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News Letter November 2007
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Web Page Accounting as of NOW
“The Monthly Diamondhead”
November 2007
Editor-Reporter-Chief Cook-Web Slave-
Ron Leonard
(cell) 918-916-7252
E- mail: webmaster@25thaviation.org

"If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case: you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.” —Winston Churchill
Company Stuff:

During the summer we have turned up a few new people.
 For Diamondhead we added Vincent "Block" Connor, John Moorehouse, and Nick Avender (Avionics 70),
For the Little Bears we added Don Coleman, Rich Hamady, and Conrad Neilsen (CE68-69)
For HHC we added Jan Schrader and Reggie Bland,
Added as honorary Members, Barb Cornwell (DH Bob Shlikas) sister, Shane Sheffield (DH Tex Williams uncle)

Notifications:

"From The Makers of In The Shadow Of The Blade"

An American Red Cross Donut Dollie
with the 9th Infantry Division
and Mobile Riverine Force in
VIETNAM
             
NEW DONUT DOLLIE DOCUMENTARY
gA TOUCH OF HOME:
THE VIETNAM WARfS RED CROSS GIRLSh
View film overview, highlights and contact info
http://www.arrowheadfilms.com/atouchofhome.html


Hi, Ron,

II believe it time to see how serious we are about having a Reunion in November in San Antonio. I believe we need to send out an Early invitation to the 25th Aviation Bn. and see how many are planning on attending. I have a Reunion Planner working on Setting This Event Up.  

I do realize it is early, But without some kind of Head Count its going to be hard to estimate how many rooms we are going to need, and also the price of a banquet. I think its time to take the Bull by the Horns and get this reunion planned.

Just to let Everyone know, Me and My Wife Kaye are separated, and have moved to Colorado and I am again doing a long Distance Reunion Again. The Girls are with me and live in Walsh, Colorado 81090. My phone number is 719-324-5113 or 1800-932-0502 and my E-mail address is the Same it is Ke9673@aol.com .

Anyone wishing to Help please give me a Call.  Anyone having any Ideas please E-mail me or call.


God Bless you and Your Families and I hope to see everyone there in November, Date yet to be set but we think it would be best after the Presidential Election.

Larry J. Kerr
President
Tropic Lightning Aviation Association

You Tube Video of the 25th Anniversary of "The Wall" in DC - Music by The Statler Brothers


Letters


Sir,

I just wanted to write and say thanks for your site. I served as an OH-58D Crew Chief with A Co. 1-25 AVN in Hawaii, deploying to Thailand for Cobra Gold in 2003 and in Iraq with A Co. and C Co. and it is real nice to see your site and be able to connect a little bit with the history of the BN. I consider the 25th to be the highlight of my Army career so far.

In case you are interested in the recent history, the unit received the Meritorious Unit Citation for its actions in Operation Iraqi Freedom II, breaking 25,000 combat flight hours in country during our year. If you are curious to know more about what is happening today let me know, I would be glad to share.

Anyhow, thanks again for giving this generation of Soldier some history on this great unit!

SGT Neil Anderson, USA
Fort Huachuca, AZ
2highspeed@gmail.com

Hi Ron....

Thanks for taking care of all of this for me. Finding this website and being able to find so many of the guys I flew with in the Bears all those years ago has been overwhelming. The emotions are just rolling over me. I've already had four email replies since this afternoon. My membership papers will be on the way soon.

You were in the Diamondheads, right? Do you remember Terry McDonald from California? Wasn't he in the Diamondheads? He was my friend. I
think I remember that his dad and uncle were the orininal McDonald brothers out in Redlands before Ray Kroc bought them out and turned it
into a national chain.

Thank you again. It's good to be back in the Little Bears, and the 25th Aviation Bn. I live 30 minutes drive from Schofield Barracks and Wheeler
AAF, where the 25th Avn. Bn. Museum resides, but I've never been there. It's just not the same as being able to talk to the guys you served with
and suffered and partied with (even if only by email at this time). Up there, it's just a collection of photos.

Kindest regards, and "Clear right"

. . . .Conrad Nielsen

Hi Ron,

I read with interest the item about the restoration of the Cobra gunship in Tampa. The article brought a tear to my eye and a big smile to my face. As a former combat infantryman with the 25TH Infantry Division ( III Corps ) in Vietnam and Cambodia 1969 and 1970 I can attest to the beautiful sight the Cobra always imparts to this former grunt's heart and his fellow 11 Bravos. The other day my good friend and Vietnam brother grunt ( He was with the 1ST Air Cav 1969-1970 Vietnam-Cambodia  III Corps) were just talking about our remembrance of the Cobra gunships in Vietnam. They were our big protectors from the air that looked over us and took care of us guys on the ground in many many tough combat situations. I have a picture of my self standing next to a Cobra gunship at Tay Nihn Base camp in 1969 or 1970 needless to say I am all smiles. I also have a picture of a Cobra gunship firing closely around our postion when our infantry company was in a battle on Black Virgin Mountain ( Nui Ba Den ) in Tay Nihn Province, Vietnam in March of 1970. An NVA gunner made the stupid decision to fire an RPG rocket at the Cobra. I vividly remember the Cobra's response to that action by the enemy soldier. A free ride to the promised land for the NVA and his buddies

Ron, keep up the good work as webmaster for your efforts are greatly appreciated by many Vietnam Veterans whom your might never know or realize you brought a smile to their faces.

 Thanks Once Again,

  Richard B. Loy 11 Bravo Vietnam-Cambodia  25th Infantry Division 1969-1970


Well Ron,  time sure does fly by, I can't believe it has been over 4 months since you last asked for this info. I'll share what I know, at least about the small world known as Clipper Control. Clipper Control was a flight following service that operated 24/7 and it's personnel were assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHQ) (I looked at an old picture and it is actually HHQ, my error earlier). It was also referred to as the TOC (Tactical Operations Center). Our hooch area was immediately adjacent to Company B and we shared the same mess haul, barbershop, swimming pool, whores and I believe even some of our hooch girls. As I recall, we were also pretty close to the Pathfinders hooch area. Clipper Control was located approximately 100 yards from our hooch area. It was constructed with probably 6 or 8 large metal shipping containers, filled with radios, communication equipment, maps and even an encrypting machine for encrypted messages (both sending and receiving). The above ground building was further surrounded with multiple layers of sand bags and in order to keep the radios operational, it had to be air conditioned. Tough duty, but hey someone had to do it. See attached pictures of this building, and a much younger me! There were probably 8 or 10 of us that ran that flight following service, and as I said above this was 24/7 and 365. We were all trained as Air Traffic Controllers at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi. I originally was supposed to be a helicopter mechanic but one day at Ft. Rucker I and about 4 others were called out of formation one day (just before our training was to start) and we were offered ATC school which we all jumped on. Let's see, a few months at Rucker or a few months on the beach in Biloxi....hmm a no-brainer there. Plus the "WAFS" at Keesler really liked the one square block of Army guys....much more macho....but that is a whole other story! Even though we did not control aircraft while in Nam, we did keep radio contact with all ships on all of the! ir missi ons. As the ships lifted off from Cu Chi and left the control of the Control Tower, they immediately contacted "Clipper" to let us know of their call sign, destination and ETA. Each pilot was required to contact us when they "tally hoed" (arrived at destination). Each time they lifted off and landed they were required to remain in contact with us and keep us informed of their progress. If the ship took on ground fire, or were shot down, then we'd scramble the Little Bear gunships from Company A. They too were required to remain in contact with us throughout their entire mission. We also monitored the GUARD station (emergency frequency) and scrambled aircraft for any american military flight that had an emergency. None of our communications were taped, we were not that sophisticated but we were required to keep hand printed logs of all communications and events. I spent an entire year printing and to this day I do not write, with the exception of my name. I really do not know anything about the other brothers that were assigned to HHQ. I assume they worked at Division Headquarters but I really do not know. Never thought about it until now. Our group of guys were pretty close, we hung out together, went to the message parlors together and partied together. Our schedules were so screwy, for the first 6 months I was there I worked the 7pm to 7am shift and rotated days off so with that kind of schedule you didn't get to know the guys that were on a more regular type of work assignment and worked in other areas of the command. Our company also manned a portion of the bunker sector, our guard station was immediately in front of the Chinook helipad. This was the same helipad that the gooks blew up as I recall, 9 Chinook helicopters in early February of 69. Well that is about what I know. I don't have any maps of locations of our company area or clipper but if there is a general map out there somewhere, I could probably pinpoint it's general location. Hope this helps....here are the photos....! ...Dan ?Lentz

Ron
 2/14/66 was a bad day for the 25th ID. Along with the 1/5 Mech...the Wolfhounds also took a beating.

The 25th ID lost 17 men that day.  I read your bio.....to this day. I can not give enough thanks to the medics, and the choppers that came in to get us. God know's how many names are not on the wall because of you guys. I can still remember the day I was Medivaced out of the Boi Loi woods. It was 4/26/67. Next reunion in Orlando, I will get to meet John Lenick. It will be 41 years, that we were wounded together. Thank you for your service and a great job on running your web site.........

Denis McDonough Co.B 1/5 mech 67

Hi Ron:

The false sense of moral superiority that our anti-war anti-Bush crowd proclaims is causing the unnecessary loss of our finest young men and women. Why average Americans stand by and proclaim their anguish at the loss of another's loved one and then continue on down to their church to pray for their own salvation is a mystery to me. Personally I believe there is a "protected" class in America, and also through out the world,that believes they deserve their lifestyle and the 'outsiders' like the rest of us, have a duty to protect them and even lay down our life or our loved one's life just for their comfort. Oh they will say they don't want to see any more loss of life, but what their actions say is: "we are better than you, we have value and you don't." So they pack their churches, synagogue, etc., and beat their chests in mock agony, they may actually appear genuine. Yet they refuse to value the heritage, morals,and sacrifices true Americans value. Our schools teach Islam yet prohibit Christianity, teach moral relativism yet prosecute elementary school children for politically incorrect actions. This country is headed for a blood bath that it may not survive, because it no longer has any values to fight for, the enemy will easily win from internal confusion in America.

 If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

My take on current affairs and politics.

Ed Mitchell
Boeing C-17
Desk 562 593-0586
"Never ask a man if he is a pilot. If he is, he'll let you know. If he isn't, don't embarrass him."     Harry E. Trumbull


Hey Ron

Where the heck are you or can you keep track?

Remember some time back when we talking about my hearing issue and the  15 plus year battle I've had with the VA?  You wrote a letter about our jobs,hearing protection and other members hearing problems.

Well, I had one last shot, a hearing with the VA appeals board.  I could either go to D.C. or to Cleveland and do a video hearing with D.C.

In May, I went to Cleveland and with my AMVETS advisor, we had a video conference with Washington.  But guess what, it wasn't the VA on the other end but a Federal Appears Judge. The Honorable P.M. Dilorenzo, Veterans  Law Judge, Board of Veterans' Appeals.  The judge was female.

This week I received a decision in the mail.  I WON!!!!!  She reviewed  the years worth of data and reopened my case and granted it.  I will find  out shortly what I will get but my goal from the start was to get them to pay for my hearing aids.  I will let you know what I find out.

I wanted to write you about this because it has to have some landmark  status for others who have had the same battle with hearing.  Apparently the Judge
feels different about cause than all of those Regional Office VA folks.
  I
Hope this may help others.

Be good little buddy and stay on your mount, not under it.

Bill Willard




Greetings,

For those of you who may remember, this is what Saigon looked like 39  year ago.  This picture was take over Saigon during March 1967, with the 5th Mechanized Infantry down below fighting during the Tet offensive of 68.
In this particular battle near the race track just on the edge of the city, we killed 300 viet cong and lost ten GI's KIA.  I came home on leave the next week and as I sat on the plane leaving Ton San Nhut I read my first American newspaper in 15 months.  To my utter shock and amazement I read in that paper that we were being defeated on the battlefield.  I knew it was not true as I had been on that battle field the day before.  I think perhaps it was that day, that very day, with the newspaper in my lap on that plane back to the "world," that I realized I could not trust the establishment news media for my information about anything other than an obituary for the dead.  From then on I became my own person, thinking and researching events for myself and arriving at my own conclusions.

Regards,
Louis Beam
History:

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.

Reunions:

Association Reunion  ,San Antonio Texas is TENTATIVELY set for -
Thursday November 12, 2008 - Check Out - Sunday - November 16, 2008
Room Rates: (based on 2pp to a room) $109.00 with Continental Breakfast $115.00 with Continental Plus Hot Item (Breakfast will be served in the hospitality room each morning) **Guest Rooms will be available 3 days before the 12th and 3 days after the 16th at the group rate. The hotel will be the  El Tropicano Riverwalk. I will have more details and th eitinerary sorted out shortly.

