Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Submitted by: Donald Hank


Marine Chuck Johnson on Disrupt or be Disrupted: “Two things in my opinion to consider…. Limits that prevent more innovation; ROE in the battle environment acquisition process and treating the military as a social experiment.  The Marine Corps mission 'to close with and destroy the enemy through fire and maneuver;' has become an ask civilian permission to breathe... Today's ROE Prevents innovation both on battlefield and the acquisition process.  Not to say it is not done (worked at MCWL 5 years) today, it just takes too long and makes contractors rich.  One last thing.  Chaos is a good thing when addressed properly, to improve armies on battlefield and on-going social experimentation.”

Army vet Gordon Fowkes: “Patton once noted that battle is a constant struggle between the wall and the charge, the spear and the shield, and that refers to the technological tools at hand. What does not change is the players and the field, with technology shifting the tactical imperatives of each confrontation…. War is the oldest craft, derived from hunting, and fighting to keep food on the table, and protection of the family futures. The biology and psychology don't change, the sociology changes as the land and tools, do. The current cluster fluster in the Muddled East is due specifically to the disruptive effect of fakes, frauds, and fools that have seized control of the profession at arms. They, the SES and the Office of Net Assessment, converted a war winning force that had just achieved the pinnacle of professionalism in the liberation of Afghanistan under SOF, and that of Iraq under AirLand Battle, when rotational career centric equity replaced victory. In short, civilians who have not been confirmed (SES) by the Senate have the bit and are stampeding off into ever expanding bureaucratic morass…. Short solution: Congress in approval of promotion  or commission can resolve not to consider OER's written by other than ‘officers of the United States’. The Oath of Enlistment and of Commission only requires obedience to the orders of ‘officers’ which does not include civilians not so ordained. Put the military back in charge of the military — and sweep out the Augean Stable and/or the Temple!”  [For some reason, I have an urge to inject the following quote: “Power attracts the corruptible. Absolute power attracts the absolutely corruptible. This is the danger of entrenched bureaucracy to its subject population. Even the spoils systems are preferable because levels of tolerance are lower and the corrupt can be thrown out periodically. Entrenched bureaucracy seldom can be touched short of violence. Beware when Civil Service and Military join hands.” –from Frank Herbert’s novel Chapterhouse Dune.]

Navy vet Scott Thyng: “Aren't we sitting on a mess right now? A hundred million sitting doing nothing but complaining, another same number doing the work. A few volunteering to defend them all, but everyone knows it's just propped up with weak fancy high tech material and now little spirit nationwide corrupted by weak POTUS – look at all of them… little war experience. It would appear that we are only defended by satellite imagery, the Internet, undetectable SSBN's, and the BUTTON. But any educated citizen knows that POTUS lacks the nerve to use it, so we are living on very thin ice.  Meanwhile, the poor economy, the crushing national debt, and the corrupt NYSE all undeniably witnessed by leave us with little confidence. The wrong sudden move and we could be doomed.”

Marine Al Polley: “Not shooting the messenger, but haven’t we seen some version of this every other year or so for the last 20, 30, or 40 years (depending on your generation)? Often the same examples (Napoleon and post-WWI German Army) are cited. The only thing new here is the latest buzzword—‘punctuated equilibrium.’ Sounds like the kind of term that earns you tenure. Also, Black Swans are not difficult to predict — they are impossible to predict! If they could be predicted, they would not be true Black Swans.”

Marine Larry Taylor on Double Edged Sword: “Re: ‘Japan may be cultivating an offensive capability that it has forgone in the past, potentially putting one of its main military allies, the United States, in a difficult position.’…… Yes, but it is a ‘difficult position’ of our own making. If we had not spent the last 7½ years creating doubt about our commitments to our allies all over the world, they would not be looking internally and elsewhere for reassurance. East Asian history being what it is, I'm sure that most there would prefer that Japan not ‘be cultivating an offensive capability’, if not for the aggressive rise of the PRC… Meanwhile, one candidate is likely to continue planting the seeds of doubt, and the other promises to turn our mutual defense treaties into a pay-for-protection ‘deal'!.... Semper Frustrated.”

