Archive Logo.jpg

January 29, 2005


Wanna do some Googlefights? I did!

Here's some results:

Wahabist vs Rumsfeld.

Castle Argghhh! vs Indepundit. Ouch.

Castle Argghhh! vs Dean's World. Ouch again, but not as hard.

Let's pick on someone easy.

Castle Argghhh! vs Villainous Company Whew! Closer than I like, however.

Donovan vs Tuttle Hah! Smackdown!

Okay, let's make that last one a little fairer:

The Armorer vs cw4billt. Hee hee hee.

All right, one more. John of Argghhh! vs Cassandra Uh oh... wench is *everywhere*!

Remember how Google works, people. It's searching on words. So if you use multiple words, enclose 'em in quotation marks to get the phrase, or you'll get a combined result that adds all the word hits together.

One last try... John vs Cassandra. Ahhhhhh. That's much better!

Hat tip - the blogfather...

Keeping our fingers crossed here at the Castle.

It is now dusk in Baquba, a city that lies thirty-five miles Northeast of Baghdad, along the edge of the Sunni Triangle. The streets are quiet. Vehicular traffic has been banned today, a curfew is due to come into effect soon after dark. Mothers hurry home from the markets. Children scurry to keep up with them. Election posters cling to the walls and streetlights. The city is filled with expectations. The vast majority of the people realize what is at stake here. They are ready to cast their ballots tomorrow, to elect representatives who will govern them and craft a new constitution for their nation. They are eager to write a new chapter in the history of their country. Meanwhile, the enemies of freedom lurk in the dark alleyways of this city. Domestic and foreign terrorists lie in wait. They fear not only the outcome of the vote, but the very process itself. They want to halt the inexorable march of freedom. They may try to disrupt the voting. No matter what happens tomorrow, they are doomed to failure in the long run. The elections will take place, the citizens of Baquba will cast their ballots. The transformation of Iraq is about to commence. Still, this is not the end of the beginning; nor the beginning of the end; it is the beginning of the beginning. Sunday will mark the first step on the long road to political and moral recovery in Iraq – and in the region. When the sun rises, the people will speak.

As the elections get underway in Iraq. I'm not going to blog it much - not because I don't care, but because there are other people out there who will do it much better than I.

My job was to kill people, break things, control what's left - then turn it back over to the politicians and diplomats. Of course, nothing is that simple - but I know the difference between an opinion and an informed opinion. I don't feel in this issue, my opinion on this subject, as a blogger, is informed enough to pontificate.

But I want this to succeed, even knowing it won't necessarily produce a strong friend and ally in the region. But if the Iraqis will seize the day, and move forward - then this will have been worth it. That, and the 1400+ other times that scene has played out these last 2 years.

So - in addition to all the Usual Suspects® for that stuff (Michele, Wizbang, Dean, Blackfive, Smash, LGF, INDC, Malkin, Reynolds, Jawa Report, Backcountry Conservative - fill-in-the-blank MSM outlet, heck, I'll bet KOS will have something interesting, especially if things go badly), I'll just offer up these lists of blogs from people on the ground:

Greyhawk and his list.

Live From Baghdad.

Spirit of America.

Friends of Democracy.

Well, people of Iraq - you have a chance to change history. You can move forward, into the light, or backwards, back to the Darkness promised by al-Zarqawi and bin Laden. Remember - Who Dares, Wins. During the election, you can all be The Man in the Arena, and help birth a new chapter in the history of the region. And, despite what people think - it doesn't mean you have to be American lackeys, either.

The Man in the Arena? From Teddy Roosevelt's speech to the Sorbonne, Paris, France, April 23, 1910. I've got this etched in metal hanging on my wall - it has been my favorite quote for as long as I can remember - it hung in my office wherever I commanded or led. It's why I was a jock, and a soldier - and why I have such trouble any more watching sports, or TV coverage of the war - I always itch to be In The Arena. Hell, I irked my O/C bosses at the National Training Center - it's how I opened the AARs I led, they took it as a criticism of O/Cs (of which I was one) - I used it to point out to the unit that the only person who is going to solve the problems I helped them to discover was themselves... the Man in the Arena.

From Memory:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Mike at Cold Fury sums up the whole thing nicely.

And, as Alan of GenX@40, the Castle's resident Designated Token Lefty (DTL) points out: There are even some people helping on the QT who just might surprise you.

Well, let's just hope they are right.

Hey - I said "not pontificate," not that I wouldn't be all wordy!

January 28, 2005

Word from the Front.

I don't need to add anything.

IED Fragment.jpg

On 10 JAN 05, the M1114 I was driving was struck by an IED while patrolling in Samarra. The IED consisted of a command detonated 155mm artillery round laid beside the road. The round was detonated between my up armored HMMWV and a Nissan pickup truck carrying Iraqi army soldiers. Both vehicles were within ten meters either side of the blast origin. Two of the IA were killed and one wounded. A fragment weighing approximately two pounds struck the windshield directly in front of my face. The frag penetrated nearly all the way through actually splitting the Lexan last layer and spraying glass fragments all the way to the wall behind the rear seat. The impact knocked my hands off of the steering wheel and stuck glass frags in my face. The gunner was riding low between his side shields and had his helmet gouged.

Because of the up armored HMMWV, I am able to write this note today. Because of eye protection, I am able to see the keyboard to write this note. Because of proper training, I was able to function after the blast and exit the kill zone positioning the vehicle to cover the recovery operations. The other soldiers in the vehicle and behind us were able to render first aid, return small arms fire and evacuate the casualties and damaged equipment.

It is our responsibility as officers and senior NCOs to ensure we have done everything in our power to properly train, equip and lead our subordinates. No detail is too minor. No training unimportant. That day, another major used combat life saver skills to keep a wounded soldier alive. A staff sergeant coordinated a QRF over the radio. A captain operated the .50cal machine gun. You never know what exact job you will actually have to perform when the time comes. Stress this to all your soldiers. Be prepared to do everything you have been trained to do competently, immediately and without hesitation. Your own or someone else life may depend on it.

Your soldiers must be mentally prepared to overcome fear and anxiety, to face adversity day after day. Two days earlier, I was in the same M1114 when two 155mm rounds were detonated less than three feet from the passenger side door I was sitting on the other side of. The enemy had not been properly trained and did not properly em-place the rounds. The blast went straight up. Proper training and preparation allowed us to react to the ambush, exit the kill zone, and effectively return fire against the enemy. Your soldiers must be mentally prepared to face adversity day after day and to overcome fear and anxiety.


