UPDATED 12 September 2009

3rd Amphibious Warfare Studies Group (Maritime)


Military free-fall parachutist using HALO/HAHO Infiltration.

Low-Tech Solutions


Hi-Tech Problems

The future Paratrooper will have a reduced volume parachute like depicted here, other than his rucksack being rigged to his front for lowering, the Paratrooper is the same as an infantryman being airlanded from an airplane.  Thus, the same number of Paratroopers can be carried on aircraft as other troops; 92 in a C-130, 153 in a C-141B etc.

The awesome C-17A Globemaster III can cross oceans and continents at high subsonic speeds (600 mph) and deliver 167,000  pounds of troops, cargo, vehicles, and weapons compared to the pathetic MV-22 Osprey's mere dozen foot troops with hands-weapons-only at 250 mph is certainly not worth its multi-billion dollar price tag The entire world is the U.S. Army Airborne's dropzone New parachutes will allow the Airborne to jump under 250 feet and stay below enemy radar. The sky full of armed-to-the-teeth Paratroopers ready to take the fight to the enemy and defeat him.  Paratroopers are trained to take the initiative and think, not sit and wait for someone to tell them what to do, like simplistic marines

Current Projects include:

The SOF Soldier, his map and GPS ("PLUGGER")

Airborne Equipment Shop: Do-it-yourself-today solutions to the Soldier's load...and then some!

Paratrooper2000: the future of war is AIRBORNE, not seaborne....

NEW! Operation DARK CLAW video images-- U.S. Army Paratroopers jump All-Terrain Bikes/Carts, cycle 35 miles to Fort Bragg, NC)

NEW! Operation PROVE TACTICAL MOBILITY-- Soldier's load solutions shown on network television

Parachute Light Bicycle Infantry (currently under test with U.S. Army Research & Development; folded bike in bag lowered by Paratrooper on line before landing, as shown above)

All Terrain All-purpose Cart (currently under test with U.S. Army Research & Development)

Private Murphy's Law Cartoons: Airborne humor!

C-17 Airdropping an armored vehicle for the XVIII Airborne CorpsMultiple G-11 parachutes can deliver armored fighting vehicles and supplies up to 30 tons.  Thus, it may be possible to airdrop the M2 Bradley IFVLighter armored fighting vehicles like the M551 Sheridan, M113A3 Gavins can be easily air-delivered to Airborne forces

LVAD (low-velocity airdrop under 900 feet) and LAPES (low-altitude parachute extraction system 5-10 feet) can easily air-deliver armored fighting vehicles with the AIRBORNE....

106mm Recoilless Rifles on Airdroppable M113A3 Gavin, Wiesel Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) for SHOCK ACTION

NEW! M113A3 Gavin Airborne IFV photos!--

The Russian Airborne: every squad with a BMD armored fighting vehicle, auto-cannon, ATGMs, machine guns

Why not an American Airborne Infantry Fighting Vehicle? By Stan Crist

Para-Gator 6X6 ATVs for AIRBORNE SHOCK ACTION in Afghanistan!

The 3-ton Wiesel used by German Paratroops is heli-parachute transportable with cannon, RRs, mortars

T-21 military static-line parachute system with reserve at the back: refer to jumper above's decluttered front with ruck held high for clean aircraft exits compared to T-10Cs here...

American Paratroops prepare to jump after an epic across the world flight


The mighty C-130, the world moves by the speed of aircraft, not ships


"In reviewing these actions it is apparent that some military capabilities have been quite useful while others have assumed a much more modest role. In Panama, Haiti and Somalia the principal instrument of American power was its light infantry divisions. Secretary of State Warren Christopher noted that, 'despite the threat of air and naval attack, it was only when the Army's 82nd Airborne Division was in the air that the Haitian government of General Cedras stepped aside and agreed to the restoration of power to President Aristide.'"

--Colonel M. Thomas Davis, USA, who is currently serving as a Federal Executive Fellow at the Brookings Institute. A separate version of this paper appeared in the 20 October 1996 edition of the Los Angeles Times.

A 3rd Amphibious Warfare Studies Group (Maritime) member writes:

"Unfortunately, I was on the ground a couple miles off post at Ft Bragg, in the flight path as the planes you were on took off. =o( I was also watching CNN at the time, too. No accord was signed then, this was actual reporter with microphone in front of Gen Powell's and Senator Nunn's mouths. I actually heard and saw the air armada take off. This was all live feeds from CNN, too, because I had a satellite TV dish at the time.

The essential truth---that when the Airborne flies, this is seen as the REAL intention of America not when ships sit offshore for weeks/months. The ship thing is a bluff, our enemies know it.

So you and your Paratroopers didn't jump and get a jump star, they SAVED THE DAY. It was one of our 'finest hours' of MANY finest hours. The Airborne has a lot of things to fix about itself, but that's a different issue, and we have dozens of web pages on how to do this."

Long-Term Projects

Israeli Paratrooper: victor in over 6 major conflicts

Want to parachute jump with foreign Paratroops? click the moving E-mail symbol to the left to contact us...

Paratroopers from the sky take ground for America, not marines who clean up afterwards


Official IDF Paratrooper Airborne Operations site: see Paratroopers, M113A3 APCs, tanks, artillery and aircraft in combined-arms battle

82d Airborne Division conducts world's longest Airborne operation: CENTRAZBAT '97

Why the Paratrooper excels above all others

My Article on the O'Grady Rescue: we were lucky: new approaches needed

PATHFINDING: we cannot send aircraft in blind anymore

Our Philosophy and Studies Group Concept Papers

U.S. Army AIRBORNE operations/combat jumps 1942-present--including Afghanistan!

U.S. Army Korean war combat jumps

U.S. Army AIRBORNE 1950s: Cold War Rapid Deployment Forces

Colonel Holeman's High Speed Para Page!

When Helicopters CANNOT LAND...airdrop to the rescue...

When Helicopters are TOO SLOW...Paratroopers rescue hostages from terrorists...

Crete: Airborne Victory, amphibious failure

Crete: the American Airborne reaction

Airborne Operations: A German Appraisal


"I'd like to have two Armies-"


"One for display, with lovely guns, tanks, little Soldiers, staffs, distinguished and doddering Generals and dear little Regimental officers, who would be deeply concerned over their General's bowel movements, or their Colonel's piles; an Army that would be shown for a modest fee on every fairground in the country."

(U.S. Army)

"The other would be the REAL one, composed entirely of young enthusiasts in camouflage uniforms, who would NOT be put on display but from whom impossible efforts would be demanded and to whom all sorts of tricks would be taught. That's the Army in which I should like to fight"

--Jean Larteguy, The Centurions
French Resistance, Foreign Legion Paratrooper
Indo-China, Algeria



Disband the Egotistical USMC that Refuses to Admit it Needs Armor on the High Explosives Dominated Non-Linear Battlefields of Today

Major Franz Gayl was one of the few--perhaps the only--fellow marine officer with a conscience willing to loyally speak out against marine corps problems and offer solutions internally in professional journals like Marine Corps Gazette whose ego wasn't in hock to the bureaucracy and peer groupthink. Its no surprise today he is leading the effort to expose USMC resistance to change to fully protect its men and women from land mines in mine resistant, ambush protected (MRAP) v-hull shaped trucks. His mistake was being naive about who populates the marine corps and its culture as expressed when he as a Captain told me in 1989 that "we must first make the existing marine corps work, then we can reform it". Applying his advice as a young officer, I back then blew-the-whistle on the vulnerability of our existing unarmored, wheeled Humvee trucks--that the majority of the Corps moves around in--and offered solutions in the November 1989 U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings magazine but my warnings were ignored and I was vilified for daring not to worship the sacred cow marine corps.


The thousands of Soldiers and marines who since then have died in these and other wheeled trucks are not convenient "heroes" to excuse away the immoral, incompetent bureaucracies but tragic victims who demand our ground forces be reformed as they should have been all along--to be at the very least, fully cross-country mobile and protected in armored M113 Gavin tracked tanks/armored personnel carriers but light enough to not only swim but fly by helicopters over sea and land mines. The lesson from Korea and Vietnam was to have everyone in a tracked APC--a lesson we still refuse to learn with disastrous consequences in Iraq/Afghanistan you can see by simply turning on CNN. These tracks--lighter than MRAP trucks--but equally protective with multiple armor layering-- have been repeatedly offered to the USMC over the years but constantly rejected.

You can't make something that is fundamentally corrupt work, and the USMC at its core is composed of weak egos wanting to participate in a mythology of blind obedience, foot-riflemen storming ashore in small boats chasing down bandits and afterwards telling tall tales in fancy French uniforms and song (marine hymn is a French prostitute melody) to woo the ladies as if we were still in the turn-of-the-20th century where high explosives (HE) hadn't yet dominated warfare. The USMC is based on the lie of individual rifleman god-hood which is the sin of PRIDE which the real God warns us "goes before destruction". A fellow NCO in the marine reserves who was a psychology major at my university I was attending at the time to earn my officer's commission concluded: "the marine corps' problem is it thinks it shit doesn't stink". After all these years, no better or fewer words expresses the basic truth of the marine corps sickness better except the word NARCISSISM.

Supplying armored vehicles to all marines would be admitting the marine rifleman myth was a lie so it was no surprise that as soon as the land mine threat in Iraq lessened by bribing rebels not to attack us, the USMC would reduce its purchase of v-hull shaped MRAP trucks so as to keep its foot-slogging riflemen ego racket going. Never mind that armored vehicles have doors, ramps and hatches for anyone to jump out and fight on foot all they want to--after first getting them to the contested scene intact. The USMC does not want to properly mechanize to be able to maneuver on today's non-linear battlefield where high explosive weaponry dominates from RPGs to land mines to guided missiles--because "turning a wrench" to keep a motor vehicle running requires HUMILITY and THINKING that ruins the dumb grunt riflemen "From Here to Eternity" lifestyle of sports attire PT, lawn and building care punctuated by running around in the woods with a rifle and a rucksack. To try to get around the need for vehicular mobility without culturally paying for it--instead of employing very simple vehicles like M113 Gavins with single-piece band tracks--the Corps buys handfuls of oversized helicopters and bloated amphibious tractors so they can pack in the maximum foot riflemen to get to land and only have to pay for it with a few crewmen.


Never mind, that these create huge targets for enemy gunners and limits where they can land. This cheapskate mentality is taught early on in the USMC; at boot camp we were ordered to tape over 8 out of 10 sinks and 4 out of 6 toilets and not use them so we'd have less to clean. All 100 of us would shave and relieve ourselves from the few available outlets and when the unrealistic outward appearances tyrant Drill Instructor came to inspect we'd rip the tape off the unused sinks/stalls and present an immaculate--but false--outward appearance. Its no different in how the USMC uses all its assets. Once ashore, the hundreds of wheeled trucks that waste space in our Navy's amphibious ships will be brought in so everyone in the Jessica Lynch-style "support" underclass can ride if its in the desert and its too hot to walk the 300+ miles from Kuwait to Baghdad. The problem is the USMC almost didn't make it; it was 6 days late while the mostly tracked U.S. Army 3rd Infantry (Mechanized) punched through Iraqi resistance and waited in West Baghdad for the marines--who were repeatedly ambushed and stopped in their trucks--to show up.


Saddam and his subordinates were able to escape thanks to USMC weak truck-bound structure and start the rebellion against us that has resulted so far in 4, 000+ dead and 60, 000+ wounded with the American individual tragedies rising each day.

The USMC doesn't get it that HE weaponry dominates the battlefield and the rifleman gunslinger is not enough--and its been this way sadly for years. Rather than disperse into submarines and heavily armored battleships as the WW2 kamikaze representing the guided missile and the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests showed was necessary, the USMC perpetuated its WW2 style frontal beach assault racket by claiming helicopters would somehow protect the thousands of marines packed like sardines in vulnerable surface ships. During the Cuban missile crisis Russian submarines with nuclear torpedoes were ready to incinerate thousands of sailors and marines clustered together off-shore--and they didn't even know it until years later after the Cold War thaw. The USMC does not even do beach assaults well, the most successful at this were the British who on D-Day brought ashore General Percy Hobart's "Funnies" specially modified armored tracked tanks with devices to defeat enemy obstacles and strong points. In the American beaches adjacent to the British and Canadian, the typical American riflemen-as-god beach assault met disaster at Omaha beach that nearly ruined the entire invasion had courageous Navy destroyer captains not risked their own destruction by closing in to nearly point blank range to suppress German gunners. Did the USMC in the Pacific fighting the less technologically capable Japanese learn from the British success and Army mistakes on Omaha beach against a high-technology enemy? No, they continued with replacement parts for their Iwo Jima racket. Sure, there were some bright spots like the Ontos tankette with 6 x 106mm recoilless rifles that could accompany walking infantry in closed, vegetated terrain and give fire support that Army General James Gavin advocated; but as soon as the Vietnam war was over for marines who we were first to pull out due to excessively high casualties--the Ontos was retired and not replaced with a more automotively capable reduced size version of the M113 the Army uses. The USMC MRAP fizzle is the Ontos all over again. As soon as the Iraq occupation fades, their MRAPs will be cornered off somewhere like masking tape on toilet stalls in basic training--and junked when no one is looking because of the USMC that doesn't want to armor mechanize itself. The marines boast they do not need tanks and APCs but when they went ashore in Lebanon they needed some protection--so they all congregated into a steel and concrete building--that a suicide driver then in a truck full of explosives was easily able to drive past marines with rifles and blew the entire battalion headquarters up in 1983.


Our enemies around the world now know land mines can hurt Americans foolish enough to give them easy truck targets on roads to blow up--the problem is not going away--despite the typical USMC head-in-the-sands-of-Iwo-Jima drill.

You may react that we should simply not send in the USMC into large nation-state wars and let the more adult mentality, better-equipped U.S. Army fight large wars, but send in marines to do the "small wars"--the sub-national conflicts that rage all over the world that act as breeding grounds for terrorists who can attack the American homeland. However, with the marine ego comes an uber snobbery that if you think its looks down on other Americans in the other services consider how it treats "ragheads" and "gooks"--zippos were being taken to Vietnamese huts in 1965 as reported by CBS reporter Morley Safer long before the Army My Lai incident, and we only need to look at Haditha to see marine hotheads hurt by their own wheeled truck incompetence wanting "pay back" against the civilian populace which is not only immoral--it creates more rebels as the height of counter-insurgency military incompetence. When the marines clamored to have a kill/capture "special operations" unit of their own, it was granted to them and it was promptly kicked out of Afghanistan after it committed atrocities against civilians there.

The inescapable conclusion is that the USMC is an un-American, European-style army for itself and post-Cold War bureaucracy whose reason to exist is for its own ego/budget that is subsequently immoral and incompetent for both nation-state war amphibious and inland operations as well as sub-national conflicts. With a culture of excessive hubris its incapable of reforming itself and retaliates against those within the ranks who try to do so out of naive but genuine loyalty. Congress should abolish the sacred cow USMC and assign the few amphibious warfare taskings that the nation really needs to the U.S. Army--which has the world's largest landing craft force anyway so we can have a seamless integration of Airborne Warfare with Amphibious Warfare studied and practiced by more objective and adaptive men.

The Amtrack Debacles: dozens die, USMC wants to buy more bloated amtracks!

Never Faithful: The Rivalry Between our Army and marines

© A. Scott Piraino

The United States has two armies. Today we take this for granted, and don't question the reasons for funding both the United States Army, and the United States marine corps. But it wasn't always this way.

There were no marines in the Continental Army that won the Revolutionary War. During the Civil War, Congress authorized less than 3,200 men for the marine corps, this while the Union Armies totaled nearly one million men. The fact is, for most of their history the United States marine corps was little more than a security force for the Navy.

The myth of the marine corps as a second army began in WW I. When the United States entered the war in 1917, over two million U.S. Army Soldiers were deployed to France along with one brigade of marines, about ten thousand strong. Despite being a tiny fraction of the American forces fighting in WW I, the marines managed to make a name for themselves at the U.S. Army's expense.

General Pershing, the Commander of all U.S. Forces in France, had ordered a news blackout that prevented reporters from mentioning specific units in their dispatches. The purpose of the order was obvious; to prevent German intelligence from learning about American troop movements. But one reporter circumvented the order, a war correspondent for the Chicago Tribune named Floyd Gibbons.

After Mr. Gibbons was severely wounded at the battle of Belleau Wood, the press corps passed on his dispatches without the approval of Army censors. The result was a storm of press coverage in the U.S. claiming that the Huns were being defeated with "the Help of God and a few marines". No mention was made of the thousands of Army Soldiers who were fighting and dying with equal valor.

Floyd Gibbons made no secret of his "friendship and admiration for the U.S. marines". There is no proof that his writings created the mythology of the marine corps, but we do know he wrote a biography of Baron von Richthofen, more popularly known as the Red Baron. His description of the German aviator reads as propaganda, not journalism, and his other works were probably embellished as well.

Today all marines in basic training are taught that German Soldiers in WW I referred to them as "Devil Dogs". H.L. Mencken, 

An American writing in 1921, clearly states that; "The Germans, during the war, had no opprobrious nicknames for their foes...Teufelhunde (devil-dogs), for the American marines, was invented by an American correspondent; the Germans never used it."

In addition, there is the legend of "Bulldog Fountain", where the U.S. marine's mascot originated. This fountain is located in the village of Belleau, not the wood of the same name. Although the marines fought in Belleau Wood, the U.S. Army's 26th division liberated the village, three weeks after the marines had left the area.

There is no documented evidence that Germans ever referred to marines as "Devil dogs", and the marines never captured the village of Belleau with its "Bulldog Fountain". It is not clear exactly where these stories come from, but their source is most likely Floyd Gibbons. Perhaps the marines knew this, because they made him an "honorary marine" posthumously in 1941.

Floyd Gibbons helped enhance the image of the marines, but the United States marine corps as we know it today came of age in WW II. Most Americans mistakenly believe that the marine corps won the war in the Pacific, while the U.S. Army fought in Europe. In fact our Pacific operations were hampered by a conflict between the Army and the Navy, that split the theatre in two.

The Navy adamantly refused to place their fleet, (and their marines), under the command of the Army. After five weeks of bureaucratic wrangling, General MacArthur was given command of the Southwest Pacific theatre, while Admiral Nimitz had jurisdiction over the remainder of the Pacific ocean. The result, in Macarthur's own words, was a "divided effort, the... duplication of force (and) undue extension of the war with added casualties and cost".

The U.S. Army fought the main force of the Japanese Imperial Army in New Guinea and the Philippines. The Navy and Marines carried out an "island hopping" strategy that involved amphibious assaults on islands such as Guadalcanal and Saipan. General Macarthur complained bitterly to the President that "these frontal attacks by the Navy, as at Tarawa, are tragic and unnecessary massacres of American lives".

By way of comparison, General Macarthur's Army killed, captured, or stranded over a quarter of a million Japanese troops during the New Guinea campaign, at a cost of only 33,000 U.S. casualties. The Navy and Marines suffered over 28,000 casualties to kill roughly 20,000 Japanese on Iwo Jima. Even then, the Army played a greater role than marines like to admit; the Army had more divisions assaulting Okinawa than the marines.

The famous image of marines raising the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi is actually a photograph of the second, staged flag-raising ceremony. The marines raised the flag a second time to replace the original, smaller flag, and to provide the press corps with a better photo opportunity. That photograph has become one of the most enduring images of WW II, and served as the model for the marine corps Memorial statue.

The Secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal, was on Iwo Jima that morning in 1945, and when he saw the Stars and Stripes go up he declared; 'The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a marine corps for the next five hundred years!"

In fact, the marine corps was nearly legislated out of existence two years later. After the bureaucratic infighting that characterized inter-service relations during WW II, there was a strong desire among military professionals to unify the military commands. President Truman agreed, and in 1946 his administration proposed a bill to unify the separate service bureaucracies.

Having one budgetary authority for the Armed Forces, and one chain of command each for land forces, ships, and aircraft makes sense. But this would have placed the U.S. Navy at a distinct disadvantage. The Navy had their own air wings aboard their carriers, and their own army, the marine Corps.

The Navy and marine corps were determined to scuttle this legislation. Marine generals created a secret office code named the Chowder Society to lobby behind the scenes, (in opposition to their President and Commander in Chief), and thwart the unification bill before Congress. The Commandant of the marine corps even made an impassioned speech before Congress to plead for his separate service.

It worked. Congress rejected the Truman administration's unification bill, and instead passed the National Security Act of 1947. This Act guaranteed separate services, with their own independent budgets, and was a victory for the Navy and marine corps.

In addition, the marines succeeded in having their separate force structure written into the language of the legislation. It is very unusual for Congress to dictate the actual composition of a military service. Yet the National Security Act mandates that the marines corps must maintain "not less than three combat divisions and three aircraft wings and such land combat, aviation, and other services as necessary to support them".

President Truman was furious, and military professionals were appalled. General Eisenhower characterized the marines as "being so unsure of their value to their country that they insisted on writing into the law a complete set of rules and specifications for their future operations and duties. Such freezing of detail...is silly, even vicious."

The war between the Army and marines would get more vicious in Korea. On November 27th, 1950 a division of marines 25,000 strong, was ordered to proceed along the west side of the Chosin reservoir, while a much smaller task force of 2500 Army troops went up the eastern side. Waiting for them were 120,000 troops of the Chinese Communist 9th Army Group.

The Army Soldiers fought a running battle for three days against a Chinese force eight times their size, in temperatures as low as minus 35 degrees. Despite the death of two commanding officers, the task force lumbered south with over 600 dead and wounded soldiers loaded into trucks, fought through repeated ambushes, and was even mistakenly bombed by U.S. marine aircraft. Finally, just four miles from safety, the convoy was cut off by the Chinese and annihilated.

385 men made it to the safety of American lines by crossing the frozen Chosin Reservoir.

The first marine division, with the help of allied air power, managed to fight their way out of the Chinese encirclement. Marines claimed that the Army had disgraced itself, and passed on stories of U.S. Soldiers throwing down their weapons and feigning injuries. A marine Chaplain even made statements to the press and wrote an article accusing Army Soldiers of cowardice.

There were so few officers and men left from the Army task force that the marine's claims were accepted as fact. But newly released Chinese documents prove otherwise. The Army task force fought bravely against overwhelming odds before being destroyed, and their stubborn defense bought time for the marines to escape the encirclement.

Nevertheless, marines to this day hold up the fight at the Chosin reservoir as proof of their superiority over the Army.

In Vietnam, a marine regiment at Khe Sanh refused to come to the aid of a Special Forces outpost only four miles from their perimeter. On Febuary 7th, 1968, the camp at Lang Vei was overran by heavily armed North Vietnamese troops during an all-night battle. The marines had earlier agreed to reinforce the camp in the event of an attack, but two requests for assistance were denied.

General Westmoreland himself had to order the marines to provide helicopters for Special Forces personnel, so they could be airlifted into the besieged outpost. By this time the post had been overrun, at a cost of 208 Soldiers killed and another 80 wounded. Ironically, two months later this same marine regiment would be besieged at Khe Sanh, and they would be relieved by Army troops of the First Cavalry Division.

During Operation Desert Storm 90,000 marines attacked Iraqi forces alongside over 500,000 U.S. Army and coalition troops. Yet the marines garnered 75 percent of the newsprint and TV coverage. This was not an accident.

The Commanding General of the marines in Iraq, Gen. Walt Boomer, was the former Director of Public Affairs for the Corps. He issued the following order to marine units in the theater:

"CMC [Commandant of the Marine Corps, then General A. M. Gray] desires maximum media coverage of USMC ... The news media are the tools through which we can tell Americans about the dedication, motivation, and sacrifices of their marines. Commanders should include public affairs requirements in their operational planning to ensure that the accomplishments of our marines are reported to the public."  

During the war marine officers used military communications systems to transmit stories for reporters in the field, and even assigned personnel to carry press dispatches to rear areas. The marine commander also had his own entourage of reporters complete with satellite uplinks, and used them to good effect. He received far more air time than his Army counterparts.

The U.S. Army performed a "Hail Mary" operation that trapped Iraq's Republican Guard divisions and fought numerous running battles in the Iraqi desert. But no one saw them. Instead the press focused on Lt. Gen. Walter Boomer parading triumphantly through the streets of Kuwait City abandoned by the enemy.

When George Bush the Second launched his misguided invasion of Iraq, the marines were once again included, and this time the goal was Baghdad. The invasion, which began on March 20th, 2003, called for a two pronged assault on Baghdad. The Army's 5th Corps would advance from the desert west of the Euphrates river, while the First marine division was ordered to cross the Euphrates and make a parallel advance through central Iraq.

The invasion did not go well for the marines. In several cities, including Umm al Qasr and Nasiriya, their units suffered heavy casualties fighting remnants of the Iraqi Army and fedayeen guerrillas. Since the marines had fewer armored vehicles, and they were exposed to a more tenacious enemy, their progress was slower than the Army's.

Major General Mattis, the commanding general of the marines in Iraq, was not pleased. He repeatedly pressured his regiments to make greater speed, and this pressure grew more intense as the marines lagged further behind Army units. On the morning of April 3rd, the first marine regiment, commanded by Colonel Dowdy, was ordered to drive to the town of al-Kut.

The city was another choke point, where Iraqi fedayeen guerrillas could ambush marine convoys in city streets. As soon as his marines reached the city, they began taking fire. Colonel Dowdy could not forget the mauling another regiment had received in Nasiriya, where 17 marines were killed and another seventy were wounded.

He had to make a choice. His orders were to proceed to al-Kut, but the decision to push through or bypass the town was up to him. However, Colonel Dowdy was receiving mixed signals from his superiors. According to him "there was a lot of confusion", some officers were recommending an attack, others urged withdrawal.

Colonel Dowdy decided to bypass al-Kut. His regiment would take an alternative route to Baghdad that was safer, but the detour of 170 miles meant that the marines fell further behind schedule. Colonel Dowdy's superiors were furious with his decision.

After the withdrawal from al-Kut, General Mattis and other staff officers let the Colonel know that his regiment was to make greater speed. That night on the road to Baghdad, vehicles of the first marine Regiment were ordered to drive the highways of Iraq with their headlights on, irregardless of security. But their progress was not good enough, the Army's Fifth Corps had already reached Baghdad.

Colonel Joe Dowdy was relieved of his command the following day. The marine corps will never admit it, but he was fired because he failed to carry out the Corps most important mission in Iraq: Colonel Dowdy failed to upstage the U.S. Army by being the first to reach Baghdad.

The marines would return to Iraq one year later, when the first marine expeditionary Force assumed responsibility for Al Anbar province, which includes the city of Fallujah.

During the change of command ceremony Lt. Gen. James T. Conway of the I MEF proclaimed that; "Although marines don't normally do nation-building, they will tell you that once given the mission, nobody can do it better." The marines took control of the area from the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division, and they made no secret of their distain for the Army's strategy in Iraq.

Before deploying, General Conway had told the New York Times "I don't envision using that tactic", when asked about Army troops using air strikes against the insurgents. "I don't want to condemn what [Army] people are doing. I think that they are doing what they think they have to do."

On March 30th, General Conway told a reporter that "There's no place in our area of operation that we won't go, and we have taken some casualties in the early going making that point". The next day four civilian contractors were killed and mutilated in Fallujah, and five marines also lost their lives. The marines sealed off the city and attempted to reassert control over Fallujah, but the insurgents proved to be more determined than expected.

When their patrols came under heavy fire the lightly armed marines had only two choices; Fight it out with the insurgents on foot, or call in artillery and air strikes. The inevitable result was scores of marines killed or wounded, and hundreds of civilian casualties. The world was appalled by the carnage in Fallujah, and the marines were called off.

While marines were fighting in Fallujah, the U.S. Army was heavily engaged against militiamen loyal to Muqtata al-Sadr in cities throughout Iraq. But in contrast to the marine's failure to recapture Fallujah, the U.S. Army's heavy armored vehicles could enter hostile cities with impunity. They brought al-Sadr to heel after two months of fighting, while suffering relatively few casualties.

An uneasy truce was made between the U.S. Army and al-Sadr's militia, that would last until the marines again became involved. On July 31st 2004, the 11th marine expeditionary unit replaced Army units in the holy city of Najaf, headquarters of Muqtata al-Sadr. Just five days later, al-Sadr's militia would again be waging open war against the U.S., and the marines would be calling for reinforcements.

The marines began skirmishing with al-Sadr's militiamen as soon as they were given responsibility for Najaf. After the uprising in April, U.S. Army units had avoided driving past al-Sadr's house as part of the informal truce, but this would not do for the marines. The second Shia uprising began after marines in Najaf provoked al-Sadr by driving their patrols right up to his stronghold.

A firefight ensued, and al-Sadr's militiamen took up arms in cities throughout Iraq in a replay of the uprising in April. The marines had not just picked a fight with Muqtada in Najaf, they had engaged his militia in an ancient cemetery that abutted the Imam Ali Mosque, Shiite Islam's holiest shrine. And they did this without informing the Army chain of command, or the Iraqi government.

According to Maj. David Holahan, second in command of the marine unit in Najaf, "We just did it". But in a replay of the Fallujah assault, the marines faced an enemy that they were not prepared for. Within hours of launching their attack on August 5th, the marines were pinned down, and requesting assistance.

Unfortunately for the marines, their rash attack on al-Sadr's headquarters had sparked another revolt by his militiamen. Army units were once again fighting the Mahdi army in cities throughout Iraq. When the Army's Fifth Cavalry Regiment received orders to reinforce the beleaguered marines, they were deployed against al-Sadr's militia in the outskirts of Bagdhad, 120 miles away.

The Fifth Cavalry arrived in Najaf after a two day drive through insurgent controlled territory. By then any opportunity to capture al-Sadr had been lost, because the press, and the Islamic world, were focused on the Imam Ali Mosque and the adjacent cemetery. Any attack on Shiite Islam's holiest shrine, where Muqtata al-Sadr was holed up, would have had disastrous consequences for the U.S. war effort.

In Fallujah and Najaf, inexperienced marine units picked fights with insurgents, and in both cases ended up handing the enemy a strategic victory. Their failure to recapture Fallujah made the city a rallying cry for Islamic militarism worldwide, (that is until the second U.S. assault rendered Fallujah uninhabitable). The marine's botched attempt to capture Muqtata al-Sadr has only strengthened his hand.

Today there are 23,000 marines in Iraq, out of a total 138,000 U.S. Armed Forces personnel. Marines are 17 percent of our total force, yet they have suffered 29 percent of all U.S. casualties; 530 of the more than 1,820 U.S. service personnel killed in Iraq. The marine's aggressive tactics combined with a lack of armored firepower has proven lethal to themselves, their bravery notwithstanding.

The United States marines pride themselves on being better than the U.S. Army. They say they are "harder", "more gung-ho", and they possess some magic that enables them to do things the U.S. Army can't do. If this is not true, (as recent events in Iraq suggest), then there is no reason for a separate marine corps.

President Harry Truman once stated that marines; "Have a propaganda machine that is almost equal to Stalin's." The marines have always advertised themselves, but in Truman's day, they at least had something to sell. The original raison d'etre of the USMC was their ability to carry out amphibious landings on hostile beaches.

The truth is, the U.S. Army conducted the biggest amphibious assault in our nation's history when they captured the Normandy beaches. And neither the Army or the marines have assaulted an enemy-held beach since the Korean war, over fifty years ago. In every subsequent conflict Soldiers and marines have fought in the same way, using similar equipment and tactics.

The marines are in fact a second Army, and since they compete with the Army for funds, missions, and prestige, their real enemy is... the US Army.

However, the marine corps has an unfair advantage in this "competition". Since the end of Desert Storm the U.S. Army has been downsized by one third, losing over 200,000 troops and eight combat divisions. By contrast, the marines have lost only twenty thousand personnel. The reason is the National Security Act of 1947, which prevents any changes in the force structure of the Marines.

Today's United States marine corps is only slightly larger than the U.S. Army in Iraq. That war is stretching our Army to the breaking point. The obvious solution is to merge the Army and marine corps into one service.

The savings would add up to tens of billions of dollars when their training, logistics, administration, and headquarters were merged. The personnel shortages that are now crippling both services would disappear. And so would the rivalry between the Army and the marine corps.

3rd Tactical Studies Group (Maritime) Staff: A GREAT ARTICLE!

It can be argued since 1947 we have not won a large scale war. Grenada and Panama were small. Desert Storm as you will see stopped too early causing us to refight it again, which we are losing now by an un-needed occupation.

The NSA of 1947 pits firepower (USAF & Navy) against maneuver (Army & marines) in the BS DoD construct.

We should abolish it, start over with a WAR Department and end the firepower/maneuver schism by merging USMC into the Army and giving it FULL AUTHORITY to USE WHATEVER TYPE/QUANTITIES OF AIRCRAFT THEY NEED TO WIN from 10, 000 feet on down.

S3 Roy S. Ardillo II writes:

"Not withstanding my previous comments about the marine corps restructuring, I agree with Scott.

This would give the Army a total of 15 ground divisions with a three division air arm. The three air divisions could be rotated on alert status over the 18 month period such as Colonel Macgregor suggested in his Breaking the Phalanx. The Army would then go back to sea with the Navy. All old marine divisions would then be converted to light mech status.

A light tank then would have to be developed for the regiments with the M1 and M2 going to the heavy tank battalions.


Another member writes: "I think we should make the marine divisions specialist elite light-assault divisions optimised for deployment by sea, just as the Airbourne divisions are elite light-assault units deployed by air, under an overall Army command rather than a seperate corps.

The Air Force should get it's butt out of CAS and specilize in strategic missions which is what they want to do anyway. AWACS, JSTARS, Strategic and Interdictory bombing campaigns and air-superiority (Both Interceptor and Wild-Weasel flights) and strategic airlift should be under Air Force responsibility, give the CAS mission over to a re-born Army Air Corps with the former marine airgroups as their corps.... turn-over the AC-130 gunships and A-10s to the new AAC as well. Maybe turn-over most if not all of the C-130 fleet to the AAC to give the Army theatre air-lift on demand and not on the Air Force's whim.

Just a couple of thoughts."


"I've been blown up by a better class of bastard than this." Anonymous interviewee contrasting Al-Qaida's London bombs with the Blitz.


Where is Task Force 34? Where is the U.S. Navy and marines as we fight a global war on terrorism? Will they transform or pretend its still their mythical version of WW2?

