29 August 2005

U.S. Marine Killed in Border City

When are we, as American’s going to realize that the GWOT starts at our borders? Each day, thousands of potential terrorists slip across our borders. The crimes committed are not limited to border violations.
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A U.S. Marine was shot dead in the crime-ridden Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez in the early hours of Monday morning, a U.S. official said.

Mexican media named the soldier as Herbert Galvan, 23, a sergeant, who was shot apparently during an argument with the driver of a vehicle that sped away.

Chihuahua state's attorney general, Patricia Gonzalez, told the United States that authorities would "pursue vigorously those responsible," the U.S. official said.

Violent crime is common in Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas, where drug trafficking gangs are based.

More than 300 women have been murdered in the city since 1993 in a systematic killing spree that has largely gone unsolved.
When my grandmother came to the U.S. from Guadalaraja, she did it legally and painfully. The time has come to make the trip trip to the U.S. a little more legal and a whole lot less painful.

Open Post Thanks to The Mudville Gazette

Boxer Sailors Reach Out to Marshall Islands Children

I just can't help myself. Every day I see that Cindy skank and get pissed off because no one is talking about all the good that our service men and women are doing ALL ACROSS THE GLOBE. Did you see that Cindy? ALL ACROSS THE FREAKING GLOBE!

She did it to me again.

Anyhoo, the good folks aboard USS Boxer -- no relation to the Senator from my home state -- took it upon themselves to help those in need in the Marshall Islands. PACOM reports:

MAJURO, Republic of the Marshall Islands -- Children of Marshall Islands received a special treat Aug. 26 when USS Boxer (LHD 4) Sailors, decked out in their summer whites, stopped by to read to them during Boxer’s visit to Majuro, the capital of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Sailors read to the children as part of the Marshall Islands’ First Lady’s “Learn to Read by Reading Out Loud” program. Along with reading stories, Sailors passed out treats, stickers, played games and took time to talk to the children.

“I really appreciate how these Sailors are helping our children,” said Jabwill Ned, vice principal of Rita Elementary School. “It is very difficult to get English teachers to come to Majuro, so any exposure to the English language helps our students further their education.”

Boxer Sailors also gained from the experience. Many Sailors felt privileged to lend a helping hand.

“I wanted to do what I could to make a difference,” said Damage Controlman Fireman Griselda B. Bonilla, of Los Angeles. “The Marshall Islands are very secluded. It’s great that we can expose the children to something they may have never experienced before.”

Bonilla said the visit was a great experience for both the Sailors and the schoolchildren. While the children enjoyed the readings by the “Golden Gator” crew members, the Sailors walked away with a sense of pride and accomplishment.

“This was beneficial for all involved,” said Cmdr. Robert D. Delis, of Oceanside, Calif., who is one of Boxer’s two command chaplains. “We were able to not only provide a little joy, but also emphasize that no matter what the situation around you is, education is very important.”

In addition to reading to students during Boxer’s visit to Majuro, Sailors and Marines provided medical and dental support, repaired dilapidated schoolrooms and buildings and gained firsthand experience of the Marshallese culture.

Boxer is scheduled to return to its homeport of San Diego in September.

You may recall from a previous STARBOARD!!! post that more than 30 sailors from Boxer assisted a local Malaysian school by applying a much need coat of paint.

I truly enjoy posting information such as this.

Marshallian thanks to the Mudville Gazette for the Open Post opportunity.

96th CA Bn. Becomes Veterinarians

Another example of the "Why Didn't Dan Rather Tell Me This" file keeps getting fatter than...well, you know. SOCOM.mil reports:
One of the most effective ways of measuring the wealth of the people within the Horn of Africa and surrounding regions is the health of their herds. Animals provide the people with vital food and are a chief source of commerce. A small bit of medical care for their herds goes a long way in improving the lives and future of the people in the area.

For the first time, U.S. servicemembers deployed to Yemen, at the southern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, to assist the local people in strengthening and healing their livestock.

During a four-day civic action program that started March 29, servicemembers from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa assisted in treating animals in the Dhamar region, which lies about 100 kilometers south of the capital city of Sana’a.

Soldiers from the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne), volunteers from Camp Lemonier and local Yemeni veterinary students treated more than 24,000 animals, which included sheep, goats, cattle, donkeys and camels. Also setting precedence, the team treated one chicken during the event.
The 96th CA Bn. is an Army special operations unit based at Fort Bragg, N.C. It is the Army's only active-duty Civil Affairs unit.

“This is the first time we have brought in these teams into Yemen,” said Thomas C. Krajeski, U.S ambassador to Yemen. “It is a demonstration of how we want to do practical hands-on work in Yemen. The object is to work on the ground, inoculate animals and work one on one with the people.”

By working together with U.S. support, Yemen can strengthen its agricultural development, which is essential in preserving the future and health of the people, Krajeski said.

“Nobody has come before,” said Ahmed Salih Ali Muthana, a local herder. “I’m very happy. It’s beautiful to see the Americans working with the people of Yemen.”

Muthana was one of more than 100 people who took advantage of the project. The veterinary team provided medicine for his 50 sheep, two cows and two donkeys.

The veterinarians treated every animal with anti-parasitic medicine and multivitamins. In addition, they provided additional care to animals that needed it, to include treating viral and skin infections. The mission wasn’t without its hurdles, said Capt. David E. Fleming, 96th CA Bn. veterinarian. Although the herders could see and feel the impact of the mission, many of the political leaders had little idea of what the Americans were doing.

“We have had to work hard building relationships at the local and central level,” Fleming said. “We have to constantly reinforce our relationships, explaining that we are here to help the local and central government.” In addition to helping the people and being representatives of the United States, the servicemembers also acted as teachers, instructing and advising the veterinary students.

Although the veterinary civic action program only lasted four days, it will have long-term effects, Fleming said. With an increase in education of their people and the health of their herds, the people of Yemen will have healthier and better lives
Congratulations to the 96th Ca Bn., and as always, veterinarian thanks to The Mudville Gazette for their Open Post.

