The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Thagomizer

I am a huge fan of "The Far Side" comics, one of my favorite all time comics is this one...

We used "white out" to change the words in the cartoon while we were in Germany and subsitute names of our fellow soldiers to make the point more personal.  It provided a lot of humor for us. 
     Now on the reason for this post, I have on my blogroll The Abode of McThag.  He is a real good guy and has a warped sense of humor, but everytime I click on the Link to his blog I think of this cartoon from the "Far Side".
I hope Angus don't mind my putting a spotlight on his blog.  He is a good guy and a very serious gamer and he also puts out a lot of cool stuff on stabby things and many other articles.   If you don't have him bookmarked or on your blogroll, you are missing out.
thagomizer is the distinctive arrangement of four to ten spikes on the tails of stegosaurid dinosaurs. These spikes are believed to have been a defensive measure against predators.
The arrangement of spikes originally had no distinct name; the term Thagomizer was coined in 1982 by cartoonist Gary Larsonin his comic The Far Side, and thereafter became gradually adopted as an informal term within scientific circles, research, and education.
                                                Thagomizer on mounted Stegosaurus tail
There has been debate about whether the spikes were used simply for display, as posited by Gilmore in 1914,[ or used as a weapon. Robert Bakker noted that it is likely that the stegosaur tail was much more flexible than those of other ornithischiandinosaurs because it lacked ossified tendons, thus lending credence to the idea of the tail as a weapon. He also observed that Stegosaurus could have maneuvered its rear easily by keeping its large hindlimbs stationary and pushing off with its very powerfully muscled but short forelimbs, allowing it to swivel deftly to deal with attack.  In 2010, analysis of a digitized model of Kentrosaurus aethiopicus showed that the tail could bring the thagomizer around to the sides of the dinosaur, possibly striking an attacker beside it.
                                                   A thagomizer on the tail of a Stegosaurus fossil
In 2001, a study of tail spikes by McWhinney et al., showed a high incidence of trauma-related damage. This too supports the theory that the spikes were used in combat. There is also evidence for Stegosaurus defending itself, in the form of an Allosaurus tail vertebra with a partially healed puncture wound that fits a Stegosaurus tail spike. Stegosaurus stenops had four dermal spikes, each about 60–90 cm (2.0–3.0 ft) long. Discoveries of articulated stegosaur armor show that, at least in some species, these spikes protruded horizontally from the tail, not vertically as is often depicted. Initially, Marsh described S. armatus as having eight spikes in its tail, unlike S. stenops. However, recent research re-examined this and concluded this species also had four

The term "thagomizer" was coined by Gary Larson in jest, in a 1982 The Far Side comic in which a group of cavemen in a faux-modern lecture hall are taught by their caveman professor that the spikes on a stegosaur's tail are so named "after the late Thag Simmons".
The term was picked up initially by Ken Carpenter, a paleontologist at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, who used the term when describing a fossil at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Annual Meeting in 1993. Thagomizer has since been adopted as an informal anatomical term, and is used by the Smithsonian Institution,[the Dinosaur National Monument, the book The Complete Dinosaur and the BBC documentary series Planet Dinosaur.
The cartoon fate of Thag Simmons notwithstanding, stegosaurs and humans did not exist in the same era; humans evolvedaround 60 million years after the event that killed all non-avian dinosaurs, and some 120 million years after stegosaurids went extinct. In The Prehistory of the Far Side, Gary Larson suggests that "there should be cartoon confessionals where we could go and say things like, 'Father, I have sinned – I have drawn dinosaurs and hominids together in the same cartoon.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Monday Music "I'm alright" by Kenny Loggins...Not Rogers, LOL

This is in my scheduler thingie since I will be traveling to NOAC.  I remembered when this movie, how so off the wall the movie was.  I saw it for the first time on HBO, and I didn't get all the nuances..That came later when I was older.   I did remember the gopher and Bill Murrey's vendetta against the furry varmint. 

Caddyshack is a 1980 American comedy film directed by Harold Ramis, written by Brian Doyle-Murray, Ramis, and Douglas Kenney, and starring Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Michael O'Keefe and Bill Murray. Doyle-Murray also has a supporting role. The film was dedicated to producer Douglas Kenney, who died shortly after the film's release.

Caddyshack was Ramis' directorial debut and was a major boost to Dangerfield's film career, who was previously known mostly for his stand-up comedy. Grossing nearly $40 million at the domestic box office (the 17th-highest of the year), it was the first of a series of similar comedies. A sequel, Caddyshack II, followed in 1988, although only Chase reprised his role and the film was poorly received.

The film has garnered a large cult following and has been hailed by media outlets, such as Time and ESPN, as one of the funniest sports movies of all time.

 "I'm Alright" is a song written and performed by American pop singer Kenny Loggins. It was used as the theme music for the 1980 comedy film Caddyshack. The track was released as a single in 1980 and then reached the top 10 of the U.S. singles chart. Eddie Money makes a guest appearance in the song's background chorus. The song is also one of the most frequent choices in Loggins' concert, and included in all three of his official concert material releases - Kenny Loggins Alive, Live from Grand Canyon, and Outside: From the Redwoods.

