Many of you here know Mad Mike. Well, his first novel, "Freehold," is being re-released in a signed, hardcover edition. First released in 2004, this is a one-time run and only about 1,000 will be printed. If interested in this very special edition, order today to ensure you get a copy.
Walter D. Ehlers, the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient for the Normandy campaign, was laid to rest March 10 at Riverside (Calif.) National Cemetery.
Ehlers was born in Junction City, Ks. on May 7, 1921. He enlisted in the Army with his brother Roland and the two served together throughout the North Africa and Sicily campaigns, but anticipating high casualties, their company commander separated the brothers for the Normandy invasion due to fears that the two would perish together. Walter learned on June 14 that his brother perished when a mortar struck his landing craft at Omaha Beach on D-Day.
As Walter's reconnaissance squad fought through France on June 9 and 10, he repeatedly moved far forward of his men, leading a bayonet charge and assaulting multiple heavily defended strongpoints - at times, single-handedly. While covering the withdrawal of his platoon from heavy fire, and despite being wounded himself, Ehlers crossed a killzone to retrieve his wounded automatic rifleman. Once his man was secured, he returned for the soldier's weapon. His full citation can be read here.
He was wounded three more times as the First Infantry Division fought across Europe. In addition to his Medal of Honor and Purple Hearts, he also earned the Silver Star and Bronze Star. He served as a counselor for the Veterans Administration, and his son Walter Jr. retired as a lieutenant colonel, also having served with the First Infantry Division. Ehlers spoke at the 50th anniversary commemoration of the D-Day invasion in 1994 and walked alongside President Bill Clinton on Omaha Beach.
Many who worked alongside Ehlers never knew he was a Medal of Honor recipient. "This was a man who was a warrior," recalled former California governor Pete Wilson. "There's no doubt about that, but this was also one of the most gentle, kindest, most modest human beings I've ever encountered." Hundreds attended his funeral.
With Ehlers' passing, only 75 surviving Medal of Honor recipients remain. However, the Marine Corps Timesreports that former Marine Corporal Kyle Carpenter will receive the award for shielding his comrades from a grenade blast in Afghanistan back in 2010.
This is totally worth your time to read. Heard from a few OEF and OIF vets that it truly hits home.
...My brothers and I tell stories with passion and pride, and my non-serving peers think: what a waste of a life. It may have been a waste, time will tell, but it was a glorious waste. I “wasted” my life seeing the very best of a generation of MEN stand up and go do what was asked of them. I “wasted” my life in third-world shit-holes, knowing my brothers cared more about me than the girl at home. I “wasted” my life watching guys risk and give their lives for one another. I would not ask to “waste” my life any other way...
A U.S. airman exits an C-130 H3 aircraft during a high-altitude jump while participating in Joint Exercise Flintlock 2014 over northeastern Niger, Feb. 28, 2014.National Guard photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Eugene Crist
Army Pfc. Paul Barraza runs a six-mile course during the Best Warrior Competition on Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, Hawaii, March 1, 2014. Barraza, a cavalry scout, is assigned to the Hawaii National Guard's 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category on the far right sidebar.
C.J. Box’s latest, Stone Cold, a Joe Pickett novel, will definitely become a “mega country hit.” His books based in Wyoming have the flavor of a modern day Western, where the setting becomes almost a character in itself. Box’s novels always include two plots: one involving Pickett’s family and the other, a story of adventure, with some political intrigue and culture from that part of the US.
Although the Joe Pickett novels are a series, each individual book is a stand alone, due in large part to Box’s writing style. Stone Cold has two intertwining plots, one involving Pickett’s college age daughter and the other a murder for hire company, based in Wyoming’s Black Hills. Each piece of the story goes beyond the “who done it,” allowing the reader to question modern day issues.
The family story has Pickett’s older daughter, Sheridan, worried about a fellow dorm student at the University of Wyoming who appears to have a mass shooter type personality. Box explores the issue of the 2nd Amendment on college campuses, such as, whether colleges should be gun free zones, or should college students shave the freedom to carry a weapon. He told blackfive.net, “What I put in the book is really happening in Wyoming where students can have up to three guns, but not in their dorm room. They need to store it with the UW Police Department. Times have obviously changed since when I was younger I had a rifle in my high school locker for finding prairie dogs. In my college days we would have our guns to go hunting. I am a big 2nd Amendment supporter but I wanted my readers to question the issue of allowing guns in dorm rooms. I remember my college days where we twenty-one year old boys would get all liquored up. I am not so sure it is a good idea to have a gun then. I go back and forth, but I do think what is being done today is a fair compromise.”
