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News Letter April 2007
“The Monthly Diamondhead”
Editor-Reporter-Chief Cook-Web Slave-
E- mail: email@example.com
This page survives strictly on Donations, no Donations no exist.
Please Add Yourself to our electronic US MAP "Where We Are", then I can loose all these pins and flags on my wall
This month we brought several new people to the fold of long lost 25th Aviation Personnel. Newly found personnel:
For the Little Bears we added Clifford Mosier and Jess Forester
For Diamondhead we drew a blank this month
For HHD we found , absolutely no one
After doing quite a bit of research on our members past and present. It is evident that now more than 25% of us are pushing up daisies in a grave somewhere, or sitting in an urn on someone's mantle. Sad but true people, we are getting old.
I wish to apologize for being so out of touch these last couple of months. Since the pickup truck that hit my house and turned my office upside down with me in it, my neck and back have been screwed up and I just cant sit at a computer to long at a time. I have had to go to the chiropractor several times a week, and get worked over. Finally I am almost back to normal after four months or so.
To go along with that I have been taking a photography class at the local college, and taking baseball and basketball pictures for them, and afew local high schools. See http://Ron Leonard.eventpictures.com
I will be leaving for Alaska for the summer in afew days, so I am making a concentrated effort to get this edition out before I leave. I will start something new this year, I will just keep a daily blog spot for the summer, instead of the usual compilation at the end of the trip. It can be found at http://25thaviation.org/blog , and it will assure the end product is much better than in the past.
During April I went to visit my daughter in Connecticut, it rained the entire time so not much but visiting got accomplished, although Ed Davis drove up to meet me for lunch, and we had a good chat. More would have came but the weather was calling for a nor easter and they stayed home for safety's sake. As it turned out the airlines had canceled many flights and it was a true adventure getting back home.
On the 21st of April I drove to Dallas to attend the Donut Dollie Reunion. It was fun to visit with a couple of the gals I hadn't seen in nearly 40 years. But believe me, the petite round eyed 20 year olds we all remember have changed just a little bit, but then haven't we all.:)
While there I ran into Susan Mclean, (Ginny Kirsch was her friend) and George Slook? He is writing a book about Ginny Kirsch, the Donut Dollie who was murdered in 1969 at Cu Chi. The mystery after all these years is finally solved..but hey that is another story, so stay tuned.
During the reunion Arrowhead Films who produced In The Shadow of The Blade previewed their new film about the Red Cross Girls, "A Touch Of Home". It will be a winner just as Shadow was. As time allows I will add more to the events in Dallas, and post afew more pictures. If any of you remember some of the girls by name, ask me and I can most likely help you locate them, with a little help from my friends:)
Cheryl Fries (Arrowhead Films lower center)
Afew Pictures of the gals
I have a pretty big list of dead email addresses, if you have a new one please let me know " If you are dead" you didn't give notice
We still have afew of our reunion coins available. There was only 100 made so they will be collectors items. If you want one let me know. They are $10 and the proceeds go into the reunion fund. If you have paypal, my account is firstname.lastname@example.org,
or mail a check to
PO Box 1451
The real deal
The new Association patches are in, they are 12" in diameter and suitable to frame, or sew on the back of a jacket.
Cost is $15 each, and includes shipping send a check or money order to :
12011 Las Nubes St.
San Antonio, TX 78233-5942
The 25th Aviation Regiment is deployed to Iraq as we speak, so how about it send them a little something from us old guys. It will be apppreciated.
CSM Rob Felder or LTC Frank Tate
TF 2-25th Avn
APO AE 09393
We have approached a very special point in time. There is a window open to us to tell our stories, to get our side of the story told. Every day this window gets smaller, as can be attested to by the number of our members that have left us since coming home. If you can all just take the time to sit down, and write that one good story, send it to me so I can record it. This way the historical events are not forgotten. Don't worry about it being perfect, I can fix it up for you.
I'll make it easy for you, below is a composite of events from the Daily Journals from 1968. Most of the import things are left in tact and most unimportant things have been omitted. If you can make comments on the events of those days listed, or others, drop me a note and I will add them to the list of events with our stories, news articles etc. If I can get a little cooperation with this I will do it for the rest of the years.
Marlin Price made this copy afew years ago and it is listed on the web page, but no one seemed to give a hoot where it was posted, so lets try it this way.
Association Reunion San Antonio 2008,
The Tropic Lighting Association Reunion will be held in San Antonio, in November 2008. The planning is underway and the particulars will be made available soon.
2007 Annual Fishing Trip in Alaska
As it was this year it will take place on the Kenai Peninsula. September is a great time, the leaves are changing, the Silver Salmon are plentiful, the crowds of tourists are gone, and huge rainbow trout are on the prowl. They run up to 35” and there are many of them. The Kenai River is without a doubt the premier trout stream on the continent. If you are interested let me know and I will start figuring out an Itinerary and make it happen once more.
2007 Welcome Home For Troops in Iraq
August or Sept in Hawaii…I will keep you posted
2007 Littlebear Association Reunion Wednesday, April 25th through Sunday, April 29th in Williamsburg Virginia click here for details and After Action Report (What I have as of Today..more tofollow)
2007 VHCMA REUNION will be in ORLANDO, FLORIDA June 20-24, click here for details
This is long - however it demonstrates how our polictical system within the DC beltway is not working.
Subject: Letter From The Senior Chaplain At Walter Reed
I have had enough and am going to give my perspective on the news aboutWalter Reed Army Medical Center. Please understand that I am speaking for myself and I am responsible for my thoughts alone. The news media and
politicians are making it sound like Walter Reed is a terrible place and the staff here has been abusing our brave wounded soldiers; what a bunch of bull!
I am completing my 24th year of service in the Army next month so you decide for yourself if I have the experience to write about this topic. I have been the senior clinical chaplain at Walter Reed for four years and will leave to go back to the infantry this summer. I supervise the chaplain staff inside Walter Reed that cares for the 200 inpatients, the 650+ daily outpatients from the war who come to us for medical care, the 4000+ staff, and over 3000 soldiers and their families that come for clinical appointments daily.
Walter Reed has cared for over 5500 wounded from the war. I cannot count the number of sick and non-battle injured that have come through over that timeframe. The staff at this facility has done an incredible job at the largest US military medical center with the worst injured of the war. We have cared for over 400 amputees and their families. I am privileged to serve the wounded, their families, and our staff.
When the news about building 18 broke I was on leave. I was in shock when the news broke. We in the chaplains office in Walter Reed, as well as the majority of people at Walter Reed, did not know anyone was in building 18. I didn't even know we had a building 18. How can that happen? Walter Reed is over 100 acres of 66 buildings on two installations. Building 18 is not on the installation of Walter Reed and was believed to be closed years ago by our department. The fact that some leaders in the medical brigade that is in
charge of the outpatients put soldiers in there is terrible. That is why the company commander, first sergeant, and a group of platoon leaders and platoon sergeants were relieved immediately. They failed their soldiers and the Army. The commanding general was later relieved (more about this) and his sergeant major has been told to move on--if he gets to. The brigade sergeant major was relieved and more relief's are sure to come and need to.
As any leader knows, if you do not take care of soldiers, lie, and then try to cover it up, you are not worthy of the commission you hold and should be sent packing. I have no issue, and am actually proud, that they did relieve the leaders they found who knew of the terrible conditions some of our outpatients were enduring. The media is making it sound like these conditions are rampant at Walter Reed and nothing could be further from the truth. We need improvements and will now get them. I hate it that it took this to make it happen.
The Army and the media made MG Weightman, our CG, out to be the problem and fired him. This was a great injustice. He was only here for six months, is responsible for military medical care in the 20 Northeast states, wears four "hats" of responsibilities, and relies on his subordinate leaders to know what is happening in their areas of responsibilities. He has a colonel that runs the hospital (my hospital commander), a colonel that runs the medical brigade (where the outpatient wounded are assigned and supposedly cared for), and a colonel that is responsible to run the garrison and installation. What people don't know is that he was making many changes as he became aware of them and had requested money to fix other places on the installation. The Army did not come through until four months after he asked for the money, remember that he was here only six months, which was only days before they relieved him. His leaders responsible for outpatient care did not tell him about conditions in building 18. He has been an incredible
leader who really cares about the wounded, their families, and our staff. I cannot say the same about a former commander, who was my first commander here at Walter Reed, and definitely knew about many problems and is in the position to fix them and he did not. MG Weightman also should not be held responsible for the military's unjust and inefficient medical board system and the problems in the VA system. We lost a great leader and passionate man who showed he had the guts to make changes and was doing so when he was made
the scapegoat for others.
