. . . And May We Never Ever Forget And,
They Call Islam A Religion???!!!
humans truly are like sheep
Wanting nothing more than peace to keep
To graze, grow fat and raise their young,
Sweet taste of clover on the tongue.
Their lives serene upon Life's farm,
They sense no threat nor fear no harm.
On verdant meadows, they forage free
With naught to fear, with naught to flee.
They pay their sheepdogs little heed
For there is no threat; there is no need.
To the flock, sheepdogs are mysteries,
Roaming watchful round the peripheries.
These fang-toothed creatures bark, they roar
With the fetid reek of the carnivore,
Too like the wolf of legends told,
To be amongst our docile fold.
Who needs sheepdogs? What good are they?
They have no use, not in this day.
Lock them away, out of our sight
We have no need of their fierce might.
But sudden in their midst a beast
Has come to kill, has come to feast
The wolves attack; they give no warning
Upon that calm September morning
They slash and kill with frenzied glee
Their passive helpless enemy
Who had no clue the wolves were there
Far roaming from their Eastern lair.
Then from the carnage, from the rout,
Comes the cry, "Turn the sheepdogs out!"
Thus is our nature but too our plight
To keep our dogs on leashes tight
And live a life of illusive bliss
Hearing not the beast, his growl, his hiss.
Until he has us by the throat,
We pay no heed; we take no note.
Not until he strikes us at our core
Will we unleash the Dogs of War
Only having felt the wolf pack's wrath
Do we loose the sheepdogs on its path.
And the wolves will learn what we've shown before;
We love our sheep, we Dogs of War.
article was written by
Mr. Cornel Nistorescu and published under the title "C"ntarea
meaning "Ode To America") in the Romanian newspaper
"The Daily Event" or "News of the Day".
~An Ode toAmerica~
Why are Americans so united? They would not resemble one another
even if you painted them all one color! They speak all the languages
of the world and form an astonishing mixture of civilizations
and religious beliefs. Still, the American tragedy turned three
hundred million people into a hand put on the heart.
Nobody rushed to accuse the White House, the army, and the secret
services that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody rushed to
empty their bank accounts. Nobody rushed out onto the streets
nearby to gape about.
The Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping
hand. After the first moments of panic, they raised their flag
over the smoking ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in
the colors of the national flag. They placed flags on buildings
and cars as if in every place and on every car a government official
or the president was passing. On every occasion, they started
singing their traditional song: "God Bless America!"
I watched the live broadcast and rerun after rerun for hours listening
to the story of the guy who went down one hundred floors with
a woman in a wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the
Californian hockey player, who gave his life fighting with the
terrorists and prevented the plane from hitting a target that
could have killed other hundreds or thousands of people. How on
earth were they able to respond united as one human being? Imperceptibly,
with every word and musical note, the memory of some turned into
a modern myth of tragic heroes. And with every phone call, millions
and millions of dollars were put in a collection aimed at rewarding
not a man or a family, but a spirit, which no money can buy. What
on earth can unite the Americans in such a way? Their land? Their
galloping history? Their economic Power? Money? I tried for hours
to find an answer, humming songs and murmuring phrases with the
risk of sounding commonplace. I thought things over, but I reached
only one conclusion...Only freedom can work such miracles.
Harbor survivor Houston James of Dallas embraced Marine Staff Sgt. Mark
during a Veteran's Day Commemoration in Dallas. Graunke lost a hand, a
leg and an eye
when he defused a bomb in Iraq last year.
Richard, (my husband), never really talked a lot about his time
in Viet Nam other than he had been shot by a sniper. However,
he had a rather grainy, 8 x 10 black and white photo he had taken
at a USO show of Ann Margret with Bob Hope in the background that
was one of his treasures.
few years ago, Ann Margret was doing a book signing at a local
bookstore. Richard wanted to see if he could get her to sign the
treasured photo so he arrived at the bookstore at 12 ! o'clock
for the 7:30 signing.
I got there after work, the line went all the way around the bookstore,
circled the parking lot and disappeared behind a parking garage.
Before her appearance, bookstore employees announced that she
would sign only her book and no memorabilia would be permitted.
was disappointed, but wanted to show her the photo and let her
know how much those shows meant to lonely GI's so far from home.
Ann Margret came out looking as beautiful as ever and, as second
in line, it was soon Richard's turn.
presented the book for her signature and then took out the photo.
When he did, there were many shouts from the employees that she
would not sign it. Richard said, "I understand. I just wanted
her to see it."
took one look at the photo, tears welled up in her eyes and she
said, "This is one of my gentlemen from Viet Nam and I most
certainly will sign his photo. I know what these men did for their
country and I always have time for 'my gentlemen.'"
that, she pulled Richard across the table and planted a big kiss
on him. She then made quite a to-do about the bravery of the young
men she met over the years, how much she admired them, and how
much she appreciated them There weren't too many dry eyes among
those close enough to hear. She then posed for pictures and acted
as if he were the only one there.
at dinner, Richard was very quiet. ! When I asked if he'd like
to talk about it, my big strong husband broke down in tears. "That's
the first time anyone ever thanked me for my time in the Army,"
night was a turning point for him. He walked a little straighter
and, for the first time in years, was proud to have been a Vet.
I'll never forget Ann Margret for her graciousness and how much
that small act of kindness meant to my husband.
now make it a point to say "Thank you" to every person
I come across who served in our Armed Forces. Freedom does not
come cheap and I am grateful for all those who have served their
you'd like to pass on this story, feel free to do so. Perhaps
it will help others to become aware of how important it is to
acknowledge the contribution our service people make.
If you're wondering why we're fighting in Iraq, here is a little
insight. [Click On Button To View]
DID YOU KNOW THIS?
Did you know that 47 countries have reestablished their embassies
Did you know that the Iraqi government employs 1.2 million Iraqi
Did you know that 3100 schools have been renovated, 364 schools
are under rehabilitation, 263 schools are now under construction
and 38 new schools have been built in Iraq?
Did you know that Iraq's higher educational structure consists
of 20 Universities, 46 Institutes or colleges and 4 research centers?
Did you know that 25 Iraq students departed for the United States
in January 2004 for the reestablished Fulbright program?
Did you know that the Iraqi Navy is operational? They have 5-
100-foot patrol craft, 34 smaller vessels and a navel infantry
Did you know that Iraq's Air Force consists of three operation
squadrons, 9 reconnaissance and 3 US C-130 transport aircraft
which operate day and night, and will soon add 16 UH-1 helicopters
and 4 bell jet rangers?
Did you know that Iraq has a counter-terrorist unit and a Commando
Did you know that the Iraqi Police Service has over 55,000 fully
trained and equipped police officers?
Did you know that there are 5 Police Academies in Iraq that produce
over 3500 new officers each 8 weeks?
Did you know there are more than 1100 building projects going
on in Iraq? They include 364 schools, 67 public clinics, 15 hospitals,
83 railroad stations, 22 oil facilities, 93 water facilities and
69 electrical facilities.
Did you know that 96% of Iraqi children under the age of 5 have
received the first 2 series of polio vaccinations?
Did you know that 4.3 million Iraqi children were enrolled in
primary school by mid October?
Did you know that there are 1,192,000 cell phone subscribers in
Iraq and phone use has gone up 158%?
Did you know that Iraq has an independent media that consist of
75 radio stations, 180 newspapers and 10 television stations?
Did you know that the Baghdad Stock Exchange opened in June of
Did you know that 2 candidates in the Iraqi presidential election
had a recent televised debate in their country recently?
OF COURSE WE DIDN'T KNOW!
WHY DIDN'T WE KNOW? OUR MEDIA WOULDN'T
Because a Bush- hating media and Democratic
Party would rather see the world blow up than lose their power.
This is verifiable on the Department of Defense website.
NEW BRONZE STATUE IN IRAQ
statue currently stands outside the Iraqi palace, now home to
the 4th Infantry division. It will eventually be shipped home
and put in the memorial museum in Fort Hood,Texas.
The statue was created by an Iraqi artist named Kalat, who for
years was forced by Saddam Hussein to make the many hundreds
of bronze busts of Saddam that dotted Baghdad.