If America's military does not refocus from air and maritime firepower onto decisive land maneuver she will not win the war against global Islamofascist terrorism and is at risk at nation-state war defeat by rival techo-economic peer competitors


During the Battle for Leyte Gulf in WWII, Admiral "Bull" Halsey was led away by a Japanese decoy fleet leaving the invasion force exposed to Japanese battleship attack. Admiral Nimitz grew confused about the situation off Samar, he requested that Halsey be given a gentle nudge, to ask what the location was of Admiral Lee and his fast battleships. The message sent by Admrial Nimitz and received aboard the New Jersey was "TURKEY TROTS TO WATER GG WHERE IS RPT (repeat) WHERE IS TASK FORCE THIRTY FOUR RR THE WORLD WONDERS". When the message was delivered to Halsey, the padding "Turkey trots to water" had fortunately been removed, but the signalman recording the message failed to remove "the world wonders" from the end of the message. Halsey read the message as a stinging slap from his friend and advocate, and with great emotion threw his cap to the deck. And then, reluctantly, he ordered his battleships to proceed South in an attempt to respond to Nimitz and to save Kinkaid. Unfortunately, due to his northern position, he would arrive off Leyte a day after the Japanese had left. Had Halsey stayed on station off San Bernardino Straight, he would have had his massive surface battle. Had he continued on to the north, a different yet still massive surface battle would have resulted. But, instead, his fleet of fast battleships sailed ineffectually between the two engagements, unable to participate in either.


Are the U.S. Navy and marines off on a "from the sea..." techno-tangent like Halsey was at Leyte Gulf, as the real war on terrorism rages elsewhere on land?

The point of maritime power is to control and influence human beings who live on land though the medium of the sea, and the skies/space above. The sinking of enemy capital ships is a means to this end not an end unto itself. The American Navy/marine corps have not realized that human wars are finally fought & won on land, but have contented themselves to stopping short with their naval means. The Navy will sink ships and bombard targets with air and missile strikes. The marines want to seize beachheads and do evacuations using primarily rubber-tired trucks and foot infantry, rapidly returning back to their ships to eat ice cream and trash talk the other services that they were somehow the "first to fight" (and leave) while the U.S. Army already there hours and days before by USAF parachute airdrop/airland has to do the dirty inland warfighting thereafter. While the war against Islamofascist sub-national terrorists rages on land, $BILLIONS of dollars are spent on blue water ships to sink other enemy ships in Senators Trent Lott and John Warner's home states that provide little or any help in this fight for American physical and cultural survival against a Islamofascist backlash. means

How did we go so far astray?

Myth #1: the large deck aircraft carrier won WWII

The shocking revelations that are coming out from internet information sharing is that we have totally misunderstood WWII naval history.

The cliché' is that the war at sea was won by large deck aircraft carriers which made gun battleships obsolete which U.S. establishment historians have foisted upon us. Commentator Dave B. writes:


Aerial dominance over battleships: a reality check.
Sunday, 13-Dec-98 13:02:11

First a disclaimer; this in know way is intended to discredit aircrews at all. It takes balls the size of which you use to bowl to strap yourself in a cockpit and go to war. I have much admiration and respect for aircrews and the incredible job they have done. This is simply to point out that maybe the idea that battleships are relegated to "aircraft targets" is a bit premature. Now to the point.

Keep in mind that when I refer to "modern" battleships, I am referring to those which were designed and built after WWI.

We have all heard and read that the airplane relegated the battleship to a secondary role proving it was the dominant threat. While this may essentially be true, I believe it is overstated in reference to how vulnerable battleships were to WWII aircraft. Let me explain.

A reality check is needed to demonstrate the actual results of aircraft versus battleship in WWII. The first step is to realize that only THREE modern battleships succumbed to combined aerial ordnance: Prince of Wales, Mushashi, and Yamato. In the case of the Japanese battleships, coordinated torpedo attack was almost impossible until bombs neutralized the massed AA firepower. In any event, Mushashi required 20 torpedoes & 33 bombs, while Yamato required 10 torpedoes & 23 bombs to sink using an overwhelming force of aircraft. We have read the excellent post on this board which pointed out that air interdiction of Kurita's force was an abstract failure: they failed to halt the Japanese surface fleet and only succeeded in sinking one battleship. Also keep in mind the Japanese air protection was non- existent when they lost these two battleships. In the case of Prince of Wales, she was hampered by inadequate AA, lack of escorts and air cover. In addition a torpedo impacted the stern bending a propeller shaft while she was underway hastening her demise. (Others here are far more qualified to analyze damage that a bent propeller shaft can cause. This situation also happened to Pennsylvania, but, fortunately, she was at anchor at the time minimizing the damage in contrast to POW)

I have to wonder why only THREE modern battleships succumbed like this if the aircraft were, supposedly, SO MUCH MORE POWERFUL. Look again at the Japanese battleships and you can see than ONE CV sinking ONE BB is not very probable at all. Many of our battleships were hit, but few seriously damaged and none sunk after Pearl Harbor.

As a way of contrast let's look at list of some battleships destroyed while they were stationary targets (moored, laid up, etc.):

Royal Oak - U-Boat torpedoes.
Strasburg - aircraft bombs.
Oklahoma - aircraft, 5 torpedoes.
Arizona - aircraft, 1 torpedo & 8 bombs.
Marat - aircraft, 1+ bombs.
Tirpitz - aircraft bombs.
Schleswig Holstein - aircraft bombs.
Gneisenau - aircraft bombs.
Schliesen - aircraft bombs.
Lutzow - aircraft bombs.
Scheer - aircraft bombs.
Conti di Cavour - aircraft torpedoes.
Haruna - aircraft bombs.
Hyuga - aircraft bombs.
Ise - aircraft bombs.

15 battleships, 5 modern and 10 old. (Okay, I know I'm considering the Deutschlands as battleships instead of extremely heavy cruisers) I don't think I forgot any, but add to the list if I did. Again, not to take away from aircrews, but destroying stationary warships is a far cry from doing the same thing when they are at sea and readied for war. Keep in mind that some of these vessels were attacked repeatedly, even though sitting stationary & unable to much about the attacks against them.

How about battleships destroyed in surface actions?

Hood, Bretagne, Bismarck, Scharnhorst, Hiei, Kirishima, Fuso, and Yamashiro. Now it's 2 modern and 6 old.

In addition, we have the following victims (Mutsu, Kongo, & Roma all have additional factors involved. Roma was destroyed by glider bomb, but she was not prepared for action and little better off than our BB's at Pearl Harbor)

Barham (underway)- U-Boat, 3 torpedoes.
Graf Spee - scuttled after surface action.
Mutsu - accidental explosion.
Kongo (underway) - slowed down & blew up two hours after Sealion torpedoed her.
Roma (underway, barely) - German glider bomb.

If I missed any or if I made any mistakes on this list feel free to correct me.

The question: is destroying stationary battleships a testament to their vulnerability to aircraft? I think not. If air power was so much more dominant, then why were 8 battleships sunk in surface actions yet only 3 during air actions? (Roma was technically an air action, so we could say 4 instead of 3) Also remember how many battleships were damaged by air attack but failed to sink. The only American battleship that even came close to this was Pennsylvania. North Carolina, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Mississippi, California, & Colorado, to name as many as I can off the top of my head, all received major damage in WWII after Pearl Harbor. They all survived the war. The aircraft proved for certain their power over battleships sitting stationary, but I think the ability of aircraft to destroy battleships which are underway AND ready for war is quite overstated.

Even Pearl Harbor needs to be looked at. Oklahoma was hit by 5 torpedoes. Even this was not the critical factor in her turning turtle, but the fact that there was no time to set condition Z, nor was damage control even close to attempt counter flooding, and the fact that she was hit so many times so QUICKLY spelled her doom. Her outer strakes simply flooded too fast and without counter flooding, she rolled over. Arizona, it is thought, was destroyed because the converted 16" shell used as a bomb set off the highly unstable black powder magazine (used for the catpault) which in turn set off the main magazine. A fluke. Others had the time to counter flood so as to prevent Oklahoma's fate. West Virginia was struck by SEVEN torpedoes, and counter flooding saved her. My point is this; even Pearl Harbor does not prove that battleships are totally vulnerable to air power.

I posted this a result of a "Heated" discussion I just had. Take the bible: remove anything out of context and you can prove anything you damn well want to. As a comparison, simply shooting off with statements about how events in WWII prove how battleships are helpless against aircraft is simply untrue. You must get the big picture and see the WHOLE thing. Carrier aircraft are valuable and can strike deep into enemy territory, and are very versatile. But battleships too can deliver destructive blows and are still needed today. Besides, WWII proved just how rugged battleships are, and in the big picture of actual events, aircraft were not nearly as dominant over battleships as so many have professed.

Aircraft victims (including Roma): Stationary = 14 battleships, underway = 4 battleships.

Surface action: 8 battleships.

Other (including Royal Oak): 5 battleships.

God bless ALL our vets!

Dave B.

The truth is that both the Japanese and American Navies still believed in armored gun battleships and these vessels were sunk far less often than unarmored aircraft carriers were during all of WWII. Furthermore, to sink other enemy ships there are other, better ways to include seaplane patrol bombers and submarines than large deck aircraft carriers. American subs and PBY seaplanes did far greater damage to Japan than the large deck aircraft carriers. These truths have long been suppressed by a U.S. Navy bureaucracy bent on creating the large aircraft carrier myth. Another one is that the U.S. Navy created the aircraft carrier. Details:


The one thing that quickly became apparent to the Japanese after Midway was that pilots to FLY aircraft cannot be mass-produced. When aircraft carriers launch all their aircraft they are defenseless and easily sunk. This happened repeatedly during WWII with aircraft carriers even sunk by gunships if they ventured too close. This is the rub, the primary benefit of the aircraft at sea is STAND-OFF, the ocean is still a very large place and if you can see the enemy's ships hundreds of miles away first and strike them first they will not get within gun range. The problem is that once the carrier loses its planes its unarmored easy meat for battleships and today missile ships on top of the previously mentioned submarines and patrol bombers. Aircraft carriers are one dimensional threats. The U.S. Navy works around aircraft carrier weakness by surrounding them with missile and anti-submarine ships to protect them when they are threatened by these asymmetric weapons. However this entire "house of cards" soon collapses once the carrier's deck is wrecked and planes and pilots start splashing into the water. America today is not fully mobilized ala WWII to mass-produce pilots. If we lose pilots there will be none to replace them for the war at hand. In a major nation- state shooting war, we will only have the pilots we had when the war began, and when we lose them we could have carriers with decks empty of both planes and pilots like the Japanese found themselves at the end of WWII. It will not be 5 years of war that brings about this condition, it will be 5 weeks or 5 days of modern war.

Myth #2: the U.S. Navy invented the large deck aircraft carrier

Another lie that needs some FYI is this BS that "in the 30s" the U.S. Navy did all of this pioneering work on aircraft carriers blah, blah, blah, blah, BULLSHIT. The British already created aircraft carriers and used them IN COMBAT IN WORLD WAR ONE. The U.S. Navy has NOT been at the forefront on war excellence until forced to by circumstances (asses getting kicked ie; Pearl Harbor). The truly think ahead pro- active types are in smaller navies with less resources and less smugness.


In July 1918 Furious launched the first significant carrier strike in naval history. Seven Sopwith Camels each with two 50-pound bombs, attacked Zeppelin sheds at Tondern. The attack successfully damaged the sheds and destroyed two Zeppelins. From that point carrier aviation was off and running, with Furious being the first aircraft carrier. In 1921 Furious went back in and was converted to a true full flight deck carrier. Oddly enough, although Furious was first, she was also the only survivor of the early 1920s British carriers. Hermes, Eagle, Courageous and Glorious were all gone by 1942, while Furious sailed on to triumph in World War Two and the torch of the boneyard in 1948. (History from Aircraft Carriers of the World by Roger Chesneau)

If you doubt how screwed up the large aircraft-carrier-centric U.S. Navy is, here's a report

Is the U.S. Navy Overrated?


 Is the U.S. Navy Overrated (5.1)

An Updated Knightsbridge Working Paper

Copyright 2004 By Roger Thompson

Professor of Military Studies, Knightsbridge University.

The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not to be construed as the opinions of Knightsbridge University. This is a work in progress and supercedes all previous versions. It may be revised and updated as required.

Introduction: David versus Goliath at Sea

In 1981, The NATO exercise Ocean Venture ended with much embarrassment for the U.S. Navy, and more specifically, its enormously expensive aircraft carrier battle groups. During the exercise, a Canadian submarine slipped quietly through the aircraft carrier U.S.S. America's destroyer screen, and conducted a devastating simulated torpedo attack on the ship. The submarine was never detected, and the exercise umpire, a U.S. Navy officer, pronounced the carrier "dead." One analyst has stated that a second carrier, presumably the U.S.S. Forrestal, was also reportedly destroyed by another enemy submarine during this exercise. Later, the U.S.N. umpire tried to use material from his official report in a magazine article, but when his superiors read it, his work was promptly stamped "classified" to minimize the potential fallout. Unfortunately, an anonymous Canadian submariner leaked the story to a local newspaper, and indicated that this successful Canadian attack on an American supercarrier was by no means an isolated incident. It was a simple ambush in the North Atlantic, and it worked perfectly. Indeed, the article concluded that the Americans never knew what hit them, that they were embarrassed by this failure, and that they wanted to bury the matter then and there. The Canadian diesel submarine ambushed a surface ship in the same way that Germany's U-boats had done it decades before. This news caused quite a stir in Congress, and the U.S. Navy had a lot of explaining to do. Why had not one but two U.S.N. carriers been sunk? Why indeed had a small, 1960s-vintage diesel submarine of the under-funded Canadian Navy been able to defeat one of America's most powerful and expensive warships, and with such apparent ease?

As for the Canadian attack on the U.S.S. America, there are several possible explanations. Firstly, Canadian submariners are extremely well trained and professional. Secondly, at that time, the Oberon submarines used by the Canadian Navy were probably the quietest in the world. A third possible reason, not so commonly stated, and with all due respect, is that the mighty U.S. Navy is simply overrated. It is my humble contention that the U.S. Navy is "not all it's cracked up to be," and that is the focus of this paper.

Diesel Subs Feast on U.S. Carriers

"Remember, submarines are best at sinking surface ships; the lesson of the Thomas Jefferson ought not to be ignored. The Kilo that nailed her did not stalk the carrier. It was just lying in wait, hardly moving, virtually silent, an explosive hole in the water."

- Admiral Sir John Woodward, R.N. (ret.) on the sinking of an American carrier by a diesel submarine in the novel Nimitz Class.

While Canadian submarines have routinely taken on U.S. Navy carriers, other small navies have enjoyed similar victories. The Royal Netherlands Navy, with its small force of extremely quiet diesel submarines, has made the U.S. Navy eat the proverbial slice of humble pie on more than one occasion. In 1989, naval analyst Norman Polmar wrote in Naval Forces that during NATO's exercise Northern Star, "...the Dutch submarine "Zwaardvis" was the only orange (enemy) submarine to successfully stalk and sink a blue (allied) aircraft carrier..." The carrier in question might have been the U.S.S. America, as it was a participant in this exercise. Ten years later there were reports that the Dutch submarine Walrus had been even more successful in the exercise JTFEX/TMDI99. "During this exercise the Walrus penetrates the U.S. screen and 'sinks' many ships, including the U.S. aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt CVN-71. The submarine launches two attacks and manages to sneak away. To celebrate the sinking the crew designed a special T-shirt." Fittingly, the T-shirt depicted the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt impaled on the tusks of a walrus. It was also reported that the Walrus sank many of the Roosevelt's escorts, including the nuclear submarine U.S.S. Boise, a cruiser, several destroyers and frigates, plus the command ship U.S.S. Mount Whitney. The Walrus herself survived the exercise with no damage. Some U.S.N. apologists might counter by saying that the exercise was probably scripted, and the Dutch submarine probably knew exactly where the carrier was, had an unfair advantage, and that in a real war, the submarine would have been easily detected and destroyed. If so, then why would the Dutch submariners, a very professional and well-trained group, take such delight in simply completing a scripted "shoot the fish in a barrel" scenario? Talented and wily enemies, of course, usually don't play by the rules.

Not to be outdone by the Canadians and Dutch, the Australian submarine force has also scored many goals against U.S. Navy carriers and nuclear submarines. On September 24 2003, the Australian newspaper The Age disclosed that Australia's Collins class diesel submarines had taught the U.S. Navy a few lessons during multinational exercises. By the end of the exercises, Australian submarines had destroyed two U.S. Navy nuclear attack submarines and an aircraft carrier. According to the article: "'The Americans were wide-eyed,' Commodore Deeks (Commander of the R.A.N. Submarine Group) said. 'They realized that another navy knows how to operate submarines... They went away very impressed.'"

However, officially, the U.S. Navy soon went into damage control mode and denied that the Australians could beat a U.S. nuclear boat in a fair fight. Said The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: "The United States is justly proud of its military prowess, but apparently a little defensive when anyone else shows a bit of talent. Defense Week's 'Daily Update' on October 1, 2003, reported that the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet was trying to downplay the fact that an Australian diesel-electric submarine had 'sunk' an American submarine during recent training exercises, and said the Australians were making too much of the simulated hit. Adm. Walter Doran said that the outcome 'certainly does not mean that the Collins-class submarine in a one-on-one situation is going to defeat our Los Angeles-class or our nuclear submarines.'" But even if the entire exercise had been completely scripted and the American submarine was "supposed" to be sunk, for training purposes (like damage control), then why did an experienced Australian submariner like Commodore Deeks, an officer in one of the finest, best trained, and most professional navies in the world, make such unsubstantiated statements to the media? Because, like the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, the Australians had actually caught the Americans off guard and unawares. As we will see later, Captain Richard Marcinko, U.S.N., strayed from the rules during exercises in the 1980s, and he achieved incredible results. War, as they say, is not fair, and pre-emptive or surprise attacks have often proven devastatingly effective, as the Israelis demonstrated in 1967.

In October 2002, the Australians also reported that their diesel submarine H.M.A.S. Sheehan had successfully "hunted down and killed" the nuclear submarine U.S.S. Olympia during exercises near Hawaii. The C.O. of the Sheehan observed that the larger U.S.N. nuclear boat's greater speed was no advantage because "It just means you make more noise when you go faster." In the previous year, during Operation Tandem Thrust, analyst Derek Woolner set forth that H.M.A.S. Waller sank "two American amphibious assault ships in waters of between 70-80 metres depth, barely more than the length of the submarine itself. The Collins class was described by Vice-Admiral James Metzger, Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet as 'a very capable and quiet submarine..." Although the Waller was herself sunk during the exercise, the loss of a single diesel submarine, in exchange for two massive amphibious assault ships, is quite a good bargain, and very cost effective.

Finally, during RIMPAC 2000 it was reported that H.M.A.S. Waller had sunk two American nuclear submarines and gotten dangerously close to the carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. Even more ominous, asserted researcher Maryanne Kelton, is that: "Even though the exercises were planned and the US group knew that Waller was in the designated target area, they were still unable to locate it. New Minister for Defence, Robert Hill, recorded later that the 'Americans are finding them exceptional boats...in exercises with the Americans they astound the Americans in terms of their capability, their speed, their agility, their loitering capacity, they can do all sorts of things that the American submarines can't do as well.'"

The Chileans too, have used their diesel submarines to successfully attack U.S. Navy ships during exercises. In 2001, the unusually candid skipper of the nuclear submarine U.S.S. Montpelier (Commander Ron LaSilva, U.S.N.) recounted that a Chilean diesel submarine "Shot him twice during successive exercise runs." As a result, LaSilva learned that "bigger and nuclear is not always better." Commander LaSilva should be commended for his courage, for as we shall later in this paper, this kind of honesty is usually not the best policy for U.S.N. officers.

And lastly, in 1998, U.S. News and World Report noted "In two recent exercises with Latin American navies, a Chilean sub managed to evade its U.S. counterparts and 'sink' a U.S. ship." To be more specific, during RIMPAC 1996, the Chilean submarine Simpson was responsible for sinking the carrier U.S.S. Independence (this event was mentioned in the 1997 Discovery Channel TV documentary "Fleet Command.") U.S. News and World Report also quoted retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral W. J. Holland, who maintained if the U.S. Navy had to deal with a hostile diesel submarine today, "It would take a month to handle that problem, including two weeks of learning." In any event, the moral of this naval story is that the U.S. Navy really needs "a healthy dose of humility and caution in future operations."

Today, the U.S. Navy has no diesel submarine combatants, and this means that although the diesel submarine is a very dangerous threat, the Americans must rely on smaller allies like Canada, Chile, Peru, Columbia, Australia, and others to provide this vital training. This, it can be argued, is a very serious handicap for any blue water navy, much less the world's largest. Likewise, the U.S. Navy is also very weak in mine countermeasures, and must rely on allies for those capabilities as well.

Not surprisingly, NATO and allied diesel submariners are extremely confident in their ability to sink American carriers. In his 1984 book The Threat: Inside the Soviet Military Machine, Andrew Cockburn wryly noted that European submariners on NATO exercises were far more concerned about colliding with noisy American nuclear submarines (running fast and therefore, blind) than about being attacked by American ships. Despite the vast amount of propaganda put out by the U.S. Navy, well-run diesel submarines are still intrinsically quieter than any nuclear submarine because they have fewer moving parts. As former Royal Navy submarine officer Ashley Bennington said in his 1999 response to an article on the Virginia class submarines: "...You mention that the new Virginia class of nuclear submarines will easily detect diesel submarines, implying that diesels are noisy. As a general rule, however, diesel submarines, which use an electric motor that runs on batteries, are quieter than nuclear-powered subs, which constantly run coolant pumps."

Bennington's sentiments were echoed in late 2004 by Captain Viktor Tokya of the German Navy. Toyka said that conventional submarines, especially those with Air Independent Propulsion, are more difficult to detect than nuclear boats. It seems that Bennington and Tokya rather doubt the farfetched claim from the Office of Naval Intelligence (O.N.I.) that modern U.S.N. nuclear boats have become "just as quiet" as conventional boats in the past ten years. Any startling revelations coming from O.N.I. should be treated with the greatest skepticism because, after all, one of their main jobs during World War II was to broadcast disinformation and propaganda to frighten and demoralize the enemy. In doing so, they greatly exaggerated U.S.N. capabilities, and they do the same today. Former Navy Secretary John Lehman also mentioned that senior U.S. Navy admirals have a tradition of omitting information about the U.S. Navy's weaknesses and deficiencies during public testimony and, during the 1970s at least, of promoting an "illusion of overall superiority" to Congress. "Admiral Elmo Zumwalt was the first naval leader to break ranks after he left office, and he wrote in his memoirs that 'none of us thought we had such a capability and all of us were under heavy pressure not to let on'; his public testimony was purged by the Pentagon of references to 'adequate, marginal or inadequate capability..."

Captain Li Chao-peng of the Taiwanese Navy also concurred that diesel submarines are more cost-effective and are still quieter than any nuclear submarines. His navy has Dutch Zwaardvis diesel submarines and in 2002 he told the Taipei Times: "The only advantage that a nuclear submarine has over a conventionally-powered one is its endurance under the sea...But a diesel-powered sub like ours is much quieter than a nuclear one." He added that the Taiwanese diesel subs can definitely "compete" with nuclear boats. New advances in Air Independent Propulsion, such as fuel cells, will give conventional submarines more endurance, and even greater stealth. The future for nuclear submarines does not look promising.

Since the end of the Cold War, and the demise of the Soviet submarine fleet, the U.S. Navy has admitted that it has not made Anti-Submarine Warfare (A.S.W.) a high priority, especially in shallow water, and it shows. The U.S.N. has announced a new initiative to improve and coordinate A.S.W. tactics, units, training, and equipment, but one should take note that even during the Cold War, the U.S.N. was not the most proficient navy in this specialty, even in deep water. Other forces, such as the Canadian Navy and Air Force, were and are more skilled in most aspects of A.S.W. (in deep or shallow water), despite having old equipment like the Sea King helicopter. In the early 1980s, Canada's Navy was on the verge of rusting out, yet due to its intensive training and emphasis on A.S.W. excellence, it was still better at hunting submarines than the U.S.N. At the time, a retired British naval officer and Dalhousie University defense analyst told a Halifax newspaper that, "ship-for-ship," the Canadian Navy's elderly frigates and destroyers were still "better equipped, better maintained, and better trained" for A.S.W. than U.S.N. surface ships. Today, Canada's incoming Victoria class diesel submarines, Halifax class frigates (equipped with the Canadian-designed AN/SQR-501 CANTASS towed sonar array system, which is said to be "superior to other similar systems in western navies," ) the Iroquois class destroyers, and updated CP-140 Aurora patrol aircraft are in many ways better equipped, better designed, more suitable, and better trained for A.S.W. than their American equivalents.

Fortunately, these failures and shortcomings are finally and slowly becoming public knowledge in the United States, for as the Congressional Budget Office revealed in 2001: "Some analysts argue that the Navy is not very good at locating diesel-electric submarines, especially in noisy, shallower waters near coastal areas. Exercises with allied navies that use diesel-electric submarines confirm that problem. U.S. antisubmarine units reportedly have had trouble detecting and countering diesel-electric submarines of South American countries. Israeli diesel-electric submarines, which until recently were relatively old, are said to always 'sink' some of the large and powerful warships of the U.S. Sixth Fleet in exercises. And most recently, an Australian Collins class submarine penetrated a U.S. carrier battle group and was in a position to sink an aircraft carrier during exercises off Hawaii in May 2000. Thus, if a real opponent had even one such submarine with a competent commanding officer and crew, it could dramatically limit the freedom of action of U.S. naval forces in future conflicts."

The U.S. Navy's aircraft carriers have plenty of supporters as well as detractors, and one of their most common defenses is to argue, as former Navy Secretary John Lehman did, "We never lost an aircraft carrier of over thirty thousand tons in World War II." Quite right, but this argument loses considerable strength when we consider how easily the U.S. Navy might have lost the Battle of Midway in 1942. In his brilliant work "Our Midway Disaster: Japan Springs a Trap, June 4, 1942 " Professor Theodore F. Cook postulated that had the Japanese been just a little bit more diligent and skeptical about the phony radio reports about Midway's water problems, there would have been a very high probability that they would have won the ensuing battle. "Given the deadly suddenness of carrier warfare," he noted, "How easily might it have been the U.S. Navy mourning the loss of three carriers... in exchange for, perhaps, one or two Japanese flattops on June 4, 1942?" Furthermore, he recommended that his readers ponder a rather unpleasant theoretical possibility: "What would have happened if the Japanese had won at Midway? With only one carrier left in the Pacific, how could we have resisted their advance?" One should never forget that the American victory at Midway was far from certain, and has been often been called a "miracle." Heavily outnumbered, the Americans prevailed, but this was largely due to the gullibility of a few Japanese naval personnel. Had the Americans lost at Midway, the modern day "big carrier" U.S. Navy might have evolved quite differently, to say the least.

One final comment on the diesel submarine versus carrier scenario. In the preceding paragraphs, it was apparent that foreign navies openly and unashamedly boast when one of their submarines "sinks" an American carrier on exercises. They have no problem letting the news media know about their triumphs. With a few courageous and candid exceptions, such as the people quoted in this paper, American nuclear submariners generally do not publicly reveal their own accomplishments against U.S.N. aircraft carriers. If they do, they do it anonymously, usually after they leave the service, or they provide only the sketchiest of details. Why is this so? Former U.S.N. F-14 Radar Intercept Officer Jerry Burns gave a pretty straightforward answer in 2000: because "Anyone who says something is wrong gets thrown out of the Navy." Also, as Professor Thomas Etzhold pointed out, there is an "unwritten rule" in U.S. Navy exercises: No carrier is ever to be sunk (or even seriously damaged). Obviously, these gag orders only apply to U.S.N. personnel, not to foreign crews. The author of the 1987 book War Games, Thomas B. Allen, described this naval censorship during an interview with the American NPR network in 2003. "The Navy had a kind of unwritten rule: You can't sink an aircraft carrier in a war game. And if you talked to any submariner who had been in either an exercise or a war game, you get a whole story about how many times they really sank aircraft carriers." In other words, the truth is suppressed for "the good of the service." We can therefore deduce that the good of the service is the paramount concern in the U.S.N; not the good of the country, and not the good of the taxpayers who bankroll these extravagant, anachronistic leviathans of the sea.

The Russians Mug the Kitty Hawk and the Constellation

These examples provide ample evidence of the vulnerability of U.S. Navy carrier battle groups to attacks from diesel submarines, but of course there are other ways to sink a carrier, as the Russian Air Force knows well. In October 2000, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kitty Hawk was "mugged" by Russian SU-24 and Su-27 aircraft, which were not detected until they were virtually on top of the carrier. The Russian aircraft buzzed the carrier's flight deck and caught the ship completely unprepared. To add insult to injury, the Russians took very detailed photos of the Kitty Hawk's flight deck, and very courteously, provided the pictures to the American C.O. via e-mail. In a story in the December 7, 2000 edition of WorldNetDaily, one U.S. sailor exclaimed, "The entire crew watched overhead as the Russians made a mockery of our feeble attempt of intercepting them." Russia's air force is now only a faint shadow of what it once was, but even now, they can demonstrate that they can, if necessary, do significant damage to the U.S. Navy. It's little wonder then that a Russian newspaper gloated that "If these had been planes on a war mission, the aircraft carrier would definitely have been sunk."

Perhaps they are right. As Howard Bloom and Dianne Star Petryk-Bloom advised in 2003, both the Russians and Chinese now have the deadly SS-N-22 Sunburn missile at their disposal. This massive long-range missile, equipped with nuclear or conventional warheads, is extremely difficult to detect or destroy. According to Jane's Information Group, it is more than capable of destroying any U.S. Navy aircraft carrier. Some would say that this example is not valid because in a real war, the carrier and her escorts would have been more careful, and at a higher level of readiness. Indeed yes, but what if this mock attack had been the opening shot in an unexpected war? In that case, the U.S. Navy probably would have lost one multi-billion dollar carrier and probably some of its escorts on the very first day. Multiple coordinated surprise attacks by aircraft, cruise missiles and diesel submarines could quickly emasculate many of the U.S. Navy's carrier battle groups.


A Navy spokesman said that the Kitty Hawk had not been surprised, that they knew the Russian planes were not going to attack, and that the Russian aircraft were tracked almost from the moment they took off. In other words, "We were on top of things, no need to intercept, and certainly no reason for alarm." When the Russians over flew the Kitty Hawk, the carrier was "in the process of refueling and therefore was not going fast enough at the moment of the refueling to launch planes." It took 40 minutes for the first American aircraft to be launched, and the Russian Air Force was delighted with the results: "'For the Americans, our planes were a complete surprise,' said Gen. Anatoly M. Kornukov, the Russian air force's commander in chief. 'In the pictures, you can clearly see the panic on deck.''' This episode sounds somewhat like what happened to the Japanese Navy at the Battle of Midway, where its aircraft carriers were caught off guard and attacked while their planes were being rearmed.

Those who say this happened only because the carrier was not in a high state of readiness at the time, and because the Russians were expected and tracked anyway, are clearly missing the entire point. Firstly, enemies often attack during periods of low readiness. Secondly, if the crew of the Kitty Hawk really knew of the impending Russian visit, why did the Russian photos apparently depict a mass panic on the flight deck, and why did the U.S. Navy decline to release the photos? If the crew had truly not been surprised, the photos of the flight deck should surely reveal this, and clear the U.S. Navy. If there had been some classified equipment or activity depicted in the Russian photos, surely the Pentagon could have censored the photos as required, then released them to show the world a crew at sea going about routine business.

Why also did the Kitty Hawk, 40 minutes later, finally launch aircraft to intercept the Russian planes that had already flown over, but did no physical harm to the ship? Why was it necessary to belatedly intercept the Russians if the U.S. Navy was so confident that the Russians were no threat? And why did the Washington Times impart that the "Kitty Hawk commanders were so unnerved by the aerial penetration they rotated squadrons on 24-hour alert and had planes routinely meet or intercept various aircraft?" Because in asymmetrical warfare, the very concept is to strike when the larger, more powerful enemy is least prepared. This is what the Japanese did when they attacked Pearl Harbor in the early morning hours on a Sunday. This is why the 1968 Tet holiday offensive was launched when the Army of the Republic of Vietnam was in a low state of readiness. But then, perhaps it would have been more sporting of the Russians to have called in first before launching their mock attack.

It goes without saying that Soviet/Russian submarines have a long tradition of tracking and stalking U.S. Navy carriers, especially during the Cold War. The Soviets maintained a huge force of both nuclear and diesel submarines, and it seems that both types were able to close with U.S. Navy carrier battle groups. In 1997, to name just one example, a Russian nuclear submarine got uncomfortably close to the carrier U.S.S. Constellation during a Pacific cruise. So close, in fact, that an anonymous U.S. Navy source "concluded later than the submarine would have sunk the Constellation near Seattle if there had been a conflict." No doubt the official wanted to remain anonymous to protect his career, as it is well known that the U.S. Navy goes to great lengths to officially deny that anyone or anything can even damage one of their aircraft carriers (as mentioned earlier). Nonetheless, one might expect that the Russians too have many high quality periscope photos of American ships taken by surprise from very close range.

The Chinese Know Thy Potential Enemy

The Chinese too have a strong interest in neutralizing American aircraft carriers, and in his 2000 book China Debates the Future Security Environment, Michael Pillsbury demonstrated that the Chinese have completed detailed studies of the vulnerabilities of U.S. Navy carriers. He documented that the Chinese have noted the following possible weaknesses: lack of stealth due to the large number of radar reflections plus infrared and electromagnetic signatures, all of which make the carrier "very difficult to effectively conceal," flight restrictions during bad weather, the inability to safely operate in shallow waters, decreased readiness during regular at-sea replenishments, poor A.S.W. and mine countermeasures capabilities, and the structural vulnerabilities of catapults, elevators, and arresting gear. Sun Tzu put it best when he said "Know thy enemy and know thy self and you will win a hundred battles." It seems the Chinese have taken Sun Tzu's advice to heart when it comes to their potential rivals.

Lax Security

One would think that the U.S. Navy would spare no expense to protect its bases, especially those in which their nuclear submarines, both attack and missile boats, are stationed. One would think that effective, vigilant, round-the-clock, air-tight, multi-tiered security would shroud an installation in which Trident missile submarines are based. One would think that the security around these nuclear missile-launching platforms would be almost impregnable. But if one also thinks that strong security measures were the norm in the U.S. Navy during (and after) the Cold War, one should think again.

