In remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice here are some links to Memorial Day posts from our archives …
Thank you veterans , both living and deceased , we honor your sacrifice …
Thank you veterans , both living and deceased , we honor your sacrifice …
Published on Jan 21, 2014
” The buglers of The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” perform over 5000 missions a year in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.
Featured here are SSG Jesse Tubb (summer) and SSG Drew Fremder (winter) “
” When retired Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock II died at the age of 57 on Feb. 26, 1999, his legend had long since chiseled its way into the pantheon of Marine Corps history.
He’d served almost 20 years in the Corps, including two tours as a sniper during the Vietnam War. A killer more deadly and silent than Hathcock finally had him in the cross hairs and pulled the trigger, ending his extraordinary life.
The medical term for that stealthy, relentless force is multiple sclerosis, a slow, progressive terminal malady that attacks the central nervous system. MS can cause paralysis, spasms and the loss of coordination and muscle control.”
Carlos Hathcock (1942 – 1999)
” was a US Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant who served as a sniper in the Vietnam War. With 93 confirmed kills, he was the 4th most effective sniper in American history, trailing behind Adelbert F Waldron (109), Charles Mawhinney (103), and Eric R England (98). His exploits, both as a courageous soldier and a sniper, made him a legend in the Marine Corps. Hathcock became a major developer of the United States Marine Corps Sniper training program. Not only was Carlos extremely lethal as a sniper, but he was also a brave marine; he was awarded the Silver Star for his act in 1969 of saving the lives of seven fellow Marines after the amphibious tractor on which they were riding struck a mine. Hathcock was knocked unconscious, but awoke in time to race back through the flames to save his comrades.
Carlos Hathcock was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, on May 20, 1942. Since his parents had separated, he lived with his grandmother in the country where he grew up. At a young age, Carlos learned to use a rifle, which his father had brought from Europe after World War II. Then, he would hunt wild animals to help feed his poor family.In 1959, at the age of 17, Carlos Hathcock joined the Marine Corps. Before being shipped to Vietnam, he showed his natural skills as a marksman on the rifle range at Camp Pendleton where he was undergoing recruit training, winning the Pacific Division rifle championship while he was deployed in Hawaii as a member of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines. In 1966, he was sent to Vietnam and became a sniper after Captain Edward J. Land Jr. had pushed the Marines into raising snipers in every platoon.” ”
” U.S. Special Operations forces killed a senior ISIS commander during a raid intended to capture him in eastern Syria overnight Friday to Saturday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said.
The ISIS commander, Abu Sayyaf, fought capture and was killed in the raid in al-Amr, he said in a statement.
Carter said he had ordered the raid at the direction of President Barack Obama. All the U.S. troops involved returned safely.
” Abu Sayyaf was involved in ISIL’s military operations and helped direct the terrorist organization’s illicit oil, gas, and financial operations as well,” he said.
His wife, an Iraqi named Umm Sayyaf, was captured and is currently in military detention in Iraq, National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement.
Umm Sayyaf “played an important role in ISIL’s terrorist activities, and may have been complicit in what appears to have been the enslavement of a young Yezidi woman rescued last night,” Carter said. ISIL is an alternative acronym for ISIS.”
” U.S. Special Operations Command is preparing to launch a five-month, multi-state exercise across private and public land to prepare Army special forces for threats anywhere in the world. Or at least that’s what the Pentagon would want you to believe. Officials and citizens in Texas, one of the states involved, see something potentially more nefarious in the exercise, dubbed Jade Helm 15. And now Rep. Louie Gohmert is joining them.
” Over the past few weeks, my office has been inundated with calls referring to the Jade Helm 15 military exercise scheduled to take place between July 15 and September 15, 2015,” Gohmert said in a Tuesday statement. “This military practice has some concerned that the U.S. Army is preparing for modern-day martial law. Certainly, I can understand these concerns.”
” When leaders within the current administration believe that major threats to the country include those who support the Constitution, are military veterans, or even ‘cling to guns or religion,’ patriotic Americans have reason to be concerned,” Gohmert wrote.”
” The congressman took particular issue with the layout and labels of the Pentagon map for the exercise. “Once I observed the map depicting ‘hostile,’ ‘permissive,’ and ‘uncertain’ states and locations, I was rather appalled that the hostile areas amazingly have a Republican majority, ‘cling to their guns and religion,’ and believe in the sanctity of the United States Constitution.” Gohmert called on the Pentagon to change the map, the names on the map, and said “the tone of the exercise needs to be completely revamped so the federal government is not intentionally practicing war against its own states.” “
The Independent has more on Obama’s successful corruption of US military leadership
” Concerned citizens confronted county and military officials Monday in Texas over the planned Jade Helm 15 training exercise that has ignited fears of a military takeover.