And this is that I think of whenever I see or hear people talking "Golf"
 Bishops Epic Golf Game

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Some more Tacky muses and thoughts...

I am almost ready for my trip to NOAC in Indiana, we leave Saturday evening, I will try to load the scheduler thingie with stuff in case I am unable to post while I am away.
"Symbol of Freedom"
"From my Cold Dead Hands.."
Apparently in several liberal bastions in the left coast like San Francisco and Seattle,  have solved all the problems of the world and decided to ban straws for environmental reasons.

  According to the various communist, pinko, Earth First, Sierra club,Greenpeace,Earth defense league governments of those cities straws are a clear and present danger to the future of man peoplekind. 

The #metoo movement has claimed another victim, the director of "Guardians of the Galaxy 3" who directed 1 and 2 that were very successful movies ran afoul of the #metoo movement and was fired for some transgression.  I read where a SJW complained that the "Social Justice movement wasn't supposed to be used against us."   That is the danger of a shifting ideology, the goalpost keep getting moved and people that are not as "Woke" as the others find themselves sacrificed to the burgeoning movement as they try to find more heretics to sacrifice to their god.
The Democrats still after all this time are still upset that Felonia Von Pantsuit ain't president and they have been attacking the president and people that support him.  The sycophant media had really poured on the accusations to President Trump.
The Trump White House  declared a CNN reporter No surprise there "Persona non Grata" for screaming out questions at President Trump during a Rose garden ceremony.  She was unusually disruptive and President Trump ignored the interruptions but the press Secretary had her banned during an upcoming event.  The democrats screamed bloody murder of course, but if the mainstream media was a non-partisan operation rather than a mouthpiece for the DNC and "The Resistance".  the resulting actions have seriously damaged the credibility of the mainstream media, people see all the gloom and doom and it doesn't jive with what they are actually experiencing.
The Venezuelans are having a hard time with socialism, it doesn't seem to match the reality from the rainbows and unicorn farts that the millennial democratic socialism movement is peddling talking about the 99%ers and the 1%ers, they are an offshoot of the "Occupy movement " that has morphed into the antifa movement that is used to attack supporters of the president

  They believe that anybody that doesn't believe like them are Nazi's and that we deserve anything bad that happens to us because we don't believe as they do.  They preach "Tolerance and Inclusiveness" but unless you believe exactly as they do, than you are to to be shunned and ridiculed and attacked.  This has the potential of ending badly if they keep pushing.

And finally the Midterm elections are almost here and the great blue wave has petered out, the democrats have been pushing the "impeachment" angle and have alienated many people by their singular behavior.  When the democrats are pushing it but the reality is far different than what is being peddled by the democrats and their toadies in the media.  The excitement that was there is sorely lacking now. 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Some tacky Musings and thoughts...

I have been busy with Real life, I am getting ready to take a week off in Indiana at Indiana University in Bloomington.  I am the contingent adult adviser for my lodge going to NOAC so basically I get to worry and stress a bit.  I got the job after the guy that was doing it had to back out due to family reasons so I got the job.  I am not complaining at all, but I am having to pick things up on the fly and since I never have been there, it is all new.  

   Felonia von Pantsuit A.K.A.  Hillary made an appearance over the weekend and she was sporting the latest style of "Muu-Muu"s apparently...I suppose the Clinton Crime Syndicate foundation  is running out of money so she really was looking kinda rough.  She was still peddling the same old story that the election was stolen by the evil Russians and not due to her incompetence.  She also had the temerity to question the White House that they were not supporting a diplomat and that she has never seen such a thing....I guess Chris Stevens was unavailable for rebuttal.

    You know the "psycho girlfriend" meme..the one you see on Facebook and twitter,you know the one.....has been replaced...by a newcomer that has been a hit with the democratic socialist, marxist, commie Pinko, left wing of the democratic party...Apparently having one of "your pets" turn on you and kick you out of office despite you being "woke" enough to survive 10 terms is quite a feat and shocking to the now defeated 10 term democratic congresscritter from New York, but the newcomer is of Puerto-rican descent and she parlayed her demographic and her ability to peddle snake oil speak in the latest group-speak of the young democrats.
And speaking of "woke"  The Worldcon 2018 melt down...Apparently they released their panel listings and they didn't include many of the recent Hugo award winners that happen to be in the LGBTEIEIO category and they also didn't properly identify one of the people by their proper pronoun, I.E. Gender Neutral or something about that so one of the gatekeepers started virtue-signalling and really stirred up a hornet's nest.  Apparently only the "Woke" are supposed to attend and the people that run "Worldcon" wanted to have people that actually would draw fans to support the convention but the people that are there now only want to be inclusive...and that means to a leftist that they only want people that are like them and since only SJW's hang around because they have run off anybody else(Check out Sad Puppies) that don't believe as they do, now they are starting to turn on each each other because some are not as "Woke" as others and the heretics have to be burned at the stake for deviating even a little from dogma and that happens to be whatever the most "woke" of them say that it is. 
Apparently President Trump is mulling removing the top secret clearances that former Obama officials have had.  I think they should have been removed, the same people that still have clearances parley their access on the media, and other places trashing the administration, but their clearances gives them certain "Legitimacy" as they scream "Treason" and "High crimes and misdemeanors" on the talk show circuit.  I can't understand why they didn't yank their clearance.  When I was in the Army, I had a really good clearance but as part of my clearing out of the Army, my access to my clearance was blocked.  I guess this reaffirms that there are different rules for us the "Dirt People" and the "Cloud people". 