In June, 2001, Lieutenant Commander Jack Daly, U.S.N., told the audience of a radio broadcast called Judicial Watch that U.S.N. nuclear submarine and aircraft carrier bases were becoming increasingly vulnerable to attack due to lax security measures. He cited an incident in April, 1997, in which a Russian spy ship reportedly used a laser to attack a helicopter in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, near two U.S.N. bases. Daly and his Canadian Air Force pilot suffered permanent eye damage because of the attack, and Daly said it was now routine for Russian spy ships to go snooping around the U.S.N. bases at Bremerton and Everett, Washington. He also propounded that the spy ship that attacked his helicopter had "come to within 1,000 yards of the nuclear-missile-armed U.S.S. Ohio." The reason why the Russians had gotten so bold, he argued, was that the U.S. Navy had grown complacent and unconcerned about espionage and security. With the end of the Cold War, he said, the U.S.N. had basically let its guard down.

However, it must be pointed out that even during the Cold War, security at U.S.N. bases was often very poor. Probably the most qualified man to speak on this issue is a former U.S.N. senior officer, Captain Richard Marcinko. In the 1980s, during the watch of C.N.O. Admiral James Watkins, U.S.N., Marcinko and his SEAL Team Six were assigned to test security at major U.S.N. bases, and the results of his simulated terrorist raids were very disturbing. His team infiltrated the New London Naval Base, where nuclear submarines, including missile boats, are based. Marcinko's team had little difficulty infiltrating the base, and it made a mockery of the base security forces. In his own words: "I rented a small plane, and Horseface flew us under the I-95 bridge, wetting our wheels in the Thames as we swooped low. We buzzed the sub pens. No one waved us off. We rented a boat and flew the Soviet flag on its stern, then chugged past the base while we openly taped video of the subs in their dry docks, capturing classified details of their construction elements. The dry docks were exposed and unprotected - if we'd decided to ram one of the subs, nothing stood in our way."

Marcinko's team did far worse during his visit to New London. His men infiltrated the sub pens, and thereby proceeded to wreak havoc on the submarines therein. "First, they found the sentries - who were secure in their shacks drinking coffee - and silenced them. Then, they concealed explosives behind the diving planes of one nuclear sub. They boarded another Boomer sub and placed demolition charges in the control room, in the nuclear-reactor compartment, and in the torpedo room." They were challenged by base personnel, but explained that they were just doing maintenance, and amazingly, they were never asked to identify themselves. Marcinko later briefed a very unhappy admiral and boasted "I blew up two of your nuclear subs, and if I'd wanted to, I could have blown 'em all up." To be fair, the U.S. Navy is now taking security much more seriously, but only as a result of the attack on the U.S.S. Cole and the September 11th attacks. Despite the lessons taught by Captain Marcinko and his SEALS in the 1980s, little was done to improve security in the interim. Apparently the U.S. Navy prefers to learn its lessons, when it does actually learn, the hard way.

A Few Realistic Men

"My own experience (in war games) is that I never have any problem getting a carrier...those fleets are going to get ground into peanut butter in a war."

- Anonymous U.S.N submarine commander on how easy it is to find and sink a U.S.N. aircraft carrier.

"One enemy diesel submarine lucky enough to get one torpedo hit on a CVN (nuclear powered aircraft carrier) or an AEGIS cruiser could easily turn US resolve and have a huge impact on a conflict... the challenge of finding and destroying a diesel submarine in littoral waters can be nearly impossible... In general...a diesel submarine operating on battery power is quieter, slower, and operating more shallow than a nuclear submarine."

  • Lieutenant Commander Christopher J. Kelly, U.S.N.

Earlier, I discussed how easy it is for foreign diesel submarines and air forces to attack U.S.N. carriers. But it's not just the Russians, Chinese, Canadians, Chileans, Dutch and Australians who think the U.S. Navy's carrier battle groups are overrated, expensive and extremely vulnerable. Admiral Hyman Rickover himself didn't think much of his own carrier-centered Navy, either. When asked in 1982 about how long the American carriers would survive in an actual war, he curtly replied that they would be finished in approximately 48 hours. The well-known and atypically out-spoken American retired submarine commander, Captain John L. Byron, also intimated in the early 1980s that even noisy American nuclear submarines had little difficulty operating against U.S. Navy carriers. "Operating against a carrier is too easy," he quipped. "The carrier's ASW protection often resembles Swiss cheese." Another former U.S. Navy officer and columnist, the late Scott Shuger, said pretty much the same thing in 1989: "I've seen enough photos of American carriers through periscope crosshairs - most sub crew offices feature one - to become a believer. Despite all the antisubmarine warfare (A.S.W.) equipment that carrier groups take with them to sea, in my own experience most exercises against subs ended up with my carrier getting a green flare at close quarters, the standard simulation for a successful torpedo or cruise missile attack." Former C.I.A. director Admiral Stansfield Turner, U.S.N. (ret.) has also complained that the U.S. Navy's continuing policy of building and deploying "big, over-powered aircraft carriers" is "ill-advised."

Another senior American officer who might agree with Rickover, Turner, Byron and Shuger is retired U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant General Paul Van Riper. In Exercise Millennium Challenge (2002), Van Riper, playing the role of Saddam Hussein, used small boats to destroy 16 U.S. Navy ships, including an aircraft carrier and two helicopter carriers, in the Persian Gulf. As usual, the U.S. Navy was not pleased with this successful attack against its most powerful ships, and so it stopped the exercise, "reactivated" the dead ships and continued as though nothing had happened. "'A phrase I heard over and over was, 'That would never have happened,' Van Riper recalls. And I said 'Nobody would have thought that anyone would fly an airliner into the World Trade Centre'... but nobody seemed interested.'" Sadly, this kind of official denial is standard operating procedure in the U.S. Navy. Consider also the American submarine commander who once said that, during war games, he "put six torpedoes into a carrier, and I was commended - for reducing the carrier's efficiency by 2 percent." The battleship admirals did the same thing when they ran the U.S.N., and we all know what happened to the battleship.

Many of the criticisms of the carrier-centered navy come from U.S. Army officers who see the U.S.N. as a rival more than as a partner in national defense. One might dismiss army criticisms of the U.S.N. as merely parochial slander, but some army critics make good sense. Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Macgregor, U.S. Army, made a number of convincing arguments in his ground-breaking book, Breaking the Phalanx. Macgregor is a vocal critic of U.S. military strategy, and his criticisms are not restricted to the U.S. Army. He argued that with the U.S. Navy's new focus on littoral warfare, the big carrier navy is in even more danger now than during its days as a high seas fleet designed to face the Soviet Union. The fact that U.S.N. aircraft carriers are so big, and so much firepower is concentrated on them, makes them attractive and worthy targets for weapons of mass destruction in littoral waters: "The concentration of several thousand sailors, airmen, and Marines in an amphibious or Nimitz-class aircraft carrier risks single point failure in future warfighting." Also, as the quality and availability of cruise missiles increase, so do the chances of a successful attack on carrier battle groups: "The survivability of large carriers and amphibious ships depends on antiship missile defenses, which must perform perfectly within a few seconds of a missile alert. In both cases, very expensive platforms can be destroyed by relatively inexpensive weapons..." (emphasis added).

Former U.S.N. officer (and submariner) Dr. Robert Williscroft said in September 2004 that there are several possible nightmare scenarios that face the modern U.S. Navy, and they most certainly will involve quiet diesel submarines: "The bad guys can station one of the new ultra-quiet AIP subs at a choke point, and seriously damage or even sink a carrier. An AIP sub can sneak up on a Virginia class (nuclear submarine) deploying a Seal team with devastating results. A hunter-killer pack of several AIP subs can take out any nuke we have, once they find it." Macgregor also noted that at a cost of approximately $4 billion for construction alone, the loss of even one Nimitz-class carrier would be morally and financially devastating. The loss of one or more of the $2 billion Virginia-class nuclear submarines would also be a tremendous burden on the United States Treasury.

This isn't "Top Gun"

As we've seen, U.S. carriers are remarkably vulnerable to attacks by submarines and aircraft, but what about the much-vaunted American naval aviators? How would the U.S.N. pilots fare in a dogfight with a well-trained enemy? The evidence is not encouraging. Canadian pilots routinely outperform U.S.N. aircrews in exercises, and have done so for many years. During the days of Royal Canadian Navy carrier aviation it was well known that the pocket carrier H.M.C.S. Bonaventure, which had just one catapult, could put more planes in the air than much larger U.S.N. A.S.W. carriers of the Essex class. Furthermore, although the little Bonaventure (which displaced only about 16,000 tons) operated R.C.N. Banshee jet fighters for years, U.S.N. Banshee pilots did not wish to risk a landing on a smaller carrier. One author put it this way: "In joint RCN-USN exercises, aircraft from both fleets regularly landed on the other's carriers.  However, the American Banshee pilots straight-out refused to attempt a landing on Bonaventure. The task was becoming so routine for the Canadian pilots that they were doing it before sunrise."

U.S. Naval aviators pride themselves as being supposedly far better than any air force pilots, but one merely has to look at the Canadian, Israeli and Chilean air forces to cast doubt on that assumption. In the early 1980s it was revealed that the average pilot in the Canadian Air Force flew about 300 hours a year, whereas his U.S. Navy counterpart flew only about 160 hours annually. Although the Canadian pilots fly fewer hours these days, they can still hold more than their own with U.S.N. pilots. Since the late 1990s, Canada's new military pilot training center has established a new standard of excellence, and is recognized internationally as having the most advanced pilot training regimen in the world. The official Canadian Air Force Web site makes it clear that Canada's pilot training system is far ahead of the U.S. Navy: "To date, Canada has sold more than $1-billion in training to pilots from Britain, Italy, Denmark, Singapore and Hungary since the inception of NFTC training in 1999. Using the most advanced and effective integrated pilot training system at the most modern training facilities currently available in the world, Canada has become the benchmark in military pilot training. 'We have the leading edge, most advanced technology for pilot training in the world. It is well ahead of everyone, Britain, the United States, everyone. It is the model for other countries so we are very proud of that,'" said Lieutenant-Colonel Brian Houlgate, Director of the Canadian Aerospace Training Project.

Canadian fighter pilots, in particular, receive certain training benefits that are simply not readily available to many U.S. Navy aviators most of the year, simply because Canada has huge, under populated areas that are ideal for flight training. U.S. Naval aviators at bases such as Oceana Naval Air Station (the largest U.S.N. fighter base on the east coast) must deal with massive military and civilian air traffic congestion, plus the close proximity of civilian living areas, and thus, very limited air space. As a result, according to journalist Jack Dorsey, their training, particularly at low levels, suffers because of safety and noise concerns. Canadian pilots training at Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada's largest fighter base, have far fewer restrictions due to the base's relative isolation and huge 4,000 square mile air weapons range. That is one reason why many U.S.N. pilots covet the opportunity to fly at the Canadian base during the annual Maple Flag air combat exercises. But it is not just the vast air space that attracts the interest of U.S.N. pilots. The new Canadian air combat training system now in place at Cold Lake "is the first system of its kind" to integrate a "rangeless" Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation system (ACMI) "with an electronic warfare system - the Surface Threat Electronic Warfare (STEW) system, which simulates surface-to-air and other ground-to-air threats." "Together, these systems make up the most modern training system in the world today," said Keith Shein of Cubic Corporation in June, 2004. "The combination of these two training systems enables pilots to realistically view their performance and tactics on each mission." Better training makes better pilots.

Like the Canadians, The Israeli Air Force, also one of the most professional in the world, has outshined the U.S. Navy, and they have done so even with less capable aircraft. A joint U.S.N.-I.A.F. air combat exercise in 1999 underlines and highlights the thesis that the U.S. Navy is overrated. On September 14, 1999, The Jerusalem Post announced that the Israelis soundly dispatched the air wing from the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt (which, incidentally, was the same carrier the Dutch destroyed in 1999). Israeli F-16s squared off against American F-14s and F-18s, both of which are said to be more capable than the F-16. The final results were astonishing. The Israelis shot down a whopping 220 U.S. aircraft while losing only 20 themselves. The 10:1 kill ratio was so embarrassing that the results were not "officially published 'to save the reputations of the U.S. Navy pilots.'" The magazine article on which the article was based, however, reported the kill ratio to be about 20:1.

Some dispute these figures, and claim that the Israelis had an "unfair advantage," and did not include American victories from "stand-off missile hits." But, as The Washington Times reported on September 15, 2000, an official investigation by Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn, U.S.N., confirmed "Navy pilots were thoroughly beaten in an exercise against Israeli fliers. 'An air wing commander was proud the Israelis only achieved a 6-to-1 kill ratio during simulated air-to-air combat maneuvers against a carrier air wing during a recent exercise, instead of the 20-to-1 kill ratio initially claimed.'"

Other former navy officers agree that U.S. Naval aviation has been sub-par for a number of years. In the February 2000 edition of WorldNetDaily, former F-14 radar intercept officer Jerry Burns said "We are a much less effective force than we were seven or eight years ago." "At the start of the Kosovo conflict, says Burns, who at the time was stationed at the Strike Weapons Tactics School in Virginia Beach, U.S. Navy pilots hadn't been trained in using laser-guided weapons. 'That's why we had such high miss rates in the opening phases of the war. We had to dispatch someone [to tutor pilots] in laser-guided bomb delivery techniques.' Burns, who retired in 1999, says that when he last served on the Eisenhower in the Mediterranean, the carrier was 'undermanned' by 450 to 500 sailors. 'They didn't have enough people to keep the [approach] radar fully manned at all times.' If the weather closed in, he adds, someone would have to be sent down to the bunkroom to wake up a radar operator. 'The Navy says operations are safe. But they aren't safe. Planes were running out of gas and they couldn't come on board.' Flight training hours have been cut back so much, says Burns, that the last time his carrier fighter squadron went on deployment, its aviators were only getting 10 to 15 hours a month."

Chile is not a great military power, but its air force is well trained, and they too have given the U.S. Navy reason for pause. In the August 1989 issue of Air Combat magazine, author Jeffrey Ethell reported that Chilean Air Force pilots, flying the relatively unsophisticated but nimble F-5, had trounced an American carrier air group from the U.S.S. Independence in air combat exercises. The kill ratio was 56:16 in favor of the Chileans, and as one might expect, this incident did not receive much press coverage in the United States.

An Australian colleague recently informed me of an amusing incident between a Royal Australian Air Force (R.A.A.F.) P-3C Orion and a U.S.N. aircraft carrier, and it is definitely worth mentioning. In the words of retired Squadron Leader J.R. Sampson, R.A.A.F.: "When I was an R.A.A.F. liaison/briefing officer enroute from Diego to Perth for R&R sometime in 1981/82, I dined in the (American) admiral's suite and the admiral gave me a copy of a message that censured an air wing commander for allowing an R.A.A.F. P-3C to get in undetected amongst the C.V.B.G. (Carrier Battle Group) screen a few days earlier. According to the message the commander himself was in an F-14 cockpit checking out the T.C.S. (Television Camera Set) that had just been installed as a new piece of F-14 kit. T.C.S enables long-range visual identification of targets. He was adjusting the FOV (Field of View) when he saw a P-3 swim across his screen, right on the carrier's bow at about 300 feet above sea level. He'd just come from C.I.C. (Combat Information Center) and knew that no cooperating P-3's were due so he queried the FLYCO who queried the C.I.C. who asked the on station E-2C. They didn't even have the capability to launch an F-14 intercept. Very embarrassing but the admiral gave me a copy of the message to take back to headquarters..." Embarrassing yes, and it proves that an enemy doesn't even need speedy jet fighters to get through a U.S.N. battle group's defenses. A large and relatively slow turbo prop aircraft like the P-3 can do it just as well.

Lack of Training

Despite its vastly superior numbers, resources and weapons, the U.S. Navy, the world's only true heavyweight navy, continually fails to vanquish welterweight and lightweight naval powers. This would indicate that training and good officers, not big, expensive ships, are the key to naval power. It is training, or lack thereof, that truly undermines the performance of the U.S. Navy. For example, even though the U.S. Navy maintains the largest submarine fleet in the world (because the Russian fleet is mostly tied up at dockside), their submariners do not currently receive escape training. The Canadian submarine force has only 4 boats, and yet it has the most advanced submarine escape training facility in the world.

The U.S. Navy opines that its officers and crews are the most professional in the world, yet media reports have indicated a startling number of U.S. Navy ship commanders have been fired or suspended in recent years, including the captain of the carrier John F. Kennedy, whose ship collided with a small dhow in the Persian Gulf in 2004. One should also recall the attack on the U.S.S. Stark and the shoddy damage control procedures used by her crew, the accidental and inexcusable attack on an Iranian airliner by the U.S.S. Vincennes, and the more recent collision between the nuclear submarine U.S.S. Greeneville and a Japanese vessel. When the Japanese government found out that untrained civilian guests were actually at the controls of the Greenville before the collision, they were most undiplomatic. "It is outrageous. The US Navy is slack," said the Japanese Defence Agency Chief Toshitsugu Saito in response. Paul Beaver, Military Editor at Jane's Defence Weekly, told National Public Radio's Lisa Simeone in 2001 that the U.S. Navy is quite probably the only navy in the world that has a "civilian ride-along program". Although civilians can visit British and Canadian warships, for example, they may only do so when the ships are at dockside, and they must leave the ships before they get underway. He added that Britain's Royal Navy would never even consider such a ride-along program because of the inherent risks involved.

Regarding the Vincennes incident, former Chicago Tribune military correspondent Lt. Col. David Evans, U.S.M.C. retired, said it was "An operationally inept tragedy that caused the loss of 290 civilians, when the skipper had electronic (transponder) evidence that the 'target' was not an Iranian F-14 but a commercial airliner, not to mention that the captain was in Iranian territorial waters, where he had no business being since he was not under attack. Many U.S. Navy officers feared this sort of thing could happen, calling their apprehension a case of 'Aegis arrogance.'" If U.S. Navy officers and crews are really the best, at the very least, many of them appear to suffer from a lot of bad luck, or bad policies, or just poor judgment.

In addition to training deficiencies, in recent years there has also been compelling evidence of serious morale problems among U.S.N. junior officers. "In the fall of 1999," reported Jack Spencer of the Heritage Foundation, "the Navy surveyed its junior officers to gauge morale. They expected a 15 percent response rate, but, to their surprise, over 55 percent of those surveyed responded. Of these responses, 82 percent responded negatively. Citing poor leadership, inadequate pay and compensation, and insufficient spare parts and equipment, only one-third said they planned to reenlist." Notice that the primary reason listed for low morale is "poor leadership," which, one might suspect, is a nice way of saying "bad senior officers and bad politicians, in that order."

The U.S. Navy also boasts that its Blue Angels flight and maintenance teams are the world's best, but when one examines their bloated, overly specialized maintenance team, one really has to wonder. The Blue Angels perform with only six F-18 jets, whereas the Canadian Snowbirds fly nine Tutors, which are much older. The Canadian team flies more airplanes, but has a much smaller maintenance team. The Blue Angels have approximately 100 technicians, but the Snowbirds have only about ten. American technicians are very specialized, and as a result they need lots of them to do the same job that just one Canadian technician can do. This does not sound like an efficient or cost-effective arrangement, to say the least.

A 2002 study by the RAND Corporation confirmed that U.S. Navy training in fighters, A.S.W. aircraft and surface ship A.S.W. also does not compare favorably with the training received by members of the French Navy and the British Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. The study compared the training of U.S.N. F-18 pilots with R.A.F. Tornado pilots and French Navy Super Etendard aviators, and found that "The British and French pilots have greater experience levels and more continuity in their units than the U.S. pilots." The study also compared U.S.N. P-3 Orion crews and DDG-51 destroyer crews with their French and British A.S.W. counterparts and concluded once again that the American A.S.W. crews were, on average, the least experienced and the least cohesive. The French and British units were more cohesive and provided greater continuity because "While the typical career pattern for U.S. Navy officers takes them away from the operational ship world to various headquarters and staff assignments, French and British naval officers may stay in the operational community throughout their careers." In addition, "Enlisted sailors in the French and British navies have longer initial service commitments than those of U.S. Navy sailors."

The RAND study also observed that unlike the British and the French forces, U.S. Navy aviation units do not maintain consistent readiness to go into battle throughout the fiscal year. As Scott Shuger said, "Amazingly, it's not uncommon for navy squadrons to cut back their flight hours drastically or even to be grounded due to the scarcity of aviation fuel near the end of the fiscal quarter. This even happens to squadrons already at sea. Several times during my carrier service we had to drop anchor and wait for more fuel money." This inconsistent readiness is due to the U.S. Navy's rigid deployment cycle system and its "training philosophy". The authors concluded that this "readiness bathtub" has "caused concern at the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) level." The French and British do not have this problem because they do not use "fixed deployment and training cycles" and also because they strive to have their air units consistently ready for combat at all times of the year.

What Tom Clancy Doesn't Know...

Through his many best-selling books and movies, author Tom Clancy has created a crisp, sharp, spit-polished, efficient, and patriotic image for the U.S. Navy. Some think he should be a paid Public Relations consultant or recruiter for the U.S. submarine force. It may come as a shock to some of his readers, however, that the American sailors in his books are too good to be true, and that even some American submariners admit their training is not very good. Several recent books have effectively stripped off much of the shiny Hollywood polish on the American submarine force, most notably former Petty Officer Andrew Karam's account of life on the U.S.S. Plunger, Rig Ship for Ultra Quiet (2002), and Douglas C. Waller's Big Red (2001). Both authors (Karam served on the submarine U.S.S. Plunger) made it known that there is a lot of hype regarding U.S. submarine training, but the reality is much less impressive. As for the legendary assertion that all U.S. submariners are experts on "every system" in their boats, one sailor told Waller that was "All bunk." Waller explained that "The (submariner's) qualification only made you familiar with the rest of the boat. It didn't mean you could actually run other parts. If (the sailor) and the other missile techs suddenly died, those nukes in the back wouldn't have a clue how to fire these rockets." Former Petty Officer Karam, an Engineering Laboratory Technician, concurred, and acknowledged that he could only work on other systems "in a pinch". He continued "The Plunger, and, for that matter, any nuke boat, was sufficiently complex that one person simply could not learn everything to that level of detail in the 14 months we were given to qualify. Not if they were doing their own jobs, too."

British allies, of course, have long ridiculed American submariners for spending too much time and effort learning about nuclear reactors. Surprisingly, Waller wrote that some U.S. Navy officers quietly agree. The Drill Coordinator on the U.S.S. Nebraska, Lieutenant Brent Kinman, U.S.N., told Waller that American submariners talk too much about the reactor, like mechanics, and not enough about how to fight the ship effectively: "That was the problem with today's submariners, Kinman thought. They were technicians rather than warriors. The average lieutenant riding these boats considered himself a nuclear engineer first and a submarine officer second. 'It almost feels like we're out there just driving the reactor around...'" This overemphasis on engineering might explain why diesel submarines are so often triumphant against U.S.N. nuclear submarines during exercises.


The U.S. Navy is the largest navy in the world, and on paper, certainly the most powerful. It is also unmistakably the most expensive navy the world has ever seen. Of that there is no doubt. With the Russian Navy all but gone, and the Chinese Navy still ascending, the American navy remains the dominant sea power in the world. Yet, as we have seen here, this heavyweight navy often has great difficulty handling the little guys. Indeed, if the U.S. Navy were a boxer, one might say that his dominance is due mostly to his sheer size because he punches well below his massive weight. In this era of asymmetrical warfare, of David versus Goliath conflicts, perhaps it is time for America to rethink its naval strategy, lose some weight, and as sports announcers say, "focus more on the fundamentals." For all the money America spends on its huge navy, it really needs to be much better.

The Author

Roger Thompson is Professor of Military Studies at Knightsbridge University and a Fellow of the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society. His book Brown Shoes, Black Shoes, and Felt Slippers: Parochialism and the Evolution of the Post-War U.S. Navy was published by the U.S. Naval War College in 1995, and endorsed by the former CNO, the Late Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., U.S.N.


The author would like to thank Lieutenant Colonel David Evans, U.S.M.C., Retired (former Military Correspondent for the Chicago Tribune), Henrik Fyrst Kristensen, and Dr. Emilio Meneses (who provided me with much information on exercises between the Chilean Air Force/Navy and the U.S.N.), for their comments and constructive criticisms of earlier versions of this paper.Appendix A

U.S.N. Ships Theoretically Destroyed or Incapacitated in Exercises as reported by the Media since 1981





U.S.S. America

Aircraft carrier


Canadian submarine

U.S.S. Forrestal (?)

Aircraft carrier



U.S.S. Constellation

Aircraft carrier


Russian submarine

U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt

Aircraft carrier


Dutch submarine

U.S.S. Kitty Hawk

Aircraft carrier


Russian Air Force

U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln

Aircraft carrier


Australian submarine

U.S.S. Independence

Aircraft carrier


Chilean submarine

U.S.S. Boise

Nuclear submarine


Dutch submarine

U.S.S. Olympia

Nuclear submarine


Australian submarine

U.S.S. Montpelier

Nuclear submarine


Chilean submarine

U.S.S. City of Corpus Christi

Nuclear Submarine


Australian submarine

U.S.S. Mount Whitney

Command ship


Dutch submarine

Note: This table is based on publicly available English media sources such as newspapers, magazines, books, journals and broadcast media. Only ships that have been named have been included. There have been many others, but unfortunately these ships were not specifically named in the reports.


Periodicals (print and online)

"CDC's CANTASS is an Exceptional Canadian Achievement," The Wednesday Report (online version), Vol. 4, No, 36.

"Collins Subs Star in Naval Exercises," The Age (online version). 24 September 2003.

"Cubic's Advanced Combat Training System Prepares NATO Forces for Combined Operations at Exercise Maple Flag 04," Business Wire. 6/16/2004. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).

"Defense Watch," Defense Daily, Vol. 21, No. 55. June 18, 2001. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).

"The Era of the Aircraft Carrier May be Ending," Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 26, 1997. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).

"On The Defensive," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 1/1/2004. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).

"U.S. Navy is Criticized," The Birmingham Post. 2/17/2001. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).

"U.S. Pacific Fleet No Match for the Russian Air Force," Discerning the Times Digest and Newsbytes. November 2000.

Abate, Tom. "War Game reveals Navy Risk," San Francisco Chronicle (online version). March 20, 2003.

Aloni, Shlomo, "Israel's Roving Warriors," Air Forces Monthly, No.5, 2001, p. 36.

Bennington, Ashley. "Stealthy Subs (letter)", Popular Science, 7/1/1999. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).

Borger, Julian. "Uncle Sam Sunk in Credibility Gulf," The Age. (online version). September 8, 2002.

Cary, Peter, et al. "What's Wrong with the Navy?" U.S. News and World Report, 7/13/92. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).

Ciotti, Paul. "Clinton's War on the Navy," WorldNetDaily. February 14, 2000.

Conley, Daniel. "Don't Discount the Diesel," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, October 1987, p.77.

Crawley, James W. "Quiet Diesel Subs Surface as New Threat," San Diego Union/Tribune (online version). January 22, 2004.

Dixon, Robyn, and Richter, Paul. "Russia Brags its jets buzzed carrier Kitty Hawk," The Virginian Pilot. 11/16/2000. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).

Dolan, Matthew. "Increasing Number of Navy Officers Getting Fired," The Virginian-Pilot (online version). March 10, 2004.

Dorsey, Jack. "Special Report: Training is Touch and Go," The Virginian-Pilot (online version). September 13, 2004.

Dougherty, Jon E. "China Simulates Attacks on U.S. Carriers," WorldNetDaily. December 18, 2001.

Dougherty, Jon E. "China to Target U.S. Carriers," WorldNetDaily. July 13, 2002.

Dougherty, Jon E. "Russian Flyover takes Navy by Surprise," WorldNetDaily. December 7, 2000.

Dougherty, Jon E. "Why is the Navy Home?" WorldNetDaily. December 28, 1999.

Eisman, Dale. "Four Russian Planes fly by U.S. Carrier, Send Photos of the Trip," The Virginian Pilot. 12/8/2000. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).

Ethell, Jeffrey. "Pelea a Cuchillo en Chile," (Traduccion Revista Fuerza Aerea .A Spanish translation of an article by Ethell that originally appeared in the August 1989 issue of Air Combat magazine). This translation can be viewed at:


Garran, Robert "A Deadly Exercise in Stealth," The Weekend Australian. 23-25 December 2000, p.1

Gertz, Bill. "China Tests Potent, Supersonic Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles," The Washington Times. 9/25/2001. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).

Gertz, Bill. "Russian Sub Stalks Three U.S. Carriers," The Washington Times. 11/23/1997. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).

Hsu, Brian. "Navy allows a rare glimpse of sub," Taipei Times. June 23, 2000. This article can be viewed at www.dutchsubmarines.com/specials/special_glimpse_seatiger.htm

Kelly, Gloria. "Escape Training for Real Life Situations," Maple Leaf (online version). 12 November 2002.

Kelton, Maryanne. "New Depths in Australia-U.S. Relations: The Collins Class Submarine Project." School of Political and International Studies Working Paper, The Flinders University of South Australia. March 2004, pp. 22-23.

Lumpkin, John J. "Collision with Carrier Raises Concerns," The Union Leader (online version). August 6, 2004.

Newman, Richard J. "Breaking the Surface," U.S. News and World Report. 4/6/98. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).

Nicholson, Brendan. "Collins Sub Shines in U.S. War Game," The Sunday Age (online version). October 13, 2002.

Orem, John H. "Security Needs a Professional Officer Community," Proceedings, September 2004, p.62.

O'Sullivan, Arieh. "Report: IAF Whips US Pilots in Exercise," The Jerusalem Post (online version). September 24, 1999.

Philip, David. "Victory in Sight for Cold Lake," Alberta Report. 5/27/1996. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).

Rivers, Brendan P. "Forward... Into Dangerous Waters," Journal of Electronic Defense. October 1, 1999. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).

Scarborough, Rowan. "Naval Air is Called Downgraded in Report," The Washington Times. 9/15/2000. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).

Scarborough, Rowan. "U.S. Ship took 40 Minutes to Respond to Order," The Washington Times. 12/7/2000. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).

Shuger, Scott. "The Navy We Need and the One We Got," Washington Monthly. 3/1/1989. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).

Shuger, Scott. "Why did the Navy shoot down 290 civilians?" Washington Monthly. 10/1/1988.

HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).

Strasser, Steven, et al., "Are Big Warships Doomed?" Newsweek, 17 May 1982, cited in Barnett , Roger C., "Naval Power for a New American Century," Naval War College Review (online version), Winter 2002.

Thompson, Roger. "Are the Nuclear Submarine's Days of Undersea Predominance Numbered?" International Insights, Vol. 6, No.2, pp. 91-95.

Tokya, Viktor. "Ask Questions About Our ability to Conduct Anti Submarine Warfare," Proceedings, September 2004, p. 24.

Walker, Larry. "Too Expensive to Lose, Too Expensive to Use - Weapons Systems" Insight on the News, January 23. 1995.

Westerman, Toby. "Moscow selling aircraft carrier killers," WorldNetDaily, August 5, 2000.

Westerman, Toby. "Naval Officer warns of Attack: Daly says Nuclear Sub, Carrier Bases Vulnerable," WorldNetDaily, June 19, 2001.

Williscroft, Robert. "The Wrong Sub for New Warfare Era," DefenseWatch, September 9, 2004.

Books, Reports and Monographs

"Buy Six Diesel-Electric Submarines for Antisubmarine Warfare Training (050-26)" in Budget Options 2001 (online version). (Washington: Congressional Budget Office, Feb. 2001).

Cockburn, Andrew. The Threat: Inside the Soviet Military Machine. (New York: Vintage Books, 1984), pp. 397-438, 424-425

Compton-Hall, Richard. Submarine Versus Submarine. (Toronto: Collins, 1988), p.30.

Cook, Theodore F. "Our Midway Disaster: Japan Springs a Trap, June 4, 1942" in Cowley, Robert (ed.) What If? The World's Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been (New York: Berkley Books, 1999), pp.311-312, 318, 326-339.

Isenberg, David. The Illusion of Power: Aircraft Carriers and U.S. Military Strategy (Cato Policy Analysis No. 134.) (Washington: The Cato Institute, 1990).

Karam, Andrew. Rig Ship for Ultra-Quiet. (Sydney: Sid Harta Publishers, 2002). Pp. 192-193.

Kelly, Christopher J. "The Submarine Force in Joint Operations." Unpublished Research Report AU/ASCS/145-1998-04. (Maxwell Air Force Base: Air Command and Staff College, April 1998). Pp. 20-21.

Kick, Russ (ed.) Everything You Know is Wrong (New York: The Disinformation Company, 2003). Pp. 221-222.

Lehman, John. Command of the Seas. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1988). Pp. 117, 282.

Macgregor, Douglas A. Breaking the Phalanx. (Westport: Praeger, 1997, pp. 127, 137, 204-205.

Marcinko, Richard, and Weisman, John. Rogue Warrior. (New York: Pocket Books, 1992). Pp. 338, 340-341.

Pillsbury, Michael. China Debates the Future Security Environment (online version). (Washington, D.C.: National Defense Univ. Press, 2000).

Robinson, Patrick. Kilo Class (New York: HarperPaperbacks, 1998). Pp. 508-512.

Robinson, Patrick. Nimitz Class (New York: HarperTorch, 1998).

Schank, John F. et al. Finding the Right Balance: Simulator and Live Training for Navy Units. (The Rand Corporation, 2002). Pp. 21 -37.

Snowie, Alan J. The Bonnie: HMCS Bonaventure. (Richmond Hill: Firefly Books, 1987.) This book provides detailed information on the successes of the Bonaventure and her ability to outperform U.S.N. Essex class A.S.W. carriers.

Spencer, Jack. The Facts About Military Readiness (Backgrounder No. 1394). (Washington: The Heritage Foundation, September 15, 1999). Pp. 11-12.

Stubbing, Richard A., and Mendel, Richard A. The Defense Game. (New York: Harper & Row, 1986). Pp. 118 and 122.

Waller, Douglas C. Big Red: The Three Month Voyage of a Trident Nuclear Submarine. (New York: HarperTorch, 2001). Pp. 87 and 318.

Woolner, Derek. Getting in Early: Lessons of the Collins Submarine Program for Improved Oversight of Defence Procurement. Research Paper, No. 3 2002-02, Department of the Parliamentary Library, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Group, 18 September 2001. P.22Online Resources


A great site that describes the achievements of Canada's last aircraft carrier. Well researched and thoroughly documented. Very professional in all respects.


An excellent site maintained by Dutch submariners. It has extensive entries on Dutch successes against U.S.N. carriers and some startling periscope photos as well.

Radio Interviews

Interview: "Paul Beaver Discusses the U.S. Navy's Public Relations Program compared with Others around the World," on NPR Weekend Edition - Sunday with Lisa Simeone. 2/17/2001. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).

Interview with Thomas B. Allen on "Talk of the Nation" with Neal Conan on NPR, 1/8/2003. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).

