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Archive for May 2008

Adama For President

Unfortunately, it is NOT this Adama for President. *SIGH*

Papa Adama seems to have a growing fanbase of supporters who would gladly punch their chad for Admiral Adama as President in 2008. I believe Adama has the fortitude and patented glacial stare to give overtake the Ron Paul vote in 2008. Go Admiral Adama – but please don’t pose in towel!

UPDATE: Apparently, during the episode Sine Qua Non, Leland “Lee” Adama becomes the newly minted Prez of the fleet! As I am happy to see my Leland step into this important role; I am saddened by the realization that this new role will be devoid of ‘post-flight’ shower scenes favored by viper pilots and certain Naval aviators.

Hulu will air “Sine Qua Non” on June 7th. Until then, I will share with my dear readers

BSG Episode 9: Guess What’s Coming To Dinner.

Matt and Nat of BSG Cast discuss Episode 4.09:


Friday’s With Ferris

In this edition of Friday’s With Ferris, Kevin shares a letter from a solider in a time of war, stationed in Vietnam. First Lt. John F. Cochrane writes home to his parents discussing his thoughts on the eve of battle. Lyndon Johnson read this letter at the White House Christmas Tree lighting ceremony later that year.

Oct. 15, 1966

“Here I sit, so afraid that my stomach is a solid knot, yet laughing, joking, kidding around with the 18 troops with me – and even writing a letter to the folks back home as if I haven’t a care in the world. What I really want to do is load up these men . . . and get out of here. I don’t belong here. Neither do these men. This isn’t our war. . . . It doesn’t make sense. I refuse to believe God created a human being, let him live for 20 years on this Earth just to send him to some foreign land to die. . . .

“I have offered every excuse in the book, but I know why I am here and why I couldn’t be any other place. The reason is because I do believe we should be here and I do believe that . . . basic principles are enough for a man to die for. . . . We are here because we actually believe that our country is good enough to fight, and even if necessary, die for. All we ask is that some good come out of it. . . .

Flash forward to 2005 – Another soldier in a time of war, stationed in Iraq, sends an email to his family prior to leaving for a mission:

Anbar, Iraq November 3, 2005
Dear friends and family,
If you are getting this email, it means that I have passed away. No, it’s not a sick Toz joke, but a letter I wanted to write in case this happened. Please don’t be sad for me. It was an honor to serve my country, and I wouldn’t change a thing. It was just my time.
Don’t ever think that you are defending me by slamming the Global War on Terrorism or the US goals in that war. As far as I am concerned, we can send guys like me to go after them or we can wait for them to come back to us again. I died doing something I believed in and have no regrets except that I couldn’t do more.
This will probably be the longest email most of you have ever received from me. More that one of you complained on multiple occasions about my brief emails. I have requested to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery and would like you to attend, but I understand if you can’t make it.

Many opponents of OIF favor comparing Iraq to Vietnam, in someways I believe that there is a similarity. The letters from these soldiers, decades apart, reveal exactly the same belief in their mission and their country. With the wisdom to learn from past mistakes, let us not share the same ending as Vietnam. As revealed in these letters, it would be contrary to the beliefs of soldiers then and now.


Skye’s Interview with Mike

A week ago, I sat down and answered a series of questions submitted by my fellow Flopping Aces contributer, Mike, regarding the incident in West Chester on March 22, 2008. I titled my responses to these questions “The Audacity of Disagreement”, Mike crafted a fabulous post based on my responses. I’ve linked the post here for your review and commentary:

When I named Skye the Mike’s America “Blogger of the Year” for 2007 I knew she had the right stuff. What I didn’t know is that she would quickly become a target for the people who pretend that peace and non-violence are are their highest objectives.