If You plan on coming let me know ASAP if you can so I can figure out how big a block of rooms we are going to need, how many meals we will need, etc etc....It's a planning thing:)


Sept 2008 1st week Annual Alaska Fishing Trip

The first week of Sept there is an open invite to come to Alaska Fishing. If you want to attend you will only be out a plane ticket fishing license, and chipping in to the grub and beer funds. (Unless you motor home it or motel it) We have a cabin, camping gear up here for a bunch, do bring your own sleeping bag and a camera.

We are planning on a base camp on the Kenai River in Sterling Alaska The guides will give us one day on the river pro bono, and I am setting up a two-day float trip down the Swanson River (free). It's a pretty easy float with few portages. But is loaded with trout and Silver Salmon that time of year. It is also Moose season, so hopefully one will have my name on it along the way<G>. There will also be lots of other wildlife, like bears, both black and brown, and a wolf or two, maybe a grizzly or two, grouse, ducks, Trumpeter Swans....it should be a fun trip. I am working on one-day (reduced rate) offshore fishing trip from Seward with Saltwater Safaris as I write this, so it will make a full week of fun and adventure. I hope to see you here; I assure you it will be a trip of a lifetime.

Pics and story from 2007


Medical and VA Issues:

Hi All ~ this was sent to me -Since we have been discussing health care - this might be food for thought?
*** Health Care in Canada ***
This comes from a friend of a career Marine, who just happens to be a Canadian. His thoughts on the recent health care proposal might be of interest to some.
 Hey Guys; I saw on the news up here in Canada where Hillary Clinton introduced her new health care plan. Something similar to what we have in Canada. I also heard that Michael Moore was raving about the health care up here in Canada in his latest movie. As your friend and someone who lives with the Canada health care plan I thought I would give you some facts about this great medical plan that we have in Canada. First of all:
1) The health care plan in Canada is not free. We pay a premium every month of $96. for Shirley and I to be covered. Sounds great eh? What they don't tell you is how much we pay in taxes to keep the health care system afloat. I am personally in the 55% tax bracket. Yes, 55% of my earnings go to taxes. A large portion of that and I am not sure of the exact amount goes directly to health care - our #1 expense.

 2) I would not classify what we have as health care plan, it is more like a health diagnosis system. You can get into to see a doctor quick enough so he can tell you "yes indeed you are sick or you need an operation" but now the challenge becomes getting treated or operated on. We have waiting lists out the ying yang some as much as 2 years down the road.
 3) Rather than fix what is wrong with you the usual tactic in Canada is to prescribe drugs. Have a pain - here is a drug to take - not what is causing the pain and why. No time for checking you out because it is more important to move as many patients thru as possible each hour for Government reimbursement
4) Many Canadians do not have a family Doctor.
5) Don't require emergency treatment as you may wait for hours in the emergency room waiting for treatment.
6) Shirley's dad cut his hand on a power saw a few weeks back and it required that his hand be put in a splint - to our surprise we had to pay $125. for a splint because it is not covered under health care plus we have to pay $60 for each visit for him to check it out each week.
7) Shirley's cousin was diagnosed with a heart blockage. Put on a waiting list. Died before he could get treatment.
8) Government allots so many operations per year. When that is done no more operations, unless you go to your local newspaper and plead your case and embarrass the government then money suddenly appears.
9) The Government takes great pride in telling us how much more they are increasing the funding for health care but waiting lists never get shorter. Government just keeps throwing money at the problem but it never goes away. But they are good at finding new ways to tax us, but they don't call it a tax anymore it is now a user fee.
10) My mother needs an operation for a blockage in her leg but because she is a smoker they will not do it. Despite her and my father paying into the health care system all these years. My Mom is 80 years of age. Now there is talk that maybe we should not treat fat and obese people either because they are a drain on the health care system. Let me see now, what we want in Canada is a health care system for healthy people only. That should reduce our health care costs.
11) Forget getting a second opinion, what you see is what you get.
12) I can spend what money I have left after taxes on booze, cigarettes, junk food and anything else that could kill me but I am not allowed by law to spend my money on getting an operation I need because that would be jumping the queue. I must wait my turn except if I am a hockey player or athlete then I can get looked at right away. Go figure Where else in the world can you spend money to kill yourself but not allowed to spend money to get healthy.
13) Oh did I mention that immigrants are covered automatically at tax payer expense having never contributed a dollar to the system and pay no premiums?
14) Oh yeah we now give free needles to drug users to try and keep them healthy. Wouldn't want a sickly druggie breaking into your house and stealing your things. But people with diabetes who pay into the health care system have to pay for their needles because it is not covered but the health care system.
I send this out not looking for sympathy but as the election looms in the states you will be hearing more and more about universal health care down there and the advocates will be pointing to Canada. I just want to make sure that you hear the truth about health care up here and have some food for thought and informed questions to ask when broached with this subject. Step wisely and don't make the same mistakes we have.

Some Iraq troops reporting 'ill-defined' illnesses
9/26/2007 11:10 AM
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- A Pentagon official has told a Senate committee that some troops returning from Iraq are reporting "ill-defined" illnesses.
Dr. Michael Kilpatrick tells the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee that 15 to 20 percent of the returning Gulf War II veterans are reporting problems.
But he says that unlike returning veterans of the 1991 Gulf War, Gulf War II vets are getting medical treatment.

The Senate panel is hearing testimony on health problems faced by veterans of the first Gulf War. Kilpatrick's the Defense Department's deputy director for Force Health Protection and Readiness.

Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are guaranteed Veterans Affairs health care and treatment for two years after they return and leave the military.
Witnesses have told the panel that Gulf War I vets continue to be told by physicians that Gulf War illness doesn't exist or that their illnesses are psychological. That's 16 years after the war ended.

Kilpatrick told the panel more needs to be done to educate physicians and the Defense Department needs to be more transparent about Gulf War illness studies.


25% of Gulf War veterans sick, panel is told
By LES BLUMENTHAL

WASHINGTON -- Sixteen years after the Persian Gulf War ended, more than 1 in 4 of those who fought remain seriously ill with medical problems ranging from severe fatigue and joint pain to Lou Gehrig's disease, multiple sclerosis and brain cancer, the chairman of a congressional advisory committee testified Tuesday.
But even as more is learned about what's now called Gulf War Veterans Illness, the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs remain in virtual denial about its causes and have been slow to offer treatment, said James Binns, the head of the research advisory committee on the disease.
"This is a tragic record of failure, and the time lost can never be regained," Binns told the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.

Of the 700,000 or so U.S. troops who served in the Persian Gulf War, 175,000 to 200,000 are sick, Binns said.

Pentagon and VA officials defended their approach to studying and treating the illness, saying they're taking it seriously, funding clinical and other research, and are committed to ensuring that Gulf War veterans receive needed care.

"Veterans who report health problems are definitely ill," said Michael Kilpatrick, the Defense Department's deputy director for force health protection and readiness programs. "However, they do not have a single type of health problem. Consequently, these veterans have to be evaluated and treated as individuals."
Pentagon and VA officials long have linked Gulf War Veterans Illness to battlefield stress and other related psychological disorders.

Former soldiers who testified said the health problems that Gulf War veterans experienced might have been caused by exposure to the depleted uranium used in munitions and armor, low-level nerve agents such as sarin that were released when a large weapons depot was destroyed, and smoke from more than 600 burning oil wells in Kuwait.

Fifteen percent to 20 percent of those who have fought in Iraq recently are returning with "ill-defined" medical symptoms, Kilpatrick said


Report Says Veterans' Care Woes Remain

By HOPE YEN
Associated Press Writer

Months after pledging to improve veterans care, the Bush administration has yet to find clear answers to some of the worst problems afflicting wounded warriors, such as delays in disability payments and providing personalized care, investigators say.
A report by the Government Accountability Office, released Wednesday, offers the first preliminary assessment of improvement efforts initiated by the Pentagon and Veterans Affairs Department after revelations in February of shoddy outpatient treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The report found that even though the Army has touted creation of more personalized medical care units so that wounded veterans don't slip through the cracks, nearly half -- or 46 percent -- of returning service members who were eligible did not get the service due to staffing shortages.
The report said after 10 years of review, the Pentagon and VA still remain far away from having a comprehensive system for sharing medical records as injured veterans move from facility to facility.
And despite months of review by no less than eight congressional committees, a presidential task force, a presidential commission and the Pentagon and VA itself, the government has no apparent solution for reducing severe delays of 177 days, on average, in providing disability payments.
"Many challenges remain, and critical questions remain unanswered," GAO investigators John H. Pendleton and Daniel Bertoni wrote in calling for urgent action. "Success will ultimately depend on sustained attention, systematic oversight by DoD and VA, and sufficient resources."

Army spokesman Paul Boyce said Wednesday that officials were working diligently to provide "high-quality medical and mental health care for America's soldiers and veterans." The Army has said it hopes to have full staffing of its medical care units by January 2008. The VA has said it was hiring 1,100 new processors to reduce backlogs.

Responding to delays in sharing medical records, Patrick Dunne, VA's assistant secretary for policy and planning, said the VA and Pentagon had recently completed electronic sharing of veterans data involving allergies, outpatient medications, lab results and radiology. The two departments are using a contractor to study the feasibility and scope of sharing full inpatient records electronically, he said.

Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., chairman of the House Oversight subcommittee on national security, said he was troubled by the lingering problems. "Taking care of our wounded heroes is too important to not demand that we strive for the highest levels of care and respect," he said.

Following the disclosures of patient neglect at Walter Reed, three high-level Pentagon officials stepped down. The Army quickly pledged to improve care by hiring more mental health counselors and creating new "warrior transition units" -- comprising a doctor, nurse case manager and squad leader -- who could help coordinate care.

The VA, which operates separate facilities for 5.8 million veterans, also said it would boost efforts, with VA Secretary Jim Nicholson vowing to work to improve data-sharing of medical records and to reduce backlogs. Nicholson later announced in July he was resigning and will step down Oct. 1.

On separate fronts, Congress approved additional money for veterans care, while the presidential commission headed by former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., and former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala recommended changes that would increase benefits for family members, create a Web site for medical records and revamp the way disability pay is awarded.
On Wednesday, the GAO praised these initial steps. But it cautioned that long-standing problems were far from being resolved as the various groups negotiated their various proposals and as the Pentagon and VA faced challenges in hiring needed staff.

As of mid-September, 17 of the 32 warrior transition units had less than 50 percent of the critical staff in place. And in many cases, the Army had filled slots by borrowing staff from other positions, thus providing only a temporary solution as thousands of veterans return from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Regarding disability benefits, the GAO said the government was currently in limbo amid competing proposals to fix the disability ratings system. The Dole-Shalala commission, for example, urged that only the VA -- and not the Pentagon -- provide disability payments, while other proposals gave the Pentagon a limited role.

But in all the proposals, no consideration was given as to how the additional duties would affect the VA, which is straining to reduce backlogs for disability benefits, the report said. Nicholson in recent days has acknowledged that the VA was nowhere close to reducing monthslong delays and cited that as a top challenge for his successor.

"Delayed decisions, confusing policies and the perception that DoD and VA disability ratings result in inequitable outcomes have eroded the credibility of the system," the GAO investigators said. "It is imperative that DoD and VA take prompt steps to address fundamental system weaknesses."

War Stories:

So who is Melvin Grant?

Melvin was just 20 years old when he died.

Melvin left behind a family who loved him, a girl friend, a bright and prosperous future and of course the hope of future generations. Melvin died in a non-descript field along with five others who, just likeMelvin, had wives, families, community, and a future. Why did Melvin die? Because the other pilot Melvin was flying with was disorientated and flew through a gun-target line and in a very rare event, collided with a mortar round that destroyed his aircraft's controls. So he and the others sat helplessly as their aircraft flew into the ground at over 150 MPH. Amazedly enough, the gunner did survive the crash but was pinned inside the aircraft and burned to death. What was Melvin and the others doing flying at night in a third world country. They were asked by their government to help in a war against a despotic dictatorial philosophy called Communism. Was their death in vain? At the time, no, now looking back after 38 years it appears that the philosophy that was being fought against has become the prevailing political philosophy in the United States.

War is not something to be entered into lightly, yet war is a necessary part of the human condition. Just as police use force to maintain societies standards when it comes to property, safety, and livelihood, when international forces seek to destroy or control another society at large, the aggrieved society, to survive, must use a counter force larger than the invading force just to protect their society. As invasions are historical and part of the human condition, then any
civilized society must maintain a method of securing their borders to protect the citizenry from invading forces, sometimes preemptive military force may be necessary. This force is properly called the "military" because unlike a police force, the military's function is not to maintain order but to maintain ground against any armed invader. When a countries military loses a war, the loss is permanent and death and slavery will be the consequences for the losing side. Thus, during war time any actions that compromise the military's mission or moral, compromise the security of society itself.

