Airborne Equipment Shop

U.S. Army Paratrooper Rangers first-to-fight: combat jump in Afghanistan

"Show me a man who will jump out of an airplane, and I'll show you a man who'll fight."

--General James M. Gavin

Details here:

All the World's Airborne Operations

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U.S. Army Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) Reports on Major Jarnot's Air-Mech-Strike operation:

"The Canadian Army used the air-mechanized concept during decisive operations in the Afghani Mountains. The Canadian Army air assaulted small unit support vehicles (SUSV) into the mountains during offensive operations against the al-Qaida and Taliban fighters. The vehicles were used to move distances over the rough terrain at high-altitude, allowing the infantry to ride or transport their loads into battle. These vehicles allowed the infantry some small arms protection and helped them beat the fatigue associated with mountain operations. The SUSV is helicopter-transportable and provides all-terrain mobility. The vehicle performed well in combat".

March 15, 2002

Operation Anaconda: Air-Mech-Strike Study Group member, Major Charles Jarnot conducts first U.S. Army helicopter Air-Mech-Strike Combat air assault in Afghanistan

Excerpt from Chuck's email:


It took a lot of work and a lot of persistance but a historical mark has been made! I talked the commanders into using the Canadian SUSVs, coordinated their load testing in CH-47s and helped plan the first HELO-based Airmechanized assault in U.S. Military history against Al Queda positions. Its still generating skepticism but the concept is now floating around more senior leaders here after seeing the Canadians use the concept and showing that the CH-47 can haul that vehicle even at high altitudes!

Attached is an article that the PAO here approved for release!

I can give no details of the action of course but all I can say is we are making progress if ever so slowly".


Air-Mech-Strike in Afghanistan!

The war in Afghanistan has seen several combat firsts for the U.S. Military, first use of an armed un-manned aerial vehicle and the first use of the B-1B Bombers in a close air support role to name just a few. Now in Operation Anaconda another first for the U.S. Army, the first employment of helo-based airmechanized forces by a U.S. field commander in combat, complements of the 3rd Battalion of the famed Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group.

On March 15, 2002, the Canadians attached to the U.S. Army's 2nd Brigade 10th Mountain Division, used U.S. Army CH-47D Chinooks to air assault their armored tracked BV-206 airmechanized vehicles into the operation Anaconda fight.

Airmechanization is a relatively new maneuver warfare doctrine extensively developed by numerous European armies. First theorized in the 1930s by Soviet Field Marshall Tuchachevskiy, today the Russian, British and German armies have fielded airmechanized brigade and division sized units. The concept involves the vertical insertion of tracked combat vehicles via helicopter and fixed wing para-drops. The idea is to use aircraft to break friction with the ground and cross vast treks of terrain and obstacles to quickly gain positional advantage. Once inserted, the mechanized vehicles provide the vertically inserted force with tracked terrain mobility, protection against small-arms and shrapnel and significant increase in firepower via the heavier weapons carried on the vehicles vice foot mobile troops inserted by parachute or helicopter.

The technical challenge to airmechanization is how to build a tracked combat vehicle that has sufficient protection and weapon capacity yet light enough to transported by helicopter or parachute. Advances in information/reconnaissance technology, weapon lethality versus weight and the increases in aircraft lift performance have all contributed to the boom in airmechanization. Today five other countries beside Russia, Britain and Germany, are in the process of fielding airmechanized brigades, including China. The most expensive part of this concept is the fielding of large numbers of heavy lift helicopters and short field cargo airplanes. The vehicles themselves are relatively inexpensive. In the U.S. Military, the critical air component is already in place with over 600 heavy-lift CH-47D Chinook and CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters and 500 plus C-130 Hercules aircraft in the inventory.

But what about the risk posed by ultra-light combat vehicles? Isn't massive armor needed to survive? Lightweight Airmechanized vehicles (AMVs), like those employed by the Canadians in Anaconda, might seem on the surface to be extremely vulnerable. But surviving on the battlefields of Afghanistan may demonstrate a shift in this traditional paradigm. For example, the greatest risk to vehicle movement in Afghanistan is not Taliban/Al-Queda's Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs), but rather the millions of land mines laid throughout the country. The Canadian BV-206 AMV used in Anaconda mitigates this risk by virtue of the very light weight and tracked suspension that results in extremely light ground pressure. This not only contributes to its excellent terrain agility but makes anti-tank mine detonation a very small probability since the BV-206 ground pressure is far below the minimum necessary to set off a typical anti-tank mine.

Wheeled combat vehicles on the other hand, are extremely vulnerable to land mines due to the high ground pressure characteristic of typical wheeled vehicles. The separate cabs of the BV-206 also lessens the potential casualty effects of RPGs by compartmentalizing the blast areas. The lightweight also means that it can approach the enemy from terrain deemed non-useable by heavier armor and thus lessens the chances of moving into a planned vehicular kill zone. These features combined with the lethality of high tech weapons like the Javelin anti-tank guided missile (50 pounds and 2,500 meters range) and light weight auto cannons and grenade launchers like the M230 or ASP-30 30mm and the Mark-19 40mm make AMVs a deadly package for their size.

Airmechanization, a competitor for the Armys planned transformation based on the Striker wheeled armored vehicle? Intuitively all new ideas are intellectually competitive with older concepts and the same is true of the 3-Dimensional airmechanization idea versus the 2-Dimensional Striker program. But in practical application there is no conflict. As most professional Soldiers know, combat is a combined-arms affair where different weapons, platforms and the specialties of different organizations combine to have a collective greater effect than any one part.

The Armys Striker transformation is slated for the light infantry divisions and some of the heavier formations. Airmechanization would be more applicable to the Armys Airborne and Air Assault units where the Striker is not scheduled for fielding. As the European armies who have fielded airmechanized formations will tell you. These agile forced-entry units are battlefield enablers to heavier forces and not necessarily their future replacement.

Like the use of the armed predator UAV in Afghanistan, this first modest employment of airmechanized forces in Anaconda will undoubtedly generate heated debate on the utility of this new and controversial maneuver doctrine. This historical event may be the catalyst for the U.S. Army to convert its own airborne and air assault divisions along the European Airmechanized models or like the ill-fated Pentomic Divisions of the 1950s, be simply a flash-in-the pan. Still the question that this event will pose for the U.S. Army as whole is the continued validity of parachuting or helo-insertion of dismounted troops close to the enemys crucible of anti-aircraft fire, shoulder-fired missiles and RPGs. The American public and our enemies, should know that the U.S. Armys leadership in Afghanistan is not tied doggedly to any written doctrine. The first use of airmechanized forces in combat by an American commander demonstrates the mental agility and creative prowess of a unified effort that will leave no stone unturned in its effort to defeat the Al Queda and Taliban, to include employing a Canadian airmechanized force!

Major Chuck Jarnot, 101st Airborne Division Liaison Officer in Afghanistan

More photos of BV-206 Air-Mech-Strike click here

New Book: Air-Mech-Strike: Asymmetric Maneuver Warfare for the 21st Century

Order NOW!

