28 December 2009

Current Events: 2010 AFA Reading List

AFA President’s Reading List – Dec 2009
Michael M. Dunn President/CEO Air Force Association

To put together this list, I downloaded the reading lists of CJCS, CSAF, CSA, CNO, Commandant of USMC, NDU President, AU Commander, and the Commandants of most war colleges and staff colleges. I then asked about 10 noted Airpower experts – many of whom are authors themselves – which books would they recommend. I then collated their inputs to form this list – and left many of their editorial comments to help guide the reader. It is obviously not all-inclusive … but I think it is a list that any serious Airman or Airpower advocate should consider.


Boyne, Walter J. Aces in Command. Washington: Brassey’s, 2001. A pleaser--great stories about Olds, Zemke, Rickenbacker, etc.
Boyne, Walter J. Operation Iraqi Freedom. NY: Forge, 2003. An excellent account of airpower in OIF.
Clancy, Tom with General Chuck Horner. Every Man a Tiger. NY: Putnam’s 1999. I still think Horner's memoir is excellent.
Hallion, Richard, Storm Over Iraq: Air Power and the Gulf War. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 1997. Probably the best written description of how Airpower – from all Services – played the decisive role in Desert Shield/Desert Storm
Kenney, George, General Kenney Reports, Air Force History, Museum, 1996. Good overview of operational employment of airpower to include deception, clever planning, championing airpower, and field innovation.
Kozak, Warren, LeMay: The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay, Washington, DC, Regnery Publishing, Inc, 2009. This book shows a different side of perhaps the greatest Airman who ever served.
Lambeth, Benjamin S. The Transformation of American Air Power. Ithaca: Cornell Univ Press, 2000. A bit dated now, but still very good
McDougall, Walter A. …the Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age. New York: Basic Books, 1985. An unsurpassed Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the development of America’s civil and military space programs; though now somewhat dated, it is still a remarkably valuable and insightful work, indispensable for understanding the transition from the aeronautics into the aerospace era.
Meilinger, Philip S. 10 Propositions Regarding Airpower. Washington: Air Force History and Museums Program, 1995. A tiny little booklet that was printed small enough to fit in a flight suit pocket. Essential thought-provoker that deserves continued perusal and discussion.
Miller, Donald L. Masters of the Air. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2006. The best book written about the 8AF during WWII. Outstanding.
Miller, Roger G. To Save a City: The Berlin Airlift, 1948-1949. College Station: Texas A&M Univ Press, 2000. Probably the best account of the Berlin Airlift out there.
Olsen, John, ed., A History of Air Warfare, [not yet released … but many experts contributed to it and recommended it to me.] This one-volume anthology provides a comprehensive analysis of the role that air power has played in military conflicts over the past century. Comprising sixteen essays penned by a global cadre of leading military experts, A History of Air Warfare chronologically examines the utility of Airpower from the First World War to the second Lebanon war, campaign by campaign.
Rich, Ben, Skunkworks., Little, Brown & company, 1996. A very readable history of the Lockheed Skunkworks. Value to today’s reader is that it shows how fast radically new technology machines can be built and fielded. In other words, twenty years for something like a F-22 or B-2 makes little sense and is not necessary.
Sheehan, Neil, A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapons, New York: Random House, 2009. Probably the best book I’ve read on both Gen Schriever and his work.
Thompson, Wayne. To Hanoi and Back: The USAF and North Vietnam, 1966-1973. Washington DC: Air Force History and Museums Program, Smithsonian Institution Press, 2000. The best thing on airpower over North Vietnam.
Waller, Douglas. A Question of Loyalty: Gen. Billy Mitchell and the Court-Martial that Gripped the Nation. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2004. The best researched, most nuanced, and most dispassionate biography of this controversial airman. After reading this, one will never be able to accept the notion of Mitchell as merely an unsophisticated “zealot.”

General National Security Books

Coll, Steve, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001, New York, Penguin Group, 2004. A well written account of the history of the CIA and United States in Afghanistan from the Soviet invasion to 9/11.
Dower, John, Embracing Defeat, New york: W. W. Norton & co, Inc., 1999. This Pulitzer prize winning book tells of the reconstruction of post-war Japan during US occupation and the struggle of the Japanese people to survive.
Keegan, John, Face of Battle, New York: Penguin Group, 1976. Outstanding study of opposing strategies employed in famous battles – a primer on battle at the soldiers’ level – what he hears, sees, smells, and feels, … and helps us understand why we need Airpower.
Kilcullen, David, The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One, London: Oxford University Press, 2009. Provides detail on the "soft" side of low intensity warfare- namely culture and people issues,
Lewis, Bernard W., Islam and the West, Oxford University Press, New York 1993. The best single book on Islam for the Western reader.
Sharansky, Natan, The Case for Democracy, New York: Public Affairs, 2004. A compelling book, by one of the first Jews permitted to immigrate to Israel from the Soviet Union, which makes the case that the desire for democracy and freedom runs deep in the psyche of all peoples, everywhere.
Wright, Lawrence, Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11., New York: random House, Inc, 2006. This Pulizer Prize winning book is the most important book on the list. It describes how Al-Qaeda was formed and tells the stories of bin Laden, Zawahiri, and others.

