A Bunch of Dead Jihadist

30 Taliban fighters, including six IED ‘experts’, killed as bomb-making class goes wrong


Napoleon was quoted as saying:

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

Damn Right.

Let’s just hope the class size for the next bomb making class increases!

Stay Alert, Armed and Dangerous!


U.S. Marines and the U.S. Mail


“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a Proverb! Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, ‘Press On!’ has solved, and always will solve, the problems of the human race.”

Calvin Coolidge, US President, 1923-29


During the “Roaring 1920s,” our national economy was booming, and US Troops, particularly US Marines, were being sent to Turkey, China (multiple times), Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua, et al, in an effort to provide protection for Americans and American interests and to assist in putting-down local brushfires.

By design, US Marines were instantly mobile, and thus represented the standard “go-to” military option for Presidents Harding (1921-23) and Coolidge (1923-29).

(Warren Harding died, suddenly and unexpectedly, probably of cardiac arrest, at the age of 57, on 2 Aug 1923. Harding was succeeded by his vice-president, Calvin Coolidge, who served-out Harding’s term and was himself subsequently elected President in 1924)

Throughout the decade, Marine personnel and resources were understandably stretched to the limit. Most foreign postings were dangerously understrength!

Europe was in a deep economic depression during the decade of the 1920s. America successfully escaped, until “Black Tuesday,” 29 Oct 1929, when the US stock market precipitously crashed, ushering-in the “Great Depression” of the 1930s, as well as the infamous “Gangster Era!”

The Gangster Era was actually pretty well established during most of the 1920s, with armed gangsters regularly robbing banks, trains, and mail trucks. It was not uncommon for mail-truck drivers and mail-handlers to be murdered in the process.

The latter became such a formidable problem that in 1921 President Harding instructed his Secretary of the Navy, Edwin Denby, to consult with the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Maj General John Lejeune, to:

“Detail as guards for the United States mails a sufficient number of officers and men of the United States Marine Corps so as to protect the mail from the depredations by robbers and bandits.”

Placed in charge was two-time Medal-of-Honor-winner, Marine General Smedley D Butler (“Ol’ Gimlet Eye”), veteran of WWI and guerrilla wars of Central America. Not one to mince words, Butler brought unconfused, no-nonsense leadership to this assignment!

US Marines thus served as armed domestic mail guards for four months in 1921 and for several more months when they were recalled in 1926. After the first posting in 1921, the US Mail Service organized its own security service, but it proved not up to the task, so Marines had to be recalled five years later.

No robberies were ever attempted when US Marines were guarding the mail!

For this duty, all Marines assigned were continuously, visibly armed with pistols, shotguns, rifles, and Thompson SMGs. They rode in mail trucks and trains, often seated with the driver, sometimes in with the mail itself. Such details were always understrength, often consisting of only one Marine, by himself.

And, unlike mealy-mouthed, sissified, tenebrious ROEs of today (issued by politicians, in and out of uniform, who are far more interested in leftist political agendas and in the welfare of their precious criminals, than in the lives of their own men), standing orders got right to the point!

And, they leave scant doubt with regard to our duty and to whose side we’re on!

Denby himself told these Marine Guards:

“To the Men of the Mail Guard, you must keep your weapon(s) in-hand and, when attacked, shoot and shoot to kill. When two Marines are covered by a robber, neither must put up his hands, but both must immediately go for their guns. One may die, but the other will get the robber, and the mail will get through. When our Corps guards the mail, that mail must be delivered, or there must be a Marine dead at his post. There can be no compromise.

When necessary, in order to carry out the foregoing orders, you will make the most effective use of your weapon(s), shooting any person engaged in theft of the mail entrusted to your protection.”

It is no wonder that these Marines were so proud of their Corps, so proud to serve, and so unafraid of their charge and duty. They were sure of the righteousness of their cause and orders, and they knew and understood that those up the food-chain, right up to the President himself, would steadfastly stand behind them (unlike today)!

A short manual was written in an effort to provide additional, specific guidance to Marines assigned to these details. The “FAQ section” of the manual tells the story:

“Q: Suppose the robber is using a gun or making threats with a gun in trying to escape?

