Exploding the "It Never Happened" Myth

Glenn Reynolds has a few links that should put a stake in the heart of the revisionist claims that returning Vietnam vets were never spat on.

Hat Tip to non-blogging Advised by Wolves.

Dogfights Recreated

Advised by Wolves gives the heads up that the History Channel begins a new series tonight that looks fair to middlin’ cool. Dogfights:

The new series DOG FIGHTS recreates famous battles using state-of-the-art computer graphics. With up to 25 percent of the program consisting of animation, viewers will feel like they’re in the battle, facing the enemy. First-hand accounts will drive the story. Rare archival footage and original shooting supplement the remarkable computer graphics.

Posted December 8th, 2006 Filed in History, Military Stuff

Warplanes Without Pilots

F-35 Lightning

Pictured is the F-35 Lightning II, a truly remarkable aircraft currently under construction, funded primarily by the United States, United Kingdom, Italy and the Netherlands.

It’s a strike fighter, capable of attacking ground targets and engaging in air-to-air combat.

Further, it will be produced in three different configurations: a conventional aircraft for the Air Force, a carrier variant for the Navy and a Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) version for the Marines and Royal Navy (watch a vertical takeoff). The fact that all three configurations will have 70 and 90 percent commonality keeps costs down.

A pre-production model flew in 2000 but the military won’t be taking delivery until the turn of the decade.

F-35 LightningPossibly the most advanced feature of the aircraft is that a single processor fuses information from all the aircraft’s sensors into a “single, coordinated view of the battlefield.”

That capability is being leveraged by Lockheed-Martin, the primary designer on the project, to create a pilotless version of the aircraft. Lockheed-Martin devotes a third of R&D funding to developing unmanned vehicles, and has earmarked some of the funding to the F-35:

Creating the F-35U is made easier by the fact that all the controls are already electronic, and contain a lot of automatic (robotic) flight control software. Engineers probably noted how close, in design and purpose, the innards of an F-35 were to the various combat UAV designs going around. A robotic F-35 is envisioned as an unmanned bomb carrier, although there is nothing to prevent the F-35U from being able to fight other aircraft. . . .

Both the F-35U and F-22U would have a major advantage over manned fighters, in that a robotic aircraft could perform rapid maneuvers that the human body could not tolerate.

Cool! Unmanned fighter planes. When do I get my flying car?

Posted November 11th, 2006 Filed in Military Stuff, War, Terrorism,& the Military

Nixon’s Nukes

Recently declassified documents reveal that Nixon was considering using nuclear bombs to bring an end to the Vietnam war in an operation code named “Duck Hook”:

But Nixon abandoned Duck Hook shortly after Oct. 2. Both his secretaries of Defense and State, Melvin Laird and William Rogers, opposed the plan. Nixon apparently also began to doubt whether he could sustain public support for the three- to six-month period the plan might require. He also concluded that his military threats against the North Vietnamese had no effect.

Threats are rarely useful. For instance, French threats of economic sanctions against Iran. Uh, OK, French threats of anything (except surrender — those are always taken seriously).

Indeed, the time and place to use nukes in Vietnam was in 1953 in a place called Dien Bien Phu. The French were trying for a decisive military victory out in the middle of nowhere. Instead, General Vo Nguyen Giap conducted a brilliant 56-day siege that ended with at least 2,200 dead Frenchmen (including many of the elite Foreign Legion) and a French surrender of 11,000 men (of which a little over 4,000 survived captivity).

If the French had accepted the two tactical nukes that Eisenhower offered, history would have turned out vastly different.

Just as an aside, fourteen years later General Giap tried to do the same thing to an American Marine base called Khe Sanh. 205 American soldiers were killed while ten to fifteen thousand Viet Min died before they gave up eleven weeks later and trickled back into the jungle. When the NVA shut down the airstrip, the French had resorted to high-altitude parachute drops resulting in a great many supplies, ammunition and even vital intelligence landing outside the base and falling into enemy hands. At Khe Sanh, the U.S. Army 109th Quartermaster Company used the Low Altitude Parachute Extraction System (LAPES) with great success. The seige for Khe Sanh was a great American military victory (achieved without dipping into the nuclear arsenal) that was turned into a major North Vietnamese propaganda win by our Fourth Estate.

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Posted August 1st, 2006 Filed in France, History, Media Spin, Military Stuff

62 Years Ago Today: D-Day

On the 6th of June in 1944 nearly three million men crossed the English Channel in the largest seaborne invasion in history.

Operation Neptune, comprised of nearly seven thousand ships from eight navies, delivered the men and material to the shores of France.

Operation Overlord took the beaches of Normandy out of Nazi hands and signaled the death of the Third Reich. Soldiers from America, Britain, Canada, France, Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Poland took part.

First in were the paratroopers, in spite of heavy anti-aircraft resistance. The British 6th Airborne Division was the first unit to land, at 16 minutes past midnight. The U.S. 101st Airborne Division and U.S. 82nd Airborne Division landed in predawn hours, and the 82nd was first to liberate a French town when it occupied Sainte-Mère-Église.

