Military Monday: 22 August 2016, Heroes.

 

Helmet

I have met many decorated heroes. However, there are  more that have never gotten a medal. This is their story.

Harry was a young sailor stationed with the South Vietnamese Navy at Cam Ranh Bay. It is early April 1975. For the last month, he had been ferrying South Vietnamese Army and civilian refugees from along the northern areas surrounding Saigon. Harry relates “many times we had just left with a load of troops when the NVA began firing at us”.

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In the early morning hours of 30 April 1975 Harry’s commander ordered his ship to head out to sea. Harry’s ship was not an ocean going vessel, and its draft was too deep for some of the small channels they would need to navigate before reaching the ocean. It was also full of refugees. An hour before daylight the ship hit a large mud bank in the middle of the channel. If the sun came up before the ship reached the bay they would be an easy target for the NVA. Working feverishly the crew was able to free the ship and it made it out into the bay.

For the next three days, Harry’s ship followed alongside U.S. Navy ships. There were few supplies and no facilities for such a large number of people. Finally, the were taken aboard a U.S. Navy ship and taken to the Philippines. It was here he met a refugee and they were married.

Harry was able to raise enough money to immigrate to the United States. Landing first in Seattle, and then taking a job in a casino in New Jersey. Harry saved his money and managed to get both his and his wife’s family passage to the U.S. Harry used what savings he had to buy a gas station in Tampa, Florida. Today Harry and Nancy have two son’s that are enrolled in college and they are living the American Dream.

Sam, had already been enlisted in the South Vietnamese Air Force for 2 years when the NVA launched an offensive in 1972. Sam realized that the withdrawal of the US from South Vietnam it would not be long before the country fell. He managed to move his family to the Philippines in mid-1974.

In August of 1974, Richard Nixon had been forced to resign and Gerald Ford was now the President. The North Vietnamese tested the new President’s resolve by attacking Phuoc Long province. This was a direct violation of the Paris Peace Treaty. President Ford protested, but did not offer any military support to the South.

Sam also found himself in Saigon in April of 1975. Stationed at Ton Son Nhut Airbase Sam decided it was time for him to leave the country. On 29 April as the final USAF C-3 transports were leaving, Sam moved to the end of the runway and waited for a C-3 with an open door to line up for takeoff.

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Finally, as one C-3 made the turn onto the runway, the door opened and a U.S. Airman waved him to jump in. Sam landed in Japan and was eventually reunited with his wife and family in the Philippines. Sam immigrated to the United States by way of Texas. Today he owns a seafood market in Tampa.

Harry and Sam had fought for their country and continued up until it was obvious that their country was doomed. They managed to save others, their family and themselves and are productive citizens of the United States.

Security Sunday. Introduction.

Security is something I consider to be the one thing you can actively do to protect yourself from not just terrorists, but everyday crime. Every Sunday I will post about steps you can take to make your home, work, and travel safer. There is no guarantee that any of these steps will prevent crime, there is no 100% safe.

The first thing you need to do is get a pen and paper. Security begins with your plan, and do not put your plan on your computer. Granted paper can be stolen, but if someone breaks in to steal your plan…your plan was bad to begin with.

The first thing you will do is a security survey. This post will cover the beginning steps of your security survey.

The survey begins with a free analysis from your local Police Department. The police will come out and do a survey of your home, apartment, and business and give you recommendations to improve security. This is also your chance to ask questions. You should ask the officer where you can get data on crime in your neighborhood? How long it takes the police on average to responThe officer may not answer some of these questions but ask anyway. Make sure you write down everything he finds. Then think about them. What can you find that he may have missed?

This is the one and only time you will use someone that is not part of your security circle.  We will be covering that next.

You might be tempted to just stop here. Don’t. This is just the start.

To be continued….

Military Monday: Gun Shots!!

Military Monday

Gun Shots!!

In the early 80’s I was stationed in Germany with the 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, specifically Bravo Flight, 26th Security Police Squadron. This story is from those days.

It was zero dark thirty. My flight chief, gate guard, and my team had just assembled by the gate to the aircraft hanger area. We were being updated on recent intelligence reports, training plans, etc… That is when we heard a very loud POP! Followed shortly by another pop and the sound of a bullet ricocheting off the pavement.