Kalat was so grateful for the Americans liberation of his country;
he melted 3 of the heads of the fallen Saddam and made the statue
as a memorial to the American soldiers and their fallen warriors.
Kalat worked on this memorial night and day for several months.
To the left of the kneeling soldier is a small Iraqi girl giving
the soldier comfort as he mourns the loss of his comrade in
you know why we don't hear about this in the news? Because it
is heart warming and praise worthy. The media avoids it because
it does not have the shock effect that a flashed breast or controversy
of politics does.
Miller said it best, during his RNC 2004 convention speech . . . .
The Real Deal
watching the footage of the Marine killing the guy in the Mosque,
here are a couple of points on shooting wounded guys in Fallujah:
like self-defense to me.
1) The guy was a terrorist.
2) He was breathing.
What’s there not to understand?
For those learning-impaired (morons/Leftists/bleeding hearts/liberals)
out there, here’s a nice little picture to make it clear:
Fi!!! Good Job Marine!!!
Marine Corps announced on May 4, 2005, that this Corporal will
NOT face court-martial.
review of the evidence showed the unnamed Marine's actions were
"consistent with the established rules of engagement and
the law of armed conflict," said Maj-gen. Richard F. Natonski,
commanding general of the 1st marine Division in San Diego.
I said "good job Marine . . . . Semper Fi"
. . . . Webmaster
media pansies may squeal and may squirm,
But a fightin’ man knows that the way to confirm,
That some jihadist bastard truly is dead,
Is a brain-tappin’ round fired into his head.
To hell with some wienie with his journalist degree
Safe away from the combat, tryin’ to tell me,
I should check him for breathin,’ examine his eyes.
Nope, I’m punchin’ his ticket to Muj paradise.
hell with you wimps from your Ivy League schools,
Sittin’ far from the war tellin’ me about rules
And preachin’ to me your wrong-headed contention
That I should observe the Geneva Convention,
Which doesn’t apply to a terrorist scum
So evil and cruel their own people run from,
Cold-blooded killers who love to behead,
Shove your motherin’ Geneva, I’m leavin’ em dead.
slick talkingheads may preach, preen and prattle,
But you’re damn well not here in the thick of the battle.
It’s chaotic, confusin’ it all comes at you fast,
So it’s Muj checkin’ out because I’m going to
Yeah, I’ll last through this fight and send his ass away
To his fat ugly virgins while I’m still in play.
If you journalist wienies think that’s cold, cruel and crass,
Then pucker up sweeties, kiss a fightin’ man’s ass.
If You Think This Marine Acted Properly, And Sign The Petition.
If You Think He Acted Improperly.
I Believe They Should Pin A Medal On Him. Hey, John Kerry Got
A Silver Star For Shooting a single enemy . . . . in the back
Tidbit About The NBC War Correspondent Who "Purposely"
Failed To Turn Off His Camera: NBC
correspondent Kevin Sites, who reported on the Fallujah mosque
shooting, has photographs displayed on "images Against War,"
a web site devoted to "visual statement against war".
A review of the site states, "Most of the great war photographers
have been against war in general, and often against the particular
wars they were photographing". Was Mr. Sites acting as a
unbiased journalist in the mosque, or as a "artist"
Don't We hear About These Guys?
By Oliver North
stuff you hear about in boot camp, about World War II and Tarawa
Marines who won the Medal of Honor," Lance Cpl. Rob Rogers
of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment told the Army Times.
Cpl. Rogers was describing the actions of his fellow Marine, Sgt.
Rafael Peralta, a Mexican immigrant who enlisted in the Marine
Corps the day he received his green card.
Most readers of this column probably haven't heard about Rafael
Peralta. With the exception of the Los Angeles Times, most of
our mainstream media haven't bothered to write about him. The
next time you log onto the Internet, do a Google search on Rafael
Peralta. As of this writing, the Internet's most used search engine
will provide you only 26 citations from news sources that have
bothered to write about this heroic young man. Then, just for
giggles, do a Google search on Pablo Paredes. Hundreds of media
outlets have written about him. The wire services have blasted
his story to thousands of newspapers. Television and radio debate
programs gladly provide the public with talking heads that can
speak eloquently on the actions of Pablo Paredes.
You see, Pablo Paredes, a Navy petty officer 3rd class, did something
the liberal elites consider "heroic" and the media consider
"newsworthy" - he defied an order. Last week, Petty
Officer Paredes refused to board his ship bound for Iraq along
with 5,000 other sailors and Marines. He showed up on the pier
wearing a black T-shirt that read, "Like a Cabinet member,
know this because Petty Officer Pablo Paredes had the courtesy
and forethought to notify the local media he would commit an act
of cowardice the following day. Perhaps he hoped to follow the
lead of another famous war protester who went on to become a U.S.
senator and his party's presidential nominee by throwing away
his military medals.
Petty Officer Paredes stopped short of trashing his military I.D.
in front of the cameras because he said he didn't want to be charged
with destroying government property. The media, we are promised,
will continue to follow this story intently.
is a shame the media focus on such acts when they could tell stories
about real-heroes like Rafael Peralta who "saved the life
of my son and every Marine in that room," according to Garry
Morrison the father of a Marine in Sgt. Peralta's unit - Lance
Cpl. Adam Morrison.
the morning of Nov. 15, the men of 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines
awoke before sunrise and continued what they had done seven days
previously - cleansing the city of Fallujah of terrorists house
At the fourth house they encountered that morning, the Marines
kicked in the door and "cleared" the front rooms, but
then noticed a locked door off to the side that required inspection.
Sgt. Rafael Peralta threw open the closed door, but behind it
were three terrorists with AK-47s. Peralta was hit in the head
and chest with multiple shots at close range.
Peralta's fellow Marines had to step over his body to continue
the shootout with the terrorists. As the firefight raged, a "yellow,
foreign-made, oval-shaped grenade," as Lance Cpl. Travis
Kaemmerer described it, rolled into the room where they stood
and stopped near Peralta's body.
But Sgt. Rafael Peralta wasn't dead - yet. This young immigrant
of 25 years, who enlisted in the Marines when he received his
green card, who volunteered for front-line duty in Fallujah, had
one last act of heroism in him.
Sgt. Rafael Peralta was the polar opposite of Pablo Paredes, the
petty officer who turned his back on his shipmates and mocked
his commander in chief. Peralta was proud to serve his adopted
country. In his parent's home, on his bedroom walls hanged only
three items - a copy of the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights
and his boot camp graduation certificate. Before he set out for
Fallujah, he wrote to his 14-year-old brother, "Be proud
of me, bro ... and be proud of being an American."
Not only can Rafael's family be proud of him, but his fellow Marines
are alive because of him. As Sgt. Rafael Peralta lay near death
on the floor of a Fallujah terrorist hideout, he spotted the yellow
grenade that rolled next to his near-lifeless body. Once detonated,
it would take out the rest of Peralta's squad. To save his fellow
Marines, Peralta reached out, grabbed the grenade, and tucked
it under his abdomen where it exploded.
of the Marines in the house were in the immediate area of the
grenade," Cpl. Kaemmerer said. "We will never forget
the second chance at life that Sgt. Peralta gave us."
Unfortunately, unlike Pablo Paredes, Sgt. Rafael Peralta will
get little media coverage. He is unlikely to have books written
about him or movies made about his extraordinarily selfless sacrifice.
But he is likely to receive the Medal of Honor. And that Medal
of Honor is likely to be displayed next to the only items that
hung on his bedroom wall - the Constitution, Bill of Rights and
his Boot Camp graduation certificate.
Yes, Virginia, there are still heroes in America, and Sgt. Rafael
Peralta was one of them. It's just too bad the media can't recognize
First Class Paul R. Smith
GIs were dirty, mosquito-bitten, fatigued, homesick. They had
been on the road almost constantly for two weeks. Many had not
slept in days.
dawn on April 4, they arrived at Saddam International Airport
to the sound of sporadic gunfire and the acrid smell of distant
explosions. Breakfast was a mushy, prepackaged concoction the
Army optimistically calls "pasta with vegetables."
the mood was upbeat.
the airport meant the war was almost over. Some of the men broke
out cheap cigars to celebrate.
Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith and his combat engineers set about
their mission that day, putting up a roadblock on the divided
highway that connects the airport and Baghdad. Then, just before
10 a.m., a sentry spotted Iraqi troops nearby. Maybe 15 or 20.
By the time Smith had a chance to look for himself, the number
was closer to 100.
could oppose them with just 16 men.
ordered his soldiers to take up fighting positions and called
for a Bradley, a powerful armored vehicle. It arrived quickly
and opened fire. The Americans thought they were in control until,
inexplicably, the Bradley backed up and left.
was like, "What the hell?"' said Cpl. Daniel Medrano.
"We felt like we got left out there alone."
outnumbered GIs faced intense Iraqi fire. Whether they would survive
the next few minutes hinged largely on Smith. He was 33 years
old, a 1989 graduate of Tampa Bay Vocational-Technical High School,
a husband and father of two.
his men, Smith was like a character in the old war movies they
had watched as kids, an infuriating, by-the-book taskmaster they
called the "Morale Nazi."
Smith had spent much of his adult life preparing for precisely
this moment. Indeed, in a letter to his parents composed just
before the war, he seems to have anticipated it:
are two ways to come home, stepping off the plane and being carried
off the plane. It doesn't matter how I come home because I am
prepared to give all that I am to ensure that all my boys make
explains Smith's commitment to his men?
clues are to be found in the story of his early years, growing
up in Tampa's Palma Ceia neighborhood. He and three siblings were
raised by a single mother who worked two jobs to support the family.
Smith was a so-so student, not much of an athlete, not particularly
popular. His childhood was altogether unremarkable.
studied woodworking in high school and did trim work for a contractor.
After graduating in June 1989, Smith joined the Army. He was motivated
not by patriotism but a desire to find a job offering more stability
than the paycheck-to-paycheck life of a carpenter. As a new recruit,
Smith left an impression of someone more interested in partying
than, say, marksmanship.
by the time he got to Saddam International Airport, Smith was
a different man, a master of the soldier's art. On April 4, in
the words of his commanding officer, Smith displayed "extraordinary
heroism and uncommon valor without regard for his own life in
order to save others . . . in keeping with the highest traditions
of the military service. . ."
Smith offered his men, Abraham Lincoln, in an earlier age, called
"the last full measure of devotion."
First Class Gary Schultz
Williamson County Commissioners' Court honored a hometown hero,
as they presented a medal of honor to Sgt. 1st Class Gary Schultz,
currently serving with the National Guard's 124th Cavalry Division
from Waco. Schultz, who was home from Iraq on a two-week leave,
will return to duty in a few days.
had worked for the Precinct 1 constable's office as a deputy constable
and mental health specialist for just over a year when he was
called to duty with the National Guard and assigned to the 336th
Military Police Battalion, a division of the 89th MP Brigade of
the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Hood. He was deployed Jan. 21
to Camp Anaconda, just north of Baghdad, where his platoon was
assigned escort detail for supplies and personnel to forward operating
bases. His platoon of 30 men has suffered two casualties resulting
from ambushes on his escort detail, and he was in a substantial
fire fight in May.
1 Constable Gary Griffin presented the award to Schultz as Schultz's
wife, Annette, and parents, Gary Sr. and Glee Schultz of Mission,
stood by his side. A plaque accompanying the medal of honor gave
high praise to Schultz's service, stating:
exceptional service to the law enforcement profession and outstanding
contribution to the citizens of Williamson County, State of Texas,
without regard for personal welfare or safety of such magnitude
as to bring honor and recognition to himself and the office of
Letter From A Marine Leaving Iraq
Note: This is a recent letter from 1st Lt. Brian Donlon USMC to
a group of friends and supporters with whom he had stayed in contact
during his deployment to Iraq. It was provided to DefenseWatch
by a mutual friend.
will be my final letter from Iraq. I will be leaving the country
in the next week and should be home in the United State soon after.
is now here in Iraq. The weather is pleasantly warm with the occasional
sunny day. On a recent trip, I flew in a helicopter north of Baghdad
over miles of small farms, criss-crossed by irrigation canals,
each surrounded by bright green fields. It all gave an impression
of timelessness, life unchanging but for the season. In the days
since the elections it has been very quiet here and all my Marines
remain safe. Everyone is very ready to go home. Before I give
my final impressions of Iraq, I have one final experience to relate.
I spent several days in Fallujah. As the largest battle fought
in this war and the most brutal fight for the Marine Corps since
Vietnam, the name, "Fallujah," tends to engender visions
of smoke and fire, death in the streets. I cannot speak for the
condition of the city before and during the assault, but what
I witnessed was perhaps the most secure and peaceful urban area
I have yet encountered in Iraq, including the Green Zone.
four days on security patrols in and around the city, I did not
even once hear the report of gunfire in anger or the echo of an
explosion. Of course, when you systematically kill or capture
every insurgent in a completely cordoned city and search, blast
or burn every single structure, you can expect resistance to become
light or nonexistent.
hosts were the warriors of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, who fought
along the regiment's right flank during the battle and back-cleared
the entire northern sector of the city following the operation's
conclusion. These men fought a grisly, tedious and exhausting
battle street-by-street, block-by-block for almost two months.
For all my imagination, until I walked the streets, listened to
the stories, saw the pictures and read the after-action reports,
I had no concept of what a fight it had been.
enemy dead with ponchos as they went, they killed Muj (as they
nicknamed the insurgents) in the streets or toppled buildings
on top of them with mortars, artillery and aerial bombardment.
They shot dogs and cats caught feasting on the dead, found the
mutilated corpse of aid worker Margaret Hassan, discovered a torture
chamber with full suits of human skin and refrigerated body parts
right out of "Silence of the Lambs," opened a cellar
with chained men who had starved to death and broke down doors
to find rooms full of corpses, hands tied behind their backs,
bullet holes in the back of their heads. These are just in the
pictures I saw.
enemy they encountered was fanatical and often fought as if pumped
up on drugs. His ethnicity was varied and his tactics ranged from
insurgents attempting to cross the Euphrates River on inflated
beach balls to houses detonated on top of Marines as they entered
the first floor.
I listened to the stories, I had visions of Henry V's warning
before the walls of Harfleur to "take pity of your town and
of your people, whiles yet my soldiers are in my command; whiles
yet the cool and temperate wind of grace o'erblows the filthy
and contagious clouds of heady murder, spoil and villainy."
thought of all the times in history where invaders had systematically
destroyed a city, extinguishing the population and sowing salt
in the earth.
for the battle damage on all sides, the city of Fallujah had more
children and a more industrious citizenry than any other I encountered
here in Iraq. Almost every house had been re-occupied following
the invasion, gutters cleaned of garbage, white flags flying over
newly patched garden walls, "Family Inside" written
in large letters in both English and Arabic. Marines control access
to the city; Marines mediate civic disputes; Marines provide food,
water and are protecting those who are repairing city infrastructure;
Marines patrol the streets, policing both the citizens of Fallujah
and the Iraqi Army who sometimes abuse their authority.
is a city on lockdown and ironically is probably the safest and
most progressive place in Iraq right now. I now understand why
the citizens in a nearby neighborhood here in Baghdad worriedly
asked the Army command we are attached to, "What have we
done? Why are Marines here?" when we began to patrol there.
that experience, I more or less close my time here in Iraq. I
have a few more hurdles to overcome before I am home but now all
tasks are related to ensuring a safe journey there. Reflecting
on what I have seen here in Iraq, the overwhelming emotion I feel
is of pride, not in myself or even in my Marines, but in being
sentiments tend to gravitate between cliché and taboo in
the sensibilities of popular culture, but if I was not defined
before as a "patriot," I am now. I am very proud to
have been a small part of this effort and to come from a nation
where not only could such an effort be sustained but whose aim
was the betterment of another people a world away.
few months ago, I was walking at night through a logistics yard
and as I weaved between mountainous stacks of crates stamped with
the names of a dozen nations, I was struck by how fortunate I
was to be an American. The perspective bordered on the sublime.