A: Shoot him

Q: Suppose the thief is apparently unarmed but running away?

A: Call ‘Halt’ twice at the top of your voice, and when he does not halt, fire one warning shot; when he still does not obey, shoot him.

Q: Is it permissible to take off my pistol while on duty; for instance, when in a mail-car riding between stations?

A: No! Never take off your pistol while on duty. Keep it loaded, locked, and cocked.

Q: Is there a general plan for meeting a robbery?

A: Yes! Start shooting and meet developments as they arise thereafter.

Q: When I hear the command ‘Hands Up,’ am I justified in obeying this order?

A: No! Fall to the ground and start shooting.

Q: Is it possible to make a successful mail robbery?

A: Only over a dead Marine.”

It is no wonder no one ever called their bluff!

That same manual, if written today, would be several reams long!

It would be chock-full of confusing, mealy-mouthed, self-contradictory legal terms, would require a team of Philadelphia lawyers to “interpret”, and all assigned to the actual details would know and understand that if they ever so much as touched their (unloaded) weapons, the manual would be scoured, front to back, to find some obscure place where it could be said that they “violated policy”

They and their “mission” would thus be a joke!

We’ve come a long way!

“Bad as political fiction can be, there is always a politician prepared to make it look ‘artistic,’ by comparison.”

Christopher Hitchens


Word History: 11 Craven Words for Cowards

As  Writer and Historian, I have always been interested in etymology, especially regarding the subject of military history and warfare in general. If you guys have any interesting tidbits or interesting words regarding this subject, shoot me a comment. -SF

some white feathers on a black

From the time we’re little children, we’re taught the virtues of bravery, though not always in a positive way. Kids love to taunt each other with language like “You’re yellow!” and “You’re a chicken!” As adults, we lambaste politicians for lacking the courage of their convictions. But the concept of cowardice is an old one, and there are many now-obscure words for, as Yosemite Sam might put it, lowdown yellow-bellies.


You’ve probably heard a coward referred to as lily-livered. This term shares the same concept: If your liver is white, it lacks the respectable red color of blood, and therefore belongs to a coward. White liver has been around since at least 1614, but the adjective white-livered is a little older, showing the eternal appeal of hyphenated insults. A white liver can also be a flatterer.


This term has no relation to white liver, but arises from the symbolic meaning of a white feather: surrender. If you “show the white feather” or “have a white feather in your tail,” you’re yella. From those uses in the late 1700s on, this became a rare synonym for coward. There’s also an amusing variation: whitefeatherism, as seen in a 1909 issue of The Leather Worker’s Journal: “It is a good answer, for it is as full of determination as theirs is of weak-kneed white featherism.”


This rare term, adopted and adapted from Dutch in the 1600s, is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “One who befouls his breeches.”  That’s a sure sign of cowardice in any era.


Though dastardly is still a common word, at least when describing villains, you don’t seedastard much anymore. The word has a long, if not proud, history: The first uses, back in the 1400s, are synonymous with dullard before the word takes on the odor of cowardice and downright diabolical devilry.


These days, cringe is associated with comedy that’s overly awkward—like The Office—but cringing has long signified a lack of testicular fortitude. Since at least the late 1700s, acringeling has been someone who lacks courage (or just likes to suck up to superiors). In his 1899 book The Teacher and His Work, Samuel Findley made an eternally true observation: “What cringelings most men are, and how admirable is true courage.”

Read the Remainder at Mental Floss

World War II History: What Patton’s Poems Tell Us About Today


By Randy Brown
Best Defense poet laureate

“Patton, you magnificent bastard! I read your verse!” —Charlie Sherpa

Even casual consumers of military history — at least, those familiar with actor George C. Scott‘s portrayal of Patton in the 1971 movie — suspect the historical general may have more than occasionally written poetry. In an early scene set in World War II North Africa — the original script was written by a young Francis Ford Coppola — Lt. Gen. George S. Patton briefly diverts his command car to an ancient battlefield he senses from a past incarnation. Patton then delivers this memorable roadside monologue to Maj. Gen. Omar Bradley, played by Karl Malden:

 “It was here. The battlefield was here. The Carthaginians defending the city were attacked by three Roman legions. The Carthaginians were proud and brave but they couldn’t hold. They were massacred. The Arab women stripped them of the tunics and swords, and lances. And the soldiers lay naked in the sun. Two-thousand years ago. I was here.