Airpower Books – Part II

Arnold, Henry H. Global Mission. New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1949 (also Blue Ridge Summit, PA, Tab Books, 1989). If an Air Force member reads just one book on air leadership, this should be the one. Arnold writes with great honesty and bluntness of his evolution as an Airman. One finishes the book thankful he was on our side.
Budiansky, Stephen: Air Power: From Kitty Hawk to Gulf War II. New York: Viking, 2003. Wide-ranging, well-written, and vigorously argued, Budiansky’s book is the best one volume history of military air power written to date.
Burroughs, William, Deep Black, Berkley Publishers Group, New York 1988. Provides an in-depth look at air borne surveillance starting with the planes and cameras of WW II and ends with the techno-marvels that are flying today.
Copp, DeWitt, Forged in Fire: Strategy and Decisions in the Air War Over Europe Doubleday, New York 1983. Records the quest for American air power and the recognition of air power as an independent military force and provides a look at the men who developed American air power and were responsible for creating the modern Air Force.
Fisher, David, A Summer Bright and Terrible, Shoemaker Hoard, 2005. Biography of ACM Stuffy Dowding, planner and executer of the air defense of England. Reads well. Highlights importance of airpower, technology development, thinking beyond the conventional wisdom, and of senior officers willing to oppose the politicians.
Frandsen, Bert, Hat in the Ring: The Birth of American Air Power in the Great War, Smithsonian Institution Press, 2003. Outstanding account of airpowers first leaders and legends.
Glines, Carroll V., The Doolittle Raid: America’s Daring First Strike Against Japan, Schiffer Publishing, 1991. An account of the first strike against the Japanese following Pearl Harbor.
Grant, Rebecca, The Radar Game: Understanding Stealth and Aircraft Survivability, IRIS Independent Research, Washington D.C., 1999. Grant provides comprehensive information about low observable technology.
Hurley, Alfred F., Billy Mitchell: Crusader for Airpower, Indiana University Press, Bloomington 1975. A good read on the origins and development of airpower.
Meilinger, Philip S. Hoyt S. Vandenberg: The Life of a General. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989 (also Bolling AFB: Air Force History and Museums Program, 2000). Thoughtful examination of the Air Force’s most important early chief, who steered the service through the roles and missions debate, through the Berlin Crisis and Korea, and on into the burgeoning nuclear era of the Eisenhower years.
Olsen, John, Strategic Airpower in Desert Storm, Portland, OR: Frank Cass Publishers, 2003. Good overview of the concept and execution of the first Gulf War. Important reading for those whose view of that war was warped by or reflects Scale’s A Certain Victory.
Olsen, John, John Warden and the Renaissance of American Air Power, Potomac Books, Dulles VA, 2007. In my opinion, the biggest problem with most Airpower books is that they discus things in such a tactical fashion—dogfights, CAS, etc. For example, go to the Air and Space Museum downtown and you will be hard-pressed to find books that explain why air power matters, how it can support the nation, why you don’t want to fight at the last tactical mile, etc. This means that most people do not have resources available to help them understand the strategic underpinnings of air power. This is one of the few books that does a good job in conveying this message

Morale: Closing out the Christmas Perspective from Afghanistan

Twas the Night before Christmas, Afghanistan style
Posted By Bouhammer on December 25, 2009
Bouhammer Note- This version of ‘Twas the Night before Christmas’ was sent to me yesterday by its author, SSG Scott Nelson, who is currently deployed in Afghanistan. He said he re-worked the famous poem in order to put some Christmas spirit in the soldiers fighting on the front lines in the Global War on Terror. Personally I think he did a pretty good job. I want to thank SSG Nelson and all of those that are forward deployed who take the time to read this blog and for their feedback. I am flattered that those whom I tend to write about, read Bouhammer’s Afghan & Military blog and that they like what they read. Merry Christmas to all, but especially to those that are deployed away from family trying to make it though just “one more day”.Twas the night before Christmas, and all through Afghanistan,
not a creature was stirring, not even the Taliban.
Combat boots were aligned under the cots with care,
but nobody expected that St Nicholas would be there.
The soldiers were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of home danced in their heads.
When out by the wire there arose such a clatter,
all the soldiers sprang from their beds to see what was the matter.
Away to the fighting positions they flew with a flash,
threw on their gear and made a mad dash.
The moon shining down on the desert below
gave the Afghan qalats a menacing glow.
When up in the sky something strange did appear,
but all the brave soldiers suppressed their fear.
Calmly they prepared for the battle ahead,
though their hearts were filled with a visceral dread.
But soon they discovered a cause for the racket,
a laughing fat man in a brilliant red jacket.
He was driving a sleigh loaded with gear,
pulled behind a team of eight reindeer!
The soldiers gazed with awe at the sight,
of the familiar man flying his sleigh through the night.
Down came the sleigh with a dizzying drop,
and soon Santa landed in the midst of the COP!
As he stepped down into the gathering crowd,
he patted his belly and exclaimed aloud:
"Combat landings are always a fright,
maybe I shouldn't have had that egg nog tonight!"
He pulled out a bag which bulged at the seams,
filled with the things of the soldiers dreams.
Ipods and video games and paperback tomes,
cookies and candies and letters from home.
To each soldier he gave with a hug and a smile,
chuckling and jiggling with joy all the while.
When his bag was empty and all his treats gone,
he led the soldiers in a few Christmas songs.
Soon they knew it was time that St. Nick must go,
but a private stepped forward, said "Santa, I want to know..
Why did you come to this forsaken hole in the sand,
where war and cruelty ravage the land?"
Santa looked up with a gleam in his eye,
and for a second it seemed as if he might cry.
With a quivering voice he said to the women and men
"I look forward with joy to that day when
all mankind will be happy and live together in peace,
from the North to the South to the West to the East.
But for now I know some must fight,
to ensure that the weak and oppressed have the right
to live their lives as they want, as they please,
without tyranny bringing them to their knees.
I know these men and women are lonely and scared,
far from their life,
far from friend and neighbor and child, husband or wife
These heroes deserve the joy of the season,
and to this land I come for that reason"
He saluted the soldiers with pride in his eyes,
then climbed into his sleigh with a sigh.
With a whistle and a flick of the reigns in his hand,
the sleigh and the reindeer rose above the land
He bellowed as he rose ever higher and flew out of sight
"Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!"
Share and Enjoy:

