Author Archives: Hognose

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

Brownell’s Buys: Ghost Glocks, Threaded Barrels, Aimpoint PRO

We missed a one-day-only on these Polymer80 Glock frame kits for $39.99, but at $69.99 they’re still more than half off. Frame, metal guide rails insert, jig, and cutting tools all in one handy kit. Available in black, OD, or FDE.

The only reason we didn’t buy any this time is that we still have two untouched ones (including the one in the picture) — bought for list price.  We’ll get to ’em when we get to ’em. Supposedly, there’s a new version of the G17/17L/34 size frame coming out. These frames will work in 9mm or in .357 SIG/.40 S&W so you can actually clone the Glock 17, 17L, 22, 24, 31, 34, and 35; the compact frame for the G19 size guns is not being blown out, but will still set you back $150.

The G17 etc. frames are considerably blockier than the original Glock (which is saying something), so our guess is that the new version will be closer to the Glock original, like their G19 frame is. But that’s only our guess, we have no crystal ball. These are so popular that inexpensive Glock parts kits have become nonexistent.

What goes with a ghost Glock better than a suppressor? So you’re going to need a threaded barrel (also useful for making politicians’ heads spontaneously ess-plode like Mr Creosote). Most Silencerco Glock barrels are $40 off which brings them to $150, but there’s an even better deal on the higher-priced G43 barrel, for all you wannabe silent single-stackers out there. But Silencerco threadeds are for sale for several pistols: SIG 226, S&W M&P, HKVP9, and Beretta 92/M9.

Beretta 92! We bet this breathes life into a lot of dusty M9s/ 92s out there. Don’t have an M9? We interrupt this Brownells pitch to bring you a deal on an M9 (NB, that vendor has a “mixed” reputation, and its owner has been convicted of felonies under some bizarre California laws. We’ll pass, but maybe you feel lucky… punk). OK, back to Brownells.

Our two favorite AR optics are the ACOG and the Aimpoint, and for up-close-and-personal like shooting masked teenagers in the kitchen, we’d go with Aimpoint 10 out of 10 times. Brownells has a little bit of a deal on the Aimpoint PRO (Patrol Rifle Optic); they’re throwing in a $25 Brownells gift card with each one at $437. Your net, $412, plus shipping. We paid more than that for a well-worn Comp M2 used. The PRO is half the price, roughly, of the Comp M2’s successor, the Comp M4.

The PRO includes the features we like, like crazy long battery life, a near-Ranger-proof forged case, and 6 visible and 4 IR reticle brightness settings. (That said, if you don’t have NODS or plan imminent purchase of them, don’t be a tactard: don’t pay extra for NVG compatibility). Likewise, don’t bother with Killflash unless you’re planning on going out and hunting with it (bipeds or quadrupeds, the game is the same); for plinking and home defense you’re good to go out of the box. The one accessory you might consider is a quality QD mount, if you’re in the habit of trading optics a lot.

Sunday SPRINGTIME!!!1!!

Holy latitudes, Batman, it’s sunshiny and sixty-something out there. T-shirt weather, and Small Dog has just met his local dog friends on the dog walk.

One wonders if they see us shaking hands and think, “Shaking paws is how humans sniff ass, I guess. Gross.

The Philadelphia Story, 2017

Neighbor’s daughter is student teaching in Philadelphia, out to Save The World. It’s springtime there, too, and she’s walking down the street, replying to a text — her world and perceptual field narrowed to a glowing rectangle — and comes a probable truant from her school, scooting by on a bike, and deftly plucks the iPhone 7 out of her hand.

She waited to see it get turned on with Find My iPhone, but that doesn’t work, any more; the Asset Redistribution Technicians of the inner city are on to it, and her phone has already been wiped and fenced and, probably, resold.

Or given to a family member. Your baby sister deserves someone else’s iPhone for her Obamaphone service, not the crappy phones they give you for “free.” Hell, she thought he was about 14, so his baby mamma deserves someone else’s iPhone.

The police don’t care; a stolen phone, are you kidding? Do you know what their backlog looks like? Homicides are up 22% year-to-date. There have been 2,500 violent crimes reported this year, of which few have been closed. Who’s the thief? That general description also fits a bunch of agg assault and murder suspects who are at large, so they’re not sweating a phone thief. Hang up, lady; call us back when he kills you. (She knows this; she probably didn’t bother reporting the theft).

Apple doesn’t care; even though they could brick the phone, they won’t — she’s already bought a new iPhone, so theft is a plus for them. Besides, they’re all SJWs there, and Black Lives Matter, and the only reason a white person has something is because they looted it from slaves, which is why inner-city blacks who are too truculent to stay in school and too lazy to show up at jobs (unlike their competition for illiterate-laborer gigs, criminaliens) are Entitled to Whitey’s $#!+ — something they seem to believe with a fervor a preacher reserves for his Bible.

Her wireless carrier doesn’t care; even though they could brick the phone, they won’t. They may get a new subscriber out of this! So they, too, are in cahoots with burglars and strongarm thieves. That’s their contribution to Social Justice.

In four or five years, when today’s telephone thief has a record that takes multiple pages on a cop-car criminal (and three times as many crimes, at least, for which he was never arrested or charged), he’ll get his gizzard perforated by a cop, and The Community and The Reverends will turn out with pictures from when he was nine years old and demand the cop be punished.

And by then, he probably will be, even though logically it’s like punishing a doctor for curing an infection. Bacterial Lives Matter!

But here in the ‘Shire, we’re spared most of the pathologies of inner cities, except when our residents import their Massachusetts ganged-up drug dealers when our residents are importing their stupidmaking substance du jour.

Hell, you don’t need drugs, to turn on, tune in, and drop out. Look at all the undead around you, shuffling along with their glowing rectangles.

Saturday Matinee 2017 14: Breach (2007)

Weapons content of this film is minimal, but it’s a mostly true recounting of the last months of one of the most significant espionage cases in American histoOry. Robert Hanssen was an FBI Special Agent who, while working counterintelligence against the Soviet target, spied for the Soviets. For 22 years, before being caught (he’s now one of the guests of honor in Florence, Colorado’s Supermax, where he lives out his days in solitary confinement).

Hanssen’s motivations were a complex stew of greed and ego; his feelings were hurt that other agents were promoted ahead of him, and he got a sick thrill out of leading an inquiry into the possibility of a mole — an inquiry that would never find the mole, because it was him. 

Breach hit the screens without much impact at all.  Which is a pity, as it’s a tense, psychological drama with deep and, sometimes, puzzling characters. There’s a good bit of tension there, as the FBI closes in on its rogue agent, while at any time the rogue may learn the jig is up. He has two ways he can beat the FBI: by dropping out of espionage before they have enough admissible evidence to convict him, a concept he naturally understands perfectly, or by running a ratline he has asked his handlers to prepare for him.

Acting and Production

The actors here go the extra mile to sell their characters. One small example is the way that Chris Cooper as Hanssen is so intense that, walking down the corridor with a junior officer, Hanssen tends to walk him into the wall, quite unconsciously. In the excellent add-ons on the DVD (of which more below), Cooper’s immersion in this deep, strange, and mysterious character is discussed at some length, but on the screen it’s just a rocking performance, the best in the film, maybe a career best by the underrated actor.

