Ten November

Happy 236th birthday Devil Dogs!

Marine Corps celebrates 236 years of ‘Semper Fi’

Born from the first recruitment drive held at Philadelphia’s Tun Tavern, the first two battalions of Continental Marines were formed on the 10th day of November in 1775.

See also:
‘America’s Battalion’ celebrates 236th Marine Corps birthday in Afghanistan
Marine Corps birthday observed
A Birthday Tradition
A Few Good Partygoers
Happy Birthday to the Few, the Proud!
Marines gather for Corps birthday
Rockland Veterans Celebrate 236th Birthday of Marine Corps (VIDEO)
On Corps’ birthday, Marines remember the fallen
Local Marine’s memory honored during Corps’ birthday celebration
Marines observe 236th anniversary in Harford
Toys for Tots fundraiser begins on Marines’ birthday
The U.S. Marine Corps Fights for Its Budget

Freedom is not free, but the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share.

/Captain J.E. “Ned” Dolan, USMC

Whitewashed Jihadi, The Prequel

Last week, the mainstream media completely ignored the fact that Yonathan Melaku is a Muslim after he was arrested for lurking near the Pentagon. Now it turns out that Melaku is responsible for last year’s string of D.C. area sniper incidents too. Can you say Islamic Jihadi or is that still too politically incorrect?

Federal authorities on Thursday charged a Marine reservist in connection with 2010 shootings at the Pentagon and the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

Although he has been charged with only two shootings so far, the criminal complaint links him to three other shootings at military recruiting stations.

. . .

According to a criminal complaint, law enforcement officers searched the residence of Yonathan Melaku and found numerous documents concerning bomb-making and explosives.

See also:
Sources: Reservist Suspected in Military Shootings Self-Radicalized Through Internet
Military Shootings Suspect a “Homegrown Terrorist”Court documents: Yonathan Melaku videotaped Marine Corps museum shooting
Man took video of himself shooting at military facility, authorities say
Man charged in military building shootings
Feds: Pentagon Terror Scare Man Was Building Bomb, Shot At Military Targets
FBI Charges Reservist in Pentagon Shootings
Sources: Marine reservist linked to area shootings
U.S. charges suspect of last year’s Pentagon shooting
US Marine reservist charged in military site shootings
Whitewashing The Jihad
And The Coast Guard Makes Five

Except for Fox News, all the other media outlets are still making everyone play guess the religion by not directly mentioning that Yonathan Melaku is a Muslim acting in the name of Islam. Oh sure, they drop hints like he chanted “Allahu Akbar” before taking his sniper shots, but they refuse to put the word Muslim into print.

/it’s easy enough to infer Melaku’s religion from the articles, because in these types of incidents the perpetrators are pretty much always Muslims, but still, some straight up, honest reporting, without deference to political correctness, would be nice

Whitewashing The Jihad

So, the Park Police find Yonathan Melaku lurking near the Pentagon and he tells them that he’s carrying explosives. When they search Melaku’s car, the police find written material sympathetic to al Qaeda. What little tidbit of information is missing from almost every mainstream media news account? The fact that Yonathan Melaku is a Muslim is systematically omitted. Why might that be?

Losing His Religion

There was a terror scare at the Pentagon this morning. As CBS News reports, it started when the U.S. Park Police “came upon” 22-year-old Yonathan Melaku wandering around Arlington National Cemetery, which was closed. “The Park Police then launched a search for a vehicle, which was found near the Pentagon.”

A search of the car turned up “no suspicious items,” but Melaku told the cops “that he was carrying explosive materials.” They checked his backpack and “found what appeared to be an unknown quantity of ammonium nitrate,” a chemical “that is widely used in fertilizers and can be used in explosives with the correct concentration.”

We learn from the CBS story that Melaku is a lance corporal in the Marine Reserves. The Associated Press adds that he is a naturalized American citizen, originally from Ethiopia. CBS also reports that “Melaku was carrying a notebook that contained the phrases ‘al Qaeda,’ ‘Taliban rules’ and ‘Mujahid defeated croatian forces’ when he was detained,” but “that the suspect is not thought to have been involved in a terrorist act or plot.”

All of which raises an obvious question–but one that goes unanswered in the reports from CBS and AP, as well as others from ABC News and the Washington Post. We could only find one news organization that had the answer: Fox News Channel, which reports that Maliku is Muslim.

