Sunday, August 26, 2012

Does anyone really try this?

A long, long time ago, after finishing up Basic Training and an even longer technical (job specific) school, the Air Force saw fit to send our group off to Ft. Dix New Jersey for some Ground Combat Skills training.

This training included all your standard infantry stuff: learning the difference between high crawling and low crawling, shooting at targets that looked like Russian troopers (Yes, it was that long ago. Ok, not quite that long ago, but those were the targets they had, left over from cold war preparations), setting up claymores, digging defensive fighting positions, etc., etc.

Part of the training included urban warfare stuff, and one particular day, we had a scenario involving taking over several buildings in a "town".

The idea was to take over the buildings and eliminate the dudes in them that were firing down on us, and they gave us a specific set of tactics to use for this scenario.

The cover element had a few M-60 machine guns, and they were supposed to blast away at the houses while the assault element hooked around and came up close. As the assault element, my team then got out our grappling hooks, yes, we were equipped with grappling hooks, threw them up to the second floor window and shimmied most of the way up. When we were most of the way up, we uncorked a grenade, threw it in the window and, after the thing went off, heaved ourselves into the room and lit up whomever was still moving inside.

Of course we didn't use real grenades for this portion of the training. We did get to throw some live fragmentation grenades earlier. When we did this, we walked into a pit holding two heavy grenades and an incredibly frightened looking Army man with the widest looking eyes I have ever seen was saying things like, "Don't be scared, Airman!" and "Throw it as far as you possibly can!" Um, ok. But, the grenades for the assault scenario just kind of popped when they went off. Enough to burn your leg, as I later discovered, but not enough to blow them off or cause any real damage.

As fun as it was to throw grappling hooks and scale up the side of the building, I am not sure how practical it was for an attack like this. I am not really that interested in clambering up the side of a building on a rope while completely exposed to the bad guys shooting down at you and your own guys trying not to hit you from a couple hundred yards away while they let loose with their machine guns. Then, while dangling from the side of the building, under the same fire, to secure my rifle somewhere and manipulate the grenade into the room with the bad guys. And then, hope that the machine gunners, who have displayed incredible accuracy if they have not yet taken me out, stop firing so I can go inside and do my thing.

We did get plenty of additional training on ground combat, urban assaults, clearing rooms and the like while I was in the military, but our time with the Army was the only time any thought they should hand out grappling hooks. I wonder if anyone, since the Rangers assault on Pointe. Du Hoc on D-Day, have really done anything like this?

But, just because I like you, I have decided to regale you with a couple more stories of the fun we had training with the Army. Check back soon.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

In Session

In my efforts to maintain the illusion that I am a gentleman and a scholar, here are the books I have been reading this month:

   A Warriors Heart: 
If you have caught the movie "The Fighter", with Marky Mark and Christian Bale, you will be familiar with Micky Ward and his boxing career. This is a gritty (meaning it has bad words in it), look at his life and career.

The Finishing School

Dick Couch wrote the book The Warrior Elite to document a Seal Class going through BUDS. This work documents the extensive training that follows BUDS before a SEAL can join the teams.


A detailed telling of the intelligence and operational efforts to locate and eliminate Bin Laden, beginning during the Clinton administration.

The follow up to Marcus Lutrell's book Lone Survivor. In this, he goes in to more depth about the the men who worked to rescue him (a number of whom died in the attempt) after his ordeal in Lone Survivor. He also details his return to combat and pays tribute to those who fought with him.

The Blood of Heroes
I have read pretty much everything I have been able to get my hands on about the Alamo, so it is no surprise that this book doesn't have too much that I haven't seen about the infamous battle itself. But, what it does have that is new is a good deal of interesting details about the people involved and events that led up to the battle, and the aftermath and it's effect on history.

And this one is next on the shelf. I'll have to let you know:


Saturday, August 18, 2012


It has been quiet on this page. But, I have an excuse. We just returned from a trip to San Diego and prior to that, we have been busy. Or rather, my wife Diane has been busy. I had a class for a couple of weeks, then I was sick.

But, here is some of what she did for the girls room:

-Moved everything out, with the girls help (I I think this may have been all they helped with).

- Added grounding wires to the electrical outlets, which included chopping holes in the walls to string the wiring.

- Re-finishing the walls.

- Caulking and filling in all the cracks, holes, openings, etc. in the walls. It is an old house and that room seemed to have plenty of them.

-Putting in flooring.


- Adding some decorative slat thingys to the ceiling.

-Putting in baseboard

- She is currently working on building some loft beds so the girls can sleep elevated and have desks underneath. They will also have more room to pile up useless junk.

So, we have been neglecting other areas of the house. Brush and bulky day is coming, so I need to go chop away at the jungle that the rains have given us. Maybe I should go do that.....

Thursday, August 9, 2012

As 1

I came across some info about the new "As 1" non-profit organization. Their idea is to renew the Church's interest as patrons of the arts.

 More specifically, here is what they say about that:

"For centuries, Christians were vibrant Patrons of the Arts.  The Church wanted the best artists of the day to tell their stories.  In return, these artists were rewarded with generous commissions. This partnership created some of the greatest art in human history – painting, sculpture, music and architecture – that elevated culture, inspired generations and defined Christianity in a positive light.
But along the way, we walked away from our hard-earned place as a Patron of the Arts. We abandoned our involvement in the creative process. Artists somehow became an enemy, and in turn, they began to portray our faith in a negative light. As a natural result, culture moved on without us.
As1 seeks to restore the church to its historically traditional role as a Patron of the Arts" 
 In any case, it is intriguing, if you are of the faith. If not, I am sure it will make you angry. 

Here is a little video if you wanna see more: