Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Special Forces Descend on Camp Atterbury

All photos by Staff Sgt D. Bruce.
Soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group descend to earth after jumping out of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, Ind., May 9. The airborne operation is just one of many tasks the 2nd-19th SFG must perform to maintain their credentials and accreditation.

A soldier with 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group descends to earth after jumping out of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, Ind., May 9. The airborne operation is just one of many tasks the 2nd-19th SFG must perform to maintain their credentials and accreditation.

Soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group provide security along likely avenues of approach the rest of their team can cross a trail during a foot patrol while training at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, Ind., May 12. The 2nd-19th SFG were recently at Camp Atterbury for a week-long drill period.

A soldier with 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group covers the rearguard as his team moves out after a break during a foot patrol while training at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, Ind., May 12. The foot patrol, while a basic infantry task, is just one of several tasks these highly trained Soldiers have to maintain in addition to advanced skills, often traveling through the most inhospitable route possible.

A soldier with 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group provides security for his team during a foot patrol while training at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, Ind., May 12. The foot patrol, while a basic infantry task, is just one of several tasks these highly trained soldiers have to maintain in addition to advanced skills, often traveling through the most inhospitable route possible.

The US Navy has lost its freaking mind.

From the USNI Blog...
“The last of the 14 Lewis and Clark-class cargo ships that General Dynamics NASSCO is building in San Diego will be named after Cesar Chavez, the late civil rights and labor leader. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus will visit NASSCO on Tuesday afternoon to make the formal announcement. Some members of the Chavez family are expected to be in attendance, says NASSCO, which recently laid the keel of the ship.”
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/may/16/navy-ship-be-named-after-cesar-chavez/


My opposition to this is definitely not racial.  Its not about not wanting to honor a person that some consider a civil rights leader and a union activist.

Its about not naming a naval vessel after a controversial figure.  What if an extremely conservative President is elected and he wants to name a ship after David Duke?

Sounds extreme but we're opening up the door with nonsense like this.  Time to set some kind of limit on this.  Unless the person was killed in combat then he must be dead for at least 100 years before he can be honored this way.

Something has to give on this stupidity!

But whats worse is that this smacks of using the Navy in an overtly political way.

How can I say that you ask?  Because the President's support among Hispanics is ebbing.  He's delivered a speech to them and received no bounce in his support.  Am I off the mark when I suspect that this is a bone tossed to a valued constituency?

Pic of the day. May 17, 2011.

F-35B 100th Vertical Landing

The F-35B Lightning II short takeoff/vertical landing variant test program achieved its 100th vertical landing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., on May 12, 2011. All four F-35B aircraft at NAS Patuxent River have contributed to the milestone.

Thompson muscles in on the F-35 cost debate...


Loren Thompson, never one to miss a good fight, adds his two cents to the current debate on F-35 costs.  Read it below...

Pentagon Planning To Spend $25 Billion On Music Bands

Actually, this posting is about the F-35 fighter. But the headline is correct -- the nation's military services really are going to spend over $25 billion on music bands in the coming years. In fact, if you add inflation and indirect costs like retirement benefits, the "then-year" cost of military bands is more like $50 billion. But here's the catch: I'm talking about the cumulative cost for military bands between now and the year 2065.
Ridiculous, right? By the time we get to 2065, the bands will probably be unmanned (robotic) anyway. But that hasn't stopped various news organizations from reporting that the after-inflation "life-cycle cost" of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter through 2065 has risen above a trillion dollars. The story generated a lot of buzz, mainly because few of the reporters who cover the Pentagon know anything about economics. If they did, they'd realize that in the 1970s you could buy a new Mustang convertible for less than $5,000 and half a century is a very long time in economic terms.
I imagine a few grizzled editors actually did know this, but they just couldn't resist attaching a trillion-dollar pricetag to the F-35 because it was a sure-fire way of attracting readers. So how come they never apply the same bogus methodology to other government expenditures -- like music bands? Walter Pincus reported in the Washington Post on September 6, 2010 that the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines were spending around $500 million annually on bands. Multiply that number by 50 years and then add in a modest inflation factor -- say 2.5 percent per year, compounded -- and half a century later you're talking real money, as the late Senator Everett Dirkson might have put it. Many tens of billions of dollars, it turns out.
It's hard to measure the benefit of spending so much money on music, but the stakes in the F-35 debate are a bit clearer. If the joint force doesn't field a more survivable fighter sometime soon, we can forget about operating our aircraft over places like Iran and North Korea in the future. And the fact that no U.S. soldier has been killed by an enemy aircraft since the Korean War will be a thing of the past. Air superiority is one of those things that is hard to fully appreciate until you've lost it, and then you really, really miss it. So maybe we should set aside all the imaginative ways that pundits dream up to try to discredit a plane that actually won't cost much more to own than current fighters, and just do what we need to do to stay on top.
Incidentally, did I mention that the "then-year" cost of illegal drugs in the U.S. through 2065 is likely to be around $20 trillion?
Loren B. Thompson, Ph.D.
Wow.

The issue of the F-35's costs is getting pounded harder than a thief caught trying to break into a police station.

F-35 critics...you want answers?  You've been given the answer-- something tells me you can't handle the truth.