26 December 2009

CTWG: Danbury & New Fairfield High School work Wreaths Across America

From Arlington to New Fairfield

On Saturday December 12th, Civil Air Patrol Cadets from New Fairfield High School and the Danbury Municipal Airport joined with members of the New Fairfield Veterans Association to bring the Wreaths Across America project to New Fairfield. The Wreaths Across America story began over 18 years ago with the tradition of donating and placing wreaths on the headstones of our Nation's fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery. Recognition of the service and sacrifice of our veterans, and their families, is especially poignant during the traditional holiday season.

This year, over 100,000 wreaths will be sponsored by individuals, businesses and groups from communities Nation-wide. Wreaths will be placed in all 50 states from Maine to Alaska and Hawaii, at several locations in Iraq, and at 24 national cemeteries on foreign soil. The Civil Air Patrol volunteers nation-wide to place the wreaths on the headstones.

The wreaths placed on the Veteran headstones at New Fairfield Town Cemetery this year is the start of a tradition for New Fairfield. Although this is the first year that New Fairfield has participated, the Civil Air Patrol cadets and the New Fairfield Veterans Association plan to continue the tradition for years to come. Next year, the local Civil Air Patrol cadets will be welcoming donations to expand the program to cover more local cemeteries and towns to honor more of our fallen veterans during the holiday season.

CTWG: Norwich Wreaths Across America

Norwich officials to take part in 'Wreaths Across America'
By Claire Bessette
Publication: The Day
Published 12/09/2009 12:00 AM

Norwich — Members of the City Council and the city manager will participate in "Wreaths Across America" in public ceremonies set to start at about 11:15 a.m. Saturday.
The Norwich program is part of a nationwide effort sanctioned by Congress to honor fallen service personnel at cemeteries and memorials on the second Saturday of December. Seven wreaths, representing all branches of the service, will be placed at each of three locations, said Joan Scungio, director of Norwich Wreaths Across America.
At the war memorial section of Chelsea Parade, Mayor Peter Nystrom, Council President Pro Tempore Francois "Pete" Desaulniers and Alderman William Nash will place a wreath at the Vietnam and POW-MIA memorial.
Alderwoman Laurie Glenney Popovich and Alderman H. Tucker Braddock will place a wreath at the Old Cemetery Lane entrance to the Norwichtown Cemetery. The wreaths will be placed near the memorial for 20 French soldiers who died during the Revolutionary War. The Norwichtown cemetery dates back to the 18th century, and many gravestones are small and brittle.
Alderwoman Deberey Hinchey and City Manager Alan Bergren will place wreaths at the flagpole at the center of the Yantic Cemetery, where many Civil War dead are buried.
The wreath-layings will take place at noon, to coincide with the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Scungio said.
A reception will be follow at the Polish Legion of American Veterans Post 132 on North Main Street in Greeneville.
The Civil Air Patrol, Connecticut Veterans, an umbrella group of veterans' organizations and the Connecticut Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution are the sponsors.

Current Events: Terrorist attempts to blow up passenger plane: Detroit

"December 25, 2009 A Northwest Airbus 330 carrying 278 passengers landed safely at Detroit metro around noon on Friday, Dec. 25, 2009 on a flight bound from Amsterdam to Detroit. A senior U.S. counterterror official says a passenger aboard a Delta Air Lines flight in Detroit was planning to blow up the plane but the explosive device failed."

"One by one, the passengers deplaned Friday with similar and various bits of the story. By all accounts, the suspect was immediately tackled by at least one man, and several other passengers ran towards him immediately trying to put the fire out."

24 December 2009

USAF: NORAD Santa Update

Follow Santa here...

