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In a media dominated by Baby Boomers and their resulting cultural reference, it is little wonder that we hear a lot about Vietnam vs. Afghanistan; just like we did with Vietnam and Iraq.
That is no shock, what is though is a day when CDR Salamander finds himself in rough alignment with the WaPo's Richard Cohen. Does he read my blog? No, I don't think so.
However, he is getting close. He is reading Sorley.
As it turned out, South Vietnam was ultimately defeated because Congress turned its back on it - not pretty or necessarily honorable but effective.
For years I felt like I was just one little cricket in the cow field about this basic truth. Some called me a clueless wingnut - deluded about the unwinable war. Well --- when someone like Richard Cohen of the Washington-frick'n-Post starts putting that truth out - well - as always, the truth will show itself.
I do note that he does not mention which political party was in charge of Congress - but that is OK; I will. Democrats. That is where the tie in with AfPak comes in.
Credit for Cohen breakthrough though goes mostly in this case to Sorley and his book, A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam. It is sitting on my desk right now on top of Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam [National Security Advisor under Kennedy & Johnson].
I have nibbled at both - but still need to finish the books I am already reading. I think Richard Cohen also read Sorley's Op-Ed in the NYT last week. It is a very good article discussing those parallels between Vietnam and Afghanistan. He ends with this.
Maintain political support at home: All that was accomplished on the battlefield in the latter years of Vietnam was lost when Congress, having tired of the whole endeavor, drastically cut support for South Vietnam. Neither Lyndon Johnson nor Richard Nixon was able to rally public and press support for the war. President Obama has said that Afghanistan is a war of necessity. If so, he must put his political capital behind it. As he and his advisers plan the new course for the war, he must also come up with a new approach for selling it to Congress and the American people.
Yes, yes, yes. Bring them all to the light.
Maybe one day this nation and specifically those who smeared them through the '60's, '70s, and '80s will apologize to those who served in Vietnam. Again, they did not lose that war - the Democrat Congress did. Full stop.
Perhaps one day all those who opposed the surge in Iraq will say they were wrong as well. Then again, maybe not. Will we learn from history? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
Generations of Valor -- [Anne Morse/NRO]
Mike Rudzinski, is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the son of a Vietnam vet, and the father of Chris Rudzinski, who served in the 4th Infantry Division in Iraq. His son's time in the sand "was much more perilous than mine," Rudzinski wrote. When asked why so many sons of Vietnam veterans saw their sons volunteer for service in Iraq, Rudzinski replied "I believe Chris joined because he loved his country and he loved his family and he wanted to do something for both. I'd like to think that my dad and I were an inspiration to Chris: after all, my dad was the inspiration for me to join.."
Fort Stewart soldier killed in Afghanistan -- [Savannah Morning News]
The Department of Defense announced Sunday the death of a Fort Stewart soldier killed while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Sgt. Christopher M. Rudzinski, 28, of Rantoul, Ill., died Oct. 16 near Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.
He was assigned to 293rd Military Police Company, 385th Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade (Airborne), Fort Stewart.
Chris was a fine man, whom I'd wish I'd known -- [Chuck Z]
Matt Burden (Blackfive) was feeling all kinds of happy in Las Vegas until he received a text from his friend, Mike. The news was not good.
Godspeed, Sergeant Chris Rudzinski -- [Blackfive]
I was sitting in McCarran airport in Las Vegas looking forward to coming home when I received word that Chris Rudzinski, on his fourth tour, was killed by an IED in Afghanistan.
