All posts by Guardian 6

Guardian 6 is at the ready: 1st General Order "I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved." 2nd General Order "I will obey my special orders and perform all of my duties in a military manner." 3rd General Order "I will report violations of my special orders, emergencies, and anything not covered in my instructions, to the commander of the relief."

Overweight, Political, Failing and Woke: The Sad State of America’s General Officers

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By @BlakJakPershing on GETTR, @PershingSoldier on Parler, @PershingSoldier on Clouthub and @BlackJackPershing on Gab

Dateline July 15th, 2021             Liberty, USA

‘Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son’

-Dean Wormer, Animal House

To paraphrase the Dean, ‘fat, scared, stupid and woke is no way to go through a military career, General Milley!’

‘There’s no power in a bushel of blubber’

                General George S Patton

Its about time we discuss the state of many, but not all General Officers in recent years, especially the ones choosing to bad mouth our legitimate Commander in Chief, Donald J Trump.

A bit of history first.  We haven’t solidly and specifically won a war since 1991.  The Gulf War was a stellar use of strategy, tactics and restraint.  Bravo.  This war used what was known as the ‘Powell Doctrine’ a set of lessons learned from Vietnam about the need for clear goals and the use of overwhelming force for clean victories.

One could argue that ’91 was the year we could say that the Cold War was also won after years of commitment and leadership by many in several generations of political and military leadership – it was even mostly a bi-partisan effort until the 1980’s.

Since ’91 however, whether it was Clinton’s draw down of the military in the so called ‘peace dividend’, or the two wars poorly fought under the supervision of George W Bush and Barack Obama, our military leaders have let us and our soldiers, airmen and marines down.

There have been moments of brilliance.  Battles have been won by the rank and file, by junior and midlevel officers and NCO’s.  But at the strategic leadership level, we have been let down.  There have been legitimate small engagements like Panama or Kosovo that were positive.  Missions like the one in Haiti that achieved good humanitarian aims for a time.

But the big jobs have been bungled by Generals.  The list of the incompetent GO’s is long. 

Many veterans know that once you get to the rank of O-6, or full Colonel in the Army, Airforce and Marines or Captain in the Navy, all future promotions are purely political.

‘Anyone who thinks he’s indispensable, ain’t!’

                General George S Patton

We haven’t seen many, if any, principled resignations at the General Officer level in the last 20 years.  We can only imagine there have been plenty of opportunities.  We would hope that our senior military officers would have the moral courage to walk away from poor civilian leadership.  We need to be able to count on that.  But that  apparently doesn’t happen despite many opportunities: Understaffing the invasion force of Iraq? Performing social experimentation in the ranks of our troops?  Requiring pseudo-socialist training that has zero to do with war fighting? Summary cuts to critical budgets for training? Requiring trans persons to be part of a force that still disallows people with flat feet and other musculoskeletal issues due to the need for readiness?  Announcing an Iraq departure that gives birth to the Caliphate? These weren’t enough to cause principled resignations?  Not even a public negative comment?

   We have a cohort of General Officers who have delivered a generation of lost wars, who act as if they deserve respect and admiration but really deserve the opposite.

We have a cohort of General Officers who show open bias politically. But here is the official guidance from the department of defense:

The primary guidance concerning political activity for military members is found in DoD Directive 1344.10. Per longstanding DoD policy, active duty personnel may not engage in partisan political activities and all military personnel should avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval, or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign, or cause.

These cowardly GO’s would gladly prosecute junior officers, NCO’s and troops under the UCMJ for doing far less than they have done, in terms of their cooperation with the foul aims of the democrat party and their attempts to undermine the Trump administration in the roll out of its policies.

Think of SecDef Mattis and his open contempt of his boss.  Well General Mattis, he was only trying to change things because of your record of failure.

Think of egg heads like General Michael Hayden, a Four Star General who also served as Head Spook at the CIA for a number of years.  This arrogant Swampian has screeched out regularly about President Trump, bringing dishonor on himself and his rank.  The likely reason is because of what Trump knows of the General’s failures and malfeasance.

Think of poor General McChrystal, dissed by Obama after doing a pretty good job, because of leaked comments to press scumbags he should have never associated with.  Apparently a life long learner like Stan didn’t learn a key lesson and went back to supporting democrat dopes and openly bad mouthing President Trump on Syria tactics during his term.  Trump was right.  Again.  Stan’s motives remain unclear as he’s been openly dissed by Dems for years.  Just dumb I guess.