   And finally no matter what the democrats try, they can't seem to get anything to stick to "Teflon Don",   And speaking of Stormy Daniels,  Her husband is divorcing her, apparently going where everyone has went before was getting old.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

When israel snagged an Iraqi Mig 21

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 (Russian: Микоян и Гуревич МиГ-21; NATO reporting name: Fishbed) is a supersonic jet fighter and interceptor aircraft, designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau in the Soviet Union. It was popularly nicknamed "balalaika", from the aircraft's planform-view resemblance to the Russian stringed musical instrument or ołówek (English: pencil) by Polish pilots due to the shape of its fuselage.
Approximately 60 countries over four continents have flown the MiG-21, and it still serves many nations six decades after its maiden flight. It made aviation records, became the most-produced supersonic jet aircraft in aviation history, the most-produced combat aircraft since the Korean War and previously the longest production run of a combat aircraft (now exceeded by both the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle and General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon).(Compliments of Wiki)

The Mossad is well known and considered one of the elite intelligence institutions in the world. The organization has accomplished many incredible feats over the years. Applauded by some and despised by others, the Mossad has an impressive track record.
Perhaps one of the most sensitive targets that the Mossad went after was when they decided to “acquire” a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21, which was the most advanced fighter plane that the Soviets used at that time.
The Mossad’s plans to steal a MIG-21 did not initially go smooth, and they failed a couple of times before succeeding.  The first attempt was made in Egypt when the undercover team thought that they had found a pilot that would fly the plane to Israel for the sum of one million dollars.
Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and Air Force Commander Mordechai Hod are watching an aerial display in which the MiG 21 was first introduced.
The pilot they approached, Adib Hanna, reported the approach to the Egyptian authorities and the Mossad agent, Jean Thomas and his father were hanged in December 1962 while the rest of the team were sentenced to prison.
The second attempt took place in Iraq where the agents again identified two pilots they believed would fly the plane to Israel, only to discover that they wouldn’t so they were forced to seriously assault the pilots to stop them from blowing the whistle on the operation.
MiG-21 photographed at Air Force hangar landed at the base.
The Mossad got their big break when, in 1964, a Jewish man contacted the Israeli Embassy in Tehran with information that a friend of his girlfriend was married to an Iraqi pilot who was disgruntled because his Christian background precluded him from promotion within the Iraqi military.
The pilot, Munir Redfa, was ready to leave Iraq, so the Mossad sent a female agent to Iraq to befriend Redfa and invited him to travel to Europe to meet with a higher-level Mossad delegation.
MiG-21 as photographed at the air force hangar at the base where it was placed.
They offered him a million dollars US along with full-time employment and Israeli citizenship.  He agreed to their plan with the proviso that his family would also be smuggled out of Iraq and into Israel.
Redfa undertook a clandestine trip to Israel to see where he would land.  While there, he also met with Major General Mordechai “Mottie” Hod, the commander of the Israeli Air Force.  They discussed the flight path that Redfa would take and some of the difficulties and dangers that the flight would face.
Mordechai Hod (left) – Commander of the Israeli Air Force.
Redfa, being Christian, was not trusted by his superiors and only allowed to fly with small fuel tanks, so he needed to make careful plans for the flight.
The Mossad then set about extracting Redfa’s family from Iraq.  Redfa’s wife, Betty, and two tiny children aged three and five were collected from a trip to Paris and flown to Israel while Redfa’s parents and other family members were taken to the Iranian border where Kurdish rebels assisted with transporting them to Iran. Once there, they were flown to Israel.
On the 16th August 1966, Redfa was flying over the northern sections of Jordan and then diverted toward Israel.  The Jordanians contacted the Syrian authorities who informed them that it was a Syrian Air Force plane on a training exercise.
Redfa’s MiG-21, the subject of Operation Diamond, at the Israeli Air Force Museum in Hatzerim.
Staying the course, Redfa simply kept on flying until he crossed the Israeli border, where he was met by two Israeli fighter planes and escorted to his landing at Hatzor.
The MIG’s capabilities were analyzed by the Israeli Air Force, and with a new number, 007 – a nod to James Bond, the plane was flown against the Israeli fighter jets in simulations so that Israeli pilots could learn how to fight against it.  This was vital preparation, and during the Six Day War, the Israeli pilots downed six Syrian MIG-21’s without losing a single plane themselves.
In January 1968, the “007” MIG was loaned to the USA for further evaluation, and in return, the Israeli government purchased the Phantom F-4 fighter.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Monday Music "Danger Zone" By Kenny Loggins

I wanted to do Caddyshack this week but Work got away from me.  So I am dusting off one that I did back in 2014.  I normally don't repeat one except for "Christmas Songs". 

