Tuesday, July 25, 2017

"TRAIN TRAINING"

Reminiscing here . . . an earlier time, a simpler time, before the whole world went insane and everything went to shit . . . SL

"So, what kind of training did you do?"


"Train training"


"Yes, we train - train all the time, but what kind of training did you do?"


"Training on trains!"

"Yes, if its not raining we're not training, and it rains while you train. What I'm asking is what did you DO while you were training?"


"Trains training! We did trains training! We got on the trains, and we went on down the line!"


"OK - now we're getting somewhere. You did L.I.N.E.S. training, in the rain! That's good training!"


< SIGH > . . . you just can't tell some people . . .

No animals were harmed during the production of this blogpost, and please be aware that the train is moving at about 50 mph during all of the above "action shots" . . . "These are trained professionals . . . do NOT try this at home!!!"

This post is dedicated to Karate Karl, the best damn Sergeant-Major who ever served in United States Army Special Forces . . .
STORMBRINGER SENDS

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

WHAT IS STORMBRINGER?

I've been on the road a LOT, at least 50% of the past two-and-a-half years, to all the garden spots: Nigeria, Ethiopia, Dem. Rep. of the Congo, Pakistan, El Salvador (OK that wasn't so bad), Israel (THAT was a fun trip!), Bangladesh, South Africa, South Sudan, Kenya, Mali and East Timor. Work has interfered with writing, which is my main thing - or at least, I wish I could make it my main thing. Time for a realignment of the aiming stakes. If you're a new visitor to Blog STORMBRINGER, this is what it's all about. If you have seen it before, consider this refresher training. Cheers, and thank you for your support! -S.L.


STORMBRINGER is a military blog, primarily dedicated to honoring heroes of the great US / UK / ANZAC / CANADA / ISRAEL Alliance in this conflict forced upon us by the Evildoers of Islamic Fundamentalism. Themes include reports on international security, great battles and notable events of military history, the greatness of Ancient Greece and Rome (and how the civilization of Ancient Rome still exists and prevails), the story of United States Army Special Forces (the Green Berets) and of course from time to time bits of my personal philosophy; inspired by Aristotle, Cicero, Atilla the Hun, John Locke, Benjamin Franklin, the Duke of Wellington, Winston Churchill, Ayn Rand and Rush Limbaugh, to name a few.

An essential ingredient of my personal philosophy - a.k.a. The Philosophy of STORMBRINGERISM - is what Ayn Rand refers to as laizee-faire capitalism. The phrase laissez-faire (pronounced: lah-zay-fair) is French and literally means "let do", but it broadly implies "let it be", or "leave it alone." In economics, laissez-faire describes an environment in which transactions between private parties are free from state intervention, including restrictive regulations, taxes, tariffs and enforced monopolies.


Also from Ayn Rand, I embrace the concept of Human Exceptionalism; the belief that human beings have special status in nature based on their unique capacities. This belief is the grounding for some naturalistic concepts of human rights. Taking it a step further, Rush Limbaugh describes the philosophy of American Exceptionalism: the theory that the United States is qualitatively different from other nations. This stems from our emergence from a revolution, and the uniquely American ideology, based on liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism and laissez-faire. This observation is traced to Alexis de Tocqueville, the first writer to describe the United States as "exceptional."

STORMBRINGERISM is also about the Cult of the 1911 and the individuals right to self-defense - up to and including lethal force - is a justifiable defense in a court of law:

Pistol US M1911 .45ACP



But, you say, how does this include the Great Alliance; our worthy allies the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Israel?

Simple: the American experience would not have been if the foundations of Democracy had not been laid in Britain, and before that in Ancient Rome, and before that Ancient Greece. In that, the UK is the Mother Country - has been and always will be - and by default this makes Canada, Australia and New Zealand our brothers and sisters.

But . . . but . . . what about tiny (yet MIGHTY) Israel?

Israel is the oldest country, and at the same time the youngest. The ancient Egyptian Empire and civilization has come and gone . . .


Nobody speaks in hieroglyphics anymore.


