You will be punished. :)

…if you hang out here.  Though Russon might like this one.

I had to check my own book to remind myself what counts as a modal verb (‘could’ and ‘should’, yup; ‘may’ and ‘might’, sure — but ‘will’ or ‘won’t’?). Pretty soon I was into the thickets of epistemic and deontic modality, which was no help to anyone. In any case, it was quite unclear in the examples we were given why the insertion of a bunch of modal verbs would improve those sentences. At other times we’ve been asked to add two or three adjectives to every noun in order to make the sentences more vivid and exciting: but if you do that you just end up sounding like the late Lynda Lee-Potter, bless her adjective-bothering heart.

How to kill the English language

This is why I prefer print to television news.

You can catch up at leisure, dispense with the eye-rolling virtue signalling and “Ermagerd!  Watch Us Or Die!” teasers.
And if you broaden your horizons, cast a wider net than the Drive-By Media will allow.

The UK prime minister is sending more than harsh words in China’s direction. In two months’ time, the Royal Navy will send a battle fleet to Asia for the first time since the start of the Korean War in 1950. One of the navy’s two new £6 billion ($8.4 billion) aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth, will head up an allied task force in what’s described as a British ‘pivot’ to the Indo-Pacific with ‘a greater and more persistent presence’ there ‘than any other European country’.

Perhaps they can give the US Pacific Fleet some seamanship lessons while they’re there.

Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 20 March

There are three Medals awarded for actions on this day, one during WWII and two during Vietnam. Two are posthumous, and the one living recipient is one of two Holders who live in Leavenworth, the other being Roger Donlon.  [Update, 19 May, 2021.  Chuck Hagemeister died today.]

World War II


Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company F, 127th Infantry, 32d Infantry Division. Place and date: Villa Verde Trail, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 20 March 1945. Entered service at: Casa Blanca, Calif. Birth: Casa Blanca, Calif. G.O. No.: 89, 19 October 1945. Citation: He was a squad leader when his unit, in a forward position, clashed with an enemy strongly entrenched in connected caves and foxholes on commanding ground. He moved boldly from man to man, in the face of bursting grenades and demolition charges, through heavy machinegun and rifle fire, to bolster the spirit of his comrades. Inspired by his gallantry, his men pressed forward to the crest of the hill. Numerous enemy riflemen, refusing to flee, continued firing from their foxholes. S/Sgt. Villegas, with complete disregard for his own safety and the bullets which kicked up the dirt at his feet, charged an enemy position, and, firing at point-blank range killed the Japanese in a foxhole. He rushed a second foxhole while bullets missed him by inches, and killed 1 more of the enemy. In rapid succession he charged a third, a fourth, a fifth foxhole, each time destroying the enemy within. The fire against him increased in intensity, but he pressed onward to attack a sixth position. As he neared his goal, he was hit and killed by enemy fire. Through his heroism and indomitable fighting spirit, S/Sgt. Villegas, at the cost of his life, inspired his men to a determined attack in which they swept the enemy from the field.

Vietnam. Chuck Hagemeister subsequently took a commission as an armor officer. He’s one of the Holders I know, personally, along with Roger Donlon.

Continue reading “Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 20 March”

Things that make ya go, hmmm.


So, we have a “Subcaliber Mortar Trainer Device 3-F-8.” Designed by the Navy for the ARNG, to be able to train with mortars at home station.

As I recently found a reliable source for the .22 caliber blanks it uses, well, we can shoot mortars now. Safely. It came with the tech manual, but no firing tables, so, I went looking. I found a ARNG training note in Google Books that addresses that issue, and I will follow that because, well, to generate firing tables, I hafta go all ARDEC on it and shoot the thing a fair bit to generate the necessary range and ordinate data. Whee! Gunnery nerds unite!

Below is a somewhat edited version of the blurb in the note. Nota Bene item “C.”

“7 . PROCEDURES FOR THE PREPARATION OF FIRING TABLES FOR DEVICE 3 – F – 8 SUB -CALIBER MORTAR TRAINER (ARMY Reference : Operation and Maintenance Guide for Device 3 – F – 8 NAV EXOS P1185 )

a. These instructions describe a method of preparing a usable, although not exact, firing table for Device 3 – F – 8 , Sub – Caliber Mortar Trainer , Using these procedures , the following firing table data can be obtained for each charge : Range Elevation Elevation change for 20 ft . Range Change, Probable Error Range Deflection, Maximum Ordinate.

b. Procedures : [Elided because it’s boring gunnery stuff no one but me cares about]

c. Care must be taken that the ordinate resulting from the charge and angle of elevation is not greater than the ceiling of the armory. [Emphasis added]”

These projectiles are steel, have some heft, and, when impacting, fire off a black powder blank. There is no discussion anywhere on what sort of surface you are shooting *at*.

Therein might be why these things are always in such good shape when you run across them. 1SG wasn’t letting anyone shoot steel projos on his wood floor of the basketball court, and the mortar platoon sergeant wasn’t going to ding up the inspectable item by shooting them at concrete…