Tag Archives: Marines

Duty to Country Is Deadly Business

eglin

I awoke to the news that 7 Marines and 4 Army soldiers went missing, all presumed dead, after a special operations training mission helicopter crashed not far from where I live; not far from the pristine beach where I took the picture that sits atop my Facebook page. It is a sober reminder that those who volunteer to place themselves in harm’s way; between the evil and the innocent, face dangers even as they train to protect the nation they serve and the innocent they swear to protect.

ABC’s WEAR Channel 3 in Pensacola reports:

“Seven Marines and four soldiers went missing early Wednesday after an Army helicopter crashed during a night training exercise at Eglin Air Force Base in Navarre.

“Defense officials say the military members aboard the aircraft are presumed dead. Heavy fog is having an impact on recovery efforts. Human remains have washed up on shore but the number of remains has not be released at this time. This is still considered a search and rescue mission…Pentagon officials say the heavy fog played a role in the crash.”

In a time when the chattering class demands that we debate the ideological genesis of the deadly threat to our nation – and Western Civilization – emanating from the Middle East, it would well serve our nation’s collective soul to personalize not only the seriousness of the threat, but the guardians of our nation; the rough and ready men and women who step into the coarse void between the way of life afforded us by the American dream and the oppression and cruelty many around the world would love to inflict upon us.

When we have the courage to confront and accept the truth, it is undeniable that there are vicious zealots committing atrocities; crimes against humanity, in the name of Islam. Yet, some among us in the West; some whose ideological addictions force them to see everything through a morally relativistic lens, seek to designate our nation as one of many among equals; our military personnel as simple countermeasures to enemies who have equal claim to ideological and moral legitimacy. But this stunted line of thinking couldn’t be further from the truth and, in fact, serves as a smear against the brave men and women of the US Armed Forces; our sentinels who stand between “the barbarians and the gate.” I know this to be true because my wife and I live among them; we know them and love them like family.

Our enemies, those who willingly join the ranks of Daesh (the Islamic State, al Qaeda, Boko Haram, al Shabab, etc.), execute barbaric acts of tyranny in the name of their religion, committing unspeakable acts of ferocious cruelty in an effort to either convert the un-Islamic or cleanse the earth of those who refuse their dictate, all in an aggressive pursuit of global domination.

The men and women of the United States Armed Forces, in extreme contrast, step into the ugly void of a no-man’s land where the weak and oppressed suffer at the hands of tyrants; a land where the cowardly fear to tread. They inject themselves into situations to free the oppressed, to preserve the liberty of the innocent and to vanquish the tyrannical. And as they do they carry with them the moral clarity that understands “good versus evil”; “right verses wrong”; “duty, honor, country,” lessons gleaned from the righteousness of the American dream, not the ideological clap-trap of theorists hell-bent on believing in the impossibility of global utopia, or the manipulation of political creatures questing for power, influence and fame.

Our military men and women are sons and daughters, fathers and mothers. They are neighbors. They go to the store for food, fill-up their cars with gas, help their children with their school work, laugh, and cry, just like those who do not serve. They cut their grass, take out their garbage, pay their taxes and they socialize. They live, laugh and love. But sometimes when they kiss their spouses goodbye; sometimes when they kiss their children good night; sometimes when they promise to be back in a few days, sometimes those kisses have finality and those promises to return are broken, not of their own commission, but because their call to duty, their call to serve, sent them on a path that does not return home.

So it is with the 7 Marines and 4 US Army soldiers who kissed their loved ones goodbye with every intention of returning. So it is with many military families who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

A close friend of mine who teaches at a military special operations school wrote me after I queried him about the training accident. He closed by saying, “This business is a dangerous business.” Indeed it is. It is dangerous and it is necessary. It is necessary for the longevity of liberty and freedom. And it is rightly necessary for all of us to thank and honor them for their sacrifices; honor them like family, because they protect us like we are family.

The Few, The Proud, The Unisex

Crisp Pullman Porters CapWhen Ronald Reagan was president he described members of the U.S. Marine Corps in a memorable phrase that is featured on the Marines’ Heritage Museum website: “Some people wonder all their lives if they’ve made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.”

The generation of paper–pushers and PR–minded behind–kissers that inhabit the Pentagon and the Obama administration do not reflect that view of the Corps. In fact the levelers in the White House view the Marines’ independence and combative nature as a problem. All that aggression and testosterone looks out of place in the elite circles where citizens of the world reside.