See also:
Suspect in Custody for ‘Suspicious’ Backpack Is Marine Corps Reservist
Marine Identified as Suspect in Pentagon Terror Scare
Pentagon Bomb Scare: Is the Suspect a Lone-Wolf Terrorist?
Marine reservist held in suspicious materials investigation near Pentagon; no explosives found
Yonathan Melaku: Suspect in Pentagon scare
Suspect in Pentagon scare is in Marine Reserve
Marine reservist detained near Pentagon; materials in pack non-explosive
Pentagon ‘bomb plot’ man held
Police Arrest Marine Reservist in Pentagon Bomb Scare
Pentagon Bomb Scare Suspect a Marine Reservist
Pentagon Bomb Scare Suspect, Yonathan Melaku’s, Franconia Home Searched
Police Detain ‘Suspicious’ Man, Search Vehicle Near Pentagon
Marines reservist held in incident near Pentagon

Al Qaeda is a Muslim terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization. Virtually all terrorism worldwide is carried out by Muslims. Yonathan Melaku is found near the Pentagon, carrying “explosives” and written material referencing al Qaeda, and yet every single news organization, save one, blatantly ignores the fact that Melaku is a Muslim. How is that fact not relevant to the strory?

If Melaku had been a Christian, you can bet your ass that it would be first paragraph, front page news. When does news journalism become agenda driven, politically correct propaganda and deliberately biased misinformation? Perhaps the bigger question is why the news organizations engage in this deception by omission, what drives it, is it coordinated and, if so, by who or what and on what level and for what purpose?

/willfully ignoring and whitewashing the very real existential threat of Islamic terrorism does not make it go away, it only makes it harder for us to defend ourselves

Invincible Spirit

Let the games begin.

US, S. Korea Begin Large War Games Off Korean Coast

A large 4-day exercise involving U.S and South Korea forces is under way in the Sea of Japan.

It comes in response to the sinking of a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, four months ago. An international investigation blamed a North Korean torpedo attack for the incident.

The war games off the east coast of the Korean peninsula were called to send a strong message of deterrence to Pyongyang.

The joint military exercise is known as “Invincible Spirit.” And while the forces of the United States and South Korea routinely conduct drills together, this war game is considered unprecedented in scope.

For the first time, the most advanced fighters of the U.S. Air Force are participating. They are the F-22 Raptors. U.S. officials say four of the stealth technology jets are taking part, along with nearly 200 other aircraft.

At sea is the strike group of the USS George Washington. The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is accompanied by three destroyers.

U.S. and South Korean top military officials say the exercises are a significant show of force intended to deter North Korea from further aggression.

See also:
U.S., S. Korea aim to strike the right tone as exercise kicks off
Massive show of U.S.-South Korea military might
U.S., S Korea start military drills amid concerns of neighboring countries
US and South Korea begin military drills in the face of nuclear threat from North Korea
U.S., South Korea launch naval drill to warn North Korea
U.S.-South Korean War Drills Begin
On board USS George Washington in S Korea navy drill
Anti-sub warfare part of S. Korea exercise
US rattles sabre in the Sea of Japan
America’s Spirit Invincible; China’s Still Puzzling
US and South Korea set to confront North with show of naval force
North Korea threatens ‘nuclear war’ over troop exercises
US, S.Korea begin war games

We have a pack of F-22 Raptors roaming freely over the Korean peninsula? Let’s go for it and not waste the tax dollars on an “exercise”.

/remember, we’re still at war with North Korea, today is just as good as any other day to end it, while we’re here, with the gear

Operation Frequent Wind

It was 35 years ago today . . .

Operation Frequent Wind . . . as told by Chris Woods, Crew Chief of Swift 2-2.

“Gentlemen, start your engines.” The laconic command copied from the Indianapolis 500 auto races, echoed from the 1MC, the public-address system of the U.S.S. Hancock. Moments later, the Commanding Officer of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, LtCol. Herbert Fix, lifted his CH-53A Sea Stallion off the deck of the aging carrier. When the other seven choppers in his squadron had left the deck, they fluttered off in a tight formation through blustery winds and dark, ominous rain clouds that hovered over the South China Sea. Operation “Frequent Wind,” the emergency evacuation of the last Americans in Saigon was under way.