I knew Melvin Grant, he was my co-pilot and flew with me the day before his death and I watched him die in that field, that night far away in Vietnam. Melvin was considered by many to be an outstanding and proficient pilot, and as such I had recommended him to become an aircraft commander. He was to take his check ride the day he died. When I first meant Melvin he was just returning from being a body escort for a close personal friend. The other family had asked the Army to have Melvin personally escort their son back home to his final resting place, he too was 20 years old.

Now I have a son in Iraq serving with the U.S. Marines. I have seen and heard the vitriolic talk by the anti-war crowd, and I have felt the spit hit me as a returning Vietnam veteran. My country is more than a melting pot, it is a land filled with traditions, opportunity, diverse peoples, and unimaginable freedoms. Yet my country like all countries is only a generation away from dictatorship, Germany voted in Hitler, America can too. Our children, it is said, is our future, yet if we as a society no longer exist, then our children become another's slave. Our military is our second line of defense, the family being the first. As such, our
military is charged with protecting society which is composed of millions of families. The President is responsible for leading the military during times of war. Who ever the President may be, the President is answerable only to the people and the people must support the President's decisions during war, anything else causes dissension and results in the unnecessary loss of lives.

Thus when a President makes a public statement during war time to warn dissentients' to keep quiet, he is doing it to save not just lives but the nation itself.

Thus: "Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged." -- Abraham Lincoln - is a statement of fact and consequences, it is not political because no parties are identified. The only political component is inter-nation, one side will win and one side will lose, Abraham Lincoln choose to be on the winning side and we should also.

With my son's life on the line, I take subversive talk very seriously.

Unfortunately in America now, freedom must be voted on and is no longer a given.


Ed Mitchell
Boeing C-17
Desk 562 593-0586
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Victory Is Within Reach in Iraq
By MICHAEL A. LEDEEN
The Wall Street Journal Online
October 20, 2007; Page A11

Should we declare victory over al Qaeda in the battle of Iraq?

The very question would have seemed proof of dementia only a few months ago, yet now some highly respected military officers, including the commander of
Special Forces in Iraq, Gen. Stanley McCrystal, reportedly feel it is justified by the facts on the ground.

These people are not suggesting that the battle is over. They all insist that there is a lot of fighting ahead, and even those who believe that al Qaeda is
crashing and burning in a death spiral on the Iraqi battlefields say that the surviving terrorists will still be able to kill coalition forces and Iraqis.
But there is relative tranquility across vast areas of Iraq, even in places that had been all but given up for lost barely more than a year ago. It may
well be that those who confidently declared the war definitively lost will have to reconsider. [Reconciliation] Reconciliation: Shiite leader Ammar al-
Hakim, left, and Sunni sheik Ahmed Abu Risha in Ramadi, Oct. 14, 2007.

Almost exactly 13 months ago, the top Marine intelligence officer in Iraq wrote that the grim situation in Anbar province would continue to deteriorate
unless an additional division was sent in, along with substantial economic aid. Today, Marine leaders are musing openly about clearing out of Anbar, not
because it is a lost cause, but because we have defeated al Qaeda there.

In Fallujah, enlisted marines have complained to an officer of my acquaintance: "There's nobody to shoot here, sir. If it's just going to be building schools and hospitals, that's what the Army is for, isn't it?"

Throughout the area, Sunni sheikhs have joined the Marines to drive out al Qaeda, and this template has spread to Diyala Province, and even to many
neighborhoods in Baghdad itself, where Shiites are fighting their erstwhile heroes in the Mahdi Army.

British troops are on their way out of Basra, and it was widely expected that Iranian-backed Shiite militias would impose a brutal domination of the city,
That hasn't happened. Lt. Col. Patrick Sanders, stationed near Basra, confirmed that violence in Basra has dropped precipitously in recent weeks. He
gives most of the credit to the work of Iraqi soldiers and police.

As evidence of success mounts, skeptics often say that while military operations have gone well, there is still no sign of political movement to bind up the bloody wounds in the Iraqi body politic. Recent events suggest otherwise. Just a few days ago, Ammar al-Hakim, the son of and presumed successor to the country's most important Shiite political leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, went to Anbar's capital, Ramadi, to meet with Sunni sheikhs. The act, and his words, were amazing. "Iraq does not belong to the Sunnis or the Shiites alone; nor does it belong to the Arabs or the Kurds and Turkomen," he said. "Today, we must stand up and declare that Iraq is for all Iraqis."

Mr. Hakim's call for national unity mirrors last month's pilgrimage to Najaf, the epicenter of Iraqi Shiism, by Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni.
There he visited Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the top Shiite cleric. The visit symbolically endorsed Mr. Sistani's role as the most authoritative
religious figure in Iraq. Mr. Hashemi has also been working closely with Mr. Hakim's people, as well as with the Kurds. Elsewhere, similar efforts at
ecumenical healing proceed rapidly. As Robert McFarlane reported in these pages, Baghdad's Anglican Canon, Andrew White, has organized meetings of
leading Iraqi Christian, Sunni and Shiite clerics, all of whom called for nation-wide reconciliation.

The Iraqi people seem to be turning against the terrorists, even against those who have been in cahoots with the terror masters in Tehran. As Col. Sanders
puts it, "while we were down in Basra, an awful lot of the violence against us was enabled, sponsored and equipped by. . . Iran. [But] what has united a lot
of the militias was a sense of Iraqi nationalism, and they resent interference by Iran."

How is one to explain this turn of events? While our canny military leaders have been careful to give the lion's share of the credit to terrorist excesses
and locals' courage, the most logical explanation comes from the late David Galula, the French colonel who fought in Algeria and then wrote
"Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice" in the 1960s. He argued that insurgencies are revolutionary wars whose outcome is determined by control of, and support from, the population. The best way to think about such wars is to imagine the board game of Go. Each side starts with limited assets, each has
the support of a minority of the territory and the population. Each has some assets within the enemy's sphere of influence. The game ends when one side
takes control of the majority of the population, and thus the territory.

Whoever gains popular support wins the war. Galula realized that while revolutionary ideology is central to the creation of an insurgency, it has very little to do with the outcome. That is determined by politics, and, just as in an election, the people choose the winner.

In the early phases of the conflict, the people remain as neutral as they can, simply trying to stay alive. As the war escalates, they are eventually forced
to make a choice, to place a bet, and that bet becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The people have the winning piece on the board: intelligence. Once the Iraqis decided that we were going to win, they provided us with information about the terrorists: who they were, where they were, what they were planning, where their weapons were stashed, and so forth.

It's easy to say, but quite beside the point, that any smart Iraqi would prefer us to the terrorists. We're short-termers, while the terrorists promise
to stay forever and make Iraq part of an oppressive caliphate. We're going to leave in a few years, and put the country in Iraqi hands, while the terrorists
-- many of whom are the cat's-paws of foreign powers -- intend to turn the place into an alien domain. We promise freedom, while the jihadis impose
clerical fascism and slaughter their fellow Arab Muslims.

But that preference isn't enough to explain the dramatic turnaround -- the nature of the terrorists was luminously clear a year ago, when the battle for
Iraq was going badly. As Galula elegantly observed, "which side gives the best protection, which one threatens the most, which one is likely to win, these
are the criteria governing the population's stand. So much the better, of course, if popularity and effectiveness are combined."

The turnaround took place because we started to defeat the terrorists, at a time that roughly coincides with the surge. There is a tendency to treat the
surge as a mere increase in numbers, but its most important component was the change in doctrine. Instead of keeping too many of our soldiers off the
battlefield in remote and heavily fortified mega-bases, we put them into the field. Instead of reacting to the terrorists' initiatives, we went after them.
No longer were we going to maintain the polite fiction that we were in Iraq to train the locals so that they could fight the war. Instead, we aggressively
engaged our enemies. It was at that point that the Iraqi people placed their decisive bet.

Herschel Smith, of the blog Captain's Journal, puts it neatly in describing the events in Anbar: "There is no point in fighting forces (U.S. Marines) who
will not be beaten and who will not go away." We were the stronger horse, and the Iraqis recognized it.

No doubt Gen. David Petraeus and Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno know all this. It is, after all, their strategy that has produced the good news. Their
reluctance to take credit for the defeat of al Qaeda and other terrorists in Iraq is due to the uncertain outcome of the big battle now being waged here at
home. They, and our soldiers, fear that the political class in Washington may yet snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They know that Iran and Syria
still have a free shot at us across long borders, and Gen. Petraeus told Congress last month that it would not be possible to win in Iraq if our
mission were restricted to that country.

Not a day goes by without one of our commanders shouting to the four winds that the Iranians are operating all over Iraq, and that virtually all the suicide terrorists are foreigners, sent in from Syria. We have done great damage to their forces on the battlefield, but they can always escalate, and
we still have no policy to direct against the terror masters in Damascus and Tehran. That problem is not going to be resolved by sound counterinsurgency
strategy alone, no matter how brilliantly executed.

Mr. Ledeen is resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. His book, "The Iranian Time Bomb," was recently published by St. Martin's Press.



Fraud busters on rise against fake veterans

Web, federal law help to expose military charlatans

By Russell Working Tribune staff reporter
Freelancer Matt Baron contributed to this report


When Douglas E. Robinson showed up in Yorkville saying he was a homeless Vietnam veteran who had lost everything in Hurricane Katrina, the American Legion post took pity on a former comrade in arms, giving him nearly $400 and paying for a few nights' lodging.

But Robinson and his wife's aggressive demands for money and slip-ups in his story led Kendall County sheriff's deputies to investigate. It turned out he had never served in the military, officials allege.

Robinson was lodged in Kendall County Jail last week on charges of stealing government-supported property and fraud in seeking veterans' benefits. The allegations, if true, are part of a rising flood of cases nationwide in which officials and private sleuths -- aided by the Internet and a new federal law -- are exposing hustlers and charlatans who claim benefits or honors that aren't theirs.

Fraud busters, many of them infuriated veterans, could get a boost in their efforts under a bill introduced Wednesday in Congress that would create a publicly searchable database of the nation's top medals, making it easier for police, reporters and officials to verify claims.

The bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. John Salazar (D-Colo.), follows up on December's Stolen Valor Act, which expanded federal authority to prosecute those who falsely claim or display military honors.

The crimes are not victimless, say the determined sleuths who spend hours scanning the Internet and filing Freedom of Information Act requests to expose glory hogs. Phonies warp the historical record, scam taxpayers of millions of dollars and in some cases even put troops in the field at risk.

Non-profit investigators

The P.O.W. Network in Skidmore, Mo., which investigates claims to military honors or prisoner status, has seen fraud complaints grow from 22 when it first went online in 1998 to more than 9,000 so far in 2007. Chuck and Mary Schantag, who created the non-profit group, file as many as 24 requests a week for military records.

"The problem is so broad," said Mary Schantag. "They claim everything under the sun. They are from every walk of life. We have seen pastors and ministers and police officers and attorneys -- all of them making the claims. There's nothing sacred anymore."

The cases have continued to mushroom even in recent weeks. In Atlantic City, Mayor Bob Levy stopped showing up at work last week amid a reported federal probe into his false claims about his Vietnam military service.

In Massachusetts, the leader of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe on Cape Cod, which is seeking to build a billion-dollar casino, stepped aside recently and apologized for lying about his military record. He falsely claimed to have received a Silver Star and five Purple Hearts.

In Seattle, U.S. officials recently announced they were pressing cases against eight men who allegedly faked their military service in conflicts stretching back to World War II. Another four cases are pending. All told, the fraud allegedly cost the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs more than $1.4 million.

In one of those cases, a Tacoma man named Jesse Macbeth was embraced by peace activists eager to discredit the Iraq war after he claimed to have joined other Army Rangers in slaughtering hundreds of unarmed civilians in Iraq. In fact, his service was limited to a few weeks in Army boot camp before he was kicked out, the U.S. attorney's office in Seattle reported.

"That guy made a 40-minute DVD that the anti-war movement was using," said B.G. Burkett, a Texas Vietnam veteran and co-author of "Stolen Valor," a 1998 book that exposed frauds even in the leadership of national veterans groups.

"And he's very graphic about how he killed people, how he tortured them, how he shot the baby, dragged the mother out and blew her brains out -- on and on and on. It's been translated into Arabic and it's now being used as a recruiting tool for suicide bombers."

When he was sentenced to 5 months in federal prison Sept. 21, Macbeth apologized to troops whose reputations he trashed and to the peace groups who embraced his tales.

But even as the Internet allows lies to spread, it also has revolutionized the ability of fact-checkers to expose phonies. Doug Sterner, a Pueblo, Colo., veteran who checks out false claims, has set up a database of 140,000 recipients of the top three levels of military awards.

He has created "Google alerts" that e-mail him whenever a newspaper or Web site mentions the Medal of Honor, Navy Cross or Silver Star, among other topics. And often veterans and others e-mail him stories they find fishy. If he finds fraud, he calls the FBI; it was he who exposed the Massachusetts tribal leader.