Marine Dan Kellum on Kaepernick fiasco: “As I read this pilot's letter to his dead comrade lost to a fire on the USS Oriskany in 1966 off Vietnam's coastline, I, for some reason, thought of 49er's Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the National Anthem which he seemed to equate with all that is bad with America as it relates to the treatment of African Americans... His cup representing America would seem to be more than half empty and polluted and undrinkable. The blood of brave men are represented by that National Anthem and what we have today – freedom and the best damn country in the world – is due to such hard men. I asked my friend if I may send this on. Here is his response: ‘Pass it on. The world needs to hear stories like this that you would never hear in the main stream media.’ So I send it on exactly as I received it……

Norm was killed on 26 October '66. Exactly one year later, we were again back on Yankee Station. After flying my 4th mission against Hanoi in 3 days,
I rose from a restless night to scribble a note to Norm. I folded it into a paper airplane; then walked back to the Oriskany's fantail, lit the paper on
fire, and launched it into the darkness above the ship's wake. Norm and I would both have turned 80 this year ... so, due to natural causes, this will
be the last of the 47 annual letters I've written to him. With the help of friends and mutual acquaintances over the years, my original note has expanded into a perhaps ‘too lengthy’ letter…..

With great respect for your significant contribution of time and expertise to the Crusader group, Dick Schaffert [14 May 2014]

To: Lieutenant Commander Norman Sidney Levy, U.S. Navy Deceased (1934-1966)

Good morning, Norm. It's Memorial Day 2014, 07:29 Tonkin Gulf time. Haven't talked with you for a while. That magnificent lady on which we went through hell together, USS ORISKANY, has slipped away into the deep and now rests forever in silent waters off the Florida coast. Recall we shared a 6' by 9' stateroom aboard her during McNamara and Johnson's ill-fated Rolling Thunder, while our Air Wing 16 suffered the highest loss rate of any naval aviation unit in the Vietnam conflict. Three combat deployments, between May '65 and January '68, resulted in 86 aircraft lost from the 64 assigned to us; while 59 of our aviators were killed and 13 captured or missing from Oriskany's assignment of 74 combat pilots. Our statistical probability of surviving Rolling Thunder, where the tactics and targets were designated by combat-illiterate politicians, was less than 30%. The probability of a combat pilot being an atheist approached zero!

Seems like a good day to make contact again. I've written every year since I threw that "nickel on the grass" for you. For several years, it was only a handwritten note ... which I ceremoniously burned to simulate your being "smoked." With the advent of the internet, I shared annual emails to you with some of our colleagues. Unfortunately, the net's now a cesspool of idiocy! Much of it generated by those 16 million draft dodgers who avoided Vietnam to occupy and unionize America's academia; where they clearly succeeded in "dumbing down" an entire generation which now controls the heartless soul of a corrupt "Hollywoodized" media. This will be my last letter. I'm praying Gabriel will soon fly my wing once more, and I look forward to delivering it to you personally.

This is the 47th year since I last saw you, sitting on the edge of your bunk in our stateroom. You remember ... it was the 26th of October 1966 and we were on the midnight-to-noon schedule. There was a wall of thunderstorms over North Vietnam, with tops to 50,000 feet, but McNamara's civilian planners kept sending us on "critical" missions all night. At 04:00 they finally ran out of trucks to bomb, in that downpour, and we got a little sleep.

Our phone rang at seven; you were scheduled for the Alert Five. I'd bagged a little more rack time than you, so I said I'd take it. I went to shave in the restroom around the elevator pit, the one near the flare locker. The ordnance men were busy putting away the flares. They'd been taking them out and putting them back all night as McNamara's "whiz kids" continually changed the targets. I had finished shaving and started back to our room when the guy on the ship's loudspeaker screamed: "This is a drill, this is a drill, FIRE, FIRE, FIRE!" I smelled smoke and looked back at the door that separated the pilot's quarters from the flare storage locker. Smoke was coming from underneath.

I ran the last few steps to our room and turned on the light. You sat up on the edge of your bunk and I shouted: "Norm, this is no drill. Let's get the hell out of here!" I went down the passage way around the elevator pit, banging on the sheet metal wall and shouting:  "It's no drill. We're on fire! We're on fire!" I rounded the corner of that U-shaped passage when the flare locker exploded. There was a tremendous concussion effect that blew me out of the passage way and onto the hangar deck. A huge ball of fire was rolling along the top of the hangar bay.

You and forty-five other guys, mostly Air Wing pilots, didn't make it, Norm. I'm sorry. Oh, dear God, I am sorry! But we went home together: Norm Levy, a Jewish boy from Miami, and Dick Schaffert, a Lutheran cornhusker from Nebraska.

I rode in the economy class of that Flying Tigers 707, along with the other few surviving pilots. You were in a flag-draped box in the cargo compartment. Unfortunately, the scum media had publicized the return of us "Baby Killers," and Lindberg Field was packed with vile demonstrators enjoying the right to protest. The "right" you died for!

