March 02, 2008

Thinking Of You

I saw this over at Wizbang, and it's appearing elsewhere as well. Here's a snippet to explain:

Historically, spring is a time of heavy fighting in this region [of Afghanistan] as the terrorists and insurgents emerge from their caves after the harsh winter temperatures and snows. Let's show these Soldiers how much support they have from home to help them through the spring and the remainder of this long and dangerous deployment.

Our paratroopers are in the fight of their lives and they need to hear that America loves them.

Please send an email of support to

Or you can mail cards to:

Leta Carruth
P O Box 100
Cordova, TN 38088

It only takes a minute to say thank you.

Posted by: Ted at 10:22 AM | category: Military
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June 21, 2007

News From Iraq: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

If you aren't reading Michael Yon, you should be. He's been embedded in Iraq for quite some time now and writing about what he sees.

About the current big operation going on:

The enemy in Baqubah is as good as any in Iraq, and better than most. ThatÂ’s saying a lot. But our guys have been systematically trapping them, and have foiled some big traps set for our guys. I donÂ’t want to say much more about that, but our guys are seriously outsmarting them. Big fights are ahead and we will take serious losses probably, but al Qaeda, unless they find a way to escape, are about to be slaughtered. Nobody is dropping leaflets asking them to surrender. Our guys want to kill them, and thatÂ’s the plan.

A positive indicator on the 19th and the 20th is that most local people apparently are happy that al Qaeda is being trapped and killed. Civilians are pointing out IEDs and enemy fighters, so thatÂ’s not working so well for al Qaeda.

Unvarnished truth about civilian casualties, access to information and the daily lives of coalition troops in Iraq. From the point, not from inside the Green Zone.

Posted by: Ted at 04:46 PM | category: Military
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March 09, 2007

Dredging Up A Little History

The Llama Butchers note that today is the anniversary of the battle between the Monitor and the Virginia (aka Merrimac). That rang a bell, faintly, and I recalled a post I made way back on the history of ironclads in the US Navy. There were more of them than you realize.

Posted by: Ted at 10:50 AM | category: Military
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February 28, 2007

You Can't Hit What You Can't See

At least, that's what they used to say, now you can't even hit what you can see.

"I can't see the [expletive deleted] thing," said RAAF Squadron Leader Stephen Chappell, exchange F-15 pilot in the 65th Aggressor Squadron. "It won't let me put a weapons system on it, even when I can see it visually through the canopy. [Flying against the F-22] annoys the hell out of me."

Your tax dollars at work, and apparently delivering what was promised.

Thanks to QandO for the pointer.

Posted by: Ted at 11:15 AM | category: Military
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November 25, 2006


US Navy Ceremonial Guard Drill Team (YouTube video).

Thanks to Murdoc for this wonderful pointer.

Posted by: Ted at 09:52 AM | category: Military
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August 08, 2006

Silent Thunder

The company that is acting as general contractor for our kitchen remodeling project is also doing this memorial.

Posted by: Ted at 05:27 AM | category: Links
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June 19, 2006

Finding Fathers

Nancy Kenney was 2 years old when she last saw her father. He never returned from his final mission aboard the submarine USS Lagarto during WWII. The boat was lost with all hands in the Gulf of Thailand in May, 1945. The wreckage was rediscovered only last year.

Navy divers on Friday completed a six-day survey of the wreckage site. They took photos and video of the 311-foot, 9-inch submarine for further analysis by naval archeologists.

The divers found twin 5-inch gun mounts on the forward and rear parts of the ship - a feature believed to be unique to the Lagarto.

They also saw the word "Manitowoc" displayed on the submarine's propeller, providing a connection to the Manitowoc, Wis., shipyard that built the Lagarto in the 1940s.

Eighty-six sailors died when the Lagarto sank in May 1945. The Japanese minelayer Hatsutaka reported dropping depth charges and sinking a U.S. sub in the area, though it was never known what ship it destroyed.

Ms. Kenney is relieved and at peace, because after 60 years she now knows where her father rests.

The Navy considers the sea to be a proper final resting place for "our people who are killed in action," according to a Navy spokesman. The wreck will not be disturbed.