The rescue operation had been delayed as long as possible-too long, in the view of many Pentagon officials. In recent weeks 44 U.S. Navel vessels, 6,000 Marines, 120 Air Force combat and tanker planes and 150 Navy planes had been moved into the area. Nevertheless, Secretary of State, Henry Kissenger and the U.S. ambassador in Saigon, Graham Martin, argued that the final withdrawal of the American community would probably set off a wave of panic in Saigon and hasten the fall of the South Vietnamese government.

During the preceding eight days, U.S. planes had evacuated almost 40,000 American and South Vietnamese refugees from Tan Son Nhut airbase near Saigon. By last week, the airlift was growing increasingly dangerous. Artillery shells and rockets closed Tan Son Nhut airport Monday morning, April 28, 1975. The next day, an U.S. C-130 transport was hit by a rocket on the runway and burst into flames as the crew escaped. A short time later, two Marine Corporals, Cpl. N. McMahon of Massachusetts and LCpl. D. Judge of Iowa, guarding the US defense attache’s compound at Tan Son Nhut, were killed by Communist artillery.

News of the destruction of the C-130 and the Marines’ deaths reached President Ford during a meeting with his energy and economic advisers. He scribbled a note to the deputy director of the National Security Council, LtGen. Brent Scowcroft: “We’d better have a NSC meeting at 7.”

Plainly, evacuation by commercial flights, by military airplanes or by sea was no longer feasible. The security advisers discussed whether conditions might permit a resumption of the military airlift. If not, they would have to go a fourth option, the riskiest of all: evacuation by Marine helicopters. Scarcely two hours after the meeting ended with no decision, Ford learned that two C-130s attempting to land at Tan Son Nhut had been waved off; the airport was blocked by thousands of panicky South Vietnamese, by then all of Ford’s advisers, including Martin agreed that it had to be “Option Four.” At 10:45 p.m., the President ordered Operation Frequent Wind to begin.

Kissinger telephoned Ford to report that a fleet of 81 helicopters was about to embark on its mission, then, at 1:08 a.m. Tuesday, he called again with the news that the evacuation had begun. In Saigon, the center of activity for much of the day was the landing at Tan Son Nhut airport, a tennis court near the defense attache’s compound. Landing two at a time, the helicopters unloaded their squads of Marines- 860 in all, who reinforced the 125 Marines already on the scene- and quickly picked up evacuees.

As the operation continued, many helicopters came under fire. Most evacuees sat in cold panic as their choppers took off. “For the next three minutes as we gained altitude,” reported TIME Correspondent William Stewart, “we held our breaths.” We knew the Communists had been using heat-seeking missiles, and we were prepared to be shot out of the sky. As I turned around to see who was aboard, Buu Vien, the South Vietnamese Interior Minister, smiled and gave a thumbs-up signal. “Forty minutes later we were aboard the U.S.S. Denver, a landing-platform dock, and safe.”

By nightfall, the mission had been completed at Tan Son Nhut, but the evacuation of the embassy was still to be accomplished. Sheets of rain were pelting the city, and visibility had dropped to barely a mile. Some choppers had to rely on flares fired by Marines within the embassy compound to find landing zones; others homed in on flashlights.

Through Tuesday night, the Vietnamese crowd grew uglier, hundreds tried to scale the ten-foot wall, despite the barbed wire strung on top of it. Marines had to use tear gas and rifle butts to hold back the surging mob. Some screamed, some pleaded to be taken along. Floor by floor, the Marines withdrew toward the roof of the embassy with looters right behind them. Abandoned offices were transformed into junkyards of smashed typewriters and ransacked file cabinets. Even the bronze plaque with the names of the five American servicemen who died in the embassy during the 1968 Tet offensive was torn from the lobby wall. Marines hurled tear-gas grenade into the elevator shaft; at time the air was so thick with tear gas that the helicopter crews on the roof were effected.