What I am furious about is that the media is making it sound like all of Walter Reed is like building 18. Nothing could be further from the truth. No system is perfect but the medical staff provides great care in this hospital. What needs to be addressed, and finally will, is the bureaucratic garbage that all soldiers are put through going into medical boards and medical retirements. Congress is finally giving the money that people have asked for at Walter Reed for years to fix places on the installations and address shortcomings. What they don't want you to know is Congress caused many problems by the BRAC process saying they were closing Walter Reed. We cannot keep nor attract all the quality people we need at Walter Reed when they know this place will close in several years and they are not promised a job at the new hospital. Then they did this thing call A76 where they fired many of the workers here for a company of contractors, IAP, to get a
contract to provide care outside the hospital proper. The company, which is responsible for maintenance, only hired half the number of people as there were originally assigned to maintenance areas to save money. Walter Reed leadership fought the A76 and BRAC process for years but lost. Congress instituted the BRAC and A76 process; not the leadership of Walter Reed.
What I wish everyone would also hear is that for every horror story we are now hearing about in the media that truly needs to be addressed, you are not hearing about the hundreds of other wounded and injured soldiers who tell a story of great care they received. You are not hearing about the incredibly high morale of our troops and the fact that most of them want to go back, be with their teammates, and finish the job properly. You should be very proud of the wounded troopers we have at Walter Reed. They make me so proud to be in the Army and I will fight to get their story out.
I want you to hear the whole story because our wounded, their families, our Army, and the nation need to know that many in the media and select politicians have an agenda. Forget agendas and make the changes that have been needed for years to fix problems in every military hospital and the VA system. The poor leaders will be identified and sent packing and good riddance to them. I wish the same could be said for the politicians and media personalities who are also responsible but now want it to look like they are very concerned. Where have they been for the last four years? I am ashamed of what they all did and the pain it has caused many to think that everyone is like that. Please know that you are not hearing the whole story.
Please know that there are thousands of dedicated soldiers and civilian medical staff caring for your soldiers and their families. When I leave here I will end up deploying. When soldiers in my division have to go to Walter Reed from the battlefield, I know they will get great medical care. I pray that you know the same thing. God bless all our troops and their families wherever they may be. God bless you all,
+Chaplain John L. Kallerson
Senior Chaplain Clinician
Walter Reed Army Medical Center
While surfing the net today, I came across the following quote on the web site for veterans of the Army's Delta 2/8, 1st Cavalry Div. Airmobile:
"In Giap's 1985 memoir about the war, he wrote that if it weren't for organizations like Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Hanoi would have surrendered to the U.S. Giap was quoted as saying, 'What we still don't understand is why you Americans stopped the bombing of Hanoi. You had us on the ropes. If you had pressed us a little harder, just for another day or two, we were ready to surrender! It was the same at the battles of TET. You defeated us! We knew it, and we thought you knew it. But, we were elated to notice the media were definitely helping us. They were causing more disruption in America than we could in the battlefields. Yes, we were ready to surrender. You had won!'
Medical and VA Issues:
ARMY DISABILITY RATINGS:
According to veterans' advocates, lawyers and services members the Army is deliberately shortchanging troops on their disability retirement ratings to hold down costs. In support of this the Inspector General has identified 87 problems in the system that need fixing.
“These people are being systematically underrated,” said Ron Smith, deputy general counsel for Disabled American Veterans. “It's a bureaucratic game to preserve the budget, and it's having an adverse affect on service members.” The numbers of people approved for permanent or temporary disability retirement in the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force have stayed relatively stable since 2001. But in the Army, while in the midst of a war, the number of soldiers approved for permanent disability retirement has plunged by more than two-thirds, from 642 in 2001 to 209 in 2005, according to a GAO report last year. That decline has come even as the war in Iraq has intensified and the totalnumber of soldiers wounded or injured there has soared above 15,000.
The Army denies there is any intentional effort to push wounded troops off the military rolls. But critics say many troops being evaluated for
possible disability retirement accept the first rating they are offered during their first informal board. Dennis Brower, legal advisor for the Army's Physical Disability Agency, acknowledged as much, saying only 10% of soldiers request a formal board. If they were to request a formal board, and then appeal the decision of that board, they would receive higher ratings. The system is complicated, “unduly so” the Rand Corp. think tank said in a 2005 report, and the counselors who advise troops often have insufficient training or experience. Service members also assume that after months spent in a war zone, the military will look out for them, critics say. Those who try to navigate the process beyond their initial evaluation face long waits, lost paperwork and months or even years away from home as they try to complete the process. If they receive a rating of above 30%, they receive disability retirement pay, medical benefits, and commissary privileges. Those rated under 30% they receive severance pay and no benefits. Many eventually give up and take their chances with the VA, which may give a higher rating for the same
Under the separate disability payment systems of the Defense Department and the VA, a higher VA rating does not necessarily translate into more money, and forgoing military disability retirement also means giving up lifetime commissary and exchange privileges, military health care and other benefits. While the number of soldiers placed on permanent disability retirement has declined in the past five years, the number placed on temporary disability retirement with medical conditions that officials rule might improve so they can return to work over time or worsen to the point that they must be permanently retired has increased more than fourfold, from 165 in 2001 to 837 in 2005. Troops on temporary disability leave convalesce for 18 months while receiving reduced basic pay. After that they are reevaluated and either returned to duty, or rated for separation or permanent disability retirement, or sent back to temporary disability for another 18 months up to five years. Along with paying them reduced wages during that time, the eventual reevaluation often leads to downward revisions in their disability ratings and lower disability payments. Service members' conditions must be deemed stable before they receive a permanent disability rating, unless they are rated at less than 30%. In that case, they are discharged with severance pay whether they are in stable condition or not. If their conditions then worsen, they'll receive no more money from the military.
Compared to the overall size of the defense budget, disability retirement costs are relatively small. In 2004, the military paid more than $1.2
billion in permanent and temporary disability benefits to 90,000 people, the GAO said. That does not include the costs of lump-sum severance pay (up to 24 months of basic pay) given to 11,174 disabled troops that year in lieu of disability retirement pay. The Pentagon was unable to provide data on severance costs, the GAO said. In 2005, Ellen Embrey, deputy assistant secretary of defense for force health protection and readiness, told House lawmakers the reason for the comparatively large numbers of troops placed on temporary disability was actually to keep end strength up. A premature medical evaluation board decision, she said, “may negatively impact the individual's ability to continue serving.” Col. Andy Buchanan, the Army Physical Disability Agency's deputy commander, said the system is not as bad as government reports have led people to believe. “It really is a fair process,” he said. “It's wide open. We have nothing to hide.” Buchanan also said he had “no visibility” on the costs related to disability retirement pay, so he doesn't know if the budget is going up or down. He said he gives medical evaluation board adjudicators one instruction: “Do the right thing. That's the guidance I give them. There is absolutely no attempt on the part of the Army or this agency to deny soldiers any disability benefits or to push them off on the VA.
Ill-equipped VA only adds to the pain, vets say
By Judith Graham
CHICAGO - Sgt. Garrett Anderson never expected this feeling of betrayal. He loves his country. He supports this war. He believes in his president. He would fight again in Iraq, if he were able.
But coming home has been hell for this injured National Guardsman from Illinois, whose battle to secure medical care and government benefits has undermined his faith in his government.
The latest affront came in mid-March, when the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs sent a letter denying Anderson 100 percent disability, which confers extra pay and benefits, largely because his medical records didn't document that "shrapnel wounds, all over body" were "related to your military service."
"You feel, you give everything you can, and then they turn around and slap you in the face," said Anderson, who also suffered a shattered jaw, smashed eye socket, severed tongue and below-the-elbow amputation of his right arm after an explosion in Iraq. A VA spokesman declined to comment.
Getting help on the home front is a disheartening struggle for growing numbers of wounded soldiers, whose difficulties extend well beyond the conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center that made headlines this year.
In cities large and small, the wounded struggle to find adequate follow-up medical care and rehabilitation services, in part because the VA has been slow to adapt to this new generation of soldiers, observers say. Meanwhile, applying for disability benefits is nightmarishly complex, and long administrative delays leave many injured veterans with little income during a crucial period.
Victor Rojas, a National Guardsman, is among hundreds of Illinois soldiers who have found themselves battling bureaucratic obstacles.
Rojas said he has "no complaints" about his care at Walter Reed, where he awoke from a five-week coma in early 2005 after suffering a traumatic brain injury during a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Iraq. The onslaught also shattered his right knee and severed the femoral artery in that leg.
But when he applied for VA disability benefits, the government's way of compensating retired soldiers for injuries, after returning to Illinois, "it took months and months and months," said Rojas, 22. "I felt, like, forgotten."