Rwanda? Kosovo? Bosnia? Iraq? Korea? What next?

This book outlines how to reorganize the U.S. Army into a fully 2 and 3-Dimensional maneuver capable, ground force with terrain-agile, armored fighting vehicles sized to rapidly deploy by fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft to the scene of world conflicts and strike at the heart of freedom's enemies. The plan to build the Army into Air-Mech-Strike Forces, exploiting emerging information-age technologies, as well as America's supremacy in aircraft and helicopter delivery systems---at the lowest cost to the taxpayers, is described in detail. These Army warfighting organizations, using existing and some newly purchased equipment, will shape the battlefield to America's advantage, preserving the peace before it is lost; if not, then winning fights that must be fought quickly. The dangerous world we live in moves by the speed of the AIR, and the 21st Century U.S. Army 2D/3D combat team will dominate this medium by Air-Mech-Strike!

6x9-inch, softbound, with 345 pages.

ISBN 156311616-2

Only $24.95
Plus shipping--$6.00 first book; $3.50 each add'l


Send your check or money order to:

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* Enhanced definition of "Air-Mech-Strike" (it ain't rubber tired armored cars)
* Afghanistan Operation Anaconda Air-Mech operations using tracked BV-206s and M-GATOR ATVs
* Sub-National Terrorist Group decisive maneuver defeat mechanisms
* Defeat of enemy surveillance strike complexes (SSCs) by MANEUVER
* Piasecki Vectored Thrust Ducted Compound Helicopters
* Articulated armored fighting vehicles (BV-206S)
* Nose Loading equipment for cargo 747s
* Tracked and Air Cushion landing gear for extreme STOL airland operations
* Reduced turrets to make M1/M2 into medium weight OFFENSIVE platforms
* More exclusive photos of Air-Mech operations by U.S., British and Russians
* ACTD proposals for 82nd Airborne and 101st Air Assault Divisions
* Lighter-Than-Air (LTA) cargo airships to speed heavy 2D forces and logistics without need of runways/ports
* Cost and performance comparisons of tracked tanks versus LAV-III/Stryker rubber-tired armored cars
* Ducted-fan FTR concepts
* Infared camouflage for armored fighting vehicles and troops
* How AMS maneuver can collapse the will of our enemies


"If you care about our Army read this book! Dave Grange's team has come up with some new thinking in "Air-Mech-Strike: 3-Dimensional Phalanx" on how to move faster, strike harder and do more without spending a fortune designing all-new equipment. Their ideas deserve a fair hearing at the top decision-making levels of the Army and DOD."

Joseph L. Galloway
Senior writer, U.S. News & World Report
Co-author "We Were Soldiers Once....and Young."

"Air-Mech-Strike is a must read concerning the most important debate now facing any and all who want to understand future war. The book's essence: fighting will be three-dimensional. The flat map becomes a cube with the air another flank to be exploited. Chapter and verse, with plenty of challenging thinking."

John R. Galvin
Dean and hold of the
Charles F. Adams/Raytheon Chair

"Air-Mech-Strike is a monumental work in progress and a credit to the military expertise of its authors. It advocates providing the enhancement of combat power to Airborne and light forces essential to deal with the future challenges of Small Scale Contingencies and then some."

General Volney F. Warner (U.S. Army, Retired)
Former XVIIIth Airborne Corps Commander

"Today's Army is smack in the middle of a great transformation to build a more lethal, more deployable fighting force. Significantly, the Army leadership is pushing hard for realistic, practical solutions now, not in two decades. This book proposes just such solutions. The authors are worthy successors to Lieutenant General Jim Gavin and Lieutenant General Hamilton Howze, visionary leaders who introduced the gospel of airmobility to our Army nearly half a century ago. If you want to know how a transformed U.S. Army can fight and win in wars and confrontations great and small, read this book."

Colonel Daniel P. Bolger
distinguished author of Dragons at War, Death Ground: American Infantry in battle, The Battle for Hunger Hill

"How far are you willing to go?"--Sean Connery in The Untouchables

Until Operation Anaconda that's a question we should have been asking our leaders to get today's terrorists....but our firepower/RMA/Tofflerian leaders DO NOT BELIEVE IN MANEUVER..just mouse-clicking some bombs and "media spin" later...They rejected Airborne operational MANEUVER to stop terrorists from escaping out of Afghanistan out of service politics (can't send M113A3s from Europe would endanger multi-billion-dollar LAV-III armored car purchases)...and jealousy over who gets the "glory" not a concern over human casualties....the 82nd could have dropped right behind the Rangers, held the airfield and THEN....forayed to the border...MSNBC reports:

GROUNDING THE AIRBORNE: Missed opportunity: How bin Laden got away

"In early November, as the first strongholds of the Taliban and its al-Qaida allies began to fall in northern Afghanistan, officers of the U.S. Army's two paratroop units - the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions pleaded with the generals running the war to have their men dropped along the Afghan-Pakistan border region to cut off the retreat of al-Qaida and its leader, Osama bin Laden. To the fury of these officers, their pleas went unanswered, turned aside because of the high probability of casualties.

The result: al-Qaida's leadership, along with senior Taliban officials, live on to fight another day. It is just one of the war's missed opportunities now coming to light".

(, 18 Feb 02)

"We cannot escape some of the ways war must be fought...if our Soldiers cannot fight and kill at close range, our status as a superpower is in question"

--Robert Kaplan, author The Coming Anarchy

This web site offers detailed presentations of how our alleged global Surveillance Strike Complex (SSC) firepower has been defeated by enemy C3D2 and ground maneuver capability, denying us decisive victories in Iraq, Kosovo and now Afghanistan. The many web pages listed here by the 1st Tactical Studies Group (Airborne) and others lay out an optimal, reality-based force structure for the U.S. Army transformation and why it must be based primarily around air/sea-transportable and numerous light tracked armored fighting vehicles for the 3D force and heavier tracked AFVs for the 2D force both with robust mobility that can overcome nation-state as well as sub-national group C3D2 evasion and their own SSC fire effects not vulnerable rubber-tired armored cars nor over-relying on mouse-clicking firepower to defeat the enemy---Air-Mech-Strike Force structure---in order to to achieve decisive world-wide strategic operational maneuver (AWSOM).

The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) defines "Cover, Concealment, Camouflage, Denial and Deception (C3D2). Many potential adversaries, nations, groups, and individuals are undertaking more and increasingly sophisticated C3D2 activities against the United States. These operations are generally designed to hide key activities, facilities, and capabilities (e.g. mobilization or attack preparations, WMD programs, advanced weapons systems developments, treaty noncompliance, etc.) from U.S. intelligence, to manipulate U.S. perceptions and assessments of those programs, and to protect key capabilities from U.S. precision strike platforms. Foreign knowledge of U.S. intelligence and military operations capabilities is essential to effective C3D2. Advances in satellite warning capabilities, the growing availability of camouflage, concealment, deception, and obscurant materials, advanced technology for and experience with building underground facilities, and the growing use of fiber optics and encryption, will increase the C3D2 challenge.