TV and VHS Documentaries

Investigative Reports (with Bill Kurtis). "Seven Minutes that Stunned the Navy." A & E Entertainment, 2000.

Investigative Reports (with Bill Kurtis). "Out of the Gulf, Into the New Navy." A & E Entertainment, 2000.

Discovery Channel Documentary. "Fleet Command." December 1997.

Myth #3: we need large deck aircraft carriers to have combat aircraft power at sea

Operating wheeled land planes from a large flat deck at sea is an unsafe and un-natural act. Its born of desperation to keep short- range airplanes out of the water so they stay dry and do not have to have their flight performances lessened by a boat hull shape or floats. In essence, we are WORKING AROUND THE AIRPLANE which needs a running take-off and landing. Turning the carrier into the wind, catapults are all work-arounds to get more lift over fixed-wings for wheeled aircraft to fly. The large Nimitz-class CVN is a giant work- around for land planes which indeed are burdened by navalized heavy landing gear that reduces their flight performance versus land planes.

The truth is today in 2004, we do not need large aircraft carriers to operate superior fighter-bomber aircraft with the advent of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter with lift fan and vectored thrust for Short Take- Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) capabilities. These means increase the F-35's flight performances not decreases as heavy landing gear dead weight does. In fact, the need for aircraft carriers for fighters lie was untrue back in 1943. Both the Japanese and the American navies had for years catapulted gunnery spotter float planes from their battleships and cruisers. We will call this Short Take- Off, Water-Landing (STOWL). The early STOWL spotter planes were slow and lightly armed and could be shot down if they encountered wheeled fighter planes from aircraft carriers or land bases.

By 1943 we had gotten smart and began building Curtis SC-1 SeaHawk fighter planes with floats that could hold their own in a dogfight against the latest Japanese fighters. So SeaHawks could do more than just gunnery spot, it could actually do air defense for their surface ships below. The Japanese were even further along having their Aichi Seiran STOWL fighter-bomber compact to fit inside I-400 class submarines that could catapult them to do surprise attacks, with the war ending before they could smash the Panama canals' locks. STOWL aircraft like the Kingfisher and SeaHawk could also land on the water and pick up shipwrecked sailors and downed pilots. There is substantial space at the rear of American Iowa class battleships for two SeaHawks on catapult planks, yet after WWII we lost 350+ mph STOWL fighters in favor of 100 mph helicopters that could hover take-off and land on the ship's stern deck. The U.S. Navy got away with this emasculation and laziness because no one was challenging her at sea. Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan and the wars in Iraq have all been fought primarily on land with the sea a basing location not a battleground. In the future when the American Navy is finally challenged at sea every ship had better be able to fight with its own aircraft lest their survival goes down when their mother large deck aircraft carrier does up in flames.

With the advent of the F-35 STOVL, every Navy ship can have one or more manned fighters for superior target stand-off engagements and air defense and strikes far beyond what anemic helicopters can do. A F-35 STOVL with skis and pop-out floats could also land and remain on the water in event of battle damage or the ship deck is not able to receive them. We do not have to today suffer any aerodynamic penalties to have STOWL capabilities.

Now on to some TRUTHS that we need to face today.

Truth #1 Navies are shrinking and costs are rising, but the oceans are still large

As the Japanese Navy lost her aircraft carriers in WWII, she tried to compensate by adding flight decks to two of her battleships to operate STOWL fighter-bomber float planes. However, by the Battle of Leyte Gulf there were no planes or pilots. This is a drawn-out example of what could happen in a modern, high-intensity war lasting hours and days with no time to draft citizens and train them to be pilots or for industry to convert to military aircraft production. The U.S. Navy is run on a multi-billion-dollars yet fragile shoe string of hand-built airplanes and hand-picked pilots, that in time of war cannot be replaced. We are the Japanese Navy of 1945 and do not even know it. At least the Japanese knew it and were trying to innovate with more efficient means to stay in the fight, we are dying in Congress on paper and on computer screens with our own self- delusions.

As the costs of surface ships are now essentially $1 BILLION each or more, the size of the U.S. Navy is decreasing and the current 300 ships will become 200 ships within 10 years. RMA Tofflerians can boast all day about how more qualitatively capable these new high- tech ships are giving us an WWII aircraft carrier vs. battleship mythological "edge" but the fact is the oceans of planet earth are still vast and need lots of platforms if we are to control them.


Divide whatever the number of ships the U.S. Navy has into two for Pacific and Atlantic oceans. That leaves us 100 ships for each ocean. Then subtract the 1/3 are in port after being on station and that leaves only 66 ships. Since we narrow-mindedly only think aircraft carriers can operate fighter aircraft, our 12 carriers become 6 for each ocean and only 4 on duty. The apologists will say we can "surge" all our carriers and transit the Panama Canal to mass on either ocean.

1. Not if the enemy is smart and destroys the Panama canal.

2. Not if the enemy starts scoring hits on the carriers that do get to the fight.

Once hit, our super carriers will withdraw back to base for repairs lest they be sunk and lost forever. It takes at least 5 years to build just one aircraft carrier. At this rate, in just one sea battle like a Midway, if we are on the losing end, the loss of 4 carriers would mean 1/3 of the fleet lost for the next 20 years. If we lose half our carriers, 30 years. Can the U.S. Navy control the seas and skies near a belligerent nation-state which has the ability to use its funds not on floating cities but thousands of fighter-bomber aircraft that are not only more numerous have a qualitative edge of not needing heavy landing gear navalization? We could lose naval superpower status in just one battle against Red China in a day if we venture too close to their shores to intervene to try to save Taiwan. Fleets being sunk and super powers smashed has happened many times before; think Drake versus the Spanish Armada in 1588, Lord Nelson against the French at Trafalgar in 1804, and the Japanese defeating the Russians at Tsushima in 1904, with a young Yamamoto (architect of 1941 Pearl Harbor surprise attack idea borrowed from Army General Billy Mitchell) present. We are setting ourselves up for failure.

Consider for the cost of a $4 BILLION super carrier, a peer nation- state competitor not needing to globally power project could build 400 x $10 million dollar fighter-bombers that could carry 800 super- carrier killing anti-ship missiles and of course bombs. Instead of skill training 6,000 men to operate a floating city, their "floating city" is the earth itself so instead of barnacle scrappers, they have thousands of pilots BEFORE THE WAR. On top of these 400 fighter- bombers, for the cost of the 100 planes on a Nimitz class carrier (actually 85) at $40 million each, they can have another 400 land- based fighter-bombers. So for the costs of one CVN, the enemy can have 800 land based fighter-bombers launching 1,600 missiles, and at least another set of 800 pilots to effect 24 hour operations. It doesn't matter how Tom Cruise "Top Guns" the Navy's F/A-18 pilots think they are. They only carry at best 8 missiles to shoot down another 8 aircraft or anti-ship missiles. Do the math. Of the actual 85 planes on a CVN, only 24-48 are fighter-bombers. In a fantasy best case beyond visual range scenario, only 384 anti-ship missiles theoretically be swatted from the skies. We are talking about hundreds of miles from the carrier battle group so escort ship anti- missile, missiles are not in play here. Its all wishful thinking to swat 384 ASMs because the Hornets DO NOT carry anti-ASMs like the expensive AIM-54 Phoenix missiles that are retiring with their F-14 Tomcat platforms. So actually, all 1,600 ASMs are going to get a free ride towards the many assembled ships of the CBG, and despite all the ECM, chaff, desperation RAM missiles, Phalanx guns, some are going TO HIT, and they only have to hit once to turn a flight deck packed full of fuel, bombs and aircraft into an inferno that takes the ship out of the fight. Think Okinawa in 1945 and the USS Forrestal fire during Vietnam. Putting all your hopes on waiting to swat ASMs miliseconds before they impact your ships is madness.

The amphibious transport situation for the USMC is also bleak. 3 amphibious ships form an "Amphibious Ready Group" containing a dwarf infantry battalion called a marine expeditionary unit or "MEU". While the new Landing Ship Dock model 41s ("LSD-41s") can carry 4 x LCAC hovercrafts, (more than the much larger LHA/LHD amphib aircraft carriers) the old Landing Platform Dock model fours (LPD-4s) can only carry 1 x LCAC. The old LSD-36s have been retired. The Landing Ship Tanks (LSTs) that Winston Churchill created to bow land real combat maneuver tracked tank forces to win WWII have been retired. The 11 x LPD-4s are over 30-years old and the Navy wants all retired by 2008. The Trent Lott pork project LPD-17s are overdue and overbudget costing $1 BILLION each. 12 x LPD-17s have been ordered years ago but only 1 LPD-17 is in service.


We have 5 x LHAs set to retire.
7 x LHDs, 1 being built.
8 x LSD-41s
1 x LPD-17
11 x LPD-36s set to retire.


We will be down to just 16 amphib ships TOTAL in a few years. Because the Navy/mc in narrow-minded emulate WW2 lock-step only want to replace old amphib ships with slightly improved newer ones at a rate slower than the current ones are retiring. Things like actually landing forces equipped with tracked tanks are of no interest to the Navy or USMC so LSTs are retired in favor of slowly landing by handfuls of LCACs rubber-tired trucks that can't fight. The Navy bureaucracy SAYS a 36-ship amphib ship fleet is their desired end- state....which will not arrive until 2010. If it ever does. Reality is we will have a amphib fleet half that size after the LHAs and LPD- 4s retire soon. The Navy is going out of business.

Divide 16 into Pacific and Atlantic oceans and you have 8 ships or just 2 MEUs which can't do jack shiite because they are loaded with BS trucks. One MEU is on 6 month float while the other is resting/refitting. One midget battalion in either ocean. Some "force- in-readiness". We spend over $10 BILLION each year on a 172,000 man/woman USMC and we get one battalion on duty in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Am I missing something here?

The USMC doesn't want to be an inland maneuvering combat force and likes being light so they can be lazy and trash talk the other services knowing they won't stay long.

Truth #2 Surface ships are endangered species in a world covered by surveillance means

WWII's true lessons learned is that surface ships must be heavily armored to survive against aircraft with high explosive bombs, torpedoes and missiles. The debacle off Okinawa in 1945 when human Kamikazes dove planes into our unarmored aircraft carriers is an ominous warning of what guided missiles/bombs are like today, but this danger sign has been ignored for 6 decades because the U.S. Navy has been given a free pass at sea with no one attacking it. The 1982 Falklands War almost ended badly for the British had not the Argentine bomb fitters failed to properly fuse bombs for A-4 SkyHawks and Mirage III jets. Our days of being lucky at sea are about to end.

Our globally connected world has many satellites in space flying overhead that can spot surface ships creating what the Russians call a "Surveillance Strike Complex" (SSC). The side that then has the most platforms to then take this info and hunt down the other's surface ships has the edge. However, the U.S. Navy is physically emasculating itself into LESS PLATFORMS and less coverage of the seas and skies. There are no more ASW blimps. Iowa class Battleships with the hard armored mobility to go into areas threatened by enemy SSC fires are in mothballs. S-3 Viking ASW and tanker aircraft are being retired. P-3C Orion ASW aircraft are worn out and not being replaced by the combat-capable jet seaplane patrol bombers we need. Less is less, not more.


In the 1991 Gulf War, a SCUD Theater Ballistic Missile (TBM) landed withing a few hundred meters of the USS Tarawa amphibious carrier with 2,000 marines inside.


The nearby pier was packed full of explosives and fuel.


A few hundred meters closer and we would have had 3,000 men dead and several ships wiped out.

An important document to read on this is William Story's 1994 thesis, THIRD WORLD TRAPS AND PITFALLS: BALLISTIC MISSILES, CRUISE MISSILES, AND LAND-BASED AIR POWER on the FAS.ORG web site:


Then there is the Navy's dying aircraft carrier wings that will soon be without S-3 Viking ASW aircraft and their worn-out civilian airliner P-3 Orions that are not being replaced. The stage is being set for an enemy diesel-electric submarine to smoke one of our carriers full of marines and sailors. The MEUs that can be forward-deployed offer the enemy a 4-digit casualty target that in itself could cause the conflict to be lost by a collapse of American public support since the American people have been pumped up with lies spewing forth by the self-serving marine corps propaganda machine about how great her marines are and when reality proves otherwise (just like the Beirut truck bombing in 1983 which killed 241 marines and caused a foreign policy defeat and pull-out) the psychological impact could be fatal in 4th Generation Warfare (4GW) where the target of enemy actions is the rather weak 21st century will of the civilian populace to resist.

Furthermore, a littoral strategy of trying to remain relevant in today's 4th Generation Wars (4GW) which are fought by dissatisfied sub-national groups has large blue-water ships coming to the enemy which simplifies his task of locating our fleet even easier. With the possible land-based cost effectiveness "edge" if a nation-state backs the sub-national foes, they could rain down upon the American fleet thousands of lethal, guided missiles that are sure to damage and kill. Because the U.S. Navy is based on faulty assumptions from WWII that everything must center around the large deck aircraft carrier which causes physical cost emasculation by less platforms we are setting ourselves up for a modern-day Gallipoli type amphibious failure on the watery edges of land and HMS Repulse/Prince of Wales large loss of life at sea.

How to Fix this Impending Naval and Geostrategic Disaster?

To defeat enemy nation-state SSCs and have the Navy/marines contribute to defeating sub-national foes, we need to reorganize and remove the large deck aircraft carrier as our centerpiece and black hole for the majority of our naval funds. We must have MORE not less platforms and MORE not fewer platform types to present different and asymmetric threats to our enemies instead of one monolithic, predictable means that they can easily counter by quantitative SSC flooding. We need a Surveillance Strike MANEUVER capability (SSMC). To MANEUVER at sea you need to be able to land on the water, be armored enough to survive if you stay on the water and operate beneath the water. Naval power is more than just destroying other ships and aircraft in feel-good ego duels, its about controlling sky/seas around belligerent and friendly humans so commerce and flow or not flow. If the belligerents do not need sea commerce, then the sea is a mobile base for inland MANEUVER operations. Platforms need to be:

a. Heavily Armored to prevail in event of SSC detection/strikes
b. Able to Submerge to avoid SSC detection
c. Fly in the air and land on the water for maneuver advantage
d. Sealift ships deliver decisive Inland forces in tracked AFVs

1. Land and sea- based Jet Seaplane Patrol Bombers

The USAF will rightfully tell you that the handicap of aircraft range which created the aircraft carrier no longer applies today with long range aircraft and in-flight refueling. However, the ability to flood the oceans with patrol seaplanes that could land on the water and refuel, switch crews etc. from surface or submarine tenders has been lost when the Navy unwisely cancelled the P-6M Seamaster jet seaplane patrol bomber in 1960. Since we have to replace our aging P-3 Orions that can't land on water, now is the time to get at least 100 x Russian A-40 jet seaplane patrol bombers which can not only land in the water to dip sonar to hunt submarines, can attack both surface ships and inland targets. Furthermore against sub-national groups, A- 40 MMAs can insert/extract Navy SEAL teams and rescue our men stranded in the water.


A-40 MMAs will enable us to locate in conjunction with our own SSCs the enemy fleet and air forces and then begin to destroy them as we mass air and sea forces to engage and/or invade. Forces on patrol are designed to seize the initiative until the "sunday punch" can arrive and are either heavily armored on the surface or can submerge.

2. BBG-21: Iowa Class Aircraft Armored Battleships with organic fighter- bombers

The stage is set today for F-35 STOVL fighters to operate from the stern deck area of Iowa class armored battleships like the SC-1 SeaHawk STOWLs of old. The Iowas are the only ships in the Navy today that could survive a SSC missile bombardment and disel-electric submarine attacks. We need an Iowa class fast BBG on each coast for each ocean manned by reserve crews to speed to the scene of a conflict and then stay there on station and not be run off by enemy missile attacks. While on station, I estimate 6 x F-35 JSF STOVLs could be parked and operate from two angled take- off planks with ski jumps on the port and starboard sides of the Iowa class BBG. The F-35s would enable the Iowas to see and attack enemy aircraft and fighters (without them necessarily seeing the stealthy JSF on radar) to self-protect the ship. Small scale inland strikes could be done using F-35 JSFs in advance of the sunday punch arrival. "Gunboat diplomacy" in time of peace when sub-national groups appear would mean F-35 strikes against these targets as soon as they pop up not waiting for days for a carrier battlegroup to reach the scene. "Gunboat diplomacy" means having gunboats!

Once the landing ground maneuver forces arrive, the Iowa class battleships can rain lethal and saturating fires upon landing beaches to clear them for our troops to land safely using their 9 x 16" naval guns. Without these powerful and long reaching fires to at least suppress dug-in enemies, our troops landing could be repelled by withering guided missile and RPG fires that make the D-Day opening scenes of the movie "Saving Private Ryan" look like child's play. An anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) can with nearly 100% certainty hit any landing craft we send to the beach, destroying it and everyone inside. The Germans did not have this on Normandy in 1944 but our enemies of 2004 have them today. We are going to need every ounce of fire support possible to even have a chance of prevailing on today's non-linear SSC battlefields. Avoidance of the enemy via costly and absurd Over-The-Horizon (OTH) means which only delay the problem of what happens when you land is a deluded pipe dream. A smart enemy will be dispersed, camouflaged and will wait to mass and deliver his knock out blows upon the landing forces after we are already committed to our destinations. Landing vulnerable, temperamental-to- control "V-22 tilt-rotors without suppressive guns onboard and offloading troops on foot without AFVs is sheer lunacy. Trying to waterski AAAVs from 50 miles out and then retracting skis in a huge target with a smother-the-dozen-infantry-in-back-turret on top is more stay-in-your-WW2-Iwo-Jima-frontal-assault-lane madness.

For SSC fires to be effective against enemies who know to hide using Camouflage, Cover, Concealment, Deception and Deceit (C3D2), the ugly truth is that we need spotters ideally on the ground and in the air. The Iowa's F-35 STOVLs would be two-seat versions with an observer in back facing aft to help spot enemy targets below and in the air during dogfights. Underwing JPODs that could carry two men inside could also be carried to insert/extract 4-man special forces teams to spot for air strikes and the Iowa's 16 inch naval guns. These teams could also laser target designate for aircraft bombs and guided 16 inch shells to land with precision. JPODs and skis with pop-out floats would enable the F-35 to land and rescue servicemen in the water.


Even with good terminal guidance, air strikes are expensive and not often effective against deep dug-in targets like belligerent nation- states that are developing weapons of mass destruction hidden from the rest of the world. If we are to strike at these deeply buried targets we need more MUSCLE not just hair-splitting mental guidance. The current trend towards guiding smaller and smaller ordnance has failed and DoD is wanting to develop small earth-penetrating nuclear bombs. The emasculation of DoD through misguided visions of precision guidance as a firepower panacea has brought us on the verge of ruin inland where our neglected maneuver forces are losing control. Reversing this trend by opening the "nuclear genie" is a desperate and unwise action. If we nuke (WMD) even a remote area of the world where we think the enemy is developing WMDs, we will be in no position to condemn what they are doing because we just launched a WMD of our own. In 4GW, legitimacy of effort in the eye's of the world is vital to success. And if the enemy's WMD facilities are in the middle of civil populations are we going to Hiroshima millions of people to pre-empt a similar WMD attack on our own people? Earth penetrating nuclear bombs dropped by aircraft that can get shot down is fraught with more negatives than positive outcomes.

What we need is to take the largest gun cannon we have and fully develop its physical powers to strike deep enemy C4I and WMD targets with morally justifiable high chemical---not nuclear explosives. That weapon is the 16 inch guns on the Iowa class battleships. We can extend its nearly 25 mile ranges to 500 miles with scramjet technology that then dive at hypersonic speeds to penetrate deep into the earth to destroy enemy hardened facilities. And facilities like this are BIG---we need more than a handful of $1 million missiles, we need hundred and thousands of scramjet shells to take these targets out with areas saturation and not risk men overhead trying to drop bombs looking for bull's eyes when there are none.

The Japanese aircraft battleships, Hyauga and Isa were never supplied their floatplane STOWL fighter-bombers to give the concept its "day in court". Gerald Bull never got to fully develop large caliber guns as a means to reach space cheaply or to strike military targets from super long ranges. The full potential of our Iowa class battleships has yet to be fulfilled. We should modify and bring back the first two Iowas in mothballs and get the USS Missouri and New Jersey back from talk about the good `ole days museum duty (sorry, national security comes first) as soon as possible.

Full BBG-21 Proposal:

BBG-21: Battleship Interdiction of Rogue Nation-States and Sub-National Terrorists

3. Submarine Aircraft Carriers and F-35 JSFs

Bolstering the unfortunately at first only two Iowa class BBGs with JSF capabilities would be nuclear submarines converted to carry F-35s with a special watertight hanger top-sail and flat deck top with ski jump. The concept of operating either STOWL or STOVL fighter-bombers was investigated by Boeing in the 1950s and is still considered very desirable as a way to launch surprise attacks like the Japanese almost did to the Panama Canal in WWII with their Achi Seiran/I-400 combination. On the SSC battlefield surprise to catch an enemy air force, IAF 1967 6-day war style is difficult to achieve but necessary if we want to win with low casualties. Details:


4. Jet Seaplane Amphibious assault Transports

Another lie is that the only way we can get marines to shore is from expensive amphibious ships with flooding well-decks. Cramming thousands of marines in unarmored amphibious ships for 6 months at a time is an open invitation to a huge loss of life in event we tangle with an enemy SSC darkening the skies with ASMs. We have been very, very lucky. During the Cuban missile crisis, Russian submarines had nuclear torpedoes that would have sank the American invasion fleet in a horrific loss of life had the situation gone hot. What's unbelievable is that the marine force structure fills amphibs full of vulnerable, rubber-tired trucks which are fatally dead meat on the non-linear battlefield against RPGs, roadside bombs and garden- variety AKMs. Details:


A 4-engined version of the Russian A-40 jet seaplane (A-80) with a nose that opens to offload troops in "M113 Amphigavin light tracked AFVs should be purchased to assault enemy beaches. The Navy in the `50s had such a "Flying LST" with its R3Y Tradewind nose-opening turboprop seaplanes but gave up on the concept. Details:


5. RO-RO ships with LCACs full of tracked Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) not vulnerable rubber-tired trucks to provide decisive MANEUVER

After beaches are secured by A-40 and A-80 seaplane special forces team insertions and amphibious AFV assaults, we need real combat follow-on forces of significant sizes that are in light, medium, and heavy tracked armored fighting vehicles to do decisive 2D and 3D maneuvers inland. This "sunday punch" can come from RO-RO sealift ships which interface with LCAC hovercraft carried on the ships by cranes without need of expensive flooding well decks. The LCACs can fly over any enemy sea mines and keep the RO-RO ships off the horizon to protect against enemy fires. Details:


At least one of these RO-RO ships should be converted into a Special Operations "Commando" aircraft carrier: The idea of a jeep carrier or escort carrier (CVE) is not new but is proven, the U.S. built and used the most and the Japanese did what they could but were hampered by lack of pilots and planes.


6.ASW Blimp aircrafr carriers

Our military must be first PHYSICALLY efficient before trying to be mentally efficient with electronic gadgets. To fly at 100 mph over the sea is not slow; its 3 times faster than what ships & subs in the water can do. The best way to stay in the air for long distances and time periods is by Lighter Than Air (LTA) aircraft. Blimps are not "sexy" but they work on planet earth.



The U.S. Navy and marines are drying up into physical emasculation and irrelevancy as costs increase for fewer and fewer ill-conceived techno-cashcows that render pork for Senators Lott and Warner's home states. America needs more not less naval combat platforms to do relevant MANEUVER things in today's 4GW world. Our warning could be the near-debacle at Leyte Gulf in 1944. The clever Japanese baited Admiral Halsey's powerful fleet of large aircraft carriers and battleships north after their empty aircraft carriers. Meanwhile, the 7th Fleet which was landing General MacArthur's U.S. Army troops to take back the Philippines were left for the two Japanese battleship task forces to blast them to smithereens. Fortunately, wiser heads had realized it's the AIRCRAFT that are what's important not the aircraft carrier, and had created dozens of escort carriers using merchant ship hulls. In order to get more platforms ie; more aircraft into the fight since we had both pilots and planes, they went with a no-frills approach. The CVEs were to employ fighter-bomber aircraft to primarily render Close Air Support (CAS) by bombing and strafing for the ground maneuver troops ashore. When the Japanese battleships' pagoda like masts were spotted on the horizon, a desperate and courageous fight ensued with destroyers laying smokescreens and firing torpedoes as the CVEs turned into the wind and launched every plane they had to stop the Japanese. Without armor-piercing bombs it was nearly hopeless to sink the battleships but the courageous pilots strafed and fragmentation bombed the Japanese battleships which included the Isa and Hyuga aircraft battleships---without floatplane fighter-bombers into thinking that they had bumped into Halsey's fleet. The Japanese turned away just when they were getting into gun range and wipe out our invasion fleet. Details:


The message here is clear with 20-20 hindsight. Had the Japanese Isa and Hyuga battleships had the 28 x Aichi E16A Paul floatplane fighter- bombers they were supposed to have they could have seen that they had hit pay dirt and caught the American invasion fleet. Furthermore, they could have shot down some of the CVE's aircraft and bombed the CVEs into flaming ruins such that their returning aircraft would have had to ditch into the sea. On the positive side, the fact that we did not put all our aircraft "eggs" in expensive and few fleet aircraft carriers, we had enough AIRCRAFT to turn away the Japanese who did not have aircraft. The key was to have aircraft in multiple platforms any way you could get them. Many in DoD are fond of saying we need "effects based operations" (EBOs). The ultimate "effect" is having enough and superior qualities of platforms and capabilities to prevail over our enemies, a truth we have forgotten and need to relearn before its too late.

So where is Task Force 34?

Where is the U.S. Navy and marines as the U.S. Army is stuck fighting the global war on terrorism on land?

Do they want to help or continue to chase their feel good dream foes?


A Navy veteran writes:


Excellent new article on your website. Yes, the Navy is vastly overrated, as is the entire U.S. military, for the most part. But I don't have to tell you that!

Unfortunately, the Navy is an extremely screwed-up organization: shitty uniforms, lousy chow, poor force structure, weak discipline, inadequate training, no cameraderie or fighting spirit, and nonexistent battle doctrine. The Navy is much like you describe the marine corps, only worse. The Navy is a worn-out, rusting barge that needs to go into drydock for a complete overhaul. Much of the Navy's problems stem from the fact that it is a copy of the old British Royal Navy, and adopted their "culture". The officers live like oriental potentates, complete with domestic servants, while the enlisted men are treated like shit--except for the "chiefs", who think they're so much better than the other enlisted Sailors they are supposed to "represent". In fact, the so-called "CPO community" is a khaki boy's club for lifers who are skilled at the art of brown-nosing. They get their own separate messing and berthing spaces, just so they can feel special and exclusive. The Navy is the only branch of the service that considers E-6's "junior enlisted". A Sailor spends 20 years in the Navy, retires at E-6, and he's "junior enlisted"? The Navy likes to brag that they're the only service that puts E-7's through E-9's in their own little category, apart and above from the other enlisted. Well, there's a good reason why no other branch of the service does this: It's a bad policy! It creates resentment and division within the ranks, and that's exactly what it was designed to do. "Divide and rule" is a tactic to be used to defeat an enemy: Why the fuck are we waging war on our own people? We should be doing everything possible to being these men together, "close ranks" like a team. But the Navy, like the marines, wants, as you put it, weak, co-dependent little toy soldiers they can push around like pawns on a chessboard. They don't want lower-ranking enlisted men to think for themselves and make decisions, even in a combat environment. They don't even like to issue the men arms and live ammunition. How in the hell are they supposed to fight? Oh, I forgot, the Navy doesn't want to fight. They want to hide "over-the-horizon" because their ships have no armor and pea-shooter firepower. It's enough to make any proud Sailor want to barf!

It's no secret (and no surprise) that of all the services, the Navy has the worst 'customer satisfaction': when I was in, nobody gave a shit about anything except marking time until discharge/retirement. Morale was very low, and this was during the so-called 'glory years' of Ronnie Reagan. I can only imagine what it's like now. I feel bad for those poor Sailors, most of whom are good guys who only wanted to serve their country. Yet they get no credit, no recognition, no respect. The Navy needs to make wholesale changes if it wants to be an effective fighting force that defends our country, instead of an armed yacht club that wastes billions of dollars on bullshit 'show-the-flag' photo ops. The MEU/ARG's are a joke. The marine corps should be either disbanded or made part of the Army. The Navy is developing its own security forces now, and doesn't want or need to use jarheads for fleet security. This is a step in the right direction. The Navy needs to develop its own Military Police force just like the Army has. They seem to be moving in this direction, so that's all the more reason to shitcan those arrogant, useless gyrenes. I think the best thing to do would be to get rid of the marines altogether. They serve no useful purpose.

By the way, I dislike the corps, but I have tremendous respect for the Air Force and especially the Army. The Army always gets the shitty end of the stick, but you guys just keep on getting the job done, with no credit, while the marines try and steal all the glory (same old shit!). So here's a salute to the Army: you guys deserve it!

Your article was on-time and on-target.

I totally agree that carriers are outdated. Navy aviation should consist of a fleet of seaplanes, plus helicopters and a few fighters for fleet defense. Seaplanes are a very versatile platform that could a variety of missions: antiship/antisubmarine patrols, battlefield C3 (AWACS), cargo/troop transport, air-sea rescue, amphibious insertion/extraction, and underway refueling/replenishment. They could have retractable helo platforms and flight decks for VSTOL aircraft. Battleships should be resurrected, too. Four would probably be enough. Scrap the carriers and amphibious ships. Amphibious military operations should be limited to SpecOps missions. Huge amphibious landing fleets are a thing of the past, and will only result in the deaths of tens of thousands of troops. The Coast Guard should be abolished. It's as foolish and wasteful to maintain two separate fleets/navies as it is to maintain two separate armies. The Navy's surface warship fleet should be used to patrol our territorial waters, intercepting threats to our country. The old SOSUS system should be replaced by a modern sensor net, and minefields laid in strategic areas to prevent unwanted access to our territorial waters. And you're so right about Navy personnel being taught to think of themselves as 'technicians' rather than warriors. The Navy must put fighting skill/ability first, over and above technical expertise. SRB's and other financial incentives are no substitute for pride, discipline, and fighting spirit. Most servicemen don't care about the money, they want to be warriors who are trained to defend their country. So let's get in step. Full speed ahead!

I think we need a fundamental change in our force structure.

The military is a profession, and we want professional fighting men. Get rid of the service academies, and combine ROTC into a single, joint, multi-service program. All able-bodied young men should get basic military training at school as part of their education. Recruiters would select the best performers to attend a military ROTC high school, where cadets would learn about all aspects of modern warfare (sea/air/land/space/SOF). This would prepare the cadets for future command positions. Also, they would understand how to utilize all military assets at their disposal. The top 20% of cadets would qualify for OCS and become commissioned officers; the rest would become enlisted troops in the Army/Navy/Air Force. This would improve relations between officers and enlisted, because they all trained together. The officers would earn respect by being the top performers in ROTC. Also, this would greatly reduce interservice rivalries and instill a spirit of teamwork and cameraderie. Army/Navy/Air Force personnel would would think of themselves as different limbs attached to the same body, rather than as separate and distinct entities apart from each other. We don't want men to enlist because they couldn't find a job, or they need vocational training or college tuition funds. This should be provided in the civilian sector. Four years of military high school, plus visits to Army/Navy/Air Force facilities, would allow these young men to experience what the the military is all about, and they could make an informed decision if this is what they want to do with their lives. After they complete military high school, they would be prepared for a military career. They would also be thoroughly indoctrinated, eliminating the need for "boot camp" head games and humiliation. Every member of every branch of the service would be trained to fight first and foremost. The "civilians" who received basic military training in school would belong to local militias, thus no need for Reserve/Guard units. I have nothing personal against 'weekend warriors', but being a Soldier is a full-time job for highly-trained professionals.

I just wanted to let you know that there are a lot of us out here who appreciate what you (and others) are doing. In fact, you've inspired me! I think I'm going to start my own web site, with an emphasis on the Navy, since most of the military reform sites I've seen are focused on the Army. I don't know if it will do any good, but all I can do is try. Our troops deserve better, and it's way past time we started doing right by them."

Send us your feedback: semperbs@yahoo.com


1. Aircraft Battleships


As a direct result of the Japanese fiasco at Midway, on April 28, 1943 Hyuga went into another major refit, which lasted from May to November 1943. Ise had preceded her in this refit from February to August 1943. This time they were rebuilt into curious battleship/carrier hybrids. With the removal of the last two turrets, the aft 40% of the ship was greatly built-up by incorporating a hangar 60 meters long and flight gear for 22 13-Shi D4Y4 Suisei "Judy" wheeled dive bombers. The bombers could not fly from or land on the flight deck, which was primarily used for handling, preflight operations and storage. Two new catapults were added just aft and on either side of the forth turret. Using the turntables and rails on the nonfunctional flight deck, the bombers would be loaded onto the catapults to be launched and would have to be recovered at a land strip or fully functional carrier.

In any event, the Judys were not available so Hyuga received 14-Shi Aichi E16A1 "Paul" floatplanes instead of the planned Judys. In addition Ise appears to have received some Aichi D3A1 "Val" bombers, while running trials in August 1943. All of the original 5.5-inch secondary guns were landed and the 5-inch AA gun fit increased to sixteen. Light AA also jumped up to 57 25mm guns. Because the weight of the removed turrets was greater than the additional fittings, to balance the ship, the flight deck received an 8-inch layer of concrete. Lastly, in a belated effort to keep pace with the ever- increasing edge that the USN enjoyed in technology, Ise was fitted with Type 21 radar and Hyuga with Type 22 radar. Throughout 1944 the pair received greater numbers of light AA guns. In June 1944 the total was 108 25mm guns, organized in 31 triple mounts and 15 single mounts. September saw a new addition. Six mounts, each of which contained 28 4.7-inch rocket tubes were added to the aft end of the flight deck with three mounts on sponsons on each side. Since by that time the twins had no operational aircraft, extra AA was mounted on the flight deck and the two catapults were landed to improve the arc of fire of turret numbers three and four.


