Archive for August, 2011

Virginia War Memorial Patriots’ Tour

August 30, 2011

Greetings American Legion Member,


The Virginia War Memorial and the American Legion Riders are partnering on an upcoming event called The Patriots’ Tour to honor our POW/MIAs and to support the War Memorial. On Saturday September 17th the ALR, other motorcyclists, and people of all sorts will converge on the Virginia War Memorial in a Bike Run, Poker Run and a POW/MIA Recognition Ceremony. Please help us build awareness of this event throughout your post and community and join us as we raise funds to honor our military through the Virginia War Memorial Educational Fund!


Please see the attached flyer for additional information.  You can also follow us on Facebook. And, you can always contact us for additional information at:


Phone:  804-786-2069


Many thanks,


Harry H. Warner, Jr.

Executive Director

Virginia War Memorial Educational Foundation

click on the link below:


Combat Firearms “Report Card” from Afghanistan

August 29, 2011

from a Marine who’s in Afghanistan No politics here; just a Marine with a bird’s eye view opinion.   


US Weapons:  

1)   The M-16 rifle: Thumbs down.  Chronic jamming problems with the talcum powder like sand over there.  The sand is everywhere.  Jordan says you feel filthy 2 minutes after coming out of the shower. The M-4 carbine version is more popular because it’s lighter and shorter, but it has jamming problems also.  They lack the ability to mount the various optical gun sights and weapons lights on the pica tinny rails, but the weapon itself is not great in a desert environment.  

They all hate the 5.56mm (.223) round.  Poor penetration on the cinder block structure common over there and even torso hits can’t be reliably counted on to put the enemy down.

Fun fact:  

 1)   Random autopsies on dead insurgents show a high level of opiate use.  

 2)   The M243 SAW (squad assault weapon): .223 cal. Drum fed light machine gun.  Big thumbs down..  Universally considered a piece of sh-t.  Chronic jamming problems, most of which require partial dis-assembly (that’s fun in the middle of a firefight).  

 3)   The M9 Beretta 9mm: Mixed bag.  Good gun performs well in desert environment; but they all hate the 9mm cartridge.  The use of handguns for self-defense is actually fairly common.  Same old story on the 9mm: Bad guys hit multiple times and still in the fight.  

 4)   Mossberg 12ga. Military shotgun: Works well, used frequently for clearing houses to good effect.   (Great weapon – I used these when transporting prisoners.
 5)   The M240 Machine Gun: 7.62 NATO (.308) cal. belt fed machine gun, developed to replace the old M-60 (what a beautiful weapon that was!!) Thumbs up. Accurate, reliable, and the 7.62 round puts ’em down.  Originally developed as a vehicle mounted weapon, more and more are being dismounted and taken into the field by infantry.  The 7.62 round chews up the structure over there.

 6)   The M2 50 cal heavy machine gun: Thumbs way, way up.  “Ma Deuce” is still worth her considerable weight in gold.  The ultimate fight stopper – puts their dicks in the dirt every time.  The most coveted weapon in-theater.  

 7)   The .45 pistol: Thumbs up.  Still the best pistol around out there.  Everybody authorized to carry a sidearm is trying to get their hands on one. With few exceptions, one can reliably be expected to put ’em down with a torso hit.  The special ops guys (who are doing most of the pistol work) use the HK military model and supposedly love it..  The old government model.45’s are being re-issued en masse.

 8)   The M-14: Thumbs up.  They are being re-issued in bulk, mostly in a modified version to special ops guys.  Modifications include lightweight Kevlar stocks and low power red dot or ACOG sights.  Very reliable in the sandy environment, and they love the 7.62 round.

 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. It is definitely here to stay.  

 10)   The M24 sniper rifle:  Thumbs up.  Mostly in .308 but some in 300 win mag. Heavily modified Remington 700’s.  Great performance.  Snipers have been used heavily to great effect.  Rumor has it a marine sniper on his third tour in Anbar province has actually exceeded Carlos Hathcock’s record for confirmed kills with OVER 100.  

 11)   The new body armor: Thumbs up.  Relatively light at approx. 6 lbs. and can reliably be expected to soak up small shrapnel and even will stop an AK-47 round.
The bad news:   Hot as sh-t to wear, almost unbearable in the summer heat(which averages over 120 degrees).  Also, the enemy now goes for head shots whenever possible.  All the bullsh-t about the “old” body armor making our guys vulnerable to the IED’s was a non-starter.  The IED explosions are enormous and body armor doesn’t make any difference at all in most cases.  

 12)   Night Vision and Infrared Equipment: Thumbs way up.  Spectacular performance.  Our guys see in the dark and own the night, period.  Very little enemy action after evening prayers.  More and more enemy being whacked at night during movement by our hunter-killer teams.  We’ve all seen the videos.  

