Archive for August, 2010

But for us it was Tuesday

Posted in HOOAH!, Uncategorized, War On Terror with tags , , , , , on 31, August 2010 by chockblock

The president paid us a visit. President Obama ate at our DFAC and stopped by on his way to Fort Hood.

He spoke to the soldiers who have fought and lost buddies in Iraq. Many are veterans of the “surge”. There were some vile Code Pink wackos protesting the days before he got here. While some on the left cling to fantasies of government that never uses force, it is refreshing to see our commander in chief visit our troops.

As for me, I had to work in the motor pool. I did see Air Force One on the tarmac and saw the president limo drive by.

Hot Crew! : Michelle Phan

Posted in HOOAH!, rankers, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 29, August 2010 by chockblock

Michelle Phan is a DIY makeup guru on youtube. A true self-made woman, she’s built a multimedia empire with her hard work. She has her own cosmetics, she’s been in Vogue and the NY times. She’s easy on the eyes too!

DIY:

She celebrates her success:

She gets arty! :

A new and improved M-4?

Posted in army training, guns, HOOAH!, politcs, rankers, tech pron, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 28, August 2010 by chockblock

Looks like the Army is trying to fix the problems OIF and OEF brought out on the M-16/M-4:

Soldiers, get ready for a better carbine. The Army has launched a dual strategy designed to give you a more accurate, durable and lethal weapon that will be the mainstay for the next 40 years.

The first part of that strategy is to radically overhaul the M4 starting now and give grunts an improved version of the special operations M4A1. Simultaneously, the second part challenges industry to come up with a new carbine that can outperform the M4. The competition opened in early August.

Army wants soldiers to have improved carbine

By Lance M. Bacon ArmyTimes.Com

There will be must heat but little light for a while. The Army was shamed when the M-4 failed the dust tests a few years ago. The XM-8 and HK-416 spanked the M-4, as did the SCAR.

Too much has been invested to replace the M-4/16 outright. Too much training, doctrine and the supply chain. I believe the “winner” will be either the full auto M-4A1 with a heavy barrel or another Colt entry that’s very close to the M-4.

There are other rifles out there, if the Army picks one I’ll be surprised. If Colt losses, expect much crying, whining and hair pulling from Colt. They bitched about the 416 (“It’s a German weapon!”), despite the fact than many “foreign weapons” are used by US troops. They are built under license in the US (federal law requires it). Colt will pitch a fit until they either: get the way, derail the competition or lose for good. That’s because the GAO and the DOD let them. Back in the 80′s and 90′s if you lost you lost, not now. Expect to see much whining from Colt.

I hope PEO Soldier runs this like a Swiss watch. If Colt can come through, I won’t complain. The best rifle needs to win. Not the company with the most pull on the Hill, but the rifle/carbine the puts rounds on target with less fussing by us in ACU’s.

I also hope every soldier gets one. Regular Army (line units and support) National Guard and Reserves. The old rifles can be sold to friendly governments, scrapped or better yet, the M-16′s could be converted to semi-auto and sold as surplus. Or the parts can anyway. Let home gunsmiths make M-16′s out of the scraps.

We need a new weapon. This promises to be a big story in the coming months.
See my writings on the M-16 debate here.

Army of none: The Ground Combat Vehicle restart

Posted in army training, guns, HOOAH!, rankers, tech pron, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 27, August 2010 by chockblock

In yet another twist in the soap opera world of Army modernization, the Ground Combat Vehicle Program was canceled and restarted.

“The Army has canceled the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) solicitation because the service decided, after an internal and external review, that the current Requests for Proposal (RFP) do not accurately reflect Army requirements and a changing acquisition strategy, sources tell us.

A contract for the new vehicle was very close to being awarded, we’re told. A restart of the GCV competition is expected fairly soon, a new RFP may be out within 60 days, and the Army intends to stay within the original seven year timeline to field a new vehicle.”
Army Abruptly Cancels Ground Combat Vehicle Competition (Updated): Greg Grant, Defensetech.org

The Army Times asks if the lessons from the disastrous FCS program were learned.

The Future Combat Systems were a family of immature tech pused onto the active duty force in a time of war. Developed in the 90′s, most of the big systems failed. The robots and sensors have succeed. This program was supposed to be a smarter version of FCS. Even then the vehicles ballooned to 70 tons. Each service lards up new combat vehicles with fancy gadgets. Only later do they find out that the fancy widgets fold up and die in the real world.

The less said about the DIVAD the better.

Why the rush? Most of our tanks and APC’s are at their peak. Unlike aircraft or ships, most tracked and wheeled vehicles can go for decades before they need to be replaced. It has been tech like ABS and subtle changed in design that caused most 5 ton and deuce and a halves to drive to the sunset.

What is really needed is better network and commo gear. A new tank would be nice, but really we have the Stryke and MRAP’s. They suck in some ways (not heavy enough for a head on with a real army) but are more moble than 60-70 ton Abrams tanks.

The Army needs more air and sea lift. All the magical 40-50 ton “combat vehicles” do no good if they are stuck stateside. The brass put the combat cart before the logistical horse.