Laura Linney is especially good in a key supporting role as an FBI supervisor so dedicated that she has sacrificed any hope of personal happiness in pursuit of her vital mission. But the way this is exposed is brilliant: when an agent working for her is having problems with his wife, she snaps: “I’d offer you some advice, but it wouldn’t be worth much. I don’t even have a cat.” She delivers the line with just the right blend of anger (she has a good reason to be angry at the agent, who has just screwed up) and bitterness, and the director and writer use it as a transitional moment. This is one example of the way the writer and director often choose to show the audience rather then tell them; to deliver important facts and enriching details in a sparse, telegraphic manner.

An even smaller FBI agent role goes to Dennis Haysbert (now the Allstate Insurance pitchman with the deep voice).

There are no surprises from Haysbert’s character, but the actor brings his trademark gravitas to the part and was a great addition to the film.

Unfortunately, two parts of the production of Breach are far below average. The first is the cinematography, which is extremely dark in 21st Century fashion. Every single one of the screenshots here had to be lightened, or you might not even see the actors or the objects. Some of them had to be lightened a second time (the shot of Linney, above) and some couldn’r really be saved with our image enhancement skills (Haysbert).

The second failure is a surprising one, because it’s one that in most films tends to be so good it’s invisible: make-up. Chris Cooper’s make-up as Hanssen is positively dreadful, and makes one wonder if the producer hired a bibulous mortician by accident. Ryan Phillippe as Eric O’Neill also suffers from obtrusive face paint.

In addition to these, there is one gratuitous, political jab that makes a jarring and incongruous entrance in unrelated dialogue, perhaps thrown in as a Hollywood virtue signal by the writers.

One thing the producers deserve thanks for is the excellent array of special features on the DVD. These include a number of scenes that were cut, primarily, we think, for pacing. By and large the scene cuts were appropriate but having them on the DVD was enriching.

The menu is visible to the left, and we watched each and every one of them and enjoyed them. The Dateline NBC news story, The Mole, is first class, as is Anatomy of a Character, describing how Chris Cooper brought a frankly repulsive, contradictory, and fatally flawed character to life.

Accuracy and Weapons

As you might expect for a true spy story, there is no gunplay, but that’s not the same thing as saying there are no guns. Hanssen has a seeming love-hate relationship with guns and with the FBI’s gun culture. Being able to hit a target is a skill that he’s contemptuous of, even as he warns a young agent that the FBI is a shooting culture and you will be judged by your shooting skill. Indeed, even senior executives are prone to impromptu shooting matches in the Hoover Building’s basement ranges, competing for small wagers or bragging rights.

A plot point turns on this.

Later, the scene is reprised, darkly, with Hanssen and another character.

Of course, Hanssen’s treachery has fatal consequences for Soviet traitors whose identity he learned, and sold back to the USSR. They are walked down a corridor to a meeting… with destiny.

And Hanssen was very prepared for things to go non-linear in his life. As a glimpse in his trunk indicates (AK, 2 G36s, MP5K, AR-15 (A1 style) w/203, and CAR-15 (under the AR):

As it happened, he did not reach for the guns when Bureau agents moved in with overwhelming force, catching him red-handed at a dead drop. Apart from the arsenal in his trunk, he was unarmed.

The accuracy of the tradecraft Hanssen uses to pass intelligence information, and that the Bureau uses to surveil him and build their case against him, is quite good, even though it is generally a background to the human story.

The bottom line

Breach is a powerful character study of a character who remains a disturbing enigma, almost 20 years after his exposure. It was a tough movie to make, especially to make while staying true to the source material — the History v Hollywood link below shows the departures made for the sake of drama, which were many but, mostly, small. But it also does something few movies so, shows the price that many people in the intel and CI world pay for their service.

At one point, Eric O’Neill asks his supervisor, played by Laura Linney, “Is it worth it? Being an agent?” and Linney makes a long, introspective, pause before answering, “Ask me when it’s over.”

There’s nothing in the film that says he asked her, or if so, what she said. But it’s a matter of record that the real Eric O’Neill ceased his pursuit of his dream of a Special Agent job, and resigned from the FBI… in his own way, he was a casualty of Hanssen’s treachery, also.

For more information

These sites relate to this particular film.

  • Amazon.com DVD page (version we reviewed):

https://www.amazon.com/Breach-Widescreen-Chris-Cooper/dp/B000OYAT3U/

Alternative, streaming version (seems overpriced):

https://www.amazon.com/Breach-Chris-Cooper/dp/B000RVP7YQ/

Alternative, 4-spy-movies-for-$5 (w/o the DVD extras, and maybe with worse compression):

https://www.amazon.com/Movie-Marathon-Conspiracy-Collection-Circuit/dp/B01CQOVHCW/

  • IMDB page:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401997/

  • IMFDB page:

http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Breach

  • Rotten Tomatoes review page:

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/breach/

  • Infogalactic  page:

https://infogalactic.com/info/Breach_(film)

  • History v. Hollywood page:

(It’s not on HvH but the same thing at a partner site):

http://www.chasingthefrog.com/reelfaces/breach.php

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Tides

You could say she went out with a splash. But this is one more incident of a painful and tragic accidental death in a jurisdiction that has promised its voting votaries Life Everlasting if only they cast out the demon within, to wit, the firearm. In other words, in Oregon, where heavy expenditure of Bloomberg Bucks has taught the public to restrict firearms, to banish crime and eliminate accidents.

There are still a few crimes and accidents getting through, despite all that.

Aurora Genai Sheffel, 14, was taking photos with friends on a log at a beach in Bandon, Oregon, when the tide receded and pulled the heavy timber out from underneath them. The log rolled on top of the teen, pinning her underwater, according to Oregon Live.

Given the typical mediot joy with which they report fatal accidents and homicides, they should probably turn in the name Oregon Live and go with something that suits their content better.

Paramedics responded to the scene around 4 p.m. and rushed Sheffel to the hospital, where she died from her injuries.

Her two friends jumped from the log and were able to escape unharmed.

Sheffel’s stepfather, David Wederquist, said that girls had been enjoying their spring break before the fatal accident.

via Teen cheerleader dies taking selfies in freak beach accident | New York Post.

No force of Man is equal to the forces of nature, and oblivious phone-gazing is not a wise way to engage with the Great Outdoors. Mother Nature has a wicked way of amusing Herself.

Special Forces Losses in Southeast Asia Three Weeks: 13 Mar-2 Apr, 1957-75

Here’s another installment of our list of SF casualties, on the way to assisting the USA to the Silver Medal in the Southeast Asian War Games. We haven’t done this in a while so there are three weeks at once to start catching up.

The next couple of paragraphs, before the tables, are the boilerplate that goes with this series of posts.

The list was a life’s work for retired Special Forces Command Sergeant Major Reginald Manning. Reg was beloved for his sharp mind and sense of humor; among other tours he survived one at what was probably the most-bombarded SF A-Camp in the Republic of Vietnam, Katum. (“Ka-BOOM” to its inmates).

There is a key to some of the mysterious abbreviations and codes, after the list.

May God have mercy on their souls, and long may America honor their sacrifices and hold their names high in memory.