IJN Ise/Hyuga BBCV

By: Daniel H. Jones

Prior to World War II several navies operated aircraft carriers or aircraft support ships. The three major powers, England, the USA, and Japan developed what came to be known as fleet carriers and gave much thought as to their most effective employment. From a glance at the ship listings it might seem that the aircraft carrier was the dominant force but this was not so. The "gun club" element still dominated strategic thought in all three navies. Carriers were regarded as supporting ships to the battle line, providing scouting planes to locate the enemy and to launch strikes to "soften up" the opposing fleet so they could be finished off by the battleships. Nowhere was the cult of the battleship as "queen of battle" more strongly entrenched than in the Imperial Japanese Navy. Their strategic plan for fighting the U.S. Navy was to lure the American fleet across the Pacific for a great climactic battle in home waters. The total destruction of this invading force was to be accomplished by... the battleships, much as the Russian fleet was annihilated at the Battle of Tsushima. That the battleship was still predominant in IJN planning is supported by their commitment to the construction of the most powerful examples of the type ever built, the Yamato class. With the formation of the Kido Butai, (the Nagumo task force), the Japanese invented the carrier task force concept that proved so effective later in the war. Obviously there were many officers with advanced ideas regarding carrier aviation but they were still in the minority. In the IJN the "gun club" still controlled planning and policy decisions.

Ironically, the Japanese Navy was to prove the fallacy of this thinking with their preemptive strike on the USN battle line at Pearl Harbor. With no battleships available the USN was forced to shift their emphasis to the aircraft carrier as the center of a striking force, though they still continued to build a new generation of battleships. At the Battle of the Coral Sea neither fleet sighted the other, the entire battle being decided by carrier aircraft. At Midway, when four Japanese carriers were lost orders were issued to continue the operation. The battle fleet was to close and destroy the American ships. After a few hours of steaming towards Midway the orders were rescinded and the surface fleet withdrew. The lesson was obvious and could not be ignored. A surface fleet could not survive without carriers when facing a fleet that had them. The battleships were impotent in the face of this new threat.

In the days following the debacle at Midway, the Japanese Navy frantically sought ways to make good their carrier losses. Some submarine tenders and seaplane tenders were available for conversion to carriers, (they had been designed with this in mind). Suitable liner hulls were taken over for conversion to light carriers. Most radical, especially in the eyes of traditional line officers, was the plan to take four battleships out of the battle line and modify them to operate aircraft. The Fuso, Yamashiro, Isa, and Hyuga were selected for this conversion which consisted of removing the aft two turrets and constructing a handling deck, hangers and two catapults. The decks would not be large enough for take off or for landing aboard so the aircraft would have to be catapult launched and be equipped with floats to land alongside and be hoisted aboard. A new type of fast seaplane, capable of both scouting and attack, was to be designed for these ships. Conversion began on the Ise and Hyuga but the planned work on Fuso and Yamashiro was held back pending testing results from the first two ships. Work on the seaplane, the "Norm", went forward but very few were built. Neither Ise or Hyuga ever operated aircraft apart from some limited testing. There were never enough aircraft to equip the ships and there was also a shortage of trained pilots. In their only sortie in this configuration, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, both ships were part of the Ozawa decoy force and had no aircraft on board. Almost all of the carriers in this group were sunk but both Ise and Hyuga sustained only minor damage.

After returning to home waters, both ships had their catapults removed. This was done to improve the arcs of fire for the center turrets. The IJN was now totally on the defensive and the concept of operating seaplanes on Ise and Hyuga was abandoned. Both ships remained anchored in home waters for the remainder of the war. Both were sunk at Kure Harbor in shallow water by air strikes from US navy carrier planes.

In 1/700 scale Hasegawa has kits of this class in both versions, as a battleship, (Hyuga), about 1941 and as the unique BB/CV, (Ise), after conversion. This article will primarily concentrate on the Ise, the BB/CV version. This is one of the earlier efforts in the waterline series and has a number of omissions and inacuracies, mainly due to the need for many parts to be common to both kits. Too many compromises have been made for the sake of ease of production but most can be dealt with. Bridge levels and platforms are essentially correct for the Ise and apart from cleaning up and adding better parts and photo etch there is little to be concerned with here. (If you are doing the earlier battleship version some major rework is needed on the bridge). One omission should be added, the supporting legs of the underlying tripod structures that the platforms are built on. From the back and side of the bridge these legs are external and very visible. Locate the positions on each level and drill boles on each platform. When assembled, except for the top two levels, insert two lengths of plastic rod through the platforms down to main deck level. This will make a tremendous improvement in the appearance of the bridge structure.

The main problem with the Ise is in the area of the catapults. Hasegawa has the catapults standing alone from the aft structure and this is wrong. A structure connects the catapults to the aft area and this will have to be added. It looks formidable but it is really quite easy to do. See the sketch drawings and the templates for guidance. Note also the forward legs of the aft tripod structure are exposed also. These can be added from plastic rod as was done for the aft side of the bridge.

Masts, particularly the large mainmast, should be replaced with scratch built assemblies from plastic sprue or brass wire. Most of the splinter shields could be improved by replacing with Evergreen plastic strip. Gold Medal Models makes a photo etch sheet, IJN Battleships, that contains the lattice supporting structure around the funnel as well as two catapults. Adding this will improve the model very noticeably.

The supports under the aircraft deck edges are solid triangles of plastic on the kit. These are individual strut supports on the ship and can be improved upon by either replacing or by carving away the back side of the plastic. I prefer the latter method, see sketches. Also, at the stern, the supporting lattice structure is solid and has been simplified. This should be cut away and a scratch built replacement fabricated. This is the hardest job and there is really no short cut that I have discovered. You may opt to forget about doing this as the overhang hides much of the area when looking at the model from above.

All of the guns can be improved by replacement from the Skywave weapons sets, particularly the 25mm which should come from set E-7. Some of the Skywave ship's boats are nicer also. For railings, I recommend the Tom's Model Works, two bar set.

Aircraft: If you resolve to display aircraft on board or on the catapults, there is no "Norm" available but testing was done with the Nakajima "Pete" and with the Kawanishi "Jake". Both types are available from the Skywave sets or from other kits in the waterline series. I would recommend replacihg the Hasegawa "Jakes" with other parts as they are a little crude in appearance compared to some of the other planes available.

As you can see, some considerable investments in both time and money for extra materials are necessary to bring this kit up to speed. Whether it is worthwhile depends on how well you like the subject. Ise is one of my favorite ships, having built four models of her over the years in four different scales. If you do all of the suggested modifications and additions the results are very noticeable and the kit can look right at home with other ships in your collection. An old kit is not especially a bad kit, it just needs more work.

2. Aichi E16A STOWL floatplane


E16 A "Paul" Cat. No. SH 72013

The Aichi E16A floatplane was designed as an AM-22 project in order to meet the Navy 14-shi requirements for a two seat reconnaissance floatplane, possessing dive bombing capabilities. Changes in the specification during design, resulted in redesignation to a 16-shi type. The first prototype was finished in May 1942, however a lot of improvements had to be completed before series production started. With perforated dive brakes mounted on the front legs of the N- struts, strengthened floats, and improved actuation system of Fowler- type flaps, the E16A1 was accepted for production in August 1943. 252 series aircraft were built. This airplane designated as a Navy Reconnaissance Seaplane "Zuiun" Model 11, was armed with two 20 mm cannons in the wings, and one flexible 13 mm machine gun. It could also carry one 250 kg bomb under the fuselage. The "Zuiun" (known as a "Paul" by the Allies) entered service during the defense of the Philippines in 1944, and due to the enemy air superiority suffered heavy losses. Most surviving "Zuiuns" were used for suicide attacks and training. Specifications: Wingspan: 12,81 m, Length 10 833 m, height 4.791 m, engine MK8A Kinsei 51 or MK8D Kinsei 58 (1300 hp), maximum weight 4553 kg, max. range 2420 km, max. speed 440 km/h.

4. USN Amphibs for USMC

Naval Technology - LHD Wasp Class - Amphibious Assault Ships


The vehicle storage area typically accommodates five M-1 tanks, 25 Light Armored Vehicles, eight M-198 guns, 68 military trucks (HMMVVVs), ten logistics vehicles, twelve five-ton trucks, two water trailers, a fuel service truck, four rough terrain forklifts and two generator trailers. These vehicles can be loaded aboard landing craft, and the majority can be rigged for transportation to the beach by helicopter.

Off the beach, landing craft are launched and recovered through the very large stern gate, which opens the well deck to the sea. This well deck is 267ft long, 50 ft wide and is designed specifically for the fly-in/fly-out capabilities of the air-cushioned landing craft (LCAC).

The LHDs carry three LCACs. The LCAC is a high-speed landing craft capable of carrying a 60t to 75t payload. It can carry payloads, such as an M1A1 tank and 5t trucks, at a speed of more than 40 knots (73.6km/h). The air cushion allows the LCAC to reach more than 70% of the world's coastline. Conventional landing craft can land at only 15% of coasts.

To launch and recover conventional landing craft, the ship can ballast over 15,000t of seawater to allow these craft to float into and out of the well deck.




Crew 340 including 22 officers
LCAC Attachment 418 enlisted men (air cushioned landing craft attachment)
Landing Force 441 marines, 102 surge troops


Length 186 metres
Beam 25.6 metres
Height 177 feet 2 inches
Draft fully loaded 6.3 metres
Displacement, full load 16,400 long tons
Propulsion four Colt SEMT-Pielstick 16 PC2.5 V 400 diesels
Speed in excess of 20 knots
Range 8,000 miles at 18 knots
Harpers Ferry Class - capacity
Military lift two air cushioned landing vehicles
Cargo 67,000 cubic feet for marine cargo 20,200 sq feet for vehicles
Whidbey Island Class - capacity
Military lift four air cushioned landing vehicles
Cargo 5,000 cubic feet for marine cargo 12,500 sq ft for vehicles including the 4 preloaded air cushioned landing craft in the well deck




To all the Mc apologists and worshipers; this web site has been up since 1997 and remains pretty much unchanged. We don't spend a lot of time trying to reform the Mc because it-thinks-its feces-doesn't-stink, thus we have to be brutal here to get YOUR MINDS to be stirred a bit and to THINK. Without getting rid of this arrogance and hubris (look the word up, dude!) there is simply no point offering friendly suggestions. Try such things for a decade while in a Mc uniform and you will get nowhere!!! To paraphrase the Lord Jesus Christ said, "He that thinks he is not in need of a physician will not be healed".

Next, the Mc propaganda machine is responsible for a mutilation of military history that makes one want to vomit. One of these lies is this nonsense that "amphibious operations have never failed". I suppose if all you know is what you were fed in the Mc or GUIDEBOOK FOR MARINES you'd believe such BS. Now we don't go out of our way to research Mc problems and develope solutions these days, we do stumble across Mc blunders and we will make an occasional change to this web site. The following is a list of amphibious failures ("This can't be!!!") that we will add to as we discover them, to AGAIN get the Mc hubris cancer-ridden mind to wake up. The goal here is for the cocky, stupid marine to drop his smug attitude based on a sand sea of lies and to get busy working hard with all the services to defend freedom before he gets his flag-draped funeral he longs for to "validate" and "prove himself". The military professional is an ADULT who knows his worth is intrinsic to his humanity which is a value shared by ALL HUMAN BEINGS not just those who attend a silly boot camp where mind games are played.




Failure by marines in Iraq threatens entire mission

The Army 82nd Airborne had Fallujah under control. The trash-talking marines came in, lost control and set off the entire country of Iraq into a frenzy, threatening the entire U.S. occupation force.

4 contractors were massacred and marines sat by and did nothing, is that LOYALTY?


A U.S. marine Humvee burns on the side of the road near Fallujah on April 1, the day after four Americans were killed in a brutal attack

USMC foot-infantry screw-up: Fallujah dismembered

The USMC said they were the world's "experts" in urban warfare with their "3-block war" fantasy? The poor babies didn't have the "time" to employ their CAP (crap) program.....those darn enemies just don't seem to cooperate or be much impressed with the marines and their "massive" firepower.

Notice when they screw up with a foot-infantry-for-everything panacea backed up by weak ad hocery they cry "its not our job, man".

Well, what IS your job, then?

To trash-talk the other services and sit on ships awaiting easy evacuations and saber rattling?

When you load Navy amphibs up with BS rubber-tired trucks then whine after failure of lacking means we have no sympathy for you.


Fallujah: Inside the Iraqi Resistance

By Nir Rosen

PART 1: Losing it

In early May I took a taxi from Amman to Baghdad. After passing through Jordanian customs and approaching the Iraqi border post, my driver warned me to remain in the car. The Iraqi resistance had people working for it at the border post, he said, and if they saw my U.S. passport they would contact their friends on the road ahead. They would welcome us with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire. I pushed the seat back as he said and closed my eyes. Soon we were driving east to Baghdad on Iraq's Highway 10, and I had sneaked into the country without any U.S. or Iraqi official's cognizance. As we drove past the charred hulks of sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) whose drivers had been less savvy than mine, and whose passengers had been less lucky than me, I wondered who else was infiltrating Iraq with the same ease I did.

When I got to Baghdad my colleagues were aghast to hear that I had taken the road. Nobody drove into Iraq anymore, not since April, when a rebellion had virtually severed the western Anbar province from the rest of the country. Thousands of mujahideen had manned roadblocks, searching for foreigners to kidnap or kill, at least 80 U.S. military convoys were attacked and anybody who could was flying into the country. The locus of fighting had been Fallujah, a dusty town emerging from the desert about 60 kilometers west of Baghdad. Not a place you would remember unless you were kidnapped there.

Fallujah had always been a little different from the rest of Iraq. An American non-governmental organization project manager told me with bewilderment of his meeting with a women's group from the town who shocked him by being more radical than the men. "We must be willing to sacrifice our sons to end the occupation," they told him.

Combining rigid religious conservatism, strong tribal traditions and a fierce loyalty to Saddam Hussein, Fallujah battled five different U.S. commanders who were brought in to tame the wild western province of the country. According to Professor Amazia Baram, an Iraq expert from the University of Haifa and the Washington-based United States Institute of Peace, Saddam found greater loyalty in the 300,000- strong city of Fallujah than he did even in his home town of Tikrit. He never executed Fallujans, though he did kill Tikritis who were his relatives, and Fallujans dominated his security and military services. Their proportion of the intelligence services was the highest in the country. This was already beginning to be the case under the Iraqi monarchy, continuing under the regime of the Arif brothers from 1963-68. The Arifs themselves hailed from Fallujah. After the first Gulf War of 1991, Saddam went to Fallujah, not Tikrit, to declare his victory in "the mother of all battles". He was greeted there with genuine love. Also unlike Tikrit, where the tribes are urbanized, the tribes of Fallujah are concentrated in the rural areas surrounding the city, and thus have not modernized and abandoned tribal mores as much as tribes in other parts of the country.

Situated on a strategic point bridging the Euphrates River in the desert, Fallujah is the center of a fertile region on the outskirts of the desert leading to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria. Its location makes it a smuggling center. After the latest war, Fallujah did not suffer from the same looting seen in other parts of the country, as there was less reason to be hostile to the former regime and its institutions. Saddam had given Fallujah virtual autonomy. The religious and tribal leaders appointed their own civil management council even before US troops arrived. Tribes assumed control of the city's institutions and protected government buildings. Religious leaders, whose authority was respected, exhorted the people to respect the law and maintain order. Local imams urged the public to respect law and order. Tight tribal bonds also helped preserve stability. Trouble with Americans started soon after they arrived, however.

A March 29 protest, coinciding with Saddam's birthday, against the 82nd Airborne Division's occupation of a school turned bloody when U.S. Soldiers killed 17 protesters and killed three more in a follow-up protest two days later. A cycle of attacks and retaliation had begun, with the Fallujah-based resistance increasing in sophistication and successive U.S. units throwing their might upon the city in futile efforts to pacify it. Finally, on March 31, four American contractors were killed and mutilated. This was an Iraqi tradition called sahel, a word unique to Iraqi Arabic, meaning the act of lynching. It originally meant dragging a body down the street with an animal or vehicle, but eventually grew to mean any sort of public killing. Iraqis have a history of imposing sahel, even on their leaders, as the former royal family learned.

The slayings of the American mercenaries provoked a Stalingrad-like response by the Americans called Operation Vigilant Resolve. After a month-long siege of Fallujah, during which U.S. forces battered the city in pursuit of about 2,000 armed fighters, the United States received an offer from a coalition of former generals, tribal leaders and religious leaders. The Americans described it as a success but Fallujans were clear that they had liberated their city. The arrangement struck with the Americans was simple: Leave us alone or we will fight you. The details of the agreement went largely unpublished, but the U.S., which only a week before had vowed to take the city by force, had agreed that General Jassim Muhamad Saleh, a former Republican Guard commander, would establish what has been called both the Fallujah Brigade and the Fallujah Protection Army (FPA). After the U.S.-trained Iraqi army had mutinied, refusing to fight in Fallujah on the grounds that they had joined to defend Iraq, not kill Iraqis, General Jassim and his supporters approached marine commander Lieutenant-General James Conway and offered salvation. "It got to the point that we thought there were no options that would preclude an attack," Conway said. Lieutenant-Colonel Brennan Byrne described it as "an Iraqi solition to an Iraqi problem". They would crown General Jassim as warlord of Fallujah. "The plan is that the whole of Fallujah will be under the control of the FPA," Byrne said.

One senior US official explained to the Washington Post on May 19, "What we're trying to do is extricate ourselves from Fallujah." But Brigadier-General Mark Kimmitt, deputy commander of operations for the coalition, maintained that marines were not "withdrawing" but were rather "repositioning" and would remain "in and around Fallujah". I saw no marines inside the city and I was told by Fallujah police and soldiers that they would shoot at Americans if they came in, contradicting a statement by the commander of U.S. military operations in the Middle East, General John Abizaid, who said, "We want the marines to have freedom of maneuver along with the Iraqi security forces." Kimmitt insisted, "The coalition objectives remain unchanged, to eliminate armed groups, collect and positively control all heavy weapons, and turn over foreign fighters and disarm anti-Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah." I found no evidence of such policy. Though Kimmitt claimed General Jassim and his 1st Battalion of the Fallujah Brigade would subdue the resistance and foreign fighters, I found the general beholden to the mujahideen leaders, seeking their approval, collaborating with them, and under their command; quite the opposite of Kimmitt's claim that "the battalion will function as a subordinate command under the operational control of the First Marine Expeditionary Force". And though Jassim was to have been replaced by General Muhamad Latif over allegations of war crimes committed during Jassim's repression of the 1991 post-Gulf War uprising, I found Jassim still in "command".

April was the worst month for the U.S.-led occupation, which fought a two front war in the Sunni Triangle as well as against the Army of the Mahdi, a militia controlled by radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, in Baghdad's Shi'ite neighborhoods and the Shi'ite south of the country. Fallujah had become a rallying cry for Iraq, uniting its antagonistic Sunni and Shi'ite communities against the occupation, and solidifying the bonds between their militias, creating a popular resistance in Iraq for the first time. After their Fallujah siege, during which all ceasefire attempts had failed, the marines began their withdrawal from the city on April 30. Obstinate resistance fighters who rejected the ceasefire terms killed two marines with a roadside bomb that day, trying unsuccessfully to provoke the marines to violate the accord, and the US withdrawal went ahead as planned. U.S. marines described their May 10 half-hour incursion into the city as the first of the new joint patrols they would make with the Fallujah Brigade, but Fallujans described it as the last time Americans would be allowed to enter their city. There have been no further U.S. patrols in Fallujah.

On the main street of Fallujah, once called Habbaniya Street but renamed Sheikh Ahmad Yassin Street in honor of the Hamas leader killed by the Israelis, laborers with scarves protecting their faces from the dust gather to be picked up for day jobs. It was these angry, unemployed young men, armed with their shovels and pipes, who dismembered the four contractors after the mujahideen had ambushed their vehicles. Young boys sell bananas and Kleenex boxes. The boys serve as an early-warning system for the city, notifying the fighters if they spot foreigners. Fair-skinned journalists told me of hiding low in their cars to avoid arousing attention, only to have the Kleenex boys spot them and shout "American! American!" At a major road intersection, anti-American graffiti in English are scrawled on the walls as a warning to U.S. Soldiers.

The boys gathered around me and the laborers removed their kafiyas from their faces to talk. They witnessed the attack on the contractors, they said, describing how the two cars had stopped at a red light and the mujahideen opened fire on them from other vehicles. The rear car was hit and the front car sped off and made a U-turn, but it too was hit. A mujahid shouted: "I avenged my brother who was killed by the Americans!," and the assailants left. An angry mob on the street mutilated the bodies, burning them and beating them with pipes until they were partially dismembered, a gruesome scene captured on film. I asked one Kleenex salesboy if he had done it. "I would even pull Bush down the street!" he smiled. A laborer said, "God and the mujahideen gave us victory. It will spread to all of Iraq and all the way to Jerusalem."

The bodies were dragged about a kilometer and a half to the old Fallujah bridge and hung from it. Blackwater, the company that employed the four Americans, later claimed they had been held at a roadblock, but in the films of the attack that I watched on promotional jihad compact discs (CDs) sold in Fallujah, there was no roadblock, and it is unlikely that any Blackwater employees ever returned to Fallujah to investigate. According to a U.S. Army major familiar with the events, the murder and mutilation of Americans three kilometers from a U.S. base provoked the marines into taking premature action. "The result on marine operations was that the marines were forced to respond to the incident and thus were not able to choose the timing or location for their operations," he said. "In other words, they had to attack Fallujah immediately, as opposed to being able to go with their original highly publicized plan of putting platoon-sized elements living with the people, using minimal force combined with a visible maximum presence and developing intelligence portfolios to allow targeted action as opposed to blunt, broad-spectrum action that has had the predictable results of pissing off a lot of Iraqis while being a focal point for nation-wide resistance elements."

He blamed Blackwater's mercenaries who, in Afghanistan, had almost gotten into firefights with U.S. troops. "Cowboys," he said. "Their reputation is not good ... basically they are good at shooting guns but do not have a reputation for people with brains or situational awareness. This comes from some friends that worked with them in Afghanistan. My guess is that they did not coordinate their move with the marines in the area [who probably had no idea they were in Fallujah]. The ones who were killed were driving in the city with no crew-served weapons or anybody riding top cover outside of an SUV. That is really stupid. Basically a bunch of high-paid dumb-ass special-forces types who wanted to get in a firefight because they thought they were bulletproof."

Near the old bridge where the charred bodies were strung up is the Julan neighborhood on the northwestern border of the town. I found the neighborhood's people sorting through the rubble of their destroyed homes, flattened as if by an earthquake. AC-130 gunships, attack helicopters, and even fighter planes had pummeled the neighborhood where mujahideen held out. I found one man standing in the center of an immense crater that had been his home, his children playing on piles of bricks. Another man sat collapsed in despair in front of the gate leading to his home that had been crushed as if by a giant foot. He played with his worry beads indolently. One by one the men of the neighborhood asked me to photograph the damage U.S. marines had inflicted upon them. As I was doing so a white sedan pulled up and two men covering their faces with checkered scarves emerged, demanding to know my identity. They were afraid of spies, they told me. I convinced them I was just a journalist and they escorted me to a mosque whose tower had collapsed from a U.S. attack. In the still-seething Julan neighborhood, fighters were bitter about the compromise reached with the Americans that ended the fighting, and threatened to kill the leaders who had negotiated and approved the settlement.

Down the railroad tracks on the eastern edge of Fallujah, the Askari neighborhood suffered a similar fate, its homes eaten by U.S. bullets and shells. It is here that U.S. troops man the Fallujah checkpoint alongside Fallujan Soldiers, some wearing the uniforms of the former army. Dozens of cars line up there to wind slowly around barricades and be searched for weapons and foreign fighters. My driver resented the hour-long wait and took the back roads into Fallujah, through a moonscape of sand dunes, past abandoned cement factories with cranes frozen atop like skeletons. Fallujah is a center for cross-border smuggling in Iraq and apart from the patronage it received from Saddam, smuggling was the primary revenue earner. As long as Fallujah's businessmen are permitted to continue their smuggling activities, the town will remain quiescent. Trails carved out of the desert lead into the town from every direction, and the main road is ignored by those who know. On my way out we drove past a lot in the desert where a dozen rusted trucks were parked, with Hebrew writing on them and Israeli license plates, probably stolen in Israel and sold in Jordan. No Soldiers or marines regulated traffic in the area, I noticed, as we bumped our way over the dunes.

Fallujah's lawlessness was actually threatening the economy by obstructing the essential traffic coming in through Jordan. Iraqi friends who had driven the western roads described seeing thousands of mujahideen manning checkpoints made of concrete blocks and logs in the middle of the road and demanding identification cards at gunpoint, searching for foreigners. For the month of April, they had managed to take over the west. They had not been killed or disarmed, so there is no reason to think they cannot do it again.

Referring to Iraq's Highway 10, a former American marine currently working very closely in a civilian capacity with the marine commanders in Fallujah explained to me, "Fallujah sits on a major artery between Baghdad and the rest of the world. There is no fucking way we will let them stand in our path. We're trying to rebuild the country. Fallujah is in the way. We will be moving massive amounts of people and material in the region. We would have been using the western route a lot more if it was safe." I asked him who was in control of Fallujah. "I can tell you who is not in control," he said. "The marines." He told me of kidnapping incidents he knew about. "People disappear into the hole of Fallujah," he said. "The mujahideen control the city." He was suspicious of anointed warlord General Jassim's ability to control the city, telling me, "I don't trust Jassim or the Fallujah model." He was convinced that the status quo in Fallujah would have to be corrected. "The situation will change," he said. "We should have never gone inside the city. This is not a marine corps mission. The marines are a mobile, self- sustainable fighting force. The marine corps doesn't do occupation. We would kick ass shutting borders. The corps does short displays of massive power. The marine corps goes into violent situations, kicks ass and then lets the Army handle things. The marine corps cannot handle logistics or stay long." The planned handover of sovereignty to the Iraqis on June 30 would not reduce the need to reassert control over Fallujah, he said, adding, "What will be gone after June 30? A three-letter acronym and some Bush flunkies and third- stringers."

The marines rely on private companies to supply them with their arms, food, water and all other essential materiel, from Baghdad, Jordan and Turkey. Companies use their own private armies composed of former intelligence and army servicemen to protect the convoys that support the marines in the entire west. They too are vulnerable to the mujahideen. Forgotten is the importance of the Habaniya airbase, also called Al Taqaddum, 80km west of Baghdad. Seized by allied special forces even before the war itself began, it was the main Iraqi airbase outside the former "no-fly zone" imposed after the 1991 Gulf War. It remains essential to support the 25,000 marines occupying western Iraq. The lines of communication, or LOCs, that much of the occupation and economy depend on are thus vulnerable to interdiction, passing through inhabited and agricultural areas that provide cover for the resistance.

U.S. marines conducted their last patrol into Fallujah on May 10. It was a hasty affair. A convoy drove up to the headquarters of the new Fallujah military force for a brief meeting and left. The mood was festive on the streets. Thousands of residents came out for a carnival-like victory celebration. Fighters carrying their weapons piled on to pickup trucks and shot into the air, songs were sung and a sheep was slaughtered on the street. Men queued to sign up for a newly formed military unit, collecting the forms from an Iraqi officer wearing the uniform of the disbanded Republican Guard, seated behind a desk.

A marine colonel responsible for civil-affairs operations in Fallujah admitted to me that he had no role in the negotiations that led to the settlement and knew nothing about them. He and his men were not even permitted to enter the city. Though marine commanders had claimed they would conduct joint patrols with local forces in the city, since May 10 the marines have stayed away. The colonel admitted to me that he did not even know who was in charge of Fallujah.

Brigadier-General Kimmitt had announced: "We have to win this war in Fallujah one neighborhood at a time. We're going to do it on our terms, on our timeline, and it will be overwhelming." But General Mattis and his men, escorted by the new Fallujah Brigade for their own protection, had barely been able to penetrate the city. After their safe exit from Fallujah after that last incursion, and after Iraqi forces had raised their own flag - not the new one issued by the Iraqi Governing Council - over the eastern checkpoint, Mattis concluded with a speech: "My fine young Sailors and marines, sometimes history is made in small, dusty places like this. Today was good history because we did not get into a fight. Not a shot was fired. We did not come here to fight these people, we came here to free them." He had forgotten all his demands, including the handover of heavy weapons, the men who killed the four American contractors, and any foreign fighters. The commander of the most powerful fighting unit in the world was satisfied, according to the Associated Press (AP), with the mere fact that "nobody shoots", and that "any day that there is no shooting it is good". On April 20, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had warned: "Thugs and assassins and former Saddam henchmen will not be allowed to carve out portions of that city and to oppose peace and freedom."

The police, civil-defense corps and Fallujah Bigade, all ostensibly under final U.S. authority, told me they would attack Americans should they enter. Although the well-dressed General Muhamad Latif was said to be in control, and General Jassim dismissed, the men of the Fallujah Brigade were still commanded by Jassim, it was to him they gave their allegiance and it was to him the town leaders came to discuss plans for the new army. Jassim's men were not arresting the mujahideen. Their ranks included mujahideen. The general himself was beholden to the mujahideen leaders, seeking their approval, collaborating with them, and under their command. The police were afraid of mujahideen units who were terrorizing them and civilians.

If Fallujah was quiet now, it was in part because mujahideen leaders had left the city. Some had sought refuge in Baghdad's Aamriya district, home to Sunni radicals and adjoining the resistance center of Abu Ghraib. Residents of Aamriya told me that after the entrance of mujahideen from Fallujah into their neighborhood, attacks against Americans there had ceased in order to avoid provoking the Americans and revealing their identities. Mujahideen in Fallujah, eyeing the surrounding villages where there tribes were based, and the nearby city of Ramadi, expected similar battles to occur there, leading to the liberation of more territory and a country governed by the resistance. They had been planning for this at least since February. Leaflets had been circulated by "the Army of Muhamad", instructing people what to do when the Americans left. Meanwhile, a group called the Mujahideen Brigades circulated leaflets in Baghdad urging people to stay home because "your mujahideen brothers in Ramadi, Khalidiyah, and Fallujah will bring the fire of the resistance to the capital Baghdad, and support our mujahideen brothers in the Army of the Mahdi in liberating you from the injustice of the occupation. Forewarned is forearmed." Other leaflets circulating in Fallujah after the accord condemned the leaders who negotiated it for weakening the resistance.

Should the Fallujah model be applied elsewhere in the Sunni Triangle, it is clear that radical Sunnis in alliance with former Ba'athist officers would seize control - a warlord with a cleric legitimizing him in every city. Within Fallujah, some neighborhoods were still controlled by irredentist mujahideen, bitter at the ceasefire that betrayed their cause. They were threatening the very radical leaders who had tenuous control of the city, condemning their moderation. With no clear leader, the people of Fallujah were worried about internal power struggles turning bloody.

So could the Fallujah model be applied elsewhere? And should it? Supporters of armed resistance to the occupation had assisted the fight in Fallujah, providing food and medicine and smuggling weapons in with the aid that was trucked in from the Mother of All Battles Mosque in Baghdad's Ghazaliya district. Now Fallujan leaders were supporting Muqtada al-Sadr's Shi'ite fighters in the south, and meeting with leaders from other Sunni parts of the country.

Leaving aside virtually independent Kurdistan, which has been ruled by two U.S.-supported benevolent warlords for 14 years, there are no military figures who could command legitimate authority in the Shi'ite neighborhoods of Baghdad and the the Shi'ite south. There are only religious leaders such as Muqtada and the network of clerics and gangs he controls. This would be ceding the country to Khomeinist thugs who would impose the strictest form of Islam, meting out religiously inspired death sentences like the Taliban. Abdel Aziz al- Hakim of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq, Ahmad Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress and interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi all command armies, but have no significant popular support. Journalists are already asking for written guarantees from militia leaders in Karbala and Najaf in order to operate while Americans desperately search for a suitable local leader to impose his own order. And if U.S. troops cannot deal with the mujahideen, how will the inchoate Iraqi regime?

Members of the former governing council have already voiced their displeasure. Governing council spokesman Haydar Ahmad told the Arabic news network al-Arabiya on May 2 that the Ministry of Defense had not been consulted prior to the formation of the Fallujah Brigade, adding, "The tragedy of Fallujah cannot be ended by forming a force without consulting the authority in this country." Erstwhile U.S. ally Chalabi, interviewed by alJazeera on May 3, said that "the issue is that those who carried arms and the terrorists who fight against the new situation in Iraq are from the Ba'athists and the remnants of Saddam's regime. They should not be given legitimacy to control any area in Iraq by force." Chalabi compared the solution in Fallujah to returning control of Germany to the Nazis, adding that "The terrorists are free in the secured haven of Falluja." Chalabi and two other governing council members, Muhammad Bahr al-Ulum and Adil Abdel Mahdi, had co-signed a statement supporting the Iraqi defense minister's rejection of what they termed "the Republican Guard brigade" in Fallujah as part of the new Iraqi army. A spokesman for leading moderate Shi'ite cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani objected that "members of the Ba'ath Party committed the worst crimes and made bloodbaths and the biggest mass graves in the history of humanity". The number of armies in the country is only increasing, and unless the United States wants an Iraq of warlord-controlled, radical Islamic fiefdoms like it has in Afghanistan, Fallujah looks like a model for disaster.

By Rod Nordland
Updated: 7:58 p.m. ET April 02, 2004

April 1 - It's tempting to try to explain away the horror of the corpse-kicking crowd in Fallujah. The town is a special case, says this reasoning. A longtime Baathist stronghold, during Saddam's regime it was a sort of company town for his Mukhabarat, the secret police, in which young men served apprenticeships in torturing, snitching and assassinating. And during the opening days of the war, a misplaced bomb destroyed the family home of a prominent tribal leader, killing him and 16 members of his family. Some claim Sheik Malik had been a secret friend of the Americans, but now his huge tribe, the Yarba, are sworn to revenge.

Another factor: in the first weeks of the U.S.-led occupation, a demonstration went wild and ended up with American Soldiers from the 82d Airborne shooting 15 protesters dead in the streets. In this tribal Sunni Triangle town, that meant dozens more close relatives sworn to revenge. Then the U.S.'s first marine expeditionary Unit took over a few weeks ago, with much fanfare from its officers, who announced they were going to show their Army predecessors how to run a hearts-and-minds campaign. But they had hardly unpacked their rucksacks when another demonstration went wild, shots were fired from the crowd and five locals were killed plus an Arab cameraman for ABC-TV and a U.S. marine.

