Thursday, June 30, 2005

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

via:CDR Salamander--- Paul Wolfowitz's farewell to the Troops

I can not imagine how he goes about finding stuff like this but Cmdr. Sal has found this thank you letter to all in uniform from Wolfowitz to the troops

O 131600Z MAY 05

CDR Salamander

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Two LAR War Pigs in search of Thugs near Akashat

Photos by: Lance Cpl. Zachary W. Lester

"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," Mr. Rove, the senior political adviser to President Bush, said at a fund-raiser in Midtown for the Conservative Party of New York State. Posted by Hello

Bravo 4th LAR war pig Posted by Hello

Friday, June 24, 2005

Two LAR in Zegra, Kosovo June '99.  Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Goood Mooorinnning, Vietnam!!!!!

"It's alive! It's alive!" After thirty years and one visit here by Vietnam's Prime Minister Phan Van Khai and we are going back to Vietnam with technical, medical and lanuage support. Well, its one two three four what are fightin stop is Vietnam. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Thugs on Thugs, Aka Red on Red Taking out the competion Chicago Style via: New York Times

Marines keeping watch near the Syrian border have been watching thugs mortar each other. Apparently, there has been a split in the family of thuggies. What family doesn't have it's arguments. HEH.
Marines See Signs Iraq Rebels Are Battling Foreign Fighters - New York Times

LESSONS LEARNED VIA:BLACKFIVE:USMC Machine Gunners ideas for GETTING combat ready BEFORE entering thug-country

Listen Up!

Must read info via Blackfive from a Sgt inside thug-country. Read,
discuss and pass on. Further excellent scoop available from B5. Check it out. One sentence knocks me out:"The M-16 is prone to jams" Say WHAT!!! After 30 years!

"Sergeant Major,
This took a little while to put together, and is written mainly from the point of view of a machine gunner (O331) in a line platoon, with input from other Wpns Platoon Marines, however there are many subjects that have a broad usage:


New joins [personnel transfers] need to arrive at the unit sooner. The trend seems that the majority of the new joins a unit receives arrive after the majority of the "senior Marines" (NCOs and other small unit leaders [SUL]) depart from the unit. If the new joins arrived earlier there would be more time to train them, pass on knowledge and lessons learned. This goes hand in hand with more ammo for training. A firefight in a MOUT environment [Military Operations Urban Terrain] against drugged up insurgents is not the place to discover Pfc Smith needs to work on his shoulder pressure and manipulation of the T&E [Traverses and Elevates machine gun on a tripod]. Training also needs to be more realistic. Safety is important, but it shouldn't detract from the training as often as it does. For example; when a unit does a machinegun shoot on Camp Lejeune, they generally line up on the berm with about 15-20 ft of space between them. The shoot is static, and well planned. Most small unit leaders in the section are taught that quite possibly in the defense their gun teams could be 100 meters apart (toward the flanks of the rifle platoon). However, they never get to practice this live fire. In a firefight an NCO and SUL will resort to their training and comfort level.....they will keep their gun teams in close because that is all they've experienced. Having the guns that close is dangerous, they are a high priority target, and they are close enough that one grenade, RPG [Rocket Propelled Grenades], mortar round etc, placed between them will most likely have an effect on both gun teams. Marines should also be given the opportunity to fire their weapons unconventionally in training i.e. shooting a M240G [link to description] from the hip. Marines have had to do that in the narrow streets of Al Fallujah.... this should not be the first time they've experienced this.