CTWG: Past CT Wing Commander Profiled

Preston's Frederick Herbert is still flying after 49 years

Past Commander, Connecticut Wing Col Fred Herbert (1997 - 1999)

Preston - On a recent frigid morning, Frederick G. Herbert pulled back the protective covering on a 1973 Cessna Cardinal parked at the Groton-New London Airport.
He removed the protective blocks that keep birds from nesting near the propeller and then proceeded to tell guests about the width of the two doors, which are nearly the size of an automobile's to make entering and exiting the plane easier.
"It is a nice airplane, but it wasn't popular," he said looking at the flying machine. "It may be an old airplane, but it gets its annual inspections and is in pretty good shape."
The same could be same for its pilot.
Herbert, 80, has been flying for 49 years. An accomplished pilot, he has logged more than 4,000 flight hours and is proud of his continued membership in the Thames River Composite Squadron, a unit of the Connecticut Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the United States Air Force.
"He's been around for a long time. He was there in the old days when the squadron was doing (submarine) patrols. He's a living history book for the CAP and a wonderful person to have around," Squadron Lt. Col. and Commander Lawrence Kinch said recently.
As Herbert tells it, he's been flying so long he started with wooden propellers and 55-horsepower planes. He first took flight in 1947 at 18 years old, right around the time he joined the Maryland Air National Guard.
"All that time when I flew I expected that if I went down or if I was overdue the CAP would come search for me," Herbert said with great sincerity. "In the 1980s I thought, 'Gee, maybe I ought to do something for the CAP because of all those years I thought they could be looking for me.'"
Herbert joined the Thames River Squadron in 1981.
During his tenure he served as the commander of the Connecticut Wing, overseeing 13 squadrons throughout the state, and is now the northeast region's CAP historian. He has earned the rank of colonel within the CAP.
In October 2008, Herbert was honored for his service to the patrol and as the northeast region's historian. Specifically, he was recognized for a record-breaking flight from Hartford to York, Penn., which he did in two hours and three minutes, averaging slightly more than 202 kilometers per hour. He flew a Cessna 177B and the flight record represents the fastest speed of any piston engine landplane weighing between 1,102 pounds and 2,205 pounds, according to a news release from the National Aeronautic Association distributed at that time.
The primary reason for the flight was not to break a record. It was to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the death of a 2nd Lt. Andre E. Maye, also of Connecticut. Maye was a CAP pilot out of the Courier Service stationed at Bradley Airport, a service that transported personal and priority cargo on the onset of World War II.
According to Sept. 15, 1943, edition of The Gardner News, of Gardner, Mass., Maye and mechanic George M. Menzel died when their plane crashed in East Templeton. The two were en route to the Grenier Airport in New Hampshire.
In addition to the record in honor of Maye, Herbert also holds a second record for "speed over a recognized course" from Fisher's Island, N.Y., to Portland, Me., set in 1997.
Currently, Herbert uses the Cessna Cardinal, which he has co-owned with other pilots since 2002, and has taken many trips throughout the northeast region, mostly casual flights, such as transport to weddings or to visit friends.
Herbert said he expects to continue serving and flying for many more years, so long as he passes his annual pilot's physical.
"I've passed every year so far," he said with a sheepish grin as he proudly showed his pilot's license to prove what he said was true; he passed his physical on Nov. 30.
"It's a good hobby," Herbert said recently. "Now some people are very uncomfortable flying in light aircraft, almost terrified, and others feel it's wonderful, miraculous. I have always felt that way ... I marvel at it more than the average person."

22 December 2009

USAF: A little more on the MC-12 or L3 Spy Plane

First New U.S. L-3 Spy Plane Due in Afghanistan by Christmas

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- The Air Force as soon as Christmas Day will deliver to Afghanistan the first of 24 new
Hawker Beechcraft Corp. planes modified by L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. to support ground troops with video, still images and eavesdropping.
The four-man, twin-propeller plane “should arrive on or shortly after Dec. 25th,” about one month ahead of schedule, Lieutenant General David Deptula, who oversees Air Force intelligence and reconnaissance, said in an e-mail today.
Defense Secretary
Robert Gates ordered the service in April 2008 to dramatically increase the number of manned and unmanned aircraft providing intelligence to ground troops. The planes will help support the 30,000 additional troops President Barack Obama ordered to Afghanistan. Six of the new spy planes already are flying missions in Iraq.
The Air Force is setting up stations at its air bases at Kandahar, in southern Afghanistan, and Bagram, near Kabul, the capital, to receive and process data and then send it along to ground troops.
The planes also can beam images and video directly to ground troops, who will be equipped with L-3 Communications ‘‘Rovers” -- laptop devices that allow soldiers to see the same images as airborne operators. Almost 5,000 Rovers have been delivered to the U.S. military by L-3 Communications.
Hand-Held Rovers
The Air Force also will give the Army about 50 of the latest-generation Rovers -- hand-held versions that allow soldiers via satellite link both to receive images and to tell pilots where to direct the plane’s cameras, Deptula said.
The new planes provide “full-motion video and specialized signals intelligence” and all 24 should be in Afghanistan by September, Deptula said.
The aircraft will augment round-the-clock surveillance now provided by unmanned Predator drones.
The modified planes are equipped with both high-resolution and heat-sensing cameras produced by New York City-based L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. and with radios from Waltham, Massachusetts-based
Raytheon Co. and Melbourne, Florida-based Harris Corp.
The planes also are equipped with sensors that can monitor insurgents’ conversations and help pinpoint their location, said
Jeffrey Richelson, author of the “U.S. Intelligence Community,” a detailed compendium now in its fifth edition.
The sensors are provided by the
National Security Agency, which manages U.S. eavesdropping satellites.
“It’s a lot of intelligence and dissemination capability in a small package,” Richelson said. The planes, with self- protective equipment, are “also clearly designed for a combat environment,” he said.
Congress this year approved $950 million to buy as many as 37 aircraft from Wichita, Kansas-based Hawker Beechcraft Corp. The planes can fly as high as 35,000 feet and orbit for as long as five hours. They are modified at L-3 Communication’s Greenville, Texas, facility.