Then came the part where men were thrown against the fortified coastal positions:

  • On the beach codenamed Utah, the 4th Division of the US infantry missed the landing mark by several miles and encountered little resistance, taking only 197 casualties out of the 23,000 troops landed.
  • The 50th Division of UK infantry (comprised of British and Canadian forces) and 8th Armoured Brigade UK took Gold.
  • The beach at Juno was heavily defended against the Canadian 3rd Infantry Division and 2nd Armoured Brigade. The first wave suffered 50% casualties.
  • The UK 3rd Infantry Division and 79th Armored Division took Sword, the beach furthest to the east.
  • Omaha beach was the site of the bloodiest fighting, where the 29th and 1st Divisions of the US infantry unexpectedly faced the battle-hardened German 352nd Infantry Division. Almost a thousand men died in the first few hours. The 5th Ranger Battalion, originally destined for Point Du Hoc with the 2nd Rangers, landed at Omaha and scaled the cliffs under fire to take enemy positions.

The Battle for Normandy lasted two months, long before the press had learned the word “quagmire”. Today we are reminded by the World War II Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, situated on a cliff overlooking Omaha Beach. Covering 172 acres, it contains the graves of 9,387 American soldiers and the names of another 1,557 soldiers who were never found.


May we never forget their sacrifice, give thanks for their bravery, nor fail to recognize the need to confront evil when necessary. Today is a day to find a vet and give a sincere, “Thank you.”

Elswhere in the blogosphere:

Argghhh! has a pictoral essay.

Balloon Juice reposts an excellent essay, Kim du Toit posts a speech by Ronald Reagan given on the occasion of the 40th anniversary, and Confederate Yankee posts Patton’s Normandy invasion speech.

Wizbang! observes:

On this day, thousands and thousands of young men followed their orders and went into the meat grinder that was Normandy. Many of them never returned, and in France there are large plots of land that are now American soil, bought and paid for with their blood. These cemetaries, filled with those brave young men, are all the land we took by right of conquest that we deigned to keep in the greatest war ever fought in history.

On this day, when we think of America’s sons struck down far too young, so many who died before they could father the next generation of Americans, let us also remember their spiritual sons and daughters, 62 years later, with new uniforms, new weapons, new equipment, but the same noble spirit who have taken up the mantle of those who fell in Normandy in 1944 and serve our nation today.

Blackfive has a far more extensive roundup.

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Posted June 6th, 2006 Filed in Military Stuff

Restructuring the Army

Donald Rumsfeld has ruffled a lot of general’s feathers, but that is to be expected when you are changing the military paradigm. The Christian Science Monitor has an excellent article on just how extensive the changes really are:

By giving these smaller units more resources, the Army is making them more self-sufficient – and that gives Pentagon leaders more options. In the past, the smallest unit the Army could send to any global hot spot was a division of nearly 20,000 troops. By pushing its resources downward, now the Army can mobilize individual brigade combat teams as small as 3,500 troops.

It is a fundamental change brought about by a new security environment. During the cold war, the threat was a massive war against the Soviets, so it made sense to organize the Army into a few massive pieces. Today, however, America is faced more and more with smaller conflicts, and the Pentagon is convinced that this requires smaller pieces that can be moved around the globe more easily.

Yet the changes are already echoing beyond the arcane matter of military organization into soldiers’ everyday lives.

Highly recommended reading.

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Posted April 24th, 2006 Filed in Military Stuff

Christmas Wishes

On this, the day that we celebrate the birth of God’s greatest gift, may you and yours find love in the season, peace in your hearts and see joy dancing in the eyes of happy children.


Soldier.jpgOn this, the day that we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, pray for the safety of those who put themselves in harms way to ensure our peace, and for the families of those whose children are serving so that all our children may have a secure future.

ChristmasCemetary.jpgOn this, the day that we celebrate the beginning of a journey to mankind’s salvation, may we all remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

On this day and throughout the new year, may God be with you and keep you safe.

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Posted December 25th, 2005 Filed in Military Stuff

Rapter Nears Deployment After 24 Years Development

F22Raptor.jpgDevelopment on the F-22 Raptor was started in 1981 and the first Raptor flew in 1997.

Yet it wasn’t until mid-December of 2005 that the first Raptors joined the U.S combat fleet as 12 of them were put into service:

The Raptor combines low-observability, or stealth, with supersonic speed, agility and cockpit displays designed to boost greatly pilots’ awareness of the situation around them.

That is putting it mildly. The Raptor represents an exponential leap in our ability to control air space. Consider how it does when pitted against the most advanced planes already in our fleet:

The Air Force’s new F-22A Raptor is such a dominant fighter jet that in mock dogfights its pilots typically take on six F-15 Eagles at once.

Despite the favorable odds, the F-15s, still one of the world’s most capable fighters, are no contest for the fastest radar-evading stealth jet ever built.

“The F-15 pilots, they are the world’s best pilots,” said Lt. Col. David Krumm, an F-22A instructor pilot. “When you take them flying against anyone else in the world, they are going to wipe the floor with them. It’s a startling moment for them to come down here and get waylaid.”