If you are not doing it start today, right now.

MAJ Pete Mucciarone

M1114 IED insideweb.jpg

No, I don't know MAJ Mucciarone. It came to me via the Old Soldier's Network. But note the *absence* of a urine stain on the driver's seat. I'm not sure that would have been true had I been in it...

Cleaning up some stuff around the BlockHouse

And now for something Completely Different.

See? I told you that math was worth studying! There is a practical application! (Hat tip to CAPT H)

Like with these cool gizmos. We even let Infantry use these... but only with range-restricted weapons.

A little Canadian Content for the day:


1. This article on some Real Canadian Heroes. Ladies and Gentlemen, I say unto you, "Frank Pickersgill and John Kenneth Macalister."

How many men like that are the elite academic programs producing these days?

2. Cleverly written bit (scroll down) on the outcome of a sim-supported exercise (which I'm pretty sure isn't why CAPT H forwarded this, but I liked it). Scroll down to Ex. Virtual Fury 05. Hopefully they'll throw up some updates.


How about pictures of the crunch on the USS San Francisco? It's a testament to the designers, builders, and the vessel's crew that more sailors weren't killed. (Hat tip Bill B)

Over at OTB, a discussion of the disparity in the blog ranking schemes such as TTLB and Technorati. A good explanation of the systems if you've wondered how it works - as well as an explanation for Castle Argghhh!'s still-bizarre-to-me rise to Mortal Human, and a week's staying power there.

As I said in my comment over at OTB - Castle Argghhh!, with it's 1300 or so visitors, is a big fish in a relatively small pond, while many fine blogs below us in the linkage list are in fact large fish in a big pond. Another way to say it is that I'm the Police Chief in Goodland, Kansas - which isn't anywhere near as big a job as Watch Commander in the Rampart Division of the LAPD.

If advertisers are using links as a measure of blog impact when choosing advertising, I think it's a flawed metric except for boutique marketing. Number of unique visitors and pages is a more accurate measure of the exposure of any given blog than the links (which I appreciate, each and every one!)

The Winnah, and a new one.

Okay, no matter how you slice it, no matter that it wasn't *my* favorite caption - I preferred Heartless Libertarian's "Training Day" caption - the winnah is:

(Drum roll provided by the little shooter, since he's a drummer)

Spd Rdr! Whose hoot of a website, the Ebb and Flow Institute, is available here.

For his uncomfortable (and I suspect lots of female vote stuffing)

"Good shooting,lad! Now, try for his left one." (click caption to see picture)

Eeewwww! Anyway, Spd Rdr, I need a snail mail address from ya.

Now that I've got a better handle on this stuff - New Contest. Let's pick on Marines. I know, I know, easy target. Like pushing wheel-chair bound grannies down the steps, or getting Liberals to attend your parties for purpose of mocking merriment by telling them they are planning sessions for separating the Middle Class from their money and giving it to bureaucrats.

Go for it. Hit it with your best shot. And c'mon, people - you lurkers out there need to join in... you could win a Castle Mug or Mousepad. What's not to like? Besides, the Usual Suspects® will probably try to hijack the thread. Last time that spread across blogs like the fight scene in Blazing Saddles!

Keep the profanity to a manageable level and fig leaf it. Don't wanna scare away net-nanny!

After you're done here - go visit Cassandra and take a look at Condi taking the measure of Democrat penii. At least I think that's what she's doing. If not, well, she should be. It's another caption contest for you addicts out there. And of course, don't forget OTB's weekly fling at this metier, or the Great Karnak competition at the Ebb and Flow Institute (blog-home of our most recent winner, spd rdr). Not to mention (oh wait, I did!) the contest over at Conservative Life.

Update: SGT Stryker has a contest, too.

by John on Jan 28, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» Villainous Company links with: Blogjam

January 27, 2005

An omnibus.

1. Whining works.

In a pathetic attempt at more attention, Casey actually emailed a link mentioning his first blogiversery.

Few, alas, paid any attention... {sob}

Okay - go make Casey feel better. Happy Blogiversary, Dude!

2. Smash Spank! Hat tip - Greyhawk (there's other good stuff there to check out, too)!

3. Sgt. B - did yer rifle look like this one (top complete rifle, both pics)?

Or this one? (key point - did it have a patch box in the butt?)

Higher-res of the second rifle here.

4. Funny. Very funny. YMMV.

5. The Caption Contest Run-off. To refresh yourself on the picture, go here.

Update: I dunno if there's a Hosting Matters problem (like another assault on LGF, for example) or if it's the Blog Poll service probem - but it's kiling the page, so I moved it into the Flash Traffic/Extended Post - if ya wanna vote, go there, though the current trend is relatively unchanged from yesterday, according to early exit polls...

Poll temporarily removed for testing purposes.

Poll removed. It was the problem. No matter. Winner tomorrow. New Contest tomorrow. If used, new voting process, too. That one was unreliable. But hey - I'm new at this little slice.

5. BillT wins an honorable mention for his "Most Difficult To Follow Unless You Read Every Comment" omnibus snark.

Joint Filing, Dade County, FL and Medford, OR (UPI): In a pre-emptive move following a flounce of e-mails bouncing cross-country, the League of Perky Pulchritudinous Posters announced that, following seventeen recounts, six electronic enhancements and careful scrutiny by a team of professional chad-counters, the real winner of the Argghhh! Caption Poll was Crickassandristerbeth, with her uproarious entry, "[*ethereal stage whisper*] L-u-u-u-u-u-ke. Use the Farce, L-u-u-ke, ya wee bluidy cretin wha' canna hit a bullock i' tha buttock wi' a T-rifle bat. Have a brownie, L-u-u-u-u-u ke..."

6. Update. Go visit TACJAMMER, he's got a good addition to the "That Settles It" post.

7. Heh. I really like the word 'omnibus' don't I?

Fireflys, Nighthawks, Cobras - Oh my!

Okay, as promised, here's Bill the Rotorhead's technical discussion of the Nighthawk and Firefly aircraft - 'specially useful to any modelers out there.

Have no idea of what I'm talking about? Well, either start here, at this post of a Nighthawk mission - or read this then go to that post!

Better put on another pot of coffee and have Beth crank out some brownies--this is gonna be a l-o-n-g one, cuz the pics need a suitable intro.

Gratuitous disclaimer fer-real: This will send some of the Active types into catatonia, but nothing with regards to Nighthawk and Firefly Hueys was (gasp) standardized--nomenclature, armament configuration, lighting, crew size-- nothing.

