Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Right for the Wrong Reasons- From NEPTUNUSLEX

From NEPTUNUSLEX, a great military blog....

Right for the Wrong Reasons

Ross Douthat postulates that there may be worse things than cutting and running from the Af, worse even than trying to muddle through or split the difference between the augments the forward commander has requested and the forces currently arrayed:

(I heard a) theme, in public and private, from many counterinsurgency advocates last week. Having recently described Afghanistan as a “war of necessity,” they asked, can the president really turn down a request for more troops from a general he himself appointed to support a campaign that he personally endorsed?

The answer is very likely no. However serious his doubts about escalation, Obama seems boxed in — by the thoroughness of McChrystal’s assessment and the military’s united front, by his own arguments across the last two years and by his party’s long-running insistence on painting Afghanistan as the neglected “good war.”

But if Obama takes us deeper into war out of political necessity rather than conviction, the results could be disastrous.

He’s got to believe it’s possible to forge something like a victory, and that the cost of doing so is less than the consequences of outright retreat and failure. He’s got to commit not just forces, but his presidency.

If he can’t – if in the depths of his soul he can’t – then he would be right to ditch the whole project before any more damage is done, before even one more soldier or Marine dies in a cause their commander in chief does not believe in. He can even blame it on Bush, if that gets him through the night.

It’s a tough place to be for a 47-year old half term Senator with a background in community organizing. But this is the job he fought for, and these are the choices he faces.
But he needs to remember that he’s not facing them alone. That his actions – and even his inaction – has consequences.

It’s time to man up and pull the trigger, Mr. President. One way or the other

Saturday, September 26, 2009


It is amazing that Dogs have a fine tuned ability to communicate effectively in their pack without having a large vocabulary. They are able to let others know what’s going on with subtle changes in their stance and also with their vocal cues.

The other evening, Tessa, my Border Collie/Dalmatian mix saw something outside she didn’t like. She set up and started to growl softly and then let out a Bark – Bark – Bark. The other dogs were not in the same room or in sight of what was going on but they immediately started a unison of barking as a way of saying “OK, I’m with you, even though I’m not sure what you are barking at…” This went on for a few minutes until all the dogs were standing together in a cacophony of bark, bark, bark. They were telling who ever it was outside, “We’re together, we see you and you better not try coming in here…” It was a clear message to intruders or cats alike – Get lost.

I have never been more amazed than when one of our Dogs will attempt to mimic human speech. This usually happens when they are insistent about something like it’s time for a walk, their supper or something else and they will move their mouth in a very human like manner. It sounds like the noise Charlie Brown’s teacher made in the Peanuts specials – a Wahh- Wahh-Whaaa noise. The Dog is working very hard to mimic our speech and say, “Hey – this is important to me…pay attention!” -

Dogs communicate effectively with the Woofs & Barks but also visual signs like stance and positioning of their ears and snouts. Dogs have also learned to take visual cues from us as 90% of what they learn from humans comes from watching our faces and our eyes. Between their hearing acuity and the effectiveness of their visual communications, Dogs surpass us and are more in tune with the pack than we could ever be with our peers. If we were able to pick up 10% of the ability that Dogs use to learn from those around us, we would be better listeners and communicators.

Monday, September 21, 2009

USS Arizona / Pearl Harbor

A solemn and wonderful place to spend some time. I took this picture from Ford Island looking out over Pearl Harbor. It is a great spot to pay your respects to our fallen sailors on the USS Arizona.
If you ever go to Hawaii, this is a place all must go.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Here's a few pictures of my 1963 US Navy Jeep at a local car show, dressed up courtesy of the
NE Patriots Cheerleaders. The Patriots pulled off a great come-from-behind win against Buffalo last night and I was able to attend the game. The Car Show was on the weekend and it was a bit gray & damp.

No worries - Jeeps are used to being out in the elements... and the Cheerleaders were most gracious in posing with my Jeep.

Monday, September 14, 2009


A great piece that I read at our local Veteran's Day ceremonies....The author is a wise Master Chief...I am glad to share his eloquent words.


