks are getting them too. Basically, its a tat on your torso (ribcage area seems most popular) that contains the data that would be on your dog tags. It seems that sometimes its even a tat of your dog tags. Logic is this...with the advent of the IED/SVIED/VBIED that more and more of our troops would be taken out via and explosion. Often times these events would tragically maim the troopers corpse beyond recognition. Assuming the troop was wearing his or her body armor, hopefully the tat would survive in order for the soldiers body to be identified later in case there was an issue with identification. The use of dog tags started similarly in the the Civil War when soldiers on both sides started sewing their names into their uniforms so that they could be identified if killed.


Really, its a sad procedure that I am sure will continue. It will probably be some type of rite of passage for infantry types in the future to signify that you are ready to lay your life on the line in the future. I remember in 2006-2007 when I was overseas the images of Nick Berg being beheaded were still fresh in our minds as well as the mutilation of our dead by the enemy so I am sure that this is at least part of the logic behind the practice. Maybe at some point in the future part of being in the military will be accepting that they would implant a chip in you, like we do our pets, to identify you if they find your body years after a battle. I remember there being a bit of a stink when they began collecting DNA from us for that purpose from folks that thought that it would be used for nefarious purposes but nothing ever came of that.

Anyway, thats a meat tag, just in case you were wondering.

Friday, May 20, 2011

1 in 5...Pass it on...

Folks...if it applies to you, get some help...VA, hospital...talk to friends..whatever...just get some help...its no shame to have wounds you can't see..

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Better pic of the M1 "steel pot" helmet...

Remember the other day I was talking about helmets?

Well, I found a better pic of the M1 helmet...in it you can see how the camouflage cover was used over the steel shell and then kept in place with the fiber liner. This was not issued until after WW2 and therefore not reflected in the Van Johnson picture. Oh yeah, there is a hot chick involved here too...I believe Van would have approved..


Thanks to the Everyday, No Days Off blog for posting the pic and reminding me of my remiss in this matter.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Holy Crap...the CDC warns about preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse


Can't make this one up folks...check out the Fox Story...

CDC Warns Public to Prepare for 'Zombie Apocalypse'

By Joshua Rhett Miller

Are you prepared for the impending zombie invasion?

That's the question posed by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention in a Monday blog posting gruesomely titled, "Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse." And while it's no joke, CDC officials say it's all about emergency preparation.

"There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for," the posting reads. "Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That's right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you'll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you'll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency."

The post, written by Assistant Surgeon General Ali Khan, instructs readers how to prepare for "flesh-eating zombies" much like how they appeared in Hollywood hits like "Night of the Living Dead" and video games like Resident Evil. Perhaps surprisingly, the same steps you'd take in preparation for an onslaught of ravenous monsters are similar to those suggested in advance of a hurricane or pandemic.

"First of all, you should have an emergency kit in your house," the posting continues. "This includes things like water, food, and other supplies to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp (or in the event of a natural disaster, it will buy you some time until you are able to make your way to an evacuation shelter or utility lines are restored)."

Other items to be stashed in such a kit include medications, duct tape, a battery-powered radio, clothes, copies of important documents and first aid supplies.

"Once you've made your emergency kit, you should sit down with your family and come up with an emergency plan," the posting continues. "This includes where you would go and who you would call if zombies started appearing outside your doorstep. You can also implement this plan if there is a flood, earthquake or other emergency."

The idea behind the campaign stemmed from concerns of radiation fears following the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan in March. CDC spokesman Dave Daigle told FoxNews.com that someone had asked CDC officials if zombies would be a concern due to radiation fears in Japan and traffic spiked following that mention.

"It's kind of a tongue-in-cheek campaign," Daigle said Wednesday. "We were talking about hurricane preparedness and someone bemoaned that we kept putting out the same messages."

While metrics for the post are not yet available, Daigle said it has become the most popular CDC blog entry in just two days.

"People are so tuned into zombies," he said. "People are really dialed in on zombies. The idea is we're reaching an audience or a segment we'd never reach with typical messages."

Of course this is tongue in cheek type stuff here...just surprising someone at the CDC actually had the balls to publish this stuff...good luck trying to get to the info though...my tab on Firefox has been cranking away for 10 minutes trying to bring it up. Apparently every zed head in the world is trying to view this....

Link HERE....

This is my new favorite joke... it starts out, "Two robbers enter a Shell gas station...."

Lets here the story from crazy coffee lady..



why, yes...cowering in fear is a much better tactic than arming yourself...of course I personally feel better knowing this loon isn't armed...

Credit to Eric S. for the info via the FaceBook thingy....

Adrian's Undead Diary

Found a link to this guy's page over at We The Armed, thanks Hacksaw!