The other plot has Joe traveling to Wyoming’s Medicine Wheel County to investigate the shady dealing of a wealthy landowner, Wolfgang Templeton who owns the county, land, people, and law. The issue focuses on being above the law for righteous reasons. Box gets the point across through his characters: Joe tends to bend the rules while Nate Romanowski goes against the rules. For those who have not read any past books, Nate is the antithesis of Joe, a loner who lives in the woods with his falcons. This plot brings back “Frontier Justice,” since Nate rights a wrong against those morally degenerate elitists who are untouchable in society. The other issue examined is the idea of handouts and the dependency it can cause among the people.
Box commented, “There is the perception in this country that some bad people are untouchable because they are part of the elite and part of the system. This is something Templeton and Nate address since they go after people that cannot be touched in any way due to their connections. Regarding the other issue, Templeton, to gain control, established in this county handouts to take care of everybody and bring the people on his side. Yet, they want more and more from him. This shows how the county people became dependent, unhappy, and is always asking for more and more. Both Templeton and the county people become hostages to each other.”
The reader should be aware that although the main plot comes to an ending the side plots are left up in the air, which is Box’s style. He always leaves certain threads that run through the series that don’t have a definitive conclusion, and resume in future books.
He also gave a heads up about his next book, which will also include Nate. The plots will include Joe’s daughter April’s disappearance that will be intertwined with a plot surrounding endangered species and the effect it has on energy development.
Wyoming citizen, the former Second Lady of the US, Lynne Cheney told blackfive.net, “I love Box's novels. His realistic plots yield plenty of surprises, and his characters are fabulous, especially Joe Pickett. And all of this is set against an evocative Wyoming background that he draws perfectly. There is never a false note to break the spell. I hope Box keeps writing for many years to come.”
Stone Cold has non-stop action with captivating characters. The plots are thought provoking, suspenseful, and compelling. These western tale books are a welcome difference from other crime novels and should be on any readers’ list that wants a thrilling mystery.
U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Dorman, Bilbrey and a member of the Wounded Warrior Battalion East, practices his sitting volleyball skills during the 2014 Marine Corps Trials on Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 4, 2014. The event involves four competing teams comprised of active duty Marines, veterans and international service members. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Ashton Buckingham
As seen through a night-vision device, a U.S. airman provides wind speed and aircraft direction to a C-130 H3 aircraft during night airfield operations on an airfield during Joint Exercise Flintlock 2014 over Niger, Feb. 28, 2014. National Guard photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Eugene Crist
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the far right sidebar.
Best-Selling author J.A. Jance has written her 50th novel, Moving Target. It features the character Ali Reynolds and her supporting cast: fiancé and computer expert B. Simpson, longtime gay household assistant, Leland Brooks, and good friend, Taser carrying nun, Sister Anselm. It also introduces a powerful character, Lance Tucker, a talented teenage computer hacker.
This book involves two plotlines that take place in Arizona, Texas, and England. Although the plots are basically unrelated Jance is able to weave them together through Ali and B’s relationship. The first plot explores Leland’s background, why his parents supposedly disowned him for being gay, and a cold case that Ali helps to solve involving Leland’s family. This plot is wrapped up mid-way through the book, which allows readers to concentrate on the very suspenseful plot that explores online research. This is where Jance introduces the character Lance Tucker, an incarcerated juvenile offender for hacking into the San Leandro School District’s Computer system. While setting up Christmas decorations in the lockup rec room he is severely burned. Because B. Simpson’s testimony helped to find Lance guilty he now feels bad and is obliged to get to the bottom of what really happened to Lance. Simpson, the founder of the high-tech security company High Noon Enterprises, elicits the help of Ali and Sister Anselm, and is determined to hire Lance for his GHOST program. It is a revolutionary computer software that allows users to surf any part of the web completely undetected.
Jance commented to blackfive.net about some of her characters, “Although I made Leland gay he is a person who is gay, not a gay person. His homosexuality does not define who he is or is not. He is a wonderful person who has a true blue nature. I made sure his gayness did not get into people’s faces. It’s a telling story of one character that happens to be gay.”