More live fire MOUT exercises are needed.... with combined arms....machineguns, SMAW (with spotting rifle on pop up or stationary targets) [link to description], SAWS [link to description], M203 [link to description].... too often the only training that is done is with an M16. Once "in country" Marines need to be able to have the opportunity to train {live fire} with other supporting units, i.e. the Iraqi Special Forces. They should not just meet, do a few combat patrols and then end up in Block 3 combat. Respect, Rapport and TRUST, need to be earned. The Marines and the ISF both need time to learn each other's strengths, weaknesses and SOPs [Standard Operating Procedures], the same as it is expected when Marines join new units... train together, fight together. Also, more training with SIM rounds are needed rather than blanks. Blanks lead to bad habits, and M240Gs do not like to fire them. They also tend to cause burrs in the barrels when the tips blow apart. We need a lot more live fire training. Live fire is the closest thing to combat.


First and Foremost : Reduce weight! Some way some how, the gear needs to be made lighter; this is life and death. The average grunt is swamped with weight. Take a T/O MG team, generally they are issued 1000 rounds per gun. At 7lbs per 100 rounds, that is an additional 70lbs that needs dispersed through the team, and 9/10 times the gunner only carries 100 rnds leaving the remaining 63 lbs to be split between 2 people, and this is in the rare occasion that the gun team is T/O [Task Organized - meaning a team working with a different unit than the one it trained with]. Also consider that they have a 6.6lb spare barrel, flak, Kevlar, two ceramic plates, the team leader and ammo bearer have M16s with 7 magazines, grenades, maybe even PRRs [radios], water, chow, personal night vision, night vision for the crew serves (anpvs 17, and paz 13), additional items prescribed by the unit, and may even be ordered to bring their tripod, T&E with flex mount, and remaining SL3 gear. The rifleman are also tasked with a lot... the personal gear mentioned above, as well as extra SAW, machinegun ammo, extra mortar rounds, extra SMAW rockets, breaching kits, AT4s [anti-tank rocket]....this list goes on. Ounces equal pounds, and pounds equal pain. This is not good when Marines need to move quickly in a combat situation, and the extreme weight reduces their fluidity.

The Wiley X eye protection is a good idea, however the Sunglasses should be issued rather than the Goggles that are currently issued. The sunglasses fit more comfortably, and allow more air to the eye area. The goggles trap sweat and are more prone to fogging, and more likely to attract dirt that obstructs vision. Many Marines end up buying Oakleys, the Wiley X sunglasses or another similar product on their own. The strap on knee pads are good, but an improvement would be to have a pair that flex more, and can better mold to the knees so they stay in place. Keep the digital pattern, return to the rip-stop material. The new cammies do not hold up at all. Instead of rips, they wear…They wear holes through them and begin to fall apart. The stitching is low quality. The seams above the knees, and at the crotch just inexplicably come un-done. The rip-stop generally only tore when caught on something (concertina wire being the biggest culprit), but tore at right angles, and were easier to mend. The fabric itself stood up to the abuse a lot better as well. The new suede boots are also shoddy. They tend to fray and the outer layer rubs off, and they stain easily and look terrible in garrison as well. They are heavier and bulkier than the old style black jungles as well. The black jungle boots were also easier to "break in" and therefore a lot more comfortable. Besides, the "no press no shine" took a lot of fun out of being a Marine.

Gear to fit. By this I mean Marines should have somewhat of a choice with gear, particularly with packs. Make the pattern the same but give the Marine a choice. The Mountain Ruck is good for Marines that are shorter, for taller Marines it sits, and digs into their kidneys. The Vector pack is better for taller Marines because it disperses the weight, for shorter Marines it hangs too low. I have not had a chance to use the new SALLE pack, but the general consensus is that the MOLLE pack is JUNK.

PRRs are good, one is needed for every team (if one is given to every Marine the net will become clogged, this is already a borderline problem). A small light weight squad radio with UHF/VHF capability is best. The MBTR is good, but it needs to be more durable, and able to better hold a signal.

Weapons and Ammunition

The M16 is prone to jams. I can personally attest that I kept my weapon properly cleaned and lubed yet with in ten minutes I had two jams that required Remedial Action in Al Fallujah. Also the round is too fast, too small, and too stabilized. It can not compete with the 7.62 fired by Warsaw pact weapons. H&K makes a nice G3 (a NATO weapon, the Norwegians have it). It is nice to say that the M16 can fire out to 500 meters, however generally the distance we need in combat is significantly shorter, especially in MOUT. These problems/complaints are not new. They've been around since Vietnam. At the very least the changes in Ammo are needed.