By that time, tempers were frayed in Washington as well as in Saigon. Martin had drawn up a list of 500 Vietnamese to be evacuated; he refused to leave until all were safely gone. His delay prompted one Administration official to quip, “Martin got all 600 of his 500 Vietnamese out.” Finally, at 5:00 p.m., Washington time- it was 5:00 a.m., in Saigon- Kissinger told the president that Martin was closing down the embassy and destroying its communications equipment. Minutes later, Lady Ace 09 landed on the embassy helo pad and Ambassador Martin boarded the helicopter as Major James Kean urged the CH-46 pilot Captain Berry, to please be sure someone comes for them. After lift off, Captain Berry broadcast the message; “Lade Ace Zero Nine, Tiger-Tiger-Tiger.”

As many as 130 South Vietnamese planes and helicopter, including F-5 fighter-bombers, transports and attack planes, were reported meanwhile to have reached the US run Utapao airbase in Thailand with about 2,000 soldiers and civilians; already some 1,000 Cambodian refugees were crowed into tents there. Alarmed, the Thai government announced that the refugees had to leave within 30 days and that it would return the planes to “the next government in South Vietnam.” Defense Secretary James Schlesinger firmly advised Bangkok that it should do no such thing; under aid agreements, the equipment cannot be transferred to a new government but must revert to U.S. possession.

By the end of the week, another seven or so South Vietnamese helicopters had landed or tried to land on the U.S. naval vessels. One South Vietnamese pilot set his chopper down on top of another whose blades were still turning. Others ditched their craft and had to be fished out of the water. An American search-and-rescue from the U.S.S. Hancock crashed at sea, and two of its crewmembers, Captain William C. Nystul and First Lieutenant Michael J. Shea were listed and missing, possible the last American fatalities of the war. The Crew Chief, Cpl. Steve Wills and the left gunner were rescued by another CH-46, Swift 0-7, during a zero visibility, night water landing to pick up the two wounded Marines.

“The last days of the evacuation were very hairy indeed,” Ford confesses afterward. “We were never sure whether we were going to have trouble with the mobs.” As Ford noted, the whole operation had gone better “than we had any right to expect.” According to the Defense Department, 1,373 Americans and 5,680 South Vietnamese- many more that the US had originally intended- had been removed. Another 32,000 desperate Vietnamese had managed to make their way by sampan, raft and rowboat to the US ships offshore, bringing to about 70,000 the number evacuated through the week.

For the next three hours the Marines wait, and grow more concerned as they discover no one responds to their radio signals. Finally, after they have resigned that they will not be rescued, and have voted to make an Alamo-like stand, the Marines hear the familiar sound of rotor blades slapping the humid air, a CH-46 Sea Knight, and two AH-1G Cobra escorts come in to view.

Dodging small arms fire and using riot control agents against people attempting to force their way to the rooftop, Major Kean and his 10 Marines boarded a HMM-164 CH-46 helicopter, Swift 2-2. After closing the ramp, Swift 2-2 (piloted by Captains Holden and Cook, and crewed by Sergeant Stan Hughes, left machine gunner and Sergeant Chris Woods, Crew Chief and right gunner) lifted into a hover and the pilots were overcome by CS gas had to set back down on the embassy helo pad. Regaining their composure, Captain Holden lifted the helo and departed the embassy rooftop. The last American helicopter to leave South Vietnam, Caption Holden radioed the last official message from Saigon: Swift 2-2 airborne with 11 passengers, ground security force onboard. Clearing antennas and church steeples, Swift 2-2 picked up the Saigon River and descended to tree top level and followed the river out to the awaiting American Forces. During the flight along the river, Sergeant Woods sighted approximately eight communist tanks, parked side-by-side, waiting until the eighth hour to enter the city. Checking his watch, Major Kean noted that it was two minutes until eight, only 23 hours since the NCOIC of Marine Security Guard, Manila, had called him to relay a message from his wife in Hong Kong that she was pregnant. Only 32 minutes later on that unforgettable day, 30 April 1975, the 11 Marines exited Swift 2-2 onto the deck of the U.S.S. Okinawa.

