Tuesday, March 3, 2015

.50-Calibre Bullets Atop Water: The Rainbow Effect, Off the USS Carl Vinson

That would be the famous Rainbow Effect of .50-cal bullets skipping the waves at sea. No such thing as the Rainbow Effect? Okay, let's just call it a pretty picture. But those really are bullets, from an M2HB machine gun, hopping the water's surface. This took place during a qualification shoot from the fantail of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Scott Fenarol.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Fighting to Stay Positive: Airmen Step Up When USAF Staff Sgt. Diagnosed With Cancer

Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James M. Hodgman 
Here's a story based out of my old stomping grounds at Travis Air Force Base in California. Air Force Tech. the story is told beautifully by Tech. Sgt. James M. Hodgman of the 60th Air Mobility Wing. 

Caution: Tissue Alert. 

Take it away, Tech Sgt. Hodgman...

For many people, Independence Day is all about celebration, spending time with family and watching fireworks light up the night sky. But for Air Force Staff Sgt. Richard L. Johnson, July 4, 2014, was not a day for celebrating.

On that day, just two months after his daughter,
 Ayda, was born, the 660th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron KC-10 crew chief learned he had cancer.

"I experienced pain that got progressively worse for about two months," Johnson said. "I just attributed it to being work-related or sleeping the wrong way. At the beginning of July, though, the pain got pretty bad. I knew something was wrong."
Doctors at David Grant USAF Medical Center discovered Johnson had a cancerous mass the size of a football in his abdomen. The cancer quickly spread and was pushing against several internal organs, as well as against Johnson's spine, causing extreme pain.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Saturday, February 28, 2015

How to Ignore a Heart Attack: My Five-Year Anniversary Tutorial

Today marks the five year anniversary of my very strange trip down the rabbit hole and into the Land of Mystery. Make that, the Land of Medical Mystery. 

Five years ago today, I found myself inside the cardiac Intensive Care Unit of my neighborhood hospital here in my beloved adopted homeland of Virginia. 

No, I was not pulling duty as a Candystriper. I was the patient. A heart attack patient. Who had good cholesterol, low BMI, does not smoke, does not use illicit drugs, has mega-low blood pressure, does not routinely remove my heart and use it as a kickball, yadda yadda. 

And yet. There I was. Wired for tracings. Clutching a shallow "you're going to need this" bucket. Jacked full of nitroglycerin, morphine, anti-clotting meds, prophylactic calcium channel blockers, and more i.v. saline than you can shake a bedpan at.

Nor was I the only one in my crowd to endure such delights.

As you may recall, my BFF Concrete Bob also had heart issues five+ years ago. Bob tried to make his chest pain go away by icing his heart on the bathroom floor overnight before being forced to lie still for a quintuple bypass surgery. Another of my pals, "an old percolator, still blowing steam," known as Coffeypot, also endured an MI - and lived to tell the tale. 

Obviously, so did I. And here is my story - in negative tutorial form.

How to Ignore a Heart Attack

1. Wake up in the middle of the night with killer chest pain.

2. Realize to your surprise that your chest now takes up your entire body. Even your belly, back, arms, and legs are consumed with killer chest pain.

3. Decide to roll over to see if the pain goes away.

5. Wait one hour. Use the time to contemplate the fact that the pain is getting worse.

Sailors at Sea at Sunset: A Feast For the Eyes

An SA-330J Puma helicopter, from the Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Charles Drew, flies supplies to the guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher as the USS Milius follows to receive a vertical replenishment in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony R. Martinez

Friday, February 27, 2015

Obama: "We've Expanded My Authorities..."

Dear fellow citizens: Scared much? 

Here's what your leader has to say for himself and his Executive Actions:

“What we’ve done is we’ve expanded my authorities under executive action and prosecutorial discretion as far as we can legally under the existing statute, the existing law. And so now the question is, how can we get a law passed.”

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm going to help myself to a nice tall mug of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

72-Year Old Man Arrested in NJ for Carrying an Unloaded Flintlock Pistol: An Update

New Jersey prosecutors have dropped charges against the 72 year old man recently arrested for carrying an antique flintlock pistol in his vehicle. According to my vigilant informant Grumpy, the Cumberland County law cited “Prosecutorial Discretion” as the reason to drop this case. H/T Grumpy for keeping us informed. I'm still going to drive around Jersey on my travels.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Old Mossback Sends Another Reality Check on Working an Overseas Contract

Speaking of Hollywood... the Old Mossback writes in with another reality check on the world of contracting: Hollywood v. Reality. Take it away, Mossy...

Whenever I am asked what overseas security contractors are looking for, I always have to deal with the Hollywood factor. In the world of Hollywood, all the candidates for a contract are buffed and in top shape. In the real world, on contract in Bumduck, once or twice a month I would have to make a run to the local drug store to pick up high blood pressure medication, Depends, and Viagra. 

