Friday, January 31, 2014


This came across the email machine, anonymous. It'd be an honor to meet this young man, whoever he is; he's articulate, has a flare for colorful language and descriptive prose . . . S.L.

Scorpions, Chiggers & Sand Fleas . . . from a Recon Marine in Afghanistan:

From the Sand Pit: It's freezing here. I'm sitting on hard cold dirt between rocks and shrubs at the base of the Hindu Kush Mountains, along the Dar'yoi Pomir River, watching a hole that leads to a tunnel that leads to a cave.

Stake out, my friend, and no pizza delivery for thousands of miles.

I also glance at the area around my ass every ten to fifteen seconds to avoid another scorpion sting. I've actually given up battling the chiggers and sand fleas, but the scorpions give a jolt like a cattle prod. Hurts like a bastard. The antidote tastes like transmission fluid, but God bless the Marine Corps for the five vials of it in my pack.

The one truth the Taliban cannot escape is that, believe it or not, they are human beings, which means they have to eat food and drink water. That requires couriers and that's where an old bounty hunter like me comes in handy.

I track the couriers, locate the tunnel entrances and storage facilities, type the info into the handheld, and shoot the coordinates up to the satellite link that tells the air commanders where to drop the hardware.

We bash some heads for a while, and then I track and record the new movement.

It's all about intelligence. We haven't even brought in the snipers yet.

These scurrying rats have no idea what they're in for. We are but days away from cutting off supply lines and allowing the
eradication to begin.

But you know me; I'm a romantic. I've said it before and I'll say it

This country blows, man. It's not even a country. There are no roads, there's no infrastructure, there's no government. This is an inhospitable, rock pit shit hole ruled by eleventh century warring tribes. There are no jobs here like we know jobs.

Afghanistan offers two ways for a man to support his family, join the opium trade or join the army. That's it. Those are your options.

Oh, I forgot, you can also live in a refugee camp and eat plum-sweetened, crushed beetle paste and squirt mud like a goose with
stomach flu, if that's your idea of a party.

But the smell alone of those 'tent cities of the walking dead' is enough to hurl you into the poppy fields to cheerfully scrape bulbs for eighteen hours a day.

I've been living with these Tajiks and Uzbeks, and Turkmen and even a couple of Pushtuns, for over a month-and-a-half now, and this much I can say for sure:

These guys, all of 'em, are Huns . . . actual, living Huns . . . they LIVE to fight. It's what they do. It's ALL they do.

They have no respect for anything, not for their families, nor for each other, nor for themselves. They claw at one another as a way of life.

They play polo with dead calves and force their five-year-old sons into human cockfights to defend the family honor.

Huns, roaming packs of savage, heartless beasts who feed on each other's barbarism. Cavemen with AK-47's.

Then again, maybe I'm just cranky young bastard.

I'm freezing my ass off on this stupid hill because my lap warmer is running out of juice, and I can't recharge it until the sun comes up in a few hours.

Oh yeah! You like to write letters, right?

Do me a favor, Bizarre. Write a letter to CNN and tell Wolf and Anderson and that awful, sneering, pompous Aaron Brown to stop calling the Taliban 'smart.'

They are not smart. I suggest CNN invest in a dictionary because the word they are looking for is 'cunning.'

The Taliban are cunning, like jackals and hyenas and wolverines.

They are sneaky and ruthless, and when confronted, cowardly. They are hateful, malevolent parasites who create nothing and destroy
everything else.

Smart. Bullshit. Yeah, they're real smart.

They've spent their entire lives reading only one book (and not a very good one, as books go) and consider hygiene and indoor plumbing to be products of the Devil.

They're still figuring out how to work a Bic lighter.

Talking to a Taliban warrior about improving his quality of life is like trying to teach an ape how to hold a pen; eventually he just gets frustrated and sticks you in the eye with it. OK, enough.

Snuffy will be up soon, so I have to get back to my hole. Covering my tracks in the snow takes a lot of practice, but I'm good at it.