The M9 pistol.....the same reason the Marine Corps originally instituted the 1911 is the very same reason we still need the .45 MORE STOPPING POWER [Blackfive shouts "Hell YEAH!"], nothing has changed. If a Marine needs to rely on his side arm #1 something went wrong, so #2 he needs a bit more than the 9mm.

Armor piercing [AP] rounds....I have never even laid eyes on it for the M240G. Our current enemies like to use VBIED [Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device], personally I would feel more comfortable shooting at a vehicle laden with explosives if I had AP rounds. Also, the buildings "over there" tend to be constructed with brick, mortar, and rebar. We need more penetrating power.

Brighter tracer rounds, in Fallujah we needed to use tracers to guide Tank main gun rounds to the target, this only works if they can see the traces....tracer incendiary rounds would be best because they are dual purpose. The mark the target, as well as explode on target.

SMAW rockets with hardened tips, maybe depleted uranium? I pray I never see another SMAW rocket bounce. In Fallujah our assault men tried to blow a hole through a wall (outside of the 17m combat firing distance prescribed in the references) and it bounced....back towards us.

The M240G (or implement another style medium machinegun) needs to be made more applicable to MOUT. There is rarely time or the place to set up on the tripod during an assault, and not always an immediate position to lay in on the bipods that can still target 2+ story buildings. Reduced recoil and better hand guards (for BOTH barrels, a barrel change should be just that; without having to switch the hand guards [which are rare to begin with]) are a good start.

M203 grenade launchers need to be organic to machine gunners, at least one per team, so that dead space can be covered. The riflemen are supposed to provide security, but they are also seldom T/O, and this detracts from their other responsibilities as well.

A MARS-V reflex sight with magnification power would be a good piece of gear. It would take the place of an A-COG and PEQ2 ...less weight.

Stronger hand grenades. The insurgents in Iraq like to inject themselves with adrenaline. The casualty radius of our current grenades is insufficient.


I would like to see machinegun teams in a line company move to teams of four rather than the current three.

As it is now, there is a Squad leader in charge of two guns. In those gun teams there is a team leader responsible for: relaying info to/from the squad leader, giving corrections to the gunner, assisting in barrel changes and reloads, and also identifying targets. The gunner: employs the gun, changes barrels, and reloads. The ammunition bearer caries ammo, the remaining SL3 gear, and provides local security. If a new billet were developed...the "Assistant gunner" He should be a Corporal or an experienced Lance Corporal. He would take the team leader's place next to the gunner, but the team leader would be free to relay commands from the squad leader and spot targets. The squad leader would maintain overall responsibility for the employment of the squad. This would be especially handy when the guns are spread out a large distance, and would take the strain off of the squad leader. This would also help disperse some of the weight the gun squad is required to carry and make the individual team more sufficient in the fog of war. The team leader would be a more senior/experienced Corporal, and the squad leader would remain a Sgt or the Most experienced Cpl in the squad.

Sgtmaj, I appreciate your time reading this e-mail. I thank you for the opportunity to be heard. I tried to not be overly critical of our current resources knowing that they are not unlimited. Any improvement is a big step in our capabilities. Thank you again."

