UPDATE: One $250 grand prize package has been claimed (19 April 14, 2100 hours app.). However, Mike is up to do one more, and so am I. So, be the next person to donate $250 and the books are yours.
Update: One book is claimed; another has been put back for another to claim; and, the grand prize package still is not claimed. Could it be yours? Think about it, for a $250 donation you get books signed by Mad Mike, John Ringo, and even myself. Several books in the package, check it out. Putting full text of the FB post below.
NOTE: Donations now are not tax deductible per the IRS. If the 501(c)(3) is approved your donations may be deductible. The IRS likes us to note that you should contact a tax professional for advice.
MIKE"S POST: Help Mission: Valor raise their 501(c)(3) fees. I have TWO of the limited edition copies of Freehold - Fiction signed, and I will personalize and inscribe to the first two people to donate $50 and send me a copy of their receipt. They'll even be dated before the official release date of 6 May. Plus from the comments: At $250 I'll add in The Hero - Fiction signed by me and John Ringo and Clan of the Claw signed by us both, too, in hardcover, and a copy of Tour of Duty. Further Note: at $250 I put in an autographed and personalized copy of my second book of photography from Iraq, not a fuzzy/blurry shot of the moon to be found in it anywhere.
Riiiiiggghhht! This guy is playing at claiming so.
The U.S. military is a socialist paradise. Imagine a testing ground where every signature liberal program of the past century has been applied, from racial integration to single-payer health care—then add personal honor, strict hierarchy, and more guns. Like all socialist paradises, the military has been responsible for its share of bloodshed, but it has developed one of the only working models of collective living and social welfare that this country has ever known.
This is a brilliant example of....well...nothing. The points he makes are pointless except to point out that some are willing to sacrifice some of their rights to secure them for the rest. A better example would be saying that the military is a fashion designer's paradise because all of the troops have adopted the combat couture. What a buffoon.
Now he has served in Iraq and Afghanistan so I thanke him for that as should we all. Then we can laugh as he trolls the internets trying to get a rise out of me and you. Congratulations Mr. Siegel you win, I mock thee. But I remember you, weren't you that smart ass Spec 4 barracks lawyer always telling people they didn;t have to get up and do PT because it was against labor regulations, or that they couldn't make cut yrou hair because of the 1st Amendment. I knew you and all the other semi-pro wankers who always had a dumbass, poorly thought out reason why the man couldn't tell them what to do.
The problem is that you are not really one of the more entertaining ones. You pale in comparison to the mighty Skippy. Do go read the full list. It is the greatest thing ever published on the internets.
Skippy’s List: The 213 things Skippy is no longer allowed to do in the U.S. Army
1. Not allowed to watch Southpark when I’m supposed to be working.
2. My proper military title is “Specialist Schwarz” not “Princess Anastasia”.
3. Not allowed to threaten anyone with black magic.
4. Not allowed to challenge anyone’s disbelief of black magic by asking for hair.
5. Not allowed to get silicone breast implants.
6. Not allowed to play “Pulp Fiction” with a suction-cup dart pistol and any officer.
7. Not allowed to add “In accordance with the prophesy” to the end of answers I give to a question an officer asks me.
8. Not allowed to add pictures of officers I don’t like to War Criminal posters.
9. Not allowed to title any product “Get Over it”.
10. Not allowed to purchase anyone’s soul on government time.
Recently, I invited any of you in or near NYC to join myself and Army Week for a special screening of Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 at HBO (who hosted the event). More than sixty people did show up, and enjoyed a nice reception, the screening, and a panel discussion on the crisis that is veteran suicide. The panelists included the producer of the documentary, Dana Perry; the chairman of the NYC chapter of The Soldiers Project, Jason Walter, LMSW; the founder of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, BG Loree Sutton (ret); and, suicide prevention program manager of the 99th Regional Support Command, Dr. Paul Wade. Most importantly, we had the audience.