Newspaper retracts story

Recently, Sterner helped uncover a case in which the Odon Journal, an Indiana weekly southeast of Terre Haute, reported that a local man had won two Silver Stars in combat in Iraq, only to retract the story this week under the headline "Shame."

"Ten years ago, that story would only have been seen in that little local weekly newspaper," Sterner said.

An Oak Park man named John Dietz was asked to lead the 4th of July parade this year based on a Wednesday Journal newspaper account of repeatedly being wounded in combat. (He also claimed to have played linebacker at the University of Michigan). The paper later had to back down, admitting it had not checked out his claims.

Watchdogs say they have no interest in prosecuting loudmouths who blab about combat heroics over a beer at the corner tavern.

But poseurs have used their fake Silver Stars and Purple Hearts to win the trust of loan officers, earn leniency in criminal sentencing and defer child-care payments, said Mary Schantag of the P.O.W. Network. People forgive a lot to vets who claim they are suffering from post-traumatic stress.

Chester Arthur Stiles, the subject of a nationwide police manhunt after he allegedly videotaped himself raping a 3-year old girl, falsely claimed to be a former Navy SEAL, the Navy Times reported Thursday. In fact, he had spent less than a year in the Navy and wasn't in the elite unit.

In Veterans Affairs, 30 benefit seekers were arrested on charges of fraudulent claims in fiscal 2007, and there are 60 open investigations of fraud, said Jim O'Neill, an assistant inspector general for the department.

Matters of trust

The Yorkville case angered Gary Bullock, commander of American Legion Post 489. In late August, Robinson and his wife allegedly talked Bullock and the post into giving him their own money, along with cash raised to send care packages to troops abroad and to aid needy veterans.

"If a veteran comes to our post and he's homeless and he tells me he doesn't have his discharge papers ... that it got lost or got burnt up in Kansas City or St. Louis or whatever, I'd like to think this guy's telling me the truth," Bullock said.

Burkett, the author, said he always is suspicious when he hears someone boasting of battlefield glory. The real heroes, he said, tend to feel guilty about their medals.

"Your buddies are dead and you're second-guessing yourself: 'I should've fired sooner, I should've thrown the grenade farther,'" Burkett said. "'Why the hell am I getting something?'

"And typically his buddies say, 'Hey, you're doing it for all of us.' He takes the medal, but he takes it in custody. It's not his. It's collective. And he never talks about it."
rworking@tribune.com

California travesty


By Mark Cromer
August 27, 2007

Dr. Gene Rogers had a pretty good idea of what was coming when he saw his supervisor and a county security officer arrive at his office door. His supervisor was holding paperwork; the security guard was holding an empty box.

Dr. Gene Rogers knew what they had come to do, and why they were doing it. As the medical director for Sacramento County's Indigent Services program for the better part of the past decade, Dr. Rogers has waged a long fight against the central California county's practice of providing non-emergency medical care to illegal immigrants \ a policy he says violates federal law and results in the poorest American citizens being denied the care they deserve.


That fight cost Dr. Rogers his job. In a two-sentence memo to Dr. Rogers, the county's Health and Human Services director, Lynn Frank, informed him that he was fired, but thanked him for his services. No reason for his termination was offered, but then he didn't really expect one. "Sacramento County knowingly violated state and federal laws, misappropriated taxpayer revenues and diverted funds designated for indigent citizens to pay for services delivered to illegal aliens," Dr. Rogers said. "And they did so even as they cut the budget."

Fired earlier this month, Dr. Rogers is the latest casualty on a frontline in the struggle over illegal immigration that's often overshadowed: the battle that has simmered throughout government agencies. Many government employees remain silent in the face of what's happening \ fearful for their jobs and perhaps doubtful that they would make a difference. But Dr. Rogers, a Vietnam veteran, felt compelled to become a conscientious objector to the status quo.

The local cost of the medical treatment provided to illegal immigrants is small when contrasted to the billions of dollars the state and federal governments spend every year on the "undocumented," but the numbers have grown dramatically. According to county health officials, the hundreds of illegal immigrants who were being treated through the indigent program in the mid-1990s have now grown to thousands of people, with the annual cost to taxpayers swelling into the millions of dollars.

Ironically, when Dr. Rogers, 67, took the position of medical director for the indigent services program back in 1999, he arrived in the Central Valley with hardly a clue (let alone an opinion) about illegal immigration and its impact on social services. He had one goal: to provide the best care possible for those who need it most.

As the years went by, however, that egalitarian perspective began to be tinged with cynicism as he watched poor citizens get squeezed out of the system even as illegal immigrants gleefully manipulated it, all while bureaucrats facilitated the rampant violations of the very laws they were entrusted to enforce.

"I've seen cases and case histories of patients who essentially have come up from Mexico for the express purpose of being treated here, and then leaving to return home," Dr. Rogers said.

"I've watched illegal immigrants brazenly demand free, non-emergency health care that was meant for our poorest citizens. I've heard them and their families complain. They feel entitled to it." Dr. Rogers filed a lawsuit in 2003 after county officials "stonewalled" him when he questioned why they were cutting budgets while still providing non-emergency medical treatment to people who have no legal right to be in the country.

The lawsuit is currently under appeal in federal court, but its impact was felt in the state capital, causing a nervous Latino Legislative Caucus in California last year to push through a bill by state Sen. Deborah Ortiz that explicitly allows counties to "opt" to provide non-emergency medical care to illegal immigrants. Sacramento County also responded, Dr. Rogers said, by seeking to alienate him from his prior relationships with county medical staff and by methodically preparing to fire him \ with a little humiliation thrown in along the way. On one occasion, Dr. Rogers said, he was forced to sit through a staff meeting in which his supervisors asked case-management nurses one by one if they had any issues or problems with him. None said they did, but it was a humiliating experience.

"I am concerned that you continue to focus on patients' immigration status," Program Manager Nancy Gilberti said in a negative work review, "which is outside your and [the] program's purview." Mrs. Gilberti's remarks reflect a prevailing culture that has emerged in government: a culture that will not tolerate anyone who dares to draw a distinction between American citizens and illegal immigrants. It is a culture that now pervades police departments, public schools and universities, social services and health care.

But when someone like Dr. Rogers speaks up to question the impact on citizens of such allocation of funds for health services like those in Sacramento, the response is clear: Sit down and shut up \ or else.

But considering that a young Dr. Rogers started his medical career trying to save the lives of horrifically wounded American soldiers in the jungles of Vietnam, Sacramento County's apparatchiks picked the wrong target this time. For Gene Rogers himself, his crusade is deeply rooted in those grim battlefields he found himself on more than 30 years ago. He watched young men fight and die, men who sacrificed all for the very distinction that citizenship brings to Americans.


It's a distinction that Sacramento County and so many others may choose to ignore, but for Dr. Rogers, that loyalty is a sacred trust he is determined to keep.

Mark Cromer is a senior writing fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization.

FACTS ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION (from the L.A. TIMES newspaper)
40% of all workers in L.A. County (L.A. County has 10.2 million people) are working for cash and not paying taxes. This is because they are predominantly illegal immigrants working without a green card.
95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens.
75% of people on the most wanted list in Los Angeles are illegal aliens
Over 2/3 of all births in Los Angeles County are to illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal , hose births were paid for by taxpayers.
Nearly 35% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally.
Over 300,000 illegal aliens in Los Angeles County are living in garages.
The FBI reports half of all gang members in Los Angeles are most likely illegal aliens from south of the border.
Nearly 60% of all occupants of HUD properties are illegal.
21 radio stations in L.A. are Spanish speaking.
In L.A. County 5.1 million people speak English, 3.9 million speak Spanish.
OTHER FACTS
Less than 2% of illegal aliens are picking our crops, but 29% are on welfare. Over 70% of the United States ' annual population growth (and over 90% of California, Florida, and New York) results from immigration.
29% of inmates in federal prisons are illegal aliens.



Tina Griego, journalist for the Denver Rocky Mountain News wrote a column titled,

 "Mexican visitor's lament" -- 10/25/07.

She interviewed Mexican journalist Evangelina Hernandez while visiting Denver last week. Hernandez said,

"They (illegal aliens) pay rent, buy groceries, buy clothes...what happens to your country's economy if 20 million people go away?"

That's a good question. It deserves an answer. Over 80 percent of Americans demand secured borders and illegal migration stopped. But what would happen if all 20 million or more vacated America? The answers may surprise you!

In California, if 3.5 million illegal aliens moved back to Mexico, it would leave an extra $10.2 billion to spend on overloaded school systems, bankrupted hospitals and overrun prisons. It would leave highways cleaner, safer and less congested. Everyone could understand one another as English became the dominate language again.
In Colorado, 500,000 illegal migrants, plus their 300,000 kids and grand-kids would move back "home," mostly to Mexico. That would save Coloradans an estimated $2 billion (other experts say $7 BIL) annually in taxes that pay for schooling, medical, social-services and incarceration costs. It means 12,000 gang members would vanish out of Denver alone.
Colorado would save more than $20 million in prison costs, and the terror that those 7,300 alien criminals set upon local citizens. Denver Officer Don Young and hundreds of Colorado victims would not have suffered death, accidents, rapes and other crimes by illegals.
Denver Public Schools would not suffer a 67 percent drop out/flunk out rate via thousands of illegal alien students speaking 41 different languages. At least 200,000 vehicles would vanish from our gridlocked cities in Colorado. Denver's four percent unemployment rate would vanish as our working poor would gain jobs at a living wage.
In Florida, 1.5 million illegals would return the Sunshine State back to America, the rule of law and English.
In Chicago, Illinois, 2.1 million illegals would free up hospitals, schools, prisons and highways for a safer, cleaner and more crime-free experience.
If 20 million illegal aliens returned "home" --

If 20 million illegal aliens returned "home," the U.S. economy would return to the rule of law. Employers would hire legal American citizens at a living wage. Everyone would pay their fair share of taxes because they wouldn't be working off the books. That would result in an additional $401 billion in IRS income taxes collected annually, and an equal amount for local state and city coffers.

No more push '1' for Spanish or '2' for English. No more confusion in American schools that now must content with over 100 languages that degrade the educational system for American kids. Our overcrowded schools would lose more than two million illegal alien kids at a cost of billions in ESL and free breakfasts and lunches.

We would lose 500,000 illegal criminal alien inmates at a cost of more than $1.6 billion annually. That includes 15,000 MS-13 gang members who distribute $130 billion in drugs annually would vacate our country. In cities like L.A., 20,000 members of the "18th Street Gang" would vanish from our nation. No more Mexican forgery gangs for ID theft from Americans! No more foreign rapists and child molesters!

Losing more than 20 million people would clear up our crowded highways and gridlock. Cleaner air and less drinking and driving American deaths by illegal aliens!

Drain on America's economy; taxpayers harmed, employers get rich

Over $80 billion annually wouldn't return to their home countries by cash transfers. Illegal migrants earned half that money untaxed, which further drains America's economy which currently suffers an $8.7 trillion debt.

At least 400,000 anchor babies would not be born in our country, costing us $109 billion per year per cycle. At least 86 hospitals in California, Georgia and Florida would still be operating instead of being bankrupted out of existence because illegals pay nothing via the EMTOLA Act. Americans wouldn't suffer thousands of TB and hepatitis cases rampant in our countrybrought in by illegals unscreened at our borders.

Our cities would see 20 million less people driving, polluting and grid locking our cities. It would also put the "progressives" on the horns of a dilemma; illegal aliens and their families cause 11 percent of our greenhouse gases.





SILENCE IN SYRIA, PANIC IN IRAN


Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler
Wednesday, 19 September 2007

One of India's top ranking generals assigned to liaise with the Iranian military recently returned to New Delhi from several days in Tehran - in a state of complete amazement.

"Everyone in the government and military can only talk of one thing," he reports. "No matter who I talked to, all they could do was ask me, over and over again, 'Do you think the Americans will attack us?' 'When will the Americans attack us?' 'Will the Americans attack us in a joint operation with the Israelis?' How massive will the attack be?' on and on, endlessly. The Iranians are in a state of total panic."

And that was before September 6. Since then, it's panic-squared in Tehran . The mullahs are freaking out in fear. Why? Because of the silence in Syria .

On September 6, Israeli Air Force F-15 and F-16s conducted a devastating attack on targets deep inside Syria near the city of Dayr az-Zawr. Israel 's military censors have muzzled the Israeli media, enforcing an extraordinary silence about the identity of the targets. Massive speculation in the world press has followed, such as Brett Stephens' Osirak II? in yesterday's (9/18) Wall St. Journal.

Stephens and most everyone else have missed the real story. It is not Israel 's silence that "speaks volumes" as he claims, but Syria 's. Why would the Syrian government be so tight-lipped about an act of war perpetrated on their soil?

The first half of the answer lies in this story that appeared in the Israeli media last month (8/13): Syria 's Antiaircraft System Most Advanced In World. Syria has gone on a profligate buying spree, spending vast sums on Russian systems, "considered the cutting edge in aircraft interception technology."