Semper Fidelis,

[name removed]

Posted by Blackfive | June 20, 2005 in Military | Permalink BLACKFIVE: Marine Sergeant's Thoughts, Concerns and Recommendations

Ouch!  Posted by Hello

Monday, June 20, 2005

1st Lt. Thomas E. Cogan, awarded the Silver Star for actions as the
executive officer for Company E, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment.
On April 6, 2004, 2nd Platoon was ambushed by enemy forces while moving to reinforce a heavily engaged unit. With total disregard for his personal safety, Cogan led his platoon across a fire-swept field and directed fire. Though caught in the crossfire, he exposed himself to direct fire in order to cross an open field and position himself to direct fires on the enemy. His actions enabled the company command element to move to safety. After consolidating his platoon, Cogan led his men through a fierce, three-hour, house-to-house assault that destroyed remaining enemy forces in his zone of action. Posted by Hello

Sunday, June 19, 2005

USMC tank and crew watching the Syrian border near Husaybuh
Happy Father's Day, Marines. Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Light Posting since last since last week. Sure

Our youngest rug rat graduated from college last week with a degree in Journalism and so we caught the red eye to Podunk, Idaho to witness the great event for what was supposed to be a easy out Friday night and back Monday morning flight. When we landed the pilot discovered the ground crew had grown tired of waiting and went home for the weekend and so he and the co-pilot unloaded our baggage while I wondered how the pilots were able to leave the cockpit w/o opening the passenger door. Someone finally brought the passenger ladder and the steward opened the door and wished us all a good night and get out. I resisted the temptation to ask the LOL inquiry of "did we land or were we shot down". Just as well, 48 hours later when we tried to embark again the same pilot informed us that we were grounded as a certain Kid with a giant wad of bubble gum had sabatoged the jet and we were not going anywhere. Despite pleas from the passengers that we could all hold our pee for one hour and 24 minutes the pilot refused to take any chances and of course all 80 passengers missed their connecting flights. Someone , higher up the food chain, realized they were going to have to foot the breakfast and hotel bill for 80 angry passengers while the sabatoge was corrected and ordered the pilot to take off immediately without a working toilet. Big deal, we thought, that was our idea from the first get-go now it was too late to catch our connecting flights. Genius! As we disembarked through the gate at the next airport I heard the flight attendent announce "passsengers on flight 123 to San Antonio are encouraged to go to toilet now as your passenger jet does not have a working toilet." Oh yead, we got back Wednesday.

The first woman to received the Silver Star since WWII is Sgt. Hester who, along with her team, broke a thuggie ambush on a civilian convoy last March.
European and Pacific Stars & Stripes Posted by Hello

Derek Foss, a firefighter with the Southern Manatee Fire and a Corporal with the USMC Reserves, is headed to Djibouti, Africa, to provide security for the base there. His first tour of duty was in Iraq in 2003. Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Zarqawi thuggie aide captured

Abu Talha, number one thuggie aide to Zarqawi, has been captured without a fight in a quiet neighborhood in Mosul. Reports on Abul stated that he wore a sucide vest all the time and would never surrender. However, when Iraqi and US forces arrived to put the handcuffs on him he came along quietly. Last March the Iraqi government said that 11 of Zarqawi thug aides were captured seven were killed and Abu Talha was the number one thug on the hit parade. Not anymore.

Top Zarqawi aide captured in Iraq's Mosul: US - Yahoo! News

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

From Across The Fruited Plain:LAR Iraq Marine on Rush sounds off to Charlie Rangel

LAR Marine Robert responded, earlier this week on the Rush Limbaugh radio show to a comment by Rangel on getting captured by thuggies.
RANGEL: As a former combat soldier in Korea, I just want you to know that there's no question in my mind that every American that is fighting is worried to death how they're going to be treated because of the way the enemy believes we're treating their prisons.