Disembarking, many on board the Okinawa, the consensus was why so much time had elapsed between the arrival of the Ambassador’s flight and Swift -2-2, well over two hours. Had someone forgotten these Marines were still at the Embassy? The answer is no. The intention was to remove the Ambassador while some security still remained at the Embassy, and then have other helicopters pick up the remaining Marines, but it appears that when Captain Berry’s aircraft transmitted “Tiger is out,” those helicopters still flying, including Captain Walters who was orbiting the Embassy at the time the Ambassador left, thought the mission was complete. This particular transmission had been the preplanned code to indicate when the Ambassador was on board a helicopter outbound to the task force. Having waited so long for his departure, this transmission caused some to conclude that he had departed as part of the last group to leave the Embassy. Captain Berry later explained that radio message ” Tiger-Tiger-Tiger” was the call to be made when the Ambassador was on board and on his was out of Saigon. It had absolutely nothing to do with the cessation of the operation. We had originally planned to bring the Ambassador out on the afternoon of the 29th.”

At this juncture, thinking the mission complete and the Ambassador safe, Captain Walters headed back to the USS Okinawa. Subsequent to his landing at approximately 0700, the command realized that Captain Walters did not have the remaining Marines on board. Due to a misunderstanding and miscommunication, they were still at the Embassy. General Carey immediately recycled the HMM-164 CH-46 “Swift 2-2”, but by this time due to the ships’ offshore movement, the time required to reach the Embassy exceeded 40 minutes. With two hours of fuel on board, the CH-46 did not have any room for error. Swift 2-2 landed on the USS Okinawa with two “LOW FUEL” lights, or 20 minutes of fuel remaining.

To the Marines waiting in Saigon, attempts by the South Vietnamese to reach the rooftop kept them busy and as a consequence, they did not notice the extended gap between the flights. Major Kean later stated that he and his Marine did not become alarmed because they knew that another CH-46 would arrive. “We never had a doubt that our fellow Marines would return and pick us up. They had been doing it all night long.”

See aslo:
OPERATION “FREQUENT WIND,” EVACUATION OF SAIGON, SOUTH VIETNAM
Operation Frequent Wind
Operation Frequent Wind
Operation FREQUENT WIND Photo Gallery
A Vietnam War Lesson
Fall of Saigon revisited
Fall of Saigon

/well, hopefully, as a country, we’ll never have to experience anything like that again

The Afghanistan War Explained, A PowerPoint Too Far

“When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war.”
General Stanley McChrystal, the US and NATO force commander

“PowerPoint makes us stupid.”
Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander

Afghanistan Stability/COIN Dynamics

Wow, what a way to fight a war, whatever happened to just going out and killing the enemy?

See also:
Afghanistan PowerPoint slide: Generals left baffled by PowerPoint slide
Afghanistan: the PowerPoint solution
We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint
American army declares war on Microsoft PowerPoint
The U.S. Military’s War On PowerPoint
Why the Military Declared War on Powerpoint
Can DOD really defeat PowerPoint?
PowerPoint backlash grinds onward
The Biggest Enemy In The War On Terror? PowerPoint
The PowerPoint Problem in the Military — and Science?
So what is the actual surge strategy?

/gee, imagine that, another insidious Microsoft software product spreading human misery across the planet

Operation Iceberg

It was 65 years ago today . . .

Battle of Okinawa: Operation Iceberg

When two United States Marine and two Army divisions landed abreast on Okinawa on Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945, they faced an estimated 155,000 Japanese ground, air and naval troops holding an immense island on which an estimated 500,000 civilians lived in cities, towns and villages. Operation Iceberg was to be, in every way, vast when compared to any other operation undertaken by Allied forces in the Pacific War under U.S. Navy command. Indeed, using mainly divisions that had already undertaken island-hopping operations in the South and Central Pacific since mid-1942, the U.S. Pacific Fleet stood up the Tenth U.S. Army under Lieutenant General Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr., consisting of III Amphibious Corps and XXIV Army Corps — the largest land command ever assembled under the Navy’s direct control.

To those Japanese who thought the war was winnable, Okinawa was the last chance. The island lay within 350 miles — easy flight distance — from the Japanese homeland and was, by American design, to be the base from which the southernmost Home Island, Kyushu, would be pummeled to dust ahead of the expected follow-on invasion. Anything short of complete victory over Allied air, naval and ground forces spelled doom for Japan — and no such victory was remotely in the cards. Thus, from the Japanese view Okinawa was and could be no more than a delaying battle of attrition on a grand scale. The few Japanese who knew that their country’s war effort was in extremis were content to fight on Okinawa simply for reasons of honor, for all military logic pointed to the same dismal conclusion: Japan was vanquished in all but name as soon as the first Boeing B-29s left the ground in the Marianas, as soon as American carrier aircraft hit targets in Japan at will, as soon as even twin-engine bombers could strike Japanese ports from Iwo Jima, as soon as Japan dared not move a warship or cargo vessel from a port in any part of the shrinking empire for fear it would be sunk by an Allied submarine. By April 1, 1945, all those events were taking place routinely.