That's one heck of a Father's Day present.

Posted by: Ted at 04:22 PM | category: History
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May 29, 2006


My thanks go out today to every man and woman who has ever worn the uniform.

My grandfather served in WWI.

My great uncle served in WWII. This is the citation from his Medal of Honor:


Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company M, 329th Infantry, 83d Infantry Division. Place and date: Birgel, Germany, 14 December 1944. Entered service at: Glidden, Iowa. Birth: Willey, Iowa. G.O. No.: 77, 10 September 1945. Citation: He was leader of a machinegun squad defending an approach to the village of Birgel, Germany, on 14 December 1944, when an enemy tank, supported by 20 infantrymen, counterattacked. He held his fire until the Germans were within 100 yards and then raked the foot soldiers beside the tank killing several of them. The enemy armor continued to press forward and, at the pointblank range of 30 yards, fired a high-velocity shell into the American emplacement, wounding the entire squad. Sgt. Neppel, blown 10 yards from his gun, had 1 leg severed below the knee and suffered other wounds. Despite his injuries and the danger from the onrushing tank and infantry, he dragged himself back to his position on his elbows, remounted his gun and killed the remaining enemy riflemen. Stripped of its infantry protection, the tank was forced to withdraw. By his superb courage and indomitable fighting spirit, Sgt. Neppel inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy and broke a determined counterattack.

He passed away in 1987. He was named "Handicapped Iowan of the Year" in 1970, and in 1989 the VA honored him by naming a wing of the Iowa City VA Hospital for him. A VFW post in Carroll, Iowa continues to award to scholarships each year in his name to the children of veterans.

My Dad was in the Air Force during the Korean conflict. He wasn't in-theater, and was medically retired after a devastating illness.

On my wife's side of the family, I know that Liz's Dad was a Marine, and at least two of her uncles served in Vietnam and made the Air Force their career.

Our son served a tour in the US Navy on the submarine USS Philadelphia. That boat is specially equipped to deliver special forces, and although he can't and won't say, I believe that they were directly involved in the initial stages of the Iraq invasion.

Finally, I'll include Shaun. Shaun has served two tours in Iraq with the US Army, and is the son of a friend that I served with during my Air Force days in Germany.

Thank you all.

Previous memorial posts on Rocket Jones can be found here and here.

Posted by: Ted at 12:05 PM | category: Links
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April 05, 2006

Oooooooooo, I'm scared

Those goofy Iranians.

First they test fire their best missile. Then they claim they've got a sooper-dooper torpedo that acts just like the one they bought from the Russians (those same Russians who quit using it because it tends to malfunction in an entertainingly cataclismic manner). So what do they roll out next?

The Stealth Heliboat. Or something like that.

Or something like this!

Posted by: Ted at 11:24 AM | category: Military
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March 24, 2006

Girls with Guns

More pictures of women in the military than you can empty a magazine at. Safe for work, but definitely not boring.

Thanks to the Jawa Report for the pointer.

Posted by: Ted at 06:05 AM | category: Military
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March 18, 2006


Uncle Sam does, and he's had it for half a century now.

Happy 50th Birthday to the B52 Stratofortress
. One seriously bad mofo.

Thanks to Transterrestrial Musings for the pointer.

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October 29, 2005

Tuskegee Airmen Vets Visit Namesake Unit in Iraq

This is awe-inspiring.

More than 60 years after the formation of a pioneering group of black pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen, three of its aging members visited their former unit in Balad, a city just north of Baghdad.

"This is the new Air Force, this is the Air Force that represents America, all of it. It is not an organization of African American pilots trying to break the segregation system - they have done it," Lt. Col. Lee Archer, 85, said Friday in a telephone interview from Balad, where the 332 Expeditionary Air Wing is based.

Col. Archer is America's first black Ace from World War II.

Archer, of New York City, said the new unit "reflects the entire image of America. In that dining room was everything that makes America what it is: black, white, Asian, Pacific islanders, people from different parts of Europe. This is what America is."

He was one of three original Tuskegee Airmen in Balad. Archer was accompanied by retired Tech. Sgt. George Watson Sr., 85, from New Jersey and Master Sgt. James A. Shepherd, 81, from Maine. The visit was arranged by Air Force officials to link the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen with a new generation.

Of the many things that the United States military does well, possibly the most underappreciated by the civilian world is how it quietly emphasizes the historical significance of the various units to it's warriors. You can bet that this reminder of the 332nd's beginnings has boosted morale even higher and subtly pointed out that the men and women in that unit have a mighty big legacy to live up to. By all accounts, they are.

Read more about the Tuskegee Airmen here.

Posted by: Ted at 07:35 AM | category: History
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September 09, 2005

Naval Gazing

I've written before about the US Navy's new destroyer, known as DD(X). It's slated to replace the Arleigh Burke class of destroyers, which had replaced the WWII era Spruance class. As you can see, the US doesn't churn out lots of new ship designs.

But the DD(X) is more than a mere upgrade, it's a massive leap forward in technology and capability. Incorporating stealth technology, it's designed for littoral as well as deep water combat.

DD(X) is designed to be the quietest surface ship in the fleet. The ship will be quieter even than the Los Angeles class submarines.

It's sneaky.

DD(X) will employ a first of its kind Peripheral Vertical Launch System (PVLS). Missiles are typically stored in clusters at the center of a ship. PVLS, by moving those clusters to the hull, will provide the ship with something reminiscent of the reactive armor fitted to the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank. The PVLS concept has already been successfully tested, and will make this ship significantly less vulnerable to sea-skimming missiles.

It's harder to hurt.

Each 155mm gun will fire a Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP). The LRLAP has already been successfully tested to 83 nautical miles. Though it only carries 24 lbs of high explosives, the Advanced Gun System (AGS) is fully automated and holds a magazine of 300 rounds. With a rate of fire of 10 rounds a minute, the AGS should be able to provide the volume fire capability the Navy so desperately needs, and with GPS-guidance the LRLAP will be extremely accurate.

It can hit targets at long range. But how accurate can it really be at those ranges?

Tests have shown the guns accurate to within two meters at a range of 68 nautical miles.

Make sure you let the gunner know which corner of that executive desk you want to hit.

But wait, the DD(X) only has two guns, and each gun only firing once every 6 seconds, that's not much of a heavy punch.

...each gun will be capable of putting up to eight rounds on a target simultaneously. To achieve this effect, shells will be fired in rapid succession at different trajectories.

Lob one, aim lower, lob one, aim lower, lob one, aim lower, and so on. And they all hit the target at the same time. Sixteen booms. Isn't that four batteries of artillery?

The gun magazines can also be reloaded at sea and while the gun is firing. Oh, and those shells cost 1/20th of what a cruise missile costs.

The crew is half the size of the current DDG class, which will also offer up significant savings over the life of each vessel. The first two are scheduled to be active by 2012. These look to be sweet additions to the fleet, plus, future improvements are already being accounted for.

The Navy hopes to fit these ships with an electromagnetic rail gun by 2020. The rail gun would be capable of firing a guided projectile up to 267 nautical miles, which would put all of North Korea into range from either coast of that peninsula (or, to take another theoretical example, allow the Navy to bombard Paris from the English Channel).

DD(X), coming soon to a shore near you.

Thanks to Robert the Llama Butcher for the pointer. He's got more links at his place too.

Posted by: Ted at 12:11 PM | category: Military
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September 06, 2005

Submarine, Cargo Vessel collide

The submarine USS Philadelphia (the boat my son served on) was cruising on the surface at about 2am (local) when they hit a Turkish cargo ship in the gulf off the coast of Bahrain. Damage to both was described as superficial and there were no injuries.

But there's a Captain who's gonna lose his ass.

Posted by: Ted at 05:58 AM | category: Military
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August 19, 2005

US Warship targeted by missile

The headlines I'm seeing are rather misleading. The "missile" being talked about is the Russian-designed Katyusha rocket.


It's not insignificant, but as weapons go it's not very large either. They are unguided, medium-range weapons (~12 miles), perfect for harrassment and interdiction fire (the Russians load them onto truck-mounted launchers and fire them in salvos of five to twenty or more.