. . . and the people who built the pyramids are not the same folks who live in Egypt today. Likewise Babylon . . .


Nobody speaks in cuneiform anymore.


. . . it is gone, ground into the dust, even less of it left than in Egypt. There is still a Syria, but the ancient Assyrian Empire is dead and gone and it's people flung far and wide across the globe in diaspora.

Of these ancient kingdoms and empires of the Old Testament, only Israel remains, the smallest - yet most powerful - of all the countries of the Middle East.


The oldest country in the Middle East is also the only modern democracy in the Middle East.


Modern Israel exists because of Britain and the United States - if it was up to the rest of Europe and the Middle East there wouldn't even be anybody left to occupy a State of Israel. The Islamists - al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Mullah-led theocracy of Iran - view Israel as a Western foothold in their territory, much like the Crusader Kingdoms a thousand years ago. They - the radicals who have hijacked Islam - consider it only a question of time until they drive the Israelis into the sea and get that land back.

As such, Israel is with us, or like the Israeli girls say:

"Don't worry America - ISRAEL IS BEHIND YOU ! ! !"


"VISIT ISRAEL BEFORE ISRAEL VISITS YOU."



Speaking of babes, when I first signed up, SOLDIER Magazine always had a bikini babe featured on the back cover. Along the way they started rationing the cheesecake until sometime toward the end of my first tour I picked up a copy of SOLDIER and flipped to the back page. Staring back at me was a sergeant; all cami'd up and in full battle rattle - talk about taking a hard dose of reality. Well every now and then some imagery may appear on STORMBRINGER that is a throwback to an earlier, simpler time when it was okay for a warrior to tape a pinup girl in his wall locker, or depict one on the nose of his mighty war machine:



People send me all kinds of stuff to post in STORMBRINGER and I appreciate all the support I get. Most of the material sent is political, Tea Party/Make America Great Again-themed stuff - which is great, although I usually tend to wave off politics because it's done elsewhere, and I don't have time enough to dedicate the energy & creative juices to do it right.


STORMBRINGER SENDS











Tuesday, July 18, 2017

BIRKENBEINER

When I reported into 1st/10th Special Forces Group at Panzer Kaserne, Germany, one of the first things I saw was this painting hanging on the wall in Headquarters. I came to learn what it meant, what it signified, and over the course of many winters in the Alps I came to appreciate . .
. SL



In Norway around the year 1200, rival groups shared the identical but opposite goal of controlling the entire country. In 1202, when King Sverre died, he had managed to acquire most of Norway, but in Østerdalen, the group known as 'Baglers' were still very powerful. Sverre's death meant some decrease in the power of the Birkebeins (literally, the rebels were so poor they made their shoes of birch bark). His successor, King Haakon Sverresson, died only two years later, leaving his son Haakon Haakonsson as the ultimate target for the Baglers to get rid of the pretender to the throne. In 1206, the Birkebeiners set off on a dangerous journey through treacherous mountains and forests, taking the now two-year-old Haakon Haakonsson to safety in Trondheim. Norwegian history credits the Birkebeiners' bravery with preserving the life of the boy who later became King Haakon Haakonsson IV, who ended the civil wars in 1240 and forever changed Northern Europe's history through his reign. The events surrounding the journey are dramatized in The Last King:


Norway is ravaged by civil war, and the prince Haakon Haakonsson is born in secrecy. A boy half the kingdom is out to kill, and whom two men have to protect with their own lives. The Last King is the story of the escape which changed the history of Norway forever.

STORMBRINGER SENDS

Monday, July 17, 2017

THE FATEFUL DAY

Odds a Green Beret would survive his secret mission deep into Cambodia and Laos observing and engaging the North Vietnamese along the Ho Chi Minh Trail were remote at best.

Chet Zaborowski, now 69 and a retired special education teacher, calls it his “defining moment in life.”

“Our actions saved hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers’ lives, because we were a thorn in the North Vietnamese side. By us interdicting along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, causing them problems, they did not have free rein to come across into South Vietnam and attack wherever they wanted,” Zaborowski, who volunteered for service in Vietnam in January 1970, said.