Chris's father Mike has been with us at Blackfive since 2003 and comments on blogs as "Annoying Mike". Mike is a Colonel and the son of a viet nam vet, and Mike has another son in the military.
my heart in 1000 pieces -- [Mike Rudzinski]
I don't have the details yet on Chris' death. I was told it was an IED. Chris is my oldest son, 28 years old and a father for his little boy Ryan and husband to Caroline, his wife. I have attached a picture of Chris and Ryan, who turned one year old last month while his daddy was in Afghanistan. The picture was taken on the day of his departure.
through the clouds...... -- [Mike Rudzinski]
I hope you don't mind me writing you and updating you on Chris' return home. I'm not sure I can cry any more tears and remain strong for my family too without talking with somebody. My head is in a spin and my heart aches as we start the process of bringing Chris home. Today Natalie, Caroline, Ryan and I were flown to Dover Air Force Base to witness the dignified transfer ceremony. It is the ceremony where our men and women in uniform take heroes and render honors as they return to American soil. I've had to do some difficult tasks in my life and Army career, but I have to say that standing there in the rain and cold and watching our military men and women take loving care of my son, like they have with the thousands who have preceded him was about too much to bear. It was too much for Caroline, she collapsed at seeing her beloved husband and Ryan's daddy, in a flag draped transfer case, being unloaded from the plane and put into the van which has taken Chris to the mortuary unit to prepare him for his trip home...
But I thought you should also know about the other heroes we ran into today, because they made my heart swell with love and pride, even as it was breaking.
What is it?
Soldiers, veterans and survivors of those whose service was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss between September 11, 2001 and September 30, 2008 can apply to receive $500 for every month, or portion of a month, they served under Stop Loss. The 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations Act established and largely funded the payment for all military services, but dictated that each service process and pay their own applicants. The Army estimates that 136,000 of the approximately 174,000 eligible servicemembers served in the Army.
What has the Army done?
The Army has created an application process for active-and-reserve component Soldiers, veterans, and survivors of Soldiers to process claims for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay. By law, the Army can only accept claims between October 21, 2009 and October 21, 2010. Eligible candidates must submit their request within this time frame, or the Army will not be able to process their request. The Army has set up an email address to field questions people have regarding the benefit.
How can people apply?
Candidates for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay must submit a claim at Retroactive Stop Loss Web site . This Web site is the preferred method for submitting applications; however, other means for doing so, such as by mail or fax, will be available to those without access to computers. Additional communications will provide instructions for alternative forms of submission. During the application process, candidates will be asked to show documentation that indicates the time they served under Stop Loss. The necessary documentation, depending on their type of service, includes the following:
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The Army will review, process and pay qualified candidates as they submit their applications at Retroactive Stop Loss Web site. Candidates who meet the criteria and show the required documentation will receive their retroactive payment in a one lump sum. The Army will not accept applications submitted after October 21, 2010.
Resources: Retroactive Stop Loss Web site
Pritzker Military Library has been named one of 10 recipients of the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation's highest honor for museums and libraries. The annual award, made by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) since 1994, recognizes institutions for outstanding social, educational, environmental, or economic contributions to their communities. The Pritzker Military Library will receive the National Medal at a ceremony to be held in Washington, D.C., including a $10,000 award in recognition of their extraordinary contributions.
If you've never attended an AUSA Annual Meeting, it's a fantastic event. Today I attended a Military Family Forum titled, "Army Families, The Strength Behind the Soldier." Although this conference is Army-Centric, many of the issues discussed in the forum would resonate with spouses of all branches. Today's forum featured General and Mrs. Casey, among others. General Casey mentioned that Secretary Gates enjoys interaction with Army spouses because, according to Secretary Gates, they "always speak their mind." Today was no exception.
Vertical launched aircraft from subs? Where'd that come from?
And there is a short video summary of their tour here.
UPDATE: And the Fallen, here.
Writing from Afghanistan, Old Blue says yes. But first do no harm.
Congessman Cao will not be on. Instead we will be discussing Afghanistan with military expert Mr. Greyhawk of the Mudville Gazette.
For the non-profit portion of the show, I will be featuring Our Military Kids. If a parent is deployed, they pick up the tab for activities to keep children busy during the deployment. I love this group.
UPDATE ll: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!! - Please read to the end of this update
UPDATE: To make things clear the Army is working to replace uniforms and supplies for these men, however like anything run by any large bureaucracy (ARMY) it takes longer to get to the user. On any supply run, mail gets priority over other stuff. Therefore, johhny getting extra socks via mail, from a donor, is quicker than the supply chain, which is focused on things like chow, bullets, fuel, water.