The agency lost his paperwork at least twice and required Rojas to show up at numerous appointments, even though his memory problems made it difficult, according to Eric Schuller, a senior adviser to Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn. A VA official in the Chicago office said he couldn't comment on the case.
Nationally, the backlog of claims for VA disability benefits has swelled to about 400,000.
The VA says it is "aggressively pursuing measures to decrease the pending inventory of disability claims and shorten the time veterans must wait for decisions." Steps include hiring new staff and expanding outreach.
But advocates say the changes don't go far enough. And they worry especially about young soldiers with moderate brain injuries whose condition impairs their ability to navigate a mazelike bureaucracy.
"It's the guys who are slightly wounded but still disabled, the guys who can't focus at work and who lose their jobs, that I'm really worried about. No one's reaching out to find them and to make sure they're taken care of," said Tammy Duckworth, director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs.
Rojas finally received a 100 percent disability rating in June 2006, a full year after applying. "It gives you a bad feeling, but what I really worry about is people with bigger injuries than mine," he said.
Yuriy Zmysly, 22, is one of those people. Inspired by the Sept. 11 attacks, Zmysly enlisted in the Marines soon after graduating from high school in 2002. Zmysly later served almost two years in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He suffered a devastating brain injury not in the theater of combat but during an emergency appendix operation on a Marine base in January 2006. In fact, many war-related medical crises arise when personnel are training on base or undergoing demobilization.
When Zmysly awoke at a private hospital in Hinsdale, Ill., after lying in a coma for 2 1/2 months, he was unable to talk, walk or use his hands.
His wife, Aimee, 21, angrily dismissed the hospital staff's suggestion he go to a nursing home and arranged for him to be admitted to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where he received hours of therapy daily. After 17 weeks, Zmysly was beginning to stand and try to walk. The military's health-care plan covered the stay.
But after Zmysly was discharged from the Marines in July, his case shifted to the VA, which provides care almost exclusively at its own enormous network of hospitals and medical clinics across the U.S.
Zmysly moved to Hines VA Hospital just outside Chicago, where therapists quickly concluded he had reached his maximum level of recovery. His wife thought their expectations were too low and their efforts to help him inadequate.
"It was so frustrating to see the gains Yuriy had made at the Rehab Institute being lost," she said.
Now home in Oak Lawn, Ill., Zmysly is getting five hours of physical and speech therapy at Hines weekly - barely enough to improve his state. His wife has tried to schedule more therapy, to no avail.
"They mean well, but they're overworked and underfunded," she said.
A Hines spokeswoman said the hospital was committed to providing excellent care but declined to comment on the case, citing patient confidentiality.
Dr. Joanne Smith, head of the Rehabilitation Institute, said such stories reveal a troubling gap in services: Military hospitals are great at treating trauma but don't focus on helping patients learn to live with disabilities. And while the VA is trying to expand rehab services, it doesn't have the resources or expertise needed for optimal results.
"It's obvious some of these men and women are not getting the care they need," said Kathleen Yosko, president of the American Rehabilitation Providers Association and Marianjoy Physical Rehabilitation Hospital in Wheaton.
The VA strongly disputes that assertion, saying it has invested enormous resources and is well-prepared to handle soldiers with challenging injuries through 21 new "polytrauma" centers of excellence, including one established last year at Hines.
Anderson, the National Guardsman, credits the Army with saving his life after an improvised explosive device detonated under his Humvee in Iraq in October 2005.
But he said he encountered extraordinary bureaucratic hassles and sheer nastiness after leaving Walter Reed's famed amputation ward and entering "medical hold," the period when the Army decides whether soldiers receiving outpatient care will return to active duty or be discharged.
The hospital gave him a gray backpack to carry his prosthetic arms to therapy. But because it wasn't Army-issue black, soldiers would yell insults at Anderson as he crossed the 15-acre campus, he said.
"This happened repeatedly," said Anderson's wife, Sami, who left law school to stay at his side at Walter Reed. "It's military first, healing second everywhere you turn."
In a prepared statement, the Defense Department said it takes pride in "the highest survival rate for the wounded in the history of American military operations" but acknowledged deficiencies.
"In several areas relating to service members recuperating from injury, or seeking to move forward with their lives, we have fallen short," it said.
The couple moved back to Champaign in June 2006, where they waited for the VA's disability determination. The decision, when it finally came last month, was a shock.
Because Anderson's medical records from Iraq weren't available - like many soldiers, he returned to the U.S. without them - and the source of his shrapnel went undocumented at Walter Reed, the agency awarded him a disability rating of only 90 percent.
That meant Anderson would have to pay property taxes and would receive an income of about $1,000 less each month.
"I'm really disappointed," said Anderson, 30. He has filed an appeal and has a new appointment with VA medical reviewers later this month. But nationwide, appeals are currently taking close to two years.
Meanwhile, the family has been unable to find a local specialist, either at the nearest VA or in Champaign, to treat Anderson's amputated right arm. As a result, Anderson hasn't received follow-up medical attention for constant nerve pain and potential bone spurs since returning to Illinois.
"You've got soldiers with a new breed of injury who, like Garrett, don't know where to turn," Sami Anderson said. "I don't think anyone was prepared for the issues they're bringing home."
Lima Site 85
Ultra Top Secret "Q" clearance Lima Site 85 was probably one of the closest guarded secrets of the secret war in Laos. The book One Day Too Long is an amazing account of this "place". It was eventually overrun in March 1968 with all hands lost. A truly incredible story of the backwaters of Vietnam and Laos where men died alone and were forgotten.
These interesting stories slowly filter out. There are some stories that just paint a vivid picture in your mind of the happening and this is one of those for me. I can picture the action and almost humor of this war story about a modern air attack, with some not so modern aircraft. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction! While in Vietnam I had several trips in Air America planes where the pilots looked like bus drivers, but they were paid well and knew no fear.
Read this interesting account of one of the Vietnam conflict's lesser known aspects. By Lawrence E. Pence - Colonel, USAF (Ret)
For most servicemen who served in Vietnam, the Freedom Bird was that civil airliner which took them back to the land of the big PX at the end of their tour. Mine was a bit different sort of Freedom Bird. In mid-1967, as a junior Air Force Captain, I was detailed to 7th AF Hq in Saigon as an Air Technical Intelligence Liaison Officer, short name: ATLO (the "I" gets left out, as people look strangely at anyone who calls himself an ATILO, thinking he is somehow related to Atilla the Hun). My job was to provide 7AF and the air war the best technical intelligence support that the Foreign Technology Division of AF Systems Command (my parent organization) could provide, in whatever area or discipline needed. Also I was to collect such technical intelligence as became available. This was a tall order for a young Captain, and this assignment provided much excitement, including the Tet Offensive.
At that time, Operation Rolling Thunder was underway, the bombing of military targets in North Vietnam. The weather in NVN was often lousy, making it difficult to find and accurately strike the assigned targets, so a radar control system was set up to direct the strike force to their targets. This system was installed in a remote, sheer-sided karst mountain just inside Laos on the northern Laos/NVN border. The site could be accessed only by helicopter or a tortuous trail winding up the near-vertical mountainside, so it was judged to be easily defensible. The mountaintop was relatively flat and about 30 acres in size.
On it was a tiny Hmong village called Phu Pha Ti, a small garrison of Thai and Meo mercenaries for defense, a helicopter pad and ops shack for the CIA-owned Air America Airline, and the radar site, which was manned by "sheep-dipped" US Air Force enlisted men in civilian clothes. Both the US and NVN paid lip service to the fiction that Laos was a neutral country, and no foreign military were stationed there, when in reality we had a couple of hundred people spread over several sites, and NVN had thousands on the Ho Chi Minh trail in eastern Laos. This particular site was called Lima (L for Laos) Site 85. The fighter-bomber crews called it Channel 97 (the radar frequency), and all aircrews called it North Station, since it was the furthest north facility in "friendly" territory. Anywhere north of North Station was bad guy land.
The Channel 97 radar system was an old SAC precision bomb scoring radar which could locate an aircraft to within a few meters at a hundred miles. In this application, the strike force would fly out from Lima Site 85 a given distance on a given radial, and the site operators would tell the strike leader precisely when to release his bomb load. It was surprisingly accurate, and allowed the strikes to be run at night or in bad weather.
