Friday, May 25, 2018

Fullbore Friday

It can take awhile sometimes, but at last Master Chief Slabinski is recognized appropriately.
During the early morning on March 4, 2002, then-Senior Chief Slabinski led a SEAL reconnaissance team to the top of the 10,000-foot, snow-covered Takur Ghar mountain in Afghanistan. The team’s insertion helicopter was attacked by an enemy rocket-propelled grenade attack, causing Petty Officer Neil Roberts to fall out of the aircraft and onto the enemy-infested mountaintop, and the helicopter to crash-land in the valley below, according to the Navy.

“Fully aware of the risks, a numerically superior and well-entrenched enemy force, and approaching daylight, without hesitation Senior Chief Slabinski made the selfless and heroic decision to lead the remainder of his element on an immediate and daring rescue back to the mountaintop,” according to a Navy statement.

Slabinski’s team was able to successfully reach the top of Takur Ghar, where the Navy states that Slabinski, “without regard for his own life, charged directly toward the enemy strongpoint. He and a teammate fearlessly assaulted and cleared one enemy bunker at close range. The enemy then unleashed a murderous hail of machine gun fire from a second hardened position 20 meters away. Senior Chief Slabinski exposed himself to enemy fire on three sides, then moved forward to silence the second position. With bullets piercing his clothing, he repeatedly charged into deadly fire to personally engage the enemy bunker with direct rifle fire, hand grenades and a grenade launcher on the surrounding enemy positions.”

With mounting casualties and diminished ammunition, Slabinski led his team away from enemy fire to a more defensible position. He was able to direct close air support on the enemy positions, request reinforcements and direct medical care of his wounded teammates, according to the Navy.

For 14 hours, Slabinski led his team across tough terrain, called in fires on enemy positions on surrounding ridges and continued to engage the enemy. At one point, Slabinski even carried a seriously wounded teammate through waist-deep snow to reach a more defensible position until the team could be extracted.

Slabinski, who retired from the Navy in June 2014 after more than 25 years of service, will be only the 12th living service member awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery displayed in Afghanistan, according to a Navy statement. Slabinski’s Medal of Honor is an upgrade of the Navy Cross he previously was awarded for his actions. He is set to receive the medal during a White House ceremony scheduled for May 24.

To ensure service members were appropriately recognized for valor, former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter directed all service branches to review all Service Cross and Silver Star recommendations for actions since September 11, 2001.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Diversity Thursday

Always keep in your mind that the Navy's branch of the Diversity Industry, indeed almost all of the Diversity Industry, is stuck in the early 1970s in both their ideology and worldview. The only "new" idea in their fetid wheelhouse is the late-1980s concept of Intersectionality that only took them a quarter century to bring to the front.

Here's the 21st Century - get off the treadmill.

Columbia undergrad Coleman Hughes has an exceptional fact-filled article you should take time to read. It is a modern, forward looking perspective of what should be part of our national conversation. It is hard, as we have outlined here over the years, as too many people are invested personally, psychologically, and financially in keeping division and strife at the front.

Read it all.

Staying on the Racism Treadmill means denying progress and stoking ethnic tensions. It means, as Thomas Sowell once warned, moving towards a society in which “a new born baby enters the world supplied with prepackaged grievances against other babies born the same day.”[15] Worse still, it means shutting down the one conversation that stands the greatest chance of improving outcomes for blacks: the conversation about culture.

By contrast, getting off the Treadmill means recognizing that group outcomes will differ even in the absence of systemic bias; it means treating people as individuals rather than as members of a collective; it means restoring the naive conception of equal treatment over the skin-color morality of the far Left; and it means rejecting calls to burn this or that system to the ground in order to combat forms of racial oppression that grow ever more abstract by the day. At bottom, it means acknowledging the fact that racism has declined precipitously, and perhaps even being grateful that it has.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Syrian Civil War: the Difference a Year Makes

Last week, the Assad government finally took control of their capital with the removal of the ISIS pocket around the Palestinian camp.

Amazing what can happen in a year. From Syria Civil War Map, two graphics that tell the story better and 5,000 words.




Monday, May 21, 2018

Sure boss, I can generate a letter ...

What does it look like when the military is told to "make it happen" for political ends, knows it isn't possible, but with a squinted eye and a bit of creative painting makes it look like they're following orders?

^^^ That is my optimistic view of the satire-proof letter from NAVSEA.

This is ... ambitious.

First thing I thought of was what we did to the SPRUANCE class when they were in their early 20s.

Second thing is ... how are we going to do this with the present operational tempo and expect funding for the next decade or so?

We can't, something will have to change.

Some of these ships are already not in the best shape - especially the cruisers. 

Something will have to change.

Is this realistic, or simply aspirational signaling to meet a tasker now, knowing that a few PCS cycles down the road other people will have to deal with it?

^^^ That is my pessimistic view of the letter.

Para 2 is the emergency hatch that pretty much negates the rest. See my opening to this post; that is where I'm putting my bet.

I don't know about you, but I feel slimy just reading this - but sometimes you have to do slimy things.

It is not an impressive document by any stretch of the imagination for anyone involved in it.

Not one of our Navy's best moments.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Fighting the Great War at Sea with Norman Friedman, on Midrats

As we approach the 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World War, it is good to reflect back on the impact of WWI on the growth of our modern navy, and the echoes it has to the present day.

For the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern to discuss this and related issues will be Dr. Norman Friedman. As a starting point of our discussion will be some of the perspective brought out in his 2014 book from Naval Institute Press, Fighting the Great War at Sea: Strategy, Tactics and Technology.

As described in the review at Amazon;
“While the overriding image of the First World War is of the bloody stalemate on the Western Front, the overall shape of the war arose out of its maritime character. It was essentially a struggle about access to worldwide resources, most clearly seen in Germany's desperate attempts to counter the American industrial threat, which ultimately drew the United States into the war.”
Dr. Friedman has had a long career in weapon and system analysis for the U.S. Navy, DOD, and industry. He has authored numerous histories of naval weapons and platforms with a concentration on the connection between policy, strategy, and technology. With over 40 published books, he also has lectured extensively and served as an adviser at the highest levels of government and think tanks.

His Fighting the Great War at Sea won the Lyman prize awarded by the North American Society of Oceanic Historians. He recently published a history of fleet air defense, Fighters Over The Fleet, and is about to publish a history of the British battle fleet during the Victorian era.

He received a Ph.D. in solid-state theoretical physics from Columbia University.

Join us live if you can, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.


Friday, May 18, 2018

Fullbore Friday

Every day, in places almost no one knows about and fewer could place on a map, American servicemembers are partnered with allies and host nations trying to keep the spread of Islamic fundamentalism at bay.

A bit over six months ago, an event took place that broke above the background noise. It was a mission that, as things happen now and then, even with all our advantages, the enemy had a vote and won.

BZ to DOD and AFRICOM for putting out this official, unclassified briefing on the circumstances leading up to and during the ambush of US and Nigerien military personnel near the village of Tongo Tongo in October 2017.

The Long War will see more of this.

A lot has already been written about this mission and some are trying to use it to make this point and that. Not here. 

Almost everyone who served has been in tactical situations where if things when one way or another, in hindsight others in safe places could pick apart why you did or did not do this or that.

This had me thinking of a few things I was involved in.

Take a moment and ponder. You don't have to be a ground forces guy to learn from this.




Hat tip TheWarZone.