That chorus of dull thuds you just heard was the entire Directorate of Evaluation
and Standardization (that word!) at Fort Rucker fainting dead away. Oh, the heresy!

Well, tough. We were writing the book on helicopter utilization in Vietnam; it took lots of editing. When one unit found something that worked, they spread the word and the others either copied it or figured out a variation that fit their circumstances. [N.B. a process now formalized in the Army with the Center for Army Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth. ed.] Plus we improvised a lot, both with what we had on hand--which usually wasn't much, other than people, helicopters and guns (LOTS of guns, John…LOTS)--and what we could trade (or steal) from the Air Force or the Navy. Trading worked best--we always had the toys the other guys wanted for souvenirs and we would be welcomed when we returned; if we stole, we couldn't go back for more.

Do the math.

To begin. In the Stateside Sojer Schoolhouses, the credo was, "We own the day,
but Charlie owns the night." Some unsung aviation genius said, "Bullshit" and
started flying around at night flicking his landing light on over the woods then
shooting back at whatever shot at him. The idea caught on--Firefly and Nighthawk became a real-live mission.

1. Mission nomenclature: Surprise--lots of units used the terms Firefly and
Nighthawk interchangeably (thuds from the DES early-risers).

a. A Firefly mission, very generally, was a Hunter mission; flying around annoying the neighbors with noise and lights--you'd fly blackout into a known or
suspected staging area, rest halt or whatever and turn the night into day with
searchlight(s) and/or flares and see what scurried. If there was enough scurrying, call in the Killers (UH-1Cs or AH-1Gs) loitering about a mile behind and keep the area lit up until one or both sides ran out of ammo or you got shot down. Sometimes a Firefly mission was nothing more than a perimeter sweep at random intervals, checking the wire and dodging cattle egrets (aka “buffalo birds”--didn’t fly worth a hoot when your rotor wash hit them). Bottom line--a Firefly mission was primarily an illumination mission, although the gunners would sometimes get to do a bit of suppressive fire to cover the gun-bunnies in the break.

b. A Nighthawk mission was just the reverse. You were the Hunter-as-Killer; snoop around, light up the area with the xenon and then light up whoever was being naughty with the ordnance. In our outfit, we usually paired with a dedicated Firefly ship, just in case we either needed a lot of light fast, e.g., breaking up an assault on a friendly position, or needed a ride home after an “eventful” mission turned sour. Lotta fun when one of the Guys In Back was using a Starlight scope--ooooh. Bottom line--a Nighthawk mission was primarily an attack mission, although on some nights all you did was bore holes in the sky and provide the VC/NVA with a practical exercise in sleep deprivation.

2. Armament configuration: Surprise--no standardization here, either (more thuds). Good news for model makers wanting to create your own Nighthawk UH-1H: put any freakin’ thing you want on it (within reason--a 4.2” mortar in a Huey is just plain silly), anywhere you want to put it, and SOMEBODY, somewhere, flew that exact configuration. Honest-fer-real.

a. Firefly lighting and armament: the original “spotlight” was a cluster of C-130
landing lights stol--uhhhhhh--obtained from the Air Force and pintle-mounted
immediately behind the right-side pilot’s seat; the lights were adjustable to give
wide-area or narrow beam illumination (see pic 1-Firefly C130 Cluster).

Hi-res for you modelers here.

Got a bit more fun later when we discovered that the xenon searchlight on the
M48s and M60s playing Mobile-Bunker-In-The-Weeds were more compact, brighter and had a (range-limited) IR capability (see pic 1-Firefly Variant). Armament varied, too--we used mounted single M-60Ds, mounted dual M-60Ds and “free” guns hung on a bungee cord from the roof; other outfits stuck a mini next to the light and single or dual M-60Ds on the non-lighted side. Ya pays yer money and ya takes yer choice.

b. Nighthawk lighting and armament: xenon light and mini standard equipment, with anything and everything else you could fit into the cargo bay as options. Where they were placed was pretty much at the discretion of the Aircraft Commander--this one was flown by Mike Austin (see pic 1-Nighthawk Variant) of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade and all the auxiliary goodies are on the left side of the ship. The idea was to throw Edgewood Arsenal in the back and still remain within fore-and-aft CG limits (bumping the cyclic against the stops without having the desired result of slowing the aircraft down made for a very memorable--and sparky--landing). And, of course, all those goodies were totally useless without crew and ammo; crew was either five or six, depending on configuration and ammo was inevitably as much as you could throw on board and still be able to climb to a six-inch hover without overtorquing the bejaysus out of the tranny.

Again, hi-res for your modelers.

Any modelers wishing to make the definitive, official Vulture 16 Nighthawk, here’s how: left side, from front-to-rear, immediately behind the armored seat --Honeywell pintle-mounted 40mm grenade launcher bolted to the floor, twin M-60Ds mounted on the doorgunner’s gun post; right side, from front-to-rear, immediately behind the armored seat--xenon light from an M60 tank, M-134 mini offset attached to the right side of the light, M-2 pintle-mounted to the floor in the crew well. Paint scheme: standard Hubert interior, flat black exterior, upper portion of the synch elevators International orange, one small green equilateral triangle on each side of the tailboom (outlined in flat white--the
triangle, not the tailboom), centered forward of the synch elevator on that side, flat white skid toes, unit patch (see on the nose battery access cover. Crew of six--the usual suspects up front and three gunners and a light operator (oh, okay--he shot the mini, so make it four gunners) with one bench-seat on the forward portion of the transmission and one in each of the crew wells.

Jealous? Heh…

by John on Jan 27, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» Mudville Gazette links with: MILBLOG'S HOME
» Mudville Gazette links with: MILBLOG'S HOME
» Mudville Gazette links with: MILBLOG'S HOME
» Mudville Gazette links with: MilBlogs Archive Jan 05'

January 26, 2005

Haute Cuisine

For those of you who have suffered through C Rations (mmm, green eggs and ham!) and MREs - This story will have a great deal of meaning.

Yes it is true that some of the meals were marked "Not for preflight or in flight use"

I about pi$$ed myself. Anybody know this guy? I got it in an email today. Man, I haven't had Ranger Pudding since that night at Bleidorn Tower when the 8inch had a fuze malfunction 200m overhead. Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!

Chez Ranger

by Frank Rodgers

I had a date the other night at my place. On the phone the day before, the girl asked me to "Cook her something she's never had before" for dinner.