21 December 2009

Morale: Words from the CSM

I awoke this Saturday morning at PT time (0430), and looked at my surroundings. The worst winter storm in DC for a number of years had arrived in force. Snow, and lots of it. Roads are closed, planes are grounded, and people are huddled comfortably inside their homes or foolishly out trying to learn how to drive in snow.Rather than roll over, I put some warm clothes on, leashed the dogs, and out we went for some exercise and introspection. As I walked, I was trying to imagine being in those winter camps and fights so long ago.
I thought of Washington's Christmas raid at Trenton, and his last, lonely winter camp. I thought of the soldiers at Fort Niagara. I thought of the bitter cold of the Argonne, the Huertgen Forest and Bastogne, the Aleutians, the Chosin Reservoir, the Sava River, and Tora Bora.
As I thought of those heroes of our past, those legendary Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen that we regularly honor and pay tribute to, I thought of those quiet professionals in current fights that we don't speak of often enough.
Look around on any forward operating base or outpost in Afghanistan, the Philippines or Iraq. Watch the Soldiers passing through our airports coming home on or returning from R&R. Listen to speeches during a deployment or redployment ceremony. Stand silently and render honors to one of our fallen (something which is hardly more sincere than on Disney Road and at that airfield!).
Modern American heroes (not our over-indulged athletes or actors) are hardly given their due. They walked or still pass quietly among us, never seeking acknowledgement or fame, but simply doing their duty as they have sworn oaths to do. We already know some of their names:
- Smith, Murphy, Monsoor, Dunham, McGinnis - Medal of Honor;- Hollenbaugh, Cooper, Nein, Sanford, Coffman - Distinguished Service Cross;- Hester, Birch, Roundtree, Kandarian, LaFrenz - Silver Star;- Kopp, Shumney, Kuban, DeLeon, Gentry - Bronze Star for Valor;- Biggs, Carbone, Turecheck, Rushing, Berwald - Army Commendation for Valor.
And, I submit, for every warrior we acknowledge in a ceremony, there are a hundred or a thousand more who are never acknowledged for the difference they make every day.
So as I finished my peaceful walk in the snow, I thought of the Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors that are carrying the fight away from home so that I could have this walk in peace, and I am forever grateful. I thought of those in MRAPs slowly searching roadways for hidden dangers, others working with local police to secure a village, and yet others moving quietly and quickly to eliminate or capture a hidden enemy, and I am filled with pride.
Wherever you are, and whatever you do or did to continue to guarantee my safety and freedom, I thank each of you in, headed to, returning from, or supporting the fight. You are my heroes, and I thank you.
CSM Jeff Mellinger

18 December 2009

Morale: The American soldier in the eyes of a French infantryman

Sometimes everyone needs an outside perspective to see what you do good and what you can improve on. The following was posted by blackfive.net and originated here,


This is posted in its entiriety because the message is all important.

Subject: French view of US Military by Jean-Marc Liotier


American troops in Afghanistan through the eyes of a French OMLT infantryman

The US often hears echoes of worldwide hostility against the application of its foreign policy, but seldom are they reached by the voices of those who experience first hand how close we are to the USA. In spite of contextual political differences and conflicting interests that generate friction, we do share the same fundamental values - and when push comes to
shove that is what really counts.

Through the eyes of that French OMLT (Operational Mentoring Liaison Teams)
infantryman you can see how strong the bond is on the ground. In contrast with the Americans, the French soldiers don't seem to write much online - or maybe the proportion is the same but we just have less people deployed. Whatever the reason, this is a rare and moving testimony which is why I decided to translate it into English, so that American people can catch a glimpse of the way European soldiers see them. Not much high philosophy here, just the first hand impressions of a soldier in contact - but that only makes it more authentic.

"We have shared our daily life with two US units for quite a while - they are the first and fourth companies of a prestigious infantry battalion whose name I will withhold for the sake of military secrecy. To the common man it is a unit just like any other. But we live with them and got to know them, and we henceforth know that we have the honor to live with one of the most renowned units of the US Army - one that the movies brought to the public as series showing "ordinary soldiers thrust into extraordinary events". Who are they, those soldiers from abroad, how is their daily life, and what support do they bring to the men of our OMLT every day?