Syria now "possesses the most crowded antiaircraft system in the world," with "more than 200 antiaircraft batteries of different types," some of which are so new that they have been installed in Syria "before being introduced into Russian operation service."

While you're digesting that, take a look at the map of Syria :



Notice how far away Dayr az-Zawr is from Israel . An F15/16 attack there is not a tiptoe across the border, but a deep, deep penetration of Syrian airspace. And guess what happened with the Russian super-hyper-sophisticated cutting edge antiaircraft missile batteries when that penetration took place on September 6th.

Nothing.

El blanko. Silence. The systems didn't even light up, gave no indication whatever of any detection of enemy aircraft invading Syrian airspace, zip, zero, nada. The Israelis (with a little techie assistance from us) blinded the Russkie antiaircraft systems so completely the Syrians didn't even know they were blinded.

Now you see why the Syrians have been scared speechless. They thought they were protected - at enormous expense - only to discover they are defenseless. As in naked.

Thus the Great Iranian Freak-Out - for this means Iran is just as nakedly defenseless as Syria . I can tell you that there are a lot of folks in the Kirya (IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv) and the Pentagon right now who are really enjoying the mullahs' predicament. Let's face it: scaring the terror masters in Tehran out of their wits is fun.

It's so much fun, in fact, that an attack destroying Iran's nuclear facilities and the Revolutionary Guard command/control centers has been delayed, so that France (under new management) can get in on the fun too.

On Sunday (9/16), Sarkozy's foreign minister Bernard Kouchner announced that " France should prepare for the possibility of war over Iran 's nuclear program."

All of this has caused Tehran to respond with maniacal threats. On Monday (9/17), a government website proclaimed that "600 Shihab-3 missiles" will be fired at targets in Israel in response to an attack upon Iran by the US/Israel. This was followed by Iranian deputy air force chief Gen. Mohammad Alavi announcing today (9/19) that "we will attack their (Israeli) territory with our fighter bombers as a response to any attack."

A sure sign of panic is to make a threat that everyone knows is a bluff. So our and Tel Aviv's response to Iranian bluster is a thank-you-for-sharing yawn and a laugh. Few things rattle the mullahs' cages more than a yawn and a laugh.

Yet no matter how much fun this sport with the mullahs is, it is also deadly serious. The pressure build-up on Iran is getting enormous. Something is going to blow and soon. The hope is that the blow-up will be internal, that the regime will implode from within.

But make no mistake: an all-out full regime take-out air assault upon Iran is coming if that hope doesn't materialize within the next 60 to 90 days. The Sept. 6 attack on Syria was the shot across Iran 's bow.

So - what was attacked near Dayr az-Zawr? It's possible it was North Korean "nuclear material" recently shipped to Syria, i.e., stuff to make radioactively "dirty" warheads, but nothing to make a real nuke with as the Norks don't have real nukes (see Why North Korea's Nuke Test Is Such Good News, October 2006).

Another possibility is it was to take out a stockpile of long-range Zilzal surface-to-surface missiles recently shipped from Iran for an attack on Israel ..

A third is it was a hit on the stockpile of Saddam's chemical/bio weapons snuck out of Iraq and into Syria for safekeeping before the US invasion of April 2003.

But the identity of the target is not the story - for the primary point of the attack was not to destroy that target. It was to shut down Syria 's Russian air defense system during the attack. Doing so made the attack an incredible success.

Syria is shamed and silent. Iran is freaking out in panic. Defenseless enemies are fun

U.S. war deserter arrested in Nelson
Timothy Schafer, Vancouver Sun
Published: Tuesday, October 02, 2007

NELSON - Another U.S. Army deserter has been arrested and is being detained at Nelson City Police headquarters.
Robin Long, 24, was arrested on Baker Street by police on a nation-wide warrant, said area resident Klaus Offermann who attended Nelson City Hall to voice his concerns about the arrest.

Long was in the city from Ontario visiting friends, staying with fellow war resistors Ryan Johnson and Brandon Hughey. Offermann said the incident puts Nelson on the map of infamy in Canada, with the arrest being the second such one in six months.

"The city of Nelson is arrest-central for war resistors in Canada," said Offermann.

"This has gone beyond not rolling out the red carpet." Offermann was told Long was handcuffed and put into a patrol car while he was walking down the street.On Feb. 23 Kyle Snyder was arrested in his home by police officers acting on a detention order by Canada Border Services Agency.
Because Long deserted the U.S. during a time of war, if he is deported and tried in a court martial he could face the maximum penalty of execution.

Nelson Daily News


VIETNAM VETERANS FOR ACADEMIC REFORM
Leonard Magruder - Founder/President
Professor of psychology - Suffolk College, N.Y.,
Director of Counseling and Research - Univ. of N.D. (ret.)
Member: National Association of Scholars
PRESS RELEASE:
RESPONSES TO GROWING TERRORIST FEARS ARE APPEASEMENT BY NEW BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, CENSORSHIP OF "JIHAD WATCH" IN AMERICA, BABY TALK BY EDITOR OF "U.S.A TODAY" AND SILENCE BY PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS
NEW LIEBERMAN PROPOSAL USES SAME BASIC PSYCHOLOGY OF DETERRENCE AS MAGRUDER PROPOSAL. THE ALTERNATIVE IS "JUST SITTING HERE - WAITING" SEE V-V-A-R. ORG
VIETNAM VET ALLIES IN PAST BATTLES AND COLLEGE REPUBLICAN COALITION IN NORTH CAROLINA CALLED ON TO MARCH DEMANDING "RAISE THE QUESTIONS" AT NEXT PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE.

MUZZLING "JIHAD WATCH "
by Robert Spencer
"Readers are telling me that their employer has blocked access to "Jihad Watch" on company computers. explaining that it contains "hate speech." True in Federal Government buildings , but also blocked on computers of the State of Connecticut, the City of Chicago, and Bank of America, as examples. This is an attempt to silence us. One federal employee wrote, "Jihad Watch was blocked. They are operating according to political beliefs. It is unfortunatate that these people block the very information that we need in these times."
Obviously this is a decision made in some central location, with impact within all these different places. Jihad Watch is dedicated to the defense of human rights for all people against those who would impose Islamic law, with its institutionalized discrimination against women and religious minorities. We are trying to raise awareness of the nature, extent, and goals of the global jihad which threatens everyone who loves freedom .To tar such initiatives as "hatred" is a tried and true tactic of the Left."
Jihad Watch is a major source of reporting to America on terrorist activities around the world.
NEWSPAPER MISREPRESENTATION
The editor of "U.S.A.Today" on July 11 wrote, "The common denominator in this depravity is that the killers and would-be killers are extremist Muslims, part of a cult of death that has infected one of the world's great religions. They are the virulent focus of the "war on terror"and a growing threat to world -wide Islam, of which they are a small but apparently growing part."
Sounds like he is talking about a cut on the small finger. This is typical multiculturalist baby talk, a contemporary version of how the media misrepresented the Vietnam War, once again robbing the American people of the ability to make critical judgements about their most vital security interests in a time of war. Editors in this town, at "The Journal-World" and the "University Daily Kansan", suffer from the same baby talk as they take their cues from national editors. It is no wonder that K.U. Professor of Anthropology Felix Moos said on the front page of one such paper recently, "I find at K.U. that people are oblivious to the fact we are at war."
Don't editors in America ever do any homework ? What do editors think these verses from the Koran mean ?
9.5 Slay the idolaters wherever you find them...lie in ambush everywhere for them.
22.9 Garments of fire have been prepared for the unbelievers. Scalding water shall be poured upon their heads, melting their skins and that which is in their bellies. They shall be lashed with rods of iron.
47.4 When you meet the unbelievers in battle strike off their heads.
98.6 The unbelievers among the People of the Book, Christian and Jews, and the pagans shall burn forever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of creatures.
5.60 God has cursed the Jews, transforming them into apes and swine and those who serve the devil.
8.12 I will instill terror into the hearts of the Infidels, strike off the heads then, and strike off from them every fingertip.
Here is how these verses translate into terror for Americans:
(Associated Press) gSurrounded by five masked men carrying missiles Aba Salma Al-Hijazi, an al-Qaeda commander, said, ea huge and very courageous strikef will take placecand that the number of einfidelsf expected to be killed in the attack exceeds 100,000. He stated that the attacks will be carried out in a way that will eamaze the worldf and turn al-Qaeda into an organization that ehorrifies the world until Islamic Law, the law of Allah (Shari'a) is implemented. The attack will change the order of things. Americans should prepare their coffins, hospitals, and graves."
The terrorists hope to ruin America in one blow. Multiple cities simultaneously could do it, as would an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the Midwest. And it could happen soon.The headline in national papers today proclaim, "U.S. Fears Summer Terror 'Spectacular'. "
CIA analysts Frum and Perle in their book "An End to Evil" have it right, gWhile there are multiple terrorist groups, the common element of Islam makes the threat monolithic. The result is an unlimited threat to dominate the world through Jihad.h
Strategist Shmuel Bar writes in, "Warrant for Terror", "Insofar as religious establishments in most of the Arabian peninsula, in Iran, and in much of Egypt and North Africa are concerned, the radical ideology does not represent a marginal and extremist perversion of Islam, but rather a genuine and increasingly mainstream interpretation. Even after 9-11, the sermons broadcast from Mecca cannot be easily distinguished from those of al-Qaeda."
An article on this on the Internet today begins, "This week in Mecca we can watch on Memri video at the height of the Muslim spiritual Hajj, the holiest time and holiest site of all Islam, Muslims screaming for the death and mutilation of all infidels, but specifically Americans and Jews. They cry to their god for our hands to be chopped off and to be murdered, while thanking Allah for his greatness.
These are not terrorists visiting from caves in Pakistan. These are ordinary Muslims from all over the world, drunk with the hatred in the Koran.
SILENCE FROM PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS
Newt Gingrich, in a speech in New Hampshire recently said:
"I think that the national security threat of losing an American city to a nuclear weapon, or losing several million Americans to a biological attack is so real that we need to proactively, now, develop the appropriate rules of engagement. This is a very sober topic, and I think it is a topic we need a national dialogue about, and we need to get ahead of the curve rather than wait until we lose a city which could literally happen . We are now at war with a culture that wants, not to take over our land, but to kill us."
Instead of a national dialogue what we get is silence. Only Mayor Giuliani recognized the issue when he said at the end of the Republican debate: "Not once did the Democrats mention Islamic terrorism."
Nor did any of the media or university people who questioned the candidates.
Here are the obvious questions that we demand be asked of the presidential candidates, Democrats and Republicans, in the next debates:
How would you respond to a nuclear attack on the U.S.?
Many people want America to meet Islamic threats with a threat of catastrophic retaliation. Would you consider this?
There are many who argue that Islam is the root cause of international terrorism. Do you agree ?
LIEBERMAN ALSO TALKING DETERRENCE
CBS News - July 11, 2007.
Senator Joe lieberman on "Face the Nation" Sunday said, "The United States should launch military strikes against Iran if the government does not stop supplying anti-American forces in Iraq. ...the U.S. should target specific training camps. If they don't play by the rules, we've got to use our force, taking military action to stop them from doing what they're doing. "
 Senator Lieberman understands the elementary psychology of using a threat of retaliation as the only approach that will work to stop terrorist activity, same as proposed by former professor of psychology in "Truth Emerging", Magruder's recent article on a plan to deter terrorist attacks on America. From that article:
"Robert Galucci , a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political -Military Affairs, says "The most likely threat is that a terrorist group would acquire a nuclear weapon and introduce it into the United States. It seems to me that this is a threat against which we have neither a defense nor a deterrent."
Henry Crumpton, outgoing terror coordinator told Congress , "We don't want to acknowledge we're going to get hit again in the homeland, but we are. That's a hard, ugly fact . But it's going to happen." (Newsweek, Jan. 22)
If the experts say it is going to happen , shouldn't we be talking about how to stop it ? The need for Congress, or the military, to develop a plan to deter the disaster is the nationfs top priority. It is true that currently we have "neither a defense nor a deterrent." Checking containers and closing borders is a long way from being effective. A plan of deterrence can be based both on the warning by President Bush that gwhoever harbors terrorists is a hostile nation,h and the statement in the new U.S. nuclear doctrine, Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations - Joint Publications 3-12 that, gDeterrence may be directed at states that support their efforts as well as the terrorist organization itself.h We also note, gDeterrence, even based on the threat of massive destruction, may fail and the United States must be prepared to use nuclear weapons if necessary.h
The U.S. government periodically issues an official list of nations seen by the U.S. as harboring or aiding terrorists. The President could announce to the world that there are further lists that outline areas in these nations, unspecified, that have been pre-selected as targets for their high concentration of terrorist activity. Any attack on America and an unspecified number of these areas, he could warn, will be instantly destroyed by nuclear or conventional bombs, catastrophic destruction at a ratio of ten sites over there for every site hit in America.
True, a catastropic retaliation for the destruction of an American city could result in war. It could result in the loss of oil. But to do nothing is worse. It invits a second strike, or more. Remember, this plan is conditional,."If you do that - we will do this." Nothing need really happen . But if it does they will be responsible for the destruction of their own people.They need to know now, that if they strike at us, they will lose untold numbers of their people, cities and landmarks.
They need to know that talk about world domination is an insane idea, one that has been tried before.Their god will fail them, just as the god of the Japanese failed them.
There was the beginning of a dialogue yesterday on the Internet in response to our recent article "Death Watch," some under the title "U.S. massive retaliation against mass casualty terrorist attacks on U.S. cities".We urge everyone to go to WMDterror.com, then Forum, then Terrorism and WMD, read the article and contribute to the dialogue.
We plan to give out bumper stickers in this town that read "Raise the Questions" and we hope that one or more of the Vietnam vet groups who have helped us in the past, , and possibly a College Republican coalition in North Carolina we have contacted, will do the same to help raise the issue to national awareness before the next presidential debates. Everyone do what you can to get the issue raised through marches, letters to the editor, interviews on radio and TV, and talks wherever possible. One person we keep hoping will take up this cause is Glenn Beck, who has very bravely touched on all the major issues surrounding this one.
Above every other issue we need a president who shows us he or she understands who the real enemy is, and tells us what he or she will do about its threats to America.