Each of Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines is capable of delivering in excess of 35,000 pounds of thrust. The Raptor can actually gain speed when climbing straight up — until the air gets too thin for the engines to generate enough thrust (it can attain altitudes in excess of 15 kilometers). And it can cruise at Mach 1.5 without using afterburners. Rumor has it that the Raptor can achieve Mach 2.5 at full burn.

But it is the integrated avionics that really gives Raptor pilots the edge. Integrated avionics means that different control systems talk to each other (hence the boost to the pilot’s situational awareness referred to above). The result:

This aircraft combines stealth design with the supersonic, highly maneuverable, dual-engine, long-range requirements of an air-to-air fighter and will have an inherent air-to-ground capability. The F-22’s integrated avionics gives it first-look, first-shot, first-kill capability that will guarantee U.S. air dominance for the next 40 years.

Expect Democrats to balk at funding too many more of these planes — they’ll end up costing about $160 million each to produce. But the Raptor is not only a better plane than the F-15, it will be lower maintenance to the point of being more cost effective, requiring less than half as much airlift as an F-15 squadron to deploy. F22 Major explains:

No other airplane in the world can match the Raptor’s potential. Also, in the long run, it will actually cost less than current aircraft such as the F-15. The F-22 was designed from its outset to be a reliable, survivable, and easily maintainable platform. Its parts will not break often in the field compared to current aircraft, and when they do, they are easily replaced. For example, the F-15 has an average of 5.4 sorties (flights) before requiring major maintenance. In all probability, the F-22 will reach its hoped-for result of 8.5 sorties before needing major maintenance. This starts a chain reaction. Fewer repair jobs means fewer parts and fewer people, which in turn means fewer airlift flights of these assets, which computes to less cost. Estimates are running somewhere around a squadron of F-22s needing 50% fewer airlift and 40% fewer people than an F-15 squadron, and about 75% less maintenance gear.

This is born out by actual experience, as related by Maj. Gen. Bolton:

We had a foreign-object damage incident where a stone hit one of the engine blades. We took the engine out, blended the blade without replacing it and put it back on the aircraft in only five hours. Today, if I have a problem like that on the F-15, it’s at least three days and I likely have to change the engine.

But in the end, it is the result that matters — and the F-22A Raptor delivers:

“They want to sneak in, drop their bombs, and sneak out again. They have absolutely no wish for a fight,” he said. “They don’t have air-to-air missiles, they cannot maneuver that well or anything else. Our airplane is entirely offensive. Not only am I stealthy, but I’ll also hunt you down and kill you if you get in my way.”

And then there is the Raptor’s super cruise capability that lets it fly at supersonic speed without using fuel-guzzling afterburners as required by other fighters.

“That saves us a lot of gas and opens up a whole host of things when you start talking about dropping bombs,” Krumm said. “You can imagine if you are 60,000 feet doing mach 1.9 (about 1,400 mph) and these bombs are flying out of your airplane, the swath of hell you can produce going through a country saying ‘I’ll take that target, and that target‘.”

The Officer’s Club has lots of pictures [hat tip to Vodka Pundit].

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Posted December 23rd, 2005 Filed in Military Stuff

Equipment Reviews from Iraq

Frontpage prints a letter from a retired U.S. military officer that contains feedback from his son (Jordan) who recently returned from Iraq. This is unique as it reviews the equipment being used by and against our troops:

9) The Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle: Thumbs way up. Spectacular range and accuracy and hits like a freight train. Used frequently to take out vehicle suicide bombers ( we actually stop a lot of them) and barricaded enemy. Definitely here to stay. …

Bad guy weapons: …
2) The RPG: Probably the infantry weapon most feared by our guys. Simple, reliable and as common as dogshit. The enemy responded to our up-armored humvees by aiming at the windshields, often at point blank range. Still killing a lot of our guys.

There’s more on who we are fighting and the bad guys tactics. Money quote:

According to Jordan, morale among our guys is very high. They not only believe they are winning, but that they are winning decisively. They are stunned and dismayed by what they see in the American press, whom they almost universally view as against them. The embedded reporters are despised and distrusted. They are inflicting casualties at a rate of 20-1 and then see shit like “Are we losing in Iraq?” on TV and the print media. For the most part, they are satisfied with their equipment, food and leadership. Bottom line though, and they all say this, there are not enough guys there to drive the final stake through the heart of the insurgency, primarily because there aren’t enough troops in-theater to shut down the borders with Iran and Syria. The Iranians and the Syrians just can’t stand the thought of Iraq being an American ally (with, of course, permanent US bases there).

Posted November 15th, 2005 Filed in Iraq, Military Stuff

Veterans Day

AlphaPatriot thanks the over 50 million veterans that have bravely served our nation. We owe you our freedoms and our eternal gratitude. AwakeningTheGiant.jpg

Image is from a tee available at
Treasured Memories of Grandma

Posted November 11th, 2005 Filed in Military Stuff