Skye, the first female member of the Flopping Aces posse,as well as the author of her eclectic and electric blog Midnight Blue, has been an active participant and organizer of Pro-Victory counterprotests in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

It’s a group of patriots who observe Memorial Day every weekend by showing up on a street corner in this mid size Pennsylvania town to show their support for our troops. The group formed shortly after one man, Rich Davis, began a lonely vigil on the street corner to counter the angry left wing “peace” activists that had been unopposed in that town square for years while trashing our country, besmirching our troops and generally demonstrating the sour and angry disposition that appears to be epidemic among that class of bitter aging hippies.

You can read the rest of my interview with Mike at Flopping Aces


Memorial Day 2008

Please excuse the delay in this post. It seems my social life was interfering with my blogging life. I try to maintain a balance of the two, however, there are times when they both get out of sync. Oh, I did acquire a new toy this week that has captured my attention.

Right…on to the story.

Thanks to one of the most talented journalists working at the Inquirer, Kevin Ferris, this Memorial Day was quite memorable. He passed along to me a press release detailing an event billed as the “Schuylkill Banks Navy Appreciation Days”. Commodore Evin Thompson and a group of Navy SEALs and Special Combatant Crewmen (SWCC’s) arrived by boat (Mark V) to the Schuylkill Banks to participate in a ceremony to dedicate the Navy SEAL Grove at Schuylkill Banks . Within this grove are three trees which were planted in memory of three SEALs —Michael P. Murphy, Michael A. Monsoor, and Admiral Charles LeMoyne. After the ceremony, the Mark V and their crews would host tours of the boats and answer questions from the public.

This sounded like a dishy event to me, so I rang my friend Raoul and asked if he would like to join me in this adventure. Most times, I’m pretty good with directions, but was fuzzy on the location of the ‘Schyulkill Banks”.

We arrived just in time, it seems, for myself and Ian Bush (KYW-1060) found ourselves on board the Mark V’s , awaiting to depart the bank for a demonstration of a zodiac boarding the Mark V.

I have to thank Katt, the Navy media officer and Dava Guerin for allowing me this fabulous opportunity.

Yep, that is your intrepid blogger posing for a photograph with the Mark V Special Warfare Boat Crews (SWCC’s). My friend Ben jumped into the photo as well, he looks good for over 200 – the botox treatments does wonders for him.

What is a Mark V? Let this civilian fill you in on all the details – with some help from the US Navy Fact File:

The Mark V is used to carry Special Operations Forces (SOF), primarily SEAL combat swimmers, into and out of operations where the threat to these forces is considered to be low to medium. They also support limited coastal patrol and interruption of enemy activities.

Length: 82 feet.
Beam: 17 feet 6 inches.

Displacement: 57 tons.
Speed: 50 knots.

Who are the Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC’s)? From my experience, I can say they are world class gentlemen. The U.S. Navy SWCC Information website has this to say:

Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) operate and maintain the inventory of state-of-the-art, high-performance boats used to support SEALs and special operations missions. Individually, SEALs and SWCC go through separate, but similar, specialized training programs that emphasize special operations in the maritime environment. SWCC are trained extensively in craft and weapons tactics, techniques and procedures. Focusin on clandestine infiltration and exfiltration of SEALs and other special operations forces, SWCC provide dedicated, rapid mobility in shallow water areas where larger ships cannot operate. Like SEALs, SWCC must be physically fit, highly motivated, combat-focused and responsive in high stress situations.

Naval Special Warfare has played a significant role in Operation Iraqi Freedom, employing the largest number of SEALs and SWCC in its history. NSW forces were instrumental in the success of initial special reconnaissance and direct action missions including the securing of the southern oil infrastructures of the Al Faw peninsula and the off-shore gas and oil terminals; the clearing of the Khor Al Abdullah and Khor Az Zubayar waterways that enabled the first humanitarian aid to be delivered to the vital port city of Umm Qasr; reconnaissance of the Shat Al Arab waterway; capture of high value targets, raids on suspected chemical, biological and radiological sites; and the first successful POW rescue since WWII. NSW forces continue to conduct direct action, special reconnaissance and over watch missions throughout Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They established a Foreign Internal Defense program, training and advising Iraqi Forces and have worked jointly with 3rd Group USSF and Iraqi counter-terrorist forces to prevent terrorists from conducting activities meant to disrupt Iraqi elections.