Just outside the wall lived people in poverty and squalor who
had been subjected to their lot by a tyrannical ethnic and political
minority who shrugged off human misery with the medieval belief
that it was the "will of Allah." Not much has changed
in the Middle East in the last few thousands of years, except
for the religion and identity of the tyrant in question. Just
south of where I sit now, in the city of Babylon in the 5th Century
B.C., the Persian Xerxes planned his doomed invasion of Greece,
his logisticians collecting mountains of supplies, compiled from
the labors of subject millions.
is no difference between that tyrant 2500 years ago and Saddam
Hussein whose palaces dot across this country like vainglorious
lesions, one built just miles away from here, complete with fresh
water dolphins in artificial lakes, observation towers with night
clubs, and irrigated tree-lined walks, built in the midst of international
sanctions levied against his country.
I stood dwarfed by piles of water bottles and phone cable, I realized
two distinctions. The first is this: as countless millions of
dollars are spent, what American citizen can truly point to the
cost that this war has had on his quality of living? What a magnificent
nation we live in where we can wage so massive an effort without
bankrupting our citizenry in the process.
second contrast is our motive: for all the insinuations of imperialism,
corporate benefit and hawkish war-mongering, the most dramatic
moments I witnessed here revolved around an election, not an exploitation.
What other nation would spend such sums to give a people so far
am not advocating war. Being so far from home for so long, smelling
and seeing the dead and placing Marines in harm's way are not
truly enjoyable experiences. Yet I agree wholeheartedly with the
much-criticized statement by [Lt.] General [James N.] Mattis,
it is fun to wage war against a foe who seeks only his own self-gratification,
who tortures, murders and abuses the weak. You can opine all day
long about Wilsonian self-determination, but without the will
to do what is necessary to make such visions reality, they remain
short, as I give my farewell to this country in the next week,
I leave with overwhelming pride in being an American and an unshakable
belief, based in what I have seen here, that this effort will
not fail. Whatever comes in Iraq, the impact of this invasion
will not be as that of every other conqueror, relegated to a wind-worn
mound of stones in the desert.
want to thank all of you who have taken the time to read these
often-verbose letters. Just being able to write to this audience
has been a great stress relief. I especially want to express my
gratitude to those who have written to me both electronic and
snail mail, sent care packages and kept me in their thoughts and
prayers. This was without a doubt the best experience of my life
thus far and would have not been so without the support and generosity
you have shown my Marines and me.
Sergeant Herbert Hancock - USMC Sniper
time we were killing terrorism from more than 1,000 yards."
- Marine Corporal Geoffrey Flowers, spotter for Sergeant Hancock
Herbert Hancock was credited with the longest kill shot in Iraq
- over a thousand yards. And he and his spotter (Corporal Flowers)
made that shot after fighting for hours in Fallujah.
Hancock is a Bryan, Texas, police officer when not protecting
his fellow Marines. Corporal Flowers is a college student from
gotta love them and their humor!!
FYI, The flags are France, Germany, & Russia
San Francisco SSN-711 Collision With Sea Mount
Email From A Chief Electronics Technician
On Board The USS San Francisco SSN-711
thought that I would put out a note since a lot of you have
been calling and writing to find out how things are and if I'm
OK and what happened. If you hadn't heard, my boat hit a uncharted
submerged sea mount at the highest speed we can go at about
500ft below the surface. There were about 30 of us that were
seriously hurt and unfortunately one of my shipmates didn't
off I am OK. I am pretty beat up with my entire left side and
butt as one big bruise. My shoulder is separated and may require
surgery. They will evaluate later this week. I am very fortunate
that I hit the wall and didn't go down a ladderwell that was
right next to where I hit. If I had gone down that, I would
have got really messed up. I took a tremendous shot to my left
thigh from something. If it had been slightly lower in the knee
area it would have been really ugly. But all in all I am in
hit it at about noon right after field day (where all of us
clean the boat for several hours). Thank God we didn't hit while
we were doing this or it would have been much worse. We would
have had flying deck plates through the air and such. Not good.
As it was, it happened while chow was going on and most people
were either sitting and eating or on watch.
don't remember much of the collision. People describe it as
like in the movie the Matrix where everything slowed down and
levitated and then went flying forward faster that the brain
can process. My mind has blanked it out exactly what happened.
Adrenaline kicked in and I have no real memory of how I got
down to middle level or what I did immediately following. I
helped carry several shipmates to the crew mess deck (adrenaline
is a wonderful thing - my shoulder was wrecked and I had no
idea until about 4 hours later). I sat with several of my junior
guys that had bad head wounds and talked with them to keep them
conscious until doc could see them. It seemed like an eternity
but I'm sure wasn't that long. For those Navy folks that ever
wondered why Chief's stomp around and preach "Stow for
Sea" This was a perfect example. It definately saved lives.
am extremely proud of the crew to do damage control, help the
wounded and get the boat safely to the surface (for the boat
guys we blew the tanks dry on the emergency blow but unbeknownst
to us we were missing some ballast tanks/some didn’t have
integrity). The ship's control party did every thing exactly
right even though they were hurt as well. The Diving Officer
of the Watch had just unbuckled his belt to update a status
board and hit the Ship's Control Panel hard enough to break
some of the gauges. To add insult to injury his chair came up
right behind him. Several people were injured in the Engine
Room Lower Level area. Lots of metal and sharp edges in the
area as well as that's were the boat's smoking area is at. Several
crew members are reevaluating that habit now.
again we got lucky in the fact that we had an extra corpsman
of our officer's was a prior enlisted corpsman that was a Fleet
Marine Force medic so he was a Godsend for us. Our Corpsman
did an outstanding job getting everyone stabilized and did the
best he could for our fallen shipmate. I am surprised that he
got him to hold on as long as he did. Our corpsman is definitely
a hero in my book. He didn't sleep for 2 or 3 days.
finally put him down when the SEAL docs helicoptered in to help.
Like I said, I am extremely proud of my crew and how they handled
themselves. My Chief of the Boat was an inspiration of what
a leader should be and my Captain was as well. My XO took out
an EAB manifold with his back but still managed to help coordinate
things. No matter what happens later, these men did a superior
job under difficult circumstances. I am humbled by the entire
crew's performance from the CO down to the Seaman that I was
checking in two days before.
those of you wondering, I am sure there will be an investigation
into what happened and no I was not part of the navigation preps
for this voyage.
work on the inertial/electronic navigation and interior communications
part of my rate and didn't have anything to do with the conventional
navigation part of it. I will be lending support to my comrades
who were to help them prepare for the pending investigation.
thank you all for you concern and appreciate your prayers not
only for myself, but for my shipmates. We are doing well, we
band of brothers and will pull through just fine.
Chief Electronics Technician Submarines
USS San Francisco SSN-711
Email Written By The DOOW
Fw: San Francisco Update - DIVING OFFICER
To say that I've had a bad year so far would be a little short
on the tooth I think. Last year was a good one for the boat.
After spending 5 months away from home in drydock (Sandy Eggo)
we got our second BA on ORSE (bad juju), received the highest
score in PacFlt for a submarine TRE inspection, aced our mine
readiness inspection with 4 out of 4 hits, completed 2 outstanding
missions (will have to shoot you), and completed a early ORSE
just before Christmas with an EXCELLENT. It was also the first
year that Auxiliary Division had a Christmas standown since
coming out of the yards in 2002. A-division also took the CSS-15
Red DC award for the second year in a row. My retention has
been 100% since I checked onboard in Oct 2002 amongst 1st/2nd
and third termers.
We were going to our first true liberty port 2 weeks ago, heading
for Brisbane and fun in the sun. As this WOG knows, we were
getting ready for our crossing the line ceremony and the crew
was really upbeat, and hard charging, we had just completed
a great year for the San Fran. To say the world went to shyte
in a hand basket would be an understatement. I would put it
closer to a nightmare that becomes reality. The seamount that
is a large part of the discussion the last 2 weeks is un-named.