Pretty good zombie fiction here, written from the point of a survivor, Adrian Ring, who is documenting his life after "the day" in a journal on his laptop. Each chapter is a daily entry in his journal documenting what has happened previously. Pretty good read, he makes some minor errors regarding firearms, but nothing that detracts from the read.

Click on the pic below to be taken to the site...(the pic makes sense once you start getting into the storyline!)



Buffalo gun buyback silliness...


Thanks to Captain of a Crew of One for posting this link..


And before anyone starts blasting me for spouting pro-gun bias against these programs take a listen...

OK, I am not questioning a cities right to offer citizens cash for their guns..its their choice, just like its the choice of the citizenry to participate or not. And yes, it probably does get some guns off the street that would probably be used for nefarious purposes otherwise; for example, the girl that turned in her boyfriends pistol before he got out of jail( am I the only one that feels a domestic assault coming down the road for this lady?).

What I do have issues with is the lack of editorial oversight or fact checking on the reporting of these type of articles. Sometimes I feel the folks that are responsible for checking this stuff out for accuracy get their info from a Call of Duty forum board run by 12 year olds..

"The no-questions-asked program yielded more than 200 nonworking guns, 170 rifles, 219 handguns and even a 12-gauge “street sweeper” assault rifle. "

Damn...I want one of those...

"Stetzko sold a shotgun that his brother gave him when he moved to Colorado last year. “If I had thrown it in the garbage and someone had sawed it off, it could have been a lethal weapon,” he said."

Boy, if you got citizens that think throwing weapons in the trash is a proper disposal method...hmmm...just fyi, all police departments will take weapons for disposal...just don't walk into the station with them without notice...the paper could of made mention of this little fact in their article.

...also take note, apparently shotguns are not lethal until they are sawed off.

“Any gun in the wrong hands [can be] deadly,” Brown said.
Any gun in the right hands can be as well...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Recycling…a transformation from warhorse to art form…

Found this at at the Delaware Arts Festival in Delaware, Ohio today…

kpot turtle

 

Its an old M1 helmet (aka a “steel pot”) that has been transformed by a local artist into a turtle, of all things.  So an iconic piece of American military history has been relegated to some modern artwork.  I am actually pretty cool with this.  I mean. there is a certain “karma” quotient being fulfilled here…something that might have been used directly in the participation of a war is now being used for the enjoyment of others visual senses.  Its silly, really if you think about it.  The juxtapositioning of war and peace like that.  Either way, for $49 it wasn’t THAT interesting to put in my garden.

Believe it or not the M1 was the first helmet I ever wore. Back in 1987 the Infantry School at Ft. Benning was still using the steel pot for OSUT trainees.  You wore the plastic liner in lieu of a soft cap or other headgear in the “basic training” portion of OSUT with a piece of duct tape (aka 100mph tape or “high speed” tape) with your name and roster number on it.  After Benning it was the PASGT helmet, more commonly known a the “kevlar’ or “k-pot”, until 2006. Then when mobilizing  I was issued the latest and greatest (at the time) ACH, short for Advance Combat Helmet.  Of the three, the ACH was far the most comfortable to wear even if the chinstrap system is a complex mess compared to the simple snaps of the k-pot.

 

battleground holly

I really don’t have any pics of me in a steel pot from basic..we didn’t have camera phones back then…hell, we didn’t have cell phones period.  This is actor Van Johnson in the outstanding MGM movie Battleground about the 101st Airborne at Bastogne.  He is seen wearing the helmet liner and trying to cook in the steel helmet itself.  There was a running gag in the movie that his character, Holly, scored some fresh eggs and keeps trying to cook them in his helmet..only to have to put it off for another duty.

 

kpot

Me in a K-pot next to “my” vehicle…OK, it was my commanders but I got to drive it and get other people to do PMCS on it…so who really owned it, eh?  Anyway, circa 1995 or so when my unit was attached to the 28th Infantry Division of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

 

IMGP1460

Sporting an ACH, some sweet prescription eye armor, ACU uniform and body armor at Ft. McCoy, WI in 2006 during mobilization training.  I kept my IBA in the “minimalist” theme on purpose…hell, I wasn’t going to be kicking in doors and such overseas…

Overdue recap of “The Posse” shoot….

Man, its been over 2 weeks since I went shooting with “The Posse” and haven’t written a word about it.  In short, outstanding time.  We shot at the Zanesville Rifle Club Range which is nestled in the hills of the Blue Rock State Park Southeast of Zanesville.  It’s a beautiful setting and any outdoorsman type will appreciate its natural beauty and relative solitude.  The range is situated on a plain above a nearby creek and has a firing line maybe 80 yards wide that can accommodate many shooters.  It has a 200 yard berm with a target pit and gravity raised target stands as well as a closer “mound” for shooting at and a hill in the background that is maybe 280 yards away.  By shooting at the full distance on the range (which we have not done yet) you can shoot the targets on the pit at 300 yards.   Most of my shooting was done at 25 yards though.  By using my PVC shooting stands and a few others, I mindfully tried to master my weapons on 1 inch squares at 25 meters.   1 inch at 25 yards (or meters , very little difference for this purpose) simulates 4 minutes of angle (MOA) shooting, which is the standard by which most service rifles are built around.   This means off of a bench rest with mechanical firing means that a rifle will shoot all rounds into a 4 inch circle at 100 yards.  All the shooter has to do is master their technique to achieve this in conjunction with the rifle and they can be assured that with a “battle zero” on their rifle that they will hit most targets engaged.