DoD Celebrates Environmental Conservation

The "Gosh, the MSM Never Told Me About This" file is getting fatter than my game bag on the opening day of pheasant season. SECDEF Rumsfeld spoke at the White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation and said that DoD takes very seriously its responsibility to protect the natural resources on the 30 million acres of land it uses to house forces and test weapons. Defenselink reports:
ST. LOUIS, Aug. 29, 2005 The Defense Department has been working with both governmental and nongovernmental organizations to promote environmental conservation, because military readiness and conservation are inextricably linked, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said here today.

"Conservation is much more than a duty," he said. "It is really a proud part of the department's heritage."

Military readiness and environmental conservation are also linked at military bases that once were far from civilization but now are in the center of encroaching development, Rumsfeld explained. In these cases, the DoD is working with conservation groups and other agencies to limit development, he said, and solve problems such as suburban growth, noise complaints and air-space restrictions.

"These partnerships can help forestall development and can protect habitats, thereby conserving our natural resources, while allowing U.S. forces to train relatively free of encroachment-related issues," he said.

Rumsfeld cited the Northwest Florida Greenway project as an example. This venture partnered DoD with three nongovernmental organizations, seven state agencies, three regional and local agencies and two federal agencies to conserve open space along a 100-mile corridor in northwest Florida. This area is home to five major military installations that constitute one of the largest open-air military test areas in the country, he said.

Similar conservation projects are under way in California, Colorado, South Carolina, Georgia, Hawaii, Minnesota and North Carolina, Rumsfeld said.

Beyond the state level, the DoD is beginning a Southeast Regional Planning pilot project that could include four southeastern states and four military services, he added.

The three-day White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation is bringing together more than 1,200 leaders from federal, state, local and tribal government, industry, academia, nonprofit environmental organizations and private landowners.

President Bush convened the conference to provide a forum for leaders to exchange information and identify innovative and effective approaches to promoting cooperative conservation.

Did I mention that I am an environmental consultant currently working on several major DoD land transfer / conversion projects that involve lands such as those mentioned above?



I'll tell you tomorrow.

Thanks to Greyhawk at The Mudville Gazette for his well preserved / conserved Open Post

26 August 2005

Master Sergeant Makes His Call

Last night I received a very disturbing phone call. It wasn't from my wife telling me that our two-year old son had knocked out a tooth or that our house had fallen out of escrow -- it was from an active duty Air Force Crew Chief telling me about his new Master Sergeant. Evidently, this Master Sergeant, who was recently assigned to a C-5 Group, decided to grill his company on the types of vehicles they drive. The MSgt asked if anyone drove a vehicle with a V-8 engine -- everyone kept their mouths shut. He then asked if anyone drove a pickup truck or SUV, again, no responses. He finally asked if anyone utilized car pool opportunities or public transportation to get to base on a daily basis. One female air crew member responded affirmatively. The Master Sergeant congratulated her and told the rest of the assembly that they were supporting terrorism by driving "gas guzzling" vehicles and by not car pooling. MSgt finally began a miniature rant that the current war on terror has nothing to do with terror, but is rather all about keeping gas prices low in the U.S.

I have known the source of this for some time and consider him a very credible. He loves the Air Force and considers it a calling not a career. Is the Master Sergeant within his purview to make statements such as this? While in uniform?

Thanks to the Mudville Gazette for their Open Post.

17 August 2005

Naked Man Found and Detained by the Coast Guard

Great...just great.

I'm not sure where this gets filed. Does this go under "Hey, we need more money to keep your silly Senatorial asses afloat," or does it go under, "Crap, the great unwashed masses need love too."
SEATTLE - A man was taken into custody after he was found naked and acting erratic by a Coast Guard helicopter crew this afternoon near Sequim Bay, Wash.

An HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Group/Air Station Port Angeles, Wash., was flying over Sequim Bay at 2:32 p.m., when they saw a possible boat fire.

The helicopter circled back to the vessel to investigate and found a man on the bow of a boat waving distress flares while acting erratically and making obscene gestures.

A Coast Guard 25-foot response boat was launched from Station Port Angeles to investigate.

The crew of the Coast Guard boat found the man naked and screaming obscenities while hitting his head on the deck of the boat.

The Coast Guard instructed the man to dress and then he was detained aboard the Coast Guard boat. The man was taken to John Wayne Marina in Sequim, Wash., where he was turned over to the Sequim Police for further transport to Olympic Memorial Hospital for further evaluation.

12 August 2005

Twelve MIAS from Vietnam War are Identified

News stories like this one make the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and not in a bad way.
Washington, DC -- (ArriveNet - Aug 10, 2005) -- The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today the identification of the remains of 12 U.S. servicemen missing in action from the Vietnam War. Five of those identified are being returned to their families for burial, and the remaining seven will be buried as a group in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.

The men who were individually identified are: Cpl. Gerald E. King, of Knoxville, Tenn.; Lance Cpls. Joseph F. Cook, of Foxboro, Mass.; Raymond T. Heyne, of Mason, Wis.; Donald W. Mitchell, of Princeton, Ky.; and Thomas W. Fritsch, of Cromwell, Conn., all of the U.S. Marine Corps. Additional group remains are those of: Pfcs. Thomas J. Blackman, of Racine, Wis.; Paul S. Czerwonka, of Stoughton, Mass.; Barry L. Hempel, of Garden Grove, Calif.; Robert C. Lopez, of Albuquerque, N.M.; William D. McGonigle, of Wichita, Kan.; and Lance Cpl. James R. Sargent, of Anawalt, W. Va., all of the U.S. Marine Corps. Additionally, the remains of U.S. Army Sgt. Glenn E. Miller, of Oakland, Calif. will be included in the group burial.