Said President Bush recently, "In the Middle East, we have seen instead the rise of a group of extremists who seek to use religion as a path to power and a means of domination. This selfappointed vanguard presumes to speak for Muslims. They do not."
The Administration and the mainstream media take it as axiomatic that the jihad we see all over the world today represents a perversion of Islam, repudiated by the vast majority of Muslims. But MidEast expert Daniel Pipes said, " The president's speech reveals how confused Washington remains."
But not all Washington.

Unknown to most Americans, the U.S. government behind the scenes has adopted a policy abandoning the official mantra that "Islam is peaceful." David Kaplan in "U.S. News and World Report" said recently,
" Washington is now focusing on the true root cause of terrorism - not poverty or U.S. foreign policy, but a compelling political ideology. The goal is to influence not only Muslim societies but Islam itself. "
As Sam Harris says in his new best-selling book, "The End of Faith."
" It may not serve our immediate foreign policy objectives for our political leaders to openly acknowledge the fact, but it is unambiguously the truth. We are at war with Islam It is not true that we are at war with an otherwise epeaceful religionf that has been ehijackedf by extremists. We are at war with precisely the vision of life that is prescribed to all Muslims in the Koran. "
He then presents six pages of 300 verses of hate from the Koran.
The truth about the tragedy that has overtaken the world is that there is a fatal moral flaw at the heart of one of the world's great religions, a mixture of God and murder. There are no grounds in the Koran for the hope of a "moderate" Islam, for a critique, or stopping, of the more violent element. While the world is going through great confusion over this at the moment, there are signs it is beginning to realize that it cannot live with this.

But the most immediate need is to let them know that whatever it takes, we will give up no American city to what Tony Blair correctly calls their "absurd ideas."

Leonard Magruder
1-785-312-9303
magruder44@aol.com
v-v-a-r.org
this article may be edited and/or reproduced in any form

"It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers. In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these editor/geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late. Accordingly, I am readily willing to yield my command to these obviously superior intellects, and I will, in turn, do my best for the Cause by writing editorials - after the fact."
- Robert E. Lee, 1863

Death by rules of engagement

By Diana West
Friday, August 17, 2007

Now that Marcus Luttrell's book, "Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10," is a
 national bestseller, maybe Americans are ready to start a discussion about the core issue his story brings to light: the inverted morality and insanityof U.S.
Standard;military rules of engagement.

On a stark mountaintop in Afghanistan, Leading Petty Officer Luttrell and three Navy SEAL teammates found themselves having just such a discussion back in 2005. Dropped behind enemy lines to kill or capture a Taliban kingpin who commanded between 150 and 200 fighters, the SEAL team was unexpectedly discovered in the early stages of a mission whose success, of course, depended on secrecy. Three unarmed Afghan  goatherds,one a teenager, had stumbled across the Americans' position, presenting the soldiers with an urgent dilemma: What should they do?

If they let the Afghans go, the Afghans would probably alert the  Taliban to their whereabouts. This would mean a battle in which the Americans were outnumbered by at least 35 to 1. If the Americans didn't let the goatherds go -- if they killed them, because there was no way to hold them -- the Americans would avoid detection and, most likely, leave the area safely. On a treeless mountainside far from home, four of our bravest patriots came to the ghastly conclusion that the only way to save themselves was forbidden by the ROE. Such an action would set off  a media firestorm, and lead to murder charges for all.

It is agonizing to read their tense debate as recounted by Marcus Luttrell, the "lone survivor" of the disastrous mission. Each of the SEALs was aware of "the strictly correct military decision" -- namely,that it would be suicide to let the goatherds live. But they were also aware that their own country, for which they were fighting, would ultimately turn on them if they made that decision. It was as if committing suicide had become the only politically correct option. For fighting men ordered behind enemy lines, such rules are not only insane,they're immoral.

The SEALs sent the goatherds on their way. One hour later, a sizeable Taliban force attacked, beginning a horrendous battle that resulted not only in the deaths of Mr. Luttrell's three SEAL teammates, but also the deaths of 16 would-be rescuers -- eight additional SEALs and eight Army special operations soldiers whose helicopter was shot down by a Taliban RPG.

"Look at me right now in my story," Mr. Luttrell writes. "Helpless, tortured, shot, blown up, my best buddies all dead, and all because we were afraid of the liberals back home, afraid to do what was necessary to save our own lives. Afraid of American civilian lawyers. I have only one piece of advice for what it's worth: If you don't want to get into  a war where things go wrong, where the wrong people sometimes get killed,where innocent people sometimes have to die, then stay the hell out of it in the first place."

I couldn't agree more, except for the fact that conservatives, up to  and including the president, are at least as responsible for our outrageous rules of engagement as liberals. The question Americans need to ask themselves now, with "Lone Survivor" as Exhibit A, is whether adhering to these precious rules is worth the exorbitant price -- in this case,19 valiant soldiers.

Another question to raise is why our military, knowing the precise location of a Standard;Taliban kingpin, sends in Navy SEALs, not Air Force bombers, in the first place?

 The answer is "collateral damage." I know this -- and so do our enemies, who, as Mr. Luttrell writes, laugh at our rules of engagement as they sleep safely at night. I find it hard to believe that this is something most Americans applaud, but it's impossible to know because this debate hasn't begun. But it should. It strikes at the core not only of our capacity to make war, but also our will to survive. A nation that doesn't automatically value its sons who fight to protect it more than the "unarmed civilians" they encounter behind enemy lines is not only unlikely to win a war: It isn't showing much interest in its own survival.

This is what comes through, loud and ugly, from that mountaintop in Afghanistan, where four young Americans ultimately agreed it was better to be killed than to kill.

Diana West is a contributing columnist for Towsnhall.com and author of the new book, The Death of the Grown-up: How America's Arreted Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312340486/ref=nosim/townhallcom


"Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested,exiled, or hanged."
-- Abraham Lincoln -


Forum: 'Big Lie' lives in Vietnam

Communist Vietnam's "President" Nguyen Minh Triet's viscid propaganda op-ed piece, "Vietnam and America common interests and values" (The Washington Times, Page A-17, June 25) showed a lack of creativity: It is almost word-for-word his full-page ad on Page A-19 of the June 21 edition of The Washington Post, "A Letter from President Nguyen Minh Triet of Vietnam."

Thomas Jefferson would roll over in his grave knowing Ho Chi Minh used his immortal words from the Declaration of Independence of the United States ?\h "All men are created equal; they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights; among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" ?\h as the opening for the Vietnamese communist's Declaration of Independence. This is the same Vietnamese communist regime responsible for the murder of more than 1 million Vietnamese.

Although Jefferson's immortal words may be in Vietnam's Declaration of Independence, there they are but hollow words. Vietnam tolerates no challenges to its communist one-party rule. Extrajudicial killings continue, and in a recent spate of repression, "the worst in 20 years," the regime locked up and sent to prison more than 20 religious freedom, democracy and human-rights activists, while tightening its grip on the media and enforcing strict Internet restrictions.

Religious leaders and followers across the spectrum, Buddhists, Christians and believers of other faiths are continually harassed and arrested. More than 350 Christian Montagnard political prisoners remain incarcerated.

To Jefferson, being a president meant becoming so through free and fair elections by the populace, not by appointment as one by the Communist Party comprised of only 4 percent of Vietnam's population as Mr. Triet was. One U.S. congressman said, "Since Triet was not elected in a free election, he shouldn't be called president. ... Rather he is more comparable to a godfather ... of a repressive and deadly regime."

In his article, Mr. Triet wrote, "Bilateral ties are built on the two countries' common interests and concerns: commerce, culture, science and technology, education, regional peace and stability, the fight against terrorism." However, the Vietnamese communist regime's terrorism against its own people is not in the United States' "common interests," and it has done little to stop the trafficking in women and children for prostitution.

At their White House meeting on June 22, President Bush told Mr. Triet, "In order for relations to grow deeper, it's important for our friends to have a strong commitment to human rights and freedom and democracy." Mr. Triet rebuked Mr. Bush afterward in an AP interview saying his country does not need to improve its human-rights record. "It's not a question of improving or not. ... Vietnam has its own legal framework, and those who violate the law will be handled." Mr. Triet's so-called lawbreakers include, but are not limited to, religious leaders and adherents of all faiths, human rights and democracy advocates, labor lawyers, and ethnic minorities.

Rather than to Jeffersonian principles, Mr. Triet adheres to Joseph Goebbels' "Big Lie" postulate ?\h people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it often enough people will sooner or later believe it.

The Vietnamese regime's creator was not God as Jefferson wrote, but Ho Chi Minh. Far from being Jeffersonian, Mr. Triet and his repressive band do not practice what they preach in their Declaration of Independence.

Rather than "all men are created equal, Triet's regime is closer to George Orwell's satirical allegories of communism in "Animal Farm" where some are more equal than others.

MIKE BENGE

Stories

Colonel's Chopper Hits Fleeing VC; Kills Five

  3RD BDE - In a blazing exchange of gunfire, the gunners on the command helicopter of COL Leonard R. Daems Jr., CO of the 3rd Bde, killed five Viet Cong fleeing across a rice paddy.
  The five VC killed were credited to SP4 Louis R. Beam, Jr. of Lufkin, Tex. and SP4 Tony Grosso of Derby, Pa.
  The 20 minute engagement with an estimated force of 50 VC took place 30 kms northwest of Saigon. It was part of a day long action by elements of Task Force Daems, which netted 183 enemy bodies.
  The task force consisted of the 4th Bn, 9th Inf; 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf; and the 2nd Bn, 34th Armor.
  On a reconnaissance flight near the village of Bao Tre, COL Daems and crew members of his command ship spotted the enemy force. The door gunners of the gLittle Bearh chopper of Co A, 25th Avn Bn, opened fire on the enemy, as the pilot, WO Clay Maxwell of Midland, Mich. and aircraft commander WO Alan E. Gould of Stroudsburg, Pa., maneuvered the ship into position.
  The VC answered with volleys of small arms fire and RPG rockets, while racing toward jungle cover nearby. Numerous tracers whizzed by the command chopper.
  While the enemy force fled in the direction of the jungle, COL Daems called in a cut-off force from the 4th Bn (Mech), 23th Inf, in an effort to head off the VC.

Below is the "after action report" I wrote about this that went NOT in the Tropic Lighting paper.

Thank you,

Louis


 We took three to five hits as I recall that day. One, a half inch from my head, impacted into the gunners well, the rest down a line in the tail boom. We had dropped to 300 feet and were chasing a platoon of Cong we found out in the open trying to make it into the tree line at the Parrots Beak. I was dropping them one after another when the last man in line apparently realized he would not make it to safety. He turned looked me into the eyes and I was close enough to see him screaming as he emptied his AK 47 into the chopper. I was shooting at him at the same time. The whole war disappeared for a moment and it was just him and I. It was as close as I ever came to a shooting match during 15 months and over a thousand hours flying.  One of my bullets hit the RPG he had strapped on him at the same time his rounds impacted the gunners well and boom. The RPG ignited and the cong started running erratically and then it blew just as he reached the tree line. Meanwhile, we were receiving so much fire that as soon as he was hit I went to the next guy. Red lights came on up front and the AC (W.O. Alan Gould) said we were going to make a forced landing. As we banked hard right an RPG came close by my side of the ship just barley missing us.
It was only after landing that I discovered how close the AK 47 rounds had come to me from the last man in the line. If my head had been 1/2 inch to the left he would have had his kill and we would both be dead.  As I recall they then pipe smoked the helicopter out of the LZ and back to Cu Chi. Col. Dames gave me the five kills as I did all the shooting. He also said he was recommending me for the Silver Star as one of the kills had been an "old west" shootout with the RPG carrying V.C. I rotated home the next month and never heard more about the Silver Star, lost in the paper work I suppose.  I wish I knew the aircraft number for Col. Dames ship. I was his gunner those last few months during the Tet Offensive.  The after action report would give the number of hits. Strange the Tropic Lighting News did not mention our being hit and the forced landing. Perhaps it would not make for such a glowing report of the war---if they put that in...
Louis Beam

Here's a bit of American history yet to reach the history books -- an interview by Studs Terkel with Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the B-29 that dropped the first atom bomb. It's fascinating.