 13)   Lights: Thumbs up.  Most of the weapon mounted and personal lights are Surefire’s, and the troops love ’em.  Invaluable for night urban operations.  Jordan carried a $34 Surefire G2 on a neck lanyard and loved it.  I can’t help but notice that most of the good fighting weapons and ordnance are 50 or more years old!!  With all our technology, it’s the WWII and Vietnam era weapons that everybody wants!!  The infantry fighting is frequent, up close and brutal.  No quarter is given or shown.  

Bad guy weapons:  

1)   Mostly AK47’s.  The entire country is an arsenal.  Works better in the desert than the M16 and the .308 Russian round kills reliably.  PKM belt fed light machine guns are also common and effective.  Luckily, the enemy mostly shoots like sh-t.  Undisciplined “spray and pray” type fire. However, they are seeing more and more precision weapons, especially sniper rifles. ( Iran , again)        
 2)   The RPG: Probably the infantry weapon most feared by our guys.  Simple, reliable and as common as dogsh-t.  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.

 3)   The IED: The biggest killer of all.  Can be anything from old Soviet anti-armor mines to jury rigged artillery shells.  A lot found in Jordan ‘s area were in abandoned cars.  The enemy would take 2 or 3 155 mm artillery shells and wire them together.  Most were detonated by cell phone and the explosions are enormous.  You’re not safe in any vehicle, even an M1 tank.  Driving is by far the most dangerous thing our guys do over there.  Lately, they are much more sophisticated “shape charges” (Iranian) specifically designed to penetrate armor.  
Fact:   Most of the ready made IED’s are supplied by Iran , who is also providing terrorists (Hezbollah types) to train the insurgents in their use and tactics. That’s why the attacks have been so deadly lately.  Their concealment methods are ingenious, the latest being shape charges, in Styrofoam containers spray painted to look like the cinderblocks that litter all Iraqi roads.  We find about 40% before they detonate, and the bomb disposal guys are unsung heroes of this war.  

 4)   Mortars and rockets: Very prevalent.  The soviet era 122mm rockets (with an 18km range) are becoming more prevalent.  One of Jordan ‘s NCO’s lost a leg to one.  These weapons cause a lot of damage “inside the wire”.  Jordan ‘s base was hit almost daily his entire time there by mortar and rocket fire, often at night to disrupt sleep patterns and cause fatigue (It did)..  More of a psychological weapon than anything else.  The enemy mortar teams would jump out of vehicles, fire a few rounds, and then haul ass in a matter of seconds.

Fun fact:   Captured enemy have apparently marveled at the marksmanship of our guys and how hard they fight.  They are apparently told in Jihad school that the Americans rely solely on technology, and can be easily beaten in close quarters combat for their lack of toughness.  Let’s just say they know better now.

Bad guy technology:   Simple yet effective.  Most communication is by cell and satellite phones and also by email on laptops.  They use handheld GPS units for navigation and “Google Earth” for overhead views of our positions. Their weapons are good, if not fancy, and prevalent.  Their explosives and bomb technology is TOP OF THE LINE.  Night vision is rare.  They are very careless with their equipment and the GPS units and laptops are treasure troves of Intel when captured.  

Who are the bad guys?  These are mostly “foreigners”, non-Afghan Arab Jihadists from all over the Muslim world (and Europe ).  Some are virtually untrained young Jihadists that often end up as suicide bombers or in various “sacrifice squads”.  Most, however, are hard core terrorists from all the usual suspects (Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas etc.).  These are the guys running around murdering civilians en masse and cutting heads off.

The Chechens (many of whom are Caucasian) are supposedly the most ruthless and the best fighters.  They have been fighting the Russians for years. The terrorists have been very adept at infiltrating the Afghan local govt.’s, the police forces and the Army.  They have had a spy and agitator network there since the Iran-Iraq war in the early 80’s.
Bad Guy Tactics:   When they are engaged on an infantry leve,l they get their asses kicked every time!  Brave, but stupid.  Suicidal Banzai-type charges were very common earlier in the war and still occur.  They will literally sacrifice 8-10 man teams in suicide squads by sending them screaming and firing AK’s and RPG’s directly at our bases just to probe the defenses.  They get mowed down like grass every time (see the M2 and M240 above). Jordan ‘s base was hit like this often.  When engaged, they have a tendency to flee to the same building, probably for what they think will be a glorious last stand.  Instead, we call in air and that’s the end of that more often than not.  These hole-ups are referred to as Alpha Whiskey Romeo’s (Allah’s Waiting Room).  