So it would be tempting to say that Fallujah hardly typifies this war, but it would be wrong. Certainly there are few communities where anti-American sentiment is as widespread as in Fallujah. But the savagery and utter abandonment of any sort of civilized conduct, so amply demonstrated on the streets of the city Wednesday, is actually pretty typical of the way the opposition has chosen to fight its war against American occupation everywhere else, as well. Wednesday's attack itself was hardly the worst thing we've seen; in fact, since the victims had been armed, attacking them was arguably within the rules of war. Many of the attacks we've seen in just the past 10 days were clearly not; the victims often were attacked merely because they were civilians, many of them not even from Coalition countries. They included two Finnish businessmen, a German and a Dutchman, four missionaries working on a water project and a Time magazine translator. It's become increasingly clear that any foreigner, and anyone working even remotely with foreigners, has become what the opposition regards as fair game, armed, or not. Attacks on Iraqis have been if possible even more savage, and divorced from any possible justification. Suicide bombs and ambushes of Iraqi policemen, who have now lost more men than the occupation forces, are one thing; the Americans chose and trained them. But the Shia who were slaughtered by teams of suicide bombers during the Ashoura festival in Karbala last month were doing nothing more than peacefully exercising their religious beliefs something denied them under Saddam's Sunni rule.

So we should really not be too surprised at what happened in the streets of Fallujah; it's perfectly in character. In other places, the opposition doesn't have the numbers and widespread support they do in Fallujah; but they have the same vicious streak. After four men with AK-47s ambushed the two unarmored vehicles, firing into them until they were sure the occupants were all dead, they immediately left the scene. Then the crowd took over. The victims' cars were set afire, and their bodies pulled from them and set upon, kicked, dragged, stoned, hacked at and beaten with metal poles. A 10-year-old boy chanting slogans for Saddam stomped on the face of one of the corpses, while his elders danced around encouraging him. Several men took up shovels and dismembered a couple of the victims. Pieces were cut off and strung up on poles. They were tied to a pickup truck, to a small car and to a donkey, and dragged through the streets in the center of Fallujah, where two of the bodies were hoisted onto a bridge and hung there, for passersby to abuse the bodies further. There's even one account, impossible to verify, that one of the victims was still alive when set afire. Those who couldn't get to the bodies themselves stoned and pounded on the destroyed vehicles. When police recovered the bodies many hours later, they could only find threethe fourth either stolen, or destroyed beyond any recognition as human remains.

Coaliltion spokesmen tried to depict that as the work of a small minority, even in Fallujah. "The cowards and ghouls who acted yesterday represent the worst of society," said Coalition spokesman Dan Senor today. Unfortunately, in Fallujah, they represent most of the society.

What is surprising is that four American contractors would have put themselves into such a vulnerable situation, in such a well-known trouble spot. The victims apparently worked for Blackwater Security Consulting, a North Carolina-based security company that specializes in close-protection VIP details and has the high-profile, no-bid contract to provide bodyguards for L. Paul Bremer III, the U.S. civilian administrator. U.S. officials have released little detail about why they were in Fallujah, except to say they were guarding food convoys into the area. Not only does that sound improbable, but there was no sign of any trucks being escorted by them at the time. However, Iraqi eyewitnesses interviewed on the street in Fallujah today say the two SUVs carrying the four victims were actually part of a four-vehicle convoy but that the two other SUVs managed to escape after the attack. Standard operating procedure for close-protection details is to put the people they're protecting into more expensive and less maneuverable armored cars, and then follow in soft-skinned cars with the shooters. But U.S. officials insist there were only two cars. The incident is inexplicably mysterious, even two days later. Witnesses in Fallujah insisted that one of the four victims, all of whom had been armed with sidearms and long weapons, was a woman, described as fair-skinned, red-headed and dressed in a military uniform. Military spokesmen, however, described all four as men. When did it happen, even? Witnesses say 11 a.m. or noon on Wednesday, Iraqi police say 9 or 10 a.m. and Coalition spokesmen say about 8 a.m. And why did the marines, who have troops stationed on the outskirts of Fallujah, fail to respond to the scene, either during or after the attackat least not as of late this afternoon, 30 hours after the incident?

Vietnam combat veteran Ben Works writes in his essay; "Iraq: Damned If You Dont"

"In war, as in all political undertakings, you face the Calvinist Dilemma and will get damned if you do and damned if you dont. In wartime in particular though, when you do, you are more damned by political rivals and human rights activists, and your campaign tends to turn out well. But its those things that you dont that will cause reversals, casualties and even defeats. In Iraq, we mounted a brilliant campaign with enough heavy and light forces to do the job of toppling Saddam right, but did not retain enough Iraqis in uniform, in order to restore security and clean up the rubble, at wars end. One thing you need after the war is what my drill sergeants called all asses and elbows with shovels, wheelbarrows and also on guard duty, to get things going again.

Let us look at the twin insurrections in the Sunni Triangle north and west of Baghdad, and the companion insurrection mounted, as a putsch, by the narcissistic junior Shia cleric Muktada al-Sadr.

First, why now? Well, the U.S. was rotating troops around Falluja and the marines were taking over the territory from the 82nd Airborne. And it was the first anniversary of the fall of Baghdad. And the marines were coming in with not quite enough fire power which consists of armor, not light infantry.

In the south, the would-be charismatist, al-Sadr, calculated that while our forces were distracted with the Sunni rising, he could pull offa Muslim version of Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch and rouse the masses. And his al-Mahdi militia did achieve success in the opening hours by targeting Shiite towns in the zones of our less experienced allies Ukranians, Poles and the Spanish.

But in Sadr City, a sprawling Shiite suburban borough of Baghdad with two million souls thought to be the seat of Muktadas power, they challenged the U.S. directly and failed spectacularly. A single brigade of the 1st Armored Division, using its Abrams tanks and Bradley armored infantry carriers smashed the uprising before nightfall, the first day and the police never abandoned their stations in the face of the mobs and militiamen. And let us specify that there are almost seven times as many people in Sadr City as are in Falluja.

In contrast, the marines have very few Abrams tanks and no Bradleys. They have some light armor but those vehicles are highly vulnerable to Iraqi rocket propelled grenades (RPGs)"

Mr. Works contrasts that the marines at that time had still not taken Fallujah...

"...in the eleven days of fighting around Falluja and Ramadi, but if they had an armored task force at their disposal, they, too, could have broken the back of the insurrection on Day 1.

The key in both insurrections is that the rebels know the coalition forces are slow to react when police stations come under attack. Our forces as much fear ambushes laid for relief forces as anything. But to Iraqi cops, this slow reaction gives them every reason to be less than aggressive in fulfilling their duties when a crisis is on and a Fallujah police station had been attacked a few weeks ago, leaving about 25 cops dead before U.S. forces reacted.

A Paradox: It is a paradox of war that if you put on a heavy show of force, you will only have to use that force swiftly and with less collateral damage, as the 1st Armoreds brigade demonstrated in Sadr City. But if you use light forces to try to put on a show of force, the enemy will perceive your vulnerability and force you into using a heavy application of violent force to achieve your aim, where your battlefield advantage in weapons and vehicles is marginal, as at Falluja.

...it is the Heavies who can crush an insurrection before it achieves critical mass, while dismounted infantry in the open, immediately has to go on a defensive posture, when it comes up against determined resistance.

So the Heavies turned al-Sadrs ill-conceived putsch into a mere Nine Days Wonder, while the marines still have a serious fight on their hands. As late as today, though, Sadrs militia, around Kufa, were still trying to mix it up with coalition forces.

I have a print entitled A Friendly Power in Egypt showing a red-coated British Army band marching through the soukh of Cairo, putting on a show, about 1895 or so. The finesse of armed power is to put on an appropriate show of force, in order to avoid having to apply that force. Power is as much about finesse as it is about blunt force."


Why We Get It Wrong

By William S. Lind

One of the few consistencies of the war in Iraq is America's ability to make the wrong choices. From starting the war in the first place through outlawing the Baath and sending the Iraqi army home to assaulting Fallujah and declaring war on Shiite militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr, we repeatedly get it wrong. Such consistency raises a question: can we identify a single factor that consistently leads us in the wrong direction?

I think we can. That is not to say other factors are not also in play. But one wrong notion does appear to underlie many of our blunders. That is the belief that in this war, the U.S. military is the strongest player.

We hear this at every level from the rifle squad to the White House. In Fallujah, marine privates and sergeants want to finish the job of taking the city, with no doubt whatsoever that they can. In Baghdad, spokesmen for the CPA regularly trumpet the line that no Iraqi fighters can hope to stand up to the U.S. military. Washington casts a broader net, boasting that the American military can defeat any enemy, anywhere. The bragging and self-congratulation reach the point where, as Oscar Wilde might have said, it is worse than untrue; it is in bad taste.

In fact, in Iraq and in Fourth Generation war elsewhere, we are the weaker party. The most important reason this is so is time.

For every other party, the distinguishing characteristic of the American intervention force is that it, and it alone, will go away. At some point, sooner or later, we will go home. Everyone else stays, because they live there.

This has many implications, none of them good from our perspective. Local allies know they will at some time face their local enemies without us there to support them. French collaborators with the Germans, and there were many, can tell us what happens then. Local enemies know they can outlast us. Neutrals make their calculations on the same basis; as my neighbor back in Cleveland said, one of Arabs' few military virtues is that they are always on the winning side.

All our technology, all our training, all our superiority in techniques (like being able to hit what we shoot at) put together are less powerful than the fact that time is against us. More, we tend to accelerate the time disadvantage. American election cycles play a role here; clearly, that is what lies behind the June 30 deadline for handing Iraq over to some kind of Iraqi government. So does a central feature of American culture, the desire for quick results and "closure." Whether we are talking about wars or diets, Americans want action now and results fast. In places like Fallujah, that leads us to prefer assaults to talks. Our opponents, in contrast, have all the time in the world - and in the next world for that matter.

Time is not the only factor that renders us the weaker party. So does our lack of understanding of local cultures and languages. So also do our reliance on massive firepower, our dependence on a secure logistics train (we are now experiencing that vulnerability in Iraq, where our supply lines are being cut), our insistence on living apart from and much better than the local population. But time still overshadows all of these. Worse, we can do nothing about it, unless, like the Romans, we plan to stay for three hundred years.

Until we accept the counterintuitive fact that in Fourth Generation interventions we are and always will be the weaker party, our decisions will continue to be consistently wrong. The decisions will be wrong because the assumption that lies behind them is wrong. We will remain trapped by our own false pride.

What if we do come to understand our own inherent weakness in places like Iraq? Might we then come up with some more productive approaches? Well, the Byzantines might have something to teach us on that score. Greek fire notwithstanding, what kept the Eastern Roman Empire alive for a thousand years after Rome fell was knowing how to play weak hands brilliantly.

William S. Lind is Director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation


Has anyone noticed that the marines have violated their own "Small Wars Manual" on a consistent basis?

An awful lot of marine officers and NCOs have written some great stuff about COIN and 4th GW. We just assumed the marines were doing more than writing about it. It appears to be quite an illusion. Their CAP scheme went up in flames in Fallujah. When you talk smack and drive around in vulnerable HMMWV trucks, what do you expect from a better equipped enemy with AKMs and RPGs? An invitation to tea?

A commentator writes in:

"It's as bad as we thought; marines got their asses kicked. Just watched Nightline. An embedded reporter with the marines talked to the host about Fallujah. It's as bad as we thought. 43 killed, so we can judge that at about 215 wounded. That's 258 casualties or about a company destroyed. One third of the bn was gone. He said, 'the marines were not prepared for the level of violence or coordination.' Then he says, 'they were operating in three man groups and just melted away.' We have a complete misunderstanding of how they fight and why. All that hope I had tonight is gone. It's going to get worse because the Sunni in Fallujah, and just about every other Iraqi, thinks they won."



marines Cultivate Iraqi Sources, but Reap Little

U.S. forces and a local couple hoped each could help the other. But the latter feared retribution

FALLOUJA, Iraq It was a roadside debate involving an Iraqi couple and four marines.

It won't merit a footnote in the history of U.S. forces' struggle with the insurgents who hold much of this city in their grip. But their interaction clearly demonstrated the difficulties marines are having in persuading Iraqis to help them.

"He's not working out like I thought he would," said Lt. Michael Scott, 26, of Boston, his voice redolent of disappointment.

The story began early Friday morning, when an Iraqi man, followed dutifully by his wife, approached Scott for help crossing marine checkpoints that were restricting the flow of traffic into Fallouja.

The 50ish man said he needed to drive his pickup truck into town to help relatives and bring back food to his family in the farming village of Saqlawiya. He smiled and gave the impression he wanted to help the Americans, if they would help him.

Scott agreed and hastily scribbled a note allowing the man to pass through the checkpoints. Scott hoped that in return, the man would provide information about insurgents hiding in the countryside and smuggling weapons and fighters into the city.

Each day, the U.S. launches unmanned surveillance planes to gather information on the movements of insurgents. Telephone calls are intercepted. Leaflets and public announcements beseech Iraqis to provide information.

But that is not enough.

"Until you get some human intelligence, you really can't get anywhere" in stopping the insurgents, Scott said.

Once the man and his wife had entered the city in their battered, bullet-pocked 1985 pickup truck, Scott returned to the marine outpost here. Hoping to ingratiate himself with the couple and their relatives, he gathered a large quantity of food and, organizing a convoy, headed toward the couple's home deep in the farm belt that encircles much of Fallouja.

The foliage on the rutted roads is thick, and the possibility of ambush is ever present. The marines have nicknamed the region "the Vietnam area."

Scott's convoy arrived in late afternoon, before the couple returned home, and began dispensing food to at least three dozen children and several adults: bags of rice, candy, biscuits, a tub of onions, canned goods, an enormous sack of sunflower seeds, potatoes and more. The children tussled happily for the candy as marines threw handfuls into the air.

But one of the adults, speaking to a marine interpreter, pleaded with them to leave, lest opponents of the occupation learn of their visit and take retribution.

A young girl began crying and flailing her arms. The marines left.

Then a call came through on the radio: The man and his wife, while on their way home, had been wounded in an attack several miles away. Their truck had also been shot up and, despite their injuries, they were trying to walk back to the village before the nightly curfew.

Both had been hit by shrapnel, the woman in her arms, the man in his back. Blood soaked his white garments. Both had been treated by Navy medics.

Scott rerouted his convoy to the site and greeted the man. His wife was weeping and shaking her head. The man was distraught. He said that he had been hit by American fire and that his truck, which he needed to support his seven daughters and three sons, was ruined.

Scott and the other marines struggled to explain through an interpreter that the shrapnel must have come from an insurgent's mortar round. The effort failed.

"He's got it stuck in his head that if he gets shot, it has to be an American," one marine said.

Scott offered to replace the truck with one that had been confiscated from insurgents. The man refused. To take a truck from the marines would mark him as a friend of the Americans, and he and his family could be killed, he said.

The man, however, wanted his truck towed to his farm. But the marines said they could not do so because it had been abandoned in an area thick with insurgents.

The man said he would instead accept money and quoted a price in dinars that translated into upwards of $5,000. Too much, Scott and the others said.

Scott, however, sought to bargain, telling the man that the marines wanted to help him but had to be helped in return.

The man shook his head, his eyes misting. He showed them his mangled foot, an injury he had received long ago while serving in the Iraqi army.

"I don't want to help either side, the U.S. or the others; both will shoot me," the man said.

As his wife's sobs grew louder, the debate continued in a circular fashion: money, truck, responsibility. Scott persisted in trying to enlist his support. Warplanes buzzed overhead.

"Tell him that unless he and his neighbors work with us, we cannot make progress for Iraq," Scott said.

The response was immediate and needed no translation: No, no, no.

In the end, nothing was resolved. The man and his wife accepted a ride toward their village: close enough to walk home but far away enough that neighbors would not see them accepting even that amount of aid from the Americans.

Even the most open-minded of marines is closed-mined: the John Poole Mentality

LTC John Poole USMC (R)'s Tactical Self-Help Web Site:


Andy MacDougall poses the question about prolific reformer, John Poole's tactical soundness, which always offers heroic, romantic light infantry as a panacea to all ground battlefield problems. Why can't we have good light infantry + light tracked armored fighting vehicles? Why can't we have good, decentralized people who maximize light, foot infantry capabilities WITH (+) equipment without the egotism and narrow-mindedness? Who says arrogance, narcisissim and anti-equipment mentalities have to go hand-in-hand with human empowerment? Can't we discover human capabilities without it going to our heads? For all of Poole's talk about being open-minded, he is singularly closed-minded to anything except light infantry being the center stage in every operation and anti-armored vehicle in general. His beloved marines are dying in Iraq in vulnerable HMMWV trucks and on foot when they need lots of tracked tanks regardless of what inspired light infantry tactics they are using. There are limits to what tactics and techniques can do, if it were not so we would fight the enemy naked. Why can't we have smart people AND capable equipment? War is not about validating one's manhood; its about being the most EFFECTIVE you can be so you can prevail over your enemies (ie; WIN).

marines in MOUT, things just never change

"I've been reading John Poole's book 'Phantom Soldier' and in chapter 12 he describes the VC/NVA defense of Hue. While the VC/NVA were very good urban operators for sure, he seems to want to talk about it as a 'horror story' when it seems nothing of the sort. The marines - and like his seeming friend Will Lind - are all he wants to talk about and that's fine if that is what he wants. But this 'horror story' would be nothing of the kind if the marines at Hue only had some actual quantities of armor it seems to me. The VC/NVA set up some nasty interlocking fields of fire that cut down many marines - thus the 'horror story' - making their progress very slow while the Army took back Saigon and, if my memory is any good, relieved Hue with tanks and [M113 Gavin] ACAVs without nearly as much bloodshed on their part or slowness as the marines seem to have been. Frankly, Mr. Poole's description of the marine tankers, few as they were, wasn't terribly inspiring either. They would seem to hide just as readily as the infantry at the first sign of heavy small arms fire or an RPG. Damn, if that's the case, why in the fu*k do you have a tank in the first place??!! Also the few-n-far-between marine tanks never seemed to know how to operate together. One example is a 'phase line green' in Hue that was along a well covered-by-fire street and the marines wouldn't(what I really suspect)/couldn't(what Poole says) cross it even though they seemed to have some armor present. I immediately thought 'get a whole platoon of tanks over here and march them in column to block the side of the road where the fire is coming from - if the other side too then have another tank platoon for it - and have them array for all-around fire of the main/coax guns and fire off smoke grenades when you halt in the middle of the road and make sure the TC's hatch is open and he gives his word of honor he's going to use his MG AMAP when he goes forward - and to make sure inform all the TCs that the first coward or hatch-closer will recieve some field discipline from my M1911 - and then have the marines cross the road from behind the armor'. The marines couldn't cross the fricken road for 3 or 4 days because they apparently couldn't think of this! HELLO!! Anybody home in that steel-pot??!! Knock-knock ... hell-low??!! The worst part is this is way to eerily similar to Fullujah."

Andy is 100% right and today marines have LESS TANKS than they had at Hue city and no 106mm recoilless rifles.

U.S. ARMY FIRST INTO BAGHDAD; marines stopped by the enemy for 2 weeks; marine commander fired: priceless

A decorated combat veteran writes:

"Well, here are four more dead marines because of the culture in the marine Corps is that "we're not buying anything until we can buy the Osprey." This is the second CH-46 the marines have lost in Iraq and the last one was carrying 12 British SBS marines PLUS the crew of 4 on it. This is the same hardheaded attitude the Corps put on about buying the "Stoner 63" before Vietnam. If the Corps couldn't have the Stoner, it wasn't going to buy anything. Well, the Stoner finally flunked its field trials because if you needed a heavy MG barrel it was 60 yards away and if you needed a light MG barrel it was 50 yards in the other direction and the entire thing ended up being a goat fucking. Consequently the marines finally got M-16s under the cover of darkness about six months after they got to Vietnam. What they knew of them they learned from the instruction manual.

Conversely, the Army bought the M-16 early and the 1st Brigade (Separate) of the 101st Airborne Division I was with and the 173rd Airborne Brigade got to spend a week on the ranges with them before we went to Vietnam. We learned on the ranges that the magazine spring was weak and would only pick up the top round if the magazine had 18 rounds or less, we learned that the bolt usually did not seat and learned to bump the bolt seating device on the back of the handle with the heel of our hand anytime we changed magazines. I never saw an M-16 jam, hang or malfunction in any way. The only ones who seemed to be killed with jammed rifles in their hands were the ones who got them at night off the back a truck with a book of instructions that were wrong and never got to fire them on the ranges before the NVA came calling.

The Corps is showing the same foresight now with the 1964 model CH-46s. They should have been retired 20+ years ago. In fact, the maximum loads have been decreased three or four times because of their fatigue. I understand why the marines want to wait on the Osprey but it won't fly. The chances are that it will NEVER fly. You know, I'd like to be a neurosurgeon but I'm a little light on the science needed so it's probably not going to happen. I'll just have to see the doctor downtown if I need a neurosurgeon. The marines need helicopters. The UH-60 is a proven bird that is in production that can be delivered now. The marines need to see the Blackhawk salesmen before they kill all of their marines plus a goodly number of the Brits' Special Boat Squads men."


Big News Network.com Tuesday 20th May, 2003

A U.S. marine CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter has crashed near Kerbala in Iraq Monday, Department of Defense officials have confirmed.

All four marine Corps crew on board were killed.

The crash, about 70 miles southwest of Baghdad is believed to have been an accident.

The CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters were first procured in 1964 to meet the medium-lift requirements of the marine Corps, in all combat and peacetime environments. The Navy Sea Knight fleet is scheduled to be replaced by September 2004 with the MH-60S Knighthawk.

The helicopters are used by the marine corps to provide all-weather, day-or-night assault transport of combat troops, supplies and equipment. Troop assault is the primary function and the movement of supplies and equipment is secondary. Additional tasks include combat support, search and rescue, support for forward refueling and rearming points, aeromedic evacuation of casualties from the field, and recovery of aircraft and personnel.


Marine recruit dies after rash spreads
The Associated Press
Published 6:15 p.m. PST Sunday, December 15, 2002

SAN DIEGO(AP) - An 18-year-old marine corps recruit from Greenfield died Sunday after seeking treatment for an ankle rash. Private Miguel Zavala, who had completed 23 training days, went to the marine corps recruit depot branch medical clinic for treatment of a rash on his left ankle.

The rash spread to the rest of his body and Zavala was taken to the Naval Medical Center San Diego, where he died at 1:01 p.m., MCRD spokesman Lt. Mike Friel said.

The cause of death is under investigation and pending the results of an autopsy.

Nearly 100 marine recruits hit by strep A
By Brian Hazle

December 15, 2002

Nearly 100 marines have been hospitalized with a potentially life-threatening form of streptococcus infections, a Navy spokesman said yesterday. Three of the marines were in the intensive care unit last night and 61 others were quarantined in a ward at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego to prevent the illness from spreading.

The marines, stationed at the marine corps recruit depot, became sick Wednesday with streptococcus A, a bacterium commonly found in the throat and on the skin. It was unclear whether any officers were among the ill or if all of the sick were in the same unit. Ninety-six marines have been treated since the outbreak, Navy spokesman Doug Sayers said. Last night Sayers said the cause of the outbreak was under investigation.

"We are looking at it," Sayers said. "This kind of thing is pretty typical when you have people in close proximity 24 hours a day." Group A streptococcus, or group A strep, can cause anything from mild skin and throat irritations to life-threatening conditions, such as scarlet fever and pneumonia.

In the most serious cases, strep A can lead to necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease that attacks deep layers of tissue. Sayers said infectious disease specialists would test nearly 5,000 recruits and staff members at the depot today and treat them with antibiotics. "What we are trying to do is dampen the spread," he said.

Symptoms, usually visible within three days of exposure, depend upon the severity of the illness. Strep throat causes swollen lymph glands, severe sore throat, and fever while the skin infection causes red sores.

Scarlet fever can cause all the symptoms of strep throat plus a red rashes on neck, chest and thighs.

Sayers said it appears the outbreak is unrelated to the death Thursday of a marine private who collapsed with chest pain after water survival training.

Cause of Marine's death not yet known
Wisconsin recruit was training in pool
By Jeanette Steele

December 14, 2002

A 19-year-old marine recruit died Thursday after survival training at a base swimming pool, officials at marine Corps Recruit Depot said yesterday. Pvt. Samuel J. Bruss of Kenosha, Wis., is the second San Diego-based recruit to die after training since late last month. He had exited the pool and reported chest pains to a nearby medical corpsman just before 2:30 p.m.

Despite emergency care on the base and at UCSD Medical Center, Bruss died at 3:45 p.m. A Marine official said there is no indication yet as to the cause of death. Bruss had no known health problems and was an avid outdoorsman, said his uncle, Jim Jansen, in Wisconsin.

"He was extremely active, not so much with traditional sports of football and basketball, but all-terrain sports and volleyball," Jansen said. "That's part of the reason for the (family's) shock. . . . Everyone's reaching out for answers."

An autopsy and an investigation are planned, officials said. Bruss was in the third phase of water-survival classes, during which marines learn to float while weighted down with gear.

They start dressed in camouflage fatigues and add packs, boots, weapons and helmets as the training progresses, said 1st Lt. Mike Friel of the recruit depot. The training is conducted in an Olympic-size swimming pool heated to about 80 degrees, he said. Jansen said his nephew was a good swimmer and that his parents have an outdoor pool at their home.

Bruss is the sixth marine recruit in San Diego to die during or resulting from training since 1995.

Most of the others collapsed during training runs or obstacle-course work. The cause of death for Pvt. Neal Edwards, 18, who died Nov. 23 after completing a base obstacle course, is still unknown, Friel said.

Toxicology reports from the autopsy are not finished. Recruits undergo at least one physical examination before they enter boot camp, Friel said. Bruss is survived by his parents, two sisters and an older brother who is a Marine serving in Bahrain.

A base official said Bruss was a promising marine. "I can tell you that recruit Bruss was doing well in his training," said Lt. Col. William Walsh, recruit regiment executive officer. "He worked hard, was dedicated and would have made a fine U.S. marine."

4 marines reassigned in shooting death from war games: Blank ammunition supposed to be used

By Jeanette Steele
November 21, 2002

CAMP PENDLETON Four marines have been reassigned and face possible discipline in the accidental shooting death of a marine during urban combat training Aug. 28, officials said yesterday.

Besides citing human error, an investigation found that systemic problems with how ammunition is handled in the field contributed to the fatal incident.

Officials said none of the marines the platoon commander, platoon sergeant, a team leader and the shooter has been charged yet. The investigation report released yesterday said they have been referred to their commander for discipline that could range from a reprimand to a general court-martial.

The report said Sgt. Cody Ottley, a Force Reconnaissance member, accidentally picked up a 30-round magazine of live ammunition from his gear before the mock-city urban training exercise. Blank cartridges were supposed to have been used.

Ottley then fired four bullets into Pfc. Jeremy Purcell, 19, of Provo, Utah, who was playing the enemy in the exercise. The .556-caliber rounds [Editor: 5.56mm is correct metric measurement not caliber] from an M-4 rifle pierced the body-armor vest Purcell was wearing.

Investigators said Ottley was negligent for not checking his ammunition, but also concluded that inadequate safety procedures at the base's 1st Special Operations Training Group contributed in the case.

"The investigation reveals failures in practice and procedure that when coupled with human error produced the death of a fine young marine," Lt. Gen. Michael Hagee said in a letter accepting the report.

Hagee was commander of the 1st marine expeditionary force at Pendleton until Friday, when he left to become marine corps commandant.

The other marines named in the investigation were Capt. Andrew Horne, Gunnery Sgt. Richard Kerkering and Staff Sgt. Chad Chalkey. They were present that day, and as supervisors they share responsibility for the accident, an official said.

The four marines have been removed from the 1st Force Reconnaissance Company platoon, which is scheduled to leave in December or January for a six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf.

Marine officials said the investigation, led by Maj. Gen. Keith Stalder, deputy expeditionary force commander, has resulted in several procedural changes:

* marines no longer will keep leftover ammunition after a training segment ends and before another one begins.

* live and blank ammunition will be better segregated.

* marines no longer will undertake live-and blank-ammunition exercises on the same day.

* More range safety officers may be added.

"We're confident we've minimized the risk as much as humanly possible," said Col. William Durrett, senior staff judge advocate.

Marines said the ammunition issue may be unique to special operations groups, such as Force Reconnaissance, because their high level of training has allowed less oversight by supervisors.


Too bad J.S. Farnam's article in the upcoming January 03 SOF wasn't able to prevent this.

This is EXACTLY the kind of incident that makes senior officers unwilling to trust subordinates with live ammo--setting the stage for terrorists to kill us easily like in the Beirut and the USS Cole. Senior officers generally do not want to empower subordinates anyway in the current DoD culture, this strengthens their hand to further digitize to micromanage platforms so they do NOT have to rely on human based MANEUVER but steer firepower bombardment instead.

What I don't understand is how he could fire 4 x 5.56mm rounds if he was firing blanks he should have had a blank firing adaptor (BFA) on the muzzle end---first round should have blown up the barrel, right?

Ms. Steele writes us:

I didn't go into this detail in the story, because of space restrictions, but Ottley fired a total of six bullets. The first one blew off the blank firing apparatus and the flash suppressor. The second hit the wall, and the following four went into Ottley.

Best regards,

Jen Steele, staff writer
The San Diego Union-Tribune

U.S. Army adopts the world's best Army Combat Uniform (ACU), marine egomaniacs whine and complain revealing their selfish narcissism for FORM when FUNCTION to defend our nation should come first

Notice the infuriating lies that slipped by in the Army Times article; that marines invented Close Air Support.

Army General Billy Mitchell "invented" CAS for U.S. forces in World I in 1918 long before marines had their asses kicked by Sandino in Nicaragua trying to effect some kind of CAS. Then in WWII, the best CAS was done by the Army in conjunction with P-47s and ground FACs in ETO.

Oh, I forgot!


The U.S. Army fought and defeated the most dangerous enemy to the U.S. (ability to develop atomic weapons only narrowly averted), the Germans not the USMC.

A few more comments. Notice how the marines are claiming the Army "copied" them.

Everyone knows that the Army has been using similar uniform mods since WW II. Also notice the inane remarks at the end of the article irt the new Army BDU. Quite frankly, the marines do not have the best BDU, the Army does and guys from the ICE shop at MARCORSYSCOM have admitted this fact to me. They say that the MCCUU is a compromise uniform and that there are things they would like to do with it.

"Envy" is exactly the word here most people confuse it with jealousy. Envy is destructive animosity to tear down and destroy another person or persons not a desire to copy-cat. The USMC attitude is sickening and destructive.

Issue Date: July 19, 2004

Uniform envy

The Army's new cammies look a lot like marine utilities - but with a few changes for the better

By Christian Lowe
Times staff writer

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Maybe it's OK for the Army to latch onto something uniquely marine as the "every marine a rifleman" credo or to lift the marine Air Ground Task Force concept for its brigades.

That's already happening, but at least those are issues the guys in the head shed have to deal with.

But now it seems they want to look like marines.

The Army announced in June its plans for a new combat uniform, doing away with the old-style woodland cammies - which Soldiers know as their "Battle Dress Uniform" - once and for all.

The replacement uniform? A pixel-pattern, slant-pocket, wash-and-wear uniform and brown rough-side-out boots. Sound familiar?

At first glance, they're awfully similar to the marine corps "digital cammies" that debuted in January 2002 as a uniform unique among the four services.

The uniform was the brainchild of then-Commandant Gen. James Jones, who recognized that setting marines apart in battle would bolster esprit de corps among leathernecks and perhaps strike fear in the hearts of the enemy. Jones knew that during operations in Somalia, for example, enemy forces recognized the marines by the way they rolled the sleeves of their utilities.

But now the Army has jumped on the bandwagon. The Soldiers' updated blouse, trousers and boots feature many of the same refinements found on the marine uniform.

Shoulder pockets, knee- and elbow-pad pouches, roomier pants, wash-and-wear finish - seems like the Army adopted the Corps' cammies out of whole cloth, right?

Not exactly. From the looks of it, the Army took the marine design and tried to improve on it. Could the Army have designed the ultimate combat uniform? In at least some cases, the Army's changes are pretty sharp.

New threads got a jump-start

Initially, the Army wasn't planning to follow the corps' lead. The service was working on a more advanced combat uniform that could incorporate cold-weather layers and protection against exposure to contaminants from nuclear, biological or chemical weapons - a much more high-tech solution that was more than a few years away.

But after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld appointed Gen. Peter Schoomaker to be the Army's new top officer a year ago, the search for new threads got a jump-start.

In October, Schoomaker told reporters he wanted to foster a warrior ethos in Soldiers. "Everybody in the United States Army's gotta be a Soldier first," he said, explaining that artillerymen in Iraq, for example, are running missions that are normally the purview of military policemen or grunts. "Everybody's a rifleman first," the former special operations commander reiterated.

Along with that philosophy change came more focus on the practical side of war fighting - and the push for a new "Advanced Combat Uniform" began.

What emerged was a pair of utilities that mate a Soldier's needs with modern technology.

"It's a warrior's uniform; it's a uniform designed by Soldiers for Soldiers," said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston, the service's top enlisted man.

Gone are the days of using an iron and starch - the new Army cammies are wash-and-wear. New sleeve pockets and slanted chest pockets will sound familiar to the pixel-patterned leatherneck.

The pants feature many of the same improvements of the Corps' digital duds, with reinforced knee patches that accommodate slip-in pads, more functional cargo pockets and a roomier fit.

"The goal was not to change the look of the Army," said Army Lt. Col. Dave Anderson, one of the new uniform's chief developers. "The goal was to find a more functional uniform."

Funny, but the new camouflage pattern makes Soldiers look a lot like marines.

Army chooses a pixel pattern

The Army examined about a dozen camouflage patterns to replace the woodland pattern and the tricolor desert cammies. Several schemes were evaluated and rejected in favor of a pixel pattern similar to the one that the Corps adopted.

The pixel pattern hadn't been considered at the outset, but garnered particular interest from rank-and-file soldiers who responded to an informal poll conducted by Army Times in December 2002. The marine corps pattern finished second among the 12 patterns. Army officials briefly considered, but rejected, the possibility of adopting the marine corps pattern straight away.

Soldiers may have saved themselves a lot of time and effort with that decision. The marine pattern features tiny Marine Corps emblems throughout the fabric and corps officials were quick to copyright the scheme. However, they apparently were at least willing to share the idea.

After Jones' tenure as commandant, he went on to serve as Supreme Allied Commander Europe and head of U.S. European Command. Reached for comment via e-mail on July 8, he said the notion that the Army might be taking something away from a uniquely marine look didn't faze him.

"I have not seen the Army's new look yet, but when we designed our new uniform we wanted to share the fabric technology with the other services because it saves so much money in upkeep," Jones said. "The marine corps has a patent on the marine uniform, and it is up to the Commandant to decide what, if anything, needs to be done to protect the idea."