Although the Japanese commanders counted 155,000 defenders, of whom 100,000 were soldiers of Lt. Gen. Mitsuru Ushijima’s Thirty-second Army, the rest were of widely mixed abilities, and there were not nearly enough troops to cover the ground the way 23,000 troops had covered Iwo Jima. Therefore the forces on Okinawa were concentrated in a number of sectors that offered the best prospects for a robust, attritional defense. The northern half of the island was virtually conceded, and the south was turned into four extremely tough hedgehog defense sectors. The proportion of artillery and mortars to infantry was the highest encountered in the Pacific War.

Coming to put their defense arrangement to the test was the Tenth Army. The new 6th Marine Division (1st Provisional Marine Brigade plus the 29th Marines and attachments) would land over the northernmost beaches on the western side of Okinawa a little south of the island’s midpoint. It was to strike across the island, then turn north to pacify a little more than half of Okinawa on its own. To the right, the 1st Marine Division was also to strike across the island, then become part of the Tenth Army reserve. The Army’s 7th and 96th Infantry divisions were to land side by side in the southern half of the Tenth Army beachhead and pivot south to cover the width of the island. Also on April 1, the III Amphibious Corps’ (IIIAC) reserve, the 2nd Marine Division, made a feint toward a set of beaches in southeastern Okinawa. This feint was in line with where the Japanese predicted the main landing would take place, so for once a feint actually held large numbers of defenders in place looking the wrong way. Other units, including the Fleet Marine Force’s Pacific Reconnaissance Battalion, were assigned objectives elsewhere in the Ryukyu Islands, most of which were taken or at least assaulted before what was dubbed L-day on Okinawa.

Immediate objectives were Yontan and Kadena airfields, in the IIIAC and XXIV Corps zones, respectively. As soon as these airfields could be brought to operational status, combat-support aircraft would operate from them. Also, many aircraft carriers would remain on station off Okinawa for as long as their air groups were needed. The land-based component was a Marine command named the Tactical Air Force and consisting of several Marine air groups of fighters and light bombers. Marine fighter squadrons based aboard fleet carriers and several new Marine carrier air groups (fighters and torpedo bombers) based aboard escort carriers would be available throughout the land operation.

The landings were made against zero opposition and with almost no casualties. Far from going into a state of optimism, however, the many veterans in the assault force realized that a very hard road lay before them, that the Japanese had chosen to dig deep and fight on their own terms.

Yontan Airfield fell by midmorning, after Marines overcame very light opposition along the juncture of the 1st and 6th Marine divisions. Reinforcements moved to fill gaps that developed due to rapid advances by the 4th, 7th and 22nd Marines. Marines of the 1st Division captured an intact bridge across a stream at the IIIAC-XXIV Corps boundary and overcame hastily built field fortifications all across the division front. Divisional and IIIAC artillery battalions landed routinely, and many batteries were providing fire by 1530 hours. The IIIAC advance halted between 1600 and 1700 to avoid more gaps and to help the Marines on the far right maintain contact with the 7th Infantry Division, whose left flank outpaced the 1st Marine Division right-flank unit by several hundred yards. The halt also gave artillery units outpaced by the rapid advance time to move forward and register night defensive fires.

Basically, all of L-day’s headaches arose from the light-to-nonexistent defensive effort, and not the usual spate of battle problems. Both airfields, Kadena and Yontan, were firmly in American hands by nightfall, and engineers were already at work to get them operational in the shortest possible time.

See also:
Chapter I: Operation Iceberg
Operation Iceberg: The Assault on Okinawa – The Last Battle of World War II (Part 1) April – June 1945
Operation Iceberg: The Assault on Okinawa – The Last Battle of World War II (Part 2) April – June 1945
Battle of Okinawa
Operation Iceberg – Okinawa Invasion
Operation Iceberg: The Battle of Okinawa

Although the initial landings were practically unopposed, the fight for Okinawa quickly deteriorated into a nightmare.