*******************************************************************
Studs Terkel: We're seated here, two old gaffers. Me and Paul Tibbets, 89 years old, brigadier-general retired, in his home town of Columbus,Ohio, where he has lived for many years.
Paul Tibbets: Hey, you've got to correct that. I'm only 87. You said 89.
Studs Terkel: I know. See, I'm 90. So I got you beat by three years.
Now we've had a nice lunch, you and I and your companion. I noticed as we sat in that restaurant, people passed by. They didn't know who you were. But once upon a time, you flew a plane called the Enola Gay over the city of Hiroshima, in Japan, on a Sunday morning - August 6 1945 - and a bomb fell. It was the atomic bomb, the first ever. And that particular moment changed the whole world around. You were the pilot of that plane.
Paul Tibbets: Yes, I was the pilot.
Studs Terkel: And the Enola Gay was named after...
Paul Tibbets: My mother. She was Enola Gay Haggard before she married my dad, and my dad never supported me with the flying - he hated airplanes and motorcycles. When I told them I was going to leave college and go fly planes in the army air corps, my dad said, "Well, I've sent you through school, bought you automobiles, given you money to run around with the girls, but from here on, you're on your own. If you want to go kill yourself, go ahead, I don't give a damn" Then Mom just quietly said, "Paul, if you want to go fly airplanes, you're going to be all right." And that was that.
Studs Terkel: Where was that?
Paul Tibbets: Well, that was Miami, Florida. My dad had been in the real estate business down there for years, and at that time he was retired. And I was going to school at Gainesville, Florida, but I had to leave after two years and go to Cincinnati because Florida had no medical school.
Studs Terkel: You were thinking of being a doctor?
Paul Tibbets: I didn't think that, my father thought it. He said, "You're going to be a doctor," and I just nodded my head and that was it. And I started out that way; but about a year before I was able to get into an airplane, fly it - I soloed - and I knew then that I had to go fly airplanes.
Studs Terkel: Now by 1944 you were a pilot - a test pilot on the program to develop the B-29 bomber. When did you get word that you had a special assignment?
Paul Tibbets: One day [in September 1944] I'm running a test on a B-29, I land, a man meets me. He says he just got a call from General Uzal Ent [commander of the second air force] at Colorado Springs, he wants me in his office the next morning at nine o'clock. He said, "Bring your clothing - your B4 bag - because you're not coming back. " Well, I didn't know what it was and didn't pay any attention to it - it was just another assignment. I got to Colorado Springs the next morning perfectly on time. A man named Lansdale met me, walked me to General Ent's office and closed the door behind me. With him was a man wearing a blue suit, a US Navy captain - that was William Parsons, who flew with me toHiroshima- and Dr Norman Ramsey, Columbia University professor in nuclear physics. And Norman said: "OK, we've got what we call theManhattan Project. What we're doing is trying to develop an atomic bomb. We've gotten to the point now where we can't go much further till we have airplanes to work with." He gave me an explanation which probably lasted 45, 50 minutes, and they left. General Ent looked at me and said, "The other day, General Arnold [commander general of the army air corps] offered me three names. "Both of the others were full colonels; I was a lieutenant-colonel. He said that when General Arnold asked which of them could do this atomic weapons deal, he replied without hesitation, "Paul Tibbets is the man to do it." I said, "Well, thank you , sir." Then he laid out what was going on and it was up to me now to put together an organization and train them to drop atomic weapons on both Europe and the Pacific - Tokyo.
Studs Terkel: Interesting that they would have dropped it on Europe as well. We didn't know that.
Paul Tibbets: My edict was as clear as could be. Drop simultaneously in Europe and the Pacific because of the secrecy problem - you couldn't drop it in one part of the world without dropping it in the other. And so he said, "I don't know what to tell you, but I know you happen to have B-29's to start with. I've got a squadron in training in Nebraska - they have the best record so far of anybody we've got. I want you to go visit them, look at them, talk to them, do whatever you want. If they don't suit you, we'll get you some more." He said: "There's nobody could tell you what you have to do because nobody knows. If we can do anything to help you, ask me." I said thank you very much. He said, "Paul, be careful how you treat this responsibility, because if you're successful you'll probably be called a hero. And if you're unsuccessful, you might wind up in prison."
Studs Terkel: Did you know the power of an atomic bomb? Were you told about that?
Paul Tibbets: No, I didn't know anything at that time. But I knew how to put an organization together. He said, "Go take a look at the bases, and call me back and tell me which one you want." I wanted to get back to Grand Island, Nebraska; that's where my wife and two kids were, where my laundry was done, and all that stuff. But I thought, "Well, I'll go to Wendover [army airfield, in Utah] first and see what they've got." As I came in over the hills I saw it was a beautiful spot. It had been a final staging place for units that were going through combat crew training, and the guys ahead of me were the last P-47 fighter outfit. This lieutenant-colonel in charge said, "We've just been advised to stop here and I don't know what you want to do...but if it has anything to do with this base, it's the most perfect base I've ever been on. You've got full machine shops, everybody's qualified, they know what they want to do. It's a good place."
Studs Terkel: And now you chose your own crew.
Paul Tibbets: Well, I had mentally done it before that. I knew right away I was going to get Tom Ferebee [the Enola Gay's bombardier] and Theodore "Dutch" van Kirk [navigator] and Wyatt Duzenbury [flight engineer].
Studs Terkel: Guys you had flown with in Europe?
Paul Tibbets: Yeah.

Studs Terkel: And now you're training. And you're also talking to physicists like Robert Oppenheimer [senior scientist on the Manhattanproject].
Paul Tibbets: I think I went to Los Alamos [the Manhattan project HQ] three times, and each time I got to see Dr Oppenheimer working in his own environment. Later, thinking about it, here's a young man, a brilliant person. And he's a chain smoker and he drinks cocktails. And he hates fat men. And General Leslie Groves [the general in charge of the Manhattan project], he's a fat man, and he hates people who smoke and drink. The two of them are the first, original odd couple.
Studs Terkel: They had a feud, Groves and Oppenheimer?
Paul Tibbets: Yeah, but neither one of them showed it. Each one of them had a job to do.
Studs Terkel: Did Oppenheimer tell you about the destructive nature of the bomb?
Paul Tibbets: No.
Studs Terkel: How did you know about that?
Paul Tibbets: From Dr Ramsey. He said the only thing we can tell you about it is, it's going to explode with the force of 20,000 tons of TNT. I'd never seen 1 lb of TNT blow up. I'd never heard of anybody who'd seen 100 lbs of TNT blow up. All I felt was that this was gonna be one hell of a big bang.
Studs Terkel: Twenty thousand tons - that's equivalent to how many planes full of bombs?
Paul Tibbets: Well, I think the two bombs that we used [at Hiroshima and Nagasaki] had more power than all the bombs the air force had used during the war in Europe.
Studs Terkel: So Ramsey told you about the possibilities.
Paul Tibbets: Even though it was still theory, whatever those guys told me, that's what happened. So I was ready to say I wanted to go to war, but I wanted to ask Oppenheimer how to get away from the bomb after we dropped it. I told him that when we had dropped bombs in Europe and North Africa, we'd flown straight ahead after dropping them - which is also the trajectory of the bomb. But what should we do this time? He said, "You can't fly straight ahead because you'd be right over the top when it blows up and nobody would ever know you were there." He said I had to turn tangent to the expanding shock wave. I said, "Well, I've had some trigonometry, some physics. What is tangency in this case?" He said it was 159 degrees in either direction. "Turn 159 degrees as fast as you can and you'll be able to put yourself the greatest distance from where the bomb exploded."
Studs Terkel: How many seconds did you have to make that turn?
Paul Tibbets: I had dropped enough practice bombs to realize that the charges would blow around 1,500 ft in the air, so I would have 40 to 42 seconds to turn 159 degrees. I went back to Wendover as quick as I could and took the airplane up. I got myself to 25,000 ft and I practiced turning, steeper, steeper, steeper and I got it where I could pull it round in 40 seconds. The tail was shaking dramatically and I was afraid of it breaking off, but I didn't quit. That was my goal. And I practiced and practiced until, without even thinking about it, I could do it in between 40 and 42, all the time. So, when that day came....
Studs Terkel: You got the go-ahead on August 5.
Paul Tibbets: Yeah. We were in Tinian [the US island base in the Pacific] at the time we got the OK. They had sent this Norwegian to the weather station out on Guam [the US's westernmost territory] and I had a copy of his report. We said that, based on his forecast, the sixth day of August would be the best day that we could get over Honshu [the island on which Hiroshima stands]. So we did everything that had to be done to get the crews ready to go: airplane loaded, crews briefed, all of the things checked that you have to check before you can fly over enemy territory. General Groves had a brigadier-general who was connected back to Washington DC by a special teletype machine. He stayed close to that thing all the time, notifying people back there, all by code, that we were preparing these airplanes to go any time me after midnight on the sixth. And that's the way it worked out. We were ready to go at about four o'clock in the afternoon on the fifth and we got word from the president that we were free to go: "Use me as you wish." They give you a time you're supposed to drop your bomb on target and that was 9:15 in the morning , but that was Tinian time, one hour later than Japanese time. I told Dutch, "You figure it out what time we have to start after midnight to be over the target at 9 a.m."
Studs Terkel: That'd be Sunday morning.
Paul Tibbets: Well, we got going down the runway at right about 2:15 a.m. and we took off, we met our rendezvous guys, we made our flight up to what we call the initial point, that would be a geographic position that you could not mistake. Well, of course we had the best one in the world with the rivers and bridges and that big shrine. There was no mistaking what it was.
Studs Terkel: So you had to have the right navigator to get it on the button.
Paul Tibbets: The airplane has a bomb sight connected to the autopilot and the bombardier puts figures in there for where he wants to be when he drops the weapon, and that's transmitted to the airplane. We always took into account what would happen if we had a failure and the bomb bay doors didn't open; we had a manual release put in each airplane so it was right down by the bombardier and he could pull on that. And the guys in the airplanes that followed us to drop the instruments needed to know when it was going to go. We were told not to use the radio, but, hell, I had to. I told them I would say, "One minute out," "Thirty seconds out," "Twenty seconds" and "Ten" and then I'd count, "Nine, eight, seven, six, five, four seconds", which would give them a time to drop their cargo. They knew what was going on because they knew where we were. And that's exactly the way it worked; it was absolutely perfect. After we got the airplanes in formation I crawled into the tunnel and went back to tell the men, I said, "You know what we're doing today?" They said, "Well, yeah, we're going on a bombing mission." I said, "Yeah, we're going on a bombing mission, but it's a little bit special." My tail gunner, Bob Caron, was pretty alert. He said, "Colonel, we wouldn't be playing with atoms today, would we?" I said, "Bob, you've got it just exactly right." So I went back up in the front end and I told the navigator, bombardier, flight engineer, in turn. I said, "OK, this is an atom bomb we're dropping." They listened intently but I didn't see any change in their faces or anything else. Those guys were no idiots. We'd been fiddling round with the most peculiar-shaped things we'd ever seen. So we're coming down. We get to that point where I say "one second" and by the time I'd got that second out of my mouth the airplane had lurched, because 10,000 lbs had come out of the front. I'm in this turn now, tight as I can get it, that helps me hold my altitude and helps me hold my airspeed and everything else all the way round. When I level out, the nose is a little bit high and as I look up there the whole sky is lit up in the prettiest blues and pinks I've ever seen in my life. It was just great. I tell people I tasted it. "Well," they say, "what do you mean?" When I was a child, if you had a cavity in your tooth the dentist put some mixture of some cotton or whatever it was and lead into your teeth and pounded them in with a hammer. I learned that if I had a spoon of ice-cream and touched one of those teeth I got this electrolysis and I got the taste of lead out of it. And I knew right away what it was. OK, we're all going. We had been briefed to stay off the radios: "Don't say a damn word, what we do is we make this turn, we're going to get out of here as fast as we can." I want to get out over the sea of Japan because I know they can't find me over there. With that done we're home free. Then Tom Ferebee has to fill out his bombardier's report and Dutch, the navigator, has to fill out a log. Tom is working on his log and says, "Dutch, what time were we over the target?" And Dutch says, "Nine-fifteen plus 15 seconds." Ferebee says: "What lousy navigating. Fifteen seconds off!"
Studs Terkel: Did you hear an explosion?
Paul Tibbets: Oh yeah. The shockwave was coming up at us after we turned. And the tail gunner said, "Here it comes." About the time he said that, we got this kick in the ass. I had accelerometers installed in all airplanes to record the magnitude of the bomb. It hit us with two and a half G. Next day, when we got figures from the scientists on what they had learned from all the things, they said, "When that bomb exploded, your airplane was 10 and half miles away from it."
Studs Terkel: Did you see that mushroom cloud?
Paul Tibbets: You see all kinds of mushroom clouds, but they were made with different types of bombs. The Hiroshima bomb did not make a mushroom. It was what I call a stringer. It just came up. It was black as hell and it had light and colors and white in it and grey color in it and the top was like a folded-up Christmas tree.
Studs Terkel: Do you have any idea what happened down below?
Paul Tibbets: Pandemonium! I think it's best stated by one of the historians, who said: "In one micro-second, the city of Hiroshimadidn't exist."
Studs Terkel: You came back and you visited President Truman.
 Paul Tibbets: We're talking 1948 now. I'm back in the Pentagon and I get notice from the chief of staff, Carl Spaatz, the first chief of staff of the air force. When we got to General Spaatz's office, General Doolittle was there and a colonel named Dave Shillen. Spaatz said, "Gentlemen, I just got word from the president he wants us to go over to his office immediately." On the way over, Doolittle and Spaatz were doing some talking; I wasn't saying very much. When we got out of the car we were escorted right quick to the Oval Office. There was a black man there who always took care of Truman's needs and he said, "General Spaatz, will you please be facing the desk?" And now, facing the desk, Spaatz is on the right, Doolittle and Shillen. Of course, militarily speaking, that's the correct order, because Spaatz is senior, Doolittle has to sit to his left. Then I was taken by this man and put in the chair that was right beside the president's desk, beside his left hand. Anyway, we got a cup of coffee and we got most of it consumed when Truman walked in and everybody stood on their feet. He said, "Sit down, please," and he had a big smile on his face and he said, "General Spaatz, I want to congratulate you on being first chief of the Air Force," because it was no longer the air corps. Spaatz said, "Thank you, sir, it's a great honor and I appreciate it." And he said to Doolittle: "That was a magnificent thing you pulled flying off of that carrier," and Doolittle said, "All in a day's work, Mr. President." And he looked at Dave Shillen and said, "Colonel Shillen, I want to congratulate you on having the foresight to recognize the potential in aerial refueling. We're gonna need it bad some day." And he said, "Thank you very much." Then he looked at me for 10 seconds and he didn't say anything. And when he finally did, he said, "What do you think?" I said, "Mr. President, I think I did what I was told." He slapped his hand on the table and said: "You're damn right you did, and I'm the guy who sent you. If anybody gives you a hard time about it, refer them to me."
Studs Terkel: Anybody ever give you a hard time?
Paul Tibbets: Nobody gave me a hard time.
Studs Terkel: Do you ever have any second thoughts about the bomb?
Paul Tibbets: Second thoughts? No. Studs, look. Number one, I got into the air corps to defend the United States to the best of my ability. That's what I believe in and that's what I work for. Number two, I'd had so much experience with airplanes. I'd had jobs where there was no particular direction about how you do it and then of course I put this thing together with my own thoughts on how it should be because when I got the directive I was to be self-supporting at all times. On the way to the target I was thinking: I can't think of any mistakes I've made. Maybe I did make a mistake: maybe I was too damned assured. At 29 years of age I was so shot in the ass with confidence I didn't think there was anything I couldn't do. Of course, that applied to airplanes and people. So, no, I had no problem with it. I knew we did the right thing because when I knew we'd be doing that I thought, yes, we're going to kill a lot of people, but by God we're going to save a lot of lives. We won't have to invade [Japan].
Studs Terkel: Why did they drop the second one, the Bockscar [bomb] on Nagasaki?
Paul Tibbets: Unknown to anybody else - I knew it, but nobody else knew - there was a third one. See, the first bomb went off and they didn't hear anything out of the Japanese for two or three days. The second bomb was dropped and again they were silent for another couple of days. Then I got a phone call from General Curtis LeMay [chief of staff of the strategic air forces in the Pacific]. He said, "You got another one of those damn things?" I said, "Yes sir." He said, "Where is it?" I said, "Over in Utah." He said, "Get it out here. You and your crew are going to fly it." I said, "Yes sir." I sent word back and the crew loaded it on an airplane and we headed back to bring it right on out to Tinian and when they got it to California debarkation point, the war was over.
Studs Terkel: What did General LeMay have in mind with the third one?
Paul Tibbets: Nobody knows.
Studs Terkel: One big question. Since September 11, what are your thoughts? People talk about nukes, the hydrogen bomb.
Paul Tibbets: Let's put it this way. I don't know any more about these terrorists than you do; I know nothing. When they bombed the Trade Centre I couldn't believe what was going on. We've fought many enemies at different times. But we knew who they were and where they were. These people, we don't know who they are or where they are. That's the point that bothers me. Because they're gonna strike again, I'll put money on it. And it's going to be damned dramatic. But they're gonna do it in their own sweet time. We've got to get into a position where we can kill the bastards. None of this business of taking them to court, the hell with that. I wouldn't waste five seconds on them.
Studs Terkel: What about the bomb? Einstein said the world has changed since the atom was split.
Paul Tibbets: That's right. It has changed.
Studs Terkel: And Oppenheimer knew that.
Paul Tibbets: Oppenheimer is dead. He did something for the world and people don't understand. And it is a free world.
Studs Terkel: One last thing, when you hear people say, "Let's nuke 'em," "Let's nuke these people," what do you think?
Paul Tibbets: Oh, I wouldn't hesitate if I had the choice. I'd wipe 'em out. You're gonna kill innocent people at the same time, but we've never fought a damn war anywhere in the world where they didn't kill innocent people. If the newspapers would just cut out the shit: "You've killed so many civilians." That's their tough luck for being there.
Studs Terkel: By the way, I forgot to say Enola Gay was originally called "Number 82." How did your mother feel about having her name on it?
Paul Tibbets: Well, I can only tell you what my dad said. My mother never changed her expression very much about anything, whether it was serious or light, but when she'd get tickled, her stomach would jiggle. My dad said to me that when the telephone in Miami rang, my mother was quiet first. Then, when it was announced on the radio, he said: "You should have seen the old gal's belly jiggle on that one."
[Paul Tibbets was born in 1915 so the interview was conducted some time in 2002.]
 