This capability was badly hurting the North Vietnamese war effort, so they decided to take out Lima Site 85. Because of the difficulty of mounting a ground assault on Lima Site 85, and its remote location, an air strike was planned. Believe it or not, the NVNAF chose biplanes as their "strike bombers!" This has to be the only combat use of biplanes since the 1930's. The aircraft used were Antonov designed AN-2 general purpose 'workhorse' biplanes with a single 1000hp radial piston engine and about one ton payload. Actually, once you get past the obvious "Snoopy and the Red Baron" image, the AN-2 was not a bad choice for this mission. Its biggest disadvantage is, like all biplanes, it is slow. The Russians use the An-2 for a multitude of things, such as medevac, parachute training, flying school bus, crop dusting, and so on. An AN-2 just recently flew over the North Pole. In fact, if you measure success of an aircraft design by the criteria of number produced and length of time in series production, you could say that the AN-2 is the most successful aircraft design in the history of aviation!
The NVNAF fitted out their AN-2 "attack bombers with a 12 shot 57mm folding fin aerial rocket pod under each lower wing, and 20 250mm mortar rounds with aerial bomb fuses set in vertical tubes let into the floor of the aircraft cargo bay. These were dropped through holes cut in the cargo bay floor. Simple hinged bomb-bay doors closed these holes in flight. The pilot could salvo his bomb load by opening these doors. This was a pretty good munitions load to take out a soft,undefended target like a radar site.
Altogether, the mission was well planned and equipped and should have been successful, but Murphy's Law prevailed. A three plane strike force was mounted, with two attack air craft and one standing off as command and radio relay. They knew the radar site was on the mountaintop, but they did not have good intelligence as to its precise location, It was well camouflaged, and could not be seen readily from the air. They also did not realize that we had "anti-aircraft artillery" and "air defense interceptor" forces at the site. Neither did we realize this.The AN-2 strike force rolled in on the target, mistook the Air America ops shack for the radar site, and proceeded to ventilate it. The aforementioned "anti-aircraft artillery" force - one little Thai mercenary about five feet tall and all balls- heard the commotion, ran out on the helicopter pad, stood in the path of the attacking aircraft spraying rockets and bombs everywhere, and emptied a 27-round clip from his AK-47 into the AN-2, which then crashed and burned. At this juncture, the second attack aircraft broke off and turned north towards home.
The "air defense interceptor" force was an unarmed Air America Huey helicopter which was by happenstance on the pad at the time, the pilot and flight mechanic having a Coke in the ops shack. When holes started appearing in the roof, they ran to their Huey and got airborne, not quite believing the sight of two biplanes fleeing north. Then the Huey pilot, no slouch in the balls department either, realized that his Huey was faster than the biplanes! So he did the only thing a real pilot could do - attack!
The Huey overtook the AN-2's a few miles inside North Viet-nam, unknown to the AN-2's as their rearward visibility is nil. The Huey flew over the rearmost AN-2 and the helicopter's down-wash stalled out the upper wing of the AN-2. Suddenly the hapless AN-2 pilot found himself sinking like a stone! So he pulled the yoke back in his lap and further reduced his forward speed. Mean-while, the Huey flight mechanic, not to be outdone in the macho contest, crawled out on the Huey's skid and, one-handed ,his AK-47 into the cockpit area of the AN-2, killing or wounding the pilot and copilot. At this point, the AN-2 went into a flat spin and crashed into a mountainside, but did not burn.
It should come as no surprise that the Air America pilot and flight mechanic found themselves in a heap of trouble with the State Department REMF's in Vientiane. (REMF is an acronym. The first three words are Rear, Echelon, and Mother...) In spite of the striped-pants cookie-pushers' discomfort at (horrors!) an international incident (or perhaps, partly because of it) these guys were heroes to everybody in the theatre who didn't wear puce panties and talk with a lisp.
They accomplished a couple of firsts:
(1) The first and only combat shoot down of a biplane by a helicopter,
(2) The first known CIA air-to-air victory.
Huey Pioneer Dies
This past week one of real pioneers of Bell Helicopter died. When I joined Bell in 1981, Hans was a Vice President of the company at a time when we only had 3 or 4 VPs instead of the almost 50 we have now. Back then all the big wheels of the company were driving Mercedes, BMWs and Cadillacs, Hans always drove an old beat up Ford station wagon and parked it right up front with all the fancy cars. Usually on Fridays you would see a canoe that he hand made strapped to the top of it because he would be hitting a river somewhere. He was a real outdoorsman and one of the nicest people you would ever meet. I'm forwarding this to all you "Old Huey Drivers" for the interesting tidbit about how the D &H Model Hueys came about. Only Bell would mention a barf bag in a man's obituary. Cliff 2007-03-16 13:55:29 Hans Weichsel, a Bell Helicopter pioneer, dies imageHans Weichsel, who is known for sketching out a new version of the Huey on the back of a barf bag, died March 13 in San Antonio. Services are pending with burial expected to take place in St. Louis. Weichsel joined Bell in 1950 and retired in 1984 as a vice president/general manager. He worked closely with Larry Bell in the early days of Bell Aircraft Co. Weichsel helped open the door to the use of helicopter in the Korean War partly because of kindness to a little girl with a lollipop. It was August, 1950, and the Korean War was in its early stages. Larry Bell, along with Weichsel and Joe Mashman, had flown to Army headquarters in Fort Monroe, Va., in a Bell 47 to convince the brass that the helicopter would be beneficial in Korea. Bell and Mashman, Bell's second helicopter pilot, went inside to try to talk with Army officials, while Weichsel, Bell's sales engineer, waited with the helicopter and polished it with a rag. While Bell and Mashman were met with closed doors, a little girl of perhaps 7 or 8, and holding a lollipop,! approached Weichsel - and, as children will do, began to explore the helicopter with her sticky fingers. Weichsel patiently wiped down the helicopter after her. When the little girl finally asked for a ride, Weichsel, who privately wanted the child to leave, finally told her she could have a ride if her father came with her. Of course, Weichsel had no idea that the little girl's father was a general - and one who would open doors for Bell. The company went on to work with the Army to come up with designs to meet customer requirements. While trying to reconcile the nine-man design of the Huey with the 13-man requirement of the Army, Weichsel sketched a new version of the Huey on the back of an air sickness bag.
Although that sketch wasn't the version finally adopted, it laid the foundation for the Huey that is recognized the world over for saving lives - and for transporting troops in and out of harm's way. He also was part of the group that came up with the initial design of the Model 201 - or Sioux Scout. Mashman, Bell's second helicopter pilot, worked closely with Weichsel. He is quoted in The Bell Helicopter Textron Story as saying, "Back in those days, the military didn't know enough about helicopters to come up with a design spec. So it was Hans Weichsel's ingenuity, in figuring out what the military would be responsive to, that gave engineering an insight into what sort of design we needed or what to improve. And he was responsible for a lot of the designs - many of which were improvements on early production helicopters - some of which were based on my observations."
By Oliver North
April 27, 2007
If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is right, nearly 60 percent of Americans agree with him that the war in Iraq is already lost. And if he is correct in saying that losing the war will increase Democrat majorities in future elections, then it may be fair to conclude that Americans now love losers. I'm not buying any of it -- and neither are the troops who are fighting this war.
In the days since Reid announced "this war is lost," I have heard from dozens of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Guardsmen and Marines that I have covered in eight trips to Iraq and two to Afghanistan for FOX News. Some of those who correspond with me are there now, others are home. Some are preparing to deploy again. None of them agree with Reid's assessment.
One e-mail from Ramadi, Iraq observed: "Good thing this guy Reid wasn't around in 1940 when Winston Churchill promised the people of Great Britain nothing but 'blood, toil, tears and sweat.'" Another, a Guardsman who recently returned from Mesopotamia with a Purple Heart, noted that Reid has become "Al Qaeda's most powerful ally." A Marine corporal I last saw along the banks of the Tigris River -- now a Mississippi State University student -- asked me, "Do those people who think we've lost this war have any idea what things will be like if we really do lose?" It's an important question that none of the potentates on the Potomac who just voted to withdraw U.S. troops appear willing to address.
According to military folklore, Napoleon kept a corporal at his side to ensure that the orders issued in battle were understandable by the troops who had to carry them out. Whether true or not, it's time for Reid and Nancy Pelosi to find such a corporal who will ask them such questions, for if the Democrats continue their current course, we may well lose this war -- and they will have embraced defeat and all that comes with it.
What would losing the war in Iraq mean? It's a picture so dark and depressing that it makes the collapse in Vietnam, 32 years ago next week, look like a Sunday school picnic. The fall of Saigon was horrific for the people of Vietnam and their neighbors in Cambodia and Laos. More than 5 million became refugees and by the most conservative estimates at least a million others perished.
For most Americans, the consequences were minimal. The vast majority of the 2.8 million of us who had fought and bled there mourned the loss of 58,253 of our comrades, swallowed the bitterness of defeat and got on with our lives. Our nation spent a few hundred million tax dollars on refugee relief and resettlement, and tried to forget what people in Reid's party called "the long nightmare of Vietnam."