This picture I sent to SKK shows two of my senior team members.

[SKK here: Point taken, Mossy].

That leads to one other point I would like to make about recruiting people for contracts. The female applicants often inquire as to salary, perks, promotions, vacation time, etc. In other words, the women - who for the most part are retired senior NCO's - want to see the entire big picture before they sign on the dotted line. 

The men have only one thing to say: "I sure would like a job where I get to wear a Panama Hat."


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

On a More Serious Note: A Solemn Report From The Pup Tent

Handkerchief alert: A beloved and ailing police K-9 gets a remarkable sendoff from two-legged officers in Maine. A toss of the stick to Minicapt for bringing this to my attention.

Michael Moore's Top Secret Ideas Notebook: Sniper Movies Coming to a Screen Near You!

I've been wondering how Hollywood will rectify its snub of American Sniper in light of the movie's grassroots runaway success. My guess is, someone will try to create a hybrid flick that will tap into moviegoers' tastes while simultaneously appeasing politicized Hollywood. Who better for the task than Michael Moore? In fact, I think he's working it now. How do I know this? I think I found his Top Secret Ideas notebook. Here's what we may be looking at soon on the big screen!

Christine – Kyle is a woman. In this tense personal drama, Christine overcomes the male bullies who conspire to prevent her from reaching her true potential. In a pivotal confrontation, Christine shoots a fly off the nose of a SEAL commander after he asks her to make him a sammich. The commander relents, and agrees to take on Christine as a sniper; but, in order to protect fragile male egos, she must disguise herself as a man. At deployment's end, Christine regrets agreeing to this, and gets a tattoo for each of her kills. She begins hanging out at SEAL bars just so she can get drunk and show off her tattoos. All the SEALs make fun of her and accuse her of stolen valor, and make her sit at a table by herself. When rowdy Delta operatives invade the bar and threaten to consume the entire supply of Cuervo Gold, Christine drives them off shooting backwards, aiming through her cosmetics mirror and using a pink handgun. Finally, she is allowed to drink shots with the SEALs at the bar. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Hollywood Snubs the American Moviegoer: American Sniper and Oscar

American Sniper did not fall short at the Oscars. Hollywood fell short of the American moviegoer, who picked their own clear winner. The American people don't need the Academy to tell them what their Best Picture is.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Back on Assignment...

It's been a busy Winter in the MSM...back soon! In the meantime, stay dangerous, everyone!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Did ISIS Place Children Inside Cage and Burn Them Alive?

The people inside this cage look very small to me. The people in back of them are much taller. In addition, the prisoners' faces look quite young. This image truly begs the question: Did ISIS place children inside a cage and burn them alive?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I Miss Ronald Reagan: "We Must Fight!" Now, There's a President

My dream: There we are, at our compound, gathered around the fire in preparation for the night's encampment. A hooded horseman rides into our midst. We spring to our feet, our guns and swords already drawn. The horseman pauses. He pulls back his hood... and... it's REAGAN! He did not die, after all -  he merely has been in exile. And now he is back. The compound echoes with our rejoicing!

"Life is not so sweet that it is worth purchasing at the price of chains and slavery. You can have peace in one second. All you have to do is surrender..." H/T once again to Little Squid, who first called this to my attention.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

In Which Ask-a-Pilot Bravely Takes on The Fokkers; and Meets the Infamous Williams!

Taco in WWI. For realz.
Our very own Ask-a-Pilot, Mitch "Taco" Bell, recently revealed his secret heroic past, flying amid some nasty Fokkers in World War I. He has agreed to share his story here. Take it away, Taco, with your tales from the front lines...

It was November of 1917 and I remember it well. I had three German Fokker's shooting my little observation plane to pieces when I looked up and saw a plane on fire above me. The pilot elected to jump to his death vice facing the long burning journey back to earth. As his body tumbled through the air, I noticed the strangest thing...he was aiming for my plane which was already starting to lose altitude. His rate of closure was fast but I put the little kite into a dive below him to match his descent.

As he was about to pass the Germans, the pilot pulled out his .45 and began to sling lead into the hapless souls never expecting a solo attack from a flying human.
It caused them to break off their attacks. This fellow managed to snag the side of the cockpit behind me and climb in over the top of the lifeless body of my rear gunner. I yelled over the din of gun fire to strap in, because it was going to be a hard landing in enemy area. This lad managed to cradle my poor Corporal as we sped to the ground.
I cleared a grove of giant oak trees as the engine seized and the seven foot wooden propeller gave her last spin.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

From the Pup Tent: There's Snow on Your Snout...