The charts we carried onboard were up to date as far as we can
tell. No modern geographic data for this area was available
to us onboard as it is a remote area not often travelled by
the Navy. We have one of the BEST ANav's in the fleet onboard,
a true quartergasket that takes pride in his job. We have RLGN's
onboard, when they are running, are accurate as hell for our
position, they also drive Tomahawks. We knew where we were.
All of my depth gauges and digital read the same depths as we
changed depth to our SOE depth for flank. I can't discuss alot,
because I'm still a participent of at least 2 investigations....LOL.
I was the Diving Officer of the Watch when we grounded. If you
read the emails from ComSubPac, you will get some of the details,
from flank speed to less than 4 knots in less than 4 seconds.
We have it recorded on the RLGN's-those cranky bastages actually
stayed up and recorded everything. For you guys that don't understand
that, take a Winnebego full of people milling around and eating,
slam it into a concrete wall at about 40mph, and then try to
drive the damn thing home and pick up the pieces of the passengers.
As for the actual grounding, I can tell you that it was fortunate
that myself and the Chief of the Watch were blessed by somebody.
I was standing up, changing the expected soundings for a new
depth on the chart (yes, we had just moved into deeper water)
leaning against the ship's control panel with a hand grip, and
the COW was leaning down to call the COB on the MJ. The next
thing to cross my mind was why am I pushing myself off of the
SCP and where the hell the air rupture in the control room come
from? I didn't know it, but I did a greater than 3g spiderman
against the panel, punched a palm through the only plexiglass
guage on the SCP and had my leg crushed by the DOOW chair that
I had just unbuckled from. The DOOW chair was broken loose by
the QMOW flying more than 15 feet into it and smashing my leg
against a hydraulic valve and the SCP. I don't remember freeing
myself from it. If I had been buckled in, I don't think I would
be writing this. The COW was slammed against the base of the
Ballast Control Panel, and only injured his right arm. He could
of destroyed the BCP, he was a big boy. Everybody else in control,
with the exception of the helm, was severely thrown to the deck
or other items that were in their way, and at least partially
dazed. Within about 5 seconds of the deceleration, we blew to
the surface, it took that 5 seconds for the COW to climb up
the BCP and actuate the EMBT blow. We prepared to surface right
away and got the blower running asap, I didn't know how much
damage we had forward but knew it was not good, I wanted that
blower running. I would say that about 80% of the crew was injured
in some way, but do not know the number. We grounded in the
middle of a meal hour, just after field day, so most of the
crew was up. Once we got the boat on the surface and semi-stable
with the blower running the rest of the ship conditions started
sinking in to our minds. We were receiving 4MC's for injured
men all over the boat. I was worried that those reports were
over whelming any equipment/boat casualties that could make
our life worse. I had teams form up of able bodied men to inspect
all of the forward elliptical bulkhead, lower level, and tanks
below those spaces. I couldn't believe that we did not have
flooding, it just didn't fit in. At one point I looked around
in the control room, and saw the disaster. The entire control
room deck was covered in paper from destroyed binders, and blood.
It looked like a slaughterhouse, we had to clean it up. I knew
that Ash was severly injured and brought to the messdecks, he
was one of my best men, and one of our best sailors onboard,
he was like a son to me. After surfacing I was the control room
supervisor, I had a boat to keep on the surface and fight and
knew that if I went below to see how he was doing, it would
teeter me on the brink of something that the ship did not need,
the ship needed somebody who knew her. I have to say that the
design engineers at Electric Boat, NavSea and others have designed
a submarine that can withstand incredible amounts of damage
and survive. We lost no systems, equipment, or anything broke
loose during the impact. The damage to our sailors was almost
all from them impacting into the equipment.
The crew is a testament to training and watch team backup. When
a casualty occurs, you fight like you train, and train like
you fight. It kept us alive during that 2+day period. I've just
returned from the honor of escorting my sailor home to his family.
God bless them, they are truly good people and patriotic. The
Navy is doing everything they can for them and they are learning
how submariner's take care of each other. During the memorial
and viewing on Saturday, CSS-15 provided a video from the coast
guard of us on the surface and the SEAL/Dr. medical team being
helo'd in, the family had this video played on 2 screens in
the background. It was a sobering reminder of what a hard woman
the ocean can be. We had to call off the helo because of the
sea state, it was becoming too dangerous for the aircraft, we
almost hit it with the sail a couple of times. The sea would
not allow us to medivac in our condition and that sea state.
I was one of the 23 sent to the hospital that Monday. I was
fortunate, my leg was not broken, just trashed/bruised. I walked
on that leg for almost 24 hours before it gave out on me and
they had it splinted. The SEAL made me promise not to walk on
it, how do you refuse a SEAL? LOL. So I hopped around on a single
leg for awhile, the other chief's were calling me Tiny Tim,
LOL. "God bless each and every one! Except you, and you,
that guy behind you!". The COB threatened to beat my @ss
if I walk onboard before my leg is okay, he's about the only
man onboard that I'd take that from, hehe. The crew is doing
better, we've lost a few due to the shock of the incident. We
will make sure they are taken care of. The investigation goes
on, and I have a new CO. I will only say that the San Fran was
the best damn sub in the Navy under CDR Mooneys leadership.
We proved that. God bless him and his family no matter what
happens in the future, he is truly a good man.
I just need to get my leg healed and get back to fighting my
favorite steel bitch.
to various sources the accident was caused by this "seamount"
- suddenly appearing out of "nowhere". The sub was
allegedly at flank speed over 30kts (appr. 35mph) at a reported
depth of 500 feet below the surface, although no official confirmation
due to "classified"). The submarine was on its way
to Brisbane, Australia (for a routine port visit) and ran into
something which stopped the vessel almost to zero speed - reportedly
back to 4kts. This was about 350 miles south of Guam in the
area of the Carolines East of the Yap Trench, which connects
to the Marianna-Trench. Due to info of various sources of the
Marine-command and emails of the crew, there where two impacts
- the first was very hard and the second was a smaller bump.
of the USS San Francisco returning to Apra Harbor in Guam last
Monday showed the submarine's sonar sphere and forward ballast
tanks heavily damaged. The sonar dome, which is always flooded,
probably absorbed enough of the impact to keep the pressure
hull from cracking, allowing the crew to save the ship. The
reactor, located amidships, and the rest of the propulsion plant
in the rear of the ship were undamaged, the Navy said.
man was killed in the collision, and 60 others from the crew
of 137, suffered a range of injuries, including broken bones,
lacerations and a back injury, making the incident one of the
most serious undersea accidents in memory.
say the area where the sub was traveling is notorious for no-warning
sea mounts. The water depth can change 1,000 fathoms in seconds.
know more about the backside of the moon than we do about the
bottom of the ocean,” said retired Navy Capt. James Patton,
president of Submarine Tactics and Technology in North Stonington.
area in which the San Francisco was traveling, through the Caroline
Islands chain, is one of the worst, with dozens of islands rising
out of the water and many more uncharted seamounts between them.
just bad water,”
retired Navy Capt., a previous commander of the Undersea Surveillance
Program in the Pacific. - Raymond D. Woolrich of Waterford,
stated: “One of the things I found running the undersea
surveillance system is that earthquakes happen all the time
in the Pacific, and that's how the earth changes. Could there
have been an unknown, uncharted seamount? Sure there could have
submarine managed to make its way - using its own power - back
into Apra Harbor/Guam and was moored at Sierra Pier, where dozens
of family members of crewmembers waited. This itself was a great
undertaking of the CO and the crew - managing to keep the heavily
damaged boat afloat - and manouverable.
asked how could a high-tech submarine hit something underwater,
Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Davis, spokesman for the U.S. Navy Pacific Submarine
Force said, "I wouldn't want to speculate on the cause.