Think of lost at Sea Admiral McRaven of ‘Make Your Bed’ fame, another sad sack openly bad mouthing President Trump for any number of reasons.  Guys like him can’t handle unconventional leaders like Trump.  Thank God the founders ‘got it’ and understood our system would produce a variety of leaders, some colorful.  Swampian stiffs like McRaven obsess on ‘he said mean things’ while losing wars and acting cocky.

Think of Woke Fatty, Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs who was savagely and appropriately corrected publicly by the President in a statement on the day of this writing for musing to the press about Trumps desires for a coup.  Trump hires him, gives him a chance after others dissed him, and Milley returns the favor by kissing woke democrat arse.  A sad mess, a disgrace to the uniform – especially because his ability to pass an Army Physical Fitness Test isn’t even in the remotest of possibilities.

Let’s pause here and ask the question: what happened and when did it happen that fat slobs are now a thing in my United States Army?  Vindman?  Milley?  This needs to stop.  Navy?  OK – they are desk jockeys primarily and there is a tradition of out of shape Navy Officers that goes back to the founding.  We can even let certain Airforce Officers be tubby.  But the Army?  NO.  JUST.  NO.  We’re not having it.  Drop the donuts General and get your fat arse on the track.  Of note: the correlation between being fat/slovenly and being liberal/woke is extremely high.  Someone needs to check on Hayden – likely has a major paunch developing – and cankles.

You may have also seen that Admiral Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Ops, has added anti-American socialist garbage to Navy reading lists.  What about winning wars, one may ask?  What about the Navy enduring a number of embarrassing accidents and incidents in the last 15 years, one may ask?  Perhaps its leadership devoid of principle or common sense?  Obsessed with democrat arse kissing instead of winning?

Swamp Generals exemplify group think.

‘If everyone is thinking alike, no one is thinking.’

                General George S Patton

Notice the Patton quotes?  What do you think he’d make of this sad crop of Generals?  Not much is my guess.  We quote him because he and men like Sherman, Grant, Pershing and Washington knew their jobs were to train our troops to do difficult, hard things in the worst of circumstances.  And to win.  Where did we go wrong?  Who derailed this tradition?

“War is cruelty. You can’t refine it.”
― William T. Sherman

Here is some free advice for our senior military leaders, which they should already know, but apparently don’t:

  • If it doesn’t increase our readiness and warfighting effectiveness, don’t do it
  • Don’t bad mouth the commander in chief personally – it’s not your place and it’s conduct unbecoming – active or retired
  • Disagree on policy? Then have the stones to resign if you are active.  If retired, be professional, not personal
  • Check your ego; you report to civilians.  Deal with it General.
  • Stay in shape; set a proper example; don’t be a slob
  • If you haven’t won a war, you probably shouldn’t be talking smack about anyone.  You had one job.  You failed.
  • Pull your heads out.
  • Stop kissing woke democrat arse.

This one time active duty soldier has just about had it with today’s military leadership.

BJP

Stinky Feet, Bad Breath, Flatulence and Fox News

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By @BlakJakPershing on Getter, @BlackJackPershing on Gab, @PershingSoldier on Parler, @PershingSoldier on Clouthub

Dateline: 12 July 2021          Missouri Territory

“Oh, this isn’t even BO. This is beyond BO. It’s BBO.”

  • George Constanza, Seinfeld

There are certain things we want none of like those mentioned in the above headline.  For Fox News this started on election night, when Martha McStupid and Radical Donut Activist Bret Baier decided to throw in with the leftist controlled media outlets and declare the election over.  Those watching at the time know that Tucker Carlson confronted both of them, live, on the air.  Awkward moment as all semblance of professionalism went out the window.

The implosion of Fox will be remembered as the most spectacular meltdown of an established television channel in history.

This implosion was caused by petulant elitists, frustrated at the evolution of the conservative movement toward the working class of the United States.  Many have observed that the Murdochs were not getting invited to the right cocktail parties, were not being accepted by established leftist media infrastructure – and so had to change direction.  It is now becoming clear that the Murdoch’s called the play.  Thinking conservatives will ensure they are not paying real money to any Murdoch owned entity.  The Murdoch’s are wealthy enough to not care.