From Across The Fruited Plain: Iraq Marine Responds to Charlie Rangel

Friday, June 10, 2005

"Always be: Polite, Professional, and Prepared to Kill. That is the world we live in. " Major K Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Marine Corps Moms: HARD Fighting Marines

Marine Corps Moms: HARD Fighting Marines: "LtCol Jurney's philosophy of leadership for his 1/6 Marines:

My personal leadership philosophy can be captured in one phrase 'Lead by Example.' When in charge, take charge. Lead from the front and by example. All values and ethical behavior for leading Marines stem from this basic position. When maintaining the standard in both our words and our deeds we consistently establish clear standards of what is expected. Time gets wasted when a leader sends mixed signals. Our actions must support our words. To lead by example is to tell our Marines what the standards are; why the standards are important and how the standards will accomplish the mission and save lives on the battlefield. Personal example is the strongest and most persuasive tool in our leadership kit bag. I expect every member of this command to embrace this simple philosophy, and 'walk their talk' to garner the loyalty and respect from those with which we have the honor to serve.

Tenets of 1/6 'HARD':

Marine leaders in 1/6 should always be doing one of two things;
leading their Marines in combat or preparing their Marines for combat. Nothing is more fundamental to war fighting excellence than a solid base of character. We must have trust and confidence in one another’s actions and commitments:
# HONESTY If you say you are going to do something, do it.
# ACTION If you see something is wrong, fix it.
# RESPECT If you want to be treated well, treat others well.
# DUTY If you put the mission and the welfare of those with which you serve first… then our team will be second to none."

Summer is here and this hard working "war pig" is taking a break at the beach, today. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

"Whose your enabler these days..." taking down the mid-level thuggies

The war effort focus is to take out the mid-level managment level. according to a WashTimes article this morning. "...more emphasis on killing, capturing or discouraging midlevel operators who enable top al Qaeda leadership to function." " ultimately win the war is to take down the lower-level operators who form the networks that support Osama bin Laden and scores of other al Qaeda lieutenants around the world." Of course, that still all the enablers who run their mouth w/o facts to support their claims.

Pentagon takes aim at rank and file of al Qaeda - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics - June 07, 2005

Monday, June 06, 2005

This dude is the head of Amnesty International who says he really doesn't know what he is talking about but since it is about Guantanamo, hey, he is going to run his mouth anyway after all he has his rights and if he wants to lie he can. The secretary-general has called the terrorist prison run at a U.S. military base in Cuba a "gulag." As in "soviet evil empire" when 20 million people could be offed with out squat one from the lefties. Posted by Hello

An stateside LAV-25 "WAR PIG" all cleaned up for the photographer. Posted by Hello

Sunday, June 05, 2005

from the spin zone at Posted by Hello

Michael Yon is in Dohuk, Northern Iraq where the war is over. "A visit to this place affords more than a break from the rugged routine of war; it also provides a postcard of a possible future for all of Iraq." Lots more photos at his Posted by Hello

US M242
Technical Summary
Caliber: 25 mm NATO
Firearm action: Chain gun
Manufactured by: ATK
Barrel Length: 85.6 in (2.175 m)
Effective Range: 1.2 miles (2 km)
Maximum Range: 4.23 miles (6,800 m)
Maximum ROF: 200 Rounds/Minute
Muzzle velocity: 3,609 ft/s (1,100 m/s)
Total Weight: 242.5 lb (110 kg)

The M242 Bushmaster is a 25 mm chain gun. It is currently used by the US Armed Forces and other NATO forces. It is used extensively on vehicles and aircraft.

It is an externally powered, chain driven, single-barrel weapon which may be fired in semi-automatic or automatic modes. It is fed by a metallic link belt and has dual-feed capability. The term "chain gun" derives from the use of a roller chain that drives the bolt back and forth.

It can destroy lightly armored vehicles, aerial targets (such as helicopters and slow-flying aircraft). It can also suppress enemy positions such as troops in the open, dug-in positions, and built-up areas. The standard rate of fire is 200 rounds per minute, and has a range of 2,000 meters (depending on the type of ammunition used). Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 04, 2005

'We have ruled the world before, and by Allah, the day will come when we will rule via:The Volokh Conspiracy - -

The Volokh Conspiracy - -:
"The Sermon on Palestinian Authority Television

in which Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris says the following is now available in video and audio, with English subtitles; readers who speak Arabic can then check the translation for themselves:

'With the establishment of the state of Israel, the entire Islamic nation was lost, because Israel is a cancer spreading through the body of the Islamic nation, and because the Jews are a virus resembling AIDS, from which the entire world suffers.