After many minutes of scratching my head over what to make, I finally settled on something she has DEFINITELY never eaten.

I got out my trusty case of MRE's. Meal, Ready-to-Eat. Field rations that when eaten in their entirety contain 3000+ calories. Here's what I made:

I took three of the Ham Slices out of their plastic packets, took out three of the Pork Chops, three packets of Chicken-a-la-King, and eight packets of ehydrated butter noodles and some dehydrated/re-hydrated rice. I cooked the Ham Slices and Pork Chops in one pan, sautéed in shaved garlic and olive oil.

In another pot, I blended the Chicken a-la-king, noodles, and rice together to make a sort of mush that looked suspiciously like succotash. I added some spices, and blended everything together in a glass pan that I then cooked in the oven for about 35 minutes at 450 degrees.

When I took it out, it looked like, well, ham slices, pork chops, and a bed of yellow poop. I covered the tops of the meat in the MRE cheese (kinda like Velveeta) and added some green sprinkly thingys from one of my spice cans (hey, if it's got green sprinkly thingys on it, it looks fancy right?)

For dessert, I took four MRE Pound Cakes, mashed 'em up, added five packets of cocoa powder, powdered coffee cream, and some water. I heated it up and stirred it until it looked like a sort of chunky gelatinous organism, and I sprinkled powdered sugar on top of it.

Voilà--Ranger Pudding.

For alcoholic drinks, I took the rest of my bottle of Military Special Vodka (yes, they DO make a type of liquor named "Military Special"--it sells for $4.35 per fifth) and mixed in four packets of "Electrolytes - 1 each - Cherry flavored" (I swear, the packet says that). It looked like an eerie Kool-aid with sparkles in it (that was the electrolytes I guess... could've been leftover sand from Egypt).

I lit two candles, put a vase of wildflowers in the middle, and set the table with my best set of Ralph Lauren Academy-series China (that sh*t is f*cking EXPENSIVE... my set of 8 place settings cost me over $600), and put the alcoholic drink in a crystal wine decanter.

She came over, and I had some appetizers already made, of MRE spaghetti-with-meatballs, set in small cups. She saw the dinner, saw the food, and said "This looks INCREDIBLE!!!"

We dug in, and she was loving the food. Throughout the meal, she kept asking me how long it took me to make it, and kept remarking that I obviously knew a thing or two about cooking fine meals. She kind of balked at the akeshift "wine" I had set out, but after she tried it I guess she liked it because she drank four glasses during dinner.

At the end of the main course, when I served the dessert, she squealed with delight at the "Chocolate mousse" I had made. Huh? Chocolate what? Okay... yeah... it's Chocolate Moose. Took me HOURS to make... yup.

Later on, as we were watching a movie, she excused herself to use my restroom. While she was in there, I heard her say softly to herself "uh oh" and a resounding but petite fart punctuated her utterance of dismay.

Let the games begin.

She sprayed about half a can of air freshener (Air Freshener, 1 each, Orange scent. Yup. The Army even makes smellgood) and returned to the couch, this time with an obvious pained look.

After 10 more minutes she excused herself again, and retreated to the bathroom for the second time. I could hear her say "What the hell is WRONG with me???," as she again send flatulent shock-waves into the porcelain bowl. This time, they sounded kinda wet, and I heard the toilet paper roll being employed, and again, LOTS more air freshener.

Back to the couch. She smiles meekly as she decides to sit on the chair instead of next to me. She sits on my chair, knees pulled up to her chest, kind of rocking back and forth slightly. Suddenly, without a word, she ROCKETED up and FLEW to the bathroom, slammed the door, and didn't come out for 30 inutes.

I turned the movie up because I didn't want her to hear me laughing so hard that tears were streaming down my cheeks.

She came out with a slightly gray pallor to her face, and said "I am SOOOOOO sorry. I have NO idea what is wrong with me. I am so embarrassed, I can't believe I keep running to your bathroom!!" I gave her an Immodium AD, and she finally settled down and relaxed.

Later on, she asked me again what I had made for dinner, because she had enjoyed it so much. I calmly took her into the kitchen and showed her all the used MRE bags and packets in the trash can.

After explaining to her that she had eaten roughly 9,000 calories of "Army food" she turned stark white, looked at me incredulously, and said "I ate 9,000 calories or dehydrated food that was made 3 years ago?" After I concurred, she grabbed her coat and keys, and took off without a word.

She called me yesterday. Seems she couldn't sh*t for 3 days, and when she finally did, the smell was so bad, her roommate could smell it from down the hall. She also told me she had been working out nonstop to combat the high caloric intake, and that she never wanted me to cook dinner for her again, unless she was PERSONALLY there to inspect the food beforehand.

It was a fun date. She laughed about it eventually, and said that that was the first time she'd ever crapped in a guy's house on a date. She'd been so upset by it she was in tears in the bathroom while I had been in tears on the couch.

I know, I'm an a$$hole, but it was still a funny night.

It may be made up... I dunno. But Those Who Know will certainly find it plausible. Of course, this guy doesn't deserve this woman...

OKay. A moratorium on picking on aviators today.

Somedays, the flight pay doesn't cover the risks.

Heck, I'll even lay off the Marines today.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance. In memoriam.

War Story Time.

*Visitors from Mudville are encouraged to hit the "Main" button and vote in the Caption Contest, and otherwise poke around - whether you are new, or a returning guest.* Welcome - and we've got some funny and serious comment threads running currently!

Bill the Rotorhead told a war story down in a comment stream below. Since I know a lot of people don't read the comments, it's my habit to bring Good Sh*t, especially TINS (war stories - all war stories start out "This Is No Sh*t").

This is Bill's TINS. It sets the hook for you to come back tomorrow - when I'll post the technical side of the story, with pictures. Which is now available here.

So, picture Bill in his leather flight jacket, 'crusher' cap, holding his hands like he was rolling in on a bandit... and instead of "And There I Was" which is Fighter Jock TINS, he says, "...This is no sh*t!"

SangerM - I flew Nighthawk Hueys for five months. TINS (War story), originally printed in FlightFax, March 99, follows; pix available on request.

WARNING: Do not attempt to sip coffee while reading.

The Devil is in the details--

--and sometimes somebody with only your best interests at heart will try to get you killed...