Fortunately, the Army's final pattern choice is no carbon copy. It's a digital pattern, sure, but the color scheme is very different, one intended to serve on any battlefield. The marine corps chose two schemes that incorporate virtually the same colors present in the old woodland and desert utilities, but the Army took a hard right turn, opting for a more muted combination of gray, tan and green.

[Egomaniacs whine, boast]

But try telling that to a marine. The colors may be different, but leathernecks are possessive about their pixels.

"We try to separate ourselves, and they do the same thing," said Gunnery Sgt. Kelly Norman, a radio chief serving at Quantico, Va.

Yet the Army's color change may have one-upped the Corps. The color black is conspicuously absent from the Army color scheme. Developers say the color draws the eye more than it distracts.

And at least one marine who teaches basic field-craft firmly agrees.

"The color black does not occur in nature," said Gunnery Sgt. Jason Urban, a tactics instructor with Officer Candidates School at Quantico, as he taught officer candidates how to apply camouflage paint on their faces. "So just throw that tube of black paint away," he added.

Whether the lack of black will make a difference remains to be seen, as only a few Soldiers have test-driven the new uniform. But for the corps' part, officials with marine corps systems command at Quantico say the "limited" amount of black worked well during testing, and the color scheme is here to stay.

By and large, marines have worn the desert version of the new cammies in combat operations, and scuttlebutt from the field indicates that the desert scheme - which has no black speckles at all - works well. It does the job in both urban and rural environments in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to some marines, and is nearly invisible at night when viewed through night vision goggles.

A flashy uniform

Like other Army uniforms, this one is flashy, with a few more bells and whistles than the marine corps cammies.

On the blouse, the chest pockets are more radically slanted to allow easier access while wearing body armor. The arm pockets are larger than those on the Corps' cammies and feature a built-in infrared marker tab for combat identification; pen loops are included on the wrist area of the left sleeve. All patches and name tapes attach with Velcro so they can be easily removed or changed.

The blouse also features a two-way zippered closure concealed by a flap with Velcro, doing away with buttons. The new "Mandarin" collar can be worn folded down, or can be worn up and wrapped around the neck to guard against chafing from body armor or to keep debris and brass from falling into the jacket. (It looks a lot like the collar on a dress blue blouse.)

Meanwhile, external trouser adjusters are out, replaced by an internal waist drawstring. The two thigh-area cargo pockets are slanted and expandable, closing with a Velcro flap and drawstring. The pants also have a pocket at each calf, enough to stash a couple chem-light sticks or an extra rifle magazine.

The calf pocket drew a favorable review from a CH-46 Sea Knight pilot, Maj. Vincent Ciuccoli, which stands to reason because the Army adapted the pocket from its helicopter aviator uniform.

[Another egomaniac rants]

But one marine scoffed at the extras.

"They have a drawstring waist, so they're doctors' scrubs," said Gunnery Sgt. Ruben Velez, a marine security guard instructor at Quantico.

[Boo-Hoo! They took our status symbol when FUNCTION as a life-support rescue belt should come first]

"And I see they've got a rigger's-style belt, which is what we do," Velez said. "Except ours stands for something." Once a favored but unauthorized item for most marines, the rigger-style belt is now the external symbol of a marine's progression through the martial-arts training ranks.

All Soldiers will be required to wear the cammies, which carry a price tag of $88 a set, by December 2007.

[Egomaniacs can't admit they are wrong]

Despite the calls of copycat thrown the Army's way by leathernecks getting their first look at the nouveau digital threads, they're still confident the Corps' uniform is the best there is.

And some things will never change, Velez said.

"They always gotta do something to look better than us," he said, rolling his eyes. "Every service does their own thing to show off."

Matthew Cox and C. Mark Brinkley contributed to this report. Cox covers the Army.


How they're different

The pattern and features are similar, but the Army made some subtle changes - and improvements - over the Corps' new cammies. There may be changes in the works, based on feedback from soldiers, but for now the differences include:

Calf pocket

Another Army-unique addition: Two storage pockets with Velcro closures - one on each pant leg.

Mandarin collar

It doesn't look all that different from the marine uniform's collar - that is, until you turn it up and close the flap. It's meant to protect the neck from chafing while wearing body armor - and it looks a lot like your dress blue jacket's collar.

Zipper front

The Corps stuck with buttons, but the Army uniform has a zippered front, concealed by a flap with Velcro closures.

Rank insignia

Taking a page from the way rank insignia are worn on body armor - center-mass on the jacket, the insignia go in a similar place on the new Army uniform blouse.

Name tapes

Like the marine uniform, the new Army duds feature slant pockets, but Soldiers will still wear their name tapes parallel with the deck. Those tapes, which will feature a Velcro backing, will be a solid olive color.

Tactical flag

Thanks to a recent change in policy, Soldiers now wear an American flag patch on their cammies even outside a combat zone. When in a war zone, Soldiers will wear a Velcro-backed "tactical" flag - in muted colors - with infrared properties for night identification.

Infrared tab

In an Army-unique feature, the new uniform includes a permanently attached friend-or-foe identification square on each shoulder pocket. A Velcro cover can be folded over the tab to protect and conceal it when not in use.


Where marines still use buttons, the Army went with Velcro sleeve closures.

Drawstring waist

The corps replaced the two size-adjustment tabs on the old cammies with two elastic-gathered areas. But soldiers will instead have a drawstring waistband.

Cargo pocket

Like the waistband, the new marine utilities feature elastic gathers on the cargo pockets, with button-closure flaps. The Army uniform uses an elastic drawstring instead of the elastic gathers, and the flap has Velcro closures.


A combat vet replies:

"I agree -- the bithering in this article is nothing more than egotistical childish sniveling.

What a total FRIGGIN' surprise -- the UNITED STATES Army and the UNITED STATES marine corps have both decided to replace the 1970's tech BDU with a 21st Century improvement, just as they both replaced their fatigues with BDUs, etc. You mean that 2 gorund services in teh same Armed Forces might actually come up with SIMILAR ideas on how best to clothe grunts? Shocking. . .

Anyone remember my particular biggest gripes with the USMC MARCAM uniform?

1. marines now looked radically different than other U.S. forces, increasing the risk of Blue-on-Blue fire (apparently unimportant to the USMC - groupthink and tribalism is more important than minimizing U.S. casualties).

2. marines then made sure that NO ONE else could easily use their new uniforms (complicating joint logistics and exacerbating problem #1) by incorporating the USMC logo into the pattern and taking a patent on it -- so any other service wishing to use that pattern would first have to obtain a license from 8th & I, and then redigitize it to remove the logo. (Great teamwork, guys! And here all along, I thought we all saluted the same flag! You live and you learn. . . )

Now, a bunch of whining babies are upset that the U.S. Army figured, if they had to completely redo the pattern anyway, they might as well just make sure they get the best uniform they can design -- stealing good ideas from anyone (in other words, aggressively pursue the mission).

Army personnel have been calling for the rough-out brown boot since DBU boots were first issued -- and we used to ask why the OD jungle boot wasn't standard issue before that. The USMC babies didn't have any problems "stealing" that idea from U.S. Army press releases (back in 1990-'92, the Army was already publicly saying it would probably drop the black shiny boot for a brown rough-out in the next uniform). Army personnel have been calling for sleeve pockets for at least 20 years -- and if you look at old photos, they've been MAKING sleeve pockets in combat zones since at least 1965!!! Before the MARCAM uniform came out, Soldiers have been saying the cargo pockets needed elastic and the breast pockets needed to be slanted since the 1980's (at least). And the Army didn't have any problems with the USMC adopting any of these improvements. . . because we were told that we all work for the same boss -- the people and Constitution of the United States.

I always thought the people who gave the USMC "culture" a bad rap for being more focused on good PR than warfighting were full of crap.

I see how wrong I was. . . that's the best argument I've heard yet for revoking USMC's Congressional immunity and disbanding them, to be replaced by six Regimental Combat Teams of Airborne/Light Mech (ACR sized, but Infantry roots and emphasis rather than Cavalry), two Air Cav Brigades, and a couple of USAF Tac Air wings. At least they could be speedily inserted, while minimizing BS rivalry. Turn naval facilities protection over to the Coast Guard, and let them stand in pretty uniforms at the White House -- the USCG is supposed to be the original Homeland Defense force, anyway. The US Army can handle embassy protection, and it has a pretty blue uniform, just like the USMC.

After all, _WHO_ landed in Normandy in 1944? Do we really need an dedicated amphibious assault branch that thinks this kind of barbarian territorialism is useful?


Note these are failures of the Mc or amphibious equivalents not another part of a joint operation failing. For example the Airborne took and held the bridges leading up to the Rhine river over Arnhem, it was tank-infantry XXX Armored Corps that failed to reach them that hurt Operation Market-Garden in 1944. For all the bragging marines are fond of doing about themselves, the FACTS are that the U.S. Army actually did MORE amphibious landings in WWII than the Mc did, gaining more ground at less casualties because THEY FIGURED OUT HOW TO DO IT BETTER! The U.S. Army was the first to land Airborne troops BEHIND beach defenses, using vertical envelopment tactics. On D-Day, 2 x U.S. Army Airborne Divisions, the 82nd Airborne and 101st dropped in total darkness behind the planned Utah beachhead miles deep in enemy-controlled territory. When morning came, and the troops landed only 12 died thanks to the Airborne pinning down the enemy's reinforcements and smashing his command and control. The 82nd Airborne had freed the first French town from the combined-arms German Army, at St. Mere-Eglise. The 101st took out enemy artillery positions and the town of Carentan. Where there were no Airborne landings, at Omaha Beach casualties were extremely heavy exactly like a Mcstyle frontalist approach seen earlier at Tarawa. Watch the HBO mini-series "Band of Brothers" or Stephen Ambrose's book by the same name and learn about what "E" Company, of the 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division did in WWII.

U.S. Army Soldiers, not marines did the lion's share of the amphibious landings and fighting/dying in WWII, a point lost in today's re-writing of history by Mcpropagandists and fawning teenage wannabes

In the Pacific, General MacArthur did a fantastic job of combining-arms to achieve "tri-phibious" operational maneuver (decades before Bill Lind had to shame the Mc into nominally accepting "maneuver warfare" in the 1980s), gaining far more ground from the Japanese than the glorified Navy/Mc led blood bath in the Central Pacific. And it all is a result from THINKING, actually studying war and employing the operational art, admitting to problems and SOLVING them not making up propaganda stories and excuses blaming the other services or any convenient scapegoat. Look at the map below, it doesn't take a "rocket scientist" to see that the U.S. Army under MacArthur took far more territory from the Japanese at less cost in American lives than the Navy/Mc. In fact, what the Mc did only came at the help of the U.S. ARMY. The Mc in typical brag-about itself-BS-fashion took a tiny point and then made it into a big lie. While landing unopposed at Guadalcanal, they began to foist the lie that they were the ones who secured the victory, when the truth was they couldn't even hold onto their perimeter without U.S. ARMY help, and conked out and left it up to the U.S. ARMY TO DEFEAT the Japanese completely from the island.


"The early stages of the campaign were dominated by Navy-Marine components of the interservice team. But as the battle continued, Army units assumed the burden of interservice coordination and, in the end, secured the American victory on the ground."

So Guadalcanal as a mc victory is a LIE.

You then study the Central Pacific campaigns, and even there THE U.S. ARMY is taking on over half the work. When the Mc does Tarawa its a botched blood bath of 3,301 casualties! By raiding and not TAKING Makin island, they alerted the enemy and the U.S. Army's 27th Infantry Division pays for it.

Tarawa another Mc LIE.

NOTHING that the Mc did in WWII was done by themselves of any significance, it was only done "jointly" with the U.S. Army. Yet you'd never realize this reading Mcdistorted histories or being told BS trash-the-other-service tales while at enlisted MCRD or officer TBS! Hell no! The uninformed citizen actually thinks the loud-mouthed, distort-the-record-constantly-to-have-something-to-brag about marines did it all. What a travesty to all the U.S. Army Soldiers that died in the Pacific war just so the American people would be willfully lied to by the mc propaganda machine.

"Later the commander of the V Amphibious Corps would declare that Tarawa, with its 'terrible loss of life,' had 'no particular strategic importance',"

Basically 1,000 marines died beause the Navy/Mc team wasn't smart enough to execute maneuver warfare like MacArthur was doing in the SouthWest Pacific and BYPASS enemy strongpoints and cut them off from their supplies to get rid of them. No glory and medals in that..or body bags, either.

When you read the OBJECTIVE U. S. Army histories there is always "lessons learned" and mistakes identified and corrected, not this flaunting and bragging one reads in Mc propagandist documents. For example "lessons learned" created the DUKW amphibious truck. A U.S. Army invention enabled them to rapidly resupply from ship-to-shore, driving directly to the troops inland vital supplies of ammunition, food and water. The war was almost over before the Mc employed them. Remember the the DD amphibious Sherman tank? U.S. Army armor units used them to give battle-winning fire support on Omaha Beach, and to drive deep inland on Utah Beach. Or the C-47? Or the "T" series of troop parachutes...the M113 Gavin amphibious tracked AFV, the UH-1 "Huey" turbine-engined helicopter still used by the USMC??? How about the HueyCobra attack helicopter? The USMC didn't want the Cobra and tried to stop the U.S. Army from buying them. The USMC didn't even want to ARM their helicopters and had to beg Army Huey gunships to protect them in Vietnam!



Yet today...you'll hear marines eat their chests about how great "their" Cobras are....To show how the U.S. Mc has NOT advanced the state of amphibious warfare, compare the WWII British 79th Armored Division's specialized tanks that could lay mats on beaches for wheeled vehicles to pass, fill in ditches with fascines, lay assault bridging etc. to what the Mc does to get tanks ashore. The Mc does none of these things because as a colonel told me; "Its too hard to get tanks off beaches, so we just don't do it". How convenient? We just will not take tanks on amphibious assaults and make it easier on everyone, including the enemy. You see, the Mc doesn't want to go far inland, now they have a built-in excuse. And this is traditional; the Mc wants to trash talk and get there quickly before there is heavy fighting, then let the U.S. Army do the hard fighting to defeat the enemy. No wonder MacArthur kept the gyrenes out of the SWP area of operations!

The Official U.S. Army History states:

Smokescreens shield Paratroopers as they seize Nadzab airfield bypassing enemy resistance, MacArthur style

U.S. Army road to victory in the Pacific: New Guinea Campaign

"Aircraft, ships, landing craft, ammunition, medicine, equipment-in short, the sinews of war-gradually found their way to MacArthur's fighting men. Still, without flexible senior commanders who adapted their plans to wring full advantage of Japanese weakness, the campaign could have degenerated into a meatgrinder along the coast which is what the enemy wanted.

Instead the speed of MacArthur's seaborne envelopments consistently surprised the Japanese. At the strongpoints where they expected to fight a delaying action, MacArthur bypassed them. Where they were weak, he overwhelmed them. Between Wau and Sansapor 110,000 of the emperor's Soldiers and Sailors died from enemy action, disease, or starvation in the pestilent jungles, the cold mountains, or in the empty seas. Another 30,000 were isolated in New Guinea and neutralized. Add to this the more than 57,000 imperial Soldiers and 39,000 Sailors marooned on New Britain and the totality of Allied victory in the New Guinea Campaign comes into sharp relief.

Victory on the ground depended on local air superiority which enabled the Navy to carry the ground forces safely forward to the next objective. The infantry held the ground and allowed the engineers to construct a forward air base, and the cycle began again. Against this sophisticated employment of combined arms warfare, modern technology, and industrial might, Tokyo asked its hardened veterans to do the impossible. Japanese infantry operations, brave, determined, but futile, were swept aside by Allied joint operations relying on the combined air, naval, and ground firepower essential for the conduct of modern war. MacArthur bypassed the jungle and left it to devour the Japanese Soldiers isolated in its interior.

But above all New Guinea was the story of the courage of the GI who could always be counted on to move forward against a determined foe. It was the ordinary American Soldier who endured the worst deprivations that the debilitating New Guinea climate and terrain could offer. It was the lowly GI who was the brains, the muscle, the blood, and the heart and soul of the great army that came of age in the Southwest Pacific Area in 1943 and 1944. In one tough fight after another, he never lost a battle to the Japanese. Those accomplishments and sacrifices are forever his and deserve to be remembered by all."

The only problem was after WWII ended, the humble ("Before Honor is humility"--so if you are not humble you have no clue what honor is despite McTV recruiting commercials to the contrary) U.S. Army Southwest Pacific vets went home to restart their lives and didn't go around beating their chests with slogans like "once a marine always a marine" and telling everyone how they had won the war all by themselves when the Mc was only fighting less than a quarter of the war against the weakest, most ill equipped opponent. And badly at that--using frontalist tactics. A better slogan, a true one is: "Once a human being, always a human being". Something marine egotists need to relearn.

U.S. Army National Guard troops, not marines lead the way off Omaha Beach in WWII...in case you didn't see "Saving Private Ryan", how many marine EGAs did you see on their uniforms?....none?..wonder why?

The Mc didn't even fight the world-class, combined-arms (tanks-panzers, artillery, engineers, Paratroopers, Waffen-SS, rocket artillery, mortars etc. etc.) German Army in WWII!---the U.S. Army fought and defeated the German Army in WWII, not the Mc. A truth conveniently not mentioned to young people as they are brainwashed with Mc superiority lies at basic training. And only the supreme McEgotist would use a full scale retreat at Chosin in Korea to try to score brownie-ego points today, almost 50 years later! A retreat is still a retreat no matter how good you try to keep your vanity and image up. These come from poor force structure and technotactical leadership and "Eagle, Globe and Anchor" (EGA) stupid machismo didn't then and will not today change the bad result. Just as the "spirit of the bayonet" led millions of men to their deaths in the mud filled trenches of WWI. None of today's baby-boom and gen-X/Y Mc were even there at Chosin resevoir so they have no place to even begin to criticize another service with the smug air that they would have done any better when all they offer as proof is empty boasts and no tactics, techniques, procedures or even ideas of how to do better. A "young punk" is an old-fashioned term for not fully cooked French bread and applies here to this current Mc generation that wants to brag off the exploits of the dead or no-longer-in-the-service, and use then their name as a shield for their current McIncompetence and McCorruption.

After WWI, when the U.S. was woefully unready without planes, tanks, rifles and machine guns Assistant Secretary of War Benedict Crowell said WWI had "upset the previous opinion that adequate military preparedness is largely a question of trained manpower."

Yet, this is EXACTLY the same blow-off, anti-technology BS mindset of today's marine who thinks his machismo is the solution to all battlefield problems. Is it any wonder truck bombs blow up his troop barracks? Or marines have the highest accident/fatality rate of all the services? O, the Mcegotist is soooo quick to brag about the Mc being "first" in recruiting one year, LET HIM OWN UP TO ANOTHER "Mc FIRST", the loss and crash of aircraft in Class "A" accidents and the deaths of servicemen and innocent civilians.

The TRUTH, those that can't handle the truth, the marines

The 20 people who died when their cable car was clipped by a joy-riding Mc EA-6B Prowler crew also has to be a "first" in military, aviation too. If you are going to brag about being "first" let's not stop with mere recruiting! Those figures fluctuate with the times, what happened during Vietnam? O, that has to be a first, too? The first time the Mc had to DRAFT people into its ranks? Where were the "volunteers" then? No, the Mc had to DRAFT people into WWII, too. Hmmm let me see...1775, Tun Tavern, we had to get people DRUNK to create and then join the Mc. Compare this to the seeing, thinking "Minutemen" and founding Fathers who sacrificed their lives, their homes, their reputations to win our independance from England. They chose to fight for freedom, SOBERLY. Again, the Mcdistort-a-histories will not tell you that, either. Their goal is to paint the Mc in the most favorable light at all times, and when they can't hide obvious failures they make up elaborate excuses blaming everyone BUT the Mc as an institution or its leaders. The Mc can do no wrong. Its god.

When the WWII SW Pacific vets do talk, its not what you may think:

Interviewer: "Well maybe we should move to Morotai because you took part in the invasion of Morotai."

WWII Vet: "Yeah. Yeah we were in the first waves, and during that time in an invasion craft right next to mine-- it was just one of those, what was it?, LCPs-- it was MacArthur standing up there with his bright gold bayonet. He wasn't worried worth a darn, and he was leading the troops in there. Later when people said that he was not a good general, I felt that he was."

Interviewer: "So you were glad to see him?"

WWII Vet: "Yeah, yeah. It brought you together, and you knew you had to do some things."

Interviewer: Was that your only contact you ever had with MacArthur, when you saw him?

WWII Vet: "Yeah, yeah. On invasions and things like that. ... It was healthy to have him aboard, but I don't know whether you're aware of the difference in the theaters, the Southwest-Pacific and the Central-Pacific and things like that. Way back at the early part of the war, the marines and everything were together under a unified command, and the marines had been taught to go in on an invasion, but that was the end of it. They went in, and they set up their guns and didn't move in ten feet beyond the beach head. And MacArthur didn't like that. He wanted to order the marines to go in and fight until something, until you accomplish your mission. And since this was not acceptable to the marine commander, he finally ordered all marines out of our theater. And so he had a bunch of people that were very gung-ho that were against him, because he did that to them."

Interviewer: ""So you had no marines in your operation?"

WWII Vet: "No marines at all. It was always just the Army with some ships backing us. ... Our last invasion, we finally had some rockets rather than just gun fire on the first invasion. What we hated basically was we'd go in, and we'd cut in through the jungle with our machetes and felt as if it belonged to us, and then we'd come back and the 5th Air Force would already have their installation there, and it'd be off limits to us. And we felt that we had really worked to get in there, and this wasn't right and things like that. And then the 5th Air Force, every time they were alerted of a Japanese flying or something like that, they'd take off with all their planes so none of their planes would get hurt. And so everybody was anti-5th Air Force".

More Proof of the Mc asleep while on their watch:

1. Loss of Panama Canal, not a single McVoice in protest..but I guess if you are not really interested in amphibious warfare, not being able to transit from one ocean to another would be a built-in excuse not to get there in time to fight, huh?

2. Possible CHICOM control of Panama canal by private enterprise subterfuge

3. Selection of Mercedes-Benz Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) instead of a MIL-SPEC combat vehicle that could be armored for the V-22. I guess if you want to go 4-wheeling in the desert at 29 Palms, why not get paid to do it?

4. Satellite targeting and ASM destruction of ALL surface ships from space. Yet we still throw BILLIONS down the drain on building amphib ships that provide pork barrel to keep politicians re-elected, though in a shooting war might get our men inscribed in a monument of the dead at city hall. We are not even building amphibs as fast as the old ones are scrapped, thus amphib warfare means are dying while the 172,000 man/woman payroll of the mc stands fast. Can't get them to the fight, but they are there in "readiness". Right.

5. Elimination of ANGLICO units to control naval gunfire, what little there is.

6. Where are the battleships? Is HQMC willing to cough up 4,000 man-slots and insist 2 x Iowa class battleships are manned? Why should they? They are not "forced entry" troops for the warfighting regional CINCs as a MCCDC Captain just wrote me. We do not have to be concerned about a few rogue enemy Soldiers with small arms and RPGs, what can they do to an unarmored LCAC hovercraft that is going to land "where they ain't"??? As if the enemy doesn't have cell phones and radios, and doesn't buy satellite imagery from the commercial space market. But landing in the middle of nowhere to guard a base is perfect win-win situation for gyrenes: no fighting and ability to brag endlessly.

7. Why should marines care about this? They could be in the gym pumping muscles and getting tattoos so they can pick up chicks, perhaps putting those dress uniforms to use? They are marines, marines don't have to be humble and hard working studying the modern battlefield! All that technical stuff is for weak, flabby people, what matters is being fanatical and tough, we have never been beaten! (Wake island? Koh Tang? Helicopter valley? Khe Sanh? Desert One?) I suppose if the Ethiopians in WWII were "tougher" they would have used their spears more effectively and defeated the Italians who were firing rifles and machine guns at them?

The real tragedy is that young men killed by pagan barracks rituals, the suicides, those with their lives ruined with a "RE-4" re-entry code just because they choose to not re-enlist and move on in their lives numbers in the THOUSANDS. They remain silent because they do not want to be labelled as "losers" etc. because the public thinks anything the Mc does is ok or looked the other way because it pays off in war. Well, as you can now see this is a lie. It does NOT pay off in war. Stupid in war is still stupid in war, and it gets men killed. "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall". Compare this with "The few, the PROUD, the marines". Doesn't go along, does it? So how can you be expecting to guarding ANYTHING in heaven when you are violating God with the central sin of Satan as stipulated in the Holy Bible? The center in "pride" is "i". There is no "i" in "teamwork", either!

We have shown a direct-link between the modern Mc mentality emanating from its quest in the early part of the 20th Century to be a 2nd land Army, which it perpetuates amongst itself and uses mockery and embellishment via a propaganda "spin" machine to lie, brainwash and trick America's youths to get a sick, weak co-dependancy at the cost of their humanity and grip on a reality. I remember fellow recruits actually crying at boot camp because they "wanted to be a marine" so bad. My goodness, we didn't shoot the most experts in our platoon, what do you expect after being yelled out constantly? Cause and effect. Don't teach men how to UNDERSTAND what they are doing, you reap the disaster. So with this web page as a rallying point, we call on the thousands of marines who have been wronged by the Mc to come forward and tell their story and demand the Mc return to selfless American, not egotistical pagan values. Below is a story of one such MARINE (he deserves all caps) who stood up against the BS and retained his humanity. As WWII combat vet, Anton Myrer concluded in "Once an Eagle", if you have to choose------be a GOOD HUMAN BEING!

MC Horror story #1

"Dear Sir,

My name is XXXX XXXXXX, and I joined the marines (age 28) in Sept. 95 after serving in the Navy for five years and two years of college. I must admit that I found their commercials appealing, and I've always wondered if I had what it took to be one of the few. That was the dumbest thing I've ever done. I ended up getting physically and mentally abused from my D.I.s at Parris Island, and I traded my manhood for the coveted EGA. What a trade! After having graduated from P.I., MCT, and Air Traffic Control School (ON TIME), I was sent to Miramar NAS in June 1996. My NCOIC got carried away with bossing me around and intimidating me because (I believe) I was ex-Navy. He ended up having a "shrink" counselor come down from El Toro MCAS to evaluate my substandard performance. I didn't know her credentials, but I felt I was speaking to her in confidence. She was trying to get to bottom of my frustation and I vented to her that "every time GySgt. XXXXXX took advantage of my dignity and my manhood by bitching at me like 2 year old, that I felt like knocking him on his ass." I was taken to offce hours/ NJP for communicating a verbal threat. They were made aware prior to NJP that I simply shared priviledged information to the counselor, which was venting only.

I ended up requesting a court martial, which ended with the charges being dropped against me. Maybe because I paid a civilian lawyer a $2,000 retainer to defend me. I was cautioned that even though my innocence was absolved that I was still in the marines with the reputation for going against my command.

I was told, after that whole ordeal, that I was to return back into the lion's den at the ATC tower. When I told them that I wanted a transfer to another base, I was told that this was my only option. I refused, and they tried to have my FAA liscence revoked (saying I was incompetent and too imature), and I was put on working crews, along with criminals, doing various base clean ups at Miramar and Camp Pendelton until I started making trouble for them. Incedentally, the FAA would'nt revoke my liscence on the count that I was'nt incompetent at doing ATC and that my staff didn't have enough proof that I had a problem.

I decided that my career was over, and I retaliated by calling my congressman and the IG's office to document situations and remarks predicated by the Mc. When It got them in trouble, they cut me loose in March 98. I recieved an honorable discharge for weight control failure.

My experience with the Mc has left me jaded while enlightened. I would love to go on a crusade against the Mc, educating Mc wanna-bees about the facts they're about to encounter. They'll probably ignore me anyway, but if I could help you in any capacity to motivate/ influence our government that the Mc's old fashioned and counter productive ways are more work than they're worth, then I feel that my ordeal had a purpose.

My experience with the Mc shows me that this branch of service (trying to justify their budget with numbers "marines") that is constantly in trouble, conflict and upheaval, isn't responsible enough, nor does it deserve to continue it's existance. Plus, I wonder how our tax payers would feel to know how their dollars were waisted on putting me through expensive and critical ATC training, only to be kicked-out after 6 months at a tower because of a GySgt. wanting to play God with his subjects lives/careers.

I have more info to reinforce my statement, if you would like me to mail it to you, feel free to call me. (XXX) XXX-XXXX XXXXXX, XXX You have a good website. Keep on telling the truth.



AMPHIBIOUS FAILURES..Yes, Virginia there is string of Mc failures!

1778? Coast of South Carolina

American War for independance: American National Guardsmen defeated a British amphibious landing in South Carolina

1915 Gallipoli

Commonwealth forces defeated trying to push up from the South of Europe to get at the Axis powers locked in trench warfare...not a bad early Mel Gibson movie for those bored by military professional reading.

1942, August 26th Milne Bay, New Guinea

Australian Guardsmen defeat the crack Japanese 17th Army, victors at the Philipines/Solomons and send them back on their landing craft on September 6th after inflicting heavy losses.

The official U.S. Army history for the Paua campaign reports:

"At Milne Bay the Allies assembled a force of some 7,500 troops, including three companies of U.S. engineers and a battery of U.S. Airborne anti-aircraft artillery. Named Milne Force, this two-brigade concentration took positions around two Allied airfields. On the night of 25-26 August the Japanese landed 1,500 men six miles east of the airfields. Spearheaded by two light tanks, the Japanese mounted night assaults on the 26th and 27th, and reached Airstrip No. 3. Milne Force stiffened its line and then pushed the enemy into a general retreat. On 4 September the Japanese called in the Navy for evacuation. In this first Allied ground victory-and first significant American action in Papua-Milne Force killed 600 of the enemy, while losing 322 dead and 200 wounded."

1942 August 19th Dieppe, France

The Allies try to take a defended port and get shot up severely. They learn that tanks need specialized versions to enable obstacles to be crossed so foot slogging troops have fire support and don't get shot to pieces and Airborne troops landed BEHIND the beaches to stop enemy reinforcements--something we ignored at Tarawa Mcbeach a year later in 1943...and lost 1000+ men KIA, 2017 WIA, and in 1944 at Omaha beach were we also lost 1000 men, while the Commonwealth forces learned from Dieppe and at Sword, Gold and Juno beaches on D-Day landed with specialized armor that moved rapidly inland with light casualties. Behind Utah beach, the 82d Airborne and 101st Airborne Divisions jumped in and stopped all German counter-attacks, resulting in just 12 U.S. casualties during the amphibious landings. The British had the 6th Airborne division secure their flanks and hold bridges ahead for them over the Orne River canals and landed in good order. Without major naval gunfire support (only 4" destroyer guns) the Dieppe force got slaughtered.

The lesson here is this is EXACTLY what's going to happen today if we try to land and take a defended port because we frittered away our amphibious ships into MEU penny packets and loaded them with road-bound RPG-kill LAV and HMMWV cars to do media friendly evacuations and now will HAVE TO TAKE a heavily defended PORT (can't seize a beachhead) to offload pre-po ships, because we retired the Iowa class battleships with 16" guns and disbanded ANGLICO units to control the fires needed to give an amphibious assault a shred of hope of surviving. Except this time "Dieppe II" will have enemy anti-ship and fiber optic missiles, mines, diesel-electric submarines guided by satellite imagery to annihilate the Mc force "at the water's edge". Good going, marines! The Navy/Mc ARG-MEUs without "top cover" from space are just as as vulnerable as the British warships HMS Repulse and Prince of Wales that were sunk by Japanese planes in the early days of WWII, their smug arrogant commander having an attitude of invincibility refused to replace the aircraft carrier assigned him when it became unavailable with the HMS Hermes. His "traditional" outlook not unlike today's generation of marines. He went down with his ship. While you were bragging at bars, having tattoos put on your bodies and doing PT the world's military developments have passed you by! Wake up, humble up, roll up your sleeves and get busy!

1975 Koh Tang Island, Cambodia

Mc planned and led "heliborne" debacle with foot-slogging gyrenes outgunned by well camouflaged, dug in communist troops. Helicopters shot in flames out of the sky by a STUPID daylight beach landing. Men shot to pieces and bleeding in the sand and the surf and almost over-run had it not been for USAF above the call of duty valor in pulling the marines out of the fire. A retreat not unlike the Japanese at Milne Bay. 10 marines left behind on the island, never found. Do you hear a "thank-you, Air Force"? from marines today? HELL NO! YOU guys call them "fly boys" and other derogatory names. Maybe they should have left everyone there to die..no the Mc propaganda machine would have made it into a "Custer's stand" and given everyone a Medal of Honor....

Point is TODAY the Mc is still foot-slogging from helicopters!

The multi-BILLION DOLLAR tiny V-22 64" high, 62" wide can only carry sexy looking Mercedes Sport Utility Vehicles--trucks (SUVs--Looks like a Suzuki Samarai, and suicidal "samarai" will be what it will be!) that can be turned into a flaming wreck by a mere burst of small arms fire or nearby shell burst. The Mc could have bought a MIL-SPEC 4x4 vehicle that could be armor protected in use by other armies, but if they did that their Research and Development folks wouldn't be able to spend 5-10 years "reinventing the wheel" and keep themselves employed with tax dollars, could they? So much for this myth of a cash-strapped Mc that "frugally selects and maintains" equipment, huh? The ugly truth is that the Mc chooses NOT TO OPERATE ITS VEHICLES so they require less repair parts and appear in a higher state of readiness. The gimmick is to just use a few selected vehicles for daily chores and leave the main body tidy in the motor pool. A simple manifestation of form over substance.

The truth is the Mc is a spoiled, pampered child that America throws BILLIONS towards that sits off shore and does nothing or for the most part stays in CONUS bragging about their superiority as the other services, particularly the U.S. Army--is ON POINT FOR AMERICA keeping the peace and fighting the nation's wars and winning them.

The Mc could have designed the V-22 to at least carry an armored HMMWV or a German Wiesel tracked Armored Fighting Vehicle, but NO! that would take humility to admit one's mistakes in regards to foot-slogging heliborne operations still conducted the same way as they were back in Vietnam, and to strive for excellence! Can't have that! We are marines, we never make mistakes! We'll just take business-as-usual CH-46 foot-slogger troop delivery size and give it some more speed and range. How "revolutionary". NOT.

1980 Desert One

Mc pilots unqualified for Special Operations flying ruin a rescue and kill 8 men in a collision. Where is the Forward Looking InfaRed (FLIR) systems to fly at night? Mc pilots are still just using Night Vision Goggles to fly at night today. Thus, the U.S. Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment does the really difficult missions, and AFSOC the behind enemy lines rescues like the 2 pilots rescued in the Balkans recently without media chest thumping/fan fare that the O'Grady near-disaster got.