Few of them belong to the Easy Company, the one the TV series focuses on. This one nowadays is named Echo Company, and it has become the support company. They have a terribly strong American accent - from our point of view the language they speak is not even English. How many times did I have to write down what I wanted to say
rather than waste precious minutes trying various pronunciations of a seemingly common word? Whatever state they are from, no two accents are alike and they even admit that in some crisis situations they have difficulties understanding each other.

Heavily built, fed at the earliest age with Gatorade, proteins and creatine they are all heads and shoulders taller than us and their muscles remind us of Rambo. Our frames are amusingly skinny to them - we are wimps, even the strongest of us - and because of that they often mistake us for Afghans.

Here we discover America as it is often depicted: their values are taken to their paroxysm, often amplified by promiscuity and the loneliness of this outpost in the middle of that Afghan valley. Honor, motherland - everything here reminds of that: the American flag floating in the wind above the outpost, just like the one on the post parcels. Even if recruits often originate from the hearth of American cities and gang territory, no one here has any goal other than to hold high and proud the star spangled banner. Each man knows he can count on the support of a whole people who provides them through the mail all that an American could miss in such a remote front-line location: books, chewing gums, razor blades, Gatorade, toothpaste etc. in such way that every man is aware of how much the American people backs him in his difficult mission.

And that is a first shock to our preconceptions: the American soldier is no individualist. The team, the group, the combat team are the focus of all his attention. And they are impressive warriors! We have not come across bad ones, as strange at it may seem to you when you know how critical French people can be. Even if some of them are a bit on the heavy side, all of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how. Beyond the wearing of a combat kit that never seem to discomfort them (helmet strap, helmet, combat goggles, rifles etc.) the long hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the slightest. On the one square meter wooden tower above the perimeter wall they stand the five consecutive hours in full battle rattle and night vision goggles on top, their sight unmoving in the directions of likely danger. No distractions, no pauses, they are like statues nights and days. At night, all movements are performed in the dark - only a handful of subdued red lights indicate the occasional presence of a soldier on the move. Same with the vehicles whose lights are covered - everything happens in pitch dark even filling the fuel tanks with the Japy pump.

And combat? If you have seen Rambo you have seen it all - always coming to the rescue when one of our teams gets in trouble, and always in the shortest delay. That is one of their tricks: they switch from T-shirt and sandals to combat ready in three minutes. Arriving in contact with the enemy, the way they fight is simple and disconcerting: they just charge! They disembark and assault in stride, they bomb first and ask questions later - which cuts any pussyfooting short.

This is the main area where I'd like to comment. Anyone with a passing knowledge of Kipling knows the lines from Chant Pagan: 'If your officer's dead and the sergeants look white/remember it's ruin to run from a fight./So take open order, lie down, sit tight/And wait for supports like a soldier./ This, in fact, is the basic philosophy of both British and Continental soldiers. 'In the absence of orders, take a defensive position.' Indeed, virtually every army in the world. The American soldier and Marine, however, are imbued from early in their training with the ethos: In the Absence of Orders: Attack! Where other forces, for good or ill, will wait for precise orders and plans to respond to an attack or any other 'incident', the American force will simply go, counting on firepower and SOP to carry the day. This is one of the great strengths of the American force in combat and it is something that even our closest allies, such as the Brits and Aussies (that latter being closer by the way) find repeatedly surprising. No wonder it surprises the he** out of our enemies.

We seldom hear any harsh word, and from 5 AM onwards the camp chores are performed in beautiful order and always with excellent spirit. A passing American helicopter stops near a stranded vehicle just to check that everything is alright; an American combat team will rush to support ours before even knowing how dangerous the mission is - from what we have been given to witness, the American soldier is a beautiful and worthy heir to those who liberated France and Europe.

To those who bestow us with the honor of sharing their combat outposts and who everyday give proof of their military excellence, to those who pay the daily tribute of America's army's deployment on Afghan soil, to those we owned this article, ourselves hoping that we will always remain worthy of them and to always continue hearing them say that we are all the same band of brothers".

17 December 2009

Morale: NORAD Tracks Santa

Hesssss baaaack!

USAF: Operation Christmas Drop

Guam - Today kicked off Operation Christmas Drop, an annual project where the men and women of the United States Air Force fly over the outer islands of Micronesia and play Santa from the sky. "We'll have an opportunity to bring much needed supplies and hope to people in the Micronesian islands," said Colonel Mark Hicks.

It's a long-lasting tradition ongoing for the last fifty-eight years. During Tuesday's push ceremony at Andersen Air Force Base, Brigadier General Phil Rhulman announced that the Air Force plans to make fifty-one drops to over fifty islands, bringing with them over 25,000 pounds of food and supplies. Said, Rhulman "In the spirit of Christmas is obviously behind what we do.

14 December 2009

CAP: Nominations for "Of The Year" Awards Due

Please be advised that Cadet of the Year (note already sent to you by Major Lesick) and Senior of the Year applications are due to CTWG HQ no later than January 15. Remember that the Cadet of the Year application must be on a Form 58 with all supporting documentation. Incomplete Form 58's will not be considered. The Form 58 must be typed on the computer form--no hand written forms will be accepted.