West Chester Rally 05/24/08

A sun-filled blue sky greeted our merry band of patriots this morning in West Chester. The day started on a high note with the discovery of a Wall Street Journal article that focused on Rich Davis and The Sheepdogs of West Chester. Denine was kind enough to bring a copy of the WSJ to the rally so we all could take a look at this article. Group Photo by the amazing NeoCon!

It was good to see some new faces today and some returning friends as well. Each week brings a new face, and we are happy to welcome them into our group. I look forward to seeing all of our newcomers at future rallies.

As we were wrapping up the rally, a gentleman from the Navy happened to walk past our group. Several of our members were quick to shake his hand and thank him for his service. I took this opportunity to introduce him to Frank, our WW2 veteran and faithful attendee of our rally. For my efforts, I was able to capture a photograph of two generations of heroes in West Chester.

Have you thanked a soldier today?


Outside The Wire: Memorial Day

Tissue Alert:

Laughter Alert:


Sheepdogs in the WSJ

Protesting the Antiwar Protestors

Memorial Day isn’t until Monday. But for Rich Davis, a 20-year veteran of the Navy, it seems to come every Saturday. That’s when he pulls out a handmade sign and heads for a street corner near the Chester County Court House in this suburban Philadelphia community.

Mr. Davis, 54, is a pro-military protester who makes a public stand each week in support of the troops and their mission.

In 2001, Mr. Davis retired from the Navy and ended up settling in West Chester, where he spent 2006 and 2007 watching antiwar protesters rally each Saturday from 11 a.m. until noon outside the courthouse near his apartment. The Chester County Peace Movement, Mr. Davis would later learn, had been demonstrating at the site since March 2003, when the U.S. invaded Iraq. At first he hoped someone would challenge the protesters, speak up for the troops, and defend their mission. On Sept. 8, 2007 he decided that someone had to be him.

Mr. Davis had been building to such a decision for a long time. He was just a kid during the Vietnam War, but he is still bothered by the disrespect heaped on returning Vietnam vets in the 1960s and ’70s. In part that is because, in 1967, Mr. Davis attended the funeral of a man he idolized – his sister’s boyfriend, Marine Lance Cpl. Alan R. Schultz from Levittown, Pa. Schultz was killed by mortar fire in Vietnam.

“Al was a great guy,” Mr. Davis remembers. “When we got the word that he had been killed, I felt the bottom fall out. I cried the rest of that summer.”

Even today, Mr. Davis can’t look at an antiwar protest without thinking that Schultz, his comrades and their modern-day counterparts are being disrespected. So after seeing the war protesters each week, Mr. Davis said to himself, “Not this war. Not this time.”

“We’re not silent anymore,” Mr. Davis told me. “We refuse to let antiwar protesters have the stage to themselves.”

Not that he wants to stifle dissent. He just doesn’t want to go unanswered the signs and protests that he believes encourage the enemy and demoralize U.S. troops. So, sign in hand in September, he walked to the corner praying he would have the strength to stand there, to be seen and heard.

Seen he was. Though there was plenty of room on the corner, he says he was bumped, shoved and challenged. One person asked, “Do you live in fear?” Another demanded, “Why don’t you go and serve?”

“They had that corner for five years, every Saturday, unopposed,” Mr. Davis told me. “They couldn’t stand the thought of one person having a sign they couldn’t tolerate.”

More people than the antiwar protesters took notice. A few weeks after he started his own weekly protests, Mr. Davis had about 40 sign-holding, flag-waving supporters at his side, thanks to support from the Gathering of Eagles, a national organization supporting the troops.

The number of antiwar protesters began to swell in response, which led to an increase in taunts hurled between the two groups. Mr. Davis admits the childish behavior cut both ways. “At times we have been confrontational and done things that were inappropriate, especially in the early days.” But now, he says, “I have zero tolerance for yelling and buffoonery.”