Lord Bulwer-Lytton would have been ecstatic--it really was a dark and stormy night. I won’t bore you with the details of why I was flying a MedEvac scramble in a UH-1H Nighthawk gunship (minigun slaved to a xenon searchlight and a fifty-cal on the right, twin-sixties and a Honeywell grenade launcher on the left, with a crew of six) with my Firefly flareship as Chalk Two, or why we were scudrunning [N.B. - this refers to the meteorological term for clouds - not missiles. ed.] in a monsoon at 500 feet, or why we were flying into “neutral” Cambodia loaded for bear before it was fashionable (or legal) [war criminal!] to do so.

Mere details...

Believe it or not, we actually did manage a flight brief before takeoff and a crew brief enroute--a “sorta-kinda” Jurassic version of AirCrew Coordination, but with a crew of six (four of them heavily armed and unsedated), I didn’t want any solo players. Firefly took up a five-rotor-disk staggered-right after confirming he could see my steady-dims with no problem (no, child, NVG’s hadn’t been invented yet).

Five minutes after Reed Control gave me an initial vector, we were in Lon Nol’s NeverNever Land. I won’t bore you with the details of torrential rain, lightning, turbulence and popping in-and-out of clouds we never did see, or the cheery “Radar contact lost; last observed heading was skrrrk. See you skrrrk you get skrrrk...” call from Reed, or the water leaking from the overhead panel (“It’s okay--it’s only electricity!”), or the intermittent radio contact with our folks on the ground (it made FM-homing a real chore until we finally had visual contact--we could tell where they were by all the green and white tracers converging with all the mortar explosions).

Mere details...

I will, however, bore you with two very important details--my Peter-Pilot’s only previous night flight had been at an Alabama stagefield and his only previous flight in the Land of the Two-Way Gunnery Range had been yesterday’s In-Country Checkout Flight. But earlier in the evening, I observed that he could fly instruments like a ‘Thirties mail pilot. Oh frabjous day!--the Boss had finally paired me up with a copilot who wouldn’t try to kill us in the clouds (the Nighthawker’s equivalent of Br’er Rabbit’s sweetbriar patch).

“Scamper 3, Vulture 16--two inbound, ETA your house in zero-three. Say whiskies (wounded) and how bad. And how close is Chuckie (the bad guys)?” I won’t bore you with the details of how we organized and prioritized the wounded for pickup, or set up our “I’m out, you’re in” racetrack pattern, or our approach crew brief: “Nav lights off, cockpit lights dim; we’re going in full blackout. Stay on the controls with me; if I get capped, you can log AC (Aircraft Commander) for the return trip. You guys in back, negative suppression while we sneak in (hah!--in a Huey?) and full left and right suppression once we’re outbound and clear. The ground-guys are Armored Cav, so keep your eyes peeled for antennas and APC’s!”

As I turned around in my seat to give the lads my trademark boyish grin, I found myself looking at the gunners looking at me looking at them and had a sudden vision of a tree full of owls--and the water leaking from the overhead electrical panel (monsoon, remember?) took a slight detour and began running down the back of my neck.

Mere details...

And now for the part you’ve been so patiently awaiting. At a half-mile out and 200 feet AML (Above Mud Level), the opposition stopped firing into Scamper’s laager and began putting random bursts into the sky. Heh, heh--not even close! One hundred meters out and 75 feet AML and I could see APC’s skulking in the murk. Thirty meters out and 30 feet AML--nice and slow, picking my way through the antennas, raindrops and rice straw beginning to swirl in the rotorwash, the Zippo lighter in the steel pot marking my touchdown spot beginning to flicker...

Question: If you were shooting a night (unaided) approach into an Alabama stagefield, what is the very first thing you would expect your Army aviator copilot to do? Conversely, if you were shooting a night (unaided) approach into the middle of a firefight, what is the very last thing you would expect said Army aviator to do? If you answered, “Turn on the landing light” to both questions, you’re absolutely correct.

Care to guess what my Instrument Ace did?


The troops in the laager nipped back inside their APC’s; the raindrops (yep--still monsooning) and rice straw turned into a million points of light swirling in a million different directions; the bad guys (wide awake and ready to rumble!) reoriented their fires with commendable speed and lovely green basketballs now joined the tumbling mirth of rain and straw two feet from my face--my previously-dark-adapted eyeballs uncaged and I got a screaming dose of vertigo.

I won’t bore you with the details of transitioning to instruments, starting a climbout, transferring the controls to my thoroughly-contrite copilot (“But I thought it’d help you see the antennas!”), making calls to Scamper and Firefly and trying to figure out why the direction “up” had suddenly acquired the gift of bilocation. At least I didn’t have to turn the landing light off, since one of the other team’s superstars thoughtfully shot it out for me--along with my chin bubble.

I won’t bore you with the details of what happened when I disgustedly hollered, “Aw, SHOOT!” and the Fearsome Foursome in the back opened up with full left and right suppression. And I certainly won’t bore you with all the details of our second voyage into the laager to pick up those wounded that Firefly couldn’t extract.

Would a really, really thorough crew brief have reduced the Thrill Factor? Kind’a hard to say--I’d been Nighthawking for months; it would never have occurred to me that a pilot would touch the landing light switch, never mind turn the blasted thing on in a hot LZ.

So just where does ACC come into play here? Well, for starters, how ‘bout “situational-awareness-for-two”--the newbie not being fully-aware of just what “combat zone” really meant and the old guy not being fully-aware of just how unaware a newbie could be.

Oh, yeah, the “halo effect,” too: (“Kid’s great on the instruments--this should be a no-sweat mission.”).

“Sudden loss of judgment” leaps out (hmmm--we may be on to something, here!). Did I make his “comfort zone” a wee bit too comfortable with my “piece of cake” briefing? And then there’s...

Details, details, details...

by John on Jan 26, 2005 | This is no Sh*t!
» Mudville Gazette links with: MILBLOG'S HOME
» Mudville Gazette links with: MILBLOG'S HOME
» Mudville Gazette links with: MILBLOG'S HOME
» Mudville Gazette links with: MilBlogs Archive Jan 05'

January 25, 2005

Get yourselves one of these.

Before you get into the stuff below (some *good stuff* too!) Go vist The Commissar, and consider doing what he asks. I did. It *is* related to the meat of this post. (Hat tip to Bloodspite at Techography for pointing it out) No worries. We'll wait.

The Puddle Pirate at Brainshavings has a bumper sticker for you. The Armorer's Chariot will soon be sporting one.

So should yours!

And on a completely unrelated note... if NZ Bear's 'bots are right... the Castle sits at #20 today, but our traffic holds pretty steady... it looks like absent the Google hits for gun pics, just about every reader we have is a blogger who's linked us. Whew! Talk about inbred! I'm stunned (and suspicious) when we're so high above so many high-traffic blogs, the implication being that bloggers are more impressed with the Castle than they are the high traffic blogs? Heh. It just feels weird to be sitting right on top of Dean's World today.

Lastly - if you've just joined us - we have a Caption Contest and Interservice Rivalry Brawl going on way down there in this post!

Update: Disaffection in the ranks! Grumblings in formation! Mutters behind the BC's back! Graffitti in the latrines! Anonymous 'toons in Army Times!

Does anyone else have something to say on the subject? (While I understand Sanger's point, I still want one of these bumper stickers - call it the contrarian in me.) Keep it polite and on track. Ya wanna rumble in the basement, go hit the caption contest! I wanna see what ya have to say, and not prejudice the discussion by putting my opinion out first (beyond what's already there...) an old military tradition of soliciting from the juniors to the seniors so the juniors will say what they think, and not as likely to parrot the seniors. Doesn't always work, but if you've created the right command climate it does. Sanger feels safe!

UPDATE: Since Puddle Pirate has responded, and his response is as long as SangerM's challenge, I have moved both into the Flash Traffic/Extended Post.

You don't need to go in there - both comments are in the comment thread below - but it *will* make it easier on people coming into the Castle all unsuspecting, and everything will be displayed in the archived version.

Keep it up, guys, nice thread so far!

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by John on Jan 25, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» Techography links with: Support the Troops
» Brain Shavings links with: So they say they "support the troops"?
» TexasBug links with: Sign America's Thank-you note!
» Random Fate links with: Lifted from the comments...
» The Jawa Report links with: Religion of Peace Roundup 1/26/05
» Mudville Gazette links with: I'll take two
» A planet where apes evolved from MAN?!? links with: Support the troops. Unless you a filthy hippie.

Wahabism Delenda Est

Peter S., in a mailing list I'm on, made the following observation -

I am struck by what I perceive as a parallel between these utterances and that of Christianity in the fourteenth century Anno Domine. This is the fourteenth century of the Muslim calendar.

There are many parallels in the words of and influence of Christianity upon the secular rulers of Europe at the time. The whole Age of the Enlightenment and the Protestant revolution were yet to come. The whole concept of state democracy had yet to be articulated.

He was talking about this:

Here are a few quotes from the book "Milestones" by Sayyid Qutb:

"Islam is not a theory based on assumptions; rather it is a way of life working with actuality. Thus it is first necessary that a Muslim community come into existence which believes that "There is no deity except God," which commits itself to obey none but God, denying all other authority, and which challenges the legality of any law which is not based on this belief."

"When the purpose is to abolish the existing system and to replace it with a new system which in its character, principles and all its general and particular aspects, is different from the controlling jahili [ones ignorant of the Divine guidance of God] system, then it stands to reason that this new system should also come into the battlefield as an organized movement and a viable group."

"It is in the very nature of Islam to take initiative for freeing the human beings throughout the earth from servitude to anyone other than God; and so it cannot be restricted within any geographic or racial limits, leaving all mankind on the whole earth in evil, chaos and in servitude to lords other than God."

"Islam is not merely a belief, so that it is enough merely to preach it...Other societies do not give it any opportunity to organize its followers according to its own method, and hence it is the duty of Islam to annihilate all such systems, as they are obstacles in the way of universal freedom."

"Jihaad in Islam is simply a name for striving to make this system of life dominant in the world"

(hat tip to Jim G)

This is a part of the source documentation for what we are fighting. Compare the underlying thrust of that with the writings of Christian scholars in the Middle Ages.

Something that the "Enlightened Classes" many times don't get - they see this as rhetoric. Bombast. Just as they did Mein Kampf. Just as they did Lenin's writings. The point is - follow the money and the actions. Just as with Lenin and Hitler - the money, the actions, the results - they match the rhetoric.

Michael Moore and Barbra Streisand do rhetoric. Osama, and al-Zarqawi act.

Therein lies the difference. Therein lies the truth that this will be a long fight - and ultimately, a fight of ideas. And that fight needs to be carried to the enemy.
It took a long time to change the direction of the Roman Catholic Church, which was a huge, hugely powerful institution. It also had easily defined centers of gravity. The Islamist threat is not that huge, not that monolithic, and has many smaller, dispersed centers of gravity. Which means that while there will be clashes of arms, the real fight is in the world of ideas - and while we suck at that in terms of policy, over time I think we will overcome. The point being we can't just kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out - we have to engage them, on their own turf, in their own terms, and, most importantly help them do it themselves, and only physically inserting ourselves sparingly.

Yeah - I still support what we did and are doing in Iraq - no worries. I'm really thinking about the next steps - Iran, Syria, and wondering what the hell to do with Saudi Arabia! The tsunami has actually been a boon in that regard... many asian/pacific islander muslims have noted that the West has responded with substantial matériel support, while Arab muslims, despite all the calls in the Koran for charity, have been nowhere near as forthcoming... and the Islamist response has been "Don't take the infidel aid - better to die." which is not really a message that resounds well in a disaster area.

Even if it at times seems the Indonesian Government is composed of an ungrateful lot, and UN bureaucrats are a real piece of work (apologies to the ones who shoulder the real work while the Poseurs pose) - we are doing the right thing, and sending messages to those people that I'm sure are being understood - if not always in ways we recognize. We live in interesting times, and I suspect our children will, too.

If you're still reading and want the rest - hit the Flash Traffic in the extended post.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Have I ever mentioned...

...that I like dogs? (Check out the extended post) I'm getting pretty wordy these days so I'm trying to save some visual space...

The rest is in the Flash Traffic (extended post).

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

January 24, 2005

Not that it really matters...

Michael Moore, political visionary. (Small Gloat: But not Oscar Nominee)

After all the leader of Moore's Minutemen, has openly declared himself an enemy of the democratic process in any form - and especially in a form that might allow a majority of the people in a region to have some voice...

Al-Zarqawi said (quoted in The Telegraph):

"We have declared a bitter war against the principle of democracy and all those who seek to enact it," the speaker, who was identified as Zarqawi, said.

These are the people, of whom Michael Moore sez:

The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or "The Enemy." They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win. Get it, Mr. Bush? You closed down a friggin' weekly newspaper, you great giver of freedom and democracy! Then all hell broke loose. The paper only had 10,000 readers! Why are you smirking?

Of course, this is apparently what Moore supports for electioneering...