Regarding newcomer Tucker, “Lance is a great character that will be in future books. I cannot have a character like that show up and then drop him. Basically this was a story about people where I intentionally compared the two character’s families. One family was very supportive with unconditional love while the other family was not very supportive.”
She gave a heads up about her next few books, or as she calls them “books 51.4.” Due out this July will be a Johanna Brady book where readers will find out what happened to her dog Tigger, based on the Winnie the Pooh character. Jance is currently working on her next Ali Reynolds book. It takes place in Minnesota during the wintertime, and has a plot that delves into certain religious cults treatment of women.
Jance explained why she always includes some form of discrimination against women in all of her books. “I was a feminist that was not allowed into the University of Arizona’s creative writing program because I was a woman. Although today in looking back I think the early day feminists lost their sense of humor and never got it back. I enjoy writing about things I really care about and what is important to me. In Moving Target I put that scene in where a character was barred from being accepted into Oxford by an all male admissions board. I had her hiring only women for the lab and loved the line, ‘Payback is a bitch.’”
Moving Target has a fast paced plot with very likeable and sympathetic characters. Through a riveting plot it explores the technological world while also allowing readers to get to know the human side behind the characters.
Crews load U.S. Marine Corps vehicles onto a landing craft air cushion from the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan in Rota, Spain, Feb. 26, 2014. The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group is supporting maritime security operations and theatre security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Michael J. Lieberknecht
Book Review - "Busted: A Tale of Corruption and Betrayal in the City of Brotherly Love"
Posted By Blackfive • [March 06, 2014]
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category on the far right sidebar.
Philadelphia Daily News reporters Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker won a Pulitzer Prize for their series of articles, “Tainted Justice,” investigating police corruption. Their book, Busted: A Tale of Corruption and Betrayal in the City of Brotherly Love, is based on these articles. It reads like something out of a Michael Connelly crime novel where they behaved more like a pair of detectives than journalists.
The story begins in 2009 when a law enforcement source of Wendy’s sent over a drug addict informant, Benny Martinez, to inform them about the illegal activities he had conducted with Philadelphia narcotics officer Jeffrey Cujdik. Readers soon realize that the search warrants become the key that opened up the investigation. With Benny’s help Jeff would fabricate search warrants in order to enter a suspected drug dealer’s house. People might ask why this is a big deal since many times drugs were found in the house and the occupant was a known drug dealer. Laker explained to blackfive.net, “The problem is if you lie with these rules what is to stop someone from lying on search warrants to get into your home, my home, or any law-abiding citizen’s house. This is not how the police should work in a Democratic society.”
But as the reporters investigated further they saw this to be only the tip of the iceberg. Search warrants were used to bust into retail shops owned by legal immigrants under the guise of selling drug-related supplies. After the narcotics team disabled security cameras they would steal cash and merchandise. One shop owner had a hidden backup hard-drive that he later gave to the reporters, which broke the case wide open. Wendy explained that he had lost his store, house, and dignity, while trying to fight this injustice.
A third scandal was discovered in the course of the investigation, how one officer sexually assaulted women. He chose women who were large breasted, demure, and would not fight back. Wendy and Barbara feel strongly that these women were targeted because they were poor. They commented, “Nothing pisses us more than men in power who preyed on vulnerable women. Officer Thomas Tolstoy, nicknamed the ‘Boob Man’ by his colleagues would fondle them, and in one instance shoved his hand up a woman’s vagina. There is no doubt in our mind that these women are telling the truth. We had them come in individually and watch a video of a raid. They all picked out Tolstoy as the abuser.”
Unfortunately none of these officers involved have been fired. These officers still collect their paychecks, the same salary minus the overtime. Although they have been taken off policing on the streets and now are on desk duty they have yet to face any criminal charges, including Tolstoy. The police commissioner’s excuse is that he is waiting for the FBI to make a decision to indict or not. What is ridiculous is this “holding pattern” is now over four years.
Busted is a riveting account of how a few bad cops can tarnish the good deeds done by so many police officers. It explores the drug underworld and exposes how some bad cops became corrupt and thought they were above the law, completely unafraid of getting caught.
A U.S. Special Forces soldier talks on his radio after successfully completing a clearing operation in Darazkol village in Afghanistan's Kandahar province, Feb. 23, 2014. The U.S. soldiers, assigned to Special Forces Operational Detachment Afghanistan, assisted Afghan commandos with clearing operations to disrupt insurgents from using Kharkrezwal village as a safe haven. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Bertha A. Flores
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.