The Marines were part of an artillery platoon airlifted to provide support to the 11th Mobile Strike Force, which was under threat of attack from North Vietnamese forces near Kham Duc in South Vietnam. On May 9, 1968, the Strike Force had been directed to reconnoiter an area known as Little Ngok Tavak Hill near the Laos-Vietnam border, in the Kham Duc Province. Their base came under attack by North Vietnamese Army troops, and after a 10-hour battle, all of the survivors were able to withdraw from the area.

Six investigations beginning in 1993 and a series of interviews of villagers and former Vietnamese soldiers led U.S. recovery teams in 1994, 1997 and 1998 to specific defensive positions within the large battle site. Additionally, maps provided by American survivors helped to locate some key areas on the battlefield. Three excavations by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) in 1998 and 1999 yielded human remains, personal effects and other material evidence.

JPAC scientists and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory specialists used mitochondrial DNA as one of the forensic tools to help identify the remains.

Of the 88,000 Americans missing in action from all conflicts, 1,815 are from the Vietnam War, with 1,381 of those within the country of Vietnam. Another 768 Americans have been accounted for in Southeast Asia since the end of the war. Of those, 540 are from within Vietnam.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

Media Contact: (703)697-5131
Public/Industry Contact: (703)428-0711
The silver band on my right wrist still bears the name of a missing warrior: Captain Ronald L. Bond. I can't wait for the day when I can take the band off of my wrist.

Open Post Thanks to The Mudville Gazette.

Confessions of BTK


As I sit and post this evening, I can hear a news program in the background proudly broadcasting the "Confessions of BTK."

I won't even mention the network.

The only confession I want to hear is, "Gosh it hurt real bad when the State of Kansas put me to death for what I did to those poor people."


I just changed the channel.

You're still a bastard.

Unit of the Day Award

Installment Two of the post formerly known as "Hey, the MSM Didn't Tell Me This." The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region South District (GRS) has completed QA/QC efforts on seven of fourteen water supply systems in the area surrounding Najaf and Kufa. CENTCOM reports:
Tallil, Iraq – Estimates put the shortage of potable water in the area surrounding Najaf and Kufa at about 40 percent, with existing plants being old or deteriorated because of neglect or lack of maintenance.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region South District (GRS) has quality assurance responsibilities on 14 water treatment units and three water pipeline projects that will increase that drinkable water flow within the Najaf area.

The water projects, worth approximately $12 million, involve the installation of 14 compact water treatment units and piping, according to Darrell Flinn. These compact units require highly skilled labor to maintain them, and training the staff is part of the overall package. “These require a technical labor force that has been taught to use this equipment,” he said.

Seven of the 14 small units are finished and the rest are in various stages of completion. The three pipeline projects are 90 percent completed, or better. “It is really critical to bring water to these neighborhoods,” said Flinn. “So many people don’t have access to good clean drinking water. This is what we are trying to fix now – and I’m happy to say that everything is going very well, but for every project we do, several more are needed.”

The average person uses about 71 liters of water a day, and this includes domestic water for cooking and bathing as well, according to the World Health Organization. Each of the units can put out about 200 cubic meters of water an hour and one cubic meter equals about 1,000 liters. “Assuming the units operate for 10 hours a day, they would put out about 2 million liters of water a day,” he said. “And when you divide the total number of liters each unit puts out per day buy the number of liters each person uses, you come up with 28,109 people who are able to be served by one unit. Multiply that times 14 plants and these units can serve 393,926 people. And that is a substantial gain for the people of Najaf.”

At the time of transition to sovereignty June 2004, there were just over 200 Reconstruction projects started. Today, there are over 2,700 projects started, valued at $6.4 billion. More than 1,600 projects are finished, with a value of $1.8 billion.
In my day to day life as an environmental consultant, I have serious problems with the Corps --but not this time.

Open Post thanks to The Mudville Gazette

Spit on the Sidewalk and Get Caned

Ever wonder what led to the gleaming sidewalks and streets of Malaysia? Ever wonder why there is no “Op Ed” section in the daily Kaula Lampurian? Ever wonder why the radio stations in this bi-island nation don’t take calls from listeners? ATO let's us in the the secrets:
KUALA LUMPUR - Behind the gleaming skyscrapers and the wide, manicured highways with luxury cars gliding by - the symbols of Malaysia's vaunted economic success - lurks what one rights activist calls the "White Terror".

The preferred weapon of this terror is the Internal Security Act (ISA), a law passed in 1960, which provides for indefinite detention without trial. Ostensibly enacted to fight communist insurgents it has since been used against all and sundry.

The common denominator is dissent against the established status quo and any challenge to the official pecking order of society.

The ISA is frequently used against forgers, counterfeiters, Islamists, political opponents and even people who campaign to abolish the ISA itself.

It has claimed a steady stream of victims since 1960. Many survivors gathered this week to recount the horror they suffered and, united with NGOs and opposition parties, renewed their determination to force the repeal of this draconian law.

They recounted stories of horror - arrests in the dead of the night, interrogation for days on end, beatings and torture, and severe psychological pressure to recant, confess and join political parties in the government.

This week marks the 45th anniversary of the ISA, a convenient reference point for victims and campaigners to press for the repeal of the law that has jailed more than 3,500 since 1960.

Many of the ISA's victims were trade unionists fighting for a fairer wage and the right to form unions in free trade zones. Others were student leaders, researchers, academics, journalists, political activists, religious groups and NGO activists.

"I was stripped naked for most of the time I was interrogated," one victim recounted. "I was interrogated endlessly and police officers turned up the air conditioner making the cell freezing cold. They booed me on my genitals, sneered at me and threatened that I would become impotent after they had finished with me."

Police also threatened to rape his girlfriend if he did not confess, he said. "They frequently punched, kicked and beat with a broomstick."

Patricia Lourdes Irene, 54, who was held for a year in 1987, said she was threatened with rape if she did not cooperate. "They said they had raped many times before and I believed them - it was scary," she said. "It is just you and them in a cell, you have everything stacked against you."

