20100228

28FEB2010 26 Years of the Alaska State Defense Force Celebrated!

Where the Alaska State Defense Force is really headed, without rumors!

On Saturday 27FEB10, the 3rd BN ASDF in Fairbanks hosted the first Alaska State Defense Force Birthday Ball, celebrating 26 years of service, at the Princess Lodge. During the duty prior to the start of the Ball, the Arctic Operations Team conducted ski maintenance and the enlisted soldiers were briefed about the next 18 months of training directives coming from the Adjutant Generals (TAG) Office and the AK Department of Veterans and Military Affairs (DMVA).

At the Birthday Ball on the evening of the 27th, we celebrated 26 years of ASDF in its current form, and honored the memory of the Alaska Territorial Guard from which we draw our heritage. Also that evening, some of the members of the Arctic Operations Team were pinned with the State Guard Association of the United States (SGAUS) Military Emergency Management (MEMS) Specialist Qualification Badge after having completed the courses with FEMA, the US Fire Service, and Dept. of Homeland Security Online courses along with a practical scenario (the running of the ATG Inc. Gun Show fund raiser, as the systems in place for National Incident Management System (NIMS)/Incident Control System (ICS) used to operate command and control during disaster are also utilized for running parades, fairs, and other community events!) and After Action Report.

On Sunday 28FEB10 LTC Holl the Brigade Commander held a question and answer session with the 3rd Battalion and passed on more information and asked for any recommendations that we had to improve our capabilities. LTC Holl was very receptive to what was suggested from our Battalion.
During this briefing we were able to completely squelch the rumors that the ASDF was on its way to being disbanded by the DMVA and TAG, instead we have been taken off the line duty and placed in a training state. Yes, we are sidelined, however this sideline serves the purpose of standardizing our organizations training with the current US Army Warrior Skills Training being conducted within the Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard components. Because State Defense Forces/State Guards (SDF/SG) follow Federal Standards, and Federal Standards have changed, we are now training to these new standards. Part of this is a transition from the Military Police role to a broader military role which focuses on more aspects of State Security, Disaster, and Emergency Response as opposed to just a focus on Law Enforcement.

20100226

26FEB2010 Jerks... and more jerks...

Had a customer, JFC we'll call him... He decided to be an asshole to me while purchasing a firearm today... Almost didn't sell him one, but my manager did (and my manager was just about chuckling and wasn't angry with me, this guy has some history). Whenever we pull out a firearm we typically start talking about it, JFC told me "Don't talk, just sell me the gun." So I did. We also don't sell the ones in the case until they are last one of that model, so when I did the NICS 4473 background check I pulled a pistol that had never been handled beyond logging in and and got it ready to sell. When I brought it out to him I opened the case to show him the one from the back and he got angry and irate. He wanted the one he looked at from the case. I mentioned I opened the box so he could see the one from the back, and then he proceed to inspect it, and bitch about how the coating on the scandium frame (a S&W 360 PD in .357 Mag by the way) under the hammer was 'scratched'. Funny, since thats where the coating comes off first because of the factory test fire, and there was no imperfections beyond FACTORY wear and tear (fresh off the assembly, test fired once for safety, shell casing enclosed in box IAW Federal law...). Well, he wasn't happy with it and told me to get the one from the case for him, so I told him we needed to re do the form (as 4% paperwork errors resulted in Red's Trading Post in Idaho losing their FFL for a time), and he really got angry. I finally told him we reserve the right to refuse service and to not come back. Finally, my manager came out and dealt with him and sold him the one from the case after getting the form completed. The jerk wondered "Who the hell does he think he is" to my manager; well mer JFC, I'm a clerk selling you a firearm. You treat me sub-human and get angry and irate with, perhaps you shouldn't be handling firearms in my store as you are showing a violent tendency toward the guy behind the counter UN-PROVOKED. I started off a nice guy, and JFC became an ass...