After the lists you will find a key to the status codes for the Causes of Death or Missing in Action, and also a decoder for some of the common abbreviations.

In addition, we have some individual comments, that are inserted before the weeks to which they apply.

For the week of 12-19 Mar, no SF soldier was lost on 15 or 19 Mar. Note particularly the loss of Captain William Craig due to a dropped Swedish K. (SF term for the Carl Gustav M45B submachine gun, a favorite for “stylin’ and profilin'” for the crowd, but, like all open-bolt submachine guns, hazardous).

Year

Mo.

Day

Rank

First

Last

Unit

Code

Nation, Location, Circumstances

1966

03

13

E-6 SSG

James E.

Hughes

05B4S

KIA

SVN; A-302, Mike Force, Phuoc Long Prov., YT132368, 8km north of A-312, Xom Cat, Opn Silver City

1966

03

13

O-3 CPT

Edward D.

Pierce

9301

KIA, fixed wing shotdown

SVN; B-31, 519MI, near Xuan Loc; shot down in an L-19

1968

03

13

E-5 SGT

J. Athan

Theodore

11F4S

KIA

SVN; A-238, Buon Blech, Pleiku Prov.

1969

03

13

E-8 MSG

Willis F.

House

11F5S

KIA

SVN; B-55, An Giang Prov., on Hill 92 at Nui Coto, NCOIC of the flamethrower platoon

1969

03

14

O-2 1LT

James L.

Ripanti

31542

KIA

Laos; CCC, RT New Hampshire, in Juliet 9, SSW of Leghorn Radio Relay Site

1966

03

16

E-7 SFC

William H.

Hubbard

71B4S

DNH, accidental homicide

SVN; B-31, Xuan Loc, shot by friendlies while reentering the perimeter

1967

03

16

E-8 MSG

Kenneth R.

Chadwick

11F5S

KIA, DOW

SVN; Advisors, MACV Team 77 at Trung Hoa Ranger Tng Ctr, was w/ SF in Laos at Thakhet in ’61-’62

1969

03

16

O-2 1LT

Francis E.

Sievers, Jr.

31542

KIA

SVN; 2 MSFC, A-201, at A-244, Ben Het, Kontum Prov.

1969

03

16

E-8 MSG

Robert G.

Daniel

11F5S

KIA, DOW, WIA 03/03/1969, DSC

SVN; 2 MSFC, B-20, Kontum Prov., at A-244, Ben Het, YB871242 1 km S of Ben Het

1969

03

16

O-4 MAJ

Marvin L.

Foster

unk

DNH, BNR, recovered ’00; ID’d ’05

SVN; Command Liaison Det, YC936965, aboard U-21A 66-18007, crashed during approach to Hue-Phu Bai

1966

03

17

O-3 CPT

William H.

Craig, Jr.

9007

DNH, accidental self destruction

SVN; CCN, FOB1, Kham Duc, Swedish K fired when dropped

1969

03

17

E-6 SSG

Benedict M.

Davan

11F4C

KIA, DSC

SVN; 5 MSFC, A-504, 521 MSF Co, at Nui Coto, Chau Doc Prov.

1970

03

17

O-3 CPT

James M.

Gribbin

31542

KIA, DOW

SVN; 2 MSFC, A-204, near A-244, Ben Het, Kontum Prov.

1971

03

17

O-5 LTC

Bryan J.

Sutton

31542

DNH, helicopter crash

SVN; w/ 101st, Quang Tri Prov., w/ SF in Laos in ’61 & w/ A1/232 in ’63; on OH-58 #68-16884

1971

03

17

O-4 MAJ

Ronald O.

Scharnberg

31542

DNH, helicopter crash

SVN; w/ 101st, Quang Tri Prov., was first Cdr of B-40 in 1967 as a CPT, on OH-58 #68-16884

1969

03

18

E-7 SFC

Margarito

Fernandez, Jr.

11F4S

KIA, DOW

Cam; CCS, w/ RT??, XT441912, during BDA 11km due East of A-322, Katum; w/ B. Murphy

1969

03

18

E-5 SP5

Barry D.

Murphy

12B4S

KIA, BNR

Cam; CCS, w/ RT??, XT441912, during BDA 11km due East of A-322, Katum; w/ M. Fernandez

In the week of 20-26 Mar, somebody died on every date… and along with the usual combat losses, there’s two aircraft shootdowns, one taking the lives of a whole recon team (RT Pennsylvania). Destroyed RTs were usually reconstituted with new personnel.

Year

Mo.

Day

Rank

First

Last

Unit

Code

Nation, Location, Circumstances

1968

03

20

O-1 2LT

Franklin E.

Speight

31542

KIA

SVN; w/ C Co, 503rd/173rd, Kontum Prov.; mult frag wounds

1969

03

20

E-7 SFC

Ricardo G.

Davis

91B4S

MIA-PFD

Laos; CCN, RT Copperhead, YC409110, 59k west of A-105, Kham Duc

1966

03

21

E-4 SP4

John F.

Scull, Jr.

unk

KIA

SVN; 5 SFG, Signal Co., at A-233, Buon Ea Yang, Darlac Prov.

1967

03

21

E-7 SFC

Charles E.

Hosking, Jr.

11B4S

KIA MOH

SVN; A-302, Mike Force, Phuoc Long Prov., on BLACKJACK 32

1967

03

22

E-7 SFC

Allen H.

Archer

11F4S

KIA

SVN; B-52, “RT 2”, BS779188, Binh Dinh Prov.

1968

03

22

E-7 SFC

Estevan

Torres

11F4S

KIA, DOW

SVN; B-50, FOB2, Binh Dinh Prov.

1968

03

22

E-7 SFC

Linwood D.

Martin

05B4S

KIA, DSC

SVN; B-50, ST Delaware, FOB2, Binh Dinh Prov.

1968

03

22

E-4 SP4

John C.

Wells

11B4S

DNH

SVN; HHC, FOB3, Binh Dinh Prov., got run over

1969

03

22

E-7 SFC

Richard F.

Salazar

05B4S

KIA

SVN; A-333, Chi Linh, Binh Long Prov.

1963

03

23

O-3 CPT

Lavester L.

Williams

31542

DNH, DWM, drowned

SVN; A5/5, An Long, Kien Phong Prov., WS409854; hit on head by passing VN boat while SCUBAing

1964

03

23

E-7 SFC

Thomas L.

Lewis

11F4S

DNH, accidental self destruction

SVN; A1/334B, Bu Prang (old), Quang Duc Prov., YU520545

1967

03

23

E-8 MSG

Paul A.

Conroy, Jr.

11F5S

DNH, accidental self destruction

SVN; CCN, FOB1, RT Maine, at Kham Duc, WP grenade accident during training

1965

03

24

O-3 CPT

David J. W.

Widder

32162

KIA

SVN; B1/410, at A-106, Ba To, shot on board Caribou during approach to A-106, Ba To

1967

03

24

E-7 SFC

Roger C.

Hallberg

11B4S

KIA, DWM

SVN; A-302, Mike Force, Phuoc Long Prov., YU100305, 3km NE of A-341, Bu Dop

1967

03

24

O-4 MAJ

Jack Thomas

Stewart

31542

MIA-PFD, DSC

SVN; A-302, Mike Force, Phuoc Long Prov., YU100305, 3km NE of A-341, Bu Dop

1968

03

24

O-2 1LT

Michael A.