Some inmates developed schizophrenia and never recovered, and many others suffer constant nightmares, testified Ban Ah Kam, 59, who was held for 10 years from 1968.

Some were held 60 days, the minimum period, while others were held for a decade or more. There is no maximum period prescribed for detention. Each detention order by the Interior Minister is for two years and is renewable indefinitely for two-year periods. One detainee, Loh Meng Liong, was held for 16 years before he was freed in 1982.

"The ISA has been kept in use all this time mainly because it is a very convenient tool at the disposal of the ruling coalition," said Kua Kia Soong, director of the Malaysian Peoples Voice or SUARAM, a leading human-rights organization.

"It has served as an instrument of terror of the state and used consistently against dissidents who have defended the democratic and human rights of the Malaysian people."

Former ISA detainee Tian Chua, who is now information chief of the National Justice Party (NJP) recalled: "We were routinely tortured during interrogations, stripped naked, beaten with broomsticks and threatened with rape."

The NJP is led by opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim, himself detained under the ISA twice, once as a student activist protesting against poverty and again in 1998 when he went against then prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, accusing him of corruption and cronyism.

As part of the campaign to end the ISA, the former detainees and their supporters gathered at the state-funded Malaysian Human Rights Commission or SUHAKAM to protest, condemn the act and push for its repeal.

"The ISA is a license to torture," Kua said. "Malaysia cannot call itself a democratic country while retaining a law that permits gross violation of human rights."

Later in a news statement, Kua demanded the government investigate the numerous claims of torture and beatings during detention and also bring the perpetrators to justice.

"All human beings who were disgusted at the torture and humiliation of the detainees at Abu Ghraib must open their eyes to the reality of the ISA," he said referring to the jail in Iraq where US abuse of Iraqi prisoners sparked a storm of international protest. "The government either charges detainees in an open court or else releases them immediately and without any condition," he said.

SUHAKAM has urged repeal of the ISA several times. "Detention without trial is an extreme form of detention," SUHAKAM commissioner Siva Subramanian said. "It denies a person the right to liberty, the right to appear in a public trial and the right to assume innocence until proven guilty."

Subramanian admitted that the government seemed increasingly keen on using the ISA - even in simple cases like forgery, which would normally have been dealt with in the courts.

The government has consistently maintained that the ISA is the single most effective legislation to maintain racial peace and religious freedom, and lately to keep terrorists at bay.

About 100 people accused of being members of the banned Jemaah Islamiah militant organization have been detained since 2000. Many of them say they are innocent of the charges.

Several individuals have, however, confessed, over national television, to being members of the group blamed for the Bali bomb blast and other atrocities in Indonesia, and have been rehabilitated and released. But their movements are severely restricted.

The judiciary has a mixed and contradictory record with regard to the ISA, which legal experts say is illegal and violates the federal constitution. Most judges, however, uphold the law as valid because it was passed by parliament.

SUHAKAM must know that the ISA gives the Special Branch a license to torture. From its inception, ISA detentions have gone hand-in-hand with torture of detainees.

This week brought together ISA detainees from as far back as 1960s. Every decade has grisly tales of torture and dark deeds by the Malaysian Special Branch, which are the scandalous side of the motto Malaysia Boleh (Malaysia Can).

The biggest scandal of all is that, to date, none of these torturers have been brought to justice, nor have deterrent sentences been passed on them.

A recent Royal Commission on the Malaysian Police also avoided confronting this most vital subject - the white terror of the ISA over any form of dissent.

As part of the campaign to repeal the ISA, SUARAM has demanded that the government investigate all cases of torture, make public the findings and charge the perpetrators in court.

The voluntary groups would like to see the abolition of the ISA and all forms of detention without trial and all detainees either tried in an open court or released immediately and unconditionally.

SUARAM said it was of prime importance to restore the independence of the judiciary to curb abuses of power by the police. Finally, SUARAM has urged the Malaysian government to ratify the international convention against torture and the covenants on civil and political rights.

Spare a Few Bucks for the Coast Guard???

While on active duty in the Coast Guard, we were all taught a few slogans: Semper Paratus, You Have to Go Out --– You Don'’t Have to Come Back, and That Ain''t in the Budget.

I understood the first two. Hell, I was "“all about"” the first two, but the third? How could it be that the Coast Guard could ever be short on funds? We save lives, right? Let'’s take a look at some basic principles:

When I was in, USCG uniforms could be purchased at Sears. The working blues I learned to iron, iron and iron again were no different than any those worn by any mechanic working at Jiffy Lube, Sears or Midas. Sadly, their uniforms were probably better stitched.

The USCG has a proud history of clinging on to other Service'’s schools, as well. Personally, I attended Quartermaster and Signalman schools at NAVTRACEN Orlando. Orlando, Florida as a 19 year-old male? Are you kidding me? I had a great time in Orlando. Then I was sent to New London, Connecticut. Connecticut. I was a kid from northern California and I was being sent to New England? Hey Chief, they have ski resorts in Vermont, eh?

What a shame.

I also seem to recall Petty Officer Leadership and Management School at the Marine Corps Base at Quantico, but that memory is a bit foggy. I was twenty-one by then and let'’s face it, Quantico ain'’t Orlando.

The CG also has a proud history of doing more with less. I can'’t tell you how many times I was told, "Petty Officer Big-mouth-from-California-who-didn't-want-to-get-stationed-in-New England-until-you-were-told-they-had-ski-resorts-there, you'’ll just have to learn to do more with less."” My reply, "“Fabulous, Chief, I have heard a lot about Les, I look forward to doing more with him. Does he surf?"” Now don"’t get me wrong, I cherish my years in the Coast Guard. I just wish we could've received an increase in the budget. As I found out, Les didn't surf.