Like many successful businesses through the years, Fox News was full of hubris, and decided to pursue a course that, to their loyal viewers, was insane.  There are multitudes of historical corollaries inside and outside of the media world:

  • Ford and the Edsel
  • The Enron collapse, led by Ken Lay, who was trumpeting his business model weeks before the implosion
  • The recent Volkswagen emissions scandal, notably being ignored by most US media
  • Twitter, Facebook and Google are performing a live version of this tragedy of hubris seen so many times before – it will not end well, and has already hit Twitter hard

The viewers of Fox News were dealt a nasty wake up call on election night, and many have left and not returned.  What they have found, since viewing the alternatives, was that Fox News had become a fixture in their lives that they accepted, but like many other things we accept, had become dated, dilapidated and in some ways, festering and nasty.  Much like the old couch in the basement that’s been with the family for years, stained and scarred, that no one pays much attention to, but is actually offensive to guests.  And it smells bad. Like Chris Stirewalt.

When looking at emerging rival Newsmax you see rougher production values, but a hungry team that does not act like it is above the viewer.  You also see regular improvements and upgrades.  Fresher talent.  Better energy. 

Fox News had been on autopilot for years.  Lets inventory the most annoying Fox News calamities.

  • Chris Wallace came out of the closet in the last several years as the biased leftist turd that he is.  Trump broke him by telling him his Dad was better.  As always, Trump was right.  Chris is a petty, one sided punk.  His role in derailing the 2020 presidential debate which he did not moderate is noteworthy.  He is a Biden diaper changer and diddler.
  • Bloated Bret Baier, as noted above, just follows orders.  Its sad that the person who replaced Brit Hume as anchor is such a transparent buffoon.
  • Hannity: useful, but parrot like, and repetitive.  Interrupts others.  Likes his paycheck.  Its over.
  • Laura Ingraham: mean, interrupts guests, belittles poor Raymond Arroyo to the point where he may have a case as a battered spouse.  Brings on annoying leftist dopes.  Hasn’t taken on the network about anything.  Likes her paycheck.  Its over.
  • Juan Williams: unwatchable.  Dishonest.  Sad.
  • Greg Gutfeld, Judge Jeanine, Jessie Waters: they had a window of time to leave Fox News with dignity.  That has now passed.  They all have proven they like their paychecks/contracts better than their own reputations.  They will go down with the network despite any glib protestations to the contrary.  We may also discover that they were really playing all of us, and do not have any core conservative principles.
  • The rest of the Fox cast of secondary characters would be smart to plot their move to alternative outlets.  Its over, whether they know it or not.

Newsmax is offering a high quality alternative.  Reasons to view Fox?  Only one.  The first 15 minutes of Tucker Carlson.  That’s it.  Those clips are always immediately available in a million different places afterward, so viewing it live is not necessary.

I challenge my fellow patriots to hasten the demise of Fox News, and consign it to the ash heap of history along with Liz Cheney, her old man, and Bush World.  It’s over.  Let them know.  We all know.

BJP

  Xi Jinping: “Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood !”

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by @IronMike_Truth on GETTR

Dateline: July 7th, 2021      Carolina Country

Has anyone else noticed Xi Jinping’s weight gain since his lifetime reign of power began in 2013? Did his weight begin to escalate with that delicious piece of chocolate cake that President Trump shared with him at Mar-a-Lago? Or was that just a coincidence? Perhaps President Trump secretly allowed Xi a second scoop of ice cream……. a very rare Presidential privilege extended to only those whom the President deeply respects. Nah, that can’t be it! Or just maybe, could it be that President Xi has lost his taste for Chicken Testicles, Snake Soup, Roasted Street Birds & Stinky Tofu by furthering the refinement of his palate to now include delicious Wendy’s Hamburgers, McDonalds Fish Sandwiches, Colonel Sanders’ Kentucky Fried Chicken, Dunkin’ Donuts with a Dairy Queen Shake to chase it all down? Oh yes! That’s the ticket!

It would appear that Xi Jinping has been enjoying an awful lot of “comfort food” lately. It is evident that the increasing size of President Xi’s Mao Jacket and Ensemble is about to overtake Comrade Mao’s very own wardrobe. What’s up with that?

Comfort food becomes very desirable to people and leaders under tremendous amounts of stress and strain. Let’s be clear about this. It is not easy to enslave Uyghurs in order to force them into manufacturing Nike sneakers and other Nike gear. It’s also very expensive to clothe them! It has to cost a pretty Yuan to tailor all those prison outfits (Oops! “Nike Uniforms”). Who wouldn’t enjoy a tasty bag of Snickers Bars after a long day of beating Uyghur Nike Employees to keep them in compliance? And talk about the expense of hygiene and hair care? Why those 1950s head-shaving military crew cuts are literally all the rage in the Uyghur community! No hair, No lice! Give Xi Jinping another savory bowl of deliciously seasoned rice!!!