Merkel

17860

KIA, DOW

SVN; 7th PsyOps Gp, attached to MACV Tm 21, Pleiku Prov.

1969

03

24

E-7 SFC

William M.

Bryant

11F4S

KIA MOH

SVN; 3 MSFC, B-36, A-362, Long Khanh Prov., Opn Centurian V at Rang Rang

1969

03

24

E-5 SGT

John M.

Greene

05B4S

KIA, DOW

SVN; 5 MSFC, A-503, 512 MSF Co, at Nui Coto, Chau Doc Prov.

1970

03

24

O-2 1LT

Jerry L.

Pool

31542

MIA-PFD (remains ID’ed 06/2001)

Cam; CCC, RT Pennslyvania, YB484003 38k SSW of Leghorn, Ratanakiri Prov., on UH-1H #68-15262

1970

03

24

E-7 SFC

John A.

Boronski

unk

KIA, BNR (remains ID’ed 06/2001)

Cam; CCC, RT Pennsylvania, YB484003 38k SSW of Leghorn, Ratanakiri Prov., on UH-1H #68-15262

1970

03

24

E-6 SSG

Gary A.

Harned

05B4S

MIA-PFD (remains ID’ed 06/2001)

Cam; CCC, RT Pennsylvania, YB484003 38k SSW of Leghorn, Ratanakiri Prov., on UH-1H #68-15262

1967

03

25

O-3 CPT

Richard E.

Legate

31542

KIA

Laos; CCC, FOB2, Nung Company Commander

1967

03

25

E-5 SGT

Albert C.

Files, Jr.

91B4S

KIA, fixed wing shotdown

SVN; A-243, Plateau Gi, Kontum Prov., aboard O-1E #56-2509, shot down during takeoff from A-243

1968

03

25

E-6 SSG

Balfour O.

Lytton, Jr.

05B4S

KIA, DOW, DSC

SVN; 2 MSFC, B-20, Darlac Prov., near Ban Me Thout, vic BR248245 on Opn BATH

1969

03

25

E-7 SFC

Joseph C.

Haga

12B4C

KIA

SVN; 3 MSFC, B-36, A-361, Long Khanh Prov., at Rang Rang on Opn CENTURIAN V

1967

03

26

E-5 SP5

Raymond B.

Guarino

12B2S

KIA, DWM

SVN; A-235, Nhon Co, Quang Duc Prov., w/ SFC G.D. Hoskins

1967

03

26

E-7 SFC

Gomer D.

Hoskins, Jr.

11B4S

KIA, DWM

SVN; A-235, Nhon Co, Quang Duc Prov., w/ SP5 Guarino

1969

03

26

O-2 1LT

Robert E.

Sheridan

31542

KIA

Laos; CCC, Hatchet Force, Co B; small arms fire

For the week of 3/27-4/2, no SF soldier was lost on 29 or 31 March, or 1 April. In addition, a SOG veteran has informed the community that “the remains of Alan Boyer, line 6, were returned to CONUS and were formally buried at Arlington 6/12/16, with his sister Judi and several SOA/SFA brethren, LTG John Mulholland and many SF men from 5th SFG in attendance.” While Boyer’s teammate George Brown was recovered in 2002, the remains of their other teammate on RT Asp, Charles Huston, have not yet been recovered and/or identified.

Year

Mo.

Day

Rank

First

Last

Unit

Code

Nation, Location, Circumstances

1966

03

27

E-7 SFC

Alden B.

Willey

11C4S

KIA

SVN; A-222, Dong Tre, Phu Yen Prov.

1968

03

27

E-7 SFC

Johnny C.

Calhoun

05B4S

KIA, DWM, DSC

Laos; CCN, FOB3, YC422918, 5k South of Ta Bat

1968

03

27

O-3 CPT

Mac W.

Speaks

31542

KIA

SVN; A-102, Tien Phuoc, Quang Tin Prov.

1968

03

28

E-8 MSG

George R.

Brown

11F5S

MIA-PFD (Recovered 02/2000)

Laos; CCN, FOB4, RT Asp, XD434574 40k WNW of Khe Sanh, w/ Boyer & Huston

1968

03

28

E-6 SSG

Charles G.

Huston

05B4S

MIA-PFD

Laos; CCN, FOB4, RT Asp, XD434574 40k WNW of Khe Sanh, w/ G. R. Brown & Boyer

1968

03

28

E-6 SSG

Alan L.

Boyer

05B4S

MIA-PFD

(Recovered 03/2016)

Laos; CCN, FOB4, RT Asp, XD434574 40k WNW of Khe Sanh, w/ G. R. Brown & Huston

1968

03

30

E-5 SGT

John F.

Link

12B4S

KIA, DOW, WIA 29 March, DSC

SVN; B-52, 91st Ranger Bn Advisor, vic YD554037 18k NE of A Luoi on Opn Samurai IV

1967

04

2

E-5 SGT

William P.

Martin

91B4S

KIA

SVN; A-241, Polei Kleng, Kontum Prov.

1968

04

2

E-5 SP5

Ingo J. R.

Wiskow

12B4S

KIA

SVN; B-36, A-362, Rapid Fire VIII, Phuoc Long Prov., YU322138, 14km ENE of Song Be

1970

04

2

E-7 SFC

Donald G.

Armstrong

11F4S

KIA

Laos; CCC, FORD DRUM during a low-level photo mission; aircraft managed to return to base


SVN SF KIA Status Codes:

BNR – Body Not Recovered. (Known to be dead, but his body was left behind).
DOW – Died of Wounds. (At some time subsequent to the wounding, days/weeks/months).
DNH – Died Non-Hostile. (Accident, disease. There’s a couple suicides among them).
DWM – Died While Missing. (Usually implies body recovered at a different time during the war).
KIA – Killed In Action.
MIA – Missing In Action.
PFD – Presumptive Finding of Death. (This was an administrative close-out of all remaining MIAs during the Carter Administration).

Common Abbreviations

A-XXX (digits). SF A-team and its associated A-camp and area.
AATTV – Australian Army Training Team Vietnam. Their soldiers integrated with SF in VN.
BSM, SS, DSC, MOH: Awards (Bronze Star, Silver Star, Distinguished Service Cross, Medal of Honor).
CCC, CCN, CCS. Command and Control (Center, North and South). Covernames for the three command and support elements of the Special Operations Group cross-border war.
MGF – Mobile Guerrilla Force, indigenous personnel led directly by US.
MSFC – Mobile Strike Force Command, indigenous personnel led directly by US. Aka Mike Force.

We’ll cheerfully answer most other questions to the best of our ability in the comments. Note that (1) it’s Reg’s list, and we can’t ask him any more, and (2) it was Reg’s war, not ours, and all our information about SF in the Vietnam war is second hand from old leaders and teammates, or completely out of secondary sources.

Parker Otto Ackley Hated his Christian Name

That’s why he went by P.O. all his life. Anybody claiming to be his friend and talking about, “Parker and I…” immediately made an ass of himself to Ackley’s real friends, who were many, and influential in the small world of American firearms.

This is just one of the fascinating details we’ve learned from P.O. Ackley: America’s Gunsmith by Fred Zeglin.

In a time when college graduates and even high school graduates were rare, Ackley was a magna cum laude graduate of Syracuse University (in New York, his native state). His degree was in Agriculture, and he was a member of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

Why did he become a gunsmith? “During the Depression, there was nothing else to do anyway.” His college studies had made him a remarkably good potato farmer, but his potatoes found no buyers.

In 1936, he bought the Roseburg, Oregon shop of Ross King, who had in turn bought the business from the widow of his former employer in Los Angeles, Ludwig Wundhammer, arguably the first great American sporterizer of military rifles. King moved back to LA and kept gunsmithing for some years.

Ackley bought the shop sight unseen, sold the family farm, and drove to Roseburg to meet King — whose work he respected greatly — and see his new shop. He paid King $1,000 down and $1,000 over time, on a handshake. But he didn’t know barrel making, so he accepted the offer of a friend to teach him. Leaving the family in Roseburg, he spent most of 1936-37 in Cincinnati learning the trade from Fritz, last name unknown, an employee of the friend, Ben Hawkins.

Ackley built much of his own tooling. He could afford only one gun-drill, so his early barrels were all bored .22 and reamed to final size with reamers he made himself. His own rifling machine was one of the earliest button-rifling mechanisms — he claimed to have co-invented the process, although he never filed a patent on it — and an entire chapter of the book is Ackley’s own detailed technical description of this tool. Ackley wrote it for a book that was never published, and the rifling-tool chapter may be the only surviving fragment.

In that chapter, as in many other places in the book, Ackley’s wit shines through.

“P.O. said that Elmer Keith was the biggest bullshit artist in the United States, but if he said he hit something with a .44 Magnum at 1000 yards, you better believe it, ’cause he could shoot.”

“The best way to get an answer to the problem is to ask someone who has never made a barrel. They can always tell you.”

Ackley’s foundation of the school of gunsmithing at the Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado was a surprising story. Ackley left the Ogden, Utah arsenal during the war — some say, after a falling out with co-worker Elmer Keith, the story of which Zeglin was not able to establish, and unconfirmed stories about which Zeglin was unwilling to publish. He ultimately wound up in Trinidad, and, after the war, was buried in a mountain of correspondence from GIs seeking gunsmithing training under their GI Bill benefits. The college, meanwhile, was getting similar letters — thousands of them.

The gunsmithing school was a success from the start, and early students remember an unusual instructional technique: Ackley would disassemble a gun and reassemble it where students could not see it, talking them through the process. Then, in the lab, they’d have to do it themselves, forcing them to learn by doing, not monkey-see-monkey-do.

Lee Womack, one of his former students, wrote:

In spite of his 16-hour days, he was always available…. He gave freely of any information he might have. He used to say that anybody in the gun business who thought he had a trade secret was just kidding himself.

This year will be the 70th anniversary of the program, a living memorial to an interesting American craftsman.

We’ll close with a few more Ackley quotes. On bullpup actions:

My opinion of the Bull-pup idea in general would not be very complimentary, and like the man once said, “If you can’t say anything good about it, then don’t say anything at all.” Therefore, I am silent as HELL on this subject.

On relative and absolute strengths of rifle actions, something which he experimented on extensively:

[A]ny action can be blown up if you try hard enough.

On the strength of the Italian Carcano, proven in his blow-up tests:

In spite of the fact that the locking lugs looked as though you could knock them off with a tack hammer, we were unable to damage any one of the four bolts appreciably. When the actions finally let go the receiver ring flew off, but this didn’t come until we had reached loads whitch had previously blown up P-17 Enfields. I wish to point out. however, that none of this should be used to conclude that the rifle could ever be made into a desirable hunting arm because that is a fairly good definition of the word impossibility.

As you might imagine, we’re loving the book.

Friday Tour d’Horizon, 2017 Week 14

Again, we find ourselves throwing together this week’s Tour d’Horizon on Friday night. We hate that. It makes us late, and you hate that.

So much hate. As the Patron Saint of this blog, Rodney King, says, “Can’t we all just get along?”

Guns

I don’t wanna work, I just wanna bang on my gun all day.

How Much Does the Blackhawk! Serpa Suck?

We honestly haven’t written much about this, because we thought everybody who couldn’t see they were junk would take the advise of everybody who’s anybody in the training world. So if you don’t know, go read this rant by Bob Owens. Who concludes:

Why on earth would you bet your life on a poorly-made, poorly designed holster that has been banned by many law enforcement agencies, top tier instructors, shooting schools and ranges, when there are so many better options on the market?

Why, indeed?

We had them bought for us and used unit money to buy Safarilands instead. Result — the only guy shot in the fourth point of contact was the battalion commander, and he insists an enemy sniper did it. (We weren’t there but the guys who were said he did not plug his own gluteus). Whoever shot him, he stayed in command after field treatment, impressing us with his fortitude.

Banned in Boston (and 49 other US states): CZ-92

This is a CZ you can’t own here. It’s an 8-shot, DAO .25 that can’t hope to pass the ATF’s Nazi-sourced “sporting purpose” test. It’s owned in Lithuania, and its new owner laid out €50 for it. (It has the Lithuanian national symbol, the Pillars of Gedminas, on it). Source.

If you really want an 8-shot, sightless, DAO .25, though, there are still options. There have been four versions of this pistol made by CZ, plus an American quasi-clone, plus its design has inspired others, including Seecamp’s LWS-25 and the ZVI Kevin / DesertTech Micro Desert Eagle. Without giving you the whole chapter of the book, the CZ versions are:

  1. The CZ-36, designed by František Myška and made in small numbers before and during WWII. It had a wrap-around checkered plastic grip with the old CZ logo, and most CZ-36s had a manual safety on the frame.
  2. The CZ-45, an update of the CZ-36, redesigned by Jan Kratochvíl for easier manufacture. A few early CZ-45s were made with the manual safety, but there are several cues that allow the models to be distinguished reliably.
  3. The CZ-70, a further production-improved and restyled CZ-45, not to be confused with the CZ-70 service pistol used by Czechoslovak police. It can most readily be distinguished by its grips, which have a pattern resembling that on the CZ-70 service pistol.
  4. This CZ-92, restyled again with two grip scales and a solid backstrap on the frame for the first time.

The American copy, the Intratec ProTec-25, is only a partial copy: many parts don’t interchange, etc. Intratec’s designers were George Kellgren (later founder of Kel-Tec) and Carlos Garcia, and their objective seems to have been lowest possible cost. The frame and slide appear to be made of el cheapo pot metal or powder metal, die cast. There were supposed to be several finishes and a second caliber (.22 LR) available, but even though they’re mentioned on the box and in the papers with our example, we’ve never even seen one.

CZ-36s are rare firearms, but the CZ-45 turns up at auctions frequently. CZ-70s and -92s postdate the 1968 pocket pistol import ban.

Gun Stocks update

Anyway you want it: we have the table, our analysis, and the popular chart. We have simplified to one chart and table, incorporating Olin.