Modern military management (they don’t deserve the term ‘leaders’) has been taken over by the “everybody gets a trophy” crowd. That’s why in the Army all soldiers now wear a beret, instead of just Rangers and Special Forces. Chelsea Manning’s feelings were hurt when he couldn’t wear a fashionable French–style chapeau. No need to recognize the additional motivation of troops that go the extra mile if it discriminates against those who don’t or can’t. Now it’s Bless Them All the “big and the fat and the small.”

But while other branches of the armed forces are marching in lockstep to the administration’s tune of women on the front lines, the Marines are fighting a rear guard action. The Corps has been reluctant to lower physical standards for combat soldiers (in bureaucrat–speak this degradation of standards is called “gender norming,” too bad wars are not also “gender normed”).

In fact, every woman that has ever been allowed to attend the Marine’s infantry school has washed out. In the long run, unless there is an outbreak of sanity, this means Marine commanders will have to justify why their standards are keeping women out of the front lines. The fact women have no business there is irrelevant to Pentagon sociologists who have never had a bullet whizz past their ear. It’s inevitable that eventually women will fill combat slots in the Marines.

That’s a long–term project though. In the short term the empire strikes back where it’s been successful before. As the New York Post puts it, “Obama wants Marines to wear ‘girly’ hats.”

According to the Post, the Obama administration wants to “create a ‘unisex’ look for the Corps.” The plan is for the Corps to discontinue the current caps — known as “covers” and in use since 1922 — and go to a new cap that bears a remarkable resemblance to a Pullman Porter’s cap.

This is not to disparage Pullman Porters. They set a standard for service and dedication, but they didn’t do it under fire.

This similarity between hats could be an unexpected advantage for the taxpayer. Since changing to the new headgear will cost $8 million, its possible some of the expense could be covered by civilians who mistakenly tip Marines after asking for help with their luggage.

As poster Carol Robinson on the Post site commented, “Now the Marines look like WACS [WWII Women’s Army Corps]. This is stupid and a waste of money.”

This imperial hat edict is actually the second time the Marines have been asked to alter their appearance so they would appear less warlike to outsiders.

Marine Corps lore has it that during the early weeks of the Korean War, Communist troops received the following command: “Do not attack the First Marine Division. Leave the yellowlegs alone. Strike the American Army.”

Immediately Marines were ordered to no longer wear their khaki leggings, which was the cause of the “yellowlegs” description, so the Army would not have to bear the brunt of the fighting alone. The Korean War proceeded with the Marines getting their fair share of attacks.

It must be comforting for America’s enemies to know how worried the Obama Administration is about the difference in appearance between male and female Marines. I fear Obama may also start agitating for the Marines to remove the ‘blood stripe’ from their uniform pants, since it may have unfortunate associations for him due to his own “red line” problem.

But who knows, maybe it’s time for the tradition–bound Corps to embrace change and become a softer, gentler Marine Corps.

In a spirit of cooperation (or fighting withdrawal, if you will) the Corps could even alter the lyrics of the Marine Hymn to something like:

From the halls of Montezuma,

To Barack’s haberdashery.

We will fight our country’s battles,

In this cute accessory.

First to fight for right and freedom,

We will keep this cover clean.

Even though it’s true Obama,

Could have never made Marine.

Wounded Vets Take Message of Hope to Victims

wounded warrior

Without fanfare or cameras several Marines visited victims of the Boston Bombing with a message of hope. Having lost limbs themselves, they were able to share hope with the hurting.

Bloomberg News: B.J. Ganem lost a leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq while serving in the Marines. Bobby  semper fi fundDonnelly lost his after a high-altitude parachute jump.

When the explosions went off in Boston last week, ripping through the crowd and injuring more than 260 people, the two ex- soldiers and three other veterans quickly flew to Boston to meet with the victims who lost limbs. Their goal: To bring a message of hope to the survivors, showing them how active they could be despite their injuries, Ganem said in an interview.

The Marines are part of the Semper Fi Fund, a group that provides assistance for wounded and critically injured Armed Forces members and their families. The fund helps soldiers with their lives post-injury, adapting their homes, getting prosthetics and providing support.

Bloomberg: Ganem, 36, is an endurance athlete who dances with his daughter using Microsoft Corp.’s motion-activated Kinect gaming console, he said. Donnelly, 30, competes in triathlons. They each own about a half-dozen artificial legs, some of which they showed off for the amputation victims at Boston Medical Center.