You don’t believe me, do you, Brad? You know what the poet said:

Through the travail of ages,
Midst the pomp and toils of war,
Have I fought and strove and perished
Countless times upon a star.

As if through a glass, and darkly
The age-old strife I see—
Where I fought in many guises, many names—
but always me.

Do you know who the poet was?

The movie dialogue takes two separate stanzas — the first and twenty-second — from Patton’s longest poem, “Through the Glass Darkly” (1922). The excerpted poem also evokes 1 Corinthians 13:11 (“For now we see through a glass, darkly…”). In the unabridged work, Patton describes himself as being present at various points in history, from the crucifixion of Christ and ancient Rome, to the Battle of Crécy (1346), to the Battle of Waterloo (1815).

Scholar Carmine A. Prioli (Lines of Fire, 1991) documents more than 80 poems written by Patton between the years 1903 and 1945. According to biographer Carlo D’Este (Patton: A Genius for War, 1996), Patton was a dedicated practitioner of poetry, starting in his first years at Virginia Military Institute and West Point. Patton was not a strong student overall — in retrospect, he likely suffered undiagnosed dyslexia, which contributed to his academic difficulties — but he excelled in history. He also regarded the memorization of verse to be a worthy mental exercise, and its recitation a welcome distraction for himself and others.

Particularly during times of separation from his beloved girlfriend Beatrice — later his wife — or convalescing in hospital from sports or war injuries, Patton found writing poetry a source of inspiration, entertainment, and solace. Patton also notably used poetry to shape his public persona, tasking Beatrice with submitting works to magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Women’s Home Companion. At one time, Patton reportedly planned to publish some of his poetry during the years between the world wars. In 1943, one of his poems was even set to music and broadcast to soldiers in Europe by the American Expeditionary Radio Station.

For Patton, then, the practice of poetry was both tactical and strategic.

The poems collected by Prioli often adhere to some form of iambic form, in stanzas of four lines each. The poems are sometimes amateurish, but are not without merit or appeal. Not surprisingly, Patton’s favorite themes involve soldierly life, battlefield death, and reincarnation. Patton’s words could also deliver profane humor, scathing satire, and insights into his geopolitical worldview.

For the profane, one need look no further than Patton’s “The Turds of the Scouts,” the title of which alone is certain to amuse horse soldiers and latrine humorists of all eras. (Oft given to quoting Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae’s World War I poem “In Flanders Fields,” 21st century cavalry troopers are some of the soldiers most likely to maintain an appreciation of military poetry.) Patton achieves something akin to cowboy poetry with lines such as:

For days and weeks he’d ridden hard
He’d eaten many a meal
Yet every morn he waits in vain
Some bowel movement to feel.

The rest of the poem is, perhaps, best left to off-hours Internet searches. Patton’s father, a California attorney, thought it downright vulgar, and refused to share it with family. Still, anyone who has partaken of too many MRE crackers, or ridden too long on convoy, can empathize with Patton’s scatological sentiments. No doubt, a poet of the M-RAP generation will someday deliver an “Ode to a Gatorade Bottle.”

On a higher note and satirical purpose, Patton makes an effective assault on bureaucracy with his poem “REFERENCE: B AND B3c-24614 FILE: INV. FORM A62B-M. Q.” Consider these excerpts:

[…] They had written—”Your directive when effective was defective
In its ultimate objective—and what’s more
Neolithic hieroglyphic is, to us, much more specific
Than the drivel you keep dumping at our door.” […]


[…] But first he sent a checker, then he sent a checker’s checker
Still nothing was disclosed as being wrong.
So a checker’s checker’s checker came to check the checker’s checker
And the process was laborious and long.