Please check CAPR 39-3 and its changes for any other National awards that are due in January.

Since our next Wing Conference will most likely be in October again, any other wing awards will be asked for submission sometime in August.

Thank you.
Lt Col Cassandra Huchko

11 December 2009

USAF: T Birds 2010 Local Schedule

5 and 6: Ocean City, Md.
26 and 27: North Kingstown, R.I.

21 and 22: Westfield, Mass.
25: Atlantic City, N.J.
28 and 29: Brooklyn (Coney Island), N.Y.

08 December 2009

USAF: 1st Stealth jet in country

US Air Force spokesmen confirmed this week that the hitherto secret unmanned, high-altitude stealth jet, the "Beast of Kandahar," was present at the big US air base of Bagram, in Afghanistan. Photos of the Beast on the Bagram tarmac - outside its regular base at Kandahar near the Iranian and Pakistani borders - appeared in various Internet sites this week.

Designated RQ-170 Sentinel, it is the first jet drone ever developed for military use. More here...

07 December 2009

USAF: The manned replacement for the Predator?

The Iron Beechcraft
December 5, 2009: The US Air Force has been testing its new "manned UAV replacement" in Iraq, and has found that the twin engine aircraft is durable and reliable. Five months ago, a squadron of the new MC-12s were sent to Iraq, and since then, those dozen aircraft have flown over a thousand sorties. That's about four sorties per week per aircraft.

The MC-12 is a modified version of the earlier RC-12 electronic reconnaissance aircraft. The MC-12 will provide the same service as a UAV (full motion video) in addition to electronic monitoring (radio, cell phone, etc.). The air force is converting some existing King Air 350s, as well as buying new ones, to obtain 37 MC-12s for this duty as, in effect, a Predator UAV replacement. The UAVs cannot be manufactured fast enough to supply battlefield needs, so the manned MC-12s will help fill the gap. The MC-12 is a militarized version of the Beech King Air. The army began using the Beech aircraft as the RC-12 in the 1970s, and has been seeking a replacement for the last few years. But it was realized that the RC-12 was suitable for use as a Predator substitute.

The King Air 350 is a 5.6 ton, twin engine aircraft that, as a UAV replacement, carries a crew of four. Some of the sensors are operated from the ground. This MC-12 can stay in the air for about eight hours per sortie. Not quite what the Predator can do (about twice the time per sortie), but good enough to help fill the demand. The MC-12 has advantages over UAVs. It can carry over a ton of sensors, several times what a Predator can haul. The MC-12 can fly higher (35,000 feet) and is faster (over 500 kilometers an hour, versus 215 for the Predator.) The MC-12s cost about $20 million each, more than twice what a Predator goes for. The MC-12s crew consists of two pilots and two equipment operators.

Current Events: December 7th 1941

The 7 December 1941 Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor was one of the great defining moments in history. A single carefully-planned and well-executed stroke removed the United States Navy's battleship force as a possible threat to the Japanese Empire's southward expansion. America, unprepared and now considerably weakened, was abruptly brought into the Second World War as a full combatant.

Eighteen months earlier, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had transferred the United States Fleet to Pearl Harbor as a presumed deterrent to Japanese agression. The Japanese military, deeply engaged in the seemingly endless war it had started against China in mid-1937, badly needed oil and other raw materials. Commercial access to these was gradually curtailed as the conquests continued. In July 1941 the Western powers effectively halted trade with Japan. From then on, as the desperate Japanese schemed to seize the oil and mineral-rich East Indies and Southeast Asia, a Pacific war was virtually inevitable.

By late November 1941, with peace negotiations clearly approaching an end, informed U.S. officials (and they were well-informed, they believed, through an ability to read Japan's diplomatic codes) fully expected a Japanese attack into the Indies, Malaya and probably the Philippines. Completely unanticipated was the prospect that Japan would attack east, as well.

The U.S. Fleet's Pearl Harbor base was reachable by an aircraft carrier force, and the Japanese Navy secretly sent one across the Pacific with greater aerial striking power than had ever been seen on the World's oceans. Its planes hit just before 8AM on 7 December. Within a short time five of eight battleships at Pearl Harbor were sunk or sinking, with the rest damaged. Several other ships and most Hawaii-based combat planes were also knocked out and over 2400 Americans were dead. Soon after, Japanese planes eliminated much of the American air force in the Philippines, and a Japanese Army was ashore in Malaya.

These great Japanese successes, achieved without prior diplomatic formalities, shocked and enraged the previously divided American people into a level of purposeful unity hardly seen before or since. For the next five months, until the Battle of the Coral Sea in early May, Japan's far-reaching offensives proceeded untroubled by fruitful opposition. American and Allied morale suffered accordingly. Under normal political circumstances, an accomodation might have been considered.

However, the memory of the "sneak attack" on Pearl Harbor fueled a determination to fight on. Once the Battle of Midway in early June 1942 had eliminated much of Japan's striking power, that same memory stoked a relentless war to reverse her conquests and remove her, and her German and Italian allies, as future threats to World peace.