Anyhoo, The Washington Times reports:
It's only a slight exaggeration to say that the Coast Guard's fleet of orange-and-white cutters is rusting away. As The Washington Times reported Monday, 22 of the Coast Guard's 49 110-foot cutters have corroded hulls and some "actually had holes in the hull and water coming in." A top Coast Guard official told Congress last month that only about a quarter of the cutters are mission-capable.

In an age when the Coast Guard is called on to perform new antiterror duties, its old and decrepit fleet poses significant liabilities. This has not been unexpected: For years, forward-thinking voices have called for overhauling the Coast Guard. Gen. Barry McCaffrey, for one, called for it to be doubled in size a few years ago. A year after the September 11 attacks, in an influential study for the Heritage Foundation, Bruce Stubbs, a retired Coast Guard officer and former cutter commander, concluded that "the expansion of the Coast Guard's homeland-security operations after September 11 caused a major reshuffling of its mission priorities and assets." Yet, Washington has allowed the Coast Guard to languish.
Excuse me, Senator Feinstein? We'd love to respond to your distress call, but we're having a bake sale to finance our search and rescue operations.

Semper Kudos to The Mudville Gazette for their Open Post.

Why Japan Should Be Worried

In the increasingly unsettled far east, Taiwan has added to the fray by developing, testing and deploying cruise missiles, which are capable of reaching military targets in China. AFP reports:

TAIPEI, (AFP) - Taiwan has begun deploying home-made cruise missiles on mobile launchers and that they are capable of hitting major military targets in southeast China, a newspaper here reported.

The China Times said the Hsiung Feng missiles, which have a range of 1,000 kilometers (600 miles), were deployed across the island by the defense ministry's new missile command.

The missiles, which each cost some 100 million Taiwan dollars (3.13 million US), were developed by the military-run Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, the paper said.

The institute was also developing cruise missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers for further deployment.

The China Times said President Chen Shui-bian had inspected the missile command and witnessed a mock launch of the cruise missiles.

The defense ministry declined to comment on the report.

Taiwan reportedly successfully test-fired its first cruise missile earlier this year which flew over 500 kilometers before hitting its target.

Now, why should Japan be worried? Simple. Japan is situated in an area dominated by two very irrational regimes and has it’s hands tied because of a treaty designed and implemented by the U.S. over 50 years ago. Sure, a pacifist Japan made sense at the end of World War II. In fact, it made perfect sense 50+ years ago. Today, it does not. NRO reports:

Japan has slowly been emerging from its shell over the last decade, and it is one of the diplomatic triumphs of the Bush administration that it has helped accelerate this process, strengthening the U.S.-Japanese bond and enhancing its usefulness. The Japanese will proceed at their own pace, but our response to every step they take toward becoming a more “normal” country should be nothing but encouragement: “More, please.” The goal, although it will never be fully achievable given historic, cultural, and other differences, should be to make Japan as reliable a partner of the U.S. in Asia as Britain is in Europe.

“There is no fear of Japan. The old cork-in-the-bottle theory is dead,” says an administration official, referring to the former fear in the U.S. government that any Japanese step toward rearmament would mean an inevitable slide toward aggressive militarism. “The old saw is that Japan is just an aircraft carrier, a jumping-off point for American forces. Well, we want to make it a jumping-off point for both U.S. and Japanese forces.”

The alliance is a natural. Japan broadly shares our values. The U.S. is the world’s number-one economy and Japan is number two, a powerful combination. We want to check China, and Japan feels threatened by China. Japan provides the basing the U.S. needs at a time when we have lost our bases in the Philippines and our relationship with South Korea looks shaky. We want to stay in East Asia, and the Japanese want to keep us there, in a dangerous neighborhood. Japan is surrounded by three nuclear countries that would make anyone nervous: North Korea, China, and Russia.

But nothing concentrates the mind like a few missile launches. In 1996, China tested ballistic missiles off Taiwan, with a few landing near Japanese shipping lanes. This led to a joint U.S.-Japanese statement pledging Japanese logistical support to the U.S. during "regional contingencies" and stipulating that the U.S.-Japanese alliance includes "situations in the areas surrounding Japan." The Chinese screamed--accurately--that "situations" was meant to cover a potential conflict over Taiwan. Two years later, the North Koreans launched a missile over northern Japan, spurring Japanese interest in cooperation with the United States on a missile-defense system.

Politically, Japan has become more conservative. Its Left has effectively collapsed. The Socialist party was never serious about governing, but existed as an obstructionist force in parliament (sound familiar?). After electoral reform in the early 1990s, it all but evaporated. Japanese politics has become more populist, and Japanese society more open and less risk-averse. A new generation of politicians both in the ruling Liberal Democratic party and in the opposition Democratic party is not so wedded to the old pieties. "Japan is tired of constantly apologizing, and it wants a place in the sun more than in a pure economic sense," says former State Department official Jim Kelly.

09 August 2005

Looking For a Few Good Martyrs

Hate the U.S., Israel or Salman Rushdie? If so, then a career in martydom may be for you. Evidently, an Iranian publication has been running advertisements for aspiring suicide bombers: Wanted: Aspiring Martyrs

BANGALORE - Recruitment of potential suicide bombers, which has generally been shrouded in silence and secrecy, appears to be going more public. An Iranian publication recently carried an advertisement calling for applications from aspiring "martyrdom seekers".

The advertisement calls for men and women to enlist with the "Lovers of Martyrdom Garrison" and promises those who are picked that they will be given "specific and specialized training". The aim it seems is "to achieve all-round readiness against the enemies of Islam and the sacred Islamic republic and to protect the foundations of Islam". To this end, "a martyrdom-seeking division" would be set up for each province in the country.

The application form for "Preliminary Registration for Martyrdom Operations" requires the applicant to provide name, age, address and contact details. It also requires the applicant to affirm his "preparedness for carrying out martyrdom operations" and gives a choice of three targets: "occupiers of the Islamic holy sites" (referring to the US occupation of Najaf, Karbala and other places in Iraq), "occupiers of Jerusalem" (referring to Israel), and Salman Rushdie, the author of Satanic Verses against whom Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa or legal judgment for death in 1989.
The MSM tells us that the U.S. military is having trouble recruiting these days, but at least our people can re-enlist.