Gun Stocks since the Election
Week Ending RGR SWHC AOBC VSTO OLN
11/8/16 64.40 28.45 38.94 22.45
11/18/16 53.20 24.13 40.02 25.16
11/25/16 52.50 23.82 41.05 25.69
12/2/16 50.25 21.10 39.66 25.94
12/9/16 51.90 21.07 38.62 25.87
12/16/16 53.45 21.59 36.81 25.42
12/23/16 54.05 22.11 38.03 26.21
12/30/16 52.70 21.08 36.90 25.61
1/6/17 54.15 21.00 38.08 26.39
1/13/17 51.35 20.60 28.70 27.07
1/20/17 50.65 20.13 27.78 26.64
1/27/17 51.90 20.58 28.33 26.69
2/3/17 50.05 20.12 26.18 30.83
2/10/17 50.15 20.07 21.58 29.81
2/17/17 49.70 19.22 20.89 30.86
2/24/17 49.85 19.45 20.72 30.78
3/3/17 48.75 18.83 20.47 32.34
3/10/17 52.15 19.52 20.71 31.70
3/17/17 53.55 19.45 20.89 33.07
3/24/17 51.90 18.73 20.31 32.77
3/31/17 53.55 19.81 20.59 32.87
4/07/17 56.00 20.63 18.42 31.80

An interesting split. Ruger is up notably, as is Smith, while Vista Outdoor has resumed a sharp decline and Olin has lost a dollar. Ruger repurchased 1.1 million shares of its own stock this week, and March raw background check numbers were strong. Yet analysts, probably reading news stories about the death of the gun market, have rated these stocks underperform or hold. (For example, a couple of analysts have assigned a price target of $48 to Ruger). All of the stocks were volatile this week.

Disclaimer: Your Humble Blogger holds RGR, bought at about 56.40 on 9 Nov 16.

Gun Poly-Ticks

Stunt Doesn’t Work

An anti-gun legislator in Tennessee made an attempt to straw-sell an AK before the adoring local media, but didn’t find any buyers. His stunt was in aid of a back-door registration “background check” bill pending in the legislature at the time.

His bill didn’t pass, either.

Rotary International Goes Anti-Gun

The 19-member, mostly foreign, board of Rotary International have thrust the organization into the United States gun control debate through a new series of anti-gun positions, which apply only to the United States.

Left: Logo of Rotary, which wants no guns under its emblem. Right: Rotary’s inspiriation, logo of the Nazi union DAF, which felt the same way about peasants’ guns.

If you are solicited by a local Rotary for support, membership, or facilities, be alert to the fact that they are an SJW-converged, anti-2nd-Amendment, anti-gun organization. Let them get paid by Bloomberg, like the rest of their movement.

Usage and Employment

 The hardware takes you only half way.

Cop Wisely Ducks

Here’s a series of several videos of the same shooting in San Ysidro, way deep in the south of California, on 28 Mar 15 (video just released at the conclusion of the investigation). Cops responding to a domestic encountered a man, later determined to be Alberto Hernandez, with a handgun that appeared to be a 9mm Beretta. Later, he exits and refuses to put down the gun. Not surprisingly, three cops engage him and he’s killed.

Tentative conclusion: suicide by cop. But what we thought was interesting was the first cop bodycam, where you see the cop take cover and you don’t see the shooting. You can see this cop’s actions from the other angles as well, especially from the crisp FLIR in the helicopter. And it’s clear that he did just the right thing in taking cover behind a concrete wall.

It’s great to approach an enemy or a suspect from many sides to try to get him to surrender. But when the shooting starts, you have to make sure your buddies don’t shoot you!

Two more things: the 9mm Beretta was actually a Daisy Powerline 340, which is styled like the Beretta. It comes with an orange muzzle cap, but the cap had been removed, making it indistinguishable from a firearm without close examination. And the investigation (.pdf) learned that Hernandez was mentally ill (bipolar), full to the gills with psychoactive drugs, and juiced up to a BAC of .30, which probably explains why he didn’t flinch when first shot — he wasn’t feeling any pain.

Cops ‘n’ Crims

Cops bein’ cops, crims bein’ crims. The endless Tom and Jerry show of crime and (sometimes instantaneous) punishment.

Sumdood Picked the Wrong Time to Rob the Store

‘Cause he only thought he was a badass. As he learned, if he retained any of the lesson after the concussion, a whole other dude was the badass. Fun with John Correia and ASP.

She’ll Never Make 35 Million Bail

That’s what the California courts thought about Tiffany Li, who seems to have murdered her estranged husband in a custody dispute, and whose ties to China are more solid than any to the USA.

She made bail.

Most of it by other overseas Chinese pledging their property (which means the court has more like $65 million in property if she bugs.

What’s the over/under on her showing up for court? If she does, what’s the over/under on her showing up for sentencing?

The Family that Does Crime Together Does Time Together

Wesley Leverett is accused of murder in McMinnville, TN. He’s being held on $1 million bail. His immediate relatives — mother and two grandparents — were also busted, as accessories after the fact, and accused of evidence tampering.

I guess the difference between murderers and the rest of us, is the difference between parents who destroy evidence for you and parents who pinch your ear and drag you straight to the station.

The Perils of Kathleen: Longest 15 Warhol Minutes in History

How can we miss her if the state won’t put her away?

  • Item 5 Apr: Williams Turned Into Kanethat’s his problem, according to D’Annunzio in the Legal Intelligencer. It does seem like more than the average number of Pennsylvania prosecutors wind up prosecuted these days. Like Kane, Williams belongs in jail. They both might still go there.
  • Item 3 Apr: We Read a Book on the Jerry Sandusky case, by the kid who was identified as Victim 1. Our interest: was Kane mentioned at all? She made her pursuit of Sandusky proof of her prosecutorial bona fides. Her name is absent.

What, It Wasn’t Rent Boys?

Forgive us, for we have stereotyped. But we saw a monsignor (a grade of Catholic priest) was arrested in Philadelphia, and we jumped to the conclusion that buggery was a factor. (Ever notice that with seven deadly sins, that isn’t one? Hmmmm…) But as it turns out, it wasn’t buggery at all, but another one of the Big Seven: greed.

Federal prosecutors accused Msgr. William A. Dombrow, 77, of siphoning funds for nearly nine years from a private account set up to support Villa St. Joseph, the facility in Darby Borough that also houses priests who have been accused of sexual abuse.

OK, so there’s a buggery angle, but the newsman is stretching, there.

Much of the money that flowed into that account came from the life insurance payouts of priests who had died while residing there or bequests from the estates of parishioners who intended to support the facility.

The theft was discovered, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Rotella said, after the bank that administered the account flagged several suspicious payments and deductions at Harrah’s Casino in Chester and notified the Archdiocese of Philadelphia last year.

Yeah, it does look amiss when the money donated for the benefit of elderly and infirm priests winds up being gambled away. Apparently Dombrow blew over a half million on high living. What vow of poverty?

Dombrow is a recovering alcoholic who devoted his time to helping other priests with struggles with alcohol. He previously led the Archdiocesan Priests’ Committee on Alcoholism and a center for those seeking religious-based addiction treatment.

A recovering alkie, but a practicing gambler.