Leaving aside my thoughts on several topics, I want to focus on the key point: doing something about veteran suicide. I will admit, the film brought out some conflicting emotions. It was good to see behind the scenes at the hotline center, and to know that they were able to talk some people down and get them help. It was good to know that they could, in some cases, cut through the BS at the VA and get people in to the right programs and people. I cringed at some of the questions they have to ask, especially those involving weapons -- and was somewhere between understanding and furious at a delay in treatment/intervention for a vet caused when paramedics had to wait for the police since there were weapons in the house. I do understand the need to see to the safety of responders, but...
The documentary was good, make no mistake. The panel discussion that followed, along with the audience participation, was amazing. The short version is that the panelists and the audience agreed that more needs to be done. The lack of trust in the system was understood by all, as was the need to find ways to restore that trust. Further, the fact that the current outlook by the DoD that robs troops of being involved and a contributor to their unit and the DoD if they admit to having a problem -- now and forever -- needs to be eliminated as it does prevent people from seeking help. Having a soldier in the audience stand up and talk about how he almost became a statistic because of the system, and having a panelist talk about losing their spouse to suicide because they trusted the system, hit home.
Two key points came out that I want to share. One, the current mindset within DoD sucks. As the soldier in the audience pointed out, troops are sent to the dentist twice a year but there is nothing done to deal with preparation for or treatment of combat stress and related issues. Two, the national hotline is the current frontline, and that sucks too. BG Sutton is right, the frontline needs to be in the community, both the military community and the local community where our troops live. If you truly want to make a difference, the only place it can and will be made -- and made well -- is local.
If you lived in the area and didn't come out, you missed out. If you want to learn more about Army Week, then come out to this event on Wednesday. Sorry for the FB link, but TypePad has been having issues from an attack and I still can't post images.
U.S. Navy sailors and Marines participate in a swim call off the stern gate of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde to celebrate the 121st birthday of the chief petty officer rank in the Arabian Sea, April 1, 2014. The Mesa Verde, with the embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Shannon M. Smith
U.S. Marines prepare and ready their vehicles to depart Forward Operating Base Delaram II in Nimroz province, Afghanistan, for the last time as they head back to Camp Bastion in Helmand province, April 8, 2014. U.S. Marines Corps photo by Sgt. Frances Johnson
Regular readers are likely already familiar with LTC Tom Kratman (ret.) [trust me, you want to go read the quotes at the page linked, really] and his outstanding Carrera series of books. He's added to his non-fiction list of books with Training for War, and Baen Books is giving it away for free. Yes, you will have to register with Baen, but do I really have to point out that you can then download other books from them for free in a variety of e-book formats? I'm not finished reading it yet, but I think that anyone interested in the military, and in good and effective training, will find this of more than a little interest.
Marines travel aboard a rigid hull inflatable boat in a visit, board, search and seizure training mission during Amphibious Squadron Marine Expeditionary Unit Integration Training off the coast of San Diego, April 11, 2014. Marines conduct amphibious operations, crisis response and contingency during the two-week predeployment training. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jonathan R. Waldman
Airborne Sergeant Kyle White to Receive the M.O.H.
Posted By Blackfive • [April 16, 2014]
You might have seen the announcement or even read the citation that will be presented with the Medal to Sergeant White. But you should go here to read about Kyle White's actions from someone who witnessed his uncommon valor under extreme conditions over at From Cow Pastures to Kosovo. Five paratroopers and one Marine lost their lives that day...it's certain that that count would be higher if it had not been for the actions of the platoon RTO.
Book Review - "Under a Silent Moon" by Elizabeth Haynes
Posted By Blackfive • [April 15, 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 link on the far right side bar.
Under A Silent Moon, Elizabeth Haynes’ latest book, differs from her previous novels. Her other books were more stand alone psychological thrillers than this one which can be classified as a series police procedural. What makes this novel intriguing is the way she presents the crime investigation, through the source documents.
Readers should connect one of the team’s investigating detectives, Sam Hollands, from the Haynes’ first book, Into The Darkest Corner. Louisa Smith is introduced as the formidable DCI, heading the investigation of two victims. The first is a beautiful young woman brutally killed in her cottage, while the second is a suspected suicide at a nearby quarry, when her car plunged to the bottom of a pit. The investigation takes place over the course of six days where it becomes apparent that these two deaths are related.