This song screams "80's"  and it was sung by the soundtrack king for the 80's "Kenny Loggins" who did other soundtracks during this decade. decade, Loggins recorded so many successful songs for film soundtracks that he was referred to as, "King of the Movie Soundtrack". It began with "I'm Alright" from Caddyshack. Hits followed with "Footloose" and "I'm Free (Heaven Helps the Man)" from Footloose; "Meet Me Halfway" from Over the Top; and "Danger Zone" and "Playing With the Boys" from Top Gun. Loggins also performed "Nobody's Fool" from the film Caddyshack II. He also performed as a member of USA for Africa on the famine-relief fundraising single "We Are the World", which led to an appearance performing "Footloose" at the Philadelphia leg of the July 13, 1985 Live Aid famine relief dual-venue charity concert and global television broadcast.  The U.S. Navy got a lot of free publicity on this movie, I heard of recruiters hanging around theaters and picking up prospects after they walked out from seeing this movie.  The U.S. Army tried with the Apache Helicopter and Nickolaus Cage with mixed results and I think the Air Force tried with "Red Flag" or something like that.  The U.S. Marines had HeartBreak Ridge and it did well and gave the Corp a good publicity involving the mission to Grenada.

 This scene with the "AK-47 as the preferred weapon of our adversary and it makes a distinctive sound when fired at you." is a classic especially with us military guys.
    Now back to "Top Gun", "Danger Zone" is a song, with music composed by Giorgio Moroder and lyrics written by Tom Whitlock, which American singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins recorded and released in 1986. The song appeared on the soundtrack to the 1986 American motion picture Top Gun.

The band Toto were originally intended to perform the track but legal conflicts between the producers of Top Gun and the band's lawyers prevented this.
Bryan Adams was approached to allow his song "Only the Strong Survive" on the soundtrack and perform "Danger Zone". But Adams refused any involvement, feeling that the film glorified war and he did not want any of his work linked to it.
REO Speedwagon were also approached to perform "Danger Zone", but the group declined due to not being allowed to contribute any of their own compositions to the soundtrack.
Eventually, the film producers agreed that "Danger Zone" would be recorded and performed by Kenny Loggins.

Dann Huff, lead vocalist and guitarist from '80s hard rock group Giant, performed guitar on the selection. The bass line is a classic 1980s sound comprised in the main of a plucked bass sound from the ubiquitous Yamaha DX7 synthesizer, with the drums being provided by the LinnDrum (a drum machine designed by Roger Linn) which also appears on hundreds of other 1980s pop hits. A tenor saxophone joins in near the end of the song.

Music video

A music video was released in May of 1986 to promote the single. The video was directed by Tony Scott and featured footage of Loggins singing, as well as clips from the film Top Gun, which Scott also directed.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Operation "Eagle Claw"

I was in High school in Alabama when the Hostages were seized in 1979 and how impotent the United States appeared to be.  We as a nation was humiliated by the seizure of the Embassy  against all international Law.  We were further humiliated when "Desert One" happened, it showed how poor shape the United States Armed forces were in after Vietnam and the resulting "Hollow Army" as it was called.  I remembered the shame we felt as a nation when the hostage rescue failed from a myriad of reasons and plain bad luck, Murphy ran amuck with the planning and execution of the mission.  I remembered President Jimmy Carter on national TV apologizing for the failure of the mission. 
I had a lot of bad things to say about President Jimmy Carter, but he took full responsibility for the debacle which shows good character.  After this Jimmy Carter asked congress to massively increase the Military budget.  After the 1980 elections when President Ronald Reagan pushed for even a bigger increase in the budget because of the poor state of the U.S Armed Forces.  Back in 1980 I as a kid supported Jimmy Carter because he was from my State of Georgia.  Jimmy Carter was a good man but a poor president and his economic policies were a disaster. 
The April 24th Op is a major event in the history of the United States’ Special Forces operations not just because it was among the first missions of the Delta Force, but because its widespread failure would be a moment of profound humiliation for the United States.
Following the Iranian revolution, which saw the overthrow of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and an end to his 22 years of autocratic leadership over Iran, the Iranian Hostage Crisis, on the 4th day of November 1979, ensued.
A group of militant students who supported the Iranian revolution had stormed the US embassy in Tehran, capturing the building and taking 52 American diplomats and citizens hostage for 444 days, in what would become the longest hostage crisis in history, and widely described by western media as an entanglement of vengeance and mutual incomprehension.

