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Archive for May, 2011
By DANIEL E. SLOTNIK
“Paul J. Wiedorfer, who earned the Medal of Honor for charging across an icy field in Belgium in 1944 and eliminating two German machine-gun nests that had pinned down his platoon, died on Wednesday in Baltimore. He was 90.
During the Battle of the Bulge, Mr. Wiedorfer’s platoon was crossing a clearing around noon on Christmas Day when camouflaged machine gunners supported by riflemen opened fire.
The Americans dove behind a small ridge about 40 yards from the German emplacements. Mr. Wiedorfer, a private, ran at the first machine gun, sliding on three inches of fresh snow and ice. He made it to within 10 yards of the fortification and hurled a grenade. After it exploded, he shot the remaining soldiers, then turned and attacked the second emplacement. He wounded one German, and the other six surrendered.
“Suddenly something popped into my mind,” Mr. Wiedorfer told The Baltimore Sun in 2008. “Something had to be done and someone had to do it. And I just did it. I can’t tell you why.”
“It was a family mystery. Everyone knew that Milton Rein had served in the United States Army during World War II. Everyone suspected that he had seen combat.
But Mr. Rein, a former auto shop owner who grew up in the New York area and who now lives in South Florida, was loath to share the details of that experience — not even with his brother, a business partner for more than 30 years, or his wife, whom he married in 1958.
… As it turned out, Mr. Rein, 85, had fought on the front lines of the Battle of the Bulge, one of the bloodiest, most pivotal battles of the war.”
“… Already more than 255,000 women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and nearly 150 have been killed in those wars.
And while women may not be SEALs, or members of the Army’s prestigious Delta Force, they are increasingly serving with special operations teams in supporting jobs such as intelligence analysts, legal specialists, builders and administrative assistants.
So, while the SEALs who stormed Osama bin Laden’s compound early this month were all men, women have been deploying to the warfront with Naval Special Warfare Command squadrons for several years. Since 2007, 10 to 15 women have deployed with each NSW squadron, and more than 400 female sailors serve with the Navy’s special operations forces in supporting jobs.”
“… Everybody in the car was killed except Sgt. Bobby Henline, who stumbled out of the wreck, a human torch. “The man I had replaced in the Humvee came running with a fire extinguisher and put out the flames,” he says. “But my skull was burned to the bone.”
Bobby began turning horror into humor at tiny comedy clubs near Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, speaking for all those disfigured veterans who endure whispers and stares.
“You know about skin grafts? I’m a patchwork quilt. Doctors took good skin from my stomach to replace the burnt skin on my head. Now I have to pick lint out of my ear.”
… Bobby dreaded what they would think … But daughter Brittany, just 15 at the time, saw past the scars. “You can look in his eyes and tell — that’s your dad,” she says. “He might look a little different, but he jokes about it, so we’re OK with it. It means so much to me that my dad can still laugh.”
“I went into a drugstore and filled a basket full of scar remover,” Bobby tells them. “The checker says, ‘Think you’ve got enough?’ ”
They roar. They stomp. They love him. On a neon-lit evening in Las Vegas, Bobby’s great tragedy becomes a triumph.”
by Gloria Hillard
“It’s been more than four years since Army Staff Sgt. Darrell Griffin Jr. was killed while serving in Iraq. When he died, he had been collaborating with his father on a book about the war.
The book is titled Last Journey, A Father and Son in Wartime. It is a compilation of hundreds of emails, letters — and his son’s journal.
“This is where he started his journal: ‘I am attempting to create an account of two tours of combat in Iraq as an infantryman. I’m trying to make sense of a world that I’d never known until the first time I had to kill a man.’”
“The Navy SEALs who took out Osama bin Laden benefited from vital lessons learned the hard way during the bloody Battle of Mogadishu, a former SEAL sniper says.
“Howard Wasdin, who was wounded severely in the 1993 battle, told Newsmax.TV that the involvement of the United Nations badly hampered that mission.
“In Black Hawk Down, when we went into Mogadishu, we had no operational security because we were working with the United Nations, and that was the kiss of death,” he said.
“I am a die-hard Republican, but President Obama got it right on one large thing — not letting them know that they were coming in,” he said during the exclusive Newsmax interview.
Wasdin has written a new book, “SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper,” about his experiences in the Persian Gulf War and Somalia.”
By Brad Knickerbocker
The commanding officer of the Blue Angels – the US Navy’s flight demonstration team – has been relieved of command for performing dangerously low maneuvers.
In a highly unusual step, Navy Cmdr. Dave Koss announced Friday that “with deep personal regret … I will be voluntarily leaving the greatest flight demonstration team.”
“I performed a maneuver that had an unacceptably low minimum altitude,” Cmdr. Koss said in a statement. “This maneuver, combined with other instances of not meeting the airborne standard that makes the Blue Angels the exceptional organization that it is, led to my decision to step down.”
“The attacks on the Americans in Maysan Province, near the Iranian border, and elsewhere in southern Iraq provide one of the starkest examples of what officials call a reinvigorated threat posed by Shiite militants and followers of the anti-American Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr during the American military’s waning days here.
These Shiite militias have emerged as perhaps the greatest threat to the 46,000 United States troops still in Iraq, military officials say. And a barrage of recent attacks — some of them deadly — has raised questions about the safety of Americans as the military withdraws troops and equipment in the months ahead.