Counter-Space Capabilities. The U.S. reliance on (and advantages in) the use of space platforms is well known by our potential adversaries. Many are attempting to reduce this advantage by developing capabilities to threaten U.S. space assets, in particular through denial and deception, signal jamming, and ground segment attack. By 2015, future adversaries will be able to employ a wide variety of means to disrupt, degrade, or defeat portions of the U.S. space support system. A number of countries are interested in or experimenting with a variety of technologies that could be used to develop counter-space capabilities. These efforts could result in improved systems for space object tracking, electronic warfare or jamming, and directed-energy weapons".

A DoD "transformation" to digital firepower without ground maneuver is suicidal madness be it from a sexy fighter-bomber at 15,000 feet or a peacenik gentle-looking LAV-III/IAV armored car along a paved road. We must have air-deliverable 2D/3D ground MANEUVER combat forces--Cavalry--that can VERIFY targets with HUMINT not soda straw vision UAV/UGVs are hit not decoys and civilians. We need stealthy light tracked scout vehicles, scout-tracker dogs and dismounting Soldiers to do this. We must be able to do close combat and not get hurt by smarter use of tracked tanks in better-organized combined-arms units or we are finished as a nation as Kaplan has warned us.

"Disagreement is not disrespect"

--General Gordon R. Sullivan, former Army Chief of Staff

Air strikes without ground maneuver do not win wars. Here is more proof.

U.S. Concludes Bin Laden Escaped at Tora Bora Fight
Failure to Send Troops in Pursuit Termed Major Error

By Barton Gellman and Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, April 17, 2002; Page A01

The Bush administration has concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year and that failure to commit U.S. ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al Qaeda, according to civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge.

Intelligence officials have assembled what they believe to be decisive evidence, from contemporary and subsequent interrogations and intercepted communications, that bin Laden began the battle of Tora Bora inside the cave complex along Afghanistan's mountainous eastern border. Though there remains a remote chance that he died there, the intelligence community is persuaded that bin Laden slipped away in the first 10 days of December.

After-action-reviews, conducted privately inside and outside the military chain-of-command, describe the episode as a significant defeat for the United States. A common view among those interviewed outside the U.S. Central Command is that Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the war's operational commander, misjudged the interests of putative Afghan allies and let pass the best chance to capture or kill al Qaeda's leader. Without professing second thoughts about Tora Bora, Franks has changed his approach fundamentally in subsequent battles, using Americans on the ground as first-line combat units.

In the fight for Tora Bora, corrupt local militias did not live up to promises to seal off the mountain redoubt, and some colluded in the escape of fleeing al Qaeda fighters. Franks did not perceive the setbacks soon enough, some officials said, because he ran the war from Tampa with no commander on the scene above the rank of lieutenant colonel. The first Americans did not arrive until three days into the fighting. "No one had the big picture," one defense official said.

The Bush administration has never acknowledged that bin Laden slipped through the cordon ostensibly placed around Tora Bora as U.S. aircraft began bombing on Nov. 30. Until now it was not known publicly whether the al Qaeda leader was present on the battlefield.

But inside the government there is little controversy on the subject. Captured al Qaeda fighters, interviewed separately, gave consistent accounts describing an address by bin Laden around Dec. 3 to mujaheddin, or holy warriors, dug into the warren of caves and tunnels built as a redoubt against Soviet invaders in the 1980s. One official said "we had a good piece of sigint," or signals intelligence, confirming those reports.

"I don't think you can ever say with certainty, but we did conclude he was there, and that conclusion has strengthened with time," said another official, giving an authoritative account of the intelligence consensus. "We have high confidence that he was there, and also high confidence, but not as high, that he got out. We have several accounts of that from people who are in detention, al Qaeda people who were free at the time and are not free now."

Franks continues to dissent from that analysis. Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, his chief spokesman, acknowledged the dominant view outside Tampa but said the general is unpersuaded.

"We have never seen anything that was convincing to us at all that Osama bin Laden was present at any stage of Tora Bora -- before, during or after," Quigley said. "I know you've got voices in the intelligence community that are taking a different view, but I just wanted you to know our view as well."

"Truth is hard to come by in Afghanistan," Quigley said, and for confidence on bin Laden's whereabouts "you need to see some sort of physical concrete proof."

Franks has told subordinates that it was vital at the Tora Bora battle, among the first to include allies from Afghanistan's Pashtun majority, to take a supporting role and "not just push them aside and take over because we were America," according to Quigley.

"Our relationship with the Afghans in the south and east was entirely different at that point in the war," he said. "It's no secret that we had a much more mature relationship with the Northern Alliance fighters." Franks, he added, "still thinks that the process he followed of helping the anti-Taliban forces around Tora Bora, to make sure it was crystal clear to them that we were not there to conquer their country . . . was absolutely the right thing to do."

With the collapse of the Afghan cordon around Tora Bora, and the decision to hold back U.S. troops from the Army's 10th Mountain Division, Pakistan stepped in. The government of President Pervez Musharraf moved thousands of troops to his border with Afghanistan and intercepted about 300 of the estimated 1,000 al Qaeda fighters who escaped Tora Bora. U.S. officials said close to half of the detainees now held at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were turned over by the Pakistani government.

Those successes included none of the top al Qaeda leaders at Tora Bora, officials acknowledged. Of the dozen senior leaders identified by the U.S. government, two are now accounted for -- Muhammad Atef, believed dead in a Hellfire [Predator UAV launched] missile attack, and Abu Zubaida, taken into custody late last month. But "most of the people we have been authorized to kill are still breathing," said an official directly involved in the pursuit, and several of them were at Tora Bora.

The predominant view among the analysts is that bin Laden is alive, but knowledgeable officials said they cannot rule out the possibility that he died at Tora Bora or afterward. Some analysts believe bin Laden is seriously ill and under the medical care of his second-in-command, Ayman Zawahiri, an Egyptian-trained physician. One of the theories, none supported by firm evidence, is that he has Marfan syndrome, a congenital disorder of some people with bin Laden's tall, slender body type that puts them at increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

The minority of U.S. officials who argue that bin Laden is probably dead note that four months have passed since any credible trace of him has surfaced in intelligence collection. Those who argue that he is probably alive note that monitoring of a proven network of bin Laden contacts has turned up no evidence of reaction to his death. If he had died, surely there would have been some detectable echo within this network, these officials argue.

In public, the Bush administration acknowledges no regret about its prosecution of Tora Bora. One official spokesman, declining to be named, described questions about the battle as "navel-gazing" and said the national security team is "too busy for that." He added, "We leave that to you guys in the press."

But some policymakers and operational officers spoke in frustrated and even profane terms of what they called an opportunity missed.

"We [messed] up by not getting into Tora Bora sooner and letting the Afghans do all the work," said a senior official with direct responsibilities in counterterrorism. "Clearly a decision point came when we started bombing Tora Bora and we decided just to bomb, because that's when he escaped. . . . We didn't put U.S. forces on the ground, despite all the brave talk, and that is what we have had to change since then."