Iran hostage crisis – Iraninan students comes up U.S. embassy in Tehran.1979
In the state-sanctioned act, the Iranian assailants demanded the return of Shah Reza, who had been taken to America for cancer treatment. Reza had been accused of committing crimes against the people and was summoned by Iran’s new leader, Ruholla Khomeini, to stand trial.

Two American Hostages During the Crisis.
The hostage incident was initiated by Iran to spite America for her alleged complicity in Reza’s atrocities. Jimmy Carter was less than pleased by the event, and would succinctly declare that America would never yield to blackmail. The hostage-taking, to America, was an egregious violation of international law.

Ayatollah Khomeini in front of his house at Neauphle-le-Chateau in a media conference.Photo: Sa.vakilian CC BY-SA 3.0
After 6 months of failed attempts at diplomatic negotiations, the United States, on April 16th, 1980, under President Jimmy Carter, approved a military action. The president, having broken diplomatic associations with Iran, ordered the Pentagon to draw up a plan in a bid to storm Iranian soil in a covert rescue mission codenamed Operation Eagle’s Claw.

The Shah of Iran in the 1970's

The US military spent about 5 months in planning the op. The aircrew trained in Florida and Andersen Airfield in Guam. Based on the plan, 3 USAF MC-130 aircraft would fly an assault group of about 118 Delta Force soldiers from Masirah Island to a remote spot located 200 miles southeast of Tehran; this location was codenamed Desert One. The MC-130s were accompanied by 3 EC-130s which served as fuel transport.
Under the cover of night, 8 US Navy RH-53D Sea Stallion helicopters, would fly from the USS Nimitz, which was sailing in the Arabian Sea, to rendezvous with the assault team where they would all fly to Desert Two, another location 65 miles from the target zone, Tehran.

RH-53Ds of HM-16 on the USS Nimitz before repainting.
Once the force was in place it would be show time; the team would be flown the rest of the way into Tehran where they would break into the embassy, neutralize the security, and rescue the hostages. All through the raid, an E-3 AWAC would keep a lookout on Iranian airspace, while establishing command and control communications between Washington, the Carrier Force, and the mission commander.

US Army Rangers 75th Regiment.
They would then fly to Manzarinyeh Air Base, which by that time would have been secured by US Army Rangers. At Manzarinyeh, USAF C-141 Starlifters would fly the hostages and assault team out of Iran, while the Rangers would stay behind to destroy all used equipment including the helicopters before flying out themselves.

A U.S. Marine Corps McDonnell F-4N Phantom II aircraft (BuNo 150480) of Marine fighter-attack squadron VMFA-323 Death Rattlers on the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea (CV-43) in April 1980. Sailors are applying black-red-black identification stripes for the (later aborted) attempt to rescue U.S. hostages from Iran, code named “Operation Eagle Claw” (or “Evening Light”).
This was an extremely complex plan that required a lot of synergy among all the units involved because Tehran was a city well inside Iran’s airspace and far away from any friendly territory. Furthermore, it was hard to get good intelligence about the forces inside the embassy. As a matter of fact, there was no room for any deviation from the stipulated plan as even the slightest mistake was bound to jeopardize the mission.

The first part of the mission went according to plan, with the arrival of the first MC-130 aircraft carrying Combat Control Team (CCT), mission equipment and fuel on board to Desert one. The team’s task at this point was to establish the airstrips and marshal the other aircraft when they arrived. But this was the only successful part of the mission because following the arrival of the other MC-130 aircraft, everything began to fall apart.

A photo of the “Desert One” landing site, a piece of desert in Iran used by U.S. forces as a refueling point in an attempt to rescue U.S. hostages in Iran. On 24 April 1980 a U.S. Navy Sikorsky RH-53D Sea Stallion (BuNo 158760, visible at right) collided with a U.S. Air Force Lockheed EC-130E Hercules (s/n 62-1809, wrecked in the foreground) during refueling after the mission was aborted. Both aircraft were destroyed, eight crewmen died. In the background is one of the five intact, but abandoned RH-53Ds. Original caption: “Wreckage at Desert One, Iran (April 1980) where eight Americans died.”
First, a passenger bus was spotted on a highway crossing the landing zone, and because this was supposed to be a covert op, the CCT was forced to stop and detain the passengers of the bus. A tanker truck was also found speeding close to Desert One.  The truck, apparently smuggling fuel, was blown up after refusing to stop, causing the death of the passenger.
The rest of the C-130 aircraft arrived and waited for the helicopters. The RH-53 helicopters took off from Nimitz but along the way, one helicopter—Bluebeard 6—was grounded and abandoned. The crew reported a damaged rotor blade as the cause of the malfunction. The remaining helicopters ran into a severe sandstorm known as Haboob. This would scatter the flight formation, with Bluebeard 5 also abandoning the mission.
The scattered helicopters would arrive at Desert One individually, running 50-90 minutes behind schedule. Bluebeard 2 arrived last but had indications of a broken hydraulic system which consequently made it unfit for the mission. With just five helicopters left and even more losses anticipated, the on-scene commander, Col. James H. Kyle, requested a mission abort.