USAF: Air Force chaplains reflect on milestones, emphasize warrior care

12/4/2009 - ORLANDO, Fla. (AFNS) -- More than 100 chaplains and chaplain assistants from throughout the Air Force attended the Chaplain Corps Summit here recently, in part to celebrate 60th anniversary of the Air Force Chaplain Corps and the 100th anniversary of the chaplain assistant career field.

The summit began with an interfaith worship service, included a review of Chaplain Corps history and concluded with a Heritage Banquet.

"We reminisced over years of service and fellowship in our past and looked ahead to the role of the Chaplain Corps in meeting current and future mission needs," said Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Cecil R. Richardson, chief of chaplains.

Chaplain Richardson related the Chaplain Corps' rich and storied history. Chaplain Charles I. Carpenter, the Army Air Corps' "Air Chaplain," emphasized the need for pastoral identity of chaplains with the people they served. After successfully persuading senior leaders that the Air Force should have its own chaplaincy, Chaplain Carpenter helped ensure the drafting of the transfer order on May 10, 1949.

Predating the Air Force Chaplain Corps, the "chaplain assistant" position was established forty years earlier on Dec. 28, 1909. Paragraph 1 of the General Order by the War Department stated, "One enlisted man will be detailed on special duty, by the commanding officer of any organization to which a chaplain is assigned for duty, for the purpose of assisting the chaplain in the performance of his official duties."

"Air Force chaplains and chaplain assistants continue to support our Airmen in today's fight as we walk where they walk and go where they go," Chaplain Richardson said.

04 December 2009

CAP: Wreaths Across America - CT Schedule

Tuesday 8 December
1500 Veterans Memorial, Coventry CT
1700 Connecticut State Capitol, Hartford

Wednesday 9 December

0830 Southington High School, Southington CT
1030 Home for the Brave, Bridgeport CT
1145 Sikorsky Aircraft, Bridgeport CT
1430 Town Hall, Darien CT

Thursday 10 December
0845 Darien High School, Darien CT

CTWG: Always Vigilant adds AF News RSS feed

Below right underneath the CAP Headlines News section is the newly added Air Force RSS feed including Air Force photos of the week and the top 5 news items of every day - enjoy.


USAF: Airmen lead training course for Iraqi police

by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Kapinos
U.S. Air Forces Central combat camera team

12/3/2009 - BAGHDAD (AFNS) -- Airmen assigned to the Iraq Police Transition Team here started a new class Nov. 18 for recent graduates of the Iraqi Police Academy as an effort to further enhance their capabilities as officers securing their communities.

The five-day class is part of an on-going effort to transition responsibility for community security in the cities from coalition forces to Iraqi police.

The primary goal of the training is to build on what the Iraqi's already learned at their academy and show them new ways in how to accomplish the mission of bringing security and stability in and around the streets of Baghdad.

"This training is going to provide them with the tools they will need to proceed as effective officers for their communities," said Staff Sgt. Timothy Cross, a Det. 2 instructor deployed to the region from Offut Air Force Base, Neb. "We will train them in basic community policing, survival skills, communication and leadership. We will also work on weapons handling fundamentals, along with detainee handling."

02 December 2009

NER: CISM Course Update

There have been changes made to the upcoming CISM 3 day combined Group and Individual Peer Support Course set for 19, 20 21st of Feb 2010 to be held at Westover ARB in Ma.

The first change will be in the price for members to attend course. The NER in wanting to assist Wings in bringing CISM training to as many interested members as possible, including existing CISM Team members who in 2010 will need certificates in both Group and Individual Crisis Intervention, has decided to subsidize a portion of the cost for this NER sponsored CISM training.

Taking this combined course with ICISF at one of their regional conferences will cost approximately $600 for non ICISF members, over $500 for members. Each course individually taken with ICISF would cost over $300 plus travel and lodging.

All CAP Regions and Wings are now charging $125.pp to attend the 3 day combined course and have been instructed by the National CISM Team to phase out the 2 day CISM courses in favor of the 3 day combined course by 2010.

CAP requires current CIST members to refresh their Group Crisis Intervention certificate (1) once every three years IAW CAPR60-5. Taking this course will "re-set" your refresh date to the date of issuence of your new Group certificate as well as the Individual Cert.

Both Group and Individual certs will be required for basic CISM team membership in 2010. Both certs will soon be visible for review in e-service by Region and Wing CISOs, Mission IC, Mission Staff, to check CIST members currency while participating in a mission, so we strongly urge existing members and new perspective CIST members to take advantage of this probable one time low cost training.

The second change will be the way a member registers for course. Registration will now be on-line through Eventbrite and payment may be asked for at time of registration instead of payment by check. The details of this are still being worked out be NER staff and should be finalized by mid-to end of this week. More info will follow as soon as available.

Please do not send checks to NER CIS at this time. If we do on-line pay, any check that has already been received already will immediately be returned via USPS.

Billeting will be on base and is the responsibility of member. Contact Info for billeting will be forwarded to registrant prior to course date.

Thank you all for your interest in CAPs CISM program.

Jack N. Arena, Capt. CAP
Critical Incident Stress Management
Northeast Region Headquarters, Civil Air Patrol