Elite forces from all four branches of the military will take part in the July 15-Sept. 15 operation in seven states across the southwest, where role players will stand in for hostile and less-hostile forces.
Residents packed the Bastrop County Commission, where a U.S. Army spokesman answered questions while an overflow crowd watched from downstairs on closed-circuit television.
Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria tried to assure the crowd that no intelligence would be gathered on non-participants, no property would be confiscated, and no psychological operations would be conducted.
Participants were torn between their respect for the military and their suspicion of the Obama administration, and they frequently expressed concern that they had not been notified about the exercise until conspiracy theories began circulating on social media.
The recent closing of five Walmart stores sparked fears that those stores would be converted into detention centers or link to underground tunnels to transport troops.”
” More than half of some 770,000 soldiers are pessimistic about their future in the military and nearly as many are unhappy in their jobs, despite a six-year, $287 million campaign to make troops more optimistic and resilient, findings obtained by USA TODAY show.
Twelve months of data through early 2015 show that 403,564 soldiers, or 52%, scored badly in the area of optimism, agreeing with statements such as “I rarely count on good things happening to me.” Forty-eight percent have little satisfaction in or commitment to their jobs.
The results stem from resiliency assessments that soldiers are required to take every year. In 2014, for the first time, the Army pulled data from those assessments to help commanders gauge the psychological and physical health of their troops.
The effort produced startlingly negative results. In addition to low optimism and job satisfaction, more than half reported poor nutrition and sleep, and only 14% said they are eating right and getting enough rest.
The Army began a program of positive psychology in 2009 in the midst of two wars and as suicide and mental illness were on the rise. To measure resiliency the Army created a confidential, online questionnaire that all soldiers, including the National Guard and Reserve, must fill out once a year.
— Forty-eight percent or about 370,000 soldiers showed a lack of commitment to their job or would have chosen another if they had it to do over again. Only 28% felt good about what they do.
— About 300,000 soldiers or nearly 40% didn’t trust their immediate supervisor or fellow soldiers in their unit or didn’t feel respected or valued. Thirty-two percent felt good about about bosses and peers.”
” A former 10th Mountain Division soldier is helping Christian militias in Iraq protect their homes from Islamic State group militants.
Brett Felton, who previously served with the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, told a crew from CBS News’s “60 Minutes” that his Christian faith inspired him to travel into the country.
“ People say, ‘You’re crazy for doin’ this,’” Mr. Felton said on the program. “I think people are crazy for not doing their part, to be honest with you. To me, for the Christians here, it would be an honor to give my life helping these people.”
Mr. Felton deployed to Iraq in 2006, and left the Army in 2007.
The Troy, Mich., native arrived in Iraq after sneaking over from Lebanon, where he was studying.
The news program’s crew found him in February training forces in Bakufa, a small village north of Mosul, where many of its Christian residents have fled.”
” A local veteran has put together a combat team to fight terrorists in the Middle East. Now, they’re getting ready to deploy in a few months.
Founder and Army veteran Sean Rowe’s goal was to find several veterans willing to fight the terror group, and he found more than a dozen veterans are willing to fight.
Almost half of them are from Florida and Rowe said a lot of people reached out to him after our first story aired. They all have a military background and are ready to return to the battle field to fight ISIS.
Rowe said he was looking for a few good men to join his group Veterans Against ISIS: Offensive Wing and he’s found them. Just don’t call them mercenaries.
“ I hate that term. We’re not doing this for money; we’re volunteering our time,” Rowe said.”
” Police agencies in Broward County are assisting members of the U.S. Special Operations Forces who are undergoing urban warfare training.
The exercises began Monday, will last until March 27 and will be held at locations that the military will not disclose.
U.S. Special Operations is commanded out of Tampa and has staged such “routine drills” in cities throughout the country, a spokesman said.
The 200 military personnel are from the four branches: Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy.”
” The American-led coalition is now launching air strikes to back up Iranian and Iraqi troops in the key city of Tikrit, a U.S. official tells The Daily Beast. Those forces had previously kicked off their operation to reclaim Saddam Hussein’s from the self-proclaimed Islamic State without informing the U.S. military. But when that campaign stalled, they turned to American air power.
A U.S. defense official told The Daily Beast that U.S. conducted 15 strikes beginning at 315 p.m. EDT, targeting weapons storage facilities, barracks and road blocks set up by ISIS. All the targets were “pre-planned” the official said, suggesting an operation planned before the Iraqis formally sought approval.