Three RH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters are lined up on the flight deck of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS NIMITZ (CVN-68) in preparation for Operation Evening Light, a rescue mission to Iran.
The new focus was now on getting the assault team back on the MC-130s while the Bluebeards refueled on the Nimitz. During this procedure, tragedy struck.

US burned helicopter in Operation Eagle Claw
Bluebeard 3 was blasted by a desert storm, putting the pilot in a frenzied bid to maneuver his helicopter to stability. In the process, the helicopter’s main rotor blade collided with the wing-root of an EC-130 which was loaded with fuel. Both aircraft exploded, and in the ensuing inferno, 8 servicemen lost their lives – 3 US marines and 5 USAF aircrew.
The USAF pilot and co-pilot survived with severe burns. In the desperate evacuation of the rest of the team, classified files associated with the mission were burned, but the helicopters were abandoned in the desert. With that, Operation Eagle’s Claw, the nadir of the whole hostage rescue affair, came to an end.

Sand Storm of Tabas was cause of Operation Eagle Claw fail. This photo show the remaining aircraft burned.Photo: Tasnim News Agency CC BY 4.0
The failed rescue op resulted in some rather undesirable consequences. Firstly, the hostages were scattered across Iran, to make another rescue mission impossible. Also, the US government received heavy criticism from governments around the world for making such blunders in a very critical situation. As a matter of fact, experts believe that Jimmy Carter’s failure with Operation Eagle Claw was a major reason he lost the presidential election the following year.
Additionally, the failure brought attention to deficiencies in the US special operations system. The Joint Chiefs of Staff led an investigation which birthed the Holloway Report. The report cited failings in mission planning, command and control, and inter-service operability.

CH-53Ds Landing.
It revealed that training was usually conducted in a compartmentalized manner, taking place in scattered locations. Also, there was poor selection and training of aircrew, and it was said that not enough helicopters were put into the mission to counter any unforeseen issues or problems that jeopardized the mission. The hopscotch method of ground refueling which was chosen over air refueling was also criticized.
In reaction to these findings, the US military established United Special Operations Command, and the Air Force Special Operations Command. The lessons learned prompted the creation of the Night Stalkers (the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment) for the training of Army pilots in low-level night flying and aerial refueling.

Operation Eagle Claw Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery
A second rescue operation was planned, but it was never implemented. However, on 20th January 1981, just after Carter’s tenure, all 52 hostages were allowed to go back home.
To America, Operation Eagle Claw was a profound humiliation which exposed their flaws and vulnerabilities. But to Khomeini and his people, it was a plan foiled by divine intervention.
Operation Eagle Claw was the mission that marked the beginning of a change in America’s Special Operations.

Friday, July 20, 2018

"Walking in his shoes"

I have been very busy with "Meatspace" as they say, so I haven't been able to devote as much time as I want to blogging.  I still want to go shoot the Garand that I bought, but I have some stuff coming up at the end of the month, I will be at NOAC and I am planning that trip.    I saw this on Townhall and I thought it was a very good article so I shamelessly ripped it off.
President Donald Trump is not a figure many feel empathetic toward.  Nearly half the country hates him.  Hate may be too mild a word.  They despise him and equate him with the worst of human history, Hitler and the Nazis.  They want him destroyed, literally and politically, along with his family.  This includes Democrats, the media, and many Republicans.
His resignation or impeachment wouldn't be enough.  He needs to face treason charges and punishment at the end of a rope or in front of a firing squad, along with his family.  His supporters are guilty by association and must face similar justice.
But in To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch told Scout, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."  This is the essence of empathy.  You can't understand someone until you've walked a mile in his shoes.
Let's for a moment climb inside Donald Trump's skin and walk around in it.
Trump was a successful businessman, a billionaire with properties, resorts, golf courses, and hotels around the world.  He owned a huge private jet, only a half-step down from the one he currently uses.  He has a beautiful wife and family; his children are smart and following in his business footsteps.  He hosted a wildly successful television show, was a household name and a darling of the media before he decided to run for president.

