Category Archives: Military

Moral courage needed addressing women in combat

Daniel Cortez 2By Daniel Cortez

Ladies and gentleman, guard your daughters. The government may want them for cannon fodder while attempting to advance the concept of women in combat.

Four decades ago while I was serving as a Marine Drill Instructor and later running a leadership school, we debated suggesting gender equality demanded the joint services put women in front line units.

Bad idea then … bad idea now.

I recall General Sam Jaskilka, the Marine Corps’ second highest ranking officer, speaking candidly about the fairer sex in combat.

Jaskilka a decorated World War II, Korean, and Vietnam veteran, calmly and frankly stated as he was visiting us troops in New Orleans at the time that he did not advocate sending women to combat. He was an old school gentleman when it came to women, and he said with specificity, “But they might.”

The “they” were politicians in Washington.

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Jeb about W: ‘He kept us safe’

George W. Bush miss me yetBy Lynn R. Mitchell

The biggest applause and loudest cheers from Wednesday’s CNN Republican presidential debate came when Jeb Bush defended his brother against negative comments from Donald Trump (see Jeb Bush defends brother, says George W. Bush ‘kept us safe’):

Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush defended his brother, former President George W. Bush, against criticism from Donald Trump Wednesday night, saying “he kept us safe.”

“Your brother and your brother’s administration gave us Barack Obama,” Mr. Trump taunted the former Florida governor. “It was such a disaster those last three months [of George W. Bush’s administration] that Abraham Lincoln couldn’t have been elected.”

Jeb Bush retorted, “As it relates to my brother, there’s one thing I know for sure: he kept us safe.” The audience at the debate cheered.

“You remember the rubble [at the World Trade Center]?” Mr. Bush asked. “He sent a clear signal that the United States would be strong, and fight Islamic terrorism, and he did keep us safe.”

Mr. Trump replied, “You feel safe right now? I don’t feel so safe.”

Here’s a question for Mr. Trump: What part of “no bombs falling on your head” do you not understand? President Bush kept us safe. His leadership deserves thanks.

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National POW-MIA Recognition Day

POW-MIABy Lynn R. Mitchell

Arizona Senator John McCain. Virginia’s Naval Commander Paul Galanti.

These are two who sacrificed for America during the Vietnam War when they were captured by the North Vietnamese and held captive for almost six years in the infamous Hanoi Hilton. There are no words to express the gratitude necessary for those who endured the horrors at the hands of the enemy during that war.

Today Americans across the nation honored prisoners of war (POW) who made it home, and paused to remember those who are still missing in action (MIA):

There are 1,741 American personnel listed by the Defense Department’s POW/MIA Office as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, as of April 2009. The number of United States personnel accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 is 841. About 90 percent of the 1,741 people still missing were lost in Vietnam or areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam’s wartime control, according to the National League of Families website (cited in the United States Army website).

See also Talking over iced tea with living history … former POW Paul Galanti and Richmonder Phyllis Galanti … quiet POW crusader passes away, leaves legacy.

 

 

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Losing military members … America’s skewed priorities

Chattanooga military killed 2015

Five U.S. military men killed in Chattanooga, TN.

By Lynn R. Mitchell

The following was posted to Facebook on August 1 by Kris Grogan, going viral in four days and shared 26,000 times. I saw it posted by military veteran friends.

For Kris Grogan, his last day in a military uniform was August 2, 2015. He is now retired from the Air Force for reasons he explains in this post, including this: “99 perent of America knows Cecil the Lion and Caitlyn Jenner. Only 1 percent will know the other 5 names (4 Marines and 1 Sailor) who gave their lives in Chattanooga, TN, at the hands of a terrorist.”

We thank Kris Grogan for his 14 years of service to our country. Can America afford to lose those willing to dedicate their lives to protect our freedoms?

By Kris Grogan

Tomorrow morning will be the final day I lace up my boots and put on my Air Force uniform. I have now served my country in uniform for 14 years but it is time to go.

As I was out-processing today my wife (who will be leaving service next month) and I were asked numerous times, “Why don’t you just stay in one more enlistment for your retirement?”

It was somewhat difficult to answer with just one reason as to why I have decided to take off the uniform. Was it the pay and benefits? No, not really (even though I make less than $15 a hour which many people think the minimum wage should be!). Was it all the deployments? Ummmmm, sort of (I have been deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, and Bosnia just to name a few in addition to about 25 other countries) but I love my country and would always give my life defending this great nation for my family and friends.