The Tikrit campaign was launched with a patchwork force of 20,000 Shiite militiamen, 3,000 Iraqi troops, and a bevy of Iranian troops, tanks, weapons and missile strikes. And in the early days of the campaign, Gen. Qassem Suleiman, leader of the Iranian Quds force, was on the ground in Tikrit.”
While Obama actively works to ensure Israel’s extinction and the Ayatollah shouts “death to America” our troops are backing the Iranian military with airstrikes … we are being led by either morons or collaborators , you choose .
” The United States Army intends to charge Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. That was Wednesday’s news, but the bigger story is the extravagant price the U.S. has paid because President Obama wanted to score political points.
Readers will recall that then-Private First Class Bergdahl went missing from his post in Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009. Fellow soldiers suspected desertion, though the Army conducted a risky manhunt to recover him. The sergeant was quickly captured by the Taliban and held for five years.
The Associated Press has reported that an internal Pentagon investigation in 2010 found “incontrovertible” evidence that he had walked away from his post. Journalists also uncovered an exchange of letters in which the soldier wrote to his father “the title of U.S. soldier is just the lie of fools,” that he was “ashamed to even be american,” and that “the future is too good to waste on lies.” Replied father Robert: “OBEY YOUR CONSCIENCE!” “
” John Greenewald, the operator of The Black Vault, a hub for declassified government documents, contacted the CIA in 2014, requesting an updated version of the NIE that contained more details. The CIA provided Greenewald with a newer version in Jan. 2015, which he first shared with VICE News.
VICE News noted that the release of this document marks the first time the public has access to the “hastily drafted CIA document that led Congress to pass a joint resolution authorizing the use of military force in Iraq.”
While the newly released version of the NIE still keeps some details from the public, it provides more information about the intelligence the US claimed to have when choosing to invade Iraq, and it points out some holes in the stories of the US officials who were justifying the invasion to the American public.
When presenting the war on March 19, 2003, Bush stated that the United States’ goals were to disarm Iraq of its supposed weapons of mass destruction, to overthrow Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, and to free the Iraqi people.”
” France is again adopting the toughest line against Iran in negotiations aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear program, potentially placing Paris at odds with the Obama administration as a diplomatic deadline to forge an agreement approaches at month-end.
President Barack Obama called French President François Hollande on Friday to discuss the Iran diplomacy and try to unify their positions. The presidents “reaffirmed their commitment” to a deal “while noting that Iran must take steps to resolve several remaining issues,” the White House said.
French diplomats have been publicly pressing the U.S. and other world powers not to give ground on key elements—particularly the speed of lifting U.N. sanctions and the pledge to constrain Iran’s nuclear research work—ahead of the March 31 target.”
God help us when France has to tell our leaders to stiffen their spines … Read on
Published on Nov 6, 2014
” The deadliest weapon on the battlefield is neither bullet nor gun; it’s the lone sniper. Journey inside the science and psychology behind the greatest shots in military history, through the scope of the world’s most extreme marksmen. Deconstruct the missions, ranging from Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan, presented by the men who were there and pulled the trigger. For the first time on American television Canadian sniper Robert Furlong, tells the story of his history-making shot in Afghanistan–striking a Taliban fighter from 1.5 miles away. Ballistics… Tactics… Weaponry… Stalking… This two-hour special examines these critical components in vivid detail, combining interviews with cinematic reenactments, CGI and present day shooting demonstrations to put the viewer squarely inside the crosshairs.”
” The U.S. has lost track of weapons and ammunition worth millions donated to the Yemeni government, an American defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Washington Post. The situation in Yemen, which has been in a state of turmoil over the last few years, deteriorated rapidly in January, when the government led by Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was toppled by Shia Houthi rebels.
The lost equipment, which includes small arms, ammunition, night-vision goggles, patrol boats and vehicles, is reportedly worth $500 million. This is a sizeable chunk of the military aid provided by the U.S. to the strife-torn nation since 2007, when Ali Abdullah Saleh was the president.
“ We have to assume it’s completely compromised and gone,” an unnamed U.S. legislative aide told the Post. While acknowledging that the Pentagon had lost track of the arms and equipment, a defense official reportedly said that there is no evidence that the items have been looted.”
” As the US debates expanding its campaign against the Islamic State beyond Iraq and Syria, the leading US civil liberties group is intensifying its efforts to force transparency about lethal US counterterrorism strikes and authorities.
On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will file a disclosure lawsuit for secret Obama administration documents specifying, among other things, the criteria for placement on the so-called “kill list” for drone strikes and other deadly force.