Anyway, the night before the shooting starts we set up camp, prepare dinner and generally swap stories and show off new gun acquisitions.   The camping area is below the range by the creek and due to the abundant rains we have had was pretty wet.  Despite this we were able to pitch tents and get a fire going. We had some of Mark’s (in)famous Texas Chili for dinner (just meat and spicy broth…along with some tortilla chips) and some snacks and such.   The weather decided to rain on us again that night but we threw some more wood on the fire and all huddled under our mess awning to continue the camaraderie.   Unfortunately my back decided to be a party pooper and get sore and stiff on my so I took a couple of pills and hit the hay for the night.

The Posse camp….”travel light, freeze at night”…hell no…

Setting up evening chow..

Texas Chili…

Admiring each others 1911, Mark (left) checks out Lynn’s $150 Filipino bargain and Lynn checks out Mark’s Remington Rand her got from his Father.  Lynn’s budget 1911 fired without issues and Mark’s slide is the smoothest action I think I have ever felt on a 1911.  Damn, now I want another one!

The next morning we got up and had our traditional breakfast of egg and sausage burritos.  My contribution was another camping stove and coffee pot I bought the day before at Buckeye Outdoors on our way to the shoot.  After chow and coffee we headed to set up the ranges.

We staked down tarps and set up targets.  The ground in front of the firing line where we set up the 25 meter targets was like a rice paddy, need to remember waders next time.   Being former military folks we can’t start shooting without a range safety brief, so we had one.  Then we started to make “BANG!”.

Lets Roll…

Lynn ankle deep in water setting up a target stand.

I invited an old friend Otto to come shoot with me who brought some interesting stuff.  The piece I like the most was a Swiss Schmidt-Rubinn rifle.  Its not to be confused with the Swiss K31, which while similar and based on it, is a later variant and not as good as the original according to Otto. The unique thing about these rifles is the bolt is a straight pull design as opposed to the rotating bolt used on the Mauser type actions so common during that era.

Getting a few rounds downrange on the Schmidt-Rubin…very nice rifle…got to hand it to the Swiss, they know quality.

I shot the M1…a lot.  Matter of fact I spent more time shooting that than anything else.  Something just clicked with me and it and I started to get it to shoot where I wanted it to put rounds every time I pulled the trigger.  I went through 2 full bandoliers which is only 96 rounds, but when you have a full power .30-06 Springfield shooting against your shoulder is a lot to manage.  I also got it on with the AR to “cure” my slipstream permanent treatment and reaffirm my zeroes on it (iron and Eotech)…and to have fun.  Somehow I only managed to shoot about 300 rounds through it…I was surprised on how much ammo I took home with me.   Shot the Ruger 10/22 also, got some good, cheap fun out of it…at 25 meters it’s a lot of fun to put different targets out there with it and challenge yourself.

The M1 and a bunch of empty .30-06 cartridges lying empty beside it…the AR awaits in the on deck circle….

 

I shot a crap load of 9mm.  As surprised with how much .223/5.56 I brought home I was just as shocked with the fact that (other than my personal defense ammo) I shot all of my 9mm rounds…that was about 450 of them in total.  I did put 3 full boxes (150 rounds) through my Ruger LC9 without issues again and find now that the trigger is actually quite easy to use for me at 7 – 10 yards and keep them in the center mass of my target.  Sure, they are not all going to fit into an quarter…but this gun was designed for CCW use at close range.   As a side note I have been carrying it a lot and now am thinking the LCP may be in danger of being permanently replaced…hmmmmm.  I also fired the Glocks a lot and let other shoot them as well.  The G19 still stands as my favorite Glock to own and shoot…something about it that is just perfect.  The G26 comes in a close second…especially when I shoot 30 rounds through it…..

My personal area denial system…

 

I suggested we had a “cold bore” shoot as a contest.  Each shooter got one shot at a 200 meter bull with a rifle that had sat unfired for 30 minutes at a minimum.  Closest shot won and got a certificate as well as will get to hold onto a plaque (as soon as I can get one made!) until the next shoot.  It was a good idea and I think everyone enjoyed it, just need to tighten up the set up for next time.

Jim…winner of the 1st Annual Cold Bore shoot!

 

All in all it was a great couple of days.  Really looking forward to going back again in the fall.