When al Qaeda forces began concentrating again in February, south of the town of Gardez, Franks moved in thousands of U.S. troops from the 101st Airborne Division and the 10th Mountain Division. In the battle of Shahikot in early March -- also known as Operation Anaconda -- the United States let Afghan allies attack first. But when that offensive stalled, American infantry units took it up.

Another change since Tora Bora, with no immediate prospect of finding bin Laden, is that President Bush has stopped proclaiming the goal of taking him "dead or alive" and now avoids previous references to the al Qaeda founder as public enemy number one.

In an interview with The Washington Post in late December, Bush displayed a scorecard of al Qaeda leaders on which he had drawn the letter X through the faces of those thought dead. By last month, Bush began saying that continued public focus on individual terrorists, including bin Laden, meant that "people don't understand the scope of the mission."

"Terror is bigger than one person," Bush said March 14. "He's a person that's now been marginalized." The president said bin Laden had "met his match" and "may even be dead," and added: "I truly am not that concerned about him."

Top advisers now assert that the al Qaeda leader's fate should be no measure of U.S. success in the war.

"The goal there was never after specific individuals," Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week. "It was to disrupt the terrorists."

Said Quigley at the Central Command: "There's no question that Osama bin Laden is the head of al Qaeda, and it's always a good thing to get rid of the head of an organization if your goal is to do it harm. So would we like to get bin Laden? You bet, but al Qaeda would still exist as an organization if we got him tomorrow."

At least since the 1980s, the U.S. military has made a point of avoiding open declaration of intent to capture or kill individual enemies. Such assignments cannot be carried out with confidence, and if acknowledged they increase the stature of an enemy leader who survives. After-action disclosures have made clear, nonetheless, that finding Manuel Noriega during the Panama invasion of 1989 and Saddam Hussein in the 1991 Persian Gulf War were among the top priorities of the armed forces.

The same holds true now, high-ranking officials said in interviews on condition that they not be named. "Of course bin Laden is crucial," one said.

In Britain, Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram told BBC radio yesterday that bin Laden's capture "remains one of the prime objectives" of the war.

Staff researcher Robert Thomason contributed to this report.

What happens when you fight urban terrorists without light tracked AFVs?

Blackhawk Down!
Movie clip #2
Movie clip #1

Blackhawk Down: Leave No Man or Armor Behind?


"Blackhawk Down" was the day's rallying cry,
Leave no man or armor behind unless we ALL die,
Nineteen brave men lost their lives that day.
That we may live in freedom, each in our own special way.


There were Rangers, Delta, Mountaineers and Aviators, too.
They fought for each other, the way heroes always do.
They took on the mission, which came from on high.
They came in low---but without armor that October 3, sky.


Things went wrong from the very beginning.
Trucks and Humvees were burnt, the omen was telling.
Shots rang out from every woman, child and man.
Then came the words "Blackhawk Down" and the killing began.


They fired back for hours to protect their dead and wounded,
They fought for each other; but the enemy bullets resounded.
They kept the faith, so when the armor finally came they were relieved.
Many walked out so their wounded brothers could be retrieved.


"Blackhawk Down", was it the end of the show?
Would they recover and perform again and where would they go?
They are fighting today in Afghanistan as I pen this short rhyme.
Rangers still have no tracked armor, though M113A3s are ready and we've had plenty of time


If "Blackhawk Down" is the warning, why is armor left behind?

September 11, 2001: The "War" Against Terrorism allegedly Begins

Young person's view of 9/11 attacks

America's young people have it right better than our leaders as this picture above shows us---our detailed plan below outlines the TRANSFORMATION America must take from naive non-chalance to adult vigilance and reality-facing to win the first anti-terrorist war or else it may not survive. However, be advised that DoD is simply "spinning" what they were going to do BEFORE 9/11 into a "new way of warfare"; which is Bombard & Occupy (BO) firepower without MANEUVER that controls ground, changes governments and captures fleeing terrorists and Noriegas. That while we are patting ourselves on the back for this new "victory" by air strikes and a few SOF types on the ground directing the bombs, the enemy has escaped because we are unwilling to fly men on the ground in light tracked AFVs to be the "anvil" to our air strike "hammer". The BO "new age of warfare" proponnents conveniently forget to mention that the Taliban government of Afghanistan fell to Northern Alliance MANEUVER forces on the ground in TRACKED T-55 medium tanks, light BMP infantry carriers. What will we do if there are no "proxy" ground forces to do our dirty work? America is still the same today as it was before the 9/11 attacks, filled with its own technohubris lusting to mouse-click firepower rather than take physical risks and get real victories instead of media "wag-the-dog" spin.

U.S. Army on road to ruin not defeat of terrorists with Stryker deathtrap

The Army recently announced delivery of its allegedly "new" LAV-III/IAV "Stryker" light armored vehicles to the first two of what are intended to be five Stryker-equipped Interim Brigade Combat Teams, the Army's new medium-weight units.

As their name implies, the IBCTs are viewed by the Army's leadership as a stop-gap measure, an immediate means of covering the deployment differential between the Army's heavy armored and light infantry forces until a future Army Objective Force comes on line sometime around 2008.

As an objective, that makes sense. However, in committing the lives of as many as 15,000 U.S. Soldiers to Stryker-equipped units, the Army is assuming risks it need not incur for benefits it could more easily and effectively achieve in other ways. To understand why, we need to examine what tasks the IBCTs are intended to perform, consider the ability of Stryker to perform them, and contrast it with alternatives achievable in the same timeframe at equal or less cost.

The Requirement

Perhaps the clearest expression of the rationale for the IBCT was offered by Colonel Mike Mehaffey, then-director of Army Training and Doctrine Command's Battle Lab Integration and Technology Directorate, in a September-October 2000 article in Military Review:

"Although the Army is capable of full-spectrum dominance," Mehaffey noted, "its organization and force structure are not optimized for strategic responsiveness. Army light forces-the best in the world-can deploy within days but lack the lethality, mobility and staying power necessary to assure decision. On the other hand, Army mechanized forces possess unmatched lethality and staying power but require too much time to deploy."

To rectify that disparity, Mehaffey goes on to say,

"The IBCT has been designed as a full-spectrum, early-entry combat force. The brigade has utility, confirmed through extensive analysis, in all operational environments against all projected future threats, but it is optimized primarily for employment in smaller-scale contingencies (SSC) in complex and urban terrain, confronting low-end and mid-range threats that may employ both conventional and asymmetric capabilities."

In short, to satisfy the Army's requirements, the IBCT must meet three tests, two explicit and one implied. First, it must be able to deploy rapidly by air. The Army has further refined that requirement to mean that the IBCT must be transportable by C-130 aircraft, whose avialability (510 in service) and ability to use relatively unimproved airfields maximizes their operational versatility compared with larger airlifters such as the C-17 and C-5.