Staff Sgt. Lex, an explosive detection working dog, waits to play fetch, at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo. Staff Sgt. Lex is the partner of Sgt. Earl Thomas, a military working dog handler, with the 525th Military Police Detachment (Military Working Dogs) out of Wiesbaden, Germany. They are currently assigned to Multinational Battle Group-East as part of Kosovo Force 19. Photo by Sgt. Melissa Parrish

Friday, February 6, 2015

Did Fox News Empower ISIS By Showing Video of Jordanian Pilot Being Burned Alive?

Some commentators have charged that Fox News empowered ISIS by embedding a video of the Jordanian Pilot being burned alive. I understand the criticism, and to some extent sympathize with the view that Fox gave ISIS a platform for disseminating terror. But at core, I think Fox made the correct decision. The video is truth. Undeniable truth. And, just as people today will try to claim that the Holocaust never occurred, there are some who will try to deny the full scope of evil that is ISIS. The video is proof. Some truths are profoundly ugly and difficult to face, and this surely is one of them. I believe Fox did the right thing. For those who wish to view the video, you can access it here.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Images of the Jordanian Pilot in His Final Moments: Should We Quit Coddling Society?

Should the Western media show the images of the Jordanian pilot who died such an unspeakable death?

I am of two minds. First, I believe that the man and his family deserve respect that supersedes our right to see what was done to him. On the other hand, it is vital to tell the truth about ISIS. Snake-eater Sam left a comment on the Full Moon post addressing the issue. I present his views here for consideration. Take it away, Snakes...

The wolves need to come out and face the fanatics for what they are: lower than animals. Surprisingly FOX News has the full version of the murder of the Jordanian Pilot. If only all stations would show the two minutes of his death so it would be ingrained in our social conscience. I remember as a youngster of maybe 10 when the nightly news showed a South Vietnamese officer executing a Viet Cong in the streets. The brutality remained with me as if it were yesterday. That video was one of several that turned the nation against the war. Images are powerful!! Only when we quit coddling this society and show unabashed evil will we as a society be ready to fight it. Hell needs to be unleashed upon ISIS but we have no leader who sees evil for what it is at this juncture in history. What say you???

Thursday, January 29, 2015

On Assignment...

...writing a profile about a heroic Soldier who should serve as the inspiration for a new G.I. Joe doll! Stay tuned, Dear Ones; stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Now, That's What I Call a Balance Beam Routine: Rangers Being Rangers

A tip of the s'more-roasting twig to Minicapt, who found the mother lode of such pics to amuse me whilest I am on assignment and also in need of some curative Bushmills...

A competitor takes part in day one of the Army's Best Ranger competition, at Fort Benning, Ga., April 11, 2014. Ranger-qualified Soldiers throughout the Army converged on Fort Benning, April 11-13, to compete in the U.S. Army Best Ranger Competition. The Best Ranger competition is hosted annually by the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade. Now in its 31st year, it is regarded throughout the military community as one of the toughest, most physically demanding competitions in the world. It has grown from a local contest into an Army-wide competition to find the Army's best Ranger team.  - Photo by Patrick A. Albright

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"Ask-a-Pilot" Meets the American Sniper, Chris Kyle: A Picture to Treasure

Our very own Ask-a-Pilot, Mitch "Taco" Bell, spent some time with "American Sniper" Chris Kyle shortly before Kyle was murdered. Rest in peace, brave warrior, and thank you for your service.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Snake-Eater Sam Reviews "American Sniper:" Raw Emotions Over Team, Family, & Mission

Snake-Eater Sam jumps into the arts section, with his review of the new Chris Kyle movie. Take it away, Snakes...

American Sniper, directed and produced by Clint Eastwood, was released this past holiday weekend and quickly gained the top spot of tickets sales on pace to possibly surpass $100M as of this writing. Unlike many movies, once American Sniper ended the audience stood quietly and slowly moved out of the theater in silent tribute to this true American hero: Chris Kyle, American sniper. 

The movie, based upon Navy SEAL Chris Kyle's autobiography, was given the blessing of the Kyle family after both Eastwood and lead actor Bradley Cooper visited Chris' father for approval. The film begins with the first kill of Kyle's legendary body count, which ranged from 160 to 255+. Eastwood grips the audience as the camera pulls from Kyle's eyes the target, building tension, and the decision that presented itself that day. 

Throughout the days, months, and years to follow, the tolls mounted in many ways. The obvious toll was on those facing judgement day through the marksmanship skills of Kyle, who came to be known as al-Shaltan, "The Devil," across the insurgency and within Al Qaeda in Iraq. So telling was his effect that a bounty of $180K was placed on his head. 