We are going to have a complete investigation. We are going
to look at this very, very carefully, make sure that we have
all the answers, and try to prevent anything like this from
action has been taken against any crewmembers, pending an investigation.
investigating officer will likely be appointed to look into
the cause of the accident, Davis said. One of the things they
will look into is whether the San Francisco or any other submarine
has taken that route before.
said the Navy could not release what speed the submarine was
going or what depth it was in during the accident.
will be classified and unclassified components of it. Things
like depth, we guard pretty closely," Davis said.
have been a lot of quakes in the area, starting with the Tsunami-quake
on 26th Dec. and shown by the eruption of the Anatahan on Marianas
(see my related posting) on the 7th Jan., around the time of
the accident of the Sub, indicating lots of possible geological
to a (even small) tilt of the Earth axis (the Tsunami and the
26 Dec-quake indeed caused a "irregular" wobble, that's
confirmed...) the Equator shifts a bit and as well the depths
in ocean – as the oceans don't flow and behave exactly
the same way as the crust. Did you once try to serve a plate
full with soup?? And imagine this plate itself made of rubber
(the crust) ;-) So the crust reacts - but the water has more
inertia and all at sudden the relations of depht, location,
etc. could have changed...
that the Submariners are no "gamblers", the question
arises WHY they want at flank speed KNOWING of imminent quakes
and possible connected topographical changes in the area as
reported in comments of highranking officials and former retired
- Did they try to escape a "shadow", another rogue
Where they moving away from elsewhere than the reported "Guam",
perhaps they came from the Indian Ocean?
Why were they reported to make a "routine-visit" to
Brisbane, when the whole Pacific fleet is on alert and two battle
groups are at "humanitarian assistance" in the Indian
Ocean? No "better use" for this Sub? The battle Groups
CVN-72 Abraham Lincoln and LHD-6 Bonhomme Richard are conducting
the Operation Unified Assistance at this time, bringing aid
to the victims of the Tsunami - but also 'securing' the whole
area by immense military power...
questions, questions . . . .
Of The USS San Francisco Relieved
The commanding officer of the USS San Francisco SSN-711 was
formally relieved of his command recently and issued a career-damaging
letter of reprimand at an administrative hearing, the Navy Times
reported. Cmdr. Kevin Mooney learned his fate at a nonjudicial
"admiral's mast" hearing before 7th Fleet commander
Vice Adm. Jonathan Greenert. Mooney had earlier been temporarily
removed from command of the nuclear submarine: USS San Francisco
pending a formal review of the incident, which left one sailor
dead and 23 injured. The Navy has not released details of its
investigation into the incident. The mishap took place as the
San Francisco was making a submerged transit from Guam to Brisbane,
Australia. The 362-foot sub and its 137-man crew were moving
at nearly 35 mph when the sub struck what experts believe was
an uncharted mountain topped by a coral reef about 350 miles
southeast of Guam. Greenert concluded that "several critical
navigational and voyage planning procedures were not being implemented
aboard USS San Francisco. By not ensuring these standard procedures
were followed, Mooney hazarded his vessel."
Cmdr Kevin Mooney
Members Of Sub Crew Punished For Pacific Crash
Navy Takes Action Following Grounding Of USS San Francisco SSN711
By ROBERT A. HAMILTON
Day Staff Writer, Navy/Defense/Electric Boat
Published on 3/23/2005
submariners assigned to the submarine USS San Francisco have
been punished for dereliction of duty or putting a vessel in
danger in connection with a Jan. 8 incident in which the submarine
slammed into a seamount in the Pacific, killing one sailor and
injuring 98 others.
San Francisco was making a trip to Australia when it came to
periscope depth to fix its position accurately a little more
than 400 miles southwest of Guam. Minutes after diving, and
while traveling at a high rate of speed, the submarine hit a
seamount in an area where official Navy charts list 6,000 feet
executive officer, a lieutenant commander, and the navigator,
a lieutenant, received permanent punitive letters of censure,
Navy sources said Tuesday.
assistant navigator, a senior chief electronics technician,
received a similar letter and was stripped of his Navy enlisted
classification, which ousts him from the submarine force.
other enlisted men, all members of the San Francisco navigation
team, were demoted one rank, one of them from electronics technician
1st class to electronics technician 2nd class, and two others
from 2nd class to 3rd class.
Cmdr. Jeff Davis, a spokesman for the Pacific submarine force,
said Capt. Bradley Gehrke, commodore of Submarine Squadron 15
in Guam, conducted hearings on the charges Tuesday.
crew members received punishment for actions that led to the
grounding,” Davis said. “Because this was a non-judicial
proceeding, we're not going to release names.”
also declined to identify by job any of the submariners punished,
and would only confirm that punishment included demotions and
letters of reprimand. He said the investigation into the accident
understanding is that the investigation is being reviewed and
is very close to complete, but I don't have a time when it will
be released,” Davis said. He also could not comment on
whether there has been a decision on whether the San Francisco
will be repaired or scrapped.
Mate 3rd Class Joseph Ashley was killed in the Jan. 8 collision
when he was thrown more than 20 feet and struck his head on
a large pump. Almost two dozen others were injured so badly
they could not perform their duties.
the injuries and extensive damage, the crew got the ship back
to its homeport of Apra Harbor, Guam.
sources have said, however, that the damage to the ship, particularly
the alignment of some of the propulsion equipment, is worse
than initially believed and that the submarine may have to be
grounding destroyed three of the four ballast tanks in the bow,
shattered the sonar dome and smashed the sonar sphere. In addition,
a bulkhead at the front end of the ship was buckled.
said the sailors were all punished as a result of an administrative
proceeding known as a commodore's mast, which lasted 10 minutes
or less for each of the men and focused on two areas of inquiry:
whether the crew had obtained the most recent charts on board
and whether it exercised sufficient caution when there was evidence
that the charts being used might be faulty.
punishments, and the lines of questioning, seem to support claims
by Navy sources last month that the submarine had not updated
its charts with notices to mariners, some dating back to the
1960s and some made as recently as last year, that would indicate
a seamount in an area where the water was supposed to be several
thousand feet deep.
addition, the same sources said, the navigation crew had taken
a sounding that showed the water to be thousands of feet shallower
than on the charts. Though still showing ample water under the
keel for safe operation, the discrepancy should have prompted
more caution, the sources said.
Kevin Mooney, the captain of the San Francisco, was permanently
relieved as skipper early last month after an administrative
proceeding known as an admiral's mast. Mooney was found guilty
of failing to follow “several critical navigational and
voyage planning” standards, a Navy spokesman said without
said Mooney is being reassigned to the Trident Training Facility
in Bangor, Wash. He is expected to retire from the Navy from
that job, the sources said.
punishments are likely to be controversial, particularly among
submariners, active duty and retired, who contend that the crew
should not have been held responsible when the official Navy
charts showed thousands of feet of water below the keel.
other submariners have said navigation teams are expected to
take extraordinary measures concerning any area in which they
will be operating, and when there is a mistake, particularly
one involving a fatality, the captain, executive officer and
navigation team are always held responsible.
We Almost Lost the Submarine
Raymond Perry April
details of the investigation into the collision of the USS San
Francisco with a seamount in the Pacific Ocean are beginning
to emerge and they reveal the incident was far more serious
than we originally were led to believe.
New London Day newspaper published a synopsis of the investigation
on Apr. 9, 2005 (“Navy Faults Navigational Procedures
In Crash Of Sub”), that paints a grim picture of what
happened to the nuclear attack submarine on Jan. 8, 2005.
the damage done by the collision was nearly fatal. The article
by reporter Robert Hamilton revealed that the forward bulkhead
of the San Francisco buckled upon impact with the submerged
seamount. Some of the photos of the submarine in drydock show
that the deck immediately aft of the damaged ballast tank area
has “bubbled up,” indicating significant bending
of the hull itself. The buckling of the forward bulkhead noted
by the investigation indicates that the ship was on the brink
of catastrophic flooding.
Navy investigation determined that the routine of laying out
the navigation plan for the transit to Australia was seriously
deficient. Charts in use were not updated to indicate a possible
hazard just 6,000 yards from the collision location, and the
ship chose to pass within 12 miles of charted pinnacles.
probe also concluded that the organizational decision-making
making onboard the San Francisco was unacceptably “slack”
by Pacific Submarine Force standards. Specific examples include:
the ship’s fathometer showing that water was shoaling
over a period of time, key crewmembers took no action to verify
the safety of continuing on the planned track.