Among the funds he is accused of embezzling was $14,410 left to Villa St. Joseph by the Rev. Francis P. Rogers, who had numerous sexual-abuse complaints lodged against him prior to his death in 2005 — the same year a Philadelphia grand jury issued its report detailing the allegations against him.

Okay, so two buggery angles.

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

What goes on in the battlezones of the world — and preparation of the future battlefields. 

She Was in a Safe Job

Safest service? The Air Force, hands down. As the old joke goes, “An honorable alternative to military service.” But mortal danger is where you find it, or, as Staff Sgt. Alexandria Morrow, USAF, discovered, where it finds you:

Alexandria Mae Morrow, 25, an Air Force weapons loader known to her comrades as “the mom of the flight line,” died Wednesday, March 22, during noncombat operations in the Middle East, the U.S. Defense Department reported.

Staff Sgt. Morrow was loading or unloading a bomb near a jet when the device slipped off its track, hitting her on the head. The Air Force is investigating the incident.

Of course, we’d never suggest a mismatch between a 100-lb airman and a bomb several times her weight may have been a factor. And you may rest assured that the officers doing the investigation won’t suggest it, either.

A seven-year veteran and the mother of two young daughters, she had been deployed for five months to Jordan with the 332nd Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron, although she was assigned to the 366th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.

 It was a safe job. Or it should have been. Everyone take care out there.

Syria – The International Players

Here’s the program, courtesy of The Daily Mail. Syria doesn’t just have Russia and Iran, but also a few other friends in low places.

Syria Strike

Here’s some BDA on the Syria strike. There was no attempt to disable the base, but some facilities and some aircraft were hit.

The dog that did not bark was the SA-300 Growler missile system that the Russians have deployed at the airfield. The Russians had an hour to thirty minutes notification of the strike, and yet they did not engage the missiles at all. Our best guess is that they do not have the capability to detect the TLAMs until they are within the Growler’s minimum engagement range.

Pre-attack airfield. The fan-shaped paved areas around the ends of the runways are the Hardened Aircraft Shelters. More aircraft dispersal is on individual pads in the east-northeast.

Post-attack airfield:

The next image shows the the lower right HAS area. Some HASes have been hit, and some not. If you look to the right of the five-trail intersection in the lower right area of the image, you’ll see several oval defensive structures which may be AA related.

The westernmost array of HASes was hit pretty hard.

Then there’s this image, promoted by the Syrians and Russians as proof that the US dropped the attack ball.

As the Daily Mail put it, “Unscathed: This collection of five jets on al-Sharyat Air Base somehow escaped the bombing raid, despite being located out in the open, on a patchy grass plain”.

“Collection” is a pretty good term for these museum pieces. The first and probably the last (foreground-to-background) are MiG-21F-13s, an early 1960s variant that was already being replaced at the time of the Six Day War. The middle jet is a MiG-21PF, the one that replaced it. The other two are MiG-21MFs, we think; late seventies or possible early eighties jets. In other words, the US recognized and didn’t hit a line of decoys.

Sorry about that.

It’s harder to tell whether the jets we hit in the HASes were modern jets or more old junk, because they’re really junk now.

An unidentified single-engine jet lies in ruins. In the background, two jets in facing HASes appear to be intact. The one on the left is a 1970s jet, like a MiG-21 or Su-7 or -22. One on the right, unidentified.

This could be another MiG-21 or an Su-7 or -22, planes of broadly similar vintage. It’s hard to tell. 

Veterans’ Issues

Is it time to o disband this thing yet, and letting all its bloatoverhead seek its own level in the Dreaded Private Sector™?  Taking a break this week.

Health & Fitness

Nothing new. 

Lord Love a Duck!

The weird and wonderful (or creepy) that we didn’t otherwise get to.

Snort

This struck us funny. This unit must be too small for a sergeant major, as there’s no reflective belts on anybody.

Final Death of a Coward

He was a child of wealth and privilege, outraged at the idea that he might be drafted like the proles, and determined to lash out at the government and nation he hated: his own, the USA.

And lash out he did, writing a book with the idea that it would equip revolutionaries and criminals with knowledge to kill.

Powell, a rich kid calling for revolutionary violence, 1971.

Which it did.

Last year he died, which was belatedly discovered by his fellow Aging Boomers at the New York Times, who wrote a belated obituary for him on 31 March.

William Powell was a teenager, angry at the government and the Vietnam War, when he walked into the main branch of the New York Public Library in Manhattan in 1969 to begin research for a handbook on causing violent mayhem.

Over the next months, he studied military manuals and other publications that taught him the essentials of do-it-yourself warfare, including how to make dynamite, how to convert a shotgun into a grenade launcher and how to blow up a bridge.

What emerged was “The Anarchist Cookbook,” a diagram- and recipe-filled manifesto that is believed to have been used as a source in heinous acts of violence since its publication in 1971, most notably the killings of 12 students and one teacher in 1999 at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.

via William Powell, ‘Anarchist Cookbook’ Writer, Dies at 66 – The New York Times.

A few of the crimes enabled by the Cookbook:

Powell seemed to struggle to absorb the idea that his book had apparently had an influence on a number of notorious criminals. One was Zvonko Busic, a Croatian nationalist who hijacked a TWA flight in 1976 while carrying phony bombs after leaving a real one at Grand Central Terminal that killed a police officer who tried to deactivate it.

Others included Thomas Spinks, who was part of a group that bombed abortion clinics in the 1980s; Timothy McVeigh, who bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995; Eric Harris, one of the Columbine attackers; and Jared Loughner, who killed six people during his attempted assassination of Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona in 2011.

Powell, a wealthy old man denying that he really meant it, 2015.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Donuts (& Pancakes!)

A man who was “willing to try anything” tried a donut-eating contest last weekend. In Denver, where Colorado’s governor John Hickenlooper has saved his subjects’ lives by outlawing various guns.

BLUF: The donut won.

It was a matter of size, not number: a contestant has 1 min 20 sec to eat a donut, which seems plenty, until you see the donut: a half-pound monster that looks like a deep fried and glazed truck tire.

A 42-year-old Colorado man attempting to complete a doughnut-eating challenge died Sunday after choking on a giant pastry. Witnesses said Travis Malouff, of Denver, was participating in Voodoo Doughnut’s 80-second half-pound doughnut challenge before his death, KUSA-TV reported.

Not surprisingly, the donut chain has, er, killed, the promotional event, which they called the Tex-ass Donut Challenge. (The Oregon-based chain, which has expanded to several other hipster-rich states,  seems to be expressing contempt for the Lone Star State and its reputation for gigantism in all things).

Back to the original article:

“It’s tragic,” Curtis Malouff, Travis’ father, told KUSA-TV. “It’s a loss of life that shouldn’t be.”

Forrest Gump’s mama was not available for comment.

But we do note that even if Travis Malouff had won his stupid game, the stupid prize was a free meal at the donut shop, and a button that says you won the Tex-ass Donut Challenge.

Stupid prize? Well, unlike Animal Mother’s famous Word Worth Dying For, it’s not worth dying for, is it?

Witnesses told the news outlet that at people in the shop at the time tried to help Malouff when they realized he was choking, but nobody knew how to properly perform the Heimlich maneuver.

“They tried so hard to do everything,” an unidentified witness told KUSA-TV. “It was clear that nobody was trained and they were just reacting. You [have to] do something, I think.”