The toll was not only in Iraq, but also off the battlefield. The more distant toll building throughout the film was upon the wife and growing family who couldn't understand Kyle's almost pathological obsession for deploying into the war zone. It festered the growing emotional wounds that seemed further than the geographic distance. 

At one point Kyle's wife Taya, played by Sienna Miller, says that if he considers deploying again, neither she nor the children would be there upon his return. The next scene: Deployment Four. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Feeling Terrorized? Get Your 2015 Counterterrorism Calendar!

In the Weird-But-True Department: the U.S Government Bookstore wants you to get your 2015 Counterterrorism Calendar, published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence! Here's what your 20 bucks will buy...

The full-color, spiral-bound,160-page daily desk calendar from the National Counterterrorism Center contains many features across the full range of issues pertaining to international terrorism: terrorist groups, wanted individual terrorists, and technical pages on various threat-related topics, such as biological and chemical threats. The Calendar also provides dates and brief information of past terrorist attacks and marks key dates that terrorists may use to plan attacks to commemorate particular historic events.
This year’s calendar features a few updates, such as the inclusion of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and two women--a first for this annual Calendar!
The booklet also includes the Islamic Calendar; the spelling of Arabic names and terms; lists of Foreign Terrorist Organizations; information about  State Sponsors of Terrorism; Logos used by terrorist and governments; and information on the Rewards for Justice (RFJ) Program wherein the U.S. Secretary of State may offer rewards for information that prevents or favorably resolves acts of international terrorism against US persons or property worldwide.
Under "Assassination as a Terror Tactic," readers are advised on how assassination attempts on high-profile people has been used as a terror tactic in the past and told how to protect themselves. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Taking the Day Off to Hurl Myself Sobbing to the Ground in Wake of Kerry's Trip to Paris

James Taylor... singing "You've Got a Friend..." To the French, in Paris. In response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Someone. Please. Tell me this was a story from The Onion.

Friday, January 16, 2015

From the Pup Tent: Meet Baby Military Working Doggie Ggilbert

All together, now: Awwww....

This little feller is GGilbert, a Dutch Shepherd named after USAF Major Troy Gilbert, KIA 27 Nov 2006 in Iraq. What a cutie! Photo by N. Rogers.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Followup to Navig8r's Analysis: Mayor Charged in Kidnap of 43 Ayotzinapa School Students

Navig8r presented some very thoughtful analysis on a troubling situation in Mexico the other day. Now, charges have been filed in the Disappearance / Massacre of the 43 Students From Ayotzinapa Normal School. The town's former mayor has been implicated. Good timing on that analysis, Nav. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Meanwhile, at Sea...

A weapon, the sun, and a helicopter... 

U.S. sailors conduct maintenance on an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. The sailors are assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 15. The carrier is supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, which includes strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph Newman

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Navig8r Examines Events in Mexico: Chaos Likely to Get Worse Before Turning Nasty

While much of the world understandably has been focused on the horrific events in Paris, our thoughtful Navig8r has been puzzling over an assault involving a different set of of aggressors and targets. This one took place late last year, south of the American border. As per usual, Nav has carefully pursued his line of inquiry. Herewith, then, are his thoughts on the Disappearance / Massacre of the 43 Students From Ayotzinapa Normal School in Mexico.

Take it away, Navig8r...

I spent some time scratching my head trying to figure out why the demise of 43 individuals w
ould gain so much attention when they are so few compared to the tens of thousands of other deaths in the drug war.  Why would it be in the self interest of the Mexican government or of the cartels to go after a whole group of nominal non-combatants? Eventually, background articles appeared that seemed to help connect the dots.  For whatever they’re worth, here are some links and my working hypotheses.  What follows is not necessarily a rigorously sequential timeline of what was known or published when, but it’s the order that things started fitting together for me.

The early short narrative to emerge on the case was that a group of students from a small local two year teachers’ college (referred to as a Normal school in Mexico) had been planning to conduct a protest in town, and also do some fundraising. The local mayor, not wanting anything that could disrupt a speech that his wife was scheduled to give at the same time, told the local police force to take care of it.  The local cops rounded up the students and then turned them over to the local cartel members, who were presumed to have killed them.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

ISIS, Paris, and the Multiplicity of Crisis

The ISIS Winter Offensive clearly is off to a robust beginning. As we know from our military studies, the attack is likely to include additional waves. We also know that even though it is crucial for us to stay focused on the main enemy, we can't lose sight of other threats. Here at The Compound, we pay attention to both. A few posts down on this page, we have a lively discussion in the Comments on how to address so-called radical Islam. In weeks to come, we will have more on this threat and its frightening proximity to our daily lives. Tomorrow, our thoughtful contributor Navig8r weighs in with his analysis of yet another close-to-home threat. Stay tuned, Dear Ones; stay tuned...