Add to the Nike employees, a long list of other shameful US corporations employing the Chinese to enslave ethnic minorities in China to build their brands. Here are just a few: Levi’s, Timberland, Dickies, Vans, Michael Kors, Costco, Hanes, Kate Spade, LL Bean, Lacoste, North Face, Skechers, Tommy Hilfiger and Victoria’s Secret. Most of these corporations are leaders in their fields, at least in earnings power. Shamefully, they are morally bankrupt caring not a lick about the cost to the human community that is under the boot of the dictator who directs these activities. It must take allot of “Little Debbies” and “Ring Dings” to fill the pit in one’s stomach when a man is devoid of human compassion.

We cannot escape the logical conclusion that when a man and indeed an entire corrupt government cares little for its own peoples, experiments in slavery and other debasements of its own peoples can and do take place. The Uyghurs and the Tibetans continue to serve as the best examples of Chinese oppression of its own population as does religious persecution of China’s Christians, however, their own big city populace has also come under great suffering as of late. Has anybody heard of the Wujhan Institute of Virology? Taking a page from Dr. Josef Mengele, somehow & someway a few drops of Xi’s special formula “Bat Shit” hit the streets and apartments and homes of Wujhan. Not only were those folks in Wujhan ruthlessly scooped up and placed into new homes (aka Body Bags), but the surviving people from Wujhan were allowed to travel outside of China to various vacation destinations to infect the populations of other developed nations in order to lay low the economies of China’s economic competitors.

Give Chairman Xi a “Bigly” Steak Dinner with all the trimmings! What a coup! What a Masterplan! Some might suggest that Xi Jinping is “Bat Shit Crazy” or at least “Guano Challenged”. He can fool many if not the majority of those over whom he rules. However, Mr. Xi got caught with his hand in the cookie jar! As a matter of fact he got caught with both hands, his legs and his sizeable ass in the cookie jar! The world now knows that Mr. Xi and his CCP was behind the virus that has killed millions around the world.

No Soup For You, Xi Jinping! You’ve been caught! You will now be recognized as a genocidal maniac. You have earned your Bust and accompanying plaque in history’s “Murderers Row”. You’ll be seated between Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin just a stone’s throw away from Mao Zedong. You’ll be seen as a failed leader that could only achieve the results that you were seeking by killing off your competitors in the same manner that large Crime Families like the Italian Mafia operate.

Speaking of Italian, to celebrate your ill-begotten Coronavirus introduction to the world, may we recommend that you go with the Calamari & Bruschetta appetizers, the Tuscan Salad for 10, Chicken Parmesan for 4, a side of lasagna for 4, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes for 4, a dozen Hose Rolls and for dessert? Oh yes, try the Seasonal Cheesecake. You’ll enjoy eating the whole thing!

Oops! Sorry Chairman Xi ! The restaurant is still closed. It seems that you successfully killed off the Chef, the Waiters and the Business! No Soup For You!!! 

 

What is President Obama’s Greatest Legacy Achievement?

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Joe Biden! ObamaCare, Shovel Ready Projects or losing an embassy and an ambassador in Libya might be Obama’s greatest legacy. It  isn’t even close. Others argue allowing the Russians to take the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, or creating ISIS from his premature withdrawal from Iraq or maybe even the dearth of an American economic revival during his eight year tenure as President. But we know Obama’s greatest legacy achievement has to be the puppetry involved in getting Joe Biden “elected” president.  What other magician could pull this off? A close second is the division Obama created across America that has only grown empowering leftists and progressives on a grand scale but in the end you must credit Obama for the Biden presidency. Simply a feat no other mortal could have achieved.

by Matthews Cooper

Dateline Dayton, OH                                                   July 7, 2021

Who else but Obama could have pulled Biden out of the failed politician dustbin of life and not only run him for president, but gotten him elected as a dysfunctional sputtering slow witted stooge that has been more wrong than right. Fifty years of failure serving himself and his extended family, a model for kleptocracy perfected, the Joe Biden charade is on full display each day. Candidly, even us progressives are amazed that Obama pulled this off. I mean what a gift to late night comedy shows if they weren’t so biased and compromised by leftists. One admission about leftists and progressives, we are pretty much joyless and lack a sense of humor. However, when it comes to Joe Biden as president, even we are laughing our assess off that he was “elected.”