...With the way my manager dealt with him, I think its safe to assume this guy has a history of acting in this manner to attempt to get discounts. There are those people out there trying to act offended after acting very coarse toward people in order to coerce a discount. That, and my other belief is that this guy assumed that because I'm under thirty I must be a complete and utter moron... All well...

Then there was the Borough Assembly. I didn't get to testify until very late in the evening when I was done with some of my business with the State Defense Force (Class A inspection in preparation for the units Birthday Ball this Saturday!), which was about 9:30 p.m. It was almost hilarious to me to see all the Assembly Members and the Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins sitting there bored to tears and ready to fall asleep listening to the last few people testify about their ordnance seeking to put Federal Stimulus money into a Solid Fuel burning curtailment program Mayor Hopkins promised not to impose during his election (along with the Interior Pollution Control Committee's recommendation to remove all fines and permitting from then Mayor Jim Whitaker's draft wood burn ban ordnance from about three or four months back...). I don't think a single one of them was awake completely when I left. Mrs. Nadine Winters decided to take her dogs out of her vehicle and they proceeded to wrap me up in their leashes when I made my way to my car. She apologized, but her dogs were nice dogs and it wasn't a problem, though people were still testifying. She told me she'd have left her dogs if she knew the meeting would have taken this long. I refrained from saying the first thing that came to mind... Something to the effect of "No $%#, didn't you learn that the first three times this issue came up?" and just proceeded to my car to head home.

So, there is my crappy day in a nutshell for you. So, local firearms dealers, keep an eye for Mr. JFC trying to con you into a discount by being a jerk; and everybody keep an eye on your Borough Assembly which lacks the common sense to leave their poor dogs at home when they are proposing very un-popular bans on the least expensive way people can heat their homes 9 months out of the year.

20100219

My recommendations to Oath Keepers, and any other Veterans Organization for that matter

In light of some recent high profile cases of Stolen Valor (named after B.G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley's book), I believe its important to the cause of the Oath Keepers to ensure that our members who are Veterans be who they say they are.  At least with leadership in local organisations.  We should audit each other using the SF-180 from the National Archives in St. Louis.

Here is why.

Iraq Veterans Against the War has absolutely ZERO credibility due to the sheer overwhelming number of fakes that have joined its ranks and been spokes people, the fakes have forced the real veterans from that organisation (as a pro-OIF, and two time Iraq vet, this doesn't break my heart at all).  Two examples are Jesse MacBeth (MacBeth even talks about being coached to fake by the way) and Rick "Duncan" Strandlof.   These are just two of the high profile cases, there are hundreds of other smaller cases, a blog that has been reporting on the IVAW and its current internal strife and loss of status due to Stolen Valor is This Ain't Hell.  Based on the pain that organisation is going through from not correctly vetting its Veteran leadership...

We need to avoid the same situation.  If we are going to be a relevant force for good and reach out to our brother and sister Veterans, we need to be able to say we are Veterans beyond the shadow of a doubt.  "Audit me, make my day" should be our attitude!  That, or we'll lose all credibility the first fake that makes it to the top of our ranks and gets found out by some inquisitive investigative reporter (who would conveniently forget to do the same thing when talking to IVAW...).

Some other great resources for verifying Veterans and looking into the history of Stolen Valor and its impact on American society:

"Stolen Valor" by B.G. Burkett and Glenn Whitley

AMVets Report Stolen Valor

POW Network

The National Archives Personnel Archives, St. Louis MO


20100213

13FEB10 BOLO BOLO BOLO Colorado Springs area!

KKTV Channel 11 Video and Photos

Be On the Look Out (BOLO) for these F#@%ers. The bounty is now up $4,000 for any information leading up the capture of these thieves who have stolen the items SrA Bradley R. Smith had on his person, to include his dog tags, when he was killed in Afghanistan on 03JAN10. They were stolen out of a vehicle his widow and mother were using at the Golden Corral on Powers BLVD in Colorado Springs. These items are priceless to the Smith family, and there is little that could be more dishonorable than to steal from these precious memories from Bradley's widow.