Hear my voice, America! Though I speak through the mist of 200 years, my shout for freedom will echo through liberty's halls for many centuries to come. Hear me speak, for my words are of truth and justice, and the rights of man. For those ideals I have spilled my blood upon the world's troubled waters. Listen well, for my time is eternal -yours is but a moment. I am the spirit of heroes past and future.

I am the American Sailor. I was born upon the icy shores at Plymouth, rocked upon the waves of the Atlantic, and nursed in the wilderness of Virginia. I cut my teeth on New England codfish, and I was clothed in southern cotton. I built muscle at the halyards of New Bedford whalers, and I gained my sea legs high atop mizzen of Yankee clipper ships.

Yes, I am the American Sailor, one of the greatest seamen the world has ever known. The sea is my home and my words are tempered by the sound of paddle wheels on the Mississippi and the song of whales off Greenland's barren shore. My eyes have grown dim from the glare of sunshine on blue water, and my heart is full of star-strewn nights under the Southern Cross. My hands are raw from winter storms while sailing down round the Horn, and they are blistered from the heat of cannon broadside while defending our nation. I am the American Sailor, and I have seen the sunset of a thousand distant, lonely lands.

I am the American Sailor. It was I who stood tall beside John Paul Jones as he shouted, "I have not yet begun to fight!" I fought upon the Lake Erie with Perry, and I rode with Stephen Decatur into Tripoli harbor to burn Philadelphia. I met Guerriere aboard Constitution, and I was lashed to the mast with Admiral Farragut at Mobile Bay. I have heard the clang of Confederate shot against the sides of Monitor. I have suffered the cold with Peary at the North Pole, and I responded when Dewy said, "You may fire when ready Gridley," at Manila Bay. It was I who transported supplies through submarine infested waters when our soldier's were called "over there." I was there as Admiral Byrd crossed the South Pole. It was I who went down with the Arizona at Pearl Harbor, who supported our troops at Inchon, and patrolled dark deadly waters of the Mekong Delta and the Persian Gulf.

I am the American Sailor and I wear many faces. I am a pilot soaring across God's blue canopy and I am a Seabee atop a dusty bulldozer in the South Pacific. I am a corpsman nursing the wounded in the jungle, and I am a torpedoman in the Nautilus deep beneath the North Pole. I am hard and I am strong. But it was my eyes that filled with tears when my brothers went down with the Thresher, and it was my heart that rejoiced when Commander Shepherd rocketed into orbit above the earth. It was I who languished in a Viet Cong prison camp, and it was I who walked upon the moon. It was I who saved the Stark, the Samuel B. Roberts and the USS Cole in the waters of the Persian Gulf. It was I who pulled my brothers from the smoke filled compartments of the Bonefish and wept when my shipmates died on the Forestall, the Iowa and White Plains. When called again, I was there, on the tip of the spear for Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom.

I am the American Sailor. I am woman, I am man, I am white and black, yellow, red and brown. I am Jew, Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist. I am Irish, Filipino, African, French, Chinese, and Indian. And my standard is the outstretched hand of Liberty. Today, I serve around the world; on land, in air, on and under the sea. I serve proudly, at peace once again, but with the fervent prayer that I need not be called again. Tell your children of me. Tell them of my sacrifice, and how my spirit soars above their country. I have spread the mantle of my nation over the ocean, and I will guard her forever. I am her heritage and yours.

I am the American Sailor.

MUCM J. Wallace, USN

Saturday, September 12, 2009

US NAVY'S X-47B -The Future of Naval Aviation

Check this out.....Batman must be jealous!

The new aircraft, designated the X-47B Navy Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS), is the first of two aircraft Northrop Grumman will produce for the Navy to demonstrate unmanned combat aircraft operations from the deck of an aircraft carrier.

"Unveiling the first X-47B UCAS aircraft signals a sea change in military aviation, made possible through the Navy's vision and leadership," said Scott Winship, Northrop Grumman vice president and Navy UCAS program manager. "I'm extremely proud of the Northrop Grumman-led industry team for its tireless dedication and hard work accomplishing this important milestone."

