My 2 cents on how the Army invests in its future

Trigger warnings: there is some profanity, and no women are mentioned, unless you count Rangers. In the spring of 2001, the Army conducted the Major’s board for Year Group 1991. In the Field Artillery, out of a cohort of over 300 that began in June 1991, only 65 were left to fill roughly 125 billets. Of the survivors, less than 5 were so hapless they couldn’t even resign right. But, per Army regulation 24.6% (16 of 65 officers) were given the boot. Why? Regs said so. How was the Army going to fill the requirement gap of 76 majors? Bring […]

Can the Pentagonians spell “war?”

I can’t tell who the Pentagon is fighting for. This we’ll defend? I think not. When Robert Gates was Secretary of Defense, he found that the Pentagon was ruled by a culture of bureaucratic delay and careerism. This culture affected even such vital issues as getting effective armor to military vehicles, leading to many unnecessary deaths and mutilations by IEDs. In the middle of war, that is, the Pentagon was still in a peacetime military mode, a mode in which buck-passers, bureaucrats, and time-servers push paper, and award one another certificates of merit. One hand washes the other as everybody […]

And Winter is Coming…

Thus, a slightly off-topic excursion into the joys of firewood and fireplaces. When I bought my place just this past spring, one of the first major things I had done was to get a fireplace insert installed. I had one in a previous house and loved it, and I chose the same model, the Regency I2400. (No blower; unless you’re heating a large open-plan house, you probably don’t need it.) A local chimney sweep, highly recommended, did all the work including removal of the gas logs that were there (anyone need a set of working LP gas logs? free for […]

Whither Afghanistan?

The ever-vigilant, thoughtful commentator and stalwart Op-For loyalist George W ’64 sent in two articles on Afghanistan for consideration. The first is here, “Why Afghanistan is going to fall…” This is one of the first paragraphs: After covering the invasion of Afghanistan, former NPR journalist Sarah Chayes decided to stay in the country to try to help turn it around. She opened a business in Kandahar and probably spent more time living directly with the Afghan people — without security guards — than any other American since 2001. Chayes ultimately went to work for coalition forces in the region, sharing the […]

Artillery Thursday: From Reclaimed Relics to the Smallest Guided Munitions

From two ends of the firepower spectrum, the old and the massive to the new and the miniature, we bring you something– twothings– pretty nifty… “Blast from the past: 3 Civil War cannons pulled from river” Aside from being coated in mud and muck, the recovered cannons were in surprisingly good condition and are more or less “ready to rock and roll,” said Jonathan Leader, South Carolina’s state archaeologist, who helped lead efforts to locate the remains of the sunken CSS Pedee. Receding waters left the third cannon (a 7-inch Brooke rifle) exposed, and the gun is a bit corroded […]

Death of a Great Army Leader and Strategist

It was announced that General John R. Galvin died this past Friday in Jonesboro, Georgia.  The New York Times Obituary gives him just credit for helping end the Cold War and providing a steady hand in the tumultuous days after the fall of the Berlin Wall. I had the pleasure of serving with General Galvin when he was the Commander of the 24th Infantry Division at Fort Stewart Georgia.  I remember him inspecting our field site during and exercise and the quiet leadership he exerted as he pointed out areas where we could improve.  The best part of his visit […]

Syria: The Great Power Flashpoint

“U.S. fears a clash with Russia over Syria” That sound you heard is a balance-of-power shift, and not one in our favor. One decidedly to our detriment. It’s bad enough that Putin’s actions, deftly and boldly executed, have put us and the coalition on the strategic defensive. It’s worse still that the move appears to have caught our national leadership off guard! Is there a strategy for Syria and the Levant? (Besides dropping bombs and training rebels by ones and twos.) Is there some kind of rational plan?? And the means to execute it? Does the Iran nuclear deal now […]

2015 “Ride to the I”– Postponed

All: This just in, from Matt Schwarzmann… Attention Riders, Due to the foul weather predicted for this weekend, the decision has been made to postpone the 10th Annual Ride to The I.  The new date will be Saturday, 10 October.  All other details remain the same. I apologize for the inconvenience of having to reschedule the event, but everyone’s safety is of paramount importance and the weather does not look to be the best for riding safely. I recognize that this will not fit into everyone’s schedule so if you have already signed up and cannot attend next weekend, a […]

This Should Cause Some VMI Alumni to Have Apoplexy

There is a coterie of VMI Alumni who despise Josiah Bunting.  His comments posted over at Tom Ricks site will cause them great irritation.  It would be interesting to ask the current Superintendent (I have seen the wizard) if he agrees with Si Bunting.

Cautionary Tale from Yugoslavia

This will not be everyone’s cup of tea, that’s for sure. Mildly inflammatory but certainly worth a look. About six months old– never seen it before or heard of the site– DaveO hisself sent it in and asked me to post it up. File it under “It Couldn’t Possibly Happen Here” if you like, but remember that it *did* happen there. So, while we’re on the subject, what does happen when a mismanaged economy hits the wall, the previously successful national unifying factors have been discarded and ridiculed, revered regional symbols and heroes cast down, the I-told-you-so choruses start to […]