With each passing day Obama works to credit Congressman Clyburn for getting Biden elected. While Clyburn was instrumental in southern democratic primaries, it was Obama who got Joe’s primary opponents to fold to block Bernie from being the democrats candidate. Old democratic politics, payoffs and threats won the day to push Lunch Bucket Joe forward. Candidly, it is understandable that Obama doesn’t want the credit getting Biden elected after watching his daily performance, but it is all Barack’s.

Consider the Biden Basement Strategy of sticking Joe in his basement for his campaign, minimizing media engagements, and his staff writing scripts at a 6th grade level to reduce mistakes by this gaff machine. None of us really expected Joe to win but Obama and the Democratic Machine fully leveraged Big Tech to censorship, Facebook and Soros to fund and Unions to hire their workers to manipulate ballots and harvest votes. The ultimate fraud employed by the Deep State was manipulation of the vote count by Dominion Machine operators and former members of Pelosi’s staff employed by Dominion. Something to be said about strategic placement of democratic operatives.

Lastly we’d like to thank our Big Media friends over at Foxnews, CNN, MSNBC, and many others from our network blocking the truth and spreading Obama’s Big Lie that Joe Biden is president and he won the election fairly. Come on man, does anyone believe Joe Biden received 81 million votes, 12 million more than Obama’s 69 million votes in 2008? Obama’s legacy, he pulled off the Big Lie getting Joe Biden into office as president, whether elected fairly or not. Obama, the puppet master of all manipulators. Bravo Barack!

 

 The 53rd Regiment presents a guest author, Mr. Matthews Cooper, crediting President Obama for the election of Joe Biden.  This is Matthews fifth article written exclusively for the 53rd Regiment. He is an old friend with very different views from the editorial board of the 53rd.  Please share your feedback with Matthews and the 53rd in the comments section below.

Third Reich 2.0: Chinese Communist Party: They Built a Better Mausefalle!

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By BlackJack Pershing                                The Alps

July 6, 2021

@PershingSoldier on GETTR @PershingSoldier on Clouthub @BlackJackPershing on Gab

Mausefalle is German for mousetrap.

Let’s begin with a reflection on CNN, the ‘news’ outlet that put a series of favorable news stories out on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Chinese Communist party:

“Every morning the editors of the Berlin daily newspapers and the correspondents of those published elsewhere in the Reich gathered at the Propaganda Ministry to be told by Dr. Goebbels or by one of his aides what news to print and suppress, how to write the news and headline it, what campaigns to call off or institute and what editorials were desired for the day.”
William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

To CNN Leadership we ask: who is giving you your orders?

The Chinese Communist Party has out-third reich’d the third reich. Let’s have a good look at how they’ve done it. Upon further investigation, it seems like they took the play book, enhanced it, updated it and seem to be going for the 1000 years that Der Fuhrer originally forecasted for the original.

The similarities are profound and there for all to see. We know. We all know.

Nazi Germany had Mein Kampf; a book which became mandatory to have on display in one’s home.

ChiComms have Mao’s Little Red Book, which some say may exceed the bible in the number of copies printed over time.

Nazi Germany built the Autobahns.

ChComms are building the so called ‘Belt and Road’ system to tie together economic conquests far beyond it’s own borders.

Nazi Germany used the Gestapo secret police as its enforcement mechanism.

ChiComms use the Ministry of State Security, a massively funded enormous octopus of politically oriented security, espionage and intelligence operations.

Nazi Germany used a multitude of social organizations like the Hitler Youth to control the minds of its citizens.

ChiComms use unique China social platforms to control behavior, going so far to now assign social scoring based on Communist Party desired behaviors. They also use the Confucius Institutes to indoctrinate the masses and infiltrate university systems.

Nazi Germany had the Nazi Party, and to maintain or achieve any influence or power in society of any kind, one had to be a member of the party.

It’s well established that the ChiComms have the same arrangement with the Communist Party in China.

Nazi Germany controlled businesses directly, while allowing private ownership. Industrialists could remain wealthy as long as they did what they were told. Many companies still on the Fortune 500 list today were compromised by Nazi Germany 80 years ago. Some paid reparations for using slave labor.

ChiComms seize 50% ownership of corporations and steal their intellectual property for use elsewhere. In both cases, business executives from all over the planet are going along to get along. All completely compromised. Many of the same companies compromised by they Nazis 80 years ago are also compromised today by China. Will they someday pay reparations to the Uighurs?