If I had any money, I'd toss it in the pot also...

God have mercy on these thieves, because I know that if brother ROMAD, or another Veteran catches them they'd better hope Police get them first...

20100208

08FEB2010, Stolen Valor loser goes before the Federal Magistrate






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08FEB2010 Welcome SPAM! Enjoy the "Global Warming" Washington D.C.!

Lately, I've been getting interesting SPAM comments, I suggest to Blogger to fix the capita system and harden it because some bots have that thing locked down...

The East Coast is getting some lovely white stuff we all know and love called snow. Quite a shock for them because this is one of the areas in which the populace of sheepeople, with the bulk of our National Government, believes we've been going through "Global Warming" caused by our human endeavours. In fact, the Beltway Confidential editorial from the Washington Examiner points it out the best. RFK Jr. needs to get off his private jet and quit riding his limo, and make friends with normal people to find out if his statements are true...

This is a fine example of Green Fascism (like RFK Jr.'s attitude...) from Audi's Superbowl Commerical:


Climate Service Agency? Thank you President Obama... Yet another Government Agency to run every detail of our lives!

No evidence "Climate Change" caused food shortage in Africa! I always suspected strongmen dictators had more to do with this problem than any "Global Warming". So, how about some military operations to promote regime change in African Nations suffering under the thumb of dictators? Oh wait, the UN can't do that, they have to write 15-20 resolutions and impose sanctions making things much worse over the long run (killing more people) than a swift strike killing a dictator... Which will likely be carried out by the United States, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand; that will be labeled 'uni-lateral' and 'warmongering' 'expansionist' 'war for resources'.

Dutch point out errors in the UN 2007 Climate Change Report...

Climategate continues to resonate within the climate research world. Not only is God not participating in Global Warming any more (as can be evidenced by Washington D.C. being buried much to RFK Jr.'s dismay...), but Dr. Phil Jones is so embarrassed by his hubris he is contemplating suicide! Don't do it Dr. Jones, admitting your mistakes and moving on is far more important, honest, Honorable, and manly, than suicide.

King North Carolina Police Chief Paula May takes the title as Domestic Villain attacking personal freedom and the Constitution and Bill of Rights this week. She and the Mayor declared a state of emergency and forced a curfew, restrictions on purchasing alcohol, and:

"Other restrictions included a ban on the sale or purchase of any type of firearm, ammunition, explosive or any possession of such items off a person's own premises."

So, if you want to go the Red Cross shelter, you'd best leave your Constitutional Rights behind because the small town mayor and police chief just declared a state of emergency! Personally, the Governor of North Carolina needs to send in his State Guard and/or National Guard troops to arrest the Mayor and Police Chief for violations of the citizens of King Constitutional Rights during a snow storm!

Government
continues to NOT experience the recession the rest of us have to deal with. Luckily, Sarah Palin is back in the forefront of our minds, speaking at a Tea Party Fundraiser! What a breath of fresh air for the little guy to have former Gov. Palin in our corner! She's far from perfect, but seems to be quite open about such things, which is vastly superior to the standard in politics these last few decades of trying to present the candidates as 'perfect people'.

So, the world is as it has been for some time. A dangerous place full of intrigue... Scientists are just political tools, and the real reformers are written off as nut jobs by the establishment! So, if you like Sarah Palin, welcome to the world of Punk!

20100206

06FEB2010 A Stolen Valor Case Closed!






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Always good news!

20100203

03FEB2010 PTSD Skepticism

I'm skeptical about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is a bold statement from someone who has sought counseling and was told I could receive a diagnosis to this effect if I needed to. Why would I need to? My combat experiences left me feeling incredibly lucky and blessed that I'd avoided the worst experiences Iraq could have thrown at me. Sure, we took loads of rockets and mortars; but that was more of a nuisance intended cause terror and interfere with our daily operations. To deny my enemy that, I just treated it like steel rain and got angry when it happened; there was no reason to be scared (except for the two or three times in which the rain landed sufficiently close enough to cause me actually jump into a bunker), in fact it just became a part of the background noise of life in Iraq.