But classified U.S. intelligence assessments, military contingency plans and staff studies evaluating the consequences of a precipitous U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, coupled with the lack of funding for political reform measures, as contained in the legislation just passed by Reid's party, paint a far more dismal picture than anything that happened after Vietnam.
-- Within months, an immediate upsurge in vicious sectarian violence fomented by Iranian intervention on behalf of Shiite militias and Wahabbi-supported, Al Qaeda-affiliated terror groups. As U.S. forces retreat to a half-dozen staging areas for retrograde through Kuwait and Jordan, American casualties will dramatically increase as suicide bombers seek "martyrdom" in their victory.
-- Inside of 18 months, the fragile democratically elected government in Baghdad will collapse, precipitating a real sectarian civil war and the creation of Taliban-like "regional governments" that will impose brutal, misogynistic rule throughout the country. The ensuing flood of refuges into Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Iran will overwhelm relief organizations, creating a humanitarian disaster making what's happening in Darfur pale by comparison.
-- The Kurds in northern Iraq are likely to declare an autonomous region that could well result in Turkish, Iranian and even Syrian military intervention.
-- In the course of withdrawing U.S. combat brigades and support units, billions of dollars in American military equipment and ordnance will have to be destroyed or left behind. More than $40 billion in reconstruction projects for schools, health-care facilities, sanitation, clean water, electrical distribution and agricultural development will be abandoned. Plans to exploit the new West Qurna oil field in southeastern Iraq will be forsaken.
-- The governments of Kuwait, Jordan, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, intimidated by Iranian boldness in acquiring nuclear weapons, will likely insist on the withdrawal of American military bases from their territories. Such a move will jeopardize U.S. naval operations in the Persian Gulf and logistics, intelligence collection and command and control facilities supporting operations in Afghanistan.
-- As Iraq becomes a battleground for the centuries-long Sunni-Shia conflict, radical Islamic terror organizations will use the territories they control to prepare and launch increasingly deadly terror attacks around the globe against U.S. citizens, businesses and interests.
Reid and his cohorts in Congress who believe "this war is lost" have acted to ensure that it will be. No one asked them: "If we lost, who won?" The answer should be obvious.
Listen to one trooper in Iraq give his assessment of what is going on
http://eagles.soft-vision.com/ Just click the play link on the screen wshen it comes up
A GLOBAL INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING
Originally written for CEO's
WORTH TEN MINUTES TO READ: This is for your personal evaluation
Herb Meyer served during the Reagan administration as special assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council. In these positions, he managed production of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimates and other top-secret projections for the President and his national security advisers. Meyer is widely credited with being the first senior U.S. Government official to forecast the Soviet Union's collapse, for which he later was awarded the U.S. National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the intelligence community's highest honor. Formerly an associate editor of FORTUNE, he is also the author of several books.
FOUR MAJOR TRANSFORMATIONS
Currently, there are four major transformations that are shaping political, economic and world events. These transformations have profound implications for American business owners, our culture and our way of life.
1. The War in Iraq
There are three major monotheistic religions in the world: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In the 16th century, Judaism and Christianity reconciled with the modern world. The rabbis, priests and scholars found a way to settle up and pave the way forward. Religion remained at the center of life, church and state became separate. Rule of law, idea of economic liberty, individual rights, human Rights-all these are defining points of modern Western civilization. These concepts started with the Greeks but didn't take off until the 15th and 16th century when Judaism and Christianity found a way to reconcile with the modern world. When that happened, it unleashed the scientific revolution and the greatest outpouring of art, literature and music the world has ever known.
Islam, which developed in the 7th century, counts millions of Moslems around the world who are normal people. However, there is a radical streak within Islam. When the radicals are in charge, Islam attacks Western civilization. Islam first attacked Western civilization in the 7th century, and later in the
16th and 17th centuries. By 1683, the Moslems (Turks from the Ottoman Empire) were literally at the gates of Vienna. It was in Vienna that the climatic battle between Islam and Western civilization took place. The West won and went forward. Islam lost and went backward. Interestingly, the date of that battle was September 11. Since then, Islam has not found a way to reconcile with the modern world.
Today, terrorism is the third attack on Western civilization by radical Islam. To deal with terrorism, the U.S. is doing two things. First, units of our armed forces are in 30 countries around the world hunting down terrorist groups and dealing with them. This gets very little publicity. Second we are taking military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. These are covered relentlessly by the media. People can argue about whether the war in Iraq is right or wrong. However, the underlying strategy behind the war is to use our military to remove the radicals from power and give the moderates a chance. Our hope is that, over time, the moderates will find a way to bring Islam forward into the 21st century. That's what our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan is all about.
The lesson of 9/11 is that we live in a world where a small number of people can kill a large number of people very quickly. They can use airplanes, bombs, anthrax, chemical weapons or dirty bombs. Even with a first-rate intelligence service (which the U.S. does not have), you can't stop every attack. That means our tolerance for political horseplay has dropped to zero. No longer will we play games with terrorists or weapons of mass destructions.
Most of the instability and horseplay is coming from the Middle East. That's why we have thought that if we could knock out the radicals and give the moderates a chance to hold power, they might find a way to reconcile Islam with the modern world. So when looking at Afghanistan or Iraq, it's important to look for any signs that they are modernizing. For example, women being brought into the workforce and colleges in Afghanistan is good. The Iraqis stumbling toward a constitution is good. People can argue about what the U.S. is doing and how we're doing it, but anything that suggests Islam is finding its way forward is good.
2. The Emergence of China
In the last 20 years, China has moved 250 million people from the farms and villages into the cities. Their plan is to move another 300 million in the next 20 years. When you put that many people into the cities, you have to find work for them. That's why China is addicted to manufacturing; they have to put all the relocated people to work. When we decide to manufacture something in the U.S., it's based on market needs and the opportunity to make a profit. In China, they make the decision because they want the jobs, which is a very different calculation.
While China is addicted to manufacturing, Americans are addicted to low prices. As a result, a unique kind of economic codependency has developed between the two countries. If we ever stop buying from China, they will explode politically. If China stops selling to us, our economy ! will take a huge hit because prices will jump. We are subsidizing their economic development; they are subsidizing our economic growth.
Because of their huge growth in manufacturing, China is hungry for raw materials, which drives prices up worldwide. China is also thirsty for oil, which is one reason oil is now at $60 a barrel. By 2020, China will produce more cars than the U.S. China is also buying its way into the oil infrastructure around the world. They are doing it in the open market and paying fair market prices, but millions of barrels of oil that would have gone to the U.S. are now going to China. China's quest to assure it has the oil it needs to fuel its economy is a major factor in world politics and economics. We have our Navy fleets protecting the sea lines, specifically the ability to get the tankers through. It won't be long before the Chinese have an aircraft carrier sitting in the Persian Gulf as well. The question is, will their aircraft carrier be pointing in the same direction as ours or against us?
3. Shifting Demographics of Western Civilization
Most countries in the Western world have stopped breeding. For a civilization obsessed with sex, this is remarkable. Maintaining a steady population requires a birth rate of 2.1. In Western Europe, the birth rate currently stands at 1.5, or 30 percent below replacement. In 30 years there will be 70 to 80 million fewer Europeans than there are today. The current birth rate in Germany is 1.3. Italy and Spain are even lower at 1.2. At that rate, the working age population declines by 30 percent in 20 years, which has a huge impact on the economy.
When you don't have young workers to replace the older ones, you have to import them. The European countries are currently importing Moslems. Today, the Moslems comprise 10 percent of France and Germany, and the percentage is rising rapidly because they have higher birthrates. However, the Moslem populations are not being integrated into the cultures of their host countries, which is a political catastrophe. One reason Germany and France don't support the Iraq war is they fear their Moslem populations will explode on them. By 2020, more than half of all births in the Netherlands will be non-European.
The huge design flaw in the post-modern secular state is that you need a traditional religious society birth rate to sustain it. The Europeans simply don't wish to have children, so they are dying.
In Japan, the birthrate is 1.3. As a result, Japan will lose up to 60 million people over the next 30 years. Because Japan has a very different society than Europe, they refuse to import workers. Instead, they are just shutting down. Japan has already closed 2000 schools, and is closing them down at the rate of 300 per year. Japan is also aging very rapidly. By 2020, one out of every five Japanese will be at least 70 years old. Nobody has any idea about how to run an economy with those demographics.