Yet he gave that up.  Why would he do that?  As a septuagenarian, did his ego demand one more even bigger prize?  Or, as some have speculated, was he approached by a group of patriots several years ago and told in no uncertain terms about the Deep State and America's trajectory into the abyss?  Perhaps he was told that he was the only one who could run for president, have a chance of winning, then slow or stop America's decline.
Did he, as a consummate patriot, take up the challenge?  Someday we may learn why he gave up a comfortable and successful life in exchange for years of scorn and derision.
In Hillary Clinton, he fought a political opponent who was challenging, not personally, but for what and whom she represented: the establishments of both parties, the donor classes, the media, Hollywood, academia, and the Clinton machine that has been active since her husband's presidency two decades earlier.
He worked his butt off, campaigning around the clock.  From his tweets at 4 A.M. to his campaign rallies in multiple states in a single day, he worked harder than any candidate in recent memory.  His opponent did the opposite.  Sipping chardonnay and napping, she listened to her cheerleaders in the media, fawning over her every utterance, telling her repeatedly that she would win the election easily, and doing most of the campaigning for her.
Media coverage of Trump was and still is over 90 percent negative.  His own party worked against his election, the party he represented and brought victory to.  The big names in the GOP tried to undermine him – McCain, Romney, Bush, Ryan – all past presidents or candidates, the heavy hitters in the GOP, not to mention the Republican NeverTrump whiners.
Then there was the Deep State, the unelected and unaccountable three-letter agencies, conspiring and working against Donald Trump, not only as a candidate, but also as president.  They spied on his campaign, creating fictional dossiers used to justify FBI surveillance of Trump, his entire campaign staff, and his family.  It was a concerted effort by the leadership of these agencies to prevent his election, then "an insurance policy" to destroy his presidency as a Plan B.
Phony accusations or Russian collusion tainted his presidency, providing a cloud over his election, much like a successful athlete winning a medal or championship fair and square and against all odds, then having his victory tainted with the accusation of rigging or cheating.  How would such a winner react to claims that he didn't really win?  Especially when he had worked so hard for victory and had so little help in the process.
The Russian collusion story taints Trump's successful campaign and election.  The Mueller investigation and drumbeat from the media share the common refrain that Trump is an illegitimate president, that he cheated to win, conspiring with an enemy country.  This is the same country, ironically, that so many of Trump's critics were in love with only a few years ago.
Trump has been working hard as president, accomplishing more in his first 500 days than any of his predecessors – tax cuts, a roaring economy, record unemployment, a reversal of 50 years of failed policy toward North Korea, strong judicial picks, and so on.  Does he get any credit from the media or his own party?  Hardly.  Instead, scorn and insults continue to rain down on his head.  Wouldn't you be frustrated and bitter standing in his shoes?
Last is the Mueller indictment of 12 phantom Russians over supposedly hacking the DNC computers – computers the FBI did not even examine.  Indictments are simply accusations, not verdicts in a court of law, and were announced the last business day before Trump's Russia summit.  What a coincidence of timing, painting Trump in a box where he has to either validate the Russian collusion narrative or question the veracity of the U.S. intelligence community.  Always the contrarian, he chose the latter option during his press conference with Putin.
Does Trump fully trust the intelligence services, the same ones that conspired to spy on his campaign and undermine his election, then tried to overturn his presidency?  All this is based on the nonsensical assertion that Russia hacked the election, an absurd concept that even the media's savior Barack Obama said was impossible: "There is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even rig America's elections."
This is the same Intelligence Community that exonerated Hillary Clinton for crimes proven but never investigated and indicted Donald Trump for crimes investigated ad nauseam but never proven.  The same Intelligence Community that told the world that Saddam had WMDs, dragging the U.S. and other countries into a costly and counterproductive war.
Put yourself in Trump's shoes: a highly successful businessman, in the latter years of his life, taking on the Herculean task of running for and winning the U.S. presidency.  In victory he finds nothing but abuse, scorn, and betrayal, by friend and foe alike.  He is surrounded by landmines, his intelligence community plotting a path to make sure he steps on one landmine after another.  This is a journey few mortals would undertake or survive.
Is it any wonder he is pushing back against those trying to destroy him and his presidency, including the FBI, DOJ, and CIA, all in the thick of seditious activity against the duly elected president?  He has few friends in Washington, D.C.; many who should have his back are eager to bury a knife in it instead.
The simplest explanations are often the best.  Walk a mile in Trump's shoes, and his actions make all the sense in the world.  A guy chosen by ordinary people, trying to make America great again despite so much of America trying to stop and destroy him.  How would any rational person behave when standing in Trump's shoes?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Pickett's Charge and the high water mark for the Confederacy.

I normally do historical stuff on WWII or Vietnam or a couple of other wars, I do know a bit about the Civil War or The War between the States as it is referred to here in the South and to a few "The War of Yankee Aggression."  I do know that Pickett's charge was considered the highwater mark for the confederacy militarily.  This is the closest that the South would have had the chance to get recognized by Britain and France.  I also know that General Lee didn't blame Pickett for what had transpired, he had known that Pickett's division had done all what was humanly possible.