“A couple of the girls are big dancers,” Ganem said of the patients he visited for about 30 minutes each in their rooms at the hospital. “I told them, ‘I play the Kinect with my daughter and scored pretty high, and you already know how to dance. I don’t have any rhythm, so you guys can score amazing.’

“They were laughing,” he said yesterday. “It was good, the families really appreciated that.”

Read the entire article at Bloomberg or visit the Semper Fi Fund for more information.

 

 

Now Soliciting Bids for the G.I. Jane Combat Hall of Fame

Blame Lara Croft for fostering delusions of women in combat

Blame Lara Croft for fostering delusions of women in combat

It was a coincidence ripe with irony.  On the same day the main section of the Washington Post was trumpeting Sec. of Defense Leon Panetta’s decision to allow women in combat, the sports section was featuring an analysis of the “epidemic” of torn knee ligaments in women’s basketball and soccer.

Reporter Preston Williams wrote: “Young female athletes are two to eight times more likely than young males to tear their anterior cruciate ligaments, according to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. Area girls’ basketball players are doing their part to validate a statistic that one local orthopaedic surgeon considers “a national epidemic.”

What’s more, statistics originating with the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine reveal 70 percent of the tears result from “no contact.”

The Fairfax County, VA school system, writes Williams, started tracking knee injuries. After football — an incubator for all problems knee–wise — the three leading sports for complete ACL tears were girls’ lacrosse, girls’ soccer and girls’ basketball. This looks like a trend to me and might point one toward a belief that men’s and women’s bodies are fundamentally different, but what do I know? I’m certainly not a “gender” expert.

Of course those injuries are taking place in a sports setting where women prance around in the equivalent of pajamas or bikini bottoms with nary a jihadi in sight. What possible relevance could those statistics have to combat situations where women are carrying 60–lb. packs and running for their lives?

Can’t ideology overcome physiology? Military brass certainly thinks so. The WaPost says they are on board in a big way. Sounding a lot like Pres. George H. W. Bush after his first encounter with a grocery store scanner, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, enthused: ‘The most eye-opening moment, he said, came in Iraq in 2003. As the commander of the 1st Armored Division, he hopped into an armored vehicle and slapped the gunner’s leg, asking the soldier to introduce himself.

“I’m Amanda,” the gunner said, poking her head down from the turret.

“So, female turret gunner protecting a division commander,” Dempsey recalled, beaming. “And it’s from that point on that I realized something had changed and it was time to do something about it.”’

Of course Dempsey could have been buttering Amanda up in an effort to head off a sexual harassment complaint after groping her thigh. But not to worry, even though female knee ligaments are popping like small arms fire in Fallujah, Dempsey can hardly wait for full integration.

Sen. Carl Levin (D–Never Served Himself) also approves. “The reality is that so many women have been, in effect, in combat or quasi-combat,” he said. “This is catching up with reality.” This is actually lying through inference. What the left refers to as combat deaths for women are in the main deaths in a combat or war zone, which is vastly different. It’s like counting the woman who injures her knee in a fall down the stairs at FedEx Field as one of the knee injuries occurring in the NFL. (Note to professional apology demanders: I am in no way denigrating the deaths of these women. I am instead protesting the left’s exploitation of their passing.)

The problem with women in combat roles is not mental (although I have my doubts about a female who demands to be a grunt) but physical. Women lack upper body strength and aerobic capacity because they basically aren’t men. If a woman’s performance in a combat unit is sub–par then one of the men is going to have to do her job and his, with the resulting decline in the unit’s performance.

Bowling and golf — both pastimes Obama is familiar with — award handicaps to equalize performance during competition. War, on the other hand, penalizes those who handicap themselves through the adoption of personnel policies that only make sense in faculty lounges.

The Marines have already had a field test of women in combat and the women surrendered. Last September they opened the Infantry Officer Course to women. It’s three months of physical punishment that molds Marine officers. Of the 80 women potentially able to volunteer, two did so. On the first day one quit and the other washed out two weeks later for medical reasons.

Marine Capt. Katie Petronio wrote a detailed account of her deployment to Afghanistan titled, “Get Over It! We Are Not All Created Equal.” Her conclusion, based on personal experience, is that women are not physically able to take the punishment of extended combat conditions in the field.