Nazi Germany committed well known genocides against Jews, gypsies, clergy, political opponents, homosexuals and those with disabilities.

ChiComm genocide against the Uighurs is only now beginning to be understood. How far has it gone and who else has been included? Death, organ harvesting and slave labor are just a few of the suspected horrors.

Nazi Germany created border disputes with most of it’s neighbors. The Alsace, Czechoslovakia, Poland and others learned hard lessons. Austria was assimilated. The European continent was largely controlled by Berlin for a time; only Hitler’s relentless impatience screwed it all up for the Reich.

ChiComms have similar issues with their shared borders, India and Russia most notably. Russia will pay a long term price with their Chinese neighbors. Its only a matter of time. Taiwan is in scope for repossession. Hong Kong is suffering a reversal of all freedoms. All ChiComm neighbors are on alert. Japan, the Philippines and Australia will have a long list of issues to deal with soon enough. Who will fight? China has much more patience than Hitler’s Germany.

Nazi Germany had a quiet enabler of its hatred of the Jews in FDR. He famously ignored a ship full of Jewish refugees, many of whom perished when sent back to Europe. He also imprisoned Americans of Japanese descent.

ChiComms have a similar enabler in Joe Biden, who recently said of China’s treatment of the Uighurs: “Culturally there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow,”; don’t worry Chairman Xi, those big bucks you secured for Hunter are paying off handsomely.

Nazi Germany sent Rommel and his Afrika Corps to North Africa to carry out several missions/strategies that included bailing out Mussolini’s failing troops, and securing access to the rich oil fields of the middle east.

ChiComms are active all over Africa currently, making investments in infrastructure in order to secure long term commitments of raw materials, oil, and other strategic missions. They intend to hold those taking their help hostage to their influence for decades.

Nazi Germany tolerated organized religion, but had plans for its longer-term demise. In the shorter term they sent any clergy openly opposed to their agenda to concentration camps.

ChiComms have tried to openly corrupt the growing Catholic Church in China by insisting on approving its leadership. The survival of said church is an open question. Communism is famously atheistic and anti-religious.

Nazi Germany disregarded hundreds of years of enlightened history and thought by its many famous philosophers and saints.

ChiComms have literally destroyed much evidence of the achievements of Chinese history prior to the Communist party.

Nazi Germany invested heavily in technology and ‘wonder weapons’, developing the first rocket guided bombs and even jets before the end of WWII.

ChiComms are investing in bio-weapons. We just experienced one. How’d you like it?

This list of ChiComm treachery is by no means complete. Leave your own observations in the comments below.

Veilen Dank fur das Lesen!

BlackJack

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM 06-08

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(Originally published Memorial Day 2016)

by Echo Zulu 21            Charlottesville, NC

Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08 was tough on a lot of units, but especially difficult for the 2nd Battalion, 8th United States Cavalry Regiment. The Stallions were stationed out of Camp Taji Iraq, roughly 20 miles north of Baghdad. The 82nd Airborne was on the ground quickly as the first wave of the surge troops that arrived into Camp Taji. Great for Baghdad, not so good for the unit holding the northern border. What happened was the surge troops came in and pushed all the bad guys to the towns outside of the major metropolitan city. The kinetic activity of significant activity (SIGACT) picked up exponentially in our Area of Operations (AO).

It’s virtually impossible to know everyone in a 900+ Soldier Battalion, but I knew quite a few. When I try and reflect on Memorial Day, I naturally gravitate to those who were killed that I knew personally. It’s pretty strange, because you hear about someone being killed or wounded, or you’re on the response team and you don’t know the name, but you know the face. A lot of times I would figure it out, because I would be walking to the trailer or motor pool and the person that passes me at the same time every day is not there one morning. It’s like that last scene in the movie “The Sandlot”, where the characters are at their respective positions on the diamond and the narrator is describing what they go on to be in life, and the character fades out of the shot, and is no longer on the diamond, but the other characters are still there.

In the first deployment to Iraq, 2-8 Cavalry lost 1 Soldier. We left OIF 06-08 in double digits in both KIA and wounded. Several Officers, NCO’s and Soldiers. There was no segregation from the enemy. The Battalion Commander’s PSD was hit. We had both a Company Commander and our S3 hit with ball bearing IED’s that sent them home. We had First Sergeants and Sergeant First Classes hurt or KIA. All ranks suffered.