No attempt was made to verify and resolve the discrepancy in
measured versus charted water depth, despite the fact that some
key crewmen thought that the soundings taken were incorrect
since they were taken at high speed.
- The chart used for daily navigation was a large-scale map
with less detail. This was convenient for a long and fast voyage
but conveyed a false sense of security when the ship was in
fact passing through broken waters.
- It appears that the ship was not using a management tool,
such as conducting daily briefs of the next 24 hours of operations,
to ensure that all key crewmembers had considered and discussed
- An apparently mitigating circumstance was offered in that
higher authority failed to send an operational order (called
a “Subnote”) to the submarine until the night before
its departure from Guam. However, this does not tell the full
story. It is rare that a ship is sent out to sea with a subnote
“out of the blue.” Were the San Francisco’s
captain and crew truly ignorant of this pending voyage?
a normal sequence of events, the ship itself would initiate
the voyage planning process by submitting a request with a proposed
track. Higher authority would either approve it or propose changes.
The submarine would have the opportunity to negotiate changes
in most cases. In any event, such a Subnote only certifies that
the proposed track enjoys freedom from interference with other
submarines or submerged towed bodies.
is unlikely that there was much mitigating basis in the late
receipt of the final track. In fact, this point seems to have
had little sway in affecting 7th Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Jonathan
W. Greenert’s decision on Feb. 12 to relieve San Francisco
Commanding Officer Cmdr. Kevin Mooney during Article 15 Admiral’s
Mast proceedings against him for the collision.
why would a submarine with the fine reputation that this skipper
had gained succumb to such unprofessional performance? The easy
answer is to simply pass this off as “personnel error”,
but I feel there is more to the story.
the late 1980s and early 1990s Congress passed legislation requiring
officers to be trained for “Joint Duty” assignments.
Such training requires specific education and time spent in
joint duty billets – that is, years spent away from an
officer’s chosen specialty. My own naval experience has
confirmed that this significantly reduces an officer’s
available time for professional development in his critical
specialty during the period from the 7th to 15th years of an
officer’s overall service.
the joint duty policies went into effect, it was the initial
position of the Submarine Force that such training would seriously
reduce the performance of Nuclear Trained Submarine Officers.
Submarine Force commanders sought an exemption from the new
requirement on grounds that the professions of both submarining
and nuclear engineering were so demanding that they would not
be able to do them justice with the added burden of joint duty.
In a previous article (“Why Are Navy COs getting the Ax?”
DefenseWatch, March 2, 2004), I discussed the demands of joint
training and its impact on the professional development of Commanding
Officers in the Navy.
Submarine Force leaders frequently remarked at that time that
if they could not obtain such an exemption then submariners
would withdraw from joint duty altogether. The long-term implications
were clear: Ultimately, there would be few submarine qualified
admirals since the law required flag officers to have been trained
for and to have served in qualifying joint billets.
Congress rebuffed the submariners’ objections and directed
“no exemption”. After a recent spate of submarine
mishaps in recent years, the question arises that the Submarine
Force leaders might have erred in not standing their ground.
a retired career submariner, I believe that the collision and
near loss of the San Francisco is an example of why they should
have stood their ground. To fully understand the impact of joint
duty assignments on career submariners, one must consider Cmdr.
Mooney’s career in particular and ask whether he had had
sufficient “time on the pond” to have mastered the
difficult craft of commanding a submarine. The conservatism
and skepticism required for an otherwise good leader to stand
back from the day-to-day stresses of running a nuclear submarine
and make tough decisions takes a lot of time at sea –
not just completion of a PCO course.
experience gained from years of on-the-job work provides an
officer with the sufficient background, depth of experience
and seasoned knowledge to recognize in advance professional
errors that seem small at the time but ultimately can have a
major effect on the ship’s safety.
command of a submarine, an officer faces a unique experience:
for the first time in his career there is no one to ask if he
has a question. The phone lines just aren’t long enough.
The CO must solve problems himself – alone. No joint duty
assignment can prepare an officer for this.
is a second potential contributing element to the San Francisco
collision. The Navy several years ago merged the Quartermaster
rating with the Electronics Technician rating as a means of
saving money during a period of personnel cutbacks. What did
the Submarine Force lose in eliminating this professional set
of sailors, and was it worth it?
key element of the San Francisco investigation appears to be
that five key Notices to Mariners were not applied to the specific
chart which the submarine was using to ensure safe passage at
the time of the collision.
charts to ensure all applicable Notices to Mariners have been
entered is a mundane and never ending but truly vital task.
To a Quartermaster, it is a key element of his professional
performance. To an Electronics Technician, it might be, at best,
another administrative task.
chart makers have come in for their round of criticism for not
updating the particular chart used by the submarine. In the
world of cartography, there is never enough money to map the
world and recent combat posed many critical and immediate demands
on that community of specialists.
chart had been updated five times in recent years, but the Navy
probe found that Mooney’s subordinates did not ensure
these updates made it onto the chart, and thus to the navigation
third factor revealed in the probe is the common and expected
practice of employing dead-reckoning to show if a ship is standing
into danger. The practice is to lay out the ship’s present
course and speed for the next few position fix intervals or
four hours in the open ocean (See Chapter 7 of “The American
Practical Navigator”). This practice presents a visual
display of potential danger immediately available to those navigating
the ship, if its course and speed are not changed.
do this in their sleep as second nature and a core element of
their profession. To an Electronics Technician this too would
be another administrative task among many.
know charts and the potential inaccuracies inherent in a chart
based on information predating satellite mapping of the world
(see “The Navigator’s Paradox,” DefenseWatch,
Feb. 1, 2005). When a Quartermaster sees a series of soundings
indicating a shoaling bottom not shown on the chart, it should,
and does, set off loud warning bells.
Technicians are professionals too. They work hard in their chosen
field. But each professional field within the Navy operates
to different sets of priorities. When the Submarine Force did
away with its Quartermaster rating and rolled its responsibilities
into another rating, some things that were done instinctively
believe that the performance of key people in the chain of command
within the San Francisco was deficient. Each of these individuals
on board has paid a price for his performance.
the Submarine Force leadership must also recognize and take
responsibility for larger issues. When the core ethos of a professional
organization is challenged as in the case of the joint duty
requirement, leaders must not only recognize the proposal for
what it really does to the organization, but also stand their
goal of creating a more perfect officer corps has its down sides.
The most well-trained Joint Qualified Officer is of no value
if he cannot get his ship to the fight, ready to fight on arrival.
does a budget process that is incapable of recognizing when
it has become pennywise and pound-foolish. Whatever savings
were taken in doing away with the Submarine Quartermaster rate
have been overrun many times by the cost of this accident.
emerging full picture of the San Francisco accident is even
more disturbing than we initially knew: Reduced “time
on the pond” for a commanding officer and the loss of
a set of core skills came together to set the stage for the
near-loss of a submarine and its crew.
fact, the underwater collision on Jan. 8 will probably result
in the premature retirement of the submarine due to the high
estimated costs of repairing it. As a forward deployed submarine,
USS San Francisco was truly valuable in being permanently stationed
within the vast Western Pacific operating area.
San Francisco’s loss to the Submarine Force, the Navy
and the nation will be felt for years.
To See A Destroyer Hit With A MK 48m Torpedo
The Damage Is Quite Impressive!
- ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE
Rumsfelds visit to Iraq.....not newsworthy, just one 1SG's opinion
To All, this is a shotgun blast response to the media reports
on Secretary Rumsfeld's visit to our Camp. I was fortunate enough
to be there and even shake the man's hand. When the media reports
were released concerning the event, I could not believe what I
saw and heard. There are over 12,000 troops on our base. Only
2,000 or so had the opportunity to attend the gathering and I
can tell you, those were hotly contested seats. Not as the media
would have you believe, so we could voice our displeasure, but
rather to have the opportunity to see and hear the man we admire.
Mr. Secretary spoke for 10 minutes or so on the war in Iraq and
what freedom meant to the people of Afghanistan. He was there
for the recent elections and shared his wonderful insight. After
his prepared remarks he opened up the floor for questions and
made it very clear that nothing was off
Folks, this is extremely unusual for a dignitary to do. Also,
we as leaders, were instructed to not screen our soldiers' questions.