Thanks to The Mudville Gazette's Open Post.

08 August 2005

Unit of the Day Award

Our friend the Florida Masochist has his “Knucklehead of the Day” award, which he dutifully dolls out on a, well, nearly daily basis. I thought I would take his lead and try a “Unit of the Day” Award. I have posted a few of these under what I have referred to as “The MSM Never Told Me This File.” This installment of the Unit of the Day Award goes to the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa for their work alongside the Lions Club in providing vision equipment and surgery to the needy citizens of Djibouti. CENTCOM reports:

DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti - Orphans and others in need in Djibouti are receiving eye exams and free pairs of glasses thanks to donations from the Lions Club and time volunteered by a member of the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa.

LtCol Stephen Puckett, a Marine reservist stationed here from 23rd Marines who works as an optometrist in civilian life, evaluated over 40 local Djiboutians during a visit to the Djibouti City Boys Orphanage, July 24. While he is stationed with CJTF-HOA as the theater security cooperation director, he was able to use his civilian expertise to prescribe glasses for several in need, as well as diagnose other eye problems.

"I saw a brief by the Surgeon Cell which talked about their plans to do vision screening," he explained. "They had a device which wasn't really accurate they planned to use... so I mentioned I could probably come up with a better prescription and look at overall eye health."

He contacted his wife, Christine, who mailed his handheld examination equipment and vision screening kit.

According to Cmdr. Randal LeBlanc, chief surgeon, CJTF-HOA Surgeon cell, Puckett's willingness to volunteer his spare time allows the command to provide better eye exams for a short time. Since there is currently no billet for an optometrist with CJTF-HOA, eye exams and glasses prescriptions are services which would normally be too time consuming and complicated to provide. Since reservists staff many of the positions at CJTF-HOA, their civilian skills can often be used to accomplish a mission. Even still, it isn't often that someone with Puckett's abilities can be identified by chance.

"We get a lot of [emergency medical technicians] and basic medical staff who can volunteer for [medical civil action programs], but for specialty expertise like this it's very rare," said Leblanc.

While the visit was primarily for the orphans, many tested with excellent vision and were not in need of the glasses. However, the 'over-40' population often needed at least reading glasses. As such, once the children were seen, several locals were allowed to receive care.

"It was a good experience because there is a definite need for healthcare in this area," said Puckett. "It's great to see the look on their faces when they put a pair of glasses and they can see clearly."

The glasses distributed were donated by the Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center of Northern Virginia in Falls Church, VA. According to Puckett, while a perfect match is often hard to find from donated glasses, the Lions Club sent such a selection that often a close working match could be found.

"For someone who has never had a pair of glasses before, they are typically very happy if their vision is much improved," he said. "To get a perfect pair is impossible in this setting, but this is still very helpful to those in need."

Puckett is set to head back to the states soon; however, the Surgeon Cell hopes to create at least a few more opportunities to use his skills over the next few weeks. It would be the last chance they would have to provide the service for some time, unless an outside organization donated time by an optometrist to visit the area. According to Leblanc, it's a service that the poor in this area have few other ways to receive... and a gift which brings a lot of personal happiness to those who receive it.

"It was amazing to see someone with no glasses - who didn't even know they had a trouble seeing - try on a pair of glasses for the first time," Leblanc said. "That was the highlight, seeing the looks on people's faces when they could see clearly."

Thank you Commander Leblanc, you have allowed me to see a little more clearly, as well.

As usual, Open Post thanks to The Mudville Gazette.

07 August 2005

Homeland Security is Light on Toxics

If the Anthrax scare of 2001 has left you reeeeeeeeeeling, the HSA / TSA has come up with the "lack of regulating anything that would otherwise be under my Aunt Arrah's sink" Act of 2005. The good folks at military dot calm report:
Only four of an estimated 60 biological and nuclear agents that terrorists could use as weapons are classified now as highest-level threats, federal officials said Thursday.
Only four? Wait a minute here. A friend of mine used to haul tomato[e]s and he had to have HAZMAT training. Does anyone else see anything wrong here?
To designate substances as health threats, the government must determine whether there are enough vaccines or antidotes in the event of an outbreak, or whether new countermeasures should be developed.

The four health hazards already on the Homeland Security Department's material threat determination list are anthrax, smallpox, botulinum toxin and the effects of radiological and nuclear devices.
Botulinum? Isn't that what every 40+ bimbo, pardon, woman is injecting into her...nevermind.
"We've only done four. And I'm told there are about 60 possibilities for material threat assessments. Is that correct?" Rep. Norm Dicks asked at a hearing of a House Homeland Security subcommittee.

Dr. John Vitko, director of the department's biological countermeasures office, said Homeland Security has focused first on the high-priority concerns.

The process of naming a hazard as a high-level threat is complex and lengthy, he added.
Complex and lengthy? Give me ten seconds and we'll be done with the entire list.
"This is worrisome to us," said Dicks, D-Wash. "Somehow, we need to move the process a little more rapidly."

The director of the National Institutes of Infectious Diseases told lawmakers that the lag in classifying the diseases "is a concern."

"I'm aware of how difficult it is ... in getting the analysis," said Dr. Tony Fauci, whose office is part of the National Institutes of Health.

"I agree there is a concern and it needs to be moved faster," Fauci said. He said the Health and Human Services Department "is clearly addressing that."

The Homeland Security Department almost has finished assessing whether three more threats - plague, tularemia and chemical nerve agents - should go on the list, Vitko said.

The department will begin reviewing viral hemorrhagic fevers for inclusion next month, he said.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Vitko said there is no specific indication of threats to the U.S. by biological agents not already on the list.

In prioritizing the agents, the department looked at "how much they infect people, how easy they are to get, what their effects are," Vitko said.