The Battle of Okinawa, which began on Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945, and lasted for three months, was a descent into hell. At no place, at no time, was combat worse than on Okinawa – not at Gettysburg, not in the trenches in World War I, not on the Eastern Front in World War II, not on Iwo Jima. Losses were dreadful: 12,520 U.S. dead, 36,631 wounded; 110,071 Japanese soldiers killed, 7,401 captured (almost all badly wounded); and 140,000 Okinawan civilians dead.

As horrific as the Battle of Okinawa was, Operation Downfall, the invasion of the Japanese mainland, would have been far worse by many orders of magnitude.

/so, don’t let anyone tell you that the U.S. dropping of the two atomic bombs didn’t save lives, on both sides

Caught Pants Down With All Our Eggs In One Basket

Remember less than a year ago when Obama and Robert Gates cancelled the F-22 Raptor progam, the world’s premier air dominance fighter, which was already in service, because it was a “waste [of] billions of taxpayers dollars”? In their infinite wisdom, the dynamic defense duo decided to gamble almost America’s entire air combat future on a single, unproven design, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, that has yet to be put into production and won’t enter service in the foreseeable future.

Well, guess what?

GAO analyst says cost overruns, delays continue to plague F-35 program

A congressional auditor said Thursday that the Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program, “continues to struggle with increased costs and slowed progress,” leading to “substantial risk” that the defense contractor will not be able to build the jet on time or deliver as many aircraft as expected.

Michael Sullivan, the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s top analyst on Lockheed Martin’s jet fighter, also known as the F-35 Lightning II, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a hearing that the cost of the program has increased substantially and that development is 2 1/2 years behind schedule.

The United States plans to buy about 2,400 of the fighter jets for the Air Force, the Marine Corps and the Navy. The projected cost for the program appears to have increased to $323 billion from $231 billion in 2001, when Bethesda-based Lockheed won the deal, according to Sullivan. Eight other countries — Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway — also plan to buy the jets.

The cost to build the plane is now expected to be $112 million per aircraft, according to a GAO auditor.

Sullivan said the program’s “negative outcomes” were “foreseeable as events have unfolded over several years.” He said that the cost increases are largely because Lockheed and the Pentagon are “trying to invent things and build them at the same time,” leading to costly changes in how the plane is being developed, built and tested. That continues to take “more time, money and effort than budgeted.”

He criticized the Defense Department, saying it “does not have a full, comprehensive cost estimate for completing the program,” and noted that it has “fallen short” of its expectations year after year. He said, “Constant program changes and turbulence have made it difficult to accurately and confidently measure progress and maturity of the aircraft system.”

See also:
Pentagon: F-35 fighter jet cost doubles
UPDATE 2-Price of Lockheed’s F-35 fighter soars
F-35 Fighters Now Double the Cost
Cost of F-35 Has Risen 60% to 90%, Military Says
Pentagon tells Senate panel that F-35 is more than 50 percent over cost
DoD: F-35 costs rise at least 50 percent
Joint Fighter Faces Critical Period
Donley: No JSF Alternatives Exist
Air Force: F-35 jet delayed by 2 years
Air Force: F-35 will be delayed, to cost significantly more
Joint Strike Fighter
F-35 Lightning II | Lockheed Martin
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Lightning II
F-35 Lightning II
Joint Strike Fighter Program

It continues to amaze me as to how they fit all those government clowns into such a tiny car.

/as far as birds go, it’s quite clear now that one F-22 Raptor, already in the hand, is worth way more than two F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, still in the bush

So Much For The Cakewalk

Apparently, the Taliban are getting their second wind and, as usual, our rules of engagement are forcing us to fight with one hand tied behind our back.

Taliban allow US troops very little advancement in Marjah

Sniper teams attacked US Marines and Afghan troops across the Taliban haven of Marjah, as several gunbattles erupted on Monday, the third day of a major offensive to seize the extremists’ southern heartland.

Multiple firefights broke out in different neighbourhoods as US and Afghan forces worked to clear out pockets of Taliban and push slowly beyond parts of the town that they have gained control of. With gunfire coming from several directions all day long, troops managed to advance only 500 metres deeper as they fought off small squads of Taliban snipers.