Second, the IBCT must be able to conduct the full range of offensive and defensive combat operations against all but the most serious armored threats, all-weather and in any terrain including urban areas, in addition to performing less combat-intensive tasks such as peace enforcement and stability operations. In effect, therefore, the IBCT must be able to handle contingencies similar to those ranging from the initial deployment of ground forces to defend Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield to the tragic snatch-and-grab operation in Mogadishu ("Blackhawk Down!") three years later.

Finally, implied is the ability to satisfy both requirements without subjecting Soldiers to unnecessary and politically intolerable risks. In short, the IBCT must be able to deploy and fight with a reasonable expectation of tactical success at acceptable cost in casualties. For that purpose, it must combine ground mobility, firepower, and protection sufficient, in conjunction with other joint assets, to defeat threats at least as severe as that posed by Iraqi forces in and around Kuwait prior to the build-up of coalition heavy forces in 1991.

The Trouble With Stryker

Examination of the Stryker IAV reveals major potential problems in meeting each of these requirements, and especially the last. To understand why, three aspects of Stryker need to be considered: Its air-transportability, its ground tactical mobility, and its inherent crew protection during both deployment and tactical operations. First, however, a brief technical description of the vehicle is in order.

In essence, Stryker is an eight-wheeled armored car with a stated maximum air-transportable weight of 38,000 pounds, though some variants will be 41,000 pounds reassembled after transport. It's 102-inch width at its tires and 275-inch length just enable it to fit into a C-130's cargo bay. Its eight rubber-tired wheels give it a design road speed of 60 mph, can be internally deflated and re-inflated to somewhat improve its off-road mobility, and are built to "run flat" for 5 miles at 5 mph to limp home for repairs. Designed to carry a nine-man squad in its initial infantry carrier version, Stryker ultimately could be configured in as many as 10 different variants, from a mobile gun platform to an engineer squad vehicle.

Stryker's size and weight impose several deployment limitations. While a single, empty Stryker can be transported strategically in a C-130, combat loading Stryker for immediate combat on arrival pushes its weight to 19-21 tons. At that payload weight, a C-130 can neither carry a full fuel load nor land at an unimproved airstrip. Hence aerial delivery of Stryker in a combat-ready configuration implies transport by C-17, in which Stryker offers no transportability advantage over the far more protected and powerfully armed 33-ton Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle since only two Strykers or two Bradleys can fly at-a-time in a C-17.

Recent C-17 landed with only 2 x LAV-III/IAV Strykers the newspaper shows a C-17 transport plane and a Stryker deathtrap vehicle:

By David Eggert, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter

"FORT LEWIS -- In less than a minute, Sgt. Lawrence Durero helped unhitch the eight-wheeled, 19-ton vehicle, jumped inside and eased down the ramp of a military transport plane. Outside, along the runway, hundreds applauded the arrival yesterday of two Strykers"

Stryker's size also affects both delivery and flight safety to the deployment area. Even empty, its 105-inch height (remote weapon system dismantled) precludes palletized airdrop delivery without landing, while its 112-inch width at the hull leaves so little clearance on either side that crew members cannot exit the side or rear doors of the aircraft in an emergency without clambering over the vehicle.

Stryker's strategic deployment limitations are matched by its tactical mobility limitations. In return for its slight hard-surface speed over tracked vehicles, Stryker sacrifices off-road agility and versatility. Although selected to save weight, Stryker's multiple transmission drive shafts, steering, and suspension actually have resulted in a vehicle nearly 30% heavier than the existing 10.5 ton M113A3 Gavin infantry carrying vehicle. Combat-loaded, Stryker's 19-21 ton weight produces a ground pressure of 20 to 40 psi compared to less than 9 psi for the M113. Even with deflated tires, therefore, Stryker cannot begin to match the M113A3's off-road mobility on soft ground, while its 153 foot turning radius pales in comparison to any tracked vehicle's ability to pivot in its own length. Meanwhile, its dependence on steerable front wheels precludes attachment of armored skirts to protect its tires from damage.

Stryker's most serious defect, is its lack of integral crew protection. Stryker's 1/2 inch hull can only defeat overhead fragmentation and direct-fire threats up to 7.62mm soft point ball bullets and needs ceramic tiles added to defeat 14.5mm, the caliber of a heavy machinegun. However, ceramic tiles cannot be fitted to the entire underbody of the Stryker without interfering with the rubber tires which are uncovered nonetheless. Stryker will not withstand hits by shaped-charge weapons such as the ubiquitous Russian RPG because doing so would require spaced armor; skirts cannot be fitted over the underbody without interfering with steering, and both its added weight and the additional width involved would break the C-130 transportability bank. Stryker already overloaded doesn't have the engine power or tire load distribution to accept spaced applique armor to defeat RPGs even if its dimensions were more compact to still fit into a C-130. The 1/2 thin hull of the Stryker cannot accept the recoil forces of Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) tiles to defeat guided anti-tank missiles.

In sum, Stryker provides the IBCT a vehicle that is not practically C-130 transportable, with on-road but limited off-road mobility, and offering only the most rudimentary protection for the Soldiers it will carry. While it might well be an ideal vehicle for military police in peacekeeping or rear-area security operations, its inherent tactical limitations make it a potential death-trap in combat even against a relatively low-tech threat.

In Mogadishu, for example, the rubber-tired Stryker would have offered no advantage over rubber-tired HMMWVs and trucks that got shot up as metal-tracked Pakistani M113s eventually succored the beleaguered U.S. Rangers. Confronting the sort of threat potentially posed by Iraqi forces during Desert Shield prior to the arrival of coalition heavy formations, Stryker would have been worse than useless, offering the appearance of protection without its reality.

The Better Alternative: the Gavin

The best way to measure Stryker's limitations as the platform of a medium-weight combat formation is to contrast it with a readily available alternative, the up-engined, spall-liner-equipped M113A3, informally known as the Gavin after legendary General James M. Gavin who as Army Research Chief created the Airborne Multi-Purpose Vehicle Family (AM/PVF) non-linear battlefield requirement of protected off-road mobility that became the M113.

In contrast to Stryker, the Gavin weighs only 10.5 tons empty the same as an Army FMTV 5-ton cargo capacity truck. Fully loaded, it can roll off a C-130 combat-ready, be air-dropped by parachute, and even be sling-loaded beneath a CH-47D helicopter. Five will fit combat-loaded in a C-17 and six in a Boeing 747 commercial transport (for which even one Stryker's floor-loading is too great).

At 98 inches wide, Gavin fits in the C-130's cargo bay with room to spare providing a safety aisle for emergency exits. Its metal road-wheels and tracks provide inherent lower-body protection against both kinetic and shaped-charge projectiles, and thanks to its pivot steering, that protection can be further enhanced without difficulty with armored skirts with spaced applique armor and ERA to defeat RPGs and anti-tank guided missiles. In terms of crew protection, Gavin's light weight provides enough spare engine power to augment its 1.5 inch aluminum alloy armor and Kevlar spall liner with both spaced appliqué armor and/or ERA tiles, this without exceeding the C-130's cargo bay restriction, permitting immediate combat operations on exit from the aircraft.