"I don't want to say there's a real scare," Vitko said. "The whole issue with the biological question is, there are lots of agents that are possible and within the access of terrorists. ... These are the ones of major concern."
Well, if you won't say it, I sure will. There may not be a scare, but there ceratainly is a lack of response on the part of the federal agencies.
Also at the hearing, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was unclear whether there will be enough flu vaccine for the public this winter. She and others made similar warnings last spring.
"I'm not counting on it," Dr. Julie Gerberding said.
Was influenza on the list? No? Why not? Last I checked, there was the threat of a pandemic -- not epidenimc -- regarding the Asian Avian flu.
Last October, the flu-shot supply was abruptly cut in half when British regulators shut down a Chiron Corp. factory because of contamination concerns. This year, federal health officials plan to urge the elderly and others most at risk from the flu to be the first vaccinated.
To quote our friend The Florida Masochist, you people are knuckleheads.

Semper Gratis to The Mudville Gazette for their Open Post.

05 August 2005

Pointe du Hoc from the Gipper

This past Christmas, my beautiful wife Kelly gave me a wonderful gift. The gift was a book entitled Speaking My Mind, which is a compilation of speeches given by President Ronald Wilson Reagan. I was in somewhat of a crappy mood today so I re-read one of my favorite speeches from my very favorite President.
40th Anniversary of D-Day

Remarks at the U.S. Ranger Monument
Pointe du Hoc, France
June 6, 1984

We're here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For four long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue. Here in Normandy the rescue began. Here the Allies stood and fought against tyranny in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.

We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but 40 years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. At dawn, on the morning of the 6th of June, 1944, 225 Rangers jumped off the British landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs. Their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion: to climb these sheer and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns. The Allies had been told that some of the mightiest of these guns were here and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the Allied advance.

The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers--the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After two days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms.

Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.

These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.

Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender's poem. You are men who in your "lives fought for life . . . and left the vivid air signed with your honor.''

I think I know what you may be thinking right now--thinking, "We were just part of a bigger effort; everyone was brave that day.'' Well, everyone was. Do you remember the story of Bill Millin of the 51st Highlanders? Forty years ago today, British troops were pinned down near a bridge, waiting desperately for help. Suddenly, they heard the sound of bagpipes, and some thought they were dreaming. Well, they weren't. They looked up and saw Bill Millin with his bagpipes, leading the reinforcements and ignoring the smack of the bullets into the ground around him.

Lord Lovat was with him--Lord Lovat of Scotland, who calmly announced when he got to the bridge, "Sorry I'm a few minutes late,'' as if he'd been delayed by a traffic jam, when in truth he'd just come from the bloody fighting on Sword Beach, which he and his men had just taken.

There was the impossible valor of the Poles who threw themselves between the enemy and the rest of Europe as the invasion took hold, and the unsurpassed courage of the Canadians who had already seen the horrors of war on this coast. They knew what awaited them there, but they would not be deterred. And once they hit Juno Beach, they never looked back.

All of these men were part of a rollcall of honor with names that spoke of a pride as bright as the colors they bore: the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Poland's 24th Lancers, the Royal Scots Fusiliers, the Screaming Eagles, the Yeomen of England's armored divisions, the forces of Free France, the Coast Guard's "Matchbox Fleet'' and you, the American Rangers.

Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love.

The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge--and pray God we have not lost it--that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.

You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One's country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.

The Americans who fought here that morning knew word of the invasion was spreading through the darkness back home. They thought--or felt in their hearts, though they couldn't know in fact, that in Georgia they were filling the churches at 4 a.m., in Kansas they were kneeling on their porches and praying, and in Philadelphia they were ringing the Liberty Bell.

Something else helped the men of D-Day: their rock-hard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause. And so, the night before the invasion, when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer he told them: Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we're about to do. Also that night, General Matthew Ridgway on his cot, listening in the darkness for the promise God made to Joshua: "I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.''

These are the things that impelled them; these are the things that shaped the unity of the Allies.

When the war was over, there were lives to be rebuilt and governments to be returned to the people. There were nations to be reborn. Above all, there was a new peace to be assured. These were huge and daunting tasks. But the Allies summoned strength from the faith, belief, loyalty, and love of those who fell here. They rebuilt a new Europe together.

There was first a great reconciliation among those who had been enemies, all of whom had suffered so greatly. The United States did its part, creating the Marshall Plan to help rebuild our allies and our former enemies. The Marshall Plan led to the Atlantic alliance--a great alliance that serves to this day as our shield for freedom, for prosperity, and for peace.

In spite of our great efforts and successes, not all that followed the end of the war was happy or planned. Some liberated countries were lost. The great sadness of this loss echoes down to our own time in the streets of Warsaw, Prague, and East Berlin. Soviet troops that came to the center of this continent did not leave when peace came. They're still there, uninvited, unwanted, unyielding, almost 40 years after the war. Because of this, Allied forces still stand on this continent. Today, as 40 years ago, our armies are here for only one purpose--to protect and defend democracy. The only territories we hold are memorials like this one and graveyards where our heroes rest.

We in America have learned bitter lessons from two World Wars: It is better to be here ready to protect the peace than to take blind shelter across the sea, rushing to respond only after freedom is lost. We've learned that isolationism never was and never will be an acceptable response to tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent.

But we try always to be prepared for peace; prepared to deter aggression; prepared to negotiate the reduction of arms; and, yes, prepared to reach out again in the spirit of reconciliation. In truth, there is no reconciliation we would welcome more than a reconciliation with the Soviet Union, so, together, we can lessen the risks of war, now and forever.

It's fitting to remember here the great losses also suffered by the Russian people during World War II: 20 million perished, a terrible price that testifies to all the world the necessity of ending war. I tell you from my heart that we in the United States do not want war. We want to wipe from the face of the Earth the terrible weapons that man now has in his hands. And I tell you, we are ready to seize that beachhead. We look for some sign from the Soviet Union that they are willing to move forward, that they share our desire and love for peace, and that they will give up the ways of conquest. There must be a changing there that will allow us to turn our hope into action.