I'd been fortunate enough that the only time I fired my weapon in Iraq was two warning shots into the pavement of a highway. We were the rear Stryker in the convoy, and I had the left rear hatch and therefore rear guard of our convoy, a local citizen in a hurry (do Iraqis even have speed limit?!) came flying down the highway toward us and didn't see me point my rifle and put my hand out (palm toward myself, back of hand toward him; the Middle East version of 'STOP'!), so I did what ROE (Rules Of Engagement; specifically escalation of force) required and put two warning shots into the gravel shoulder. Needless to say, he and his passenger stopped abruptly, got out and put their hands on the roof of the vehicle, and then got in and turned around and sped off back the way they came. My exact words were “SHIT, I've got to clean my rifle!” right afterwards... From what my JTAC who was in the Troop Commander's hatch facing forward, and our gunner said, the Squadron Commander (SCO) and S-3's soldiers immediately ducked into their Strykers when they heard gunfire! Then we radioed that it was just warning shots.

Our Stryker might have taken some small arms fire when we did a raid on a small village near Rawah Iraq in Al-Anbar, but then it might have been the Iraqi Army and their wonderful sense of trigger control! You can tell by the reaction of the children. When Americans man a weapon, they'll jump in front of the muzzle without thinking, when the IA mans a weapon they scatter from the direction of the muzzle... Other than that, I did come across the scene of a Suicide Vehicle Born IED (SVBIED) in Mosul that blew and Engineer Stryker off a bridge. There was so little left to of the car that I couldn't see any gore, that and I was in my hatch pulling security, I had to just about beat one of my Airmen down to keep him from climbing into my hatch and taking pictures; and I almost did in fact beat him for that. CSM Shaylor, the Command Sergeant Major of the 172nd Stryker Brigades Engineer Battalion was board that Stryker, he suffered terrible injuries to his skull but survived (as did all the crew if I recall). This incident above all else is probably one of the most memorable for me, mainly because the bridge they got hit on, our formation (the 172nd SBCT TAC) had crossed four times looking for trouble trying to draw them out, and we were on our way for a fifth crossing when we heard the explosion and got the radio call about two minutes later. 2-1 Infantry's Battalion TAC also responded to the scene to secure it as it was their Area of Operations. We had the scene very secure with two teams of JTACs with their respective TAC's and a couple of F-14 Tomcats at our command overhead doing overwatch (yet this was a bullet for the MSGT. Sitting in the Tactical Operations Center on the FOB? WTFO?!).

I sought some counseling about a year ago. Part of it had to be the stress of not having dealt with the death of a friend of mine during my time in Iraq all the way. Funerals help with closure, and when you have a friend die and you cannot partake in such things, it doesn't allow for closure for you. But thats combat. I found out my friend SSG Sutherland (no relation that I know of, maybe a very distant relation from back over the Pond in Scotland!) had died in a rollover while I was on TOC shift in Mosul. I did get the opportunity over the next couple days to catch a Staff Duty Convoy to FOB Marez and talk to my Priest Fr. Greshel. That helped incredibly, and I can't imagine what my reaction would have been like without that conversation. I thought it would be enough, but coming back stateside I was never able to talk to his widow because I could never find the words until recently.

On the other side, there were some immense assaults on Veterans coming from the US Government and various law enforcement agencies within the United States. This was the time of the MIAC Report on a resurgence of 'militias', and the Dept. of Homeland Security Report on Right Wing Extremism. Both these documents clearly targeted the Veterans who were coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan who didn't agree and were critical of the Obama Administration. Apparently, we were 'high risk' and likely to go join an armed mob of white supremacists because we had a black man for President. We were getting profiled as terrorists in the midst of a war on terror having fought real terrorists. Yes, this is rather disturbing to us. This actually was a big stressor on the ENTIRE Veteran community, not just Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans (though it certainly hit us differently than other groups, but I know for a fact many Vietnam Vets were thinking BOHICA!).