Without a word between us, we all dove for the shadows. When you are being shot at, it is a good idea to become invisible if possible. As we tried to determine where the shots were coming from there were 3 more shots in rapid succession. However, all of the concrete structures in the area echoed the sound so much they could be shooting from anywhere.

We began a slow and systematic clearing of the entire area. This took well over an hour, during this time there were no other shots. We finished the search and had met up near a building where the pilots prepared to fly. While we were discussing where these shots could have come from my flight chief leaned on one of the windows…and almost fell into the building as it opened. Needless to say, we all grabbed shadows again. We cleared the inside of the building and found it was all clear.

As we walked back to our vehicles we passed by one of the large speakers for the base public address system. That is when we heard a faint but distinct crackle sound. Then we heard another pop. The speaker had a loose wire.

Moral of the story. Although we felt silly after, the fact is we reacted as you always should. It is a real situation until you prove otherwise, and you should too. It is better to look silly than to look dead.

Helmet

Slaves Built the White House.

Michelle Obama in her speech in front of the Democratic National Convention stated that slaves built the White House. As a historical comment, she is right. Slaves, along with freemen, Irish immigrants, Germans, and Anglo descendants did build the White House. However, her statement was not meant to be historical, it was meant to be political. For those racists who see everything as color, her statement begs the question, “Are blacks the only slaves that built something?”

Historically Blacks built the institution of slavery. As the builders of the world’s first civilizations Blacks used chattel slavery as a means to build their empires. Of course ,they are not alone in this. Egypt, Assyria, Ancient Greece, Rome, China, Native Americans (both North and South), the English, the French, the Germans, Americans, and the Spanish all used chattel slavery.

This means that slaves (black, white, native, and other) built the Pyramids, the Roman Empire, the Parthenon, Inca and Aztec temples, The Great Wall of China, the Spanish Missions of the Americas/Caribbean, and the Native American Tribes. Even in terms of being recent slaves, American Blacks do not have that claim to fame. The last nation to end slavery in the Western Hemisphere was Brazil in 1888.

Why does no one ever discuss these facts? Many of the anti-slavery sites on the Internet will point to Whites enslaving Blacks in the Americas. They purposefully ignore the fact that Blacks were intimately involved in the practice of slavery.

Another often overlooked fact is that Blacks were not enslaved because they were Black. They were enslaved because they lacked the ability to protect themselves from slavers. This is historically proven by the enslavement of the Jews, Irish, Egyptians, etc… It is a political lie to believe that Blacks were enslaved because they were Black. It is a political lie to suggest that Black hands are clean of slavery. Slavery has never had anything to do with race.

Instead of bemoaning the fact that we all were once slaves we should celebrate that the United States no longer openly practices slavery. There is still slavery in America, but that is a topic for another time.

911 Call in the Future

 

9-11 Operator, “Thank you for calling your local emergency services, how may I assist you?”

Caller, “Someone is breaking into my house, I need help.”

9-11 Operator, “Thank you, if you don’t mind I have a few questions.  Are you black, Hispanic, Asian, white Hispanic, black Hispanic, white Asian, Native American, or other?  Are you a Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer, or other?  Are you an Atheist, Agnostic, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian Scientist, or other?”

Caller, “I don’t think you understand…someone is breaking into my house…Oh, I think they just broke the door down…”

9-11 Operator, “Sir or madam, not being judgemental, however, we strive to match you to the proper responder based on your demographic…so I will continue.  Do you identify as a man, woman, small dog, large dog, cat, kitten, puppy, or other?  Do you own any weapons to include; Guns, Knives, Machetes, Clubs, Rocks, Meat Mallets, Hammers, Pointed Sticks, or other?  Have you ever been diagnosed with a mental disorder, been abused or an abuser, are you vegan?  Do you drink?  If you drink how many drinks per week?  Are you drunk now?  Do you use controlled drugs?  Do you use illegal drugs?  Are you a republican, democrat, or other?”

9-11 Operator, “Hello…are you still there?”

Caller, “Uh, Hello.”

9-11 Operator, “You don’t sound like the original caller. ”

Caller, “Yeah, I killed her.”