I escorted the personal effects of SPC Swanson. He was in the BC’s PSD. I was in his vehicle with the BC 2 weeks prior to the attack. I knew and met everyone in that vehicle and spent about 8 hours with them on a mission where we escorted dump trucks full of rice from a factory up to the town of Tarmiyah so the local Iraqi population  could use it.

1LT Dan Riordan and 1LT Gwileym Newman were my peers. I knew them both pretty well. Newman had a 1 year old daughter. He was shot in the head by a sniper in Tarmiyah, just as he exited his vehicle to dismount for a raid.

I escorted the personal effects of Dan Riordan. He had pictures in his room of a homecoming party that his family and friends had thrown for him when he came home on mid-tour leave. Dan took leave really early in the rotation, so his Soldiers would have more time to figure out their dates. They had food and beer and you could tell how proud everyone was of Dan. Dan was killed by an IED strike in the western portion of our AO. His entire vehicle was destroyed and all 5 Soldiers in the vehicle were KIA.

Unfortunately, there are many more that I could describe. I think about all of them daily, because it’s important to remember them and everyone else. I’m not on Facebook and I have not had much connection to my old unit, but I certainly do wonder how their families are doing on each Memorial Day, and all days. Newman’s little girl, Dan’s family, Swanson’s buddies.

I’m a civilian now and just think about how lucky I am to have known them and served alongside of them. Maybe this little reflection in some small way helps to honor them, their memories and their families.

Unfinished Lives

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by LTC(P) Zolton Krompecher         Republished May 30, 2021

Originally published May 27, 2018

We live in an age where some confuse heroes with entertainers, role models for charlatans, but remembering Americans who died young places perspective in sharper relief.

As a boy, I spent afternoons dashing around the neighborhood playing “Army” with friends. Tree forts became castles, bushes hideouts and passing cars were tanks to be avoided at all costs. Somewhere in our minds we were aware of Vietnam, but our neighborhood sheltered us until two names came to personify the war: Corporal Frank Miller and LT James Francis O’Laughlin.

Frank was the uncle of my best friend while James O ‘Laughlin was the father of another classmate. Both Soldiers died in Vietnam. Each represented a link to my hometown of Athens, Ohio. Every Memorial Day, I thought of them. Decades later, I visited the Wall in Washington and etched their names.

Iraq and Afghanistan are my generations’ wars. One autumn day I took a phone call and was told my friend Dave was killed in Iraq. I was to escort him home. I reflected on our time together in the Special Forces. Fighting was the melody he danced to, and Dave knew the steps well, but he had a clean heart, too. Ever the consummate warrior-scholar, Dave was a well-read Green Beret who knew his craft but also helped local children wherever he served. I remember how he set his jaw in grim determination when challenged. Life can shift in an instant: I suppose that is the same look he had on the day the desert sun boiled and he made his fateful decision. There was no manual instructing me what to say when his wife threw herself onto his casket. The whole experience skinned my insides.

Some nights I stare at the stars and think of Bill, Laura, Ted, Justin (who grew up in Coal Grove, Ohio just down the river) and Drew. They were the brave ones willing to lay it on the line when things got rough and now remain eternally young, preserved in the minds of those who knew them best.

When visiting their graves, I don’t blunt emotions or debate the logic behind the wars in which they fought…that is for other venues. What I see are patches of grass containing dreams of what might have been—Daddy/Daughter dances, games of catch, first days of school, walks down the aisle, and reunions. Their unfinished lives moor me to the past while whispering the warning not to allow life to grow stale. The cemetery becomes a confessional where secrets to my friends leak out of my mouth and the past becomes grafted with the present, if but for a moment. But what of graves with no names and few visitors?

Just off to the right of the Fort Myer entrance to Arlington Cemetery stands a stone with a simple epigraph reading:

#8067

Unknown

U.S.

Soldier

Behind this grave is number 8429. Behind that stone is 8443. Flanked on both sides are others. Who knew these brave souls “Known but to God”? 8067 is buried in one of the Civil War sections. Did this Soldier know my Great-Great-Uncle Eli who joined the Union at eighteen, saw action at Shiloh and Corinth and died soon after? I can only wonder.

I used to make it to a cemetery every Memorial Day but now visit on my own time. Instead, I try to make my friends’ sacrifices worthwhile by evaluating my relationships with others and occupying the in-betweens of my life by doing better.