Please, I tell you and my fellow Americans to turn off the TV sets and move on with your lives.

The story line you are getting from CNN and other news agencies is utter bullshit and designed not to deliver truth but rather to keep you glued to the screen so you will watch the commercials.

We've got this one under control The worst thing you guys can do right now is sit around analyzing what we're doing over here, because you have no idea what we're doing, and really, you don't want to know.

We are your military, and we are only doing what you sent us here to do.

From a Saucy Jack Recon Marine in Afghanistan.

Semper Fi.

"Freedom is not free, but the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share".


Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Here we go again, right on cue . . . Democrats want to raise the minimum wage . . . to what end? . . . S.L.

I grew up in Bangkok. Over there it is customary to haggle for the taxi fare before you get in the cab. By law they have meters, but they prefer to do it the Thai way . . . especially when a farang flags them down.

The Game

You're on Sukhumvit Road, Soi 15. You flag the taxi down, and before you get in you tell the taxi driver you want to go to Sathorn Tai Road. The taxi driver does a quick mental calculation for the fare, then doubles it because he's dealing with a farang.

Taxi Driver: "Two hundred Baht."

This is ridiculous, of course, but you and he both know he doubled the fare, maybe even tripled it. The normal protocol at this point is to offer half, and you both meet in the middle. But today we're playing The Game, so instead you DOUBLE the price!

Farang: "Two hundred Baht? That's not the price! FOUR HUNDRED BAHT!"

The taxi driver can't believe his good luck, of course. He's got a genuine crazy farang on his hands - probably been standing out in the noon day sun too long.

Taxi Driver: "Four hundred Baht! Very good! Let's go!'

Farang: "Four hundred Baht no way! EIGHT HUNDRED BAHT!"

The taxi driver isn't sure he's hearing this right.

Taxi Driver: "Eight . . . HUNDRED . . . Baht? You . . . want . . . go . . . Sathorn Tai . . . EIGHT HUNDRED BAHT?"

Farang: "Eight hundred Baht? That's not right! ONE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED BAHT!!!"

The taxi driver is convinced you're out of your mind, and probably on some dangerous drugs. Still, its a fare. Life is hard in the concrete jungle and he's got a cluster of Buddhas to protect him from evil spirits and nutjobs like you . . .


Chuckling, you get in and then pray to God, Thor, Odin and Buddha that you make it there in one piece because the Thai Taxi Driver is going MEDIEVAL! When you get to where you're going, you tip him an extra fifty Baht on top of the hundred, because both of you knew that was the price all along.

Thai Taxi Driver Game Meets the Minimum Wage

So where are we going with this?

Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, said, "No single law has caused more poverty or hurt more people than the minimum wage law because what it does is it officially prices unskilled labor out of the workforce."

The minimum wage is for basically unskilled, inexperienced labor. Now, the job market needs people like that because the starting point, that's where they get experience. The Noobs learn to show up, learn the requirements of responsibility and achievement and that's how they follow through and advance in life.

But when the government places an artificial value on that labor they are basically playing the Thai Taxi Driver Game with the market - but unlike the Thai Taxi Driver, neither player understands what's going on. The business owners hiring people know what those jobs are worth, and if that kind of work is not worth ten bucks an hour or whatever the government is calling for, nobody's gonna be hired.

The next time you find yourself in a conversation with a Liberal about the minimum wage, try a version of the Thai Taxi Driver Game.

Liberal: "I think the Republicans are evil, cruel and mean-hearted. I think that we should raise the minimum wage to ten dollars an hour."

Team STORMBRINGER: "I agree, only ten dollars an hour really isn't enough. We need to raise it to, say, fifteen dollars an hour."

Liberal: "Yeah! That's do-able!"

Team STORMBRINGER: "You know, thinking about it, fifteen an hour is only $120 a day, and that's only $840 a week. After taxes and - ahem - healthcare, it's really not enough. The minimum wage should be THIRTY DOLLARS AN HOUR."