'You will find that the Jews were behind all the civil strife in this world. The Jews are behind the suffering of the nations. . . .

'We have ruled the world before, and by Allah, the day will come when we will rule the entire world again. The day will come when we will rule America. The day will come when we will rule Britain and the entire world -– except for the Jews. The Jews will not enjoy a life of tranquility under our rule, because they are treacherous by nature, as they have been throughout history. The day will come when everything will be relived [likely relieved -EV] of the Jews — even the stones and trees which were harmed by them. Listen to the Prophet Muhammad, who tells you about the evil end that awaits Jews. The stones and trees will want the Muslims to finish off every Jew.'"
OK, Dude. Don't say you didn't get the word.

Second Marine Division discovers Thug Lair

A pretty good size thug lair complete with AC and high tech military gear as well as night vision scopes were found inside a underground bunker as big as a quarter of the Empire State building. No thuggies were found inside the bunker cut from a rock quarry in Karmh, west of Baghdad. The rooms inside the fully furnished bunkers are a renter's dream that included a kitchen with a fully loaded pantry, showers, AC, weapons such as machine guns mortars, rockets, artillery rounds and ammunition.

The Washington Times: AP

A very young protester in Baku, Azerbaijan knows precisely what he wants to tell Dubya. Posted by Hello

Via:From My Position... On the way!: Land Mines and Ass Whoopings

Create your own rut and mad dog thugs will install a land mine.
From My Position... On the way!: Land Mines and Ass Whoopings: "I had an interesting day. I went on another patrol, but this one got pretty interesting right off the bat. We were walking through a palm grove—just looking around—and I looked about 3 feet to my right and saw a land mine. It's called a vs1.6—you can see it here:

So I see this mine. And immediately look at my feet. (Not making the connection that if I already stepped on a mine, I'd not have any feet). I pointed it out it to my driver. I said 'Hey, isn't that a mine?'

Well, we cordoned off the area and swept for more mines as some of the boys
prepped it for demolition. About 30 minutes later, I'm 50 yards away
talking to one of my platoon sergeants, and I find ANOTHER mine. Same kind, but this one is about 15 feet away, under a piece of cinderblock. It's been positioned near the road we're patrolling on, where a BFV had been sitting a few days ago. Since Americans tend to be lazy and visit the same spot, Haji will put mines there for the next time we come.

Again, I look at my feet before saying 'Hey, isn't that a mine?' We blew them both up and went about our business. The weird thing about all this was how normal it all seemed. I didn't get excited, just went about doing my job. I guess it'll all end up as part of my PTSD later."

"War Pig" { LAV-25} in a sea of tan sand w/defenders of freedom and democracy. Posted by Hello
".....And the promise of a return to the eighth century has always had an appeal limited to a few thousand pampered elites, like Osama bin Laden, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri or Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. These losers figured they might become Saladins if they convinced an Arab populace the Jews and America, not their own corrupt regimes, kept them poor. Now they are reduced to ranting about the evils of freedom and democracy. " Victor Davis Hanson

DefenseLINK News: Americans Have Confidence in Military...Gallup Poll

DefenseLINK News: Military Tops Public Confidence List in New Gallup Poll: "The poll, conducted between May 23 and 26, involved telephone interviews with a randomly selected sample of 1,004 people 18 and older, Gallup officials said. Those surveyed expressed strong confidence in the military, with 42 percent expressing 'a great deal' of confidence in the military and 32 percent, 'quite a lot' of confidence. Eighteen percent said they have 'some' confidence, 7 percent, 'very little,' and 1 percent, 'none.'

