Thousands of U.S. soldiers depleted all of the beer in Icelandâ€™s capital over the weekend.
More than 6,000 soldiers were in Reykjavik for four days participating in the Trident Juncture 18 â€“ a NATO-led military exercise. After their drills, the troops reportedly visited the cityâ€™s downtown bars, where they finished off the entire beer supply.
According to Icelandinc magazine Visir, the brewery Ã–lgerÃ° Egils SkallagrÃmssonar had to send emergency beer cases to the bars.
Captain Katie Petronio, in the July 2012 Marine Corps Gazette, went on the record opposing the opening of the Infantry Officers Course (IOC) to women. Her comments seem particularly applicable in the aftermath of the president’s announcement of a ban on transgenders serving in the military.
I would ask everyone to step back and ask themselves, does this integration solely benefit the individual or the Marine Corps as a whole, as every leaderâ€™s focus should be on the needs of the institution and the Nation, not the individual?
Which leads one to really wonder, what is the benefit of this potential change? The Marine Corps is not in a shortage of willing and capable young male second lieutenants who would gladly take on the role of infantry officers. In fact we have men fighting to be assigned to the coveted position of 0302. In 2011, 30 percent of graduating TBS lieutenants listed infantry in their top three requested MOSs. Of those 30 percent, only 47 percent were given the MOS. On the other hand, perhaps this integration is an effort to remove the glass ceiling that some observers feel exists for women when it comes to promotions to general officer ranks. Opening combat arms MOSs, particularly the infantry, such observers argue, allows women to gain the necessary exposure of leading Marines in combat, which will then arguably increase the chances for female Marines serving in strategic leadership assignments. As stated above, I have full faith that female Marines can successfully serve in just about every MOS aside from the infantry. Even if a female can meet the short-term physical, mental, and moral leadership requirements of an infantry officer, by the time that she is eligible to serve in a strategic leadership position, at the 20-year mark or beyond, there is a miniscule probability that sheâ€™ll be physically capable of serving at all. Again, it becomes a question of longevity. …
[W]hat are the Marine Corps standards, particularly physical fitness standards, based onâ€”performance and capability or equality? We abide by numerous discriminators, such as height and weight standards. As multiple Marine Corps Gazette articles have highlighted, Marines who can run first-class physical fitness tests and who have superior MOS proficiency are separated from the Service if they do not meet the Marine Corpsâ€™ height and weight standards. Further, tall Marines are restricted from flying specific platforms, and color blind Marines are faced with similar restrictions. We recognize differences in mental capabilities of Marines when we administer the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery and use the results to eliminate/open specific fields. These standards are designed to ensure safety, quality, and the opportunity to be placed in a field in which one can sustain and succeed.
Which once again leads me, as a ground combat-experienced female Marine Corps officer, to ask, what are we trying to accomplish by attempting to fully integrate women into the infantry? For those who dictate policy, changing the current restrictions associated with women in the infantry may not seem significant to the way the Marine Corps operates. I vehemently disagree; this potential change will rock the foundation of our Corps for the worse and will weaken what has been since 1775 the worldâ€™s most lethal fighting force. In the end, for DACOWITS and any other individual or organization looking to increase opportunities for female Marines, I applaud your efforts and say thank you. However, for the long-term health of our female Marines, the Marine Corps, and U.S. national security, steer clear of the Marine infantry community when calling for more opportunities for females. Letâ€™s embrace our differences to further hone in on the Corpsâ€™ success instead of dismantling who we are to achieve a political agenda. Regardless of the outcome, we will be â€œSemper Fidelisâ€ and remain focused on our mission to protect and defend the United States of America.
The Armyâ€™s troubled program to buy a new standard-issue handgun for soldiers was the subject of renewed debate on Capitol Hill.
During Thursdayâ€™s confirmation hearing for retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to become defense secretary in the Trump administration, Republican Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Thom Tillis of North Carolina took turns criticizing the serviceâ€™s XM17 Modular Handgun System (MHS) program, a $350 million competition to buy a replacement to the Cold War-era M9 9mm pistol.