Finally, in terms of ground mobility, Gavin outperforms Stryker in virtually every respect apart from hard-surface road speed, though with rubber flexible "band tracks" speeds would be the same. Its low ground pressure, pivot steering, and inherent swimmability enable it to traverse terrain and negotiate obstacles that would stop Stryker; from soft ground, streams, and defiles to wire entanglements and urban rubble-all this, at the same 3.5 mpg fuel consumption rate boasted by Stryker.

The Army already owns 17,000 Gavins, together with a massive spare parts inventory and a stable of M113-trained mechanics. Most sit unused as war reserve stock. Still others are in service with more than 35 allies whose spare parts inventories and rebuild facilities are in many cases closer to potential deployment areas than our own. From an interoperability standpoint, the Gavin thus offers enormous advantages over Stryker. Its cost advantage, obviously, is even more marked.

The Bottom Line

That the U.S. Army needs a medium-weight force to fill the gap between its heavy and light forces is not in question, as U.S. Army Europe boss Montgomery Meigs recently demonstrated using M113A3-based forces to conserve airlift to enable heavy M1/M2 forces to be rapidly deployable with thoughtful reorganization and preparation. What is questionable is spending billions to purchase 2000 doubtfully deployable and even more doubtfully employable Strykers, when far less money could transform a vehicle the Army already owns in quantity into a medium-weight platform superior to Stryker in every respect, and in less time at that.

For a fraction of Stryker's $3,000,000 million average variant purchase price, Gavins could be fitted with their own turret mounting an autocannon and/or fire-and-forget missile system, better protective armor, infrared camouflage, band tracks for quieter and faster road speeds, possibly hybrid-electric drives to double range and enable silent operations and all the digital technology an information-hungry commander could desire. The result would be a more deployable, more maneuverable, and above all, more fightable combat vehicle than Stryker ever will be.

The Army should curtail purchase of Stryker and reassign those for which funding already has been committed to its combat MP brigades. In their place, it should equip IBCTs with refurbished and upgraded M113A3 Gavins. It should use the resulting savings to field a genuine tracked light armored 105mm gun system to accompany Gavins, thus fulfilling a fire support need for which the Army's light forces have been waiting for more than two decades. In the process, it will better serve its own Soldiers and the nation at a time when both need the best the Army has to offer.

General Zabecki's dynamite "reality check" for DoD:

Landpower In History
Strategists Must Regain An Understanding
Of The Role Of Ground Forces
Brig. Gen. David T. Zabecki, USAR


Landpower In History
Of late, an airpower-centric mindset has taken hold among US leaders that promises little risk to U.S. military personnel, but really has gained little for American interests. The principal historical lesson that strategists must understand is that physical occupation of territory by ground forces facilitates positive and direct control over the social, political, and economic destiny of that territory.


The United States confronts challenges to its interests by drawing on diplomatic, economic, and military policy tools. Wise strategists know what each tool can do and when to apply it for maximum effect. As the U.S. meets its first great challenges of the 21st century, strategists must understand exactly what the military tools at their disposal can and cannot do. Least understood, perhaps, are ground forces, which are the military instrument most capable of producing lasting changes in the international arena.

Only ground forces can take and hold territory, which is an absolute prerequisite for any political, economic, or ideological change. Cold War strategists understood this. Of late, however, this joint approach has fallen victim to an airpower-centric mindset that promises little risk to U.S. military personnel, but really has gained little for American interests. As a result, many modern strategists have little understanding of the role and capabilities of ground forces.

The use of ineffectual air and missile strikes in recent years has led many of our potential enemies to conclude that Americans are willing to kill to advance their interests and values, but not willing to die for them. Our reluctance to put boots on the ground looks weak to friends and foes alike.


Every war is different; no war is like the last one. Military planners cannot draw upon the same type of historical analysis that is central to the medical and legal professions. Military planners cannot forecast future contingencies in absolutes, because the very nature of war is that enemies adapt against each other. Instead, planners must confront the unexpected and apply their training, doctrine, and equipment to the situation at hand.

Defeat is often war's best teacher; opponents learn from their own mistakes and those of others. Strategists, therefore, must revise their plans continuously to account for countervailing enemy capabilities. Iraq, for example, continues to study the Coalition air campaign in Kosovo, so as to better blunt American airpower in any future conflict.

Military planners must adapt to the particulars of each new conflict, and historical lessons about how force has been used can guide these adaptations. Because training and technology change over time, the tactics used to capture a city in 1943 most likely would not work against that same city in 2003. But the strategic value of capturing that city does remain just as valid for strategy planning 60 years later.

The principal historical lesson that strategists must understand is that physical occupation of territory by ground forces facilitates positive and direct control over the social, political, and economic destiny of that territory in a manner unrivaled by any other instrument of national power. This truth can best be understood if examined through a series of maxims about the role of ground forces.

During war, however, [nation-] states seize enemy territory to bolster their own power by forcibly imposing a new social contract on the conquered. Only ground forces can do this in newly seized territory. Soviet forces occupied Eastern Europe after World War II and were able to dictate the fate of those nations for the next 50 years-the more than 400 Red Army divisions occupying the ruins of Nazi Germany in 1945 gave Moscow a monopoly on violence and sealed Eastern Europe's fate.

Lasting Control Requires Physical Occupation. If forces do not occupy a given piece of territory, they cannot control what happens in it. Soviet forces did not seize Western Europe, and those nations escaped the yoke of Communism. By contrast, the American occupation of Imperial Japan and two-thirds of Nazi Germany transformed those two states into stable, prosperous democracies. It follows, then, that to control a territory effectively, ground forces must occupy it for an extended period.

As soon as a force withdraws from territory, it can quickly revert to a hostile base. The Vietnam-era truism that "we controlled the day; they controlled the night" is the best recent example of this. Because most American Soldiers withdrew to secure bases each night, Vietnamese Communist forces had carte blanche to maneuver to better effect for the coming day's operations.

Occupation Decisively Signals Intent. Occupation to defend territory signals that a nation is willing to spend its blood and treasure for that particular piece of ground and the resources contained therein. This signal is understood clearly by friends and foes alike. Robust NATO ground forces in Western Europe, for example, signaled clearly to the Soviet Union that because NATO troops were vulnerable to attack, the Alliance was willing to risk violence to preserve its interests against Soviet encroachment.

Defensive Occupation Raises The Cost Of Conquest. It follows, then, that if defensive occupation signals intent, it also raises the cost of conquest. Aggressors may still choose to attack, but they do so knowing that the price in personnel and materiel will be much higher than if the territory were undefended. Moreover, if the defenders can make the price of aggression sufficiently costly, the result is deterrence. This balance between costs and benefits is the basis of traditional conventional deterrence. Thus, NATO ground forces stationed in Western Europe meant that, although the Soviets might invade, the costs would likely exceed the benefits.

Occupation Limits Strategic Choices. Territory occupied by a nation's military forces cannot be used by others. In peacetime, sacrosanct national boundaries ensure that states deal with one another through political and economic means. Occupation prevents encroachment by adventurous states. The presence of NATO peacekeepers in Kosovo, for example, precludes further attempts by either the Serbs or the Kosovars to redraw boundaries. Unlike observer overflights, which can be avoided or interdicted, the NATO ground force in Kosovo is a tripwire that cannot be avoided.