Public confidence in the military jumped following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has remained consistently high, Gallup officials noted. The 2002 survey reflected a 13 percent increase in confidence in the military over the previous year's poll. The public expressed a 79 percent high-confidence rate in the military in 2002, an 82 percent rate in 2003, and a 75 percent rate in 2004.

This year's 74 percent confidence level exceeded that of all 15 institutions included in the 2005 survey. Police ranked second, with 63 percent of responders expressing 'a great deal' or 'quite a lot' of confidence in them. Organized religion rated third, with 53 percent of responders expressing high confidence, and banks rated a 49 percent high-confidence rate."

Friday, June 03, 2005

Lt Pantano Resigns. Posted by Hello

Lt Ilario Pantano submitted his letter of resignation on Wednesday, and is announcing it today at a fish fry in Wilmington, given to honor the volunteers of the American Legion and Congressman Walter Jones for their support during his case. Details at Euphoria

Hang on to your Losers... Army's Answer to Manpower Shortage By Phillip Carter and Owen West

This is Army's answer to keeping up with the manpower quotas. Keep the losers. Keep the trouble makers, gold bricks, dirt bags, skaters, and squad leaders of the don't give a damn brigade. If you live long enough you get to see everything twice. Keeping the losers was not the answer in the 70's when the Marine Corps saw the light and let go 6000 of these bad boys and it beats me how the Army now thinks that sweet talk and incentives will help with shortages. As this article states, the true "warrior class is small" but it is powerful and faithful. The tip of the spear, the warriors, need to have more attention and incentives directed towards reenlistment. The men who have the guts to go toe to toe with mad dog thugs, to preserve our cherished freedoms, deserve the best our budgets can provide not lame brain proposals recycled from the 70's round file.

"This new retention directive represents a regression by the Army, from the vaunted all-volunteer force of today back in the direction of the all-volunteer force of the 1970s, when drug use, race riots, and AWOL incidents were common among all services. The Marine Corps Historical Branch traces its own severe spiral to 'the end of the draft and the pressure of keeping up the size of the Marine Corps. In the process, a number of society's misfits had been recruited.' By 1975, the corps had so decayed that newly appointed Commandant Lewis Wilson sought permission from Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger to implement a radical personnel proposal: Push the authority to discharge unworthy Marines down to the battalion level. Under the 'expeditious discharge program,' commanders quickly cut 6,000 undesirables, sending a message that reverberated throughout the military, paving the way for the subsequent military performance surge credited to President Reagan.
Now the Army intends to reverse the policy, implying that battalion commanders are not able to weigh the needs of the total force against those of their units. By the time a soldier reaches the discharge point, the officers above him have already invested a great deal of rehabilitative effort. Forcing units to keep these troops—and indeed, to take them to war—puts a very heavy rock in the rucksack of any field commander who must now balance managing these subpar performers with his mission and the needs of his unit.

It does not have to be this way. While faced with an unprecedented personnel squeeze, the military has a golden opportunity to implement structural reforms so it can better face the challenges of the 21st century.
The services must shift the manpower priority from recruiting to retention. The fact that the Navy and Air Force have consistently met their recruiting quotas in the face of a global war demonstrates that there is no shortage of young Americans willing to join the military. Shouldering a rifle in the mountains of Tora Bora or on Fallujah's streets is a different story, however. Though the Army and Marines have to recruit less than a quarter of 1 percent of the eligible population each year, they are finding that America's warrior class is small. 'There's a difference between those who want some life experience and those who want to fight,' says a Marine recruiter. 'And most of [the latter] sign up anyway.' The focus should be on retaining those who gravitate to the tip of the spear instead of coercing those more comfortable with service than soldiering."

Quantico Marines of 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion display their light armored vehicles Fleet Week in New York

The New York USO came to sing for the "war Pigs" and Sgt. Jason Ehlers was forced to participate in the festivities. Posted by Hello

4th LAR Marines gave tours of the "War Pigs" last Sunday in New York. Posted by Hello