Insurgents in a town in central Iraq made a gruesome billboard threat to behead Iraqis who take part in next weekend's elections, warning they will use ink thumb prints to be issued at polling stations to target voters.

In an article quoted on Moore's website, from The Nation, comes this observation:

In the run-up to the January 30 election in Iraq, the prospects for a fair and credible outcome have steadily diminished. As Dexter Filkins of the New York Times reported, rather than the normal democratic ritual of voters and candidates, what Iraqis know is "a campaign in the shadows, where candidates are often too terrified to say their names. Instead of holding rallies, they meet voters in secret, if they meet them at all. Instead of canvassing for votes, they fend off death threats." Filkins further reported: "Of the 7,471 people who have filed to run, only a handful outside the relatively safe Kurdish areas have publicly identified themselves. The locations for the 5,776 polling places have not been announced, lest they become targets for attacks."

These are your "Minutemen" Mr. Moore. Proud of them, are ya?

I, for one, am a member of the school that says al-Zarqawi is cutting his own throat here... especially if the Shia and Kurds stand firm. Hey, what comes out of this may not be an unequivocally US-friendly nation... but then, neither is France, and even France is preferable to a Wahabist dictatorship. Or a Ba'ath one. Not to mention in general better for the bulk of the population than Sunni rule has been.

And as for self-perceived demi-gods, I think al-Zarqawi is confused with the man in the mirror.

"Candidates in elections are seeking to become demi-gods while those who vote for them are infidels. And with God as my witness, I have informed them (of our intentions)."

But then, if Mr. Moore supports those guys - one wonders if he'll be setting up a defense fund for these guys? At least their use of knives isn't quite as messy as the Iraqi Minutemen. (Or is that minute (as in my-nute*) men... though we know that's not Mike!)

Of course, Mr. Moore is not alone, as William Web points out in this post at his blog.

Northeastern University professor Shahid Alam has aroused controversy this week by likening the 9/11 killers to the Founding Fathers. After recounting some details of the establishment of "a sovereign but slave-holding republic, the United States of America," Alam declared: "On September 11, 2001, nineteen Arab hijackers too demonstrated their willingness to die -- and to kill -- for their dream. They died so that their people might live, free and in dignity."

You should read the whole thing, if only for a slightly more balanced look at what Alam said, and his bewilderment that people don't agree with him.

Sigh. And then they wonder why only their friends take them seriously.


And, of course, if you'd like a more succinct and less rambling effort at this... try Don Sensing over at One Hand Clapping!

As the Blogfather notes...


Waaahhhh! Waaahhhh! Waaahhhh! So, don't take the honors courses, pansy.

We all have to make choices. Dumbing down Honors Courses so you can have a kewl summer really shouldn't be one of those choices. Talk about wanting your cake and eating it, too!

I'll entertain any arguments in favor of this lawsuit, that are serious, anyway. I"ll just laugh at the others.

Unrelated note: Since I'm home for lunch (putting the dogs out) I can blog this... I got my first *at the office* telemarketing scam-to-avoid-the-law call.

Woman calls, asks for someone named Ashley. Hasn't been an Ashely 'round these parts in living memory. Ask the caller to confirm the phone number. Yep, that's my number all right. A number that has *always* been on the PBX here. And it's not a published number, either.

Anyway, I tell her, sorry, no one here by that name. She then starts, "I'm calling from ****** (I didn't catch it) in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is a courtesy call to tell you that you have been selected to receive..."

"Um, pardon me - but I'm not the individual in question, ma'am."

"Oh, that's alright! You've been selected to receive..."

"Ma'am - I've been selected to receive nothing, nada, zilch. This is a cold-call marketing scam intended to try to skirt the restrictions of the National No-call List, which I know for a fact this number is on, having registered it myself. Congratulations, you have reached a secure US government facility, and while this call has *probably* not been recorded, the number you are calling from has, and will be turned over to our security personnel so that..."


Hmmm, that worked so well I may use it at home, too!

Another Unrelated Note. Michael Moore still has no comment on his armed bodyguard. C'mon Mike - tell us how you feel!

And that settles it!

Forwarded to me from my Father's Old Soldiers network, which, even though I"m retired, I don't qualify for - but Bill the Rotorhead, though still serving, as a Vietnam Vet, does (heheheheheheheheh).


GOD Said......

A Soldier, a Sailor, an Airman, a Marine and a Coastie got into an argument about which branch of the service was "The Best." The arguing became so heated the five servicemen failed to see an oncoming truck as they crossed the street. They were hit by the truck and killed instantly. [Hey, no one said we were bright....]

Soon, the five servicemen found themselves at the Pearly Gates of Heaven. There, they met Saint Peter and decided that only he could be the ultimate source of truth and honesty. So, the five servicemen asked him, "Saint Peter, which branch of the United States Armed Forces is the best?"

Saint Peter replied, "I can't answer that. However, I will ask God what He thinks the next time I see Him. Meanwhile, thank you for your service on Earth and welcome to Heaven."

Some time later the five servicemen see Saint Peter and remind him of the question they had asked when first entering Heaven. The five servicemen asked Saint Peter if he was able to find the answer. Suddenly, a sparkling white dove lands on Saint Peter's shoulder. In the dove's beak is a note glistening with gold dust. Saint Peter opens the note, trumpets blare, gold dust drifts into the air, harps play crescendos and Saint Peter begins to read the note aloud to the four servicemen:


TO: All Former Soldiers, Sailors (both versions), Airmen, and Marines

SUBJECT: Which Military Service Is the Best

1. All branches of the United States Armed Forces are honorable and noble.

2. Each serves America well and with distinction.

3. Serving in the United States military represents a great honor warranting special respect, tribute, and dedication from your fellow man.

4. Always be proud of that.

Warm regards,

GOD, USARMY, (Retired)

Hat tip, as JMH would say, to Argghhh! Senior.

Wonder how long it will take Cassandra to notice? [turn about is fair play]

by John on Jan 24, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» TacJammer links with: LT's Hell
» Speed of Thought... links with: Around the 'Sphere

The Caption Contest - and a new one!

This was the picture:

All the answers (that are printable on Castle electronic stationary, anyway) are in the comments to this post.

And we have a Winnah!

3rd Runner up: UtahMan with:

"Told ya you couldn't make it."

2nd Runner up: Mythilt with:

"Yes Steve?"
"When we get back to base, we saw nothing, we just woke up and the tank was gone. Right?"