We will pray forever that some day that changing will come. But for now, particularly today, it is good and fitting to renew our commitment to each other, to our freedom, and to the alliance that protects it.

We are bound today by what bound us 40 years ago, the same loyalties, traditions, and beliefs. We're bound by reality. The strength of America's allies is vital to the United States, and the American security guarantee is essential to the continued freedom of Europe's democracies. We were with you then; we are with you now. Your hopes are our hopes, and your destiny is our destiny.

Here, in this place where the West held together, let us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Let our actions say to them the words for which Matthew Ridgway listened: "I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.''

Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their value [valor], and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.

Thank you very much, and God bless you all.
We've learned that isolationism never was and never will be an acceptable response to tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent. These words were true in 1984 and have never been more true than today.

I feel better already.

Army Engineers Bridge Cities in the 'Stan

The “How come I didn't hear about this from the MSM?” file keeps getting fatter and fatter.

Another successful humanitarian operation by U.S. Armed Forces – Army Engineer Battalions to be exact – is nearing completion. No, this isn’t the reconstruction of a road destroyed by bombing runs, it is the initial construction of a road between two majors cities in the ‘Stan. CENTCOM reports:
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - One of the most encouraging successes of the United States Military presence in Afghanistan is the approaching completion of the TK Road, a road bringing together the cities of Kandahar and Tarin Kowt. Coalition forces have been dedicated to connecting Afghanistan by road, a task that has spanned 14 months and 117 kilometers.

With elections on the horizon, extending transportation routes into more rural areas of Afghanistan will play an essential role in encouraging the democratic process. Election dates have been pushed back twice due at least in part to the logistical difficulties of coordinating between provinces. Success in road construction here means not only making day to day life easier for the citizens; it facilitates the success of the first democratically elected government in Afghanistan.

The work on the TK road has been the focus of two different Army Engineer rotations. Road construction began during Operation Enduring Freedom 5 with the 528th Engineer Battalion, from Louisiana. They competed 46.5 kilometers of road between July 2004 and February 2005. During OEF 6, Task Force Pacemaker Engineers took over construction. The Task Force is composed of active and reserve units of Alpha and HSC Companies of the 864th Engineer Combat Battalion Heavy (Fort Lewis, Wash.), Charlie Company C/ 864th ECB (H) (Fort Richardson, Alaska), Alpha Company/391st Light Engineer Battalion (U.S. Army Reserve, Ashville, N.C.), Company C/926th Engineers (AR, Huntsville, Ala.), and the 298th Engineer Detachment (National Guard, Pearl City, Hawaii).

Talk about a coalition! Units from Hawaii, Alabama, Washington, Alaska, North Carolina all contributing to build a road that they will likely never use once their service is up. Awesome.

Task Force Pacemaker took over the construction in April, and will have completed a remarkable 70 kilometers of road work through some of the most difficult terrain the country has to offer. Initial estimations put project completion somewhere in the spring of 2006, but efforts of the Pacemakers under Lt. Col. Paul M. Paolozzi, have moved the date to Sept. 15, just days prior to the new election date. The Pacemakers consider that achievement a victory in the war on terror. “The best weapons of the Taliban are not IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and RPGs (rocket propelled grenades), its ignorance and isolation,” said Paolozzi. “The road we’re building destroys both of those weapons by giving the people freedom of mobility and the capability to learn what the Afghani government is doing for them. They won’t need to be dependant on the Taliban for information, twisted thinking, or municipal support.”

Continued development is essential to any post-electoral agenda for peace building in Afghanistan. No matter the outcome of elections, the extension of routes into rural Afghanistan provides much potential in strengthening the new government’s credibility. The completion of the road couldn’t come at a better time.
Once again, the MSM fails to point out the good work done by our service members abroad. What a shame.

As always, thanks to The Mudville Gazette for their Open Post.

04 August 2005

Coast Guard is 215 Years Old

Today marks the 215 Anniversary of what is known today as the United States Coast Guard. For those of you keeping score, the Coast Guard is the oldest continuously operating maritime service in the U.S.

Here is a brief history lesson courtesy of the official U.S. Coast Guard site:

We trace our history back to 4 August 1790, when the first Congress authorized the construction of ten vessels to enforce tariff and trade laws, prevent smuggling, and protect the collection of the federal revenue. Known variously as the Revenue Marine and the Revenue Cutter Service, we expanded in size and responsibilities as the nation grew.

The service received its present name in 1915 under an act of Congress when the Revenue Cutter Service merged with the Life-Saving Service. The nation now had a single maritime service dedicated to saving life at sea and enforcing the nation's maritime laws. We began to maintain the country's aids to maritime navigation, including operating the nation's lighthouses, when the Lighthouse Service was transferred to the Coast Guard in 1939. Later, in 1946, Congress permanently transferred the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation to the Coast Guard, thereby placing merchant marine licensing and merchant vessel safety under our purview.

The Coast Guard is one of the oldest organizations of the federal government and, until the Navy Department was established in 1798, we served as the nation's only armed force afloat. We have continued to protect the nation throughout our long history and have served proudly in every one of the nation's conflicts. Our national defense responsibilities remain one of our most important functions even today.

In times of peace we operate as part of the Department of Homeland Security, serving as the nation's front-line agency for enforcing our laws at sea, protecting our coastline and ports, and saving life. In times of war, or on direction of the President, we serve under the Navy Department.
While 215 years have passed beneath our collective keels, not much has changed in the CG world. Lives are still saved, aids to navigation are still tended, contraband is still intercepted and the Nation is still defended. We did all of those things when I was on AD in the 1980's and they are still being done today.

So, all this being said, Semper Paratus and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Thanks to Mr and Mrs Greyhawk for their Open Post.