But facts make no difference in this debate. Women in combat is not a reality–based policy, and reality isn’t going to influence implementation. Panetta says women will be integrated into combat units “expeditiously” So “Damn the Knee Ligaments. Full speed ahead.”

Gen. Robert W. Cone attempts to reassure skeptics when he explains, ““Women do not want standards changed for them. If a standard is valid, they want to be able to meet that standard.” The key word being “valid.” And what is “valid” is going to be subject to strict interpretation, for as an anonymous official notes, “The onus is going to be on them to justify why a woman can’t serve in a particular role.”

In plain language this means if a unit doesn’t have women serving, questions are going to be raised. Pentagon pencil–pushers are going to want to know why those officers aren’t meeting the “metrics” (another word for quotas) for women in combat roles. Come performance review or fitness report time, strict officers and drill instructors are going to be asked why they aren’t team players? Promotion and advancement are going to hinge on the answers.

Even before Panetta announced his policy, Army units — prior to deployment to Afghanistan — were requesting officers based on merit and being told the slot would be filled by a female, based on quotas.

It will only get worse in the future. Too many women will learn too late that “being on the right side of history” puts one on the wrong side of knee surgery. And yet again the elites that impose a destructive policy on unwilling recipients won’t suffer the consequences of their bad decision.

Happy Birthday Marines

marine

Here’s to another 237 years of defending against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic.

“No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair.” — Gen. George S. Patton

“Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons.” ― Douglas MacArthur

“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” ― George Orwell

Watch Staff Sgt. Josstinmit Gogue take on the Marine Corps Obstacle Course in this first-person view.

Once a Marine always a Marine. Semper Fi.

 

Regarding Marines In Video, Some Context, Please!




How about a little context here! The video of Marine snipers urinating on Taliban corpses has gone viral on the Internet. I have yet to see, either on the Internet or the MSM, what the late Paul Harvey called “the rest of the story.”

Regarding urinating on corpses: dumb, yes; shocking, no. But what do you expect from Marines thrown into a “life-or-death” situation? Marines are trained to kill. Having killed no one, I can only imagine the relief the Marines must have felt to still be alive. (In the interest of full disclosure, I was NOT a Marine. I chose the Army, and stayed in almost 22 years. I have NEVER been shot at.) But, during Desert Shield/Desert Storm, I, and a platoon of men, went behind a building to urinate. We later were informed that the building was a mosque. Did we mean any disrespect? No. Can what we did be compared to what the Marines in the video did? No, because the building was not trying to kill us. So, when viewing the video, do so in the context that these Marines were in harms way, that the corpses they urinated on were, a few minutes before the video was shot, trying to kill them. Bad things happen in war. When men come under extreme fire, or see their best friend die, anger and hatred flow freely. Enemies are dehumanised. Contempt for the other is a battlefield weapon. Young soldiers – and nearly 40 percent of the US Marine Corps are below the age of 22 – are prone to callow, as well as gallows, humor. Some of them do stupid things.

Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, said that she condemns the “deplorable behavior” depicted in a video that appears to show US Marines urinating on dead Taliban fighters, and that the actions were “inconsistent with American values.” Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense, said that such behavior is “entirely inappropriate for members of the United States military” and that those responsible will be held accountable. Further, he phoned Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai Thursday and promised full investigation. President Barack Hussein Obama “shares in the sentiments expressed by Secretary Panetta,” the White House has said. A Marine general promised an internal probe as well as a criminal one. Karzai called it “completely inhumane.” The Afghan Defense Ministry called it “shocking.” And the Taliban issued a statement accusing US forces of committing numerous “indignities” against the Afghan people. Whatever happened to “keeping faith with the troops?” I guess that politics trumps the miliary. Besides why are we concerned with what the Taliban thinks?

As Norman Pattis says, “Odds are the young men in this film will be strung up by military authorities. They will be treated like political road kill. Expect them to stuck in a military brig right next to Bradley Manning, and to be presumed guilty by the commanders who told them to run headlong into the arms of death. We will sacrifice them to make ourselves feel better.”

In the FWIW department, Rick Perry, governor of Texas and presidential candidate, defended the Marines when he appeared on CNN’s State Of The Union. He said, “Well, obviously, 18, 19-year-old kids make stupid mistakes all too often, and that’s what’s occurred here.” He continued, “What’s really disturbing to me is the over-the-top rhetoric from this administration and their disdain for the military, it appears. Whether it’s the Secretary of State or whether it’s the Secretary of Defense. I mean, these kids made a mistake. There’s not any doubt about it – should’t have done it. It’s bad – but to call it a criminal act, I think, is over-the-top.”

