Category Archives: Troops

The shame of the Syria strike

Now that the dust has settled from the Syria strike and the usual suspects have had their say—among them Rand Paul that Trump’s order was as unconstitutional as LBJ’s dragging us into Vietnam and war-monger John McCain just as pleased as punch—I have to say I was surprised and saddened.

First off I’ve never understood why chemical weapons are supposed to be more heinous than high explosive or automatic rifles and machine guns. But given that they are seen that way, Trump’s comment about children dying horribly from poisonous gas couldn’t have been more disingenuous.

Does he not know that there were families at that air base he bombed? Families of the techs who labored there and undoubtedly some with children? Why is blowing them up less horrible that what Assad allegedly did? And how does this further American First? As Paul said Syria didn’t attack us.

Regrettably, Trump seems to be headed down the path that Bush 2 and Obama took, in stirring up the hornets nest of the Middle East, and getting more American soldiers killed—for the sake of what? Realpolitik? What a shame.

UPDATE:  The ZMan opines: “The United States has no interest in Syria. There are no good guys to back. There’s no ‘solution’ to what ails that part of the world, short of another flood. Syria is a mess because it is full of Syrians. The only sane policy is to make sure it remains full of Syrians. Let them kill each other there, not in Paris or Portland.” And hopes the Tumpet doesn’t get to like being President of the World. God help us.

DH-4 at Benbrook Field

Undated but World War I-era group photo of a DeHaviland DH-4 at Benbrook Field, southwest of Fort Worth. These were British biplanes used by us and them in the war and later by us as U.S. Airmail birds. Via Benbrook Public Library.

Charger Dustoff

Was reading a piece in the latest issue of The VVA Veteran magazine on a documentary called When I Have Your Wounded, the legacy of Army Major Charles L. Kelly, the founder of Dustoff medevacs in Vietnam. Which you can watch free here and you should because it’s worth the hour or so it takes.

Got me to thinking about Charger Dustoff, the call sign of a frequency I used to call medevacs while at Moc Bai, when I was an Army lieutenant advising Vietnamese light-infantry militia, about a klick southeast of LZ Baldy. It was then occupied at first by the 196th Light Infantry Brigade and subsequently by the 7th Marine Regiment. All I ever knew was the call sign Charger Dustoff, which came and took our Vietnamese wounded about 25 kilometers southeast to the 91st Evacuation Hospital at Chu Lai.

The Vietnamese preferred Charger to the Vietnamese dustoffs, first because Charger would come in a hurry while the Vietnamese pilots took their time about it, and second, as their lieutenants told me, the American doctors would work to save a limb whereas the Vietnamese surgeons simply whacked off a damaged arm or leg, making the survivor a beggar for life.

Thanks to Google, I learned that Charger was part of the 236th Medical Detachment out of Da Nang. They initially were assigned to the 196th at Baldy. But when the 196th left Baldy to the 7th Marine Regiment, Charger stayed around, operating out of Hawk Hill, about 16 klicks southeast of Baldy.

And so we used them through December of 1969 when I left Moc Bai to take a desk job at province headquarters in Hoi An. Two stories, one about their pique at having their time wasted and a second one about their fearlessness:

One morning we had a Vietnamese troop who was losing a lot of blood from multiple gunshot wounds while we waited for Charger to come get him. But the medics couldn’t stop the bleeding and he died just as the bird was settling into our little LZ. The pilots were pissed off, partly at our wasting their time and partly because they didn’t much like ferrying wounded Vietnamese anyway. But before they could lay into me about it, they got a call from an American unit and flew off to take care of them.

The other story is about one time after midnight on radio watch when I heard a Marine lieutenant come up on the 7th Regiment’s artillery net seeking a medevac for a dying troop on a distant hilltop under fire. He was told to forget it because the big, twin-rotor CH-46 they used couldn’t be risked for one guy.

At that news the lieutenant broke down and started begging. I got his freq and connected him with Charger who were only too happy to fly into a hot LZ in the dark to get his man. This was at a time when few aircraft of any kind flew at night in Vietnam, let alone helicopters. They got him out safely and I heard later that the wounded young Marine survived. I also heard that the regimental XO was mighty pissed at me for interfering in Marine business.

Bob Dylan was never my poet

I sorta liked “A Hard Rain Is A’Gonna Fall,” but otherwise. Folk music was a joke. And the hard rain didn’t really fall. LBJ retired to the ranch. The only people who got really wet were us veterans of his fuckedup war. Howsomeever.

“We are not a folk but a church, and our native music is church music–the Battle Hymn with its quotation of Isaiah 63, for example, or “The Year of Jubilo,” whose hymnal roots I analyzed here. Our popular poetic language is that of our national epic, the King James Bible. We sang the go-to-meeting songs of the Methodists and other Protestant denominations. This informed the spirituals of black slaves who gave us our first original art form. American folk music? Gospel is as close as we get to such a concept.”

The most authentic thing Dylan ever did—besides going electric—was to refuse to go accept his Nobel Prize for Literature. He knew he was a phony.

Read the rest from a practicing Modern Orthodox Jew.

Sanity returns to the Air Force

warthogs

The A-10 Thunderbolt II’s retirement is being rethunk. Good news for the groundpounders, for whom air support from the fast movers always was problematic.

I once flagged a passing F-4 Phantom for air support and was shocked to watch it fling a 250-pounder (the smallest bomb it had at the time) farther than desired: right into the outskirts of a friendly village. The Thunderbolt II, whose pilots call it the Warthog, carries only 10-pounder rockets, in addition to its 30mm rotary nose cannon, and is slow enough to be a lot more accurate.

“Air Force maintainers are also preparing to replace the wings of the A-10 fleet, tapping a $2 billion contract originally awarded to Boeing in 2007, which was intended at the time to keep the fleet flying until 2028. Some corrosion of the planes has been seen at the depots, but Pawlikowski says this is to be expected, especially on an aircraft that has been in service since 1977.”

Their wings likely corrode faster because they fly low and (relatively) slow and stir up and collect a lot of dirt, dust and vegetative derbis. The Warthog could do a lot more damage to ISIS than any fast mover. Sure wish we’d had them in Vietnam.

Via Popular Mechanics

Adding insult to injury

Bad enough our Little Barry Hussein pulled the rug out from under their victory. Now his Pentagon is demanding that California’s Iraq veterans repay enlistment bonuses paid to them.

“These bonuses were used to keep people in,” said Christopher Van Meter, a 42-year-old former Army captain and Iraq veteran from Manteca, Calif., who says he refinanced his home mortgage to repay $25,000 in reenlistment bonuses and $21,000 in student loan repayments that the Army says he should not have received. “People like me just got screwed.”

Rules are for the little people, as usual, while Felonia and the rest of the Ruling Class skate. We can be sure this will go a long way to keeping up the confidence of the volunteer military.

Via Drudge

UPDATE:  Just in time for the election, Pentagon is “suspending” demand for the money. No word whether it will be permanent or whether those who already paid will get a refund.

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Pray for our troops

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