Our wives were waiting in a bus to meet our plane. There was a black hearse for you. The protestors threw rocks and eggs at our bus and your hearse; not
a policeman in sight. When we finally got off the airport, they chased us to Fort Rosecrans. They tried interrupting your graveside service, until your honor guard of three brave young Marines with rifles convinced them to stay back.

I watched the TV news with my family that night, Norm. Sorry, the only clips of our homecoming were the "Baby Killer" banners and bombs exploding in the South Vietnam jungle ... although our operations were up North, against heavily defended targets, where we were frequently shot down and captured or
killed. It was tough to explain all that to my four pre-teen children.

You know the rest of the story: The vulgar demonstrators were the media's heroes. They became the CEO's, who steal from our companies ... the lawyers,
who prey off our misery ... the doctors, whom we can't afford ... the  elected politicians, who break the faith and the promises.

The only military recognized as "heroes" were the POW's. They finally came home, not because of any politician's self-aggrandized expertise, but because there were those of us who kept going back over Hanoi, again and again ... dodging the SAM's and the flak ... attacking day and night ... keeping the pressure on ... all by ourselves! Absolutely no support from anyone! Many of us didn't come home, Norm. You know; the guys who are up there with you now. But it was our "un-mentioned" efforts that brought the POW's home. We kept the faith with them, and with you.

It never really ended. We seemed to go directly from combat into disabled retirement and poverty, ignored by those whose freedoms we insured by paying
that bloody premium. Our salary, as highly educated-combat proven Naval officers and fighter pilots, was about the same as what the current administration bestows as a "minimum" wage upon the millions of today's low-information, unmotivated, clueless graduates. Most of them lounge at home on unemployment rolls and feed off the taxes that we pay on our military retirements; which are 80% less than what the current All Volunteer Force receives and from which we have already lost 26% of our buying power to pencil-sharpening bureaucrats who "adjust" the economic data.

Do you remember, Norm? We got 55 bucks a month for flying combat; precisely $2.99 for each of the 276 missions I flew off Yankee Station. Can you
believe America's new All Volunteer Force, which recently fought a war with a casualty rate less than 10% of ours ... and only 1% of WWII ... , received
more than $1,000 a month combat pay from a guilt-ridden Congress, which trusts paid mercenaries more than old-fashioned American patriotic courage.
The families of those of us who were killed in Vietnam got $10,000 of life insurance. Today's survivors get $100,000! Unfortunately, the gutless liberalism of today's elected officials has created the worst of all possible situations: Our socially engineered, under-funded, military couldn't presently fight its way out of a wet Chinese paper lantern!

The politically adjusted report, issued for the 100th Anniversary of U.S. Naval Aviation, confirmed that we and our brothers who flew in Korea have been written out of American history. Norm, I only hope that today's over-paid bureaucratic "dudes" who cook the books, scramble the facts, and push the propaganda for their political puppet-masters, will not be able to scrub your name off the Wall. The Wall and our memories are the only things many of us have left. We hold those memories dear! We band together in groups like the Crusader Association, which is now holding its 27th "Last Annual" reunion. Some say the association has to do with flying a peculiar aircraft, I say it has to do with a peculiar bunch of guys. We're damned few now! After 5,000 hours flying simulated and actual combat, and pulling at least 5 G's more than 25,000 times, those who are still around have ultrasounds resembling haunted houses on Halloween; with nerve bundles sagging like cobwebs, leaking valves, and ruptured pipes. We'll all be seeing you shortly, Norm. Put in a good word for us with the Man. Ask Him to think of us as His peacemakers, as His children. Have a restful Memorial Day. You earned it.

Very Respectfully,
Your Roommate Dick (Brown Bear) Schaffert

Last, but certainly not least, Marine Al Brewster comments: “NFL nightmare – the 49er QB (as a 28 year military vet I refuse to use his name) has put the NFL between a rock and a hard place! Likely a small group of players will join in the ‘sit in’ during future games – further igniting the ire of the highly patriotic NFL fans. I expect the NFL leadership will opt to abandon the playing of the anthem and the flag ceremonies as part of the game opening ceremonies – thereby removing the opportunity of further embarrassment for them. In cities that opt to continue to include the ceremony (Texas for sure) the NFL will demand that the TV coverage break for a long commercial during such ceremony and prohibit commentators from making reference to anything that occurs during the Anthem- avoiding National exposure. So what’s a fan to do? With most holding season tickets that have cost $5,000+ — plus- it will take a ‘True Patriot’ with a strong stomach to chuck that in protest. They can, however join with the TV viewers and BOYCOTT all Advertisers on any game that falls to the ‘sit-in’ culprits, PLUS let those advertisers know by letter. The one sign the owners understand is the dollar! Let’s start this Thursday evening!”

No comments:

Post a Comment