But that’s just my opinion.

Access to other articles like this one can be found at RWNO, my personal web site.

31st Modern Day Marine Military Exposition Set for Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA, September 27 – 29

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1, 2011 — The 2011 edition of the world’s largest military exposition focusing on enhanced capabilities for expeditionary forces will be hosted by Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia, September 27 – 29.

Co-sponsored by the base, the 76,000-member Marine Corps League, and Marine Corps Systems Command, the 31st Modern Day Marine Military Exposition will showcase products and services of more than 500 companies, which support military land, air and sea operations. Much of the equipment now used by Marines and other U.S. and allied forces confronting enemies in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world was first showcased before military leaders, operations planners and acquisition managers at previous editions of the expo.

Exhibits at this year’s exposition will fill three large display halls and outdoor exhibit areas. Visitors see the latest operational equipment and technology and video presentations, models and prototypes of items soon to enter service. Defense contractors from throughout the U.S. and allied nations around the world will present their products and services, get feedback from the warfighters, and respond to questions.

The Modern Day Marine Military Exposition has issued a special invitation to federal, state and local law enforcement personnel to attend this year’s expo. Much of the equipment on display will be of types that can be used not only in military applications but also in law enforcement, including counter-terrorism operations.

Quantico is home of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, which develops Marine warfighting concepts and determines the Corps’ capability requirements for doctrine, equipment, organization, training, education and support. The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory at Quantico is part of the Development Command and responsible for improving current and future naval expeditionary warfare capabilities for the Marines and their amphibious roles and missions. Also at Quantico is the Marine Corps Systems Command, the Corps’ principal agency for acquisition and sustainment of systems and equipment for the Marines’ warfighting mission. Many of the personnel who staff those organizations will visit the exhibit halls and discuss missions, capabilities and requirements with defense industry professionals.

In addition to the large number of equipment displays, several special activities are held in conjunction with the Modern Day Marine Exposition. One of the most important is a special by-invitation-only Report to Industry covering equipment and systems research, development, testing and acquisition programs and policies. Those presenting the report will be LtGen John Wissler USMC, DCMC, Programs & Resources, HQMC; LtGen Richard Mills USMC, CG, MCCDC; BGen Frank Kelley USMC, Commander, MCSC; and Mr. Bill Taylor, PEO, Land Systems. The Report will be moderated by BGen Kelley. The Report to Industry will be held aboard the expo site 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 29. That report will be followed by Marine Corps Systems Command Program Director Briefings in which industry representatives will gain additional insight into requirements and acquisition procedures from the men and women who manage programs through which Marines acquire and field weapons and equipment for the Corps.

Another feature of the expo will be the “Warfighters Corner,” a venue in which Marines recently back from service in combat zones will describe what equipment and systems worked best for them, and also provide suggestions and recommendations for how improvements, modifications or replacements might be made to better help Marines survive and win on the battlefield, in seaborne operations and in aerial engagements. Subjects, this year, will be Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles, USMC Energy, Navy Marine Corps Medical Team, and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Combat Equipment.

A colorful Enlisted Awards Parade will be held, beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 28th. Awards will be presented to Marines and Sailors from units around the world. The awards are sponsored by the Capital Marines Detachment of the Marine Corps League. Later on that same day, September 28th, the Modern Day Marine Military Exposition’s Grand Banquet and Awards Dinner will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in the Crystal City section of Arlington, VA.

That event begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. During the Awards Dinner, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James F. Amos, will present the Marine Corps League’s top awards – the Iron Mike Award and the Dickey Chapelle Award – to two distinguished Americans for outstanding service to the nation and to the Marine Corps. The Iron Mike Award is named for a statue at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC, which is famous among Marines as a symbol of service, sacrifice and valor. The Dickey Chapelle Award is named for a woman war correspondent who covered the Marines in several wars. She was killed on a combat patrol with Marines in Vietnam. Recipient of the Iron Mike Award will be Major Paul F. Hastings, USMC (Retired), who has had a long, distinguished role in leadership and advisory positions with the Marine Corps League. The Dickie Chapelle Award will be presented to Ms. Bonnie Carroll for her leadership role as Founder and President, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, a national Veterans Service Organization.