We have the laser guided ground-air thing down to a science.  The fast mover’s, mostly Marine F-18’s, are taking an ever increasing toll on the enemy.  When caught out in the open, the helicopter gunships and AC-130 Spectre Gunships cut them to ribbons with cannon and rocket fire, especially at night.  Interestingly, artillery is hardly used at all.

Fun facts:   The enemy death toll is supposedly between 45-50 thousand.  That is why we’re seeing less and less infantry attacks and more IED, suicide bomber sh-t.  The new strategy is just simple attrition.  The insurgent tactic most frustrating is their use of civilian non-combatants as cover.  They know we do all we can to avoid civilian casualties and therefore schools, hospitals and especially Mosques are locations where they meet, stage for attacks, cache weapons, and ammo and flee to when engaged.  They have absolutely no regard whatsoever for inflicting civilian casualties.  They will terrorize locals and murder without hesitation anyone believed to be sympathetic to the Americans.  Kidnapping of family members, especially children, is common to influence people they are trying to influence but can’t reach, such as local govt. officials, clerics, tribal leaders, etc.. The first thing our guys are told is “don’t get captured”.  They know that if captured they will be tortured and beheaded on the internet. They openly offer bounties for anyone who brings in a live American serviceman.  This motivates the criminal element who otherwise don’t give a sh-t about the war.  A lot of the beheading victims were actually kidnapped by common criminals and sold to them.  As such, for our guys, every fight is to the death.  Surrender is not an option.  The Afghani’s are a mixed bag. Some fight well; others aren’t worth a damn.  Most do okay with American support.  
Finding leaders is hard, but they are getting better.  Many Afghani’s were galvanized and the caliber of recruits in the Army and the police forces went right up, along with their motivation.  It also led to an exponential increase in good intel because the Afghani’s are sick of the insurgent attacks against civilians.  

Morale:   According to Jordan , morale among our guys is very high.  They not only believe that 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 sh-t 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, is that 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 Afghanisan and Pakistan.  The Iranians and the Syrians just can’t stand the thought of Afganistan being an American ally (with, of course, permanent US bases there).  

Anyway, that’s it, hope you found it interesting.  

Hurricane Irene as of 1830 EST 8/27/2011

August 27, 2011

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for the D.C. area this afternoon and tonight through Sunday morning.  Strong gusty winds will be possible Sunday afternoon behind Irene.  Hunker down and ride it out folks!

Happy Birthday Air Force!

August 26, 2011

WWII Aviation Art

August 25, 2011

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Note:  This file is large and  takes awhile to load


Agent Orange Fast Track Claims Processing

August 22, 2011

Vietnam-era veterans who have medical diagnoses for three presumptive conditions related to Agent Orange exposure need to file their disability claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs by Aug. 30 in order to qualify for up to one year of retroactive benefits.

The three diseases recently added to VA’s list of presumptive conditions related to Agent Orange exposure or other herbicides during the Vietnam War are ischemic heart disease, hairy cell and other B-cell leukemias, and Parkinson’s disease.

“Veterans who suffer from these presumptive conditions can apply for disability benefits at any time,” said Verna Jones, director of The American Legion’s Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Division. “But they need to apply by the Aug. 30 deadline in order to possibly get up to a year’s worth of benefits retroactively,”

Widows and widowers whose spouses have died from Agent Orange presumptive conditions may also qualify for retroactive benefits and are encouraged to file for dependent indemnity compensation by Aug. 30.

Veterans can file for disability claims online at VA’s

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 Agent Orange Fast Track Claims Processing System

National Museum of the Marine Corps Docent Training

August 19, 2011

 National Museum of the Marine Corps Docent Training

Ever consider volunteering at the National Museum of the Marine Corps (NMMC)?  A great way to become involved is to become a Docent.  A Docent is “a knowledgeable guide who conducts visitors through a museum and provides a commentary on the exhibits”.  The NMMC will be conducting Docent Training at the museum on consecutive Saturday mornings beginning September 10, 2011 and running through November 12, 2011.  The training is designed to help you become that “knowledgeable guide” in the National Museum of the Marine Corps.  If interested please contact Michele Flynn at (703) 784-4469 or email:

Iwo Jima Medal of Honor Winners

August 15, 2011

For those of you whom didn’t know, 27 Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded to Sailors and Marines during the Battle of Iwo Jima – more than any other battle in American Military History. One would be remiss if he didn’t recognize the selfless sacrifice of these fighting Americans so please join me as we take the time to meet these exceptional men.

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Iwo Jima Medal of Honor Winners (Mod) – 29 Dec 09[1]

**Technology Innovation May Save Lives**

August 6, 2011

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Happy B-Day Coast Guard!

August 4, 2011