They can be purchased on the black market for about a thousand dollars each.

They can carry chemical weapons.

To see the threat that these rockets pose to Isreal, here's a map that clearly shows the areas that are in range of Katyusha's fired from within the Palestinian areas.

It must be borne in mind that Hezbollah has acquired its own strategic deterrent capability against Israel by means of long-range Katyusha rockets which can hit targets from the northern border area of Israel almost down to Haifa Bay. -- Ha'aretz, 26 May, 14 July 2000

Cheap and simple weapons can be incredibly cost effective when their proper use is understood.

Posted by: Ted at 06:14 AM | category: Military
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August 02, 2005

Underwater Warfare

Murdoc provides a pointer to an interesting article about littoral combat (shallow water or close inshore) and the ability of the US submarine fleet to do so. The author makes some good points about the current situation happening between China and Taiwan.

Without giving away too much, "battlespace dominance" against an identified threat such as China invading Taiwan begins long before any shooting ever starts, by the key task for SSNs of "waterspace preparation." This involves missions of the types listed above, into extremely shallow waters for prolonged periods, to study in great detail hydrography, map seabed wrecks, measure local acoustic propagation characteristics (which includes background noise from sources such as oil drilling/pumping platforms, coastal industrial activity, even heavy freight train movements!), also to quantify water transparency, find spots likely to make good enemy minefield locations before mines are ever laid, and using all these different parameters note possible ideal lurking places for enemy diesel subs before those subs have a chance to deploy. Signals intercept antennas are raised for long periods while at periscope depth to monitor and map enemy coastal defense sites, learn the location and organizational structure of various hostile units and headquarters, quantify characteristics of radars so that they can be most effectively spoofed and jammed in time of war, and so on.

All prudent and sensible actions to take when preparing for conflict, but not things that the average person would consider. Which is exactly why we have a military, so that professionals can think about things like this and make sure that they get done before the shit hits the fan.

It's a good read. Recommended.

PS. I knew there was some talk of unmanned underwater vehicles, but I had no idea that things were as advanced as is briefly mentioned in the article. Wow.

Posted by: Ted at 11:52 AM | category: Military
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July 23, 2005

Google is your friend (part whatever)

I was commenting on a post below and suggested a google of "RATO packs". Being the curious george sort, I went ahead and took my own advice and lo and behold, lookie what I found:

(caption from 3rd photo down on the page)

Prowler just lifting off from STO launch using RATO pack with AeroTech™ M2500 motor and Aero Pack RA98 retainer.

The M2500 of which they speak is a popular Level 3 certification motor. That's right, we hobbty rocketeers get to play with military-grade propellants, or maybe it's the military that gets to play with consumer-grade rocketry motors.

Posted by: Ted at 09:17 AM | category: SciTech
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July 16, 2005

Typical, in so many ways

From QandO:

During a routine patrol in Baghdad June 2, Army Pfc. Stephen Tschiderer, a medic, was shot in the chest by an enemy sniper, hiding in a van just 75 yards away. The incident was filmed by the insurgents.

Tschiderer, with E Troop, 101st "Saber" Cavalry Division, attached to 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, 256th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, was knocked to the ground from the impact, but he popped right back up, took cover and located the enemy's position.

After tracking down the now-wounded sniper with a team from B Company, 4th Battalion, 1st Iraqi Army Brigade, Tschiderer secured the terrorist with a pair of handcuffs and gave medical aid to the terrorist who'd tried to kill him just minutes before.

They've got a link to the video too.

Posted by: Ted at 10:33 AM | category: Military
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June 23, 2005

Military Bling

From Dale Franks at Q & O, a very nice presentation of military insignia, selectable by branch of service.

Posted by: Ted at 04:33 AM | category: Military
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June 15, 2005

Big Ugly Flying Fu... Fellow

Murdoc has the scoop on the latest electronic upgrade to the venerable B52 Stratofortress. In my opinion, the BUFF is easily the best military bomber of all time, and arguably the most successful aircraft of any type.

I spent many an hour walking in circles around one of these beasties in North Dakota.

Posted by: Ted at 11:44 AM | category: Military
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