What had been a three-day showdown between the Union Army under the command of Major General George G. Meade and General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate forces reached its peak on the third and final day of the battle, July 3, 1863.
Pickett’s Charge was one of the most devastating infantry attacks recorded during the American Civil War. The charge led by George Edward Pickett, Confederate States Army general is best known for leading his division into the center of the Union lines.
General Pickett – When asked why his attack failed, he reportedly answered, “I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.”
The previous fighting which had transpired on July 1-2 left neither the Union or Confederate armies significantly better off.
71st Pennsylvania Infantry Monument, Gettysburg Battlefield.
General Lee’s military secretary, gave the following description of Lee’s plan for the attack on July 3:
“There was a weak point…where Cemetery Ridge, sloping westward, formed the depression through which the Emmitsburg road passes. Perceiving that by forcing the Federal lines at that point and turning toward Cemetery Hill, Hays’ Division would be taken in flank and the remainder would be neutralized….Lee determined to attack at that point, and the execution was assigned to Longstreet.”
A small portion of the Gettysburg Cyclorama
George Pickett was one of the three division commanders under General Lee’s “Old War Horse” James Longstreet. Pickett’s division consisted of three brigades as General Montgomery D. Corse’s Brigade was ordered to remain in the region of Taylorsville. However, all these units were fresh having arrived late on the previous day.
Cannons at Gettysburg battlefield representing Hancock’s defenses, stormed by Pickett’s Charge. 71st Pennsylvania Infantry Monument in middle ground. Photo by Joshua Sherurcij
On July 2, just two hours past midnight, the soldiers started their twenty-five mile march to Gettysburg, arriving late in the evening.
Cemetery Ridge, looking south along the ridge with Little Round Top and Big Round Top in the distance. The monument in the foreground is the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Monument.
In a council of war held by Union forces on the eve of July 2, Major General George G. Meade speculated about Lee’s line of attack to engage the center of his defenses. He correctly surmised that Lee would challenge the center of his lines having failed on both his flanks on preceding days
General Lee’s initial plan on the 2nd day was to send General Longstreet to attack the left flank of the Union forces with Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell leading the attack on Culp’s Hill on the Union right.
Copse of trees and ‘high-water mark of the Confederacy’ on the Gettysburg Battlefield; looking north.
However, while Longstreet was gathering his men, Union forces started a massive military bombardment against Ewell’s troops at Culp’s Hill and after a gruesome seven hours of battle, the Union Army had managed to hold their positions. Despite the early engagement by Ewell’s forces and their failure to take Culp’s Hill, Lee continued his offensive strategy to strike right at the center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge.
Field of Pickett’s Charge, viewed from north of The Angle, looking west.
Brigadier General Henry J. Hunt came up with a brilliant idea to hold fire from their center lines when the Confederates carried out an artillery bombardment against their position early on in the afternoon. This led the Confederates to believe that their enemy’s batteries had been knocked out.
This further encouraged Lee’s decision to attack there and around 3 p.m., when the firing had died down, 12,500 Confederate soldiers in nine infantry brigades came tearing down the 1300 yards that led to the Cemetery Ridge.
Map of Pickett’s Charge of the American Civil War. Drawn in Adobe Illustrator CS5 by Hal Jespersen. Map by Hal Jespersen
Pickett commanded his three brigades on the right while Joseph Pettigrew with his four brigades and Trimble’s two brigades were on the left. As the infantry advanced, Union soldiers began hailing “Fredericksburg!,” referring to a previous charge which they, the Union forces attempted and failed in the 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg.
Pickett taking the order to charge from Gen. Longstreet, Gettysburg, July 3, 1864
Union forces reigned artillery fire from the flanks of Cemetery Hill, and heavy musket and canister fire came from Hancock’s II Corps. As Pickett and the others drew closer, the Union forces unleashed a heavy fire on their attackers, much to the surprise of the Confederate commanders and General Lee.
The charge only got as far as the low stone wall that acted as a shield for the Union soldiers, breaching it and temporarily breaking the U.S. lines; Confederate and Union soldiers battled and brawled, clawing at each other in an urgent attempt to hang on to their positions, one side advancing and the other defending until reinforcements were sent in, breaking off the Confederates’ short contact with the opposing forces and pushing them back.
Pickett’s Charge from a position on the Confederate line looking toward the Union lines, Ziegler’s Grove on the left, clump of trees on right, painting by Edwin Forbes
Massive casualties were sustained on the side of the Confederates; a hailstorm of projectiles were fired at Pettigrew’s men, while the other divisions also encountered heavy fire, sustaining losses too great to continue the march further.
General Lee’s army was exhausted and depleted both in ammunition and in physical condition. He thereafter ordered the retreat of his men and the three-day battle was finally over, resulting in a huge number of casualties on both sides.
The monument on the Gettysburg Battlefield marking the approximate place where Lew Armistead was fatally wounded. The wall behind the monument marks the Union lines.
During the three days of fighting, over 560 tons of ammunition were fired resulting in over 50,000 casualties almost equally shared by the Confederate and Union Armies, making this one of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War.
General Pickett’s Virginian brigades went furthest in the assault, making a turn in what is called “the Angle” at the edge of the stone wall. Their position marks what is called the “High-water mark of the Confederacy,” arguably representing the closest the Confederates ever got to achieving independence from the Union through military action.
Thure de Thulstrup’s Battle of Gettysburg, showing Pickett’s Charge
General Lee gathered his wounded and exhausted Army, taking a whole day to prepare his retreat. However, Meade’s army did not try to pursue giving the reason that his army was also too battered and exhausted. Having had his own fill of bloodshed for the day, he allowed the Confederates to make their exit without further contact.
Pickett remained embittered long after the war, recounting in his memory the massive number of men he lost that day.  As I recall General Longstreet did blame the defeat on Pickett and his men.