Each one of us has the capacity to make a difference: surprising our children at school lunch; calling an old friend with whom we’ve lost contact; inviting a neighbor or clergy member over for dinner; visiting an assisted living home to listen to stories of a way of life which disappear with each breath; or taking off work to spend the day with a spouse. Maybe it’s a simple “Hello” to someone who least expects it. Showing kindness and empathy to fellow Americans—even those with whom we disagree—is the least we can do for Frank Miller, James O’Laughlin, Soldier #8067 and others who left behind unfinished lives.

And so what’s the cost? A moment of our time, that’s all. And what some wouldn’t give for a moment.

 

 

The Greatest Generation

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by CDR (R) US Navy                                                                                       Originally published  May 29th, 2016

During this special Memorial Day Weekend, let’s take some time to reflect on the greatest generation this nation has ever been blessed to have. The greatest generation that defeated the Axis of evil of Nazi Germany, Italy and Japan.

The entire country rallied around freedom. Those who could serve, mostly younger than than those reading this article today, stood in line to enlist and to fight for freedom. From North Africa to Anzio, to Normandy and Iwo Jima, they proudly stood by their fellow soldiers, airmen and sailors in arms to keep our country safe. Those at home made the American war machine invincible. Mothers continued to raise our children. Seniors and children alike were part of the effort to ensure liberty prevailed. Rations and black-outs were the norm in the homeland, as well as long days producing the food and goods to keep the American war-machine going to ultimately prevail.

Those of the greatest generation that fought overseas, most of us have fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers who were part of that effort, were selfless. Again, they were selfless. They wanted to come back home. They dreamed of coming back home. They talked about coming back home. But they were willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice to keep freedom alive. In those times you deployed until you were killed, critically injured, or the war was over.

We have to take a moment to pay our respect for those that gave the ultimate sacrifice that allows us to enjoy the freedom we have today in this great county. Politics aside, we have a democracy which was saved by those in the greatest generation. Let’s pay our respects. Let’s remember freedom is not free but paid for by service of special Americans. Those before us and those that come after us, including our children. Let’s keep America safe. Let’s all do our part.

Special Soldier, Better Man

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COL John M. McHugh, United States Army (KIA)

by Guardian 6       (Originally published May 22, 2016)

While deployed to Iraq, about ten months through my tour in May 2010, pictures of a significant Vehicle Based Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) came across my screen while reviewing the daily theater intelligence brief. This attack had occurred in Kabul, Afghanistan. In all, five US troops were killed along with 17 Afghan civilians and over 40 wounded in this attack. At that moment, I did not know that a friend and colleague from the US Army War College (AWC), one of my classmates, had been killed. Ten months earlier I was graduating from AWC where I had first met John in the fall of 2009.

While we didn’t have classes together or share the same seminar group, John and I kept the same physical training routine hitting the gym early getting our work outs in before class. AWC was relaxed for Army standards and officers were on their own schedules to meet physical standards. During this time, John and I got to know each other, went on some long runs together and shared the Army War College experience as classmates. We both had young boys too for our mid -40’s ages helping to keep us young in spirit and often putting life in perspective. John and his wife had five children total, and one of his son’s was already serving in the Army. Another commonality we would share.

It was clear to me early on what a class act John was. He loved the Army, loved his family and loved life. John was very bright and inquisitive and pursued knowledge. I remember John asking thoughtful questions of guest speakers when the AWC class would attend en masse to hear from a warfighter, a Combatant Commander or a speaker from one of our government agencies. Some colonels asked questions to showcase their experiences, some colonels asked questions to hear themselves talk and some colonels liked John asked questions to learn and gain knowledge. When John stood up to ask a question, one knew there was something to be learned, gained from both the question and the answer.

When John and his team of soldiers left Ft. Leavenworth for this mission, they knew there was risk but they expected to come home. There is always risk for deployed soldiers, especially in a warzone. Their families worried and prayed for their safe return, like they always do. COL John McHugh, LTC Paul Bartz, LTC Thomas Belkofer, SSG Richard Tieman and SPC Joshua Tomlinson were undoubtedly focused on their mission to defeat the enemy through enhance pre-deployment training better preparing US forces by capturing real-time lessons learned and incorporating these lessons into their training at Ft. Leavenworth.

John and his soldiers were killed a few short days after arriving in Afghanistan serving their country, executing their mission in support of the war effort  and making all of us that knew them proud, saddened and humbled by their loss; and their families sacrifice that endures today, tomorrow and every Memorial Day. For Colonel McHugh’s family, and all the families that have lost a loved one in war, Memorial Day endures 365/24/7. We should honor them and share their legacy with family and friends, and keep them all in our prayers.