They were to be honest and from the heart. Mr. Rumsfeld fielded
a number of questions, took down notes for the ones he did not
have answers to and genuinely enjoyed talking to the soldiers.
Afterward, he spent over an hour with the
enthusiastic troops who literally mobbed him and would
not let him leave. He smiled for all, shook hands and had pictures
It ended only when his security forced us away. He was applauded,
he was given a standing ovation and
he was loved. He stood there like
a professional, like a man, and he took the heat because that's
what leaders do. And yet somehow, the American media turned that
wonderful event into a "disgruntled troops meet with Secretary
Rumsfeld" headline. Incredible.
The morale is high, the equipment is good
and improving daily. Disregard what you read and hear from
the media and trust in the American fighting men and women to
do the right thing. We have excellent leadership and are doing
what we signed up to do.
1SG Timmy Rikard
sure this is not true, but it should be!
person wrote a letter to the White House complaining about the
treatment of a captive insurgent (terrorist) being held in Guantanamo.
Attached is a copy of a letter they received back:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. ,20016
Dear Concerned Citizen:
Thank you for your recent letter roundly criticizing our treatment
of the Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees currently being held at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Our administration takes these matters seriously, and your opinion
was heard loud and clear here in Washington. You'll be pleased
to learn that, thanks to the concerns of citizens like you, we
are creating a new division of the Terrorist Retraining Program,
to be called the "Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers"
program, or LARK for short. In accordance with the uidelines of
this new program, we have decided to place one terrorist under
your personal care.
Your personal detainee has been selected and scheduled for transportation
under heavily armed guard to your residence next Monday. Ali Mohammed
Ahmed bin Mahmud (you can just call him Ahmed) is to be cared
for pursuant to the standards you personally demanded in your
letter of admonishment. It will likely be necessary for you to
hire some assistant caretakers. We will conduct weekly inspections
to ensure that your standards of care for Ahmed are commensurate
with those you so strongly recommended in your letter.
Although Ahmed is a sociopath and extremely violent, we hope that
your sensitivity to what you described as his "attitudinal
problem" will help him overcome these character flaws.
Perhaps you are correct in describing these problems as mere cultural
differences. He will bite you, given the chance. We understand
that you plan to offer counseling and home schooling. Your adopted
terrorist is extremely proficient in hand-to-hand combat and can
extinguish human life with such simple items as a pencil or nail
clippers. We do not suggest that you ask him to demonstrate these
skills at your next yoga group.
He is also expert at making a wide variety of explosive devices
from common household products, so you may wish to keep those
items locked up, unless (in your opinion) this might offend him.
Ahmed will not wish to interact with your wife or daughters (except
sexually) since he views females as a subhuman form of property.
This is a particularly sensitive subject for him, and he has been
known to show violent tendencies around women who fail to comply
with the new dress code that Ahmed will recommend as more appropriate
attire. I'm sure they will come to enjoy the anonymity offered
by the burka -- over time. Just remind them that it is all part
of "respecting his culture and his religious beliefs"
-- wasn't that how you put it?
Thanks again for your letter. We truly appreciate it when folks
like you, who know so much, keep us informed of the proper way
to do our job.
You take good care of Ahmed - and remember...we'll be watching.
Too Shocking & Graphic For The Liberal Media!
Support Of Our Troops & Veterans,
Please Support These Sites...
don't usually gloat. . . . but, I do like my new svelte look,
after losing 15 Lbs doing cartwheels across the room!
is a picture of Mike McNaughton of Denham Springs, LA. He stepped
on a land mine in Afghanistan Christmas 2002. President Bush
came to visit the wounded in the hospital. He told Mike that
when he could run a mile that they would go on a run together.
True to his word, he called Mike every month or so to see how
he was doing. Well, just recently they went on the run, 1 mile
with the president. Not something you'll see in the news, but
seeing the president taking the time to say thank you to the
wounded and to give hope to one of my best friends was one of
the greatest/best things I have seen in my life. God bless him.
Justin P. Dodge, MD
Flight Surgeon, 1-2 AVN RGT
Medical Corps, U.S. Army
Marine saluting at President Bush's Inauguration.
will never relent in defending America, whatever it takes."
~ President George W. Bush, September 2, 2004
out my version
"My Heros Have Always Been Cowboys?"
[Click On Button To View]
we have a true leader at the helm as Commander-In-Chief, after enduring
eight miserable years of the immoral, draft dodging, skirt chasing,
impeached liar, and yellow bellied coward Bill "Cut & Run"
Clinton, masquerading as a C-in-C!
GOD, the tree hugging environmental wacko Al "Idiot-in-Chief"
Gore didn't become President or C-in-C!!
THERE MUST BE A GOD because the Ultra Left-Wing Liberal,
Rich Elitist, and Traitor John "Flip-Flop" Kerry, AKA
"Hanoi" John, didn't become President or C-in-C!!!
Swift Boat Vets And All Vietnam Vets,
Justice Is Sweet.
John sailed forth in his faux scow,
Till the Swiftees fired across his bow;
And legions of irate attorneys,
Could not defend Cambodian journeys,
Nor stories of his fabled hat,
So voters sensed they smelled a rat.
And while the networks denied them prime,
The Swiftees surely got their time.
John screamed it was all a smear,
O’Neill came across sincere,
And forced Big John to duck the press,
To run, to hide from his specious mess.
But relentless those old Swiftee guys,
They bit, hung on, exposed his lies.
These brave old warriors once again
Stood for their country, for their kin.
made us all look one more time
At the traitor who’d charged them with crime,
And gave false witness to their deeds
For nothing more than political needs.
It’s a smear proclaimed the New York Times
Those liars all committed crimes.
Chris Matthews raged, foamed at the mouth,
Still the turncoat’s campaign headed south.
the Swiftboat Veterans’ charges stuck
And made poor John a sitting duck.
He had no answers, no glib replies,
To cover up his treasonous lies;
That made us think, our minds aware,
The Swiftees had some truth in there;
What if he’d faked his combat valor,
Were all those medals tinged with pallor?
Rather would not pay them heed,
But still the Swiftees made John bleed.
The mainstream pundits called them liars;
But no lefty slant could staunch these fires.
The blazes that these Swiftees set
Were burning John Boy’s ass you bet;
And those Swiftboat fires just burned away
Till they fried John’s ass on election day.
all you heroes on that Wall
Take solace seeing Kerry fall.
This scheming pol who stained your name
Has been denied his claim to fame.
The Swiftees stood and did their best,
Denied the traitor his life’s quest.
You can rest in peace our honored kin
Your honor restored by honorable men.
The Last Battle
It never occurred to me, ever before,
That our Navy would win the Vietnam War.
When they took to their boats in this year of elections,
With the mission of making some major corrections
I shared their belief, John should not be elected,
And their view overdue, truth should be resurrected.
Yet I questioned the course they’d set themselves for,
Knowing how John was loved by the media whore.
Ignored and dismissed by the media queens
Being shrewd, savvy sailors they still found the means
To reach out to the people, to open their eyes
To a phony John Kerry and his war story lies.
With their very first ad, they torpedoed his boat,
A Cambodian Christmas would no longer float.
His heroics unraveled, his stories fell flat,
Especially that one ‘bout his magical hat.
called on his lawyers and media whores,
And threatened the Swiftees with vile legal wars.
But these warriors kept charging back into the fire,
And made the folks wonder, “Is Kerry a Liar?”
Till the question of whether he’s telling the truth
Was still in their minds in the election day booth.
So the brave Swiftees gave us what we’d not had before,
They gave us our victory in the Vietnam War.
brave, stalwart sailors, falsely labeled as liars,
Stood firm and stood tall, kept directing their fires,
Steadfast, unrelenting, they served once again,
And defeated John Kerry, these honorable men.
All Vets can take pride, yes all, not just some,
That we won the last battle of Vietnam.
It took far too long to bring an end to our war
But we did, November Second, Two Thousand Four.
our Brothers, forever on that long black Wall,
You’ve been vindicated now, one and all.