Luckily, I'd hardened myself prior to going to Iraq. Sometime shortly after I'd moved to Alaska (JUL04), I went to a fantastic local book store, Gullivers, and picked up a fantastic book called “Stolen Valor” by B.G. Burkett. Prior to reading this, I had the same notion everyone else did about PTSD and the effects of combat on Americans. After reading this book, my opinion changed incredibly. I'm going to venture to say we need to trash everything we think or thought we knew about PTSD and start over again. Why? Politics and the Anti-War movement have tainted our knowledge of PTSD. We need not start over completely however, because in 1952 when the first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-I) was released, the experiences of WWI, WWII, and the active shooting part of the Korean War (still going on at the time) covered a “gross stress reaction” that was the result of exposure to the more gruesome aspects of combat. Some of those studies even indicated that this reaction could occur years after the battlefield, and the DSM-I described as a temporary condition caused by extreme environmental stress, which should disappear after the patient was removed from the anxiety-producing situation (I'm quoting from the book, get a copy!).

Burkett goes on to extrapolate on the political influence of the Anti-War movment and Robert Jay Lifton on the DSM-II and the creation of PTSD. Its so full of blatant politics that I scarcely can accept the idea of PTSD in the form that was created by these individuals, more specifically applied to myself. There certainly is a such thing as Combat Stress or War Neurosis; which has been observed, studied, and treated for hundreds if not thousands of years. All it takes is a good solid look at history and the improvements made by both psychology and the military are astounding. Civil War records show 20 per 1000 soldiers suffering paralysis and 6 per 1000 suffering insanity from combat. During WWII, draft boards turned away over a million men as mentally unfit for service; and during the war the Ist Army in Europe suffered from 102 psychiatric casualties per 1000 (some of these were hardened combat veterans who'd seen a few battles!). During WWI, the “Salmon Plan” was introduced to provide each unit with a psychiatrist, and in 1944, the Korean War, it was re-introduced. When Vietnam started, it was already in place, with only 5 psychiatric casualties per 1000. I wonder what the rate is today in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Burkett's study of the creation of PTSD doesn't just stop at the views of the biggest PTSD advocate Robert Jay Lifton, he has uncovered and revealed a bias that inserted itself within the VA and Vet Centers across the country during that time. Almost NONE of the Veterans which were treated by the “rap groups” started by Lifton were proud of their service. Every single group specifically sought anti-war veterans who'd supposedly committed or witnessed 'war crimes'. There was NO attempt to verify actual service in any of the armed forces, much less any tours in Vietnam. It was a rigged pool of patients that led to the creation of PTSD in the first place; a mockery of the scientific method if I ever saw it!

There in lies my skepticism. Why should I believe everything a psychiatrist or counselor tells me when the baseline study for the 'disorder' they are attempting to diagnose if flawed to begin with? I do like the folks at my local Vet Center, and having conversations with them I don't doubt that they are 100% supportive of the current Veterans and strong advocates for the older generations of Veterans. In fact, our Veterans Advocate is FEARED by the Veterans Administration and has the highest success rate of getting disabled Veterans the benefits they NEED than any other in country. Our Vet Center has exposed Stolen Valor when they've found it, and several times made sure that phony Medal of Honor holders get dealt with and exposed. Yet it seems there is still the under current of Vietnam Era anti-war politics in the Vet Centers across the rest of the country in some places. I'm a member of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) Community of Veterans (COV) social network; and in those forums I run across a lot of veterans running into problems with the VA and even some Vet Centers. Sometimes I wonder if half the problems all Veterans experience with the VA isn't caused by the sentiment and ghosts of the Vietnam Anti-War movement working in a malicious fashion within the Veterans Administration itself. Department heads my change, but the rank and file bureaucrats are union employees with secured jobs and pensions who will work for decades at a time and cause no end of problems within the bureau they serve if they choose to.

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