Once again this year, the Modern Day Marine Exposition will have a “Family Day” – a day on which family members of Department of Defense military and civilian personnel can tour the exhibits, learn about today’s military equipment, systems and technology, and see what new items will soon be arriving in the inventories of military forces. Family Day is Thursday, September 29th.

News media representatives desiring to cover any portion of the exposition will be required to present their press credentials upon arrival at the exposition site in order to register for the event.

All attendees will be required to have picture identification available when entering the base at Quantico. Uniformed Marines may enter exhibit halls without a special registration badge. All other military personnel, civilians and industry representatives must register during registration hours. Additional information on the exposition is available at http://www.marinemilitaryexpos.com

Remember the Troops

Memorial Day is not just backyard cookouts and family gatherings. Take some time this long weekend to remember those that have gone into service for their country. No one asked them to. No one made them do it. They wanted to.

Give a few minutes out of your hectic schedule to listen to the music, look at the pictures and remember – if they weren’t defending us.. who would?

God Bless all those that serve and all who have served.

 

The CDN staff is putting together a special presentation for Monday as a tribute to our Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen.

Osama bin Laden dies an Ignoble Death but Lady Liberty lives on

Once upon a midnight dreary, Osama pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While he plotted, clearly scheming, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some SEAL gently rapping, rapping at his chamber door.
“‘Tis some visitor,” he muttered, “tapping at my chamber door –
Only this, and nothing more.”

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled him – filled him with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of his heart, he stood repeating,
“‘Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door –
Some Paki Minister entreating entrance at my chamber door; –
This it is, and nothing more.”

Presently his soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Infidel,” said he, “or kafir, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was plotting, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”- here he opened wide the door; –
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long he stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “helicopter?”
This he whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “helicopter!” –
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, his black soul within him burning,
Soon again he heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said he, “surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore –
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; –
‘Tis the wind and nothing more.”

Open here he flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately SEAL of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, bursted through his chamber door –
Looking down his rifle’s gun sights just beyond the chamber door –
Locked, and loaded, nothing more.

“Prophet!” said Osama, “thing of evil! – prophet still, if SEAL or devil! –
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted –
On this home by horror haunted- tell me truly, I implore –
Is there – is there balm in Abottabad? – tell me – tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the triggerman “Nevermore.”

Osama bin Laden is no more. In one important sense our national nightmare is over. Finally there is some closure for the families of the thousands that died that terrible day in September of 2001. Like most Americans I take what happened on 9/11 personally. My son, Joshua, had just enlisted in the United States Army. He was part of the first class that graduated from Army boot camp at Fort Jackson after the national tragedy that started America down the road of the War on Terrorism.

I travelled from Florida to Fort Jackson for Joshua’s graduation ceremony. It was a chilly day and I was bundled up against the cold that morning. But my heart warmed as a thousand new Army recruits passed in review and the base commander addressed us all. He told us of the admiration he had for all of the recruits who were graduating that day. An all-volunteer force now, the Army gains its new blood from those who feel the burning pride of patriotism. And America’s best, its youth and its future, were placing all that they had on the line so that we all could live in freedom. There was an upsurge in military enlistments post 9/11. The country came together in defense of freedom. It was an era for the ages. That feeling of national unity had never before been experienced by many Americans. And for those who had experienced that feeling it had been a long time – perhaps as far back as the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Following the graduation ceremony Joshua was released to us with the provision that he was to remain on base until he boarded the bus which would take him to Fort Eustis for advanced training. So for the next two days we toured the base. We went to the enlisted men’s club. We visited the base museum. We saw it all. And then Joshua boarded the bus and headed to Fort Eustis in Virginia where he was to be trained as a helicopter power plant mechanic.

The next time we saw Joshua was at a Holiday Inn near the airport in Jacksonville, FL. The Army had that entire hotel rented out. Joshua was now a member of the 101st Airborne Division and the Screaming Eagles were being deployed to Kuwait (though we didn’t know exactly where at the time due to security concerns). Joshua’s unit had spent the past week wrapping all of their helicopters in plastic wrap to protect them from the salty ocean spray. All of the helicopters were being loaded onto cargo ships for the slow transit to the Arabian Gulf. We hugged Joshua and said our goodbyes – not knowing when we would see him again.