Maybe a new combat vehicle will win the next war. But the M1 will survive. Unless there is some new anti-armor warhead out there, our M1′s are good enough for the current economic downturn. If some radical new power plant, armor or weapon comes along, by all means make a new vehicle.

Till then the Army should invest more in personnel, logistics and networks.

Useful Idiots: Bias part II

Posted in politcs, rankers, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 14, August 2010 by chockblock

“In political jargon, the term useful idiot was used to describe Soviet sympathizers in Western countries and the attitude of the Soviet government towards them. The implication was that though the person in question naïvely thought themselves an ally of the Soviets or other Communists, they were actually held in contempt by them, and were being cynically used.”
– Wikipedia.

Today we have dimmi’s. Those who try and convince us that if we’d only believe, the muslim world would like us. If we’d stop bombing them (for terrorist attacks, 9/11, violent oppression of women, etc.), the Arab would would like us. “Unclench the fist” so to speak.

Sorry, fists are still clenched.

Russia (under Putin) is thumbing it’s nose at our peace efforts. Anti-American Muslims want a mega-mosque next to Ground Zero (with the backing of our leadership)..

BBC Radio has a good podcast on useful idiots.

Yes, on the right there has been support of violent oppressive regimes. But (and this is a Kim Kardashian-sized but) violent anti-western regiems are working together. Most “rightist” regimes were islands of despotism. In South America, Hugo Chavez is trying to work with China, Russian and Iran against the US. Iran is trying to undermine the US in the middle east and supports terror attacks against the US. The Taliban and the Al-Qaeda sponsored terror in Iraq were whitewashed by the left since OIF and OEF.

The left is in love with anything anti-American. Even as they work to undermine the freedoms they enjoy.

Sadly, useful idiots are still with us.

Get the mp3 download of the BBC radio podcast and visit Ace here

(h/t: Ace, Confederate Yankee, Hotair, Blackfive)

Quick Take: TANSTAAFL and the Air Force.

Posted in guns, politcs, rankers, tech pron, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 11, August 2010 by chockblock

From WikiPedia, TANSTAAFL: “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” (alternatively, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” or other variants) is a popular adage communicating the idea that it is impossible to get something for nothing.

It seems that our political and military leadership is now trying to confront the fighter gap. The F-15 & F-16 are nearing the end of there useful lives. Metal fatigue will claim the A, B and early C models, there is no room for improvements in the models flying now (and a high optempo will push the metal fatigue issue further).

The DEW Line gives us a GAO report:

The GAO report summarizes two mandatory reports the USAF delivered in March to Congress. There are four options:

1. Extending the service life of and modernizing about 300 F-16 aircraft
2. Increasing annual F-35 procurement above 80 aircraft per year
3. Procuring new upgraded variants of legacy aircraft such as the F-16 and F-15
4. A combination of options 2 and 3

the GAO notes that the service life extension program for the F-16 only restores the aircraft’s original threshold of 8,000 hours, rather than truly extending its lifetime.
[emphasis mine]

Old aircraft must be replaced. It’s not a matter of fat contracts or perpetual war or other non-sense. Metal corrodes, develops fatigue cracks and fails under stress. Every year an aircraft crashes due to age. You can tear them down and rebuild them, but there is no free lunch.

New versions of old models are possible, but here’s the rub: new missiles and aircraft are out there. Now, for sale to people who hate us. So they will have to be escorted by the F-22 and F-35. Stand off weapons? Sorry ELP, air defense crews train in shooting them down.

Sadly, re-treads of the F-15/F-16 may get the bucks, due to the jobs they provide to the districts of many in Congress.

Our current aircraft need to be replaced. This includes tankers, cargo and bomber, many took their first flights during the Kennedy era.

Either Congress tackles his issue or pilots die.

P.S. US Aerospace Inc, BITE ME.

Higher education: bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

Posted in army life, politcs, rankers, Uncategorized, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 9, August 2010 by chockblock

I entered college in the 1990′s. Yes I was a slacker. When I finally graduated in 1999 I though it would be easy for me to get a job. Boy was I mistaken. I wound up in the army due to problems shopping around a resume that mostly had time in school. Time I needed to get my graduate degree (that I never finished).

I should have just gone into the workforce. I’d have been happier and would have had $$$.

Glen Reynolds writes about the bubble in higher ed and the correction soon to follow:

My reasoning was simple enough: Something that can’t go on forever, won’t. And the past decades’ history of tuition growing much faster than the rate of inflation, with students and parents making up the difference via easy credit, is something that can’t go on forever. Thus my prediction that it won’t.
Continue reading

Contractors

Posted in HOOAH!, politcs, rankers, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 7, August 2010 by chockblock

A Marine SGT says what many are thinking about contractors:
(H/T Defense Tech)

“Computer systems frequently malfunction, but using civilians to troubleshoot these programs undermines fire support’s ability to be “semper flexiblis.” As a result, the skill of uniformed operators has atrophied. Fixing this problem requires the Marine Corps to reduce its dependency on contractors and train Marines instead.

Marines are the system operators, but when they run into difficulty their primary course of action is calling a contractor. Troublesome in training, this lack of independence can be lethal in combat…”

“Paying Pirates:Fire support’s dependence on contractors”
Sgt Timothy Caucutt ,Marine Corps Gazette

Read the whole thing.

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