Liberal: "Well, um, yeah . . ."

Team STORMBRINGER: "Hell, thinking about it, why shouldn't it be SIXTY DOLLARS AN HOUR? Those greedy business owners can afford it! Take it out of the CEO's pay.

Liberal: "Well, um, no, that's too much . . ."

Team STORMBRINGER: "Oh? Too much? Well, explain to me why we shouldn't pay people that much?"

And when that happens, you've got 'em.

See ya at the submarine races . . .


Monday, January 27, 2014


Someone sent this photo via the email machine . . . Heads Up Marines: your Sergeant Major has arrived, and Chesty is turning over in his grave right now! I don't know Marine Corps awards & decorations but I do know this kid is no JROTC: wWhen was the last time you saw a Rotty with Vietnam service ribbons, E-9 rank and a Purple Heart?

I posting this hoping we can get some ID on this fart gobbler and shame him appropriately.

Somebody? Anybody? BUELLER?



No well known, but the BAR gunner for the squad that climbed Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima didn't make the climb. When the squad was ordered up to take the summit, he had already broken down his BAR for cleaning and couldn't get it put back together in time.


Sunday, January 26, 2014


The three-masted barque 'Otago', built in 1869 and owned by Grierson & Company of Adelaide. This was the only vessel commanded by Józef Korzeniowski, who later became famous as the writer Joseph Conrad. Korzeniowski took command of the 'Otago' in Bangkok in January 1888. He sailed her back to Sydney and then made a return trip to Mauritius before relinquishing his post in March 1889.

Josef Conrad is considered one of the greatest writers of English prose, which is remarkable considering English was his thrid language. Conrad has influenced my writing greatly. Our paths crossed, apparently, in Sydney and Bangkok, albeit separated by eighty-odd years. Conrad wrote the novel Heart of Darkness, inspiration for Coppola's masterpiece Apocalypse Now.




Friday, January 24, 2014


. . . if you know where this is . . . S.L.

HINT: Any SWCsters out there you should know this place like the backs of your hands . . .



Thursday, January 23, 2014


LUNAR SPOOK sends us an interesting approach for interpreting crimes statistics . . . S.L.

* Caveat Emptor: Liberals may become passive-aggressive when confronted with facts which are inconsistent with their emotions.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Just spent a three hours - and the better part of yesterday afternoon - battling the latest effects of Global Warmening . . . we got 12" of the white stuff and it is colder than THREE welldiggers' *ssholes: 1°F in New London Township PA, feels like -10°F with the windchill . . . THANK YOU THOR & ODIN ! ! ! - S.L.

Monday, January 20, 2014

LONE SURVIVOR - Quest for Truth Continues...

Something I've never done before but the nature of Thursday's post was controversial even by MY standards . . . comments were numerous and bring up issues worthy of reply . . . S.L.

First and foremost let me state that I am not questioning anyone's valor, and let us honor the memory of the SEALs and the Special Operations Aviation Regiment soldiers who gave their lives in Operation Red Wings. They fell in battle against a determined foe, under extreme circumstances. They are Heroes, worthy of respect and honor.

My point concerns a possible series of errors beginning in the planning stage - perhaps even further back during training - and continuing during critical portions of the operation itself, that led to the failed mission's disastrous loss of life.

Without questioning the SEALs marksmanship capabilities or their tactical abilities as individuals, aspects of this operation do bring up a few critical points: Why go in with so small a team? Why not a larger support element one terrain feature away, with one or more crew-served weapons, which could also provide retrans capability for the recon teams AN/PRC 148 radios?

The AN/PRC 148 Embitter is a handy enough little number: 30-512 MHz Contiguous Frequency Coverage, AM/FM/ Voice/Data with Retrans capability, RF Output 100 mwatts to 5 watts, weighs less than 2 lbs and is even immersible in water to 2 meters (20 meters maritime version). Optional SINCGARS frequency hopping capability means it's extremely difficult to detect, impossible to triangulate. But field conditions vary, and anybody who's worked in mountainous terrain knows that radio signal can be difficult or impossible.