“There’s still a good bit of the land still to be cleared,” said Capt Abraham Sipe, a Marine spokesman. “We’re moving at a very deliberative pace,” he added.

Troops: Strict war rules slow Afghan offensive

Some American and Afghan troops say they’re fighting the latest offensive in Afghanistan with a handicap — strict rules that routinely force them to hold their fire.

Although details of the new guidelines are classified to keep insurgents from reading them, U.S. troops say the Taliban are keenly aware of the restrictions.

“I understand the reason behind it, but it’s so hard to fight a war like this,” said Lance Cpl. Travis Anderson, 20, of Altoona, Iowa. “They’re using our rules of engagement against us,” he said, adding that his platoon had repeatedly seen men drop their guns into ditches and walk away to blend in with civilians.

If a man emerges from a Taliban hideout after shooting erupts, U.S. troops say they cannot fire at him if he is not seen carrying a weapon — or if they did not personally watch him drop one.

And, in the better lucky than good department . . .

U.S. Marine Walks Away From Shot to Helmet in Afghanistan

It is hard to know whether Monday was a very bad day or a very good day for Lance Cpl. Andrew Koenig.

On the one hand, he was shot in the head. On the other, the bullet bounced off him.

In one of those rare battlefield miracles, an insurgent sniper hit Lance Cpl. Koenig dead on in the front of his helmet, and he walked away from it with a smile on his face.

“I don’t think I could be any luckier than this,” Lance Cpl. Koenig said two hours after the shooting.

Lance Cpl. Koenig’s brush with death came during a day of intense fighting for the Marines of Company B, 1st Battalion, 6th Regiment.

The company had landed by helicopter in the predawn dark on Saturday, launching a major coalition offensive to take Marjah from the Taliban.

The Marines set up an outpost in a former drug lab and roadside-bomb factory and soon found themselves under near-constant attack.

Lance Cpl. Koenig, a lanky 21-year-old with jug-handle ears and a burr of sandy hair, is a designated marksman. His job is to hit the elusive Taliban fighters hiding in the tightly packed neighborhood near the base.

The insurgent sniper hit him first. The Casper, Wyo., native was kneeling on the roof of the one-story outpost, looking for targets.

He was reaching back to his left for his rifle when the sniper’s round slammed into his helmet.

The impact knocked him onto his back.

“I’m hit,” he yelled to his buddy, Lance Cpl. Scott Gabrian, a 21-year-old from St. Louis.

Lance Cpl. Gabrian belly-crawled along the rooftop to his friend’s side. He patted Lance Cpl. Koenig’s body, looking for wounds.

Then he noticed that the plate that usually secures night-vision goggles to the front of Lance Cpl. Koenig’s helmet was missing. In its place was a thumb-deep dent in the hard Kevlar shell.

Lance Cpl. Gabrian slid his hands under his friend’s helmet, looking for an entry wound. “You’re not bleeding,” he assured Lance Cpl. Koenig. “You’re going to be OK.”

Lance Cpl. Koenig climbed down the metal ladder and walked to the company aid station to see the Navy corpsman.

The only injury: A small, numb red welt on his forehead, just above his right eye.

See also:
U.S., Afghan Troops Battle Snipers in Marjah Offensive
Snipers harass US, Afghan troops moving in Marjah
Taliban step up attacks in besieged Afghan town
Marines, Afghan troops dodge sniper fire as battle to control Marjah rages
Hidden enemy delays advance in Marjah
Marines Into Marjah
Storming the Taliban stronghold
In Marjah offensive, Afghan forces take the lead
Nato General Praises Afghan ‘Partnership’
Operation Moshtarak Clearing Phase Continues
U.S. and Afghan Troops Expand Control in Marjah
U.S. Afghan Forces Push Deeper Into Marjah
‘Operation Moshtarak’ Reportedly Successful But With Setbacks
Troops complain rules of engagement give Taliban advantage
Afghanistan war: Marjah battle as tough as Fallujah, say US troops
IEDs a threat now and long into the future for fight against Taleban
Out of Marjah, safe in Pak?
‘Always a risk’ of Taliban return

At the time of this post, three days into the operation, the Coalition has still only taken two fatal casualties while killing dozens of Taliban.

/so it’s not like the battle for Marjah is turning into a disaster or the Taliban is even remotely close to winning