This is why we support these types of efforts.
Some Soldiers Mom Post a response from a favorite Army friend to those in the blogosphere who question these efforts: Excerpt:
...More at the link
Instead of reasoning with you about supply chain metrics or the priorities of resupply, I'll just ask you to pony up five fucking dollars, the cost of a Latte and Biscotti, and buy a damn pair of socks for a deployed soldier. Then spend an extra five dollars (might have to forgo renting a couple movies this weekend) and mail them to someone whose highlight of the week might just be that single pair of fresh, clean socks he received in the mail. Take stock of your cushy -assed life and do something for someone else for a change. Stop bitching about how much the government spends on defense, and help a soldier out. Right now, it doesn't matter WHY there's a shortage, it only matters that there IS a shortage, and the fastest way to fill that gap is by the American People stepping up and taking action themselves. Nobody's asking YOU to pick up a rifle or put YOUR life at risk. They're just asking you for a pair of fucking socks.
Via Tanker Babe who has been heading this effort:
my great friend and troop support partner, Bob Connolly and I have been in direct contact with the unit's CSM after learning that the base was destroyed and the men lost all of their belongs except the clothes on their backs. The Army is working to replace uniforms for the men. But they need assistance with other personal items. And they NEED TO KNOW that we are thinking about them over here, too.
Please contact me ASAP via email email@example.com. We want to work to assure every Soldier is covered with basics first so it is important that we track the donated items. If you prefer to make a monetary donation I can give you information to do so.
Tammy's husband has a first-hand account of attack HERE
Soldiers' Angels is sending socks for each soldier, along with a stack of morale-building notes from kids.
And the American Legion want those battle participants to know we care with the COP Keating Afghan Relief Fund.">And the American Legion want those battle participants to know we care with the COP Keating Afghan Relief Fund.
Battle participant: "most people back home don't even know, no one gives a shit" The American Legion does, and we're going to prove it. Following this blog posting is information on how to donate to the Combat Outpost Keating Relief Fund. These men have lost friends, lost their outpost, and lost all their belongings. One who made it out wrote that "most people back home don't even know, no one gives a shit". Well, many of us do. And you can prove it by giving whatever you can to try and buy these guys things like running shoes, and other essentials, as well as some comfort items like iPods and DvD players. The American Legion's Operation Comfort Warrior has kicked in $1000 to start the fund, and your humble blogger will be the first one to donate $100. I intend to get these items out by the end of next week. ANY amount you can give, no matter how small will help us prove that we do care.
You can also email Mark at the American Legion MOTHAX@LEGION.ORG or click here for donations.
Let's not let these heroes feel forgotten, we must show them we are a grateful nation.
Other getting the word out:
USA Today [TMG Editors Note: why is this on the Fidel Castro page?]
Some Soldiers Mom
This Ain't Hell...
Running Shoes Review
Canada Free Press
Patriots for America
If Laura Petrie Married General Patton
United We Roll at Stardust Radio
Knee Deep in the Hooah
Soldiers Angels New York
Army of Dude
Foreign and Domestic
Flying into the besieged Afghan base during a nighttime firefight this weekend was a harrowing mix of overwhelming noise, stomach dropping maneuvers and shadows hurrying through the gloom.
When the chopper lifted off moments later with three wounded soldiers, it left behind others who were wounded but refused to be MEDEVACED out of the combat zone so they could return to fight with their buddies.
Fighting raged at two remote U.S. outposts near the Pakistan border this weekend, that left eight U.S. soldiers dead and 24 wounded. The battle was fought from Friday night through Sunday as hundreds of Taliban insurgents and their allies tried to overrun the Americans.
Via Villainous Company:
For the past few days, the media and the Left have been peddling a deeply divisive and dishonest account of Stanley McChrystal's speech and Q&A session at IIIS in the United Kingdom. The current meme du jour is that McChrystal has been "smacked down" by Robert Gates. If this is so (and I doubt it is) it would be exceedingly bizarre. For what was McChrystal supposedly rebuked - agreeing with Obama and Gates in every particular?