The start point of ground combat is expressed in the time-honored axiom: "Shoot, Move and Communicate." If you lose one of the three legs of this tripod, you're combat ineffective and it's time to di di mao. You wouldn't stick around in a combat zone without guns or ammunition, why stick around on a recon mission if your radios don't work?

The moment the SEALs became aware they had no radio communications to the rear they should have moved to a pre-planned extraction site and awaited emergency exfil - and of course their plan should have included to have the extraction bird fly the exfil site within X hours of no comm's. This is the Basic Planning 101.

As I stated in my preamble the other day, I initially wasn't going to say anything about this at all. Hindsight is 20/20 and I didn't want to come across as a Monday Morning Quarterback, but a certain MARSOF Sergeant Major for whom I have a great deal of respect asked me to - twice - and I wasn't going to make him ask a third time. Again, this point of view regarding the SEALs role in Operation Red Wings is common within the community:

A Marine Corps View Of Tactics In Operation Red Wings

In all fairness, I had similar sentiments about the CAG's disastrous engagement in Mogadishu in 1993. The issue with Operation Gothic Serpent involved mission creep, and underestimating of the enemy who - having observed a pattern to US operations - were able to lure US forces into a helicopter ambush. The rest is history.

Again, let me state this is at best a historical analysis and at worst Monday Morning Quarterbacking by a guy who was not there. I have not read the book - although if somebody gives me a free copy I will - and I am not going to pay to see the movie. On top of that, readers pointed out a few errors in my post and I will address them here:

Photo caption is wrong. The two guys with Marcus and Matt Axelson are Patton and Suh, who were both KIA as part of the QRF

My bad - I will fix as soon as I complete this post. I don't want bad info going forward into the future.

Second paragraph is also wrong. Marcus was the Corpsman, not the "leader". The element was led by LT Michael Murphy.

Also my bad - I actually knew this and I forgot - this is what I get for not reading the book. I guess I'm obliged to read it now.


Individual SEALs - well trained and superb fighters. The bureaucrats -regardless of training - that send them into harms way, probably not so much, more concerned with 'career enhancement' than mission accomplishment.

The way it worked in the Special Operations organizations I was a part of, we were not put into harms way by bureaucrats but rather by commanders who had walked in our boots and were present with us in theater and often on the ground.

. . . if Marcus Luttrell had considered killing the four goat herders to protect being discovered by his adversary(ies), that suggests the situation was dire, indeed, and perhaps justifying early extraction. it seems only fair to make that judgment . . .

My point is A) why was there no plan for such a compromise? And if there was a plan and it included killing non-combatants then B) what would this have accomplished? You can't kill all the goats - they would run away, back to their home in the village, and when the goatherds did not return, the men of the village would inevitable come looking, and in that country they bring their rifles with them everywhere they go.

This is not the first time this situation had occurred. In the First Gulf War, an SF A team was on an OP mission on a highway in Iraq and was compromised by a boy; They also let him go and not much later an local Iraqi Inf patrol attacked the team forcing them to do a immediate ex fill ( no one died.)

I know the team that was compromised in Iraq - that was ODA 555 the Sharkmen and I know the team sergeant who got them out of there. The lessons to be learned there include how to read marginal data on satellite imagery (so you understand what vegetation to expect at what time of year) and DO NOT destroy all your radio comm's and crypto immediately upon compromise - 555 was lucky enough to possess an AN/PRC-112 capable of communicating line-of-sight with Tac Air and they were lucky enough that a stray F-16 picked up their signal. Again, it's about communications. It's ALWAYS about communications.

Bottom Line:

The MARSOF Sergeant Major asked me - right out of the blue in the middle of a business call - "Is there any doubt in anyone's mind that this (Lone Survivor mission) is anything but yet another example of SEAL incompetence, with the usual lethal consequences?" I've heard this sentiment repeated within the community going back twenty-plus years. There is a strong Infantry heritage within Army and Marine Special Operations units. This heritage simply does not exist within the SEALs, and it shows in their training, planning and execution of operations.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

LONE SURVIVOR Debacle - Is Anyone Being Held Responsible?