Europe and Japan, which comprise two of the world's major economic engines, aren't merely in recession, they're shutting down. This will have a huge impact on the world economy, and it is already beginning to happen. Why are the birthrates so low? There is a direct correlation between abandonment of traditional religious society and a drop in birth rate, and Christianity in Europe is becoming irrelevant. The second reason is economic. When the birth rate drops below replacement, the population ages. With fewer working people to support more retired people, it puts a crushing tax burden on the smaller group of working age people. As a result, young people delay marriage and having a family. Once this trend starts, the downward spiral only gets worse. These countries have abandoned all the traditions they formerly held in regards to having families and raising children.
The U.S. birth rate is 2.0, just below replacement. We have an increase in population because of immigration. When broken down by ethnicity, the Anglo birth rate is 1.6 (same as France) while the Hispanic birth rate is 2.7. In the U.S., the baby boomers are starting to retire in massive numbers. This will push the elder dependency ratio from 19 to 38 over the next 10 to 15 years. This is not as bad as Europe, but still represents the same kind of trend.
Western civilization seems to have forgotten what every primitive society understands-you need kids to have a healthy society. Children are huge consumers. Then they grow up to become taxpayers. That 's how a society works, but the post-modern secular state seems to have forgotten that. If U.S. birth rates of the past 20 to 30 years had been the same as post-World War II, there would be no Social Security or Medicare problems.
The world's most effective birth control device is money. As society creates a middle class and women move into the workforce, birth rates drop. Having large families is incompatible with middle class living. The quickest way to drop the birth rate is through rapid economic development. After World War II, the U.S. instituted a $600 tax credit per child. The idea was to enable mom and dad to have four children without being troubled by taxes. This led to a baby boom of 22 million kids, which was a huge consumer market that turned into a huge tax base. However, to match that incentive in today's dollars would cost $12,000 per child.
China and India do not have declining populations. However, in both countries, there is a preference for boys over girls, and we now have the technology to know which is which before they are born. In China and India, many families are aborting the girls. As a result, in each of these countries there are 70 million boys growing up who will never find wives. When left alone, nature produces 103 boys for every 100 girls. In some provinces, however, the ratio is 128 boys to every 100 girls.
The birth rate in Russia is so low that by 2050 their population will be smaller than that of Yemen. Russia has one-sixth of the earth's land surface and much of its oil. You can't control that much area with such a small population. Immediately to the south, you have China with 70 million unmarried men are a real potential nightmare scenario for Russia.
4. Restructuring of American Business
The fourth major transformation involves a fundamental restructuring of American! business. Today' s business environment is very complex and competitive. To succeed, you have to be the best, which means having the highest quality and lowest cost. Whatever your price point, you must have the best quality and lowest price. To be the best, you have to concentrate on one thing. You can't be all things to all people and be the best.
A generation ago, IBM used to make every part of their computer. Now Intel makes the chips, Microsoft makes the software, and someone else makes the modems, hard drives, monitors, etc. IBM even out sources their call center. Because IBM has all these companies supplying goods and services cheaper and better than they could do it themselves, they can make a better computer at a lower cost. This is called a fracturing of business. When one company can make a better product by relying on others to perform functions the business used to do itself, it creates a complex pyramid of companies that serve and support each other.
This fracturing of American business is now in its second generation. The companies who supply IBM are now doing the same thing-outsourcing many of their core services and production process. As a result, they can make cheaper, better products. Over time, this pyramid continues to get bigger and bigger. Just when you think it can't fracture again, it does. Even very small businesses can have a large pyramid of corporate entities that perform many of its important functions. One aspect of this trend is that companies end up with fewer employees and more independent contractors.
This trend has also created two new words in business: integrator and complementor. At the top of the pyramid, IBM is the integrator. As you go down the pyramid, Microsoft, Intel and the other companies that support IBM are the complementors. However, each of the complementors is itself an integrator for the complementors underneath it. This has several implications, the first of which is that we are now getting false readings on the economy. People who used to be employees are now independent contractors launching their own businesses. There are many people working whose work is not listed as a job. As a result, the economy is perking along better than the numbers are telling us.
Outsourcing also confused the numbers. Suppose a company like General Motors decides to outsource all its employee cafeteria functions to Marriott (which it did). It lays off hundreds of cafeteria workers, who then get hired right back by Marriott. The only thing that has changed is that these people work for Marriott rather than GM. Yet, the headlines will scream that America has lost more manufacturing jobs. All that really happened is that these workers are now reclassified as service workers. So the old way of counting jobs contributes to false economic readings. As yet, we haven't figured out how to make the numbers catch up with the changing realities of the business world.
Another implication of this massive restructuring is that because companies are getting rid of units and people that used to work for them, the entity is smaller. As the companies get smaller and more efficient, revenues are going down but profits are going up. As a result, the old notion that revenues are up and we're doing great isn't always the case anymore. Companies are getting smaller but are becoming more efficient and profitable in the process.
IMPLICATIONS OF THE FOUR TRANSFORMATIONS
1. The War in Iraq
In some ways, the war is going well. Afghanistan and Iraq have the beginnings of a modern government, which is a huge step forward. The Saudis are starting to talk about some good things, while Egypt and Lebanon are beginning to move in a good direction.
A series of revolutions have taken place in countries like Ukraine and Georgia. There will be more of these revolutions for an interesting reason. In every revolution, there comes a point where the dictator turns to the general and says, "Fire into the crowd." If the general fires into the crowd, it stops the revolution. If the general says No, the revolution continues. Increasingly, the generals are saying No because their kids are in the crowd.
Thanks to TV and the Internet, the average 18-year old outside the U.S. is very savvy about what is going on in the world, especially in terms of popular culture. There is a huge global consciousness, and young people around the world want to be a part of it. It is increasingly apparent to them that the miserable government where they live is the only thing standing in their way. More and more, it is the well-educated kids, the children of the generals and the elite, who are leading the revolutions.
At the same time, not all is well with the war. The level of violence in Iraq is much worse and doesn't appear to be improving. It's possible that we're asking too much of Islam all at one time. We're trying to jolt them from the 7th century to the 21st century all at once, which may be further than they can go. They might make it and they might not. Nobody knows for sure. The point is, we don't know how the war will turn out. Anyone who says they know is just guessing.
The real place to watch is Iran. If they actually obtain nuclear weapons it will be a terrible situation. There are two ways to deal with it. The first is a military strike, which will be very difficult. The Iranians have dispersed their nuclear development facilities and put them underground. The U.S. has nuclear weapons that can go under the earth and take out those facilities, but we don't want to do that. The other way is to separate the radical mullahs from the government, which is the most likely course of action.
Seventy percent of the Iranian population is under 30. They are Moslem but not Arab. They are mostly pro-Western. Many experts think the U.S. should have dealt with Iran before going to war with Iraq. The problem isn't so much the weapons, it's the people who control them. If Iran has a moderate government, the weapons become less of a concern.
We don't know if we will win the war in Iraq. What we're looking for is any indicator that Islam is moving into the 21st century and stabilizing.
It may be that pushing 500 million people from farms and villages into cities is too much too soon. Although it gets almost no publicity, China is experiencing hundreds of demonstrations around the country, which is unprecedented. These are not students in Tiananmen Square. These are average citizens who are angry with the government for building chemical plants and polluting the water they drink and the air they breathe.
The Chinese are a smart and industrious people. They may be able to pull it off and become a very successful economic and military superpower. If so, we will have to learn to live with it. If they want to share the responsibility of keeping the world's oil lanes open, that's a good thing. They currently have eight new nuclear electric power generators under way and 45 on the books to build. Soon, they will leave the U.S. way behind in their ability to generate nuclear power.
What can go wrong with China? For one, you can't move 500 million people into the cities without major problems. Two, China really wants Taiwan, not so much for economic reasons, they just want it. The Chinese know that their system of communism can't survive much longer in the 21st century. The last thing they want to do before they morph into some sort of more capitalistic government is to take over Taiwan.
We may wake up one morning and find they have launched an attack on Taiwan. If so, it will be a mess, both economically and militarily. The U.S. has committed to the military defense of Taiwan. If China attacks Taiwan, will we really go to war against them? If the Chinese generals believe the answer is no, they may attack. If we don't defend Taiwan, every treaty the U.S. has will be worthless. Hopefully, China won't do anything stupid.
Europe and Japan are dying because their populations are aging and shrinking. These trends can be reversed if the young people start breeding. However, the birth rates in these areas are so low it will take two generations to turn things around. No economic model exists that permits 50 years to turn things around. Some countries are beginning to offer incentives for people to have bigger families. For example, Italy is offering tax breaks for having children. However, it's a lifestyle issue versus a tiny amount of money. Europeans aren't willing to give up their comfortable lifestyles in order to have more children.