Let's compare what Gates just said with what McChrystal is reported to have said
Read more here
From Afghanistan: Quatto Zone notes a headline rewrite...
Oops. But the Telegraph corrected itself, so no harm, no foul, right? No. A Google search showed that thousands of media outlets ran with the characterization in the original headline, including the BBC, the Los Angeles Times, and FOX as well as Top 100 blog sites like the Huffington Post, Crooks and Liars, HotAir and Democratic Underground. Millions misinformed. Damage done.
Given the source those last four words should sting.
Many more words at the link.
On the homefront you wait. And sometimes big stories with mass casualties make the news, and the waiting gets worse. And you know that even if your loved one is okay they can't contact you because communication will be blacked out until the families of the fallen have been notified. So you wait, and start to think if anything bad had happened to your soldier you would have known by now.
And maybe you hear about someone else who got the word, or maybe not.
AllAmericanDirect.com announces the final re-launch of 'Laptops for Flat Tops' contest for military families.
INDIANAPOLIS - (October 5, 2009) - AllAmericanDirect.com, a leading e-commerce provider of consumer goods and services, today announces the company's fourth and final Laptops for Flat Tops contest, which will award one laptop with an embedded Webcam (for the family) and an additional Webcam (for the soldier) to two families who have an immediate family member serving in any branch of the U.S. military overseas.
This contest arrives on the heels of three successful Laptops for Flattops contests, which provided multiple military families the opportunity to more intimately connect with their loved ones. The popular contest re-launches on Monday, October 5 to provide a final opportunity for two more deserving military families.
Learn how to to enter contest below the fold.
Kara Rowbury of Fort Riley, Kan. was one of two winners during the company's third contest. Upon her husband's most recent deployment to Afghanistan, Mrs. Rowbury's two children were informed their dad would only have access to a phone once a week. Mrs. Rowbury received news of her family's win the night of her son, Xavier's eleventh birthday.All done!
"As he was blowing out the candles he wished that he could talk to his dad more often," said Mrs. Rowbury. "That very evening I checked my e-mail and saw that we had won this contest! This was my son's wish come true."
To enter, all participants need to do is visit http://www.allamericandirect.com/military?cid=400604 and submit a short written description in their own words of why their family deserves to win, and how a laptop can improve their lives and communication with their loved one serving overseas. Families must be able to verify their loved one's military enlistment. Anyone who knows of a deserving military family may submit an entry on their behalf.
"The stories that we have heard from the families of our military men and women have touched and inspired us," said Mike Mountford, CEO of AllAmericanDirect.com. "I am speaking on behalf of my team, here at AllAmericanDirect.com, when I say we are truly grateful for the sacrifices that these men, women and their families have made to serve our country. We hope this final, small gesture will be seen as a tribute to those who have sacrificed so much for all of us."
Entries for the contest can be submitted as early as 12:00 AM EDT (24:00 GMT) on Monday, October 5 via http://www.allamericandirect.com/military?cid=400604. The contest closes at 11:59 PM EDT (15:59 GMT) on Friday, November 13. Winners of the contest will be announced on Monday, November 30.
Judging will be done by a panel of three judges including: Col. (Ret.) Dale A. Kissinger, partner at MilitaryAvenue.com and a colonel (retired) in the U.S. Air Force, Mr. Scott Davis, an Air Force veteran of Operation Desert Storm and father of Army PFC Sean Davis, who is stationed in Vicenza, Italy, and is preparing for his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, and Ms. Jenna Richards, the sister of Capt. Phillip Richards and his wife Capt. Michelle Richards who are active in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division and were deployed in September 2009 to Iraq for their second tour of duty.
Further information on AllAmericanDirect.com's products and services is available online at http://www.allamericandirect.com/?cid=40060.