Obviously, Patton had a sense of humor. And could use that humor to direct fire at a satirical target, in order to achieve an objective.

In “Absolute War” (1944), Patton offers a critique of the American way of war, as applicable to the 21st century as it was his own:

Now in war we are confronted with conditions which are strange.
If we accept them we will never win.
Since by being realistic, as in mundane combats fistic,
We will get a bloody nose and that’s a sin.

To avoid such fell disaster, the result of fighting faster,
We resort to fighting carefully and slow.
We fill up terrestrial spaces with secure expensive bases
To keep our tax rate high and death rate low.

But with sadness and with sorrow we discover to our horror
That while we build, the enemy gets set. […]

Bringing his philosophy more down to earth, Patton underscores his thoughts later in the same poem, observing that “[…] in war just as in loving, you must always keep on shoving. / Or you’ll never get your just reward.” Like film and history and other human endeavors, poetry is an imperfect mirror. Patton wasn’t perfect. Neither was his verse.

Patton’s poetry humanizes and complicates our understanding of his persona and of our history, however, enriching it beyond his cinematic ghost. And, in reading it, even if we hear in our heads the graveled growls of actor George C. Scott, we are reminded of universal truths, encountered on battlefields both ancient and modern:

War is repetitious. War is shit. War is bureaucratic.

Randy Brown embedded with his former Iowa Army National Guard unit as a civilian journalist in Afghanistan, May-June 2011. He authored the poetry collection Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire (Middle West Press, 2015). As “Charlie Sherpa,” he blogs about military culture at www.redbullrising.com.

Read the Original Article at Foreign Policy

“No Yoga On the Plane Dude”: USMC Saves The Day (Again)


Marines Take Down Unruly Man Who Tried To Do Yoga On A Plane

After a passenger became disorderly on a Tokyo-bound flight, a group of Okinawa-based Marines intervened.

A Tokyo-bound United Airlines flight was forced to return to Honolulu, Hawaii, on March 26 after a man became violent, shouting “there is no god” while resisting the flight crew, who eventually subdued the man with the help of some U.S. Marines aboard the flight.

The incident reportedly began after the man was trying to do Yoga in the back of the plane and the flight crew told him he couldn’t.

According to an FBI criminal complaint, Hyongtae Pae, a citizen of South Korea, had seated himself in the middle of the galley, located in the rear of the plane, reports ABC News.


When the the flight attendants requested he return to his seat, Pae became increasingly agitated.

According to The Associated Press, Pae told the FBI that he did not want to sit in his seat during the inflight meal service, so he went to the rear of the plane to meditate.

When he was told to return to his seat the situation escalated as Pae became verbally abusive and “pushed his wife because she was trying to make him stop,” the complaint said. “He felt that she was siding with the flight crew.”

It was at this time that a group of Marines based out of Marine Corps Base Okinawa, Japan, traveling on the flight were asked by the flight crew to intervene, reports Jeff Schogol of Marine Corps Times.

“The flight attendants explained that they had talked to the pilot and the pilot felt like the individual was a security risk and they wanted us to restrain him,” said Staff Sgt. Timothy Bell, one of four active-duty and two retired Marines on the plane.

Supplied with a set of flex cuffs by the crew, Bell and the other five Marines came up with a plan to cuff Pae.

When they approached Pae, he initially cooperated when he was shown the cuffs, but after a failed attempt to cuff Pae’s ankles, Bell and the other Marines ditched the plan and carried him back to his seat, reports the Marine Corps Times.

And that’s when things went from weird to worse.

“He started trying to head butt me [and] ram me with his head,” said Bell. “As he was doing that, he began to spit at that same time.”

Bell pressed the cover of a headrest against the man’s mouth to stop him from spitting, at which point Pae allegedly tried to bite him instead.

Pae later told the FBI that he had not realized it was illegal to disobey the flight attendant’s directions, adding that he had not been able to sleep for 11 days, reports ABC News.

Pae’s request to return to Korea was denied by U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang, who ordered Pae to be held on $25,000 bond and required that he remain on the island of Oahu, according to The Associated Press.

Read the Original Article at Task and Purpose

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