So I just wanted to share a couple thoughts with all of you while I sit here thinking about my final day in uniform which will come at 0630 tomorrow morning. I currently am an AMMO troop. Our mission is to build bombs and process numerous other munitions to take the fight to the enemy. We pretty much put “Warheads on Foreheads!”

But what I signed up for many years ago has changed dramatically. Even though our mission is to kill, we are more worried about upsetting someones feelings versus getting the mission done. We spend more time doing ancillary training then actually training. Even though I have a military drivers license, I have to be signed off in another database to drive a vehicle and then have a competency card saying I know how to drive on top of that. That is just a few examples of why I have decided to call it quits.

And then we get to the bigger issue, America. Can anyone tell me what the following names mean? Thomas Sullivan, Skip Wells, Carson Holmquist, David Wyatt, or Randall Smith? Or is this easier for you — Cecil the lion or Caitlyn Jenner? Yes, we give more attention and respect to stars and animals then we do to those who continue to give their lives for this country.
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Life as a Vietnam prisoner of war, in the words of John McCain

By Lynn R. Mitchell

John McCain 1

Navy Pilot John McCain was captured after his plane crashed in 1967 and held as a prisoner of war by the North Vietnamese for 5.5 years. This photo was taken of him after his capture in a Hanoi hospital with a fractured right leg and both arms.

 “For those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.” – Unknown

~~~

“He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
– Donald Trump, speaking about Senator John McCain, 7/18/2015

I’m tired of Donald Trump. His 15 minutes of fame are over as far as the 2016 presidential convention, in my opinion, but I feel it’s important to contrast a life of privilege — Trump — with a life of service to country — John McCain, his father, and grandfather.

If you don’t read anything else about the debacle that is Trump bashing Senator John McCain’s service as a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War and his five-plus years as a prisoner of war in the infamous Hanoi Hilton with men like Richmond’s Paul Galanti, read this Washington Post article (see What Donald Trump was up to while John McCain was a prisoner of war):

As McCain remained in solitary confinement, tapping messages on the filthy walls to his fellow POWs in Morse code, Trump was out partying at legendary nightclubs. … On March 14, 1973, McCain arrived back in America a physically broken man, but also a hero. That word has yet to be applied to Trump.

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Talking over iced tea with living history … former POW Paul Galanti

Paul Galanti 3By Lynn R. Mitchell
[Reprinted from SWAC Girl on August 20, 2006.]

Quick! Someone pinch me! I thought I had a conversation over iced tea with living history … former Vietnam POW and American hero Paul Galanti….

Not only did we have a discussion but he paid for my iced tea. He … a Navy fighter pilot who spent almost seven years in a stinking hole in Vietnam as a prisoner of war … bought me iced tea.

It was I who should have bought him … the world.

Flash back to 1967, front cover of Life magazine. Seated on a stark wooden bench, alone, in those Asian pajama outfits they wore, was a dark-haired young man staring directly at the camera.

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Terrorism again strikes America, 4 Marines dead

American flag Marine 1By Lynn R. Mitchell

Four American Marines woke up Thursday morning, got dressed, ate breakfast, and left home to drive to work, never to return. They had families. They were part of the community. They were part of our military.

Thursday’s terrorism attack on two U.S. Armed Forces recruiting centers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, by a lone 24-year-old gunman named Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez again points out the danger to America and the reason we need to be ever vigilant (see 4 Marines killed in attacks on Chattanooga military facilities). Four U.S. Marines, dead. Four families, shattered.

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Heightened security leading into July 4th holiday

By Lynn R. Mitchell

The FBI has issued warnings leading up the 4th of July weekend alerting Americans of heightened terrorist activity (see Security ramped up over terror concerns as Americans prepare to celebrate 4th of July) . Just a heads-up to be aware as America goes into the long holiday weekend to celebrate our independence. Happy 4th!

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The basics of freedom

Wayne OzmoreBy Wayne Ozmore
Guest Post

One of the points of military boot camp, in the late 80s, was to inflict mass amounts of mental and physical stress on recruits to break their individualism in order rebuild a team mentality to benefit the United States. Everyone was “broken” by our Drill Instructor without apology. Everyone had to be broken down and rebuilt without exception.

The Drill Instructor’s job (at the time) was to make the weak of mind and body quit in boot camp; otherwise, they would fail the United States in combat. Just after the most grueling week of boot camp (week four or so), our Drill Instructors mustered us inside the barracks one morning. They roughed us up for thirty minutes or so by making us hold wooden rifles out and away from our bodies with an outstretched arm (in five- and ten-minute intervals). It hurt and the pain was real.

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