Information sought by the ACLU includes long-secret analyses establishing the legal basis for what the administration terms its “targeted killing program” and the process by which the administration determines that civilians are unlikely to be killed before launching a strike, as well as verification mechanisms afterward to establish if the strike in fact has caused civilian deaths.
The suit, to be filed in a New York federal court, also seeks basic data the Obama administration has withheld about “the number and identities of individuals killed or injured” in counterterrorism strikes, according to the ACLU filing. In February 2013, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who favors the drone strikes, estimated they had killed 4,700 people.
“ Over the last few years, the US government has used armed drones to kill thousands of people, including hundreds of civilians. The public should know who the government is killing, and why it’s killing them,” Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director for the ACLU, told the Guardian.”
As usual the
American Democratic media establishment in protecting “President Peace Prize” is silent on this matter but thankfully the Guardian has the complete story
” Lockheed Martin announced on Thursday that a prototype for a new laser weapon system had successfully destroyed the engine of a small truck “in a matter of seconds from more than a mile away.”
The defense and aeronautics giant named the 30-kilowatt fiber laser weapon system ATHENA, an acronym for Advanced Test High Energy Asset.
The field test demonstrated the laser’s military effectiveness against enemy ground vehicles, Lockheed stated, and demonstrated its “rapidly evolving precision capability” envisioned to “protect military forces and critical infrastructure.” “
While we remain ambivalent in the debate over the necessity of spending billions in the development of these space age weapons , we recognize the fact that even if the US does not create these futuristic weapons China will .
However , we must fault Lockheed Martin for their marketing strategy .
It hardly seems wise to advocate the multi-billion dollar ATHENA as a weapon to destroy trucks “from a mile away in seconds” when a single round from a Barrett M107 can accomplish the same result for a couple bucks .
While it is possible that the R&D costs can eventually be recouped and that the ATHENA system can become a cost-effective means of destroying missiles , jets and other large and expensive war machines , we find the emphasis placed on the destruction of regular trucks found throughout the articles currently proliferating on the web to be highly insulting to our intelligence .
” A former Royal Marine has become the first British fighter to be killed battling with Kurdish forces against Islamic State jihadists in Syria, the BBC reported.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights earlier told AFP a European citizen had been killed fighting with Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), but that it was not clear whether he was British or Greek.”
The BBC reported that a British pro-Kurdish activist had informed Scurfield’s family of his death and that the YPG had asked if he could be buried in Syria “as a martyr”. “
The website Kurdishinfo.com offers their condolences:
” Kurdish Question can confirm that the family of Konstandinos has been informed of the loss of their son and we would like to pay our deepest respects and honour the memory of this brave young man who travelled to Rojava to fight ISIS with the Kurdish forces of the YPG.
To all of the family, friends and comrades in arms of Konstandinos we pay our deepest respect and will honour his memory as a brave fighter for justice. “
” After fighting with rebels in Libya and Syria, Matthew VanDyke has rolled up in northern Iraq, but the celebrity American revolutionary-cum-filmmaker has traded his fatigues for a three-piece suit.
VanDyke, who rose to fame as a foreign fighter backing Libyan rebels against Moamer Kadhafi, has just finished leading his new military contracting firm through its first assignment — training Christian volunteers to take on jihadists.
Funded by Christian groups from abroad, mainly from the United States, the Nineveh Plains Protection Unit (NPU) aims to bring a local Christian militia to bear against the Islamic State group that has seized swathes of Iraq and Syria.
VanDyke is one of the best-known — and least camera-shy — figures in an expanding and complex constellation of foreign fighters, organisations and donors getting involved in a private war against the jihadists.
” This is an extension of my work as a revolutionary,” he says as he takes a sip from his cappuccino in a cafe in the Kurdish capital of Arbil. “What gives somebody else the right to sit home and do nothing?”
The 35-year-old came to prominence in 2011 when he joined Libyan rebels in the fight to overthrow Kadhafi. He was held by regime forces in solitary confinement for more than five months.
The film “Point and Shoot” directed by Marshall Curry, which won the best documentary award at the Tribeca Festival last year, recounts the 35,000-mile motorcycle odyssey that led VanDyke to Libya and which he describes as “a crash course in manhood”.
Not one to shy away from self-aggrandizement, VanDyke’s official website claims that his own documentary on the Syrian conflict, in which he volunteered in 2012, won no fewer than 82 prizes.
A few months ago, VanDyke changed tack and decided to form his military contracting firm, the Sons of Liberty International (SOLI), with the training of a few hundred NPU volunteers as a first assignment.
The Nineveh in the NPU’s name refers to a northern region which Iraq’s Assyrian Christians and other religious minorities consider their ancestral home.