Old aviators and old airplanes never die.....
This is a good little story about a vivid memory of a P-51 and its pilot by A fellow who was 12 years old in Canada in 1967. You may know a few others who
would appreciate it.
It was noon on a Sunday as I recall, the day a Mustang P-51 was to take to The air. They said it had flown in during the night from some U.S. airport, the
pilot had been tired. I marveled at the size of the plane dwarfing the Pipers and Canucks tied down by her. It was much larger than in the movies. She
glistened in the sun like a bulwark of security from days gone by.
The pilot arrived by cab, paid the driver, and then stepped into the flightlounge. He was an older man; his wavy hair was gray and tossed. Looked like
it might have been combed, say, around the turn of the century.
His flight jacket was checked, creased and worn - it smelled old and genuine. Old Glory was prominently sewn to its shoulders. He projected a quiet air of
proficiency and pride devoid of arrogance. He filed a quick flight plan to Montreal (Expo-67, Air Show) then walked across the tarmac.
After taking several minutes to perform his walk-around check the pilot Returned to the flight lounge to ask if anyone would be available to stand by with
Fire extinguishers while he "flashed the old bird up. Just to be safe."
Though only 12 at the time I was allowed to stand by with an extinguisher After brief instruction on its use -- "If you see a fire, point, then pull this
lever!" I later became a firefighter, but that's another story.
The air around the exhaust manifolds shimmered like a mirror from fuel fumes As the huge prop started to rotate. One manifold, then another, and! yet
Another barked -- I stepped back with the others. In moments the Packard-built Merlin engine came to life with a thunderous roar, blue flames knifed from her
manifolds. I looked at the others' faces, there was no concern. I lowered the bell of my extinguisher. One of the guys signaled to walk back to the
lounge. We did.
Several minutes later we could hear the pilot doing his pre flight run-up. He'd taxied to the end of runway 19, out of sight. All went quiet for several
seconds; we raced from the lounge to the second story deck to see if we could catch a glimpse of the P-51 as she started down the runway. We could not.
There we stood, eyes fixed to a spot half way down 19. Then a roar ripped Across the field, much louder than before, like a furious hell spawn set
loose---something mighty this way was coming. "Listen to that thing!" said the controller. In seconds the Mustang burst into our line of sight.
It's tail was already off and it was moving faster than anything I'd ever Seen by that point on 19. Two-thirds the way down 19 the Mustang was airborne
With her gear going up The prop tips were supersonic; we clasped our ears as theMustang climbed hellish fast into the circuit to be eaten up by the dog-day
haze.
We stood for a few moments in stunned silence trying to digest what we'd Just seen. The radio controller rushed by me to the radio. " Kingston tower
Calling Mustang?" He looked back to us as he waited for an acknowledgment.
The radio crackled, "Go ahead Kingston ." "Roger Mustang. Kingston tower Would like to advise the circuit is clear for a low level pass." I stood in shock
because the controller had, more or less, just asked the pilot to return for an impromptu air show!
The controller looked at us. "What?" He asked. "I can't&n bsp;let that guy go without asking. I couldn't forgive myself!"
The radio crackled once again, " Kingston , do I have permission for a low level pass, east to west, across the field?" "Roger Mustang, the circuit is clear for an east to west pass." "Roger, Kingston , I'm coming out of 3000 feet, stand by."
 Standard;We rushed back onto the second-story deck, eyes fixed toward the eastern haze. The sound was subtle at first, a high-pitched whine, a muffled screech, a
distant scream. Moments later the P-51 burst through the haze. Her airframe straining against positive Gs and gravity, wing tips spilling contrails of
condensed air, prop-tips again supersonic as the burnished bird blasted across the eastern margin of the field shredding and tearing the air.
At about 400 mph and 150 yards from where we stood she passed with the old American pilot saluting. Imagine . A salute! I felt like laughing, I felt
Like crying, she glistened, she screamed, the building shook, my heart pounded.
Then the old pilot pulled her up and rolled, and rolled, and rolled out of Sight into the broken clouds and indelibly into my memory.
I've never wanted to be an American more than on that day. It was a time When many nations in the world looked to America as their big brother, a steady
And even-handed beacon of security who navigated difficult political water with grace and style; not unlike the pilot who'd just flown into my memory. He
was proud, not arrogant, humble, not a braggart, old and honest, projecting an aura of America at its best. That America will return one day, I know it will.
Until that time, I'll just send off this story; call it a reciprocal salute,to the old American pilot who wove a memory for a young Canadian that's
lasted a lifetime.

A Poem

                                FOR A QUARTER CENTURY

They are listed in the order
Of the way our Heroes fell
Behind each name many stories
That, they never got to tell.

Millions have read those names
Many, loved ones and friends
A Memorial to all those lost
And the pain which never ends.

There's those Missing in Action
And space for those yet to die
Their names added as they fall
As many still ask the question, Why?h

gThe Wallh is above those politics
Which have come with every war
But, those who fight them know
What, their Sacrifice is really for.

We must never forget those Heroes
Etched there, in that black stone
And all Americans should visit them
To show, they will never be alone.

A quarter century it has stood
To Honor those who gave their all
Who marched off into the battle
When, they heard their Country's call.

08.24.2007
Humor

You've got to love our older Veterans....
One of our older Veterans from the VFW listens intently while
a speech on Veterans Issues is discussed with Congress


This happened on a flight  getting ready to depart for New Orleans.Jack was sitting on the  plane when a guy took the seat beside him.

The guy was an  emotional wreck, pale, hands shaking, moaning in fear.  "What's the matter?" Jack  asked.

"I've been transferred to New Orleans, there's crazy  people there. They've got lots of  shootings, gangs, race riots, drugs, poor public
schools,and the  highest crime rate."

Jack replied, "I've lived in New Orleans  all my life.  It's not as bad as the media says.  Find a nice home, go to work,  mind your own
business, enroll your kids in a nice private school.  It's as safe a place as anywhere  in the world."

The guy relaxed and stopped shaking and  said, "Oh, thank you. I've been worried to death.  But if you live there and say it's OK, I'll take your
word  for it. What do you do for a living ?"

"Me ?" said  Jack. "I'm a tail gunner on a Budweiser truck."




"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers,
For he today that sheds his blood with me, Shall be my brother."
-Wm Shakespeare-
Well guys Until next month..keep a smile on your face and  your skids out of the Trees?--Ron