At a time when Russia is upgrading its service rifle, â€œwe continue to modify our M4s [and] many of our troops still carry M16s, the Army canâ€™t even figure out how to replace the M9 pistol, first issued in 1982,â€ Ernst said.
The senator, a frequent critic of the program who in 2015 retired as a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard, said she and others would joke while in the military that â€œsometimes the most efficient use of an M9 is to simply throw it at your adversary.â€
Ernst blasted the Modular Handgun Programâ€™s many requirements. â€œTake a look at their 350-page micromanaging requirements document if you want to know why itâ€™s taking so long to get this accomplished,â€ she said.
She also mocked the stopping power of the 5.56mm rifle round. â€œOur military currently shoots a bullet that, as you know, is illegal for shooting small deer in nearly all states due to its lack of killing power,â€ she said.
Tillis went even further by showing up to the hearing with the pistol programâ€™s full several hundred pages of requirements documents wrapped in red ribbon. â€œThis is a great testament to whatâ€™s wrong with defense acquisition,â€ he said, slapping the three-inch-tall stack of paperwork.
In response, Mattis said, â€œI canâ€™t defend this,â€ but added, â€œI will say that at times there were regulations that required us to do things.â€
Coincidentally, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley was asked about the program earlier in the day at a breakfast sponsored by the Association of the United States Army. Milley was tight-lipped about the effort but hinted the service is making progress.
Beretta, FN Herstal, Sig Sauer and Glock are reportedly still competing for the program after the Army dropped Smith & Wesson from the competition last year. Weâ€™re hoping these gunmakers will help shed more light on the status of the program next week at SHOT Show in Las Vegas.
Hell, I’ll solve their dilemma for them for half of that.
Jake Brannon explains the significance of different denominations of coins left on the headstones of soldiers.
While “Cleaning of the Stones” at the National Cemetery in Holly, I noticed a quarter placed on one of the stones. Later I also noticed a nickel placed on another stone. I was so touched with this that I took pictures. (sorry the nickel did not turn out).
I googled about the coins, and found this out. I am very proud to share this.
A coin left on a headstone lets the deceased soldier’s family know that somebody stopped by to pay their respect.
Leaving a penny means you visited. A nickel means that you and the deceased soldier trained at boot camp together. If you served with the soldier, you leave a dime. A quarter is very significant because it means that you were there when that soldier died.”
And those are our proposed courses of action, Mr. President,â€ concluded the CENTCOM commander.
â€œWhen I was elected, I told you I wanted to be briefed on your plan to utterly destroy ISIS, General,â€ the President said. He was young and usually quite calm, but as a Cuban-American son of immigrants, he understood tyranny and knew how to deal with it. â€œGeneral, what you gave me are timid half-measures that donâ€™t begin to meet the intent I expressed to you. Now, I may not have served myself, but I understand the old game of manipulating civilian leadership by providing just the options you want instead of the ones the commander-in-chief requested. Youâ€™re relieved of command, General. Fired. Agents, show the general out.â€
He turned to his chief of staff. â€œGet the Wildman on the line.â€ As the Secret Service agents bum rushed the stunned four star out of the Oval Office, the President took the phone.
On a Florida golf course, the secure cell phone of the retired Marine everyone called â€œThe Wildmanâ€ rang, ruining his putt. The Wildman was a legend for his aggression, hence his nickname. President Obama had naturally felt it necessary to replace him with a more pliable, passive CENTCOM commander. He answered, then listened.
â€œGeneral, this is the President. We need you. I am ordering you off the retired list and back to active duty as CENTCOM commander, effective immediately. I want to see your plan for the total destruction of ISIS in 72 hours. Your rules of engagement are simple. Wipe them out.â€
Jim Schatz, in National Defense, makes an irrefutable case for replacing US primary-issue small arms. US forces need a more reliable rifle and both new rifles and new pistols firing more potent rounds.
Since the end of World War II, only 10 U.S tank crew members have been killed in warfare. This is an amazing testament to fighting vehicle technology and the money spent to develop and sustain that tactical edge over our enemies.
In that same period, the United States has lost some 60,000 soldiers in small arms engagements, an approximate one for one exchange.