IS last year declared a “caliphate” over parts of Iraq and Syria it had seized, forcing hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee their homes, including many Iraqi Christians.
The mostly Sunni Arab group has been accused of persecuting other communities and this week was reported to have taken several hundred Assyrian Christians hostage in northeastern Syria.
A US-led international coalition launched an air war on the jihadists in August and dispatched forces to train Kurdish and Iraqi federal troops who hope to eventually retake lost ground.
In the meantime other — less official — parties have been drawn into the conflict from abroad.
The NPU, for example, is being funded by the American Mesopotamian Organization (AMO), a California-based group founded by Assyrian-Americans.”
Even as we mourn the loss of the first western volunteer to die fighting ISIS the news is filled with encouraging reports of private citizens and organizations , Christian and otherwise , stepping up to the plate as the western powers , those dauntless defenders of liberty , dither , bluster and wring their hands .
Read the rest of this article at Yahoo News and see the links below for many similar tales …
” An Australian killed fighting for the Kurds against Islamic State in northern Syria – and thought to be the first Westerner to die in battle against IS – has been identified as 28 year-old Ashley Kent Johnston.
Mr Johnston, born in Maryborough, Queensland, is believed to have been a resident of the ACT before joining the fight against IS in Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan.
Australian Kurdish Association president Gulfer Olan confirmed Mr Johnston had died in the fighting and said she was trying to contact Mr Johnston’s family to pass on the Kurdish community’s condolences.
A man reported killed fighting against Islamic State in Syria, and identified as 28-year-old Australian Ashley Kent Johnston.
Fairfax Media has obtained an image of Mr Johnston’s passport from Australian Kurdish representatives. He was born on April 15, 1986.”
The news of the Australian’s death travelled fast through Kurdistan and the Kurdish controlled enclave of Jazira in north-eastern Syria.
Mr Rahman said dozens of Westerners had joined the YPG’s ranks.
” There are foreigners fighting on all sides of Syria’s war … They are volunteers, they don’t get paid anything at all,” he said.
” The YPG isn’t actively recruiting foreigners, but people from countries like Canada, the United States, Britain, Spain, Australia, Holland, Austria and France have travelled to Syria to join their ranks,” he said.”
The YPG posted an announcement along with a tribute video on their Facebook page:
” We the YPG regretfully inform you of the death of one of our bravest western fighters Heval Bagok Serhed. He is the first western fighter to be martyred fighting the evil of isis. Rest in Peace our Brother
We cannot disclose his identity as of yet for security reasons but in Rojava he went by the name of Heval Bagok Serhed. A YPG spokesman Redur Xelîl will make a statement to the media in due course. What we can disclose is his story of heroism and self-sacrifice for the Kurdish people.
Throughout his time in Kurdistan he had a positive impact on my peoples lives though his humility and kindness to everyone he met. He was taken from us in a heroic assault on ISIS positions in a small village near Shingal. His squad of 8 fighters were in a truck which had broken down and it was critical that they dislodge ISIS from their positions so they pushed on fearlessly with little regard for the own safety. They where massively outnumbered and outgunned but fearless in the face of this as they knew another ISIS death meant saving the lives of countless civilians. He was a fearless and exceptional soldier as well a great man.
Please keep his family and loved ones in your prayers and remember him and his heroic actions, which saved his comrades. He has given his life in the line of duty for his brothers in arms and for humanity in riding this world of the greatest evil of the 21st century. ISIS.
Long live the resistance of the YPG/YPJ and long live the memory of Heval bagok serhed!! Kurdish People will never forget you and you will live in our heart forever . ” The Lions Of Rojava
Rest in peace Christian soldier …
” Scandal: Heavily redacted documents show a military response had been drafted in answer to the Benghazi terrorist attack by a group supporting “an Islamic state” in Libya. It also showed the attack wasn’t inflamed by a video.
It’s taken Judicial Watch two years to obtain from the most transparent administration in history the 486 pages of documents pertaining to the military response to the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack on our Benghazi diplomatic mission. They confirm what we have said repeatedly, that the Benghazi tale spun by President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was indeed a lie agreed upon.
Despite heavy redaction, they show that the real “JV team” — a term applied by Obama to the deadly Islamic State — resides in the White House. The papers reveal, for instance, that at one point the military relied on a photo from a Twitter post to determine the status of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was killed with Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith in the first of two attacks.
Several hours later — hours during which a rescue or support attempt arguably could have been made — terrorists killed CIA contractors and former Navy SEALs Ty Woods and Glen Doherty.”
Lest we forget …