9-11 Operator, “Oh I see.  Thank you, if you don’t mind I would like to ask a few questions……”

dispatch

 

How the Air Force Trolled the Soviets.

In war, there are moments that an enemy is vulnerable.  We often think of these in terms of physical combat. However, there are other forms of combat that significantly affects an enemy by causing them to waste time.  I had the pleasure of watching one of these moments.

The base I was stationed at was a Tactical Reconnaissance Wing located in West Germany.  The mission was to fly the RF-4C near enemy forces to spy on them in real time.  Given the base’s location, it was selected to operate another mission. American’s never miss an opportunity to mess with the enemy and this would be a classic troll.

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Almost every Air Force base is plagued by civilians that are “plane spotters”.  These civilians will park their cars and watch the planes take off.  Some even keep log books of the tail numbers of these aircraft. In the days before the internet, the plane spotting clubs would share this information.  For a spy, you can deduce where the planes go, how many there are, and even the range of these aircraft.  We knew that among the civilians there were spies.

The scene of the troll is a hanger that was located at the far end of the base.  It was almost always unused, and close enough to the fence that it could be observed by the rotten commie scum.  To make things even more curious the hanger door would open up just a bit.  And if you looked real close you could see part of an aircraft that was painted flat black.  Just little parts, like a wing tip here and there.

Starting in early November the hanger became active, but only at night.  Every night the lights on the hanger would come on and the sound of mechanics working inside could be heard.  During the day, there were guards located on the hanger.  Since commies can’t stand being teased we noticed an increase in “plane spotters” even when our planes were not flying.

It was finally the big day.  The Friday after Thanksgiving.  Dignitaries arrived, base personnel and their families arrived.  There were balloons and all sorts of decorations.  Finally, the hanger doors were pushed open, and what to our wondering eyes should appear, but a Sherpa prop driven supply plane, painted flat black with a big round red nose.  In the pilot’s seat was none other than Santa Claus. The kids went wild…the parents cheered…and a noticeable groan was heard from outside the fence.  Poor Ruskies.

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And that is how the Air Force trolled the Soviets.

 

What Are You Thinking?

From a simple problem to a complex problem the difficulty is keeping track of the relationships between data points.  We can map these relationships with what is called a Mind Map or alternatively a Logic Map  The old fashioned way was to use a pencil and paper. Today we have much better ways, and they are free.

The first application that I have found useful for writing is called MindMup.  It is available from Google Play, and is free.  Free sometimes comes with strings, this one has no strings.

MindMup

With MindMup you can document your thought process, find where you are (or might be) going wrong.  This allows you to adjust your research to better track your logic.

Give it a shot.

 

How to Defeat ISIS.

If you listen to politicians they want you to believe that defeating ISIS is some sort of tangled web.  We simple folk can’t figure it out.  I bet we can.  So, let’s give it a whirl

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“If you know your enemy and know yourself you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” ~ Sun Tsu.

ISIS has demonstrated that they are willing to die in battle.  In fact, it is an honor. They do not surrender but are more apt to fight to the death.  The territory they occupy is cleansed of any group that does not practice their version of Islam.  This means that once the civilian population has outlived their usefulness they have no issue killing them.

ISIS projects itself outside of held territory through the use of terrorist tactics.  Suicide attacks that are intended to cause as much death and destruction as possible.  They recruit via social media and insurgent recruiters/trainers in many nations.  ISIS is reported to have between 30,000 and 200,000 troops.

ISIS is funded by the sale of oil.  This oil is being sold to someone with the ability to move large amounts of oil, and funds into and out of a war zone.  They are also receiving funding from friendly nations.  Additionally, someone is bringing them ammunition and supplies.  To discover who is as simple as looking at who in the region has not been attacked by ISIS.  If you draw a line through Europe you can see that the Eastern European nations have yet to be attacked.  Russia in specific has yet to be significanly* attacked by ISIS.

If you look at the major nations involved in the war on ISIS in Syria and Iraq you quickly realize that any of these nations could defeat ISIS in very short order.  France, The United States, The United Kingdom, and Russia could individually destroy ISIS.  Then why haven’t they?