Intertwined throughout the novel is fictional source material, including police reports, phone messages, interviews, witness statements, emails, forensic reports analysis documents, and charts. This enables the reader to feel they are part of Smith’s investigation team, collecting the clues as they attempt to solve the crime. Even the chapter titles allows for the reader to stay in the setting since they are named with the day, date, and time. However, if these document sources become a bit detailed, and they are skipped, nothing is lost in understanding the storyline.
The author commented to blackfive.net, “This is the book I always wanted to write. As a police analyst I would get the real sense of the story, the real crime, from these documents. Investigators effectively piece together the puzzle as the investigation unfolds. I thought I can write a novel just from these documents with the reader being able to fill in the gaps and can see how the story unfolds. The reader could act like an investigator if they so chose.”
As in all her books, Haynes has a dark side to the story with graphic sex and violence. Yet, these add to the plot as she tries to show the dark side of humanity through affairs, sexual encounters, jealousy, desire, and greed. The relationships begin to overlap and a strong theme throughout is the father/daughter relationship.
Interestingly enough is that in this book the main characters are the police not the victims or suspects.
She noted to blackfive.net, “In a crime novel there is a lot of graphic sex out there that is part of the crime. With Into The Darkest Corner the sex scenes were very real for me and not gratuitous. As times I wanted to stop writing that because I wasn’t comfortable with it. It was stomach churning for me, and gave the readers a feeling that this is just not right. With these current scenes I wanted to show that it was not put in for pleasure but to show how someone could use it to manipulate and control, as part of a power play. This is a thread running through all my books.”
Haynes also feels as a working mother she needs to balance motherhood and professional life. For example she asked that the interview be postponed for an hour so she could have dinner with her ten-year-old son. She also told of another example, being invited to speak at a crime festival on a Friday. “I said I would do it but only on a Saturday or Sunday because that particular Friday was my son’s class celebration for finishing primary school. Amazingly they allowed me to speak on the weekend so I was able to balance my career and my family.”
Under A Silent Moon is much more of a plot-based book than a character based one as Haynes has written in the past. However this novel allows the reader to analyze much more as they are riveted to this gripping page-turner.
U.S. Special Forces soldiers and Honduran paratroopers descend to the drop zone after jumping out of an AC130 aircraft during a partner nation static line jump on Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, April 3, 2014. The soldiers are assigned to 7th Special Forces Group, Airborne. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Steven K. Young
Korean and U.S. Marines traverse the shoreline aboard amphibious assault vehicles during Ssang Yong 2014 on Doksoek-ri in Pohang, South Korea, March 31, 2014. The annual exercise is conducted to enhance the interoperability of Korean and U.S. forces by performing a full spectrum of amphibious operations. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Lauren Whitney
"No Survivors" - The Twentieth Anniversary of Eagle Flight
Posted By Blackfive • [April 14, 2014]
"They came to save us, and to give us dignity. Their sacrifice will remain in the minds of our children for the rest of their lives. We will teach their names to our children, and keep their names in our books of history as heroes who gave their lives for freedom." - Kurd Sheik Ahmet at the April 17th, 1994 memorial service in Zakhu, Iraq.
Today is the 20th anniversary of a dark day in our military history...while the inquiry results were weak, this was one incident in which many lessons were learned that later saved American and allied lives (true IFF came from this), and continued the long trek to freedom for one of the most deserving groups of human beings on this planet.
Let's start at what isn't quite the beginning but as good as any place to start this story...
In April, 1991, as part of U.N. Resolution 688, the National Command Authority commanded the US Armed Forces to conduct Operation Provide Comfort. On the 8th of April 1991, the 1st Battalion (FWD) of the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) from Bad Tolz, Germany, deployed to conduct humanitarian relief operations for over a half million Kurdish refugees. Soon the 2nd and 3rd Battalions arrived from the states.