Few foes on the planet could hope to dominate America in a tank, air or naval battle. Yet every bad actor with an AK-47 takes on U.S. and NATO ground forces in a small arms fight. We are no longer suitably armed to prevent it.
This happens because the current U.S. Army small arms development and acquisition system is dysfunctional and virtually unworkable, even for those within the system. It has not brought troops substantial evolutionary small arms and ammunition capabilities in years, or even decades, and too often not at all, and almost never on or under budget. Lives are often lost as a result. …
Small arms are the most deployed weapon systems in our arsenal, yet the age of Americaâ€™s eight most numerous conventional military small arms are on average more than 35 years old. While we have replaced uniforms, helmets, body armor, radios, rations and footwear countless times in three decades, the weapons and ammunition we use in 2015 are little more than variants of Vietnam-era technology possessing the antiquated capabilities of a bygone era.
The Army continues to procure weapons with old performance specifications that have been repeatedly eclipsed by superior commercial small arms used by our allies, our top-tier special operations forces and sometimes by our enemies. Elite units â€” with a few exceptions â€” do not use the standard-issue U.S. Army small arms or ammunition. Why? Because they are inferior to the more advanced weapons selected by these units. There is a fundamental difference between their acquisition process and that of the â€œBig Army,â€ where there are hundreds of decisions makers and countless agencies and offices involved.
Schatz doesn’t get into it, but I think the root of the problem is cultural. America has become, in recent decades, much more a nation of metrosexuals than a nation of riflemen. The shooting sports are completely alien to the largest urbanized sector of American society.
We now have to look to Germany & Italy to buy military-quality small arms. Colt is in bankruptcy. The Winchester factory in New Haven closed years ago, and Winchester today is just a revived trade name building its products in Japan. The American chattering classes are not concerned in the slightest with feminization of American men or the decline of our domestic arms industry. They’d like to confiscate and destroy all our guns.
The Obama Administration strikes one more important blow for the cause of universal equality:
Over the last fourteen years of conflict, the Department of Defense has proven itself to be a learning organization. This is true in war, where we have adapted to counterinsurgency, unmanned systems, and new battlefield requirements such as MRAPs. It is also true with respect to institutional activities, where we have learned from how we repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” from our efforts to eliminate sexual assault in the military, and from our work to open up ground combat positions to women. Throughout this time, transgender men and women in uniform have been there with us, even as they often had to serve in silence alongside their fellow comrades in arms.
The Defense Department’s current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions. At a time when our troops have learned from experience that the most important qualification for service members should be whether they’re able and willing to do their job, our officers and enlisted personnel are faced with certain rules that tell them the opposite. Moreover, we have transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines – real, patriotic Americans – who I know are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that’s contrary to our value of service and individual merit.
Today, I am issuing two directives to deal with this matter. First, DoD will create a working group to study over the next six months the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly.
Has anyone ever heard of a transgendered individual serving honorably in the military?
The portion of the national commentariat viewing reality from the Right has been giving Obama hell for two days now for returning a salute from a pair of Marines while holding a container of coffee in his hand. Examples at Twitchy.
All this demonstrates just how few of the intelligentsia, on either side, have any real personal contact with matters military. The commentariat doesn’t realize that a salute is a honor normally exchanged by uniformed members of the military. Saluting is actually a privilege. Prisoners in the brig, for instance, are not entitled to salute.
Customs of saluting vary among the various branches of the American military. The Marines saluting Obama, like the Navy, only salute when in uniform and wearing their cover.
It is appropriate for American military personnel to salute Obama in his capacity as commander-in-chief. The president, however, is never attired in uniform and moreover does not wear a cover. He is actually, in fact, not entitled to salute.
It is understandable, of course, that presidents generally, not only Obama, feel a human obligation to try to respond to military salutes, but they are actually wrong, and violating proper military etiquette, by trying to salute at all, coffee cup or no coffee cup.
In his capacity as commander-in-chief, any president actually does possess the power to amend military customs and etiquette and to award himself and other occupants of his office the right to return salutes when not a serving member of a military and when not in uniform and not covered, but until some president formally creates that right, they are all wrong to around saluting.
Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, in Lakewood, Colorado who violated the law by refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple was directed to change his store policies immediately and force his staff to attend the training sessions. For the next two years, Phillips will also be required to submit quarterly reports to the commission to confirm that he has not turned away customers based on their sexual orientation, says Todd Starnes in this article, Baker forced to make gay wedding cakes, undergo sensitivity training, after losing lawsuit, at Fox News.
Shortly after Dykes on Bikes rumble across the starting line of the Capital Pride parade in Dupont Circle on Saturday, an expected 150,000 spectators should witness something never before seen on an American city street â€” a U.S. Armed Forces color guard marching alongside rainbow flags in a gay pride parade.
Ralph Peters, in National Review, explains how Barack Obama and his elite team of intellectual giants walked obliviously into a colossal political disaster.
Congratulations, Mr. President! And identical congrats to your sorcererâ€™s apprentice, National Security Adviser Susan Rice. By trying to sell him as an American hero, youâ€™ve turned a deserter already despised by soldiers in the know into quite possibly the most-hated individual soldier in the history of our military.
I have never witnessed such outrage from our troops.
Exhibit A: Ms. Rice. In one of the most tone-deaf statements in White House history (weâ€™re making a lot of history here), the national-security adviser, on a Sunday talk show, described Bergdahl as having served â€œwith honor and distinction.â€ Those serving in uniform and those of us who served previously were already stirred up, but that jaw-dropper drove us into jihad mode.
But pity Ms. Rice. Like the president she serves, sheâ€™s a victim of her class. Nobody in the inner circle of Team Obama has served in uniform. It shows. That bit about serving with â€œhonor and distinctionâ€ is the sort of perfunctory catch-phrase politicians briefly don as electoral armor. (â€œAt this point in your speech, maâ€™am, devote one sentence to how much you honor the troops.â€) …
The president, too, appears stunned. He has so little understanding of (or interest in) the values and traditions of our troops that he and his advisers really believed that those in uniform would erupt into public joy at the news of Bergdahlâ€™s release â€” as D.C. frat kids did when Osama bin Ladenâ€™s death was trumpeted.
Both President Obama and Ms. Rice seem to think that the crime of desertion in wartime is kind of like skipping class. They have no idea of how great a sin desertion in the face of the enemy is to those in our military. The only worse sin is to side actively with the enemy and kill your brothers in arms. This is not sleeping in on Monday morning and ducking Gender Studies 101.
But compassion, please! The president and all the presidentâ€™s men and women are not alone. Our media elite â€” where itâ€™s a rare bird who bothered to serve in uniform â€” instantly became experts on military justice. Of earnest mien and blithe assumption, one talking head after another announced that â€œwe always try to rescue our troops, even deserters.â€
Uh, no. â€œSave the deserterâ€ is a recent battle cry of the politically indoctrinated brass. For much of our history, we did make some efforts to track down deserters in wartime. Then we shot or hanged them. Or, if we were in good spirits, we merely used a branding iron to burn a large D into their cheeks or foreheads. Even as we grew more enlightened, desertion brought serious time in a military prison. At hard labor.
This is a fundamental culture clash. Team Obama and its base cannot comprehend the values still cherished by those young Americans â€œso dumbâ€ they joined the Army instead of going to prep school and then to Harvard. Values such as duty, honor, country, physical courage, and loyalty to your brothers and sisters in arms have no place in Obama World. (Military people donâ€™t necessarily all like each other, but they know they can depend on each other in battle â€” the sacred trust Bergdahl violated.)
President Obama did this to himself (and to Bergdahl). This beautifully educated man, who never tires of letting us know how much smarter he is than the rest of us, never stopped to consider that our troops and their families might have been offended by their commander-in-chief staging a love-fest at the White House to celebrate trading five top terrorists for one deserter and featuring not the families of those soldiers (at least six of them) who died in the efforts to find and free Bergdahl, but, instead, giving a starring role on the international stage to Pa Taliban, parent of a deserter and a creature of dubious sympathies (that beard on pops ainâ€™t a tribute to ZZ Top). How do you say â€œoutrageous insult to our vetsâ€ in Pashto?