The Navy awarded the demonstration contract to Northrop Grumman in 2007 and aircraft assembly was completed in just over a year. "The X-47B will demonstrate how unmanned combat aircraft can operate from aircraft carriers and is a necessary first step toward extending the aircraft carrier's reach and power projection from anywhere in the world," said Capt. Martin Deppe, the U.S. Navy Unmanned Combat Aircraft System Program Manager. "We look forward to a time when we can introduce a new long range, persistent, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) -- strike capability to the carrier decks of tomorrow."

Friday, September 11, 2009

TRUE LEADERSHIP - Something we are missing in Washington

Looking back through our country's history, you get a keen sense of why we are in such tough straits these days. The so-called Leaders we have today can't hold a candle to the Leaders who shaped the country when crisis loomed large over us. The Leaders today are "Mediocrity Leaders" as they offer no real Leadership, as they are incapable of understanding what true leadership means.

For example, listen to the words of FDR. FDR had to take us out of a Great Depression and then, guide us through a World War. FDR had his faults, but he knew how to lead and inspire.

This is the text of the D-Day speech he gave the nation, which was really a call to National Prayer. Imagine what would occur if the President said to his advisers, " I'm going to lead the nation in a prayer today on airwaves..." His advisers would all fall over dead. But FDR knew that he needed to LEAD. His sense of what was right and what was needed was spot on.

Listen to the words of history and gain an appreciation of why we really have no leaders today in our Administration, only people keeping the seat warm.

D-Day Speech June 6th, 1944
The President of the United States
My Fellow Americans:
Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest -- until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.
For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them -- help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

Give us strength, too -- strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keeness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment -- let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace -- a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

Thy will be done, Almighty God.


Franklin D. Roosevelt - June 6, 1944

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Marine Sniper's Wish

A message for OBL....we haven't forgotten and we won't forgive....There's a USMC Sniper who wants nothing more than to send you where you belong - straight to Hell.

God Bless the USMC and here's hoping that Marine gets his wish.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Starting Point

Welcome Aboard Shipmate -

This place will be my attempt at getting some ideas out there and express myself while working on some projects including a book on Leadership. I have some strong opinions on what it means, what it should be and what it isn't. We'll get into it as we go along...this may take some time.I also have a love of Classic Cars and my present focus is on our old workhorse, a Jeep, specifically the US NAVY JEEP. This version of the tried and true vehicle that made victory possible in War & Peace wasn't given as much credit as it should have by historians.

As a Seabee, and one who spent the majority of his Navy service in the desert, I thought that someone should make sure that the Navy Jeep got some recognition....so I used that as my logo and call sign. I am presently restoring a 1963 Willys Jeep in Navy style & colors....I'll share some of that with you later also.

The "Gray Goat" has been my nickname around the homefront for many years, so it fits....I hope to share some stuff with you and I hope you share with me.....

Here's something to start.... An example of one of my heroes, Senator John McCain. I have met him on several occasions and he is the kind of Leader that sets himself apart for all the right reasons. In 1999, he was awarded the Profiles in Courage Award by the JFK Library in Boston for his political courage. What set him apart that evening were the words he used in his acceptance speech which outlined how he viewed his own weaknesses and how honor plays into this aspect of Leadership. (We will cover Honor later on as it is a very important part of Leadership)

Senator McCain spoke these words and I have dedicated my life to living up to his standard;

“ I wish I could pretend to you and to myself that my efforts were comparable to the courage with which I have seen many good men live and die, and whose inspiration has given me heart in difficult times. But I cannot. For my actions are less a profile in courage than a profile in shame. When I was a young man, and all glory was self-glory, I responded aggressively and often irresponsibly to anyone who questioned my honor... But as I grew older, and the challenges to my self-respect became more varied and difficult, I was surprised to discover that while my sense of honor had matured, its defense mattered even more to me than it did when I believed that honor was such a frail thing that any empty challenge could threaten it. The courage of the living and the dead taught me that. They taught me to dread dishonor above all other injuries. "

Remarks delivered by U.S. Senator John McCain, recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award Ceremony, May 24, 1999.
This is our starting point - we'll move forward from here