In general, everyone in Europe just wants it to last a while longer. Europeans have a real talent for living. They don't want to work very hard. The average European worker gets 400 more hours of vacation time per year than Americans. They don't want to work and they don't want to make any of the changes needed to revive their economies.
The summer after 9/11, France lost 15,000 people in a heat wave. In August, the country basically shuts down when everyone goes on vacation. That year, a severe heat wave struck and 15,000 elderly people living in nursing homes and hospitals died. Their children didn't even leave the beaches to come back and take care of the bodies. Institutions had to scramble to find enough refrigeration units to hold the bodies until people came to claim them.
This loss of life was five times bigger than 9/11 in America, yet it didn't trigger any change in French society. When birth rates are so low, it creates a tremendous tax burden on the young. Under those circumstances, keeping mom and dad alive is not an attractive option. That's why euthanasia is becoming so popular in most European countries. The only country that doesn't permit (and even encourage) euthanasia is Germany, because of all the baggage from World War II.
The European economy is beginning to fracture. Countries like Italy are starting to talk about pulling out of the European Union because it is killing them. When things get bad economically in Europe, they tend to get very nasty politically. The canary in the mine is anti-Semitism. When it goes up, it means trouble is coming. Current levels of anti-Semitism are higher than ever. Germany won't launch another war, but Europe will likely get shabbier, more dangerous and less pleasant to live in.
Japan has a birth rate of 1.3 and has no intention of bringing in immigrants. By 2020, one out of every five Japanese will be 70 years old. Property values in Japan have dropped every year for the past 14 years. The country is simply shutting down.
In the U.S. we also have an aging population. Boomers are starting to retire at a massive rate. These retirements will have several major impacts:
Possible massive sell-off of large four-bedroom houses and a movement to condos.
An enormous drain on the treasury. Boomers vote, and they want their benefits, even if it means putting a crushing tax burden on their kids to get them. Social Security will be a huge problem. As this generation ages, it will start to drain the system. We are the only country in the world where there are no age limits on medical procedures. An enormous drain on the health care system. This will also increase the tax burden on the young, which will cause them to delay marriage and having families, which will drive down the birth rate even further.
Although scary, these demographics also present enormous opportunities for products and services tailored to aging populations. There will be tremendous demand for caring for older people, especially those who don't need nursing homes but need some level of care. Some people will have a business where they take care of three or four people in their homes. The demand for that type of service and for products to physically care for aging people will be huge.
Make sure the demographics of your business are attuned to where the action is. For example, you don't want to be a baby food company in Europe or Japan. Demographics are much underrated as an indicator of where the opportunities are. Businesses need customers. Go where the customers are.
4. Restructuring of American Business
The restructuring of American business means we are coming to the end of the age of the mostly employer and employee. With all this fracturing of businesses into different and smaller units, employers can't guarantee jobs anymore because they don't know what their companies will look like next year. Many are on their way to becoming independent contractors. The new workforce contract will be, a "Show up at the my office five days a week and do what I want you to do, but you handle your own insurance, benefits, health care and everything else."
Husbands and wives are becoming economic units. They take different jobs and work different shifts depending on where they are in their careers and families. They make tradeoffs to put together a compensation package to take care of the family. This used to happen only with highly educated professionals with high incomes. Now it is happening at the level of the factory floor worker. Couples at all levels are designing their compensation packages based on their individual needs. The only way this can work is if everything is portable and flexible, which requires a huge shift in t he American economy.
The U.S. is in the process of building the world's first 21st century model economy. The only other countries doing this are U.K. and Australia. The model is fast, flexible, highly productive and unstable in that it is always fracturing and re-fracturing. This will increase the economic gap between the U.S. and everybody else, especially Europe and Japan.
At the same time, the military gap is increasing. Other than China, we are the only country that is continuing to put money into their military. Plus, we are the only military getting on-the-ground military experience through our war in Iraq. We know which high-tech weapons are working and which ones aren't. There is almost no one who can take us on economically or militarily. There has never been a superpower in this position before.
On the one hand, this makes the U.S. a magnet for bright and ambitious people. It also makes us a target. We are becoming one of the last holdouts of the traditional Judeo-Christian culture. There is no better place in the world to be in business and raise children. The U.S. is by far the best place to have an idea, form a business and put it into the marketplace. We take it for granted, but it isn't as available in other countries of the world.
Ultimately, it's an issue of culture. The only people who can hurt us are ourselves, by losing our culture. If we give up our Judeo-Christian culture, we become just like the Europeans. The culture war is the whole ballgame. If we lose it, there isn't another America to pull us out.
Two weeks ago, as I was starting my sixth month of duty in Iraq, I was forced to return to the USA for surgery for an injury I sustained prior to my deployment. With luck, I'll return to Iraq to finish my tour.
I left Baghdad and a war that has every indication that we are winning, to return to a demoralized country much like the one I returned to in 1971 after my tour in Vietnam. Maybe it's because I'll turn 60 years old in just four months, but I'm tired:
I'm tired of spineless politicians, both Democrat and Republican who lack the courage, fortitude, and character to see these difficult tasks through.
I'm tired of the hypocrisy of politicians who want to rewrite history when the going gets tough.
I'm tired of the disingenuous clamor from those that claim they 'Support the Troops' by wanting them to 'Cut and Run' before victory is achieved.
I'm tired of a mainstream media that can only focus on car bombs and casualty reports because they are too afraid to leave the safety of their hotels to report on the courage and success our brave men and women are having on the battlefield.
I'm tired that so many Americans think you can rebuild a dictatorship into a democracy over night.
I'm tired that so many ignore the bravery of the Iraqi people to go to the voting booth and freely elect a Constitution and soon a permanent Parliament.
I'm tired of the so called 'Elite Left' that prolongs this war by giving aid and comfort to our enemy, just as they did during the Vietnam War.
I'm tired of antiwar protesters showing up at the funerals of our fallen soldiers. A family who's loved ones gave their life in a just and noble cause, only to be cruelly tormented on the funeral day by cowardly protesters is beyond shameful.
I'm tired that my generation, the Baby Boom -- Vietnam generation, who have such a weak backbone that they can't stomach seeing the difficult tasks through to victory.
I'm tired that some are more concerned about the treatment of captives than they are the slaughter and beheading of our citizens and allies.
I'm tired that when we find mass graves it is seldom reported by the press, but mistreat a prisoner and it is front page news.
Mostly, I'm tired that the people of this great nation didn't learn from history that there is no substitute for Victory.
Lieutenant Colonel, U. S. Army
101st Airborne Division
Retired General Tells It Like It Is
"Let's Be Specific"
Due to the thunderous applause that I received from the far-left over the "I Am Tired" letter written by one of our troops in Iraq, I thought it prudent to follow up with one last attempt to be very specific about what I have observed and actually personally encountered during my 36 years of service to this Great Country. Unlike Bob McClellan, I will not continue to whine, twist and degrade our country's leaders on a weekly basis.
Instead, this will be a one time input attempting to reach some of those who are confused by McClellan and his ilk's unethical rantings and give some insight through my personal experience as a professional military officer over the years. These examples are but a few. In real life there were many more which space and time will not allow.
As a young fighter pilot, flying F-4s in Vietnam, I was stopped in my tracks by the decisions made by Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara. I was young and naive, but even then I knew their daily interference was wrong and would not allow us to win this thing and go home.
Decisions like not allowing us to strike enemy aircraft while still on the ground, keeping real targets off the target list, and allowing us to strike only rusted-out trucks made us basically a toothpick factory. However, the big one for me came the day I saw the President Lyndon Johnson on television, forcefully lying to the American people.
I'll never forget the language, "I want to assure the American people that the United States of America has never, and will never, bomb or use force inside the borders of Cambodia". On and on he disavowed the reports that this was happening. I was amazed. Guess where I had put several F-4 loads of 750 pound general purpose bombs every day for the
past five days. You guessed it, Cambodia!!! So much for Mr. Johnson. The only question in my mind was simply, "Was it just Johnson or was it the methodology of a particular political party?" I decided to delay answering that question until more experience was gained.
Years passed, and I ignored politics as much as possible, as a good military man should. Then came Jimmy Carter. Our young people don't remember 18% interest rates and 18% inflation, but I'll bet someone in your family does. That is one really bad thing Carter did for our country, but it is not the worst.