...Operation PROVIDE COMFORT was one of the largest relief operations in history. During the critical first three weeks, the 10th Special Forces Group directed and executed the overall ground relief and security efforts. In the words of General Galvin, the CINCEUR "...10th Special Forces Group saved half a million Kurds from extinction."
The conditions in the refugee camps shocked the world. Before 10th Group arrived, an average of 450 refugees perished daily, with 70 percent being children. In two weeks time the rate was approximately 15-20 per day and of these, only 28 percent were children. 10th Group had made the difference.
The basic operation was divided into three phases. Phase one provided immediate emergency relief with food, water and shelter. The intent was to make an accurate assessment of the situation and to organize Kurdish leadership. Phase two provided basic services. The ODA and ODB detachments performed many tasks and missions: pipe water from the mountains, organize food distribution and camp sanitation, service drop zones and landing zones, and coordinate with the multinational relief organizations. Additionally, they assisted in rendering medical treatment for the refugees. Phase three prepared and moved the refugees from their mountain camps into resettlement camps in Iraq or straight back to their own homes. Waystations built by 10th SFG(A), provided food, water and fuel, and limited medical help enroute...
As the video below shows, it was really about saving the families and the children:
The mission was a tough one - to provide humanitarian aid to over one million Kurdish Refugees in northern Iraq. The mission began with airdrops (food, clothing, tents, blankets, medicine) and soon launched missions taking supplies directly to the Kurds.
A UH-60A Black Hawk (Blackhawk) helicopter flies over a small village in the Kurdish occupied security zone in northern Iraq. The helicopters and the crews from C Company 6/159th Aviation Regiment, Geibelstadt, Germany, are deployed to Diyarbakir, Turkey, in support of the operation Provide Comfort. (DoD photo by: SSGT. THEODORE J. KONIARES Date Shot: 1993-11-17).
To further stop Saddam from killing the Kurds, a northern No-Fly Zone was placed north of the 36th parallel. Any Iraqi aircraft would be shot down in the No-Fly Zone.
Photo from CIA Factbook
The No-Fly Zone was patrolled and kept "clean" by the USAF with fighters (F-15s) being supported by command and control aircraft (AWACS).
General John Shalikashvili, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had this to say about the hard work of the Provide Comfort Soldiers and Airmen:
For over 1,000 days, the pilots and crews assigned to Operation Provide Comfort flew mission after mission, totalling over 50,000 hours...
The mission continued for 3 years until the first Commander was due to reliquish command...
On April 14th, 1994, two Blackhawk helicopters were ready for take-off from Diyarbakir, Turkey. COL Jerry Thompson - one of the most respected officers and commanders in Special Forces - was changing command (or co-command as "command" of Provide Comfort was shared with Turkey). He decided to show his replacement, COL Mulhern, the lay of the land. At 0730, COL Thompson assembled 26 people that comprised important (command group) roles for the mission. He included French, British, and Turkish commanders and liaisons, and also brought along Kurdish para-military personnel and linguists.
The two Blackhawks were designated Eagle-1 and Eagle-2. Their first destination was Irbil, Iraq, but they would have to make a stop in Zakhu, Iraq (where the military part of Provide Comfort operated). There were plans to visit several other areas as well.
At 8:22AM, Eagle Flight departed Diyarbakir. They were headed East-Southeast for a "gate" into the No-Fly Zone. Per Standard Operating Procedure, the command group was split between Eagle-1 and Eagle-2 to ensure continuity of command if one helicopter went down.
At 9:21AM, Eagle Flight called the AWACS (callsign "Cougar"). They requested and were granted permission to enter the "gate" into the the No-Fly Zone.
At 9:24AM, Eagle Flight lands at Zakhu, Iraq.
At 9:35AM, two USAF F-15 fighters launched from Incirlik, Turkey. They were designated Tiger-1 and Tiger-2. Tiger-1 was the lead fighter with Tiger-2 as the wingman. Tiger Flight was headed to patrol the No-Fly Zone.
At 9:54AM, Eagle Flight calls the AWACS to report departure from Zakhu, Iraq, with a destination of Irbil, Iraq.
At 10:12AM, Eagle Flight enters mountainous terrain. It's Identification Friend or Foe system (IFF) failed.