1st Runner up: fluke_boy with:

Damned manual said this thing was amphibious.
(I've got some family experience with this one... not me, my Dad.)

(Drum roll, please)

And the Winnah is: Tammi! For her double entry, which really is near perfect when used together...

Oh shit.


Ok Ok Ok, this is fixable.

Just remove the "....and.."

And you probably have something close to what was actually said

Oh shit...

Ok Ok Ok, this is fixable.

- followed by some of the more scatological captions that were passed around in email only....

So, Tammi - send along an email and we'll talk your options for a mug or mousepad.

That was so much fun, let's do it again. Same thing - at least 10 people entering, no limit on number of entries per person - no being pointlessly nasty or gross (* out key letters in words like f*ck, please - don't want to get banned by net-nanny software or bumped into Google's restricted pages - already had that fight with the deployed Air Force)

Go for it. Show us what ya got. Obviously, I tend to go for simple. After I master the poll thingy, I might just let all y'all vote!

Update: Oh yeah! Extra credit - correctly identify the rifle. If you're really good at obscure stuff (and you can lie your butt off here, I have no clue) the regiment! The rifle shouldn't be too hard. If you've no idea, the general picture should give you an idea of the era. And here's a hint - there's a very similar one in the Arsenal at Argghhh!

by John on Jan 24, 2005 | I think it's funny! | Observations on things Military | Tanks and AFVs
» Villainous Company links with: New Caption Contest
» Conservative Life - General Politics links with: Conservative Life Caption Contest #07

January 23, 2005

Ahh, Johnny, God Speed and Fare Well.

And if you're headed South, you can use one of my chits at Fiddler's Green on the way down.

Least I can do - you made it possible for my mother to get to sleep those 478 long, lonely nights during 68-69 when Dad was in Vietnam.

We'll miss ya Johnny.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance... In Memoriam.

It seems Johnny was popular in the Blogosphere. He's getting a lot of mention. I wonder if any of his successors will enjoy the same level of notice when they shuffle off this mortal coil?

Jeff Quinton. Wizbang. A Small Victory. Infinite Monkeys. Our Life. Marcus. BBC. Ace.Slant Point. Blogs of War. Right Thoughts. Six Meat Buffet. Stryker. SlagleRock. BMEWS. DogSnot. TBTN. Dean's World. La Shawn. The Shape of Days. BuzzMachine. Boots & Sabers. Althouse. Digger. ISOU. Cheese and Crackers. California Yankee. Vodkapundit. Spoons. Shot in The Dark. SondraK. The American Mind. The World Rant. American Digest. The MUSC Tiger. Resurrectionsong. The RothReport. DGCI. Ryne McClaren. ScrappleFace. Say Anything. Protein Wisdom. QandO. Pajama Pundits.Powerline. Speed of Thought. Inside Allan's Mind. Rambling's Journal. Mostly Cajun.

by John on Jan 23, 2005 | Historical Stuff
» Speed of Thought.. links with: I loved Johnny Carson
» ISOU links with: Memories Of Johnny
» Pajama Pundits links with: Johnny Carson, RIP
» Take Back The News links with: Johnny Carson Deat At 79 - Full Coverage
» Inside Allan's Mind links with: Good night Mr. Carson
» Ramblings' Journal links with: Goodnight, Johnny.
» Six Meat Buffet links with: Adios, Johnny
» Mostly Cajun, All American and Opinionated links with: Good-bye, Johnny...

Whoo-hoo! Good times!

This will make Bill the Rotorhead's heart race.

Now you *know* what we mean when we're yelling "Hose him down" at each other on the radio... Give it a minute, it takes some time to load.

Hat tip to Geoffrey at DogSnotDiaries for the pointer!

Oh, and just because - time to check the Smith and Wesson cam - where we can see whether or not "Guns kill people." This pistol in question has still shown no signs of acting in the absence of a human to do all the heavy lifting.

Oh yeah, I've also got 4 3 2 gmail invites if anyone is looking.

SWWBO Alert - Beth, don't look at the picture in the following link! Really.

The rest of ya - sometimes, window seats are bad.

Beth - this one's fine.

Then there's this. When I was in Germany back in the 80's, and later stateside as a commander - there were usually 4 of these per barracks room. All going at once, with competing music styles. At least it seemed that way.

Hat tip to Rich B. for those last two photos.

by John on Jan 23, 2005 | I think it's funny! | Machine Guns | Plane P0rn
» Brain Shavings links with: Hose him down
» Flight Pundit links with: Ever wounder what Hose Him Down means

Excoriating an expired equine

Flogging the dead horse. What usually happens at a meeting of middle-graded officers, most of whom do not yet realize they have, at best, one more promotion ahead of them, and think they must impress the senior officers present with their exemplary analytical elocution... usually just decreasing their chances for even that *one last* promotion.

To save me work (hah! I'm still trying to figure out what to do with captions!) Bill the Rotorhead sends along this little document to help you navigate your way through the military maze. Herein is a list of ways to ensure you've seen your last promotion. Trot 'em out at your next meetings!

Conventional wisdom says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. A recently declassified document indicates that there are 22 separate and distinct strategies that Pentagon-dwellers try when they discover they are riding a dead horse:

1. Buy a bigger whip.

2. Ride the dead horse "outside the box."

3. Ride the dead horse "smarter, not harder.”

4. Buy a commercial, off-the-shelf dead horse.

5. Appoint a Tiger Team to revive the dead horse.

6. Call the dead horse "Joint" and let others ride it.

7. Form a Staff Study to find uses for dead horses.

8. Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.

9. Create a training session to increase riding ability.

10. BRAC the farm on which the dead horse was born.

11. Name the dead horse "Paradigm Shift" and keep riding it.

12. Institute a policy directive that no horse is too dead to beat.

13. Say things like, "This is the way we've always ridden this horse."

14. Increase the standards required for dead horse riding certification.

15. Revisit the Key Performance Parameters (KPPs) for dead horses. [exactly the kind of work which then comes to me!]

16. Promote the previous rider out of the stable and assign a new rider.

17. Lobby Congress to pass legislation declaring that the horse is not dead.

18. Harness several dead horses together to obtain increased speed and power.

19. Do a cost analysis to determine if contractors can ride the dead horse cheaper. [Of course we can!]

20. Arrange liaison visits to foreign militaries to see how they ride their dead horses.

21. Produce a PowerPoint slide show proving the horse is better, faster and cheaper dead.

22. Say the horse was underfunded to begin with, then lobby Congress for additional funding.

Got any ya wanna add to the list?