It boils down to politics.  The ideology that is being protected believes that attacking ISIS will in some way make it easier for them to recruit.  That is a corrupt ideology.  If you attack ISIS…they will use that to recruit.  If you don’t attack ISIS…they will use that to recruit.  It is a lose-lose proposition.

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There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. ~ Sun Tsu

In the attack in Paris and in Orlando ISIS used hostage taking and the idea that they intended to negotiate.  In both cases, the end result was to kill the hostages and die martyrs. It is an extension of the general ISIS strategy.  As we wait to slowly choke ISIS in its nest, they are killing civilians.  Our “moral” war to not cause collateral damage is creating collateral damage at horrific rates.  The prolonging of the actions on ISIS is not to our benefit.

From an intelligence perspective we, and by we I mean the US, must identify the suppliers and funders of ISIS.  These entities must be made aware that they are considered enemies, and will be dealt with as such.  It’s time to call their bluff.

By waging total war against ISIS they will be destroyed in a matter of months.  The territory can then be occupied by forces friendly to the US.

Will this end terrorist attacks?  Of course not, but it will choke off the ants from their support and demonstrate that they are a losing cause.  It will free Europe from the glut of refugees. This will certainly reduce ISIS in its ability to recruit. It will go much further than where we are now.

Can ISIS be beaten…heck yeah it can.  We just need a leader who is willing to do it.

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*Update…reader’s pointed out that a suspected ISIS aligned gang did kill a police officer.

Are you a Researcher?

The internet and the media are full of “researchers”.  When engaged in discussions on the internet many participants will state that they have “researched” the topic in depth.  What they want you to think is that they have actually researched the topic.  Are you a researcher?

Research is a process.

  1. Select a topic that you are interested in.  It takes commitment and a great deal of time to research a topic.
  2. Research the Problem.  What do you already know?  What are the major issues surrounding the problem?  You will in all likelihood not identify all of the problems at first, that is an important part of the research process.  They will become clear in time.
  3. Conduct Literature Research.  This is where you educate yourself on the topic, finding everything that you possibly can.  This will lead back to understanding the problem.
  4. State the Research Question.  After weeks, months, even decades of literature research you will find that the original problem has changed.  At this point, you can finally narrow down the problem and begin to craft a specific question.
  5. Determine Research Design.  Use an experimental design; use a correlational design;  conduct a qualitative study the design will guide further research.
  6. Determine Methods.  Who are the participants going to be? What instruments will I need?  What procedures need to be followed?
  7. Identify Analysis Procedures.

After you have completed all of these steps you are ready to publish your research.  Depending on how your research paper is received you will probably find yourself right back at researching the problem.

The next time you find yourself saying, ” I have researched this topic” be prepared to present your research for critique.

 

http://www.personal.psu.edu/wxh139/research_talk.htm

Perception Matters

How we perceive the world around us is all that matters. Our perceptions are guided by education, experience, and to a very large degree bias. It is our bias that twists our education and experience into our world view. Our problem in viewing the world is our bias.

Our bias is used to cloud education and experience to create a view that is comfortable for us. It is a constant struggle to recognize when we are being led by bias versus education and experience. There is a way to keep our bias in check, and come closer to the truth. It will require a great deal of work and you will be uncomfortable with what you see.

To demonstrate this we will look at a case study and how bias affects our perspective

Case Study

Pudding.

The American perception of pudding is a creamy dairy based product that is a sweet dessert. This perception is based on experience. We have been subjected to mass marketing of Jello Instant Pudding or delighted in the homemade chocolate pudding our grandmother’s made.

If we research pudding we learn that is originated as a sausage. This education into what is a pudding does little to change our perspective. If a host were to offer us blood sausage as a pudding we would scoff at such a notion. Our bias allows us to deny the truth to maintain a comfortable mental vision of pudding.

“Ok, so pudding can contain blood, I still do not consider that pudding.” This is how bias trumps education and creates a skewed perspective. We find it difficult to understand that something can be two seemingly different things at the same time. Both being absolutely correct.

Conclusion

Now it is your turn. Using the simple example of pudding apply that to the difficult issues that face society today. Remove the bias, and see what happens.