In March, an angry antiwar protester hit a woman who covers the weekly demonstrations on her pro-troop blog. That led the local police to lay down a few ground rules. Now each group is to keep to its own side of the street, and the two groups swap sides of the street each week.

There are a few other changes. Mr. Davis’s once informal group is getting organized. They have a name, Chester County Victory Movement, and a Web site (www.americansheepdogs.com) that they use to share information about welcoming troops home, sending care packages, and joining discussions at West Chester University.

Mr. Davis also sends weekly emails to thank people for their support, and to pass on encouragement. A few members of Mr. Davis’s group meet regularly to discuss problems. At these meetings, some people raise ideas aimed at embarrassing those on the antiwar side of the street. But Mr. Davis constantly refers back to the reason that brought him to the corner in the first place: letting the public and the troops know that there is a reservoir of support for the sailors, soldiers, airmen and Marines who risk their lives to fight the war on terror.

“Every time we go out, I remind the guys that we represent more than ourselves,” he told me. “The troops and their families look at us. So I hope we present ourselves with the same type of dignity, courage and honor that our own sons and daughters are showing in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

What Mr. Davis wants those troops to see is the solid wall of red, white and blue of his group’s flags and “Support Our Troops” signs. He averages about 30 supporters a week, but hopes for a larger turnout for Flag Day, June 14.

Mr. Davis notes that he has been accused of being part of a vast right-wing conspiracy that trains and pays pro-troop advocates. Asked about that, he offers an answer that may inspire others to join his efforts.

“In a way they’re right,” he told me. “I was trained by a family that taught me to love our country, not blame it. And I am paid by troops and their families who say thanks for doing this, thanks for being here.”

Mr. Ferris is an assistant editor and columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer.


Last Friday with Ferris

A week late, but still a great read on the future of the US Military beyond Iraq. My concern regarding the direction of our future geopolitical policy is that the debate will be framed not around the adults that met in Colorado Springs; but by the unfounded statements of disgruntled military types. I’m all for a reasoned, evidence-based debate on this issue, and I hope as we move closer to November to see such discourse in the public arena.

Back Channels: Shaping a post-Iraq military

COLORADO SPRINGS – The three White House contenders didn’t attend this week’s conference on the U.S. military after Iraq, but their presence was felt. That’s because the next president won’t just be deciding the fate of the Iraq war, but charting the U.S. military’s course on personnel, weapons systems and equipment for the next generation.

“This is the most important election for national security in 40 years,” said Dan Goure, vice president of the Lexington Institute, a Virginia think tank.

So it would help voters if some of the issues raised at the Heritage Foundation gathering – the U.S. role in the world, soft power vs. hard power, and improving the quality of life for military families – became part of the debate between now and November.

The rest of the story can be found HERE


Daily Local LTE

I was also present a week later at the Chester County Courthouse, as the all peace protesters intermixed with us, and heard the statements Tony refers to in this remarkable letter to the editor:

Victim displays class over incident :

I read your account of the court’s decision in the attack by one of Karen Porter’s “peace” supporters with great interest. The day after the incident I viewed a video on the victim’s Web site. What one attorney who wrote a letter to the Daily Local observed and what the court has clearly stated from the facts of the incident are clearly at odds with Karen Porter’s rendition and the actual video I observed.

The week following the incident I heard Karen Porter addressing her “troops” on the courthouse steps. From her comments you would have thought the young woman had attacked the perpetrator. It’s hard for me to imagine that Karen Porter is an attorney … her comments about this incident have no basis in the facts of the case. But then again a lot of what Ms. Porter says about many issues, has no basis in fact.

It’s nice to see that justice was served in this case. It’s also worthy to note that the young woman from the Victory Movement, could have sought more aggressive recompense. But as is typical of the folks on that side of the street, she settled for a formal apology … classy lady.

Anthony J. Oleck
Kennett Square


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Marcus Luttrell Speaks

I can relate to his ‘Media-Induced PTSD’. I warn you, there are some graphic descriptions in his speech to the assembled crowd. Viewer discretion is advised.

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