A few months later Joshua crossed into Iraq as far of the invasion force. His unit made its way up to Mosul in the northern part of Iraq and there Joshua stayed for the next year. We learned bits and pieces of Joshua’s war experiences – like the time he went out to retrieve a downed helicopter and his unit came under enemy attack. Joshua saw one of his friends blown to bits that day – nothing left but blood. That is what it is like defending America. Every day isn’t a victory. Friends die. Comrades in arms are sent home in either body bags or via flying hospitals. Ezra Taft Benson, who served as Secretary of Agriculture in the Eisenhower Administration, once said that when freedom is lost it is only regained through the shedding of blood. Truer words were never spoken.

Joshua eventually returned stateside but was later sent back to Iraq for another tour of duty. This time he was assigned to Bagram Air Force Base north of Baghdad. It was more of the same. Blood. Sweat. Tears. And a steady diet of combat patrols. Joshua was assigned to carry his squad’s M249 light machine gun. It was previously known in the Army by the name of Squad Automatic Weapon, or SAW. A fully loaded M249 weighs in at 22 pounds. Imagine lugging the weapon on patrol day after day. No wonder Joshua returned home with arms the size of small logs.

Joshua is out of the Army now. He didn’t re-enlist. But with two tours of duty in Iraq he has more than carried his share of the load in defending freedom. I salute him and every other man and woman who wears the uniform of a United States soldier, sailor, airman, or marine. Joshua’s unit spent countless hours and days hunting for Saddam Hussein. He knows the frustration of coming up empty on patrol after patrol. Seeing Seal Team 6 successfully corner Osama Bin Laden means something to him, and to me.

America didn’t ask for the War on Terrorism. In fact, America absorbed blow after blow without a significant level of response. America slept through the bombing of our Marines in Beirut. America slept through the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. America slept through the atrocities in Somalia. And then America woke up. 9/11 penetrated our hearts and our minds. Never again would America take it on the chin without seeking out those responsible for such wanton murder. President George W. Bush promised to seek out those who were responsible for attacking the Pentagon and the World Trade Center and bring them to justice. Bush put into place the intelligence infrastructure that Barack Obama benefitted from years later. Regardless, killing bin Laden finally cut off the head of the snake that attacked us in 2001. The war rolls on but at least justice has been served to the evil mastermind that murdered thousands of innocent American lives.

Joshua, your honorable service in defense of our country is magnificent. I salute you, my son! I salute all the heroes who have sacrificed their blood for freedom. I salute all of our American heroes who give their all in defense of our freedom and our liberty. It is a dangerous world and there will always be new bin Ladens seeking to enslave us. But there will also always be Joshuas and countless others who will rise to the occasion when liberty is threatened and who will save us in our hour of need.

Lady Liberty continues to lift her lamp in New York harbor, giving hope to the oppressed and symbolizing freedom and liberty to all men everywhere. It is with thanks to the American military that we acknowledge the death of Osama bin Laden. Those who live by the sword die by the sword. Though bin Laden’s crimes are great and his evil designs monumental in their scope – the American dream refuses to die. Lady Liberty shines like a golden city on a hill. Her light will not be dimmed and America will always be free.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
–    Emma Lazarus

May 30th – Special Memorial Day Show

Show Description: CDN Staff are compiling a tribute to America and the men and women in our armed services that defend her.

Show Time: Monday May 30th 9pm Eastern, 8pm Central, 7pm Mountain, 6pm Pacific

To Listen to the show click this link:  Plain, Hard Truth Tribute to America and Our Troops

To Call in to the show: (424) 220-1807

Reference Links from the Show (work-in-progress)

“If I Die Before You Wake” – Dustin Evans
Dustin got involved in music at a very young age, influenced mainly by his father. Dustin learned most of his dad’s songs and was singing them with true pitch at the age of three. As a teen, Dustin taught himself to play guitar, drums, bass, and piano, and began writing his own songs.
John Wayne’s collection of patriotic messages are still valid today. We’ll be listening to “Face the Flag Son”.

Please click on the CD image to purchase the entire CD if you find The Duke’s true American messages as inspiring as we do.
The CD contains these tracks:

1 Why I Love Her 2:58
2 The Hyphen 2:30
3 Mis Raices Estan Aqui (My Roots Are Buried Here) 2:42
4 The People 3:46
5 An American Boy Grows Up 4:31
6 Face the Flag 3:55
7 The Good Things 2:43
8 The Pledge of Allegiance 4:21
9 Why Are You Marching, Son? 3:44
10 Taps 3:05