“There are plenty of groups who will be paid to kill the last Americans on their way out,” said Col. Douglas Crissman, the military commander who oversees Maysan and three other southern provinces.”
“It’s never a good sign when you have to tell the men guarding your base not to murder civilians, torture detainees or desecrate corpses. But U.S. special-operations forces in Afghanistan are leaving nothing to chance.
… there are uniform expectations for would-be guards. Some of them read more like baseline conditions for membership in civilized humanity.
So-called “Afghan Security Guards” are instructed, “Do not kill or torture detained personnel.” For good measure, if someone’s taken captive, “immediately turn over to U.S., Coalition or [Afghan forces].” Should they kill someone who poses a threat, there is to be “no booby-trapping, burning [or] mutilation” of their corpses.
Afghans guarding U.S. bases don’t exactly have the best track record.”
“As you may know, on May 5, 2011, a young 26 year old Marine veteran who had survived two tours in Iraq, and father of two, Jose Guereña, was killed in a SWAT raid in Tucson, Arizona (see below news articles for details). At approximately 9:30 am, two hours after he hit the rack after working a twelve hour graveyard shift at an Arizona mine, his wife woke him by yelling that there were men with guns outside (she had seen a man outside the window pointing a gun at her). He told her to take their four year old son and hide in a closet, grabbed his AR-15, and stepped out into the hallway of his home just as his front door was battered in.
He died with his safety still on. He didn’t fire a shot. The Pima County, Arizona (Sheriff Dupnik’s department), SWAT Team fired 71 rounds at him, hitting him with approximately 60 rounds. He had no criminal record. The only justification given by the Sheriff’s spokesman for using SWAT to serve the warrant was that it was a search warrant in a narcotics conspiracy investigation (with three other homes searched in the same neighborhood), and that this is their policy when the home-owner may be armed
This policy of using SWAT to serve mere search warrants on people with no violent criminal history will lead to more deaths of veterans and other trained American gun owners because a trained man will react precisely the same way this young Marine did.
We must take a stand on this use of SWAT against gun owners and veterans who have no violent crime history, and that stand needs to be a firm one.”
By William Chedsey
“The arrest on Thursday of five Spanish businessmen and three Iranians allegedly planning to smuggle into Iran military helicopters formerly owned by Israel sparks concerns over the possible use of nuclear-armed cruise missiles by Tehran’s Islamist regime.
Five years ago, Iran successfully test-fired in the Persian Gulf its “Noor” long-range cruise missile, based on China’s C-802 anti-ship cruise design. The launch platform utilized in the April 2006 test was believed to be a Russian Mil-17 helicopter.
The Noor has a range of 200 kilometers, reportedly with no need of an over-the-horizon targeting system. Its velocity is twice the speed of sound, it travels just a few yards above water, and it is close to undetectable by radar. The Noor’s single-shot kill probability has been estimated at nearly 98 percent.”
“Select excerpts from exclusive video address by Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich regarding EMPACT America’s EMP conference in Niagara Falls, NY on September 8th – 10th, 2009, including – I’ve believed for a long time that EMP (or Electromagnetic Pulse) may be the greatest strategic threat we face because, without adequate preparation, its impact would be so horrifying that we would in fact loose our civilization in a matter of seconds.
It’s very important to get people to understand now, before there’s a disaster, how truly grave the threat is – and with EMPACT America’s help, we can provide the leadership, the communications, and the information that can help the American people protect themselves from a truly disastrous threat.
A man-made Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is caused by a nuclear weapon detonated in the atmosphere. This threat is a realistic possibility in this day and age. In fact, two Congressional Commissions have recently warned that America could suffer catastrophic consequences from a nuclear EMP attack by terrorists or rogue states. Their reports also point out that the U.S. can be protected if we act quickly.
A House Homeland Security subcommittee is considering legislation, but very little has been done so far. According to the Abstract of the original Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from EMP Attack, U.S. Congress, 2004: Several potential adversaries have or can acquire the capability to attack the United States with a high-altitude nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse (EMP).
A determined adversary can achieve an EMP attack capability without having a high level of sophistication. An EMP attack can cripple our infrastructure causing all of our electronic equipment and infrastructure to fail.
That means even basic modes of emergency response, like cars, planes, and other emergency vehicles, may not even start. Current emergency planning is primarily based upon short-term disasters, and is heavily dependent upon assistance from peripheral communities; unfortunately, an EMP could have long-lasting and wide-spread effects that are not adequately addressed by current planning. Moreover, availability of fundamental resources such as our food, water, and medical supplies would almost certainly break down.
Don’t think it can happen? Increasing nuclear terrorist threats like those of North Korea and Iran can disable the entire power grid in North America are a clear and present danger. Terrorists and rouge nations don’t even need accurate or long range ballistic missiles. An EMP attack can potentially be carried out by launching readily available Scud missiles from a barge off of our coast(s).”
“A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America for an amount up to and including their life.”
In a 5-3 vote, the court concluded that federal immigration law doesn’t prevent the state from revoking the business licenses of companies that violate state law.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion that the court had come to its decision because “the state’s licensing provisions fall squarely within the federal statute’s savings clause and that the Arizona regulation does not otherwise conflict with federal law.”