Paramedics arrived but were unable to revive Malouff, who died from asphyxia due to obstruction of the airway, the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner announced on Monday.

In the past, when donuts have killed, it’s generally been a matter of mass quantities over long periods, leaving the victim’s cardiologist on the stage to give the “Alas, poor Yorick” speech. But in this case, it was just one donut.

It seems like a one-off freak accident, but the ever-vigilant press sees A Pattern Emerging:

Malouff’s death occurred on the same day that a 20-year-old student in Connecticut died after participating in a pancake-eating contest. Caitlin Nelson, of Clark, New Jersey, had been eating four or five pancakes during a March 30 challenge before collapsing to the floor. She was rushed to a nearby hospital before being transferred to New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, where she later died.

“It’s a tragic event that started out as something fun,” Fairfield police Lt. Bob Kalamaras said of Nelson’s death. “It was just a tragic accident.

Returning to the original decedent, Travis Malouff, some heartless folks are Blaming the Victim.

“It’s too much food for one person, even as the size that he was,” Julia Edelstein, a witness, told the news outlet. “That’s too much for someone to eat. He was trying to force it down.”

Curtis Malouff said his son will be remembered for his smile and laugh, and his willingness to try anything.

“If a challenge is there — he’d probably take it,” he said, according to KUSA-TV.

via Denver man dies while attempting doughnut-eating challenge | Fox News.

 

Attack on Syria: Knowns and Unknowns

TLAM launch from USS Ross DDG-71. There are no lights on deck; that illumination is all from the rocket booster.

As we write these words, the US responded to a Syrian escalation in the Syrian Civil War with a series of cruise missile strikes on a single Syrian air base.

Here is what we know:

  1. More than 14 hours after the attack (which took place at 0440 local on Sharyat Airfield, 2040 EDT) the US has not released any BDA of the target, despite presence of real-time ISR assets in the theater. The implication is that the strike’s effects were relatively inconsequential.
  2. 59 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (ship-launched cruise missiles) struck targets. As this is an odd number, it seems probable that there was one or more launch or guidance failures. (In case of a guidance failure, SOF may be hunting an errant missile deep in enemy territory).
  3. Targets were, per the only Pentagon statement yet, “aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars,” but…
  4. “Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike using the established deconfliction line.  U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield.” By notifying the Russians and Syrians in advance, planners ensured an ineffective strike. Aircraft are highly mobile, and it’s probable that airworthy machines were scrambled to other sites.

USS Porter, DDG-78, launches TLAMs

One thing that was not struck was the Syrian chemical weapons storage facility, almost certainly because it is Russian-staffed. Syria has long stockpiled and employed chemical and biological weapons, but has no indigenous development capability and relied on the world’s leading exporter of these pariah weapons, Russia, for the capability and the materials. It’s quite unlikely that Assad conducted the 4 April chemical attack on civilians in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria, without Russian aid, guidance and approval. It is also possible that Russian airmen and chemical officers actually led and conducted the attack.

Since World War II, Soviet and Russian, and Soviet or Russian-sponsored regimes, have been the primary if not sole employers of prohibited chemical and biological weapons. Generally, in accordance with Soviet and Russian doctrine, they have used them to exterminate civilian populations in insurgent regions.

There have also been a number of mishaps within Russian and former Soviet territory from slipshod handling of these weapons.

The Justification

According to statements from DOD and President Trump, the attack was in response to the most recent of many Syrian chemical attacks on population centers. (See graphic). 79 people, most if not all civilians, including 20 children were killed in the attack. The US had threatened counterstrikes for chemical warfare use before, but Assad and Russia called then-President Obama’s bluff, and he did nothing.

There are essentially three factions remaining in the Syrian Civil War, all of which are hostile to the United States. There is the Alawite de-facto monarchy of Bashar Assad, who inherited the country from his father and is a lifelong Russian client. His support comes from those of the elite who have not left, from ethnic and religious minorities, and from moderate Moslems. There is the ISIS faction, whose objectives and motivations are well-understood. And there are anti-Assad, anti-ISIS rebels, almost all of whom are Islamists whose differences with ISIS are more a matter of “who, whom” than policy or religion. The original moderate “Arab Spring” resistance, never numerous on the ground (but easily accessible to Western reporters via Twitter), was quickly and ruthlessly exterminated by Assad during a period of characteristic Obama dithering, which meant that by the time the US was arming rebels, they were arming al-Qaeda affiliates who are considerably worse for Syria and the world than Assad — and he’s the guy who gases his own people.

The Politics

Democrats are already lining up against the strikes and the forces that carried them out; lost to memory is the Red Line of Obama days (which Democrats may have tolerated because it was always empty bluster). The Democrats have done something uncharacteristically smart for either of our blockheaded political parties, in using Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton, a very very rare infantry combat veteran in Congress, as their spokesman on the issue.

The Slippery Slope vs. the Ineffectual Pinprick

Moulton did say one thing that rings true:

“War doesn’t get any easier than what he did last night, throwing a few Tomahawks at a foreign country,” Moulton said Friday on CNN’s “New Day.”

“We don’t really know what we’re fighting for in Syria. And fundamentally, that’s just not fair to our troops.”

Moulton implied that boots on the ground may be required, and if so, why? His implication is that we are embarked upon a slippery slope to yet another war, and further, that he and other Copperheads Democrats will, characteristically, oppose and undermine the effort.

As far as that goes, he is probably right about the weakness of the attack. (Reuters says Syria reports six killed on the airbase; it was a bad night to be SDO). It’s reminiscent of the pinprick attacks that then-President Clinton launched on Afghanistan and Sudan to drive Monica Lewinsky out of the news cycle, which wound up only encouraging Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

It is extremely unlikely that it will deter despots from using their Russian-supplied weapons of mass destruction on their own or neighboring populations, and the probability is approximately zero that it will deter the Russians from continuing to produce and supply these weapons to the world’s pariah regimes.

What We Don’t Know

Here are a few questions that we don’t know the answers to right now:

  1. How will the Russians react? Probably in something approximately howling rage, especially if any of their nerve gas techs were whacked.
  2. Did the missiles actually hit anything of value? We know they can’t have hit anything of more value to Assad than his Russian alliance, the only thing keeping him from the fate of Qaddafi at this time. But have they disrupted any of his war-making capability? Lack of traffic from the Pentagon suggests no. Instead, they were parallel to the Clinton strikes, blowing up empty mud huts and bleachers and calling it a “terrorist camp.” (Terrorist camps don’t kill people. Terrorists kill people.” Likewise, targeting Hardened Aircraft Shelters that don’t have aircraft in them is a waste of multimillion-dollar missiles.
  3. Is this a one-off strike (in which case Moulton may be right about ineffectual) or the start of a campaign (in which case he may be right about “quagmire,” a Washington term for quagmires in a Republican administration).
  4. What’s next? That’s the question nobody knows the answer to.

We do live in interesting times.

Update

World reactions are pouring in and the New York Times published this graphic of who’s in favor and who isn’t.

Not surprisingly, the opponents are Bashar Assad and his two allies, Putin and the ayatollahs. North Korea is probably opposed too, but this isn’t the day they have Internet.