Going out on a limb here but this is the word on the street. I wasn't going to say anything about this but at the insistence of a MARSOF SGM I've worked with and for whom I have a great deal of respect, here goes . . . S.L.

Operation Red Wing took place in the Pech District of Afghanistan's Kunar Province, on the slopes of a mountain named Sawtalo Sar, approximately 20 miles west of the provincial capital Asadabad, in June-July 2005. The goal of Operation Red Wings was the disruption of Anti-Coalition Militia (ACM) activity in the region in order to further aid the stabilization efforts of the region for the upcoming September 18, 2005 Afghan National Parliamentary Elections. At the time, Anti-Coalition Militia activity in the region was carried out most notably by a small group led by a local man from Nangarhar Province, Ahmad Shah, who had aspirations of regional Islamic fundamentalist prominence - NOT al Qaeda, not even NOT Taliban. Ahmad Shah and his small group were among the primary targets of the operation.

Marcus Luttrell and Matt Axelson seen here with Patton and Suh, both KIA as part of the QRF.

Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson were awarded the Navy Cross for their actions in the 2005 operation. Michael Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor.

The operation utilized special operations forces (SOF) units and assets, including US Navy SEALs and the US Army Special Operations Command's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR). A team of four Navy SEALs, tasked for surveillance and reconnaissance of a group of structures known to be used by Ahmad Shah and his men. The SEALs, led by LT Michael Murphy (Marcus was the Corpsman) were compromised by a group of young goatherders just hours after inserting by fastrope from an MH-47 helicopter in the area - at this point discussions amongst the team included "Should we kill the goatherders?"

The SEALs let the goatherders go and were subsequently ambushed by Shah and his group. Three of the four SEALs were killed and a quick reaction force helicopter sent in for their aid was shot down with an RPG-7 rocket propelled grenade, killing all eight Navy SEALs and all eight US Army Special Operations aviators on board.

Questions being asked at all levels within the community: Why didn't the SEALs have a plan for on-call Tac Air? Why did they go in with mbiter radios - the smallest least effective radio comms available -(straight line-of-sight FM). The most basic rule of combat is shoot, move and communicate. Why didn't the SEALs cank the mission the minute they realized there was no comm's to the rear, and why did they not move to a pre-designated emergency exfil site? THESE ARE THE MOST BASIC OF PLANNING PRINCIPLES.

Nineteen special operators dead; why aren't the mission planners who prepared and launched this SEAL debacle being held accountable for this unnecessary loss of life? 100% casualties on a very low priority mission somehow equate into a box office hit . . . go figure. There is truly something to be said for the SEAL public relations machine. Instead of being relived of command, fired and possibly prosecuted for criminal negligence they are being promoted and given decorations for exemplary service . . . just like Obama being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize . . . the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross have just been down graded into PR vehicle status.

Convicted felon Mark Wahlberg illegaly handles firearms starring as Marcus Lutrell in the film Lone Survivor.

Simple analysis would debunk Luttrell's sentiment; "My only regret is we didn't kill the goatherders." The whole issue of whether or not to kill the goatherders should have been addressed during the planning phase, prior to infil. What would that have accomplished? What would you that done with the hundred-odd goats? How would you have stopped the goats from finding their way back to the village WITHOUT their human counterparts? The fact of the matter is they were without comm's before being compromised - why stick around on a reconnaissance mission if you can't communicate back to higher?

These are my sentiments going back decades before this mission ever took place, based on earlier debacles in Grenada & Panama. Can anybody deny that this mission is yet another episode of SEAL incompetence? The joke is that SEAL stands for "Sleep-Eat & Lift" - SEALs do heroic PT and they might be great in the water but they simply do not understand the basics of ground combat.

That's what I have to say about it - what say you?