1982 Lebanon

After NOT taking commonsense security precautions, erecting anti-vehicular barriers (everyone has known about car bombs for decades in the middle east, except someone who spends more time in front of a mirror nitpicking ribbon measurements on dress blues than studying modern warfare) and dispersing the men, a single suicide truck bomber kills a couple hundred plus and results in the Mc turning tail and reboarding their ships where they have stayed ever since in tiny, combat ineffective MEU sized dwarf battalion packages. Where was the leadership-by-example that would have resigned in protest when untenable positions were occupied and security precautions not taken? Why were security experts like LTCDR Dick Marcinko's offer to radio pre-detonate bombs scorned? People were offering to help and the mc chain of command was not listening. Goes back to Honor---instead of bragging about "Death before dishonor", how about HUMILITY BEFORE DEATH? So you can avoid death and have honor? Isn't accomplishing the mission and bringing your men home alive honorable?

These same units years later sat off the shore of Haiti for weeks and didn't make the leaders there budge an inch. They and the entire world knows empty "saber rattling" when they hear it. So even with a several weeks "head start" to get to the scene, the Mc as structured today scares noone. It took the U.S. Army (note not Mc) Airborne en route to Haiti to make the leaders there give up without a fight, the Airborne's finest hour to that point. Do you hear admiration or praise for the U.S. Army from the Mc egotist's lips as they packaged light tanks and delivered more combat power with less strategic lift and got it there to the scene faster? Or dropping into Panama in the middle of the night, taking down the PDF and capturing dictator Manuel Noriega? How will the Mc even get to a fight deep inland if it doesn't have the ships, the ships it has are scattered all over the world in irrelevent sized groupings, can't go through the Panama Canal to gather together in a timely manner, and if they do make it before the war is over get target from space and destroyed by anti-ship missiles by the hundreds, mines and diesel-electric submarines? The world we live in today moves by the AIR, and yet the mc is out of touch waiting to relive island assaults from WWII to seize advance naval bases when ships and planes today can refuel while moving?

Look deep, Mc egotist!

The "trash talking" begins with the marine at basic training. Don't lie to us! We were there and its institutionalized BS/arrogance. You are taught to bad mouth the other service upon the altar of Mc self-worship. When confronted with your own lies, you...."Can't handle the truth" as a popular film concluded about the Mc.

The Mc is an "emperor without clothes" and its high time we stop lying about how "well clothed" it is, FIX IT or get rid of it if its not interested in making relevent contributions to the Nation's defense. Can we be any more clear?

2001 Afghanistan: a Dieppe II? or Tarawa II? or Koh Tang II? how about a Khe Sanh II?

Its up to YOU to make sure this addition doesn't get written. U.S. Army troops have been in Afghanistan for over 2 months and now some marines have arrived. According to them, everything done to date is their doing. Since that time the lax marines have left and the real COMBAT to kill America's enemies: Operation Anaconda has begun...fought by U.S. Army troops---101st Airborne's "Band of Brothers" of "Rendezvous-with-Destiny" fame, 10th Mountain Division lightfighters and Army Green Beret SF troops....

Washington Post
February 24, 2002
Pg. 11

Division That Follows Subtraction

By Vernon Loeb, Washington Post Staff Writer

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan - The marines made headlines in late November when they landed in Afghanistan and secured an airfield southwest of Kandahar, but troops from the Army's 10th Mountain Division actually arrived here first.

And while the marines have long since departed, the 10th Mountain remains, doing the unglamorous mop-up duty the conventional Army has been stuck with in places such as Bosnia and Kosovo long after the height of U.S. military involvement.

But Maj. Gen. Franklin L. "Buster" Hagenbeck isn't complaining, even as he flips open a copy of Newsweek magazine to show just how underappreciated his troops have been. Spread across two pages is an article about the Green Berets and a photograph that doesn't identify 10th Mountain troops in combat at the Qalai Janghi prison riot in northern Afghanistan last November.

Since its deployment to Uzbekistan in early October, the 10th Mountain has done just about everything short of full-scale combat in the war on terrorism, from guarding U.S. bases in Uzbekistan and Afghanistan to manning quick reaction forces in support of Special Forces to processing more than 3,000 Taliban and al Qaeda detainees in the northern Afghan city of Shebergan.

To Hagenbeck, the 10th Mountain's experience in Afghanistan illustrates the need for light, agile infantrymen who can deploy on a moment's notice and perform a variety of missions once they arrive. This has been the stock in trade of the 10th Mountain since it was recommissioned in 1985 as one of only two general-purpose light Army infantry divisions, and its mission in Afghanistan is emblematic of the kind of role being played increasingly by conventional Army forces since the end of the Cold War.

Indeed, in Afghanistan, as in Kosovo and Bosnia before it, the basic pattern of U.S. military operations has featured a short, intense period of bombing by the Air Force. In Kosovo, the marines deployed for 30 days. But in each of these countries, it is the Army left to execute open-ended peacekeeping missions - in Bosnia for six years so far, and in Kosovo for almost three.

Hagenbeck and retired Lt. Gen. Thomas Burnette, the 10th Mountain's commander from 1995 to 1997, say there is no dishonor in keeping the peace, protecting U.S. forces and providing quick response forces when needed on the battlefield. And in a world where 75 percent of the Earth's population will soon live in urban areas, they argue, light infantry forces are more necessary than ever.

"The 10th Mountain commanders have stepped up to the plate and said, 'This may not be the most glamorous thing, but pick me, coach,' " Burnette said. "They just do what America wants them to do and needs them to do. If that's a combat operation, they're ready. If it's short of that, they're ready to do that as well."

Hagenbeck, 52, is a former boxer and Airborne Infantryman who has two master's degrees and served as Burnette's chief of staff before becoming deputy director of current operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He took command of the 10th Mountain in August, 36 days before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Based at Fort Drum, in upstate New York, Hagenbeck said he and his men took the devastation downstate personally.

In less than a month, before the bombs even started falling on Afghanistan, 10th Mountain Soldiers slipped away from division headquarters at Fort Drum without clearance to even tell family members that they were heading for Uzbekistan.

Soon, a dusty, spartan former Soviet airfield would become a booming American logistics hub, airfield and command center. In a country with its own Islamic militants, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the 10th Mountain was put in charge of guarding the base.

The following month, a few days before Thanksgiving, a platoon from a 10th Mountain battalion commanded by Lt. Col. Paul LaCamera made the short flight from Uzbekistan to this bullet-riddled former Soviet base on the Shomali plain, 35 miles north of Kabul, becoming the first conventional U.S. ground forces inside Afghanistan. Bagram had been in Taliban hands just weeks earlier. Within days, LaCamera had a company here - more than 100 Soldiers - and was patrolling Bagram's extended perimeter with Afghan fighters loyal to a local warlord LaCamera knows as "General Babajon."

LaCamera, 38, a native of Westwood, Mass., attended West Point and spent most of his 18-year Army career in the elite Rangers. He parachuted into Panama as part of the U.S. miliary's seizure of Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega in December 1989. Last year, he was chosen for battalion command, a prestigious assignment, and joined the 10th Mountain.

Even with his combat experience, LaCamera had one fleeting moment of high anxiety in Afghanistan when he and his security detail went out for the first time with the local warlord's heavily armed fighters.

He realized things could get real messy "if they decided to cash us in." He didn't yet know whether he could fully trust the Afghans. It turned out he could.

When one of his snipers woke him up in his second week at Bagram to say there was an Afghan outside carrying a rocket-propelled grenade, LaCamera told him to calm down, unless the Afghan was pointing the weapon directly at him. The man's presence, LaCamera said, was not a threat but a sign that the local warlord was "showing us his firepower."

"I think it's a testament to the maturity and the confidence that our soldiers have - they haven't overreacted,"

LaCamera said. "The Soldiers of the 10th Mountain, the Soldiers of the Army as a whole, they're good troops. They're prepared to do their jobs."

It was one of LaCamera's platoons, led by Lt. Bradley Maroyka, that was called in on Nov. 26 by Special Forces outside the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif. The Green Berets needed backup to quell a riot by Taliban and al Qaeda prisoners at the Qalai Janghi fortress.

Maroyka's men soon found themselves running through a hail of bullets to help rescue four Green Berets and an Air Force spotter injured when a U.S. precision-guided bomb landed on their position at one end of the prison.

For 10th Mountain officers, the mission brought to mind the division's role as a quick reaction force in Mogadishu, Somalia, in October 1993, when two 10th Mountain Soldiers died helping to rescue Rangers and Delta Force troops pinned down by Somali fighters.

Maroyka's performance at the prison revolt, LaCamera said, shows why Army doctrine and persistent live-fire training now stress leadership and decision-making at the platoon and squad level. "We'll just continue to throw curve balls at Soldiers and make them think outside the box," LaCamera said. "It's easy to shoot everything that moves. It's the thinking part that's the hard part."

Col. Kevin Wilkerson, 42, commander of the 10 Mountain's 2nd Brigade, attests to that. In a 21-year Army career that includes 115 parachute jumps and two master's degrees, no one had taught him anything about processing Taliban and al Qaeda detainees. But that is what Wilkerson and 150 U.S. troops did for 11 days in early January in Shebergan, 60 miles west of Mazar-e Sharif. Their job was to determine which detainees might have useful intelligence.

With the horrors of the Qalai Janghi riot still fresh in his mind, Wilkerson said his primary goal was for the mission "to be a nonevent . . . and it worked."

Once in Shebergan, Wilkerson said he was determined to show the detainees two things: respect and overwhelming force.

"We treated them a lot nicer than their [Afghan] guards were treating them," Wilkerson said. "But for those [detainees] who wanted to be hard cases, we could rise to the occasion."

To the Mcegotist, instead of your second-hand rumors and excuses I demonstrate PROOF of Mc Camp Pendleton and Afghanistan heliborne and on-the-ground incompetence:


Why marines are tactically incompetent

Now, after 9 marines are dead, 2 seriously burned and one has lost his foot to a land mine he ignorantly stepped on, 3 aircraft destroyed (CH-53E, UH-1N, KC-130); the airbase at Kandahar is under U.S. Army 101st Airborne (Air Assault) control. Thank God. Get the marines out of there before they kill themselves. They had no business flying huge, fuel-laden, unarmored, non-crash-worthy aircraft in the mountains of Afghanistan in the presense of enemies that shoot back. Let us hope proper fighting positions with overhead covers, proper Air Traffic Control facilities and "Screaming Eagles" that are ALERT wearing helmets, body armor and weapons at the ready will be the rule not the exception in Afghanistan. The 101st flies robust, armored and crash-worthy UH-60L Blackhawk helicopters that are better suited to high-risk combat operations. At least now our Soldiers will have a fighting chance to make Afghanistan free.

Semper Bye-Bye: marine pilots left burned marines in helo crash to die

1. Why are they calling themselves "Flying Tigers" when that's the name of the WWII AVG and the current name of the USAF C-130/A-10 unit at Pope AFB now? Can't they think of an original cool name and build their own lineage instead of stealing it from someone else? Where is that "honor" marines are so quick to tell you they have so much of? Without humility there is no honor.

2. Why were they in combat without all their equipment?

3. What about the co-pilot of the marine copter that left the other marines to die? Why didn't he remind the pilot-in-command to his duties to rescue fallen comrades?

4. Where is the "thank-you" from the marine survivors to the U.S. Army for saving their asses? We can't expect a thank-you from Ego U (HQMC) but surely some gratitude from the specific marines and their families towards the U.S. Army are in order.

Military: Air-intake problem and excessive altitude of marine craft are also cited in report.

By Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO -- The marine corps helicopter that crashed in Afghanistan last January, killing two marines and injuring five others, lost power because its engines were clogged with powdery soil and it was flying at too high an altitude, according to a report issued here Tuesday.

The report, done by marine corps lawyers and helicopter commanders, praised the helicopter pilot for bravery but criticized the pilot of another helicopter for leaving the scene without landing to search for survivors.

The CH-53E Super Stallion crashed Jan. 19 in the snowy mountains near Kabul after one engine began losing power and a second engine shut down completely because of a compressor failure, the report said.

The compressor had been set at an air-intake level that was inappropriate for the high altitude where air becomes thinner. The helicopter, near its maximum load, was at about 9,000 feet when it lost power and crashed within 15 seconds.

Because the marines were operating in a war zone without their full range of equipment, the testing apparatus that would have spotted the air-intake problem in a preflight check was not readily available. The engine that lost power was choked with the silt-like dust that has bedeviled troops and equipment throughout the U.S. offensive in Afghanistan.

Killed instantly in the crash were Staff Sgt. Walter F. Cohee III, 26, of Mardela Springs, Md., and Staff Sgt. Dwight J. Morgan, 24, of Willits, in Northern California.

All seven crew members were assigned to a squadron known as the Flying Tigers based here at Miramar marine corps Air Station.

The report said the death toll would have been higher except for the quick thinking and bravery of the pilot, then-Capt. Douglas V. Glasgow. When the three-engine helicopter lost most of its power and began falling rapidly, Glasgow was able to slow down its rate of descent and keep the helicopter from nose-diving.

After the helicopter crashed and exploded, Glasgow pulled his injured co-pilot, Capt. William J. Cody, from the burning craft and then--despite back injuries--made several trips to rescue other injured crew members while the helicopter burned and ammunition began "cooking off."

"With complete disregard for his personal injuries and the extremely cold conditions, Capt. Glasgow continued to care for his crew and watched the area for enemy threats," the report says.

Glasgow, a graduate of the Naval Academy and stationed at Yuma, Ariz., has since been promoted to major.

But the report criticized Capt. Alison Thompson, commander of the lead helicopter, for flying back to base after incorrectly concluding there were no survivors.

Thompson made the decision to leave after determining it was too risky to land near the rocky crash site, according to the report. The survivors were spotted by cameras in an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft and rescued by Army helicopters two hours later.

Thompson's decision was "contrary to training" and "prolong[ed] the suffering of the mishap air crew survivors and expose[d] them to risk and capture," according to an addendum to the report inserted by Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr., commanding general of the 3rd marine aircraft wing. A copy of the report will be sent to her superior officers.

The marine helicopter was on a resupply mission for troops attempting to search for and destroy remaining Taliban and Al Qaeda forces.

The Super Stallions have been used extensively to move troops, food and gear to far-flung spots in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

A combat veteran Armor officer writes:

"Glad to see the 101st ABN wearing Kpots and body armor...not the black knit capped USMC. Glad to see some leaders making their troops wear their personnal protection. I thought the USMC would have learned a lesson from Beirut 1983. I guess they are destined to suffer this again someday. I for one would not sleep well at night if i did not do my utmost to demand compliance from my troops in order to save their lives. I can deal with losing equipment by having it shot out from under me, but I would not want to face a family of one of my Soldiers knowing that I could have saved them."

CSPAN video of half-assed Mc heliborne training
Photos of LAX marines in Afghanistan = they must not be in any real danger, afterall U.S. Army Rangers already jumped in and cleared the area of enemy!


Lax marine-designed web gear fails in Afghanistan, marines sent home

So Mc egotist...your TALK is cheap, like most loud-mouthed braggerts and egotists, all you have is TALK.

We have FACTS.

Some seem to forget the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division has been in-country for 2 months before any gyrenes showed up to Afghanistan, except they do their duty quietly and without beating their chests. Not to mention U.S. Army Special Forces....they have helped the Northern Alliance take over 75% of the country, so with the Taliban shattered, the Rangers have already jumped in and cleared the airfield of enemies....its now safe to insert some marines in the same airfield now abandoned by the enemy....in the middle of nowhere, far from the bad guys who are now on the run...some SHOW of force, huh?

Even where the marines were, the southern Afghanistan airfield was first fought over and cleared by U.S. Army Rangers, the real first-to-fight----by parachute assault weeks before. Compare and contrast (use those skills from high school?) Khe Sanh and where the marines were....fortunately they are long gone from southern Afghanistan...they couldn't even hold an airstrip on the low ground...without stepping on landmines, crashing planes and walking around like it was a training exercise back in the states....


Did the marine corps gazette magazine help Al Queda terrorists plan the 9/11 attacks?

One of the problems of a blind-obedience, egotistical organization is that there is no avenue for problems to be solved. So out of frustration reformers write in public journals like marine corps gazette...however if all that is going to happen is that the magazine will be used as "window dressing" for liars within the outfit to pretend like the organization is ready-for-war and future "4GW" combat...the deception is good only until the "bluff" is called by the enemy...who can also read the magazine! Except the enemy will ACT on the good ideas not pretend.

The solution is to stop being arrogant, admit to problems, stop being opposed to solutions, and TRY. Actually TRY, put forth some intelligent, constructive effort. Then reform can be done in-house away from the eager eyes of the enemy.

We can do that, can't we?

WHERE were the marines in Kosovo?

Why they were talking their feces on a ship not even involved! The U.S. Army landed first and took care of Kosovo...and Bosnia....and Panama...without any Mc help. Or patting themselves on the back in the media to proclaim themselves better than the other services, that's something marines do.

2003 Iraq: U.S. Army first into Baghdad; marines no where to be seen

Colonel Joe dowdy was relieved of command when the U.S. Army beat the marines by 2 weeks into Baghdad.


Reports are he was "too cautious" and wanted to prevent friendly casualties.

The truth be known, the marines as motorized troops in unarmored, rubber-tired trucks had no business having their own axis of advance in open desert warfare against an enemy with tanks backed by irregular infantry in urban cover. The marine brass wanted egotistical glory and couldn't care less about casualties--these things could be used to score bragging points later in the press, anyway. The point is the marine force structure is weak and the enemy stopped the marine advance cold.

In contrast, the U.S. Army's mechanized forces in tracked armored fighting vehicles blew right past enemy resistance to take out the enemy's center of gravity: the leadership in Baghdad, the capital city.

Before honor there is HUMILITY.

Without the humility to respect the enemy to create the right force structure and mentality the marines eager for glory got a lot of young men killed. One marine tried to curtail this and himself became a casualty of war.

So much for the "first to brag", huh?

Consider the amphibious assault as predictably done by u.s. marines:

The Argentines had less than a dozen Exocet Anti-Ship Missiles (ASMs), they believe if they had 20 or so they could have sank the British fleet and won the Falklands war in 1982. As it was they mauled the British fleet so badly the Mc hurried afterwards to spend $$$BILLIONS$$$$ on an Over-The-Horizon (OTH) force (still not fielded almost 2 decades later!) not realizing THERE IS NO HORIZON to hide behind FROM SPACE!!!! The enemy will know when to launch when they see the Mc PAO or McGeneral wanting to make another star on CNN televised live from the multi-billion-dollar pork-barrel amphib ship packed with thousands of men inside. The media was waiting on the beach BEFORE the Mclandings at Somalia and more recently in Greece or on the helicopters packed like sardines in the latest Afghanistan debacle. In both Kosovo and Afghanistan hundreds of miles inland, U.S. Army troops have been the first-to-fight. So when someone gives the marines a token "bone" thrown their way, they use the areas already secured by Army troops to refuel themselves to even get there and then use the opportunity to proclaim how superior they are.

How is that for so-called "littoral" warfare?

How is that for gratitude and "jointness"?

Today, satellite imagery and targeting data is available to anyone with the money. ASMs are bargain-basement around the world. So the Mc doesn't do amphibious assaults, it deploys after the U.S. Army lands first by aircraft; marines occupy and defend what the Army has already won.

What is it going to take?

A national disaster for the Mc to wake up?

We already had a national disaster on September 11, 2001. You didn't see any marines proclaim how they would have stopped the terrorists from crashing airliners into buildings. 4th Generation Warfare that bypasses armies and marine corps (plural) does not register in the mind of the co-dependant egotist marine who wants to relieve WWII.

YOU might be one of the numbers of the thousands killed in this disaster had you been a "lowly civilian" as marines look down upon the American people who they are supposed to serve. If I were YOU, the Mc egotist, I'd take down all those "Mc-greater-than-thou" web sites and start putting up professional military sites which look at amphibious warfare objectively from the enemy's eye and start unscrewing-the-Mc-from-the-bottom-up before its too late. As an example, look at the detail technotactical web page on Mc heliborne tactics, techniques and procedures above.

Another good place to start would be to FIRE ALL McPAOs and the lie factory they have created, they are your (our) worst enemy. Replace the "Guidebook" with a REAL U.S. military history book that objectively describes all the services in action with an emphasis on technotactical excellence not arrogance and robotics.

Now do you understand?

U.S. Army Soldiers and KATUSAs hold the Pusan perimeter in the Korean War..where were the marines during the first hours of the North korean attack? So much for "first to fight" and other relativity BS, huh? When the Mc isn't there first, which is 99% of the time, the "who was there first" aspect gets conveniently overlooked in the glory-hog Mc mind always seeking an opportunity to criticize a brother service in a vain attempt to prop himself up.

Or must we continue to point out your "Eagle, Blob and Anchor" tattoos, and BS boasting points from the past (We got praise from the British before they burned the White House in 1814", whhoppe de do! They still burned it, didn't they? O, "we carried all our dead back from Chosin", yes you were ROAD-BOUND and had to use vehicles to do it and you still were in full retreat! Had not the USAF airdropped an entire bridge so you could cross a gorge, the Mc would have been annihilated there, again no "thank-yous" offered to the USAF!) mean nothing today with a Mc that is screwed up from bottom to top?

The "whistle has been blown" its time for YOU, the Mcegotist to move out of your glass house and draw fire.

P.S.: word to the wise.....keep emailing us and the more I think about the Mc, the more it brings back dirt that hurts the Mcorpse, but you like this, of course? You are essentially re-living the process I experienced years ago when it became clear to me the Mc was a horrible fraud and waster of men's lives. How quick the Mc is eager and ready to destroy the individual! Is this "Semper Fi" to the "Band of Brothers" or those that have gone on before us?


"Thanks for your shining the light on MC arrogance. I am an ex-Army officer (25th ID). I have always hated the marine attitude ('We are the best',' we are the toughest', 'we are the only protectors of American freedom.' When did this arrogance start?

My Dad was a 16-year old marine in WWII (Guadalcanal, Bouganville,etc.). He never had that attitude. In fact, unlike most marines, few people ever knew he served. He didn't wear WWII or service to his country on his chest like most marines, who, within minutes of meeting them, find it necessary to tell you about how big a hero they are. My understanding is that in Vietman, marines were noted more for shooting each other in panic than winning firefights. I would be happy to contribute to dispelling the marine stud myth. Let me know how."

Our reply: (Its a post-WWII phenomena but its roots lie in the rise of the Big-Mc bureaucracy)

Dear Sir,

At the turn of the Century, there were a new group of Mc-first bureaucrats who wanted a Fleet Marine Force and used WWI as an opportunity to increase their numbers. Their mantra was expand the MC size at ALL COSTS (the mantra still in effect today). They had no warfighting doctrine, so they made one up to land and take naval bases so ships could refuel their coal boilers. Ship technology eliminated that, so then it became air bases in WWII, which as you know today with in-flight refueling is not necessary, either. So now they hang onto the over-the-shore amphibious operation itself as a reason to exist, calling it a "forced entry". Do we need 172,000 men for 3 forced-entry forces of Battalion size? The Army did more amphibious operations in history and WWII than the Mc ever dreamed of. We do not need nor want a Mc. Notice the humble, egalitarian ("band of brothers) "small" Mc model of Evan Carlson's Raiders was rejected in favor of shut-up, do-what-you-are-told BIG unit wannabe-a-2d-land-army Mc assholism favored by the brass bureaucrats at HQMC who wanted big units full of little, timid, insecure robot-people to order around and send to their deaths in frontal assaults to increase their budget share.

The selfish bureaucrats at HQMC knew in WWII that this was "it". They had to expand their budget share, and the way to do this was through propaganda through the civilian leaders. So while your dad was unaware of it, the large-selfish MC bureaucracy was fighting for itself while the U.S. Army was actually fighting and winning 95% of the war.

With the flag-raising picture on Suribachi and fancy uniforms (Who doesn't go crazy over busty Catherine Bell of TV's J.A.G?, but would you want to fight a war with her? NO. Win the war, then date Catherine Bell...), the post-WWII Mc leadership began foisting their lies resulting in the national security Act of 1947 which granted them seperate service status, cashing in on the memory all those dead marines lost in un-necessary frontalist assaults made for the glory of the Mc bureaucracy. Truman remarked that the Mc propaganda machine made Stalin's look like child's play.

Ever since then its been down hill. The Mc ever eager to boast on itself used the Korean war as a PR opportunity by citing Inchon which was MacArthur's idea not theirs---and the retreat from the Yalu as bromides for slogans spouting their superiority to the U.S. Army. What the Mc bureaucracy wants is the budget of the U.S. Army without the responsibility for inland warfighting. With the rise of the image-over-substance media culture in America the gyrene became the symbol of military excellence even though its BS, and the public as time wears on knows less and less of what military excellence is by direct personal experience. The Sado-Masochistic boot camp has been made into a sick virtue by the Mc as a knee jerk reaction to the Korean war brain-washing done to our POWs, and our military culture/readiness has suffered ever since.

Then Gen. Krulak Sr. manipulated us into Vietnam (read the Pentagon Papers) to give marines something to do in the Cold War confrontation with the Soviets (ships too slow or unable to get to Europe in a WWIII) where more marines died due to incompetence spun as "valor" to feed the Mc BS machine. A pampered me-generation sends its X/Y kids to Mc boot camp to prove their manhood in BS make-belief rituals because it makes them feel like warriors when they are really not. A REAL Warrior requires a lifetime of study/preparation.

Lebanon in 1982-83 killed the Mc myth for all the real policy makers in Washington D.C. You will note noone has the Mc doing anything difficult these days. The Mc exists as a means to waste BILLIONS on ships so we have a built-in excuse NOT to fight. Taiwan invaded? Sorry, couldn't get there to defend you. Ditto Korea. Its BS posturing and its about to have its bluff called.

The world we live in moves in by the speed of the AIR and is covered in space surveillance. Surface ships are obsolete, they are casualty-projection platforms. We need a multi-Division Airborne warfare capability that Gen. Shinseki has unwittingly started. He wants armored cars for peacekeeping that fly by USAF aircraft, use light tracked AFVs instead and you have a war winner. Build a sqadron of WING-IN-GROUND effect (WIG) aircraft and you move 12 Brigades of U.S. Army warfighters not 16 V-22s that crash/burn in testing at a cost of 1.2 BILLION that delivers a mere Company of foot-sloggin, dumb-ass gyrenes with hand weapons. One C-17 delivers twice that combat power in men and Armored Fighting Vehicles at 1/10th the cost at twice the speed and range!!!

We should severely reduce/eliminate the Mc as a seperate service as its continued existance is a cancerous drain on the national defense of America.


The 3rd AWSG (Maritime) Staff


Helicopter Air Assault in the Korean War

So much for the Mc lie about being the first or only ones to do helicopter air assaults in Korea!!!

The USMC likes to foist lies like it was the "first" to do helicopter air assaults when the Germans did them first in WWII, then the British in Malaya. The British did the first helicopter amphibious air assaults in Suez in 1956. Nothing about this in "I love me" USMC history books! It was the U.S. Army that bought and used in combat the first tail-rotor helicopter in WWII. While the USMC was finding a deserted location to pull a selfish publicity stunt (sound familiar?) the U.S. Army was flying hundreds of helicopters all over the Korean war battlefield. The same MC BS continues today with the gyrenes going into a deserted location in Afghanistan where they simultaneously boast about themselves fighting and winning the war on terrorism all by themselves while having lax security as the U.S. ARMY which jumped in and cleared the airbase the gyrenes are standing on weeks before---goes about the business of actually finding/killing America's enemies, which its been doing for over two months before the loud-mouthed marines arrived. How some things never change, huh?

McSacred Cow: 174,000 trash-talkers with no mission but cost us $BILLIONS$

Where's the self-proclaimed Mc911 force? USAF C-5Cs and U.S. Army MH-47E helicopters, 3-325 Paratroopers rescue 2,000+ from Liberia 9 DAYS before slow moving Mcjars can get there! (Guess who Mcboasts about the rescue!)

McSacred cow murders O.K., telling the truth is not...

McHorrors continued....

McAtrocities today..it looks like its going to need its own web site

McCrime 3 times their size per capita

90% of Okinawa's McCrime caused by marines

marine McDrops buddy, gets 4 months in brig, buddy gets the cemetary

219 Reasons to worship the McSacred cow...

Part II of McSacred cow snake-oil...

Without a mission, is the mc to McMurder Americans?

McGun smuggling by marines

What McJarheads appear like to others....

McMisinformation from retired McGunny (sack?) sgt

Ghosts of Koh Tang speak: McGlass house: usmc to trash talk the other services?

McStupidity: Mcwanna-bes and blood wings...

McFUBAR or McSANFU? mc boasts that Navy jump wings are "recon wings" (NOT) while unable to conduct jump without killing their men

Why Americans get blown up: Standing at Parade, Rest does not equal embassy security


A hqmc officer writes:

"By my e-mail address, you can tell I am a marine, and I am going to say something which would have been considered heresy, (even to me), a couple of years ago. It is time to abolish the marine corps, as well as the other services, and combine.

General Krulak has said, (and it is the only absolutely true statement he has uttered during his commandancy),

'We can no longer afford the marine corps we have, or the one we want in the future.'

A couple of other interesting little tidbits from the marine corps: General Krulak has said that there is no evidence that junior officers are leaving at an unprecedented rate...

1. If junior officers aren't voting with their feet, why is the augmentation percentage for officers at 100 percent?

2. If we are so healthy in these ranks, why are 1st LTs with less than 1 year time in grade being selected for captain? Methinks the commandant has read the book, 'How to lie with statistics'.

The marine corps has just announced that they intend to make cuts in the annual ammunition allowance at a pace of 5 percent per year for the next 6 years for total cut of 30 percent by FY05. Did optempo or need for training just drop off?

..we are broken as well, and it and it comes straight from the man at the top. He is the ultimate 'spin doctor' and he even has you fooled.

Feel free to print this, just don't identify me. I would hate to end up in the commandant's 'black book'

* The commandant keeps a number of officers gainfully employed tracking officers who have done something which embarrasses him"


Recruit training: juvenile, pagan rite-of-passage games (Ego-gratifying Crucibles) or 21st Century combat (reality) focus?

Holistic Field Living-Load Bearing System to create 4-7 mph foot mobility levels

Soldier modernization efforts now underway and equipment sources

Airborne light infantry Rescue System (currently in use with U.S. Army 75th Ranger Regiment and 82nd Airborne Division Paratroops)

The Future of the tank?(The IDF Merkava II tank in Southern Lebanon)

The 21st Century Airborne Infantry Squad: no "foot slogging" or "bullet sponging"(New paradigm needed)

The defense of the earth and mankind only begins with the ground up...

    High Noon on Planet Earth...

    "...you may fly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, pulverize it and wipe it clean of life---but if you desire to defend it, protect it, and keep it for civilization, you must do this on the ground, the way the Roman legions did, by putting your young men into the mud...."

    T.R. Fehrenbach
    This Kind of War

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    Paradigger's Special Operations Site

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    AWWG Military Internet Research Cluster

    Defense News Intelligence Center (register when you arrive)

    Official Israeli Defense Forces Web site

    Israeli Military Products

    Best Airborne Operations Research Links

    Airborne Operations: A German Appraisal

    The Russian Airborne: every squad with a BMD armored fighting vehicle, auto-cannon, ATGMs, machine guns

    Tom Hunter's Special Operations site

    Why not an American Airborne Infantry Fighting Vehicle? By Stan Crist

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    Major Chuck Payne's Special Operations pages

    Colonel David Hackworth: America's tactical commentator

    American Military University: Advanced degrees in the operational art via distance learning (703) 330-5398 FAX: 5109

    WHAT DO PEOPLE SAY ABOUT THE 3rd Amphibious Warfare Studies Group (Maritime)?

    "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."

    - Albert Einstein


    I was very happy to get your comments. I've read some articles either written by or about a Mike Sparks (perhaps in SOF). Are you the same?

    The sites you listed are great. I'm working through the articles. I was especially fascinated by the articles about the redundancy of the usmc. I tend to agree with many of the conclusions.

    I've noticed today's Army seems to be planning for small scale, specialized, surgical, technological missions. I can't help but to wonder if many of the basic skills aren't being overlooked for the sake of cursor driven warfare? For instance, one of the GPS articles insinuates poor equipment training as perhaps a lack of understanding about geodesics.

    During my era, (gee it sounds old), we trained Soldiers in being able to name and describe functions of weapons parts. Most still couldn't visualize how they actually worked. We could afford some professional latitude because of the size of the military. With the decrease in the overall size, the increase in technology, variety of systems and types of possible missions; it is now unacceptable to have anything less than a completely professional Soldier.

    It appears the 3rd Amphibious Warfare Studies Group (Maritime) is competently addressing many of these issues."

    MSG, USA, Ret.

    "Thank you for your efforts to improve the fighting effective- ness of our military. It's too bad we have so many legs in this group who are jealous of the Airborne elite. As you say, the future of warfare is Airborne, not seaborne. Don't let the flames get to you, as small-minded people like XXXXXX the infantry- punk know not what they do. Back in the '30s people ridiculed Gen. Billy Mitchell when he tried to promote the use of air- power, and then just a few years later he had a bomber named after him. Some day you will get this same recognition for your work to reform our military.


    Airborne All The Way!!!

    "That is a pretty good website, looks good and should bring a lot of young prospects to the Army. But it sort of sounds like you are doing what you accuse the jarheads of doing. Maybe you should relook at your history. I was in Somalia, and we had no problems with controlling the people. The culprits that allowed the Army Rangers to be killed was the UN not the USMC or the USA. I knew some of those Rangers and I believe if the UN would have had the Army do what we were doing it would have been a different story. Yes, the USMC was also trying to catch Adeid but failed, just like the Army. We all have to wear egg for that. I personally had Aedid many times and was told every time by the higher command (whoever that was) I had to let him go.

    When we left and turned everythng over to the UN and Army we stopped the active pratrolling. From what I have learned they never picked it up again. That is why, I feel, the Rangers ran into the trouble they had. The bandits were allowed to sneak back into the city undetected and the UN was too stupid to figure it out. I spent 26 years in the USMC and I have a lot of family that were SF. I don't believe the Corps is the ultimate shit but I do believe that we all need to work together to be successful. Instead of trying to outshine the Corps maybe we should see how we could use our strongpoints to compliment each other to destroy the enemies of our country.


    REPLY: This pentagon/5265 web site is "psyops" in order to break this smug "vapor-lock" that many have in the corps that it can do no wrong. Mostly pre-9/11 attacks. If we don't break the vapor-lock we can't get constructive criticism and improvements.

    Semper Airborne!

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