During this period, I was an F-15 Squadron Commander, located at Langley AFB, VA. Jimmy Carter and his democratic party stopped spare parts procurement for almost every weapon system in our military, and diverted the funds to social programs. The F-15 was brand new at the time with leading edge technology designed to provide air superiority anywhere in the world on a moments notice. That was my job. I loved it, but guess what? In a two year period from 1979 to 1981, there was not one day when more that one-third of my assigned aircraft were flyable. It is amazing the lengths we went to in those days, cannibalizing parts, expending twice the time and energy to fix every little item, and still two-thirds of the birds were always broken because of no spare parts. Had this country faced a really serious military threat during that time frame, only Montana Hunters could have saved us. The military had some equipment, but it was all broken.
Do you want to know the really bad part for me and the young fighter pilots working for me? Our flying sortie rate was so low that pilot proficiency dropped to dangerous levels. The accident rate tripled. That obviously was totally unacceptable, as we were losing expensive airplanes and highly trained young pilots at a rate comparable to losses seen in actual combat. All of a sudden, even a Texas Aggie like me began to see a trend.
Forward a few years to 1986. I am an F-16 Wing Commander at MacDill AFB, Florida, and Ronald Regan is president. His change in attitude and policy toward the military had time to fix the spare parts problem. We were flying 26,000 flying sorties per year out of MacDill AFB, my aircraft fully mission capable rate (FMC) was above 90%, the aircraft accident rate was below 1.75 per hundred thousand flying hours, fighter pilots were flying and proficiency levels were at an all time high. The
United States Air Force was ready to defend this Wonderful Country. Proof of the pudding is simple.
Look what the USAF, and the military in general, accomplished in Iraq during Desert Storm. And, they did it in less than 100 hours. Yeah, at this point I was starting to realize there was a difference in mentality between Democrats and Republicans, or should I say, the Right and the Left.
Then, came everyone's favorite---Bill Clinton. If there ever was an individual 180 degrees out of sync with the ideals and the values of the US military, it was Clinton. He was a known draft dodger, military hating, self absorbed, unspeakingly shameless and immoral individual, who the Left managed to elect President of the United States of America. Clinton's antics in the White House would have brought court martial, conviction, and Dishonorable Discharge had he been a military member. We
still suffer oral sex on school buses, because the President told the world it wasn't real sex, and some of our children believed him. It took a lot of years, but now I became certain.
There is a big difference in the right and the left on all fronts, and for the first time I started feeling angry and shamed that the majority of the American people were actually willing to vote for such an individual.
Sometimes, an abstract such as the following tells the story in very simple terms: Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden, Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, Ted Kennedy,Howard Dean, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Michael Moore, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Nancy Pelosi, Barbra Boxer, John Kerry, Benedict Arnold, and the list goes on.
America, wake up. Giving in to the likes of these people and Abraham Lincoln's prediction of destruction from within just may come true. There is not a country in the world that can be considered a conventional military threat to the United States today. However, this country faces a new kind of threat---one that will not go away. It is a threat even more serious that WWII, because money, industry and technology will not defeat it.
It is a threat of defeat from within. It is a threat of a faltering economy because of a lack of resources, or even the simple threat of such a loss brought on by terrorism. It is a threat created by the American people trusting the inept. It is a threat created by the people wanting change, and perilously believing that the left can successfully deliver that change. Have you seen anything from the left that remotely resembles an answer to the Iraq situation? Have you seen anything more than continued Bush-Bashing? Is that an answer? If there was ever a need for a strong, well trained military, it is now.
THE LEFT HAS HISTORICALLY DISMANTLED OUR MILITARY IN THE NAME OF REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH FAVORING SOCIAL PROGRAMS. We just cannot afford to let that happen now. If we do, the entire country will be bowing to
the east several times a day within the next 50 years, maybe sooner.
Now a final thought meant to upset as many as possible on the far-left. As you might guess, I don't believe in political correctness. So, let's look at the facts, not far-left rhetoric attempting to empower the democratic party.
Initially, I was not a George Bush fan. I am not even a Republican. I normally vote Republican, because of my total despise of Communism, Socialism and the far-left in this country. I am a Conservative. However, during his watch, I feel President Bush just happened to stumble upon the leading edge of the greatest threat this country has ever faced. Mistakes have been made, because of the newness of the threat. Overall, the President has done a superb job dealing with the threat, and at the same time held off the constant ranting, raving, deceitful and malicious escapades of the far-left attempting to regain
IF THERE WAS EVER A TIME THE COUNTRY NEEDS TO COME TOGETHER AND BACK OUR PRESIDENT, IT IS RIGHT NOW. WITHOUT CONSENSUS WE ARE EMPOWERING THE TERRORIST!!!! The far-left is totally absorbed with the power struggle and regaining control of congress. They could care less about defeating the threat. It literally disgusts me to hear the constant disagreement with everything the President tries to do, all in the name of trying to make him look bad to the voters. Unfortunately, by the time the American people really appreciate how bad the far-left really is, it may too late.
What are the real facts? On the home front this country's economy is the strongest that it has been in my lifetime. Interest rates are as low as they were when I was in high school forty years ago. Inflation does not exist for all practical purposes. The Dow is approaching 13,000. Unemployment is nonexistent. Wages are at an all time high. Home ownership is at an all time high. Taxes have been lowered to an almost acceptable level. Because of the surging economy the deficit is under control and projected to go away far ahead of schedule. The far-left is rich beyond its wildest dreams, so Mr.President when are you going to "fix" all these domestic problems?
On the war front this country has not been touched since 2001. I remember being part of a seminar at the USAF War College in 1983 discussing the terrorist threat. There were some good minds at that table and a lot of disagreement. However, one common thought was that the US would be hit within the next five years. Answers to the terrorist threat were just as hard to come by then as they are now. Well, it took a little longer than the projection, but the attack occurred. For an old military guy like me, the main point here is that it has not happened again. We have suckered the bad guys into entering the fight somewhere
other than in our country. To hell with political correctness. The President can't say this, but I sure can.
I smile every morning when I get up and realize that one of our great cities has not been blown away. And, there is zero doubt in my mind that if we pull out of Iraq prematurely, that will happen within a short period of time after our departure. I don't care what you might think of President Bush personally. He has done the best he can with what he has, and this country is not smoking because of it. So, back off McLean and McClellan. You honestly don't have a clue about what you are talking
bout. Call me, and I will tell you what I really think.
I realize there are different points of view on war, and I do not believe the meek will inherit the earth, at least not in the next few
hundred years. To those like McClellan, McLean, poor Eve Kyes and Sinowa Cruz let me say, "This is a strong country!!!" It has survived the uneducated thinking of the far-left before, and I'll just bet it will again.
Regardless of who is President, the people will not tolerate mass explosions on a daily basis, as our good friends in Israel have been forced to do. To protect that position of power, even Hillary will be forced to become a true hawk. To guarantee a few more votes Ted Kennedy may be forced to begin supporting a strong military. One more attack on America might even wipe the giddy,'I-am-finally-somebody' grin from Nancy Pelosi's face, and make her realize that is not about votes and
personal power. IT IS ABOUT PROTECTING THIS GREAT COUNTRY FROM ALL ENEMIES, BOTH FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC.
Jimmy L. Cash, Brig. Gen., USAF, Ret.
"Victory at all cost. Victory in spite of all terror. Victory no matter how long and how hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival"
May 13, 1940
BORN TO FLY
Commander Kevin Davis, R.I.P.
Let's all give a final salute
To the pilot of Blue Angel Six
One of the best of the best
Who do those great precision tricks.
They all know of the dangers
But know there's not another way
To get paid for the work
That's really their way to play.
Every so often the worst happens
And the World will lose a gem
But, they die doing what they love
When the odds catch up with them.
Some say, they are prima donnas
But guess, they have the right to be
One of those best of the best
From sea to shining sea.
All those who have gone before
Will fly in a perfect formation
If you look closely in the sky
Passing over a grateful Nation.
So, we salute you, Kevin
As you race across the sky
You just traded up to different Wings
And a much better way to fly.
Del "Abe" Jones
Will I live to see 80?
I recently picked a new primary care doctor. After two visits and exhaustive
lab tests, he said I was doing "fairly well" for my age.
A little concerned about that comment, I couldn't resist asking him, "Do you
think I'll live to be 80?"
He asked, "Do you smoke tobacco, or drink beer or wine?" "Oh no," I replied.
"I'm not doing drugs, either!"
Then he asked, "Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?" I said, "No,
my former doctor said that all red meat is very unhealthy!"
"Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, sailing, hiking,
or bicycling?" "No, I don't," I said.
He asked, "Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have a lot of sex?" "No," I
said. "I don't do any of those things."
He looked at me and said, "Then, why do you even give a shit
"We few, weWe few, we happy few, we band of brothers,
For he today that sheds his blood with me, Shall be my brother."
Well guys Until next month..keep a smile on your face and your skids out of the TreesJ--Ron