I feel my days are numbered so I want to say all this while I still can. I pray to god no-one will ever have to read this but as death is all around me if it falls upon me you will understand my recent feelings on this madness we call life.
My views and outlook on life seems to be drastically changing recently. As many of you saw before I left when I quit drinking, I was just starting to live my life. Never have I felt as strong as I do about what I am doing here in Afghanistan is the right thing to be doing and is understood and accepted by god. As a result of that death is easier to accept.
Coming back over here again seemed more appealing than being in America surrounded by Americans that are more concerned about there next new car, new house, celebrity, ect. Than the threat to the way of life of the west that is so prevalent in the places I've grown to accept as daily life. I hope one day there will be more Americans knowledgeable on the situation with terrorism in Afghanistan and how important it is that it's destroyed.
Being back here in Afghanistan is exactly were I was supposed to be and where I wanted to be. I feel I'm doing more good over here than I was as an electrician. I knew exactly what I was doing when I re-enlisted Infantry I'm just sorry that you all have to suffer for it now.
For me to prepare myself to take life without hesitation has been a very difficult thing to do. To take away another woman's son, husband, mans son, brother has always bothered me but through my eyes is understood by my god and I am forgiven. For the man that took my life more than likely for all he has known his whole life he feels the exact same way I do when he killed me. That is what scares me and I don't think is understood by disappointingly a huge percentage of Americans.
Via Chuck Z:
That's right folks, yours truly is a featured speaker at the Blogworld and New Media Expo in Las Vegas from 15-17 October. I will be moderating and Participating in the Panel on "The Best MilBlogs You've never read" representing the Combined Arms Center and Command and General Staff Colleges' blog, as well as conducting many interviews with industry leaders to find ways the Army can better use Social Media and Web 2.0 applications for my Master's Thesis.More here.
Additionally, I will be hanging out at the Army and Soldier's Angels booth, giving demonstrations of the VALOUR-IT Laptop and telling people all about the many programs Soldier's Angels has going on around the world.
Today is a busy day for the Medal, with 16 being awarded. Two in the Civil War, eleven during the Indian Campaigns, two in WWI and one in WWII. The award most out of the ordinary today is the last one earned that is credited to the Indian Campaigns. I think you'll find the date is rather later than you'd expect.More here.
It is hard to believe, but Blog World is just a bit over a week away. Yeep!More here:
That said, I hope that you can and will join us on Thursday 15 October for the milblog track. This is our chance not to talk to ourselves, but to reach out to new audiences and new markets. If you want to attend, drop me a line at blake at blakepowers dot n and I can set you up with a free membership to the milblog track. This gets you in to the milblog panels and to the exhibit hall for the entire conference. If you want to see a schedule for the conference, go here.
I also want to invite you to a planning session for next year. At 1300 on Friday, we will be meeting at the Army Milblog Lounge in the exhibit hall to find out what you and others attending Blog World would like to see in the way of milblog panels next year, and get your ideas on new ways to reach out. Also, I hope we can start getting others interested in having milbloggers on their panels in other tracks. Come on by and let us know your thoughts.
A really good story from the LA Times about a band of brothers who came together to get the recognition that one one of them deserved:[Marine Pfc. Daniel] Hernandez was 20 when he served as a machine gunner with M Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. The company, which was among the hardest hit during the Vietnam War, lost 17 men on March 5, 1966, during Operation Utah in Quang Ngai province.
That day...Hernandez dived through enemy fire to pick up a wounded Marine and carry him to safety. A bullet grazed his back. Still, he refused to be evacuated, and, moments later, when he saw an enemy soldier firing at a group of wounded Marines, he ran through oncoming bullets to kill the soldier and save his comrades. Another bullet later grazed his head, sending him to a hospital in Guam.
But the real story is how a former lieutenant discovered one of his troops had never got the recognition he'd deserved and spent three years rectifying the deficiency.
It appears that the Navy has a new advertising slogan, replacing the "Accelerate Your Life" campaign they had been running the last few years. Here's the first commercial using the "America's Navy: A Global Force For Good" tagline