Destruction Of Enemy Ground Forces Produces Political Leverage. Occupied territory limits an enemy's strategic options during conflicts as well as in peacetime. Ground forces take territory by destroying or otherwise neutralizing the enemy forces in that territory. These tactical and operational gains create a cascading effect that reduces and eventually eliminates the enemy's strategic flexibility.

Each time an enemy unit is destroyed, the enemy's overall capabilities decrease, making it harder for that enemy to prosecute its political objectives. As additional territory is seized, the restrictive effects cascade, and the enemy government's diminishing ability to execute its will produces diplomatic concessions as the defeated power cuts its losses rather than face capitulation.

As Coalition forces surged into southern Iraq and Kuwait, for example, Saddam Hussein's diplomatic position eroded rapidly. Prior to the start of the ground war, Hussein was able to reject calls to abandon his newly occupied territory in a negotiated withdrawal. After the start of the ground offensive, however, that option of intact withdrawal was stripped from him, as many of his heavy forces were destroyed in the field. He was forced to make more expansive diplomatic concessions to end the war.

Airpower Alone Can Coerce Only Slow And Indecisive Negotiations. Air forces cannot occupy territory; they can only attack infrastructure or interdict enemy operations within the territory. Whenever aircraft are not overhead, the enemy has freedom of action. Indeed, even when aircraft are present, dispersed enemy forces can still operate, albeit with decreased effectiveness. Serbia, for example, actually increased ethnic-cleansing activities in Kosovo despite the NATO air campaign. After all, it is very hard to decide from a mile up who is a paramilitary, and harder still to kill that paramilitary without harming civilians-even with a laser-guided bomb. Moreover, continued difficulties with concealment, dispersal, and decoys make true control of the battlefield by air forces a questionable issue.

Because hostile governments are able to operate despite air interdiction, it becomes harder to pursue diplomatic objectives through military means. Sustained bombing of North Vietnam achieved no lasting effect because both Hanoi and the North Vietnamese army remained functional. Hanoi was willing to absorb the punishment from the air and saw no reason to concede the fight to the United States.

The Changing Nature Of Deterrence. The nature of deterrence is changing. In the post-9/11 campaign to combat dispersed, often substate terrorism, classic deterrence frequently does not work. Al Qaeda, for example, appears content to abandon its destroyed bases in Afghanistan and re-emerge elsewhere. There is a real need to find a new way to defeat or deter such foes on the ground in their widely dispersed operating bases. [Editor: Air-Mech-Strike]

Simply put, the fact that the U.S. can rapidly put boots-on-the-ground anywhere in the world gives our opponents pause. Missile strikes interdict; American ground forces destroy and occupy. This capacity for destruction terrifies, and fear is the currency of deterrence. As our foes realize that there are no more safe havens because we will bring the battle to them, conventional deterrence will resume.

The Fallacy Of Shock Without Maneuver. Military forces take and hold territory by applying firepower (shock) and maneuver (positional advantage). These classic elements of combat power act in concert. Maneuver positions the forces to better apply shock, which destroys or disrupts the enemy and creates favorable conditions for subsequent maneuver. When ground forces operate on a piece of terrain, they restrict or prevent enemy maneuver. The cumulative effect of this continuing cycle of controlled violence renders the enemy ineffective and delivers victory.

Designed for speed, maneuverability, and range, aircraft cannot be heavily armored. Aircraft cannot remain in fixed positions; to stop moving is to die. As a result, aircraft can only produce a temporary battlefield presence. The moment they expend their fuel or ammunition, aircraft must leave to return to distant bases, thereby freeing the enemy to maneuver.

The only way to overcome this problem is to constantly cycle aircraft to and from the battlefield. This places a tremendous stress on the personnel and equipment involved and requires large numbers of aircraft as well as mountains of stores and fuel.

One study of the Rolling Thunder air campaign estimated that every dollar of destruction caused to North Vietnam cost America $9.60 to produce. Indeed, if one considers the resource drain of Operation Northern Watch's no-fly zone, the notion of a large-scale, sustained, independent air campaign quickly becomes prohibitive.

By contrast, ground forces are designed to be sustained without leaving the battlefield, through forward area re-supply points just behind the forward edge of the battle area. They can maintain their battlefield presence and continue to deliver shock and maneuver-with fewer units and with significantly lower levels of consumption.

Airpower cannot maneuver in the classical sense, and it cannot prevent reoccupation by enemy ground forces. Airpower, by itself, is essentially nothing more than an extension of firepower. And firepower by itself, no matter how devastating, cannot produce a lasting military effect. [AMEN!]

Airpower and ground forces must work in a combined, synergistic relationship. World War I represents a tragic attempt to produce military victory through firepower alone. The German Blitzkrieg in World War II and the American AirLand Battle in the Gulf War, however, are remarkable examples of the combined application of shock and maneuver with technologically sophisticated equipment.

The Problem With Proxies. The experiences of Kosovo and Afghanistan have led many to the erroneous conclusion that the U.S. can "buy" cheap ground combat power by employing local ground force proxies where needed. Ideally, these hypothetical proxies will prosecute future ground wars supported by American stand-off weapons. This assumption, however, is dangerously misguided.

Proxies simply may not exist. American strategy and force structure cannot be predicated on the assumed availability of allied ground forces. Local proxies were available in Afghanistan, but not in Mogadishu. Moreover, available local proxies may not fight effectively. The poor performance of the South Vietnamese army made it a liability rather than an asset. American planners cannot guarantee any combat effectiveness that they themselves do not create.

In addition, although local proxies may be aligned with overall American objectives, this will not necessarily produce effective command and control over them. Local proxies' own allegiances may impugn American objectives. To understand this problem, one need only recall that al Qaeda and Taliban commanders were allowed to escape by using tribal arrangements and bribes.

Finally, the consistent use of foreign proxies to protect US interests corrodes America's international standing. To friends and allies, such a policy signals that American soldiers are not willing risk death or even injury and privation to protect the country's interests, which by extension means that the US would be even less willing to risk anything to protect friendly and allied interests. Moreover, perceiving weakness, our foes would further challenge American interests.

Foreign proxies must be employed on a case-by-case basis. Foreign allies and friends are vital to any American military effort, but they are not likely to accept an ancillary role based on an "our airpower, your bodies" strategy. Washington must lead from the front, using American ground forces to bolster coalition forces when possible and to defend American interests alone when necessary. This will ensure battlefield victory and diplomatic respect.


Occupying territory creates the conditions for lasting political and economic changes while limiting other international actors' freedom of action. History offers no starker lesson than this.

Acting in concert with the other services, ground forces create lasting changes on the battlefield and at the international level. Creating lasting change will be absolutely critical when the U.S. confronts the unexpected adversaries of this century. Given the changing nature of deterrence and the need to retain the traditional balance of shock and maneuver, American ground forces remain indispensable.