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Wednesday, January 15, 2014


This is cool . . . S.L.

Click HERE to inspect detailed information on the blown up version.



An artist counted every atomic explosion on Earth and shows them all in a matter of seconds . . . S.L.

This is interesting . . . I wasn't aware that India detonated an atomic bomb as far back as 1974.

Also interesting is no mention of the suspected Israeli/South African nuclear detonation in the Prince Edward Islands in 1979.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Today we honor Captain Ronald Goulet of Thompsonville, Connecticut, Killed in Action - Republic of Vietnam, 9/26/69 . . . S.L.

Today would have been Ron's birthday. He is remembered by his dear and loving friend, Claudia:

"Today Ronnie would have been 68 years old, but, in my mind, he will always be 23- we were 23 when he was killed. He loved blueberry pie with vanilla ice cream - our meal on our first date! He loved jumping out of airplanes and he loved being a Green Beret. He never wavered in believing that they would stop the spread of Communism in Vietnam and the world. He is always missed and always in our hearts."

"Met Him CCC compound in Kontum in March '69 . . . didn't get to know him all that well. We'd see each other on the compound, talk for a few and go about our business. Couple of beers in the club once or twice. He was well liked by everyone on the compound. RIP Cpt." - M.P.

Read more about Ronald

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
We will remember them.


Saturday, January 11, 2014


This is to those of you who expressed interest in seeing how I can lift an engine block out of a car (or a truck for that matter) using basic skills, bamboo, climbing rope and a few snatch blocks. Well it turns out the job only requires pulling the header off to replace a head gasket so I'll do the bamboo work later when the weather's good. In the meantime here are some images from an earlier project . . . S.L.

To lift the engine block I'll use similar techniques on a smaller scale -


Friday, January 10, 2014


I'm going over to a friend's house tomorrow to pull an engine block, but my friend doesn't have a hoist. No problem, I'll rig up a bamboo tripod and make a 3:1 mechanical advantage using some climbing gear.

Shorty #2 says "There's no way bamboo is strong enough to lift any kind of weight!" She says that because she doesn't know what I learned growing up in Southeast Asia . . .




Because we do everything bigger in Australia . . .


Tuesday, January 7, 2014


The question has been posited: should the United States government treat Edward Snowden as a whistleblower or an enemy? - S.L.

Snowden is a TRAITOR - quite possibly a Russian mole from the outset - his actions speak of this. If he was a whistleblower, he would have gone to his representatives in Congress. Instead he ran directly to China - not exactly a free society - and then to Russia, an even more oppressive society. What Snowden did caused grave, irreparable harm to United States security - particularly the revelations regarding our overseas signals intercept operations.

I don't like the idea of the United States Government doing electronic eavesdropping on every United States citizen, but on the other hand I am not a fool. We are engaged in a war with an evil ruthless enemy whose stated goals are to kill each and every one of us, possibly sparing some women & children to use as breeders & slaves. During time of war, Americans have traditionally sacrificed personal freedom on behalf of national security. War is Hell, and this is part of it.

Regarding the NSA electronic eavesdropping, perhaps the part that disturbs me the most is the monitoring of telephone records metadata. Regardless, I accept this intrusion as part of what I must give up, in the struggle against the terrorist scum enemy. Regarding the monitoring of our emails, I assumed from the beginning of the modern Internet phenomena that giant supercomputers at Fort Meade were scanning every word in every message. As far as I'm concerned, when you send an email, it has the same degree of personal privacy as a postcard. DMs are perhaps a little more discrete, but still subject to scanning.

Anybody who hails Snowden as a hero has forgotten that the United States has had traitors in every war we've been in. Snowden is the latest in a long line of Americans who have sided with the enemies of our country. Always remember and never forget: the only crime worse than murder is treason.

"In War, the Truth must be protected by a Bodyguard of Lies." - Winston Churchill

We must ALWAYS be prepared to sacrifice some freedoms for the sake of security. Otherwise we will have no security, and we will have no freedom.