At 10:20AM Tiger Flight passes through "gate" into No-Fly Zone.
At 10:22AM Tiger Flight picks up radar contact at forty nautical miles. No IFF reading occurs. Tiger-1 reports, "Cougar, picked up helicopter tracking northwest bound." AWACS says the area should be "clean".
At 10:25 AWACS responds that there are "hits there" in the No-Fly Zone - confirming Tiger Flight's radar contact.
Tiger Flight makes visual contact with Eagle Flight at five nautical miles.
At 10:28 Tiger-1 conducts a visual identification (VID) pass of the helicopters. "Cougar, tally 2 HINDS."
HINDS are Soviet Helicopters used by the Iraqi Armed Forces.
AWACS replied, "Copy two HINDS".
Tiger-1 then instructed Tiger-2 to make a VID pass.
Thirty seconds later Tiger-2 confirms, "Tally 2."
Tiger-1 to Tiger-2, "Arm hot."
At 10:30AM on April 14, 1994, Tiger-1 fired an AIM 120 (medium range air-to-air missle) at Eagle-2. Tiger-2 fired an AIM 9 (Sidewinder air-to-air missle) at Eagle-1.
The missles hit Eagle Flight with deadly accuracy. Tiger-1 confirmed the hits to AWACS, "Splash two HINDS."
Of the 26 team members of Eagle Flight, there were no survivors...
US Military: SSG Paul Barclay (SF Commo NCO) SPC Cornelius A. Bass (Eagle-1 Door Gunner) SPC Jeffrey C. Colbert (Eagle-1 Crew Chief) SPC Mark A. Ellner (Eagle-2 Door Gunner) CW2 John W. Garrett, Jr. (Eagle-1 Pilot) CW2 Michael A. Hall (Eagle-2 Pilot Command) SFC Benjamin T. Hodge (Linguist) CPT Patrick M. McKenna (Eagle-1 Pilot Command) WO1 Erik S. Mounsey (Eagle-2 Pilot) COL Richard A. Mulhern (Incoming Co-Commander) 1LT Laurie A. Piper (USAF, Intel Officer) SGT Michael S. Robinson (Eagle-2 Crew Chief) SSG Ricky L. Robinson (SF Medic) Ms. Barbara L. Schell (State Dept. Political Advisor) COL Jerald L. Thompson (Outgoing Co-Commander)
British Military: MAJ Harry Shapland (Security/Intel Duty Officer) LTC Jonathan C. Swann (Senior UK Officer)
French Military: LTC Guy Demetz (Senior French Officer)
Turkish Army: COL Hikmet Alp (Co-Commander) LT Ceyhun Civas (Laison Officer) LT Barlas Gultepe (Liason Officer)
Kurdish Partisans: Abdulsatur Arab Ghandi Hussein Bader Mikho Ahmad Mohammed Salid Said (Linguist)
USAF Photo: U.S. Military personnel inspect the wreckage of a Black Hawk helicopter (Eagle 2) in the Northern Iraq No Fly Zone during Operation Provide Comfort, April 16, 1994.
DoD photo MSGT MICHAEL J. HAGGERTY: The remains of 26 people were flown in for transportation to the U.S. Army Mortuary Center, Frankfurt, Germany. The 26 were killed in an accidental downing of two U.S. Army UH-60A Black Hawk (Blackhawk) helicopters by U.S. AIr Force F-15C fighters in the northern Iraq "no fly zone". Standing in review was the Rhein-Main-Air Base color guard, they displayed the flags of the countries that mourn the loss of their citizens, the United States, Britain, France and Turkey.
I took this photo while visiting the Colonel (his story is an interesting one). He's near Mary Todd Lincoln's tomb on a slight rise over looking a beautiful part of Arlington...You can visit him and Barclay, Hodge and Bass at Arlington like I am today.
Please take a minute to pray for their families today and remember that their hard work and sacrifices led to a flourishing Kurdish enclave - a place they would be very, very proud of today. I don't think in our wildest dreams we ever thought that would have been possible.
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.