War is an extension of political will; therefore, it is essential to put American boots-on-the-ground to defend American interests. We cannot pay others to fight our wars while we strike from over the horizon. But this doesn't require a return to the massed infantry assaults of World War II. Rather, what is needed is a highly trained and superbly led force equipped with every advantage that 21st century American technology can provide, including the world's finest air support.

The U.S. must continue to maintain and further transform its robust ground forces to protect our national interests. Today we enjoy a combat overmatch so fearsome that our adversaries must look to asymmetric warfare to even begin to challenge our power. This predominance is a political asset, not a liability. Transformation will guarantee that American ground forces remain preeminent.

A Refresher Course for Americans:

a. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.
b. A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.
c. Glock: The original point and click interface.
d. Gun control is not about guns; it's about control.
e. If guns are outlawed, can we use swords?
f. If guns cause crime, then pencils cause misspelled words.
g. Free men do not ask permission to bear arms.
h. If you don't know your rights you don't have any.
i. Those who trade liberty for security have neither.
j. The United States Constitution (c) 1791. All Rights reserved.
k. What part of "shall not be infringed" do you not understand?
l. The Second Amendment is in place in case they ignore the others.
m. 64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.
n. Guns only have two enemies: rust and liberals.
o. Know guns, know peace and safety. No guns, no peace nor safety.
p. You don't shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.
q. 911 - government sponsored Dial-a-Prayer.
r. Assault is a behavior, not a device.
s. Criminals love gun control - it makes their jobs safer.
t. If guns cause crime, then matches cause arson.
u. Only a government that is afraid of its citizens tries to control them.
v. You only have the rights you are willing to fight for.
w. Enforce the "gun control laws" we have, don't make more.
x. When you remove the people's right to bear arms, you create slaves.
y. The American Revolution would never have happened with gun control.
z. "...a government of the people, by the people, for the people..."

You don't actually have to take the following quiz, just read the message straight through and you'll get the point, an awesome one, that it is he is trying to make!


1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday.

These are no second-rate achievers.

They are the best in their fields.

But the applause dies.

Awards tarnish.

Achievements are forgotten.

Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz.

See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
6. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.


The lesson:

The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money or the most awards.

They are the ones that care.

Pass this on to those people who have made a difference in your life.

Don't worry about the world coming to an end today.

It's already tomorrow in Australia!

----- Charles Schultz

A Tale of Two Men

World War II produced many heroes.

One such man was Butch O'Hare.

He was a Navy F4F Wildcat fighter pilot assigned to an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific.

One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship.

His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.

As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned his blood cold.

A squadron of Japanese Zeroes were speeding their way toward the American fleet.

The American fighters were gone on a sortie and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet, nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger.

There was only one thing to do.

He must somehow divert them from the fleet.

Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 calibers blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another.

Butch weaved in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until finally all his ammunition was spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the Zeroes trying to at least clip off a wing or tail, in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly. He was desperate to do anything he could to keep them from reaching the American ships. Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier.

Upon arriving he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet. He was recognized as a hero and given one of the nation's highest military honors, the Congressional Medal of Honor.

And today O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.

STORY NO. 2 --

Some years earlier there was a man in Chicago called "Easy Eddie".

At that time Al Capone virtually owned the city.

Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic.

His exploits were anything but praiseworthy. He was, however, notorious for enmeshing the city of Chicago in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.

Easy Eddie was Capone's lawyer and for a good reason. He was very good. In fact, his skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail.

To show his appreciation, Capone paid him well. Not only was the money big, but Eddie got special dividends. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago city block. Yes, Easy Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him.

Eddy did have one soft spot, however.

He had a son who he loved dearly.

Eddy saw to it that his young son had the best of everything -clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld, and price was no object.

And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Yes, Eddie tried to teach his son to rise above his own sordid life. He wanted him to be a better man than he was.

Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things that Eddie couldn't give his son. Two things that Eddie sacrificed to the Capone mob that he could not pass on to his beloved son - a good name and a good example.

One day Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision.

Offering his son a good name was far more important than all the riches he could lavish on him. He had to rectify all the wrong that he had done. He would go to the authorities and tell the truth about "Scar-face" Al Capone. He would try to clean up his tarnished name and offer his son some semblance of integrity.

To do this he must testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. But more than anything he wanted to be an example to his son. He wanted to do his best to make restoration and hopefully have a good name to leave his son.

So he testified.

Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago street.

He had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer at the greatest price he would ever pay.

I know what you're thinking . . . what do these two stories have to do with one another?

Well you see, Butch O'Hare was Easy Eddie's son.

Easy Eddie had a change of heart.

He decided to be a man of HONOR.

However, his redemption cost him his life.

But in so doing so unselfishly, he taught his son how to be a HERO.

Maybe you can make the same decision?

"There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order".

--Niccolo Machiaveilli, The Prince

"For whoever habitually suppresses the truth in the interests of tact will produce a deformity from the womb of his thought". >P> --Sir Basil H. Liddel-Hart

We've written for and read numerous military journals for many years and have noticed that almost all get caught in a catch "20-20" where they need their readers to survive and thus cannot dare speak truths that might cross them and lose readership $; thus they are mostly impotent and unable to be vessels for needed military reform. While they have a modicum of support from their people, its sort of like President Bush Sr's re-election campaign: "its a mile wide and an inch deep".


Leaderships means taking people in a direction they need to go but wouldn't go on their own. Thus, our military lacks a true journal where the unvarnished truth can be spoken in order to get the cause/effect clarity to inspire people in leadership to become real leaders taking our military in the direction it needs to go.

However with the arrival of the internet roughly in the 1997 time-frame, we've noticed an amazine thing; you can reach millions of people without the $$ survival concerns of a print magazine getting in the way; and those people out there who long for the unvarnished truth will gravitate to you and become your readership. This is why we have over 4,000 email contactees in the 1st TSG (A) and I get every day 3-4 new people writing in wanting to help reform our military. These are folks who can handle the unvarnished truth and even disagree with you, but at the end of the day they don't quit on you and go pout in another room if their point of view cannot win on its truthful merits. Let's call these folks the "friends of truth".

1st Tactical Studies Group (Airborne)

DISCLAIMER: We live in an age of cowards, physical and moral. Thus, lies and corruption within DoD cannot be expressed on official web sites/pages because such things would compel public scrutiny and positive changes to improve our nation's defense; so if you haven't noticed yet, this web site and most of the web pages offered are NOT official DoD web sites/pages. Any official links offered are self-explanatory references with the type domain name etc.

Be real here.

Why do you think we have to document problems/solutions on the www if DoD was open to solving its problems, anyway?

So, NO!


We see corruption in DoD, WE WILL FIGHT IT, NOW.


As in N-O-W.






Just like Fast Eddie and his son Butch O'Hare did for us years ago.

Its now time for US to fight the evil of our day.


The 1st Tactical Studies Group (Airborne)

Read about Ranger Rick's Amazing Field expedient tips and "SOS" SERE-capable necklace to hold your dog tags.....