He served a one-year tour from April 1970 to 1971 as the team medic with the 5th Special Forces Green Berets, MACVSOG, Military Assistance Command Vietnam Special Operations Group and was stationed in Kontum in the Central Highlands of Vietnam in the tri-border area, where Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam meet.

“It was a secret part of the U.S. Army, where our missions and orders were given to us, not by the president of the United States, but were given to us by the CIA, without the knowledge of the president. If he did not know that combat troops were actually in Laos and Cambodia, where we were actually not supposed to be, he couldn’t be held accountable. They called it ‘plausible deniability,’ ” he said.

Top secret classified documents were recently declassified and, as a result, Sgt. Zaborowski and his fellow team member, Sgt. Clyde Conkin, received a Bronze Star with “V” device for Valor at the Special Operations Association Reunion held Oct. 25, 2012, in Las Vegas, Nevada. They had both been recommended for Silver Stars.

Their team leader, Sgt. Edward C. Ziobron, was nominated for the Medal of Honor. Ziobron never received that medal, but on Feb. 11, 2005, in Fort Myers, Virginia, he was recognized for heroism and bravery, receiving the Distinguished Service Cross, our nation’s second-highest honor.

Honorees Wounded

All three were wounded. Ziobron’s right Achilles tendon was severed by machine gun fire, Zaborowski said, and Conkin was injured when a piece of metal fragment entered his skull and slid along his brain, exiting the back of his head.

“Had it been a bullet, he would have probably died,” Zaborowski said. “I couldn’t stop the blood. At that time, the mound of dirt we were hiding behind exploded. The NVA (North Vietnamese Army) were throwing tear gas in our direction. So, I put on my gas mask, and I helped Clyde put on his gas mask. The pressure of the bandages and the gas mask were enough to help stop the bleeding.”

Zaborowski was wounded in the shoulder by shrapnel from a B-40 rocket while he was treating Conkin. He also treated the Montagnards, the indigenous people who the Green Berets trained to fight with them.

The Fateful Day

Zaborowski and Ziobron sitting on the side of the Huey helicopter that took them deep into Laos that fateful November day in 1970.

Zaborowski relayed details of his team’s engagement of the NVA while looking for POW camps, base camps and caches of weapons and supplies. From Nov. 26 to 29, 1970, his team engaged the NVA seven times.

On the third day of his mission, his Hatchet Force (platoon) of five Green Berets and 30 Montagnards ran into a battalion size (600 soldiers) NVA base camp. After a two-hour firefight, having inflicted hundreds of NVA casualties and suffering 90 percent casualties (seven killed, 25 wounded) themselves, contact was finally broken. Extraction or resupply was impossible at that time, he said, and being critically low on ammunition they spent the next 16 hours escaping and evading the NVA, until they could be extracted the following day.

“We went into the villages, trained the men to come on the compounds with us and propagate, fight the war. The males of those Montagnards would not come in and fight because they were afraid that if I go fight with you today, tonight the Viet Cong will come over and take my wife and kids. So, we brought the entire families on. That’s what made up our A-sites, which were special forces compounds all along the Laotian and Cambodian borders in South Vietnam. The Montagnards were really good fighters.

“We were 35 people. We ran into a battalion size force of 600 North Vietnamese soldiers. You’re outnumbered 17 to one and you’re in the enemy’s backyard. How do you survive? You survive based on your training, how we all worked together and on how well we can fight and communicate.

“The guy who was on the radio, Ed Ziobron, was wounded and in great excruciating pain, but was still able to communicate our pinpoint position in the jungle to air assets above, so they could come in and hit the enemy.”

Read the rest of it HERE

Respect & Honor

STORMBRINGER SENDS

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Flag Day and Special Forces

Written by Colonel (Retired) John T.


In 1969, three C-130s landed at the Nha Trang Air Force Base, four very dirty Americans, and two hundred and fifty Montangnard tribesmen had returned from IV Corps, 512 Company and 1st CRP were home, and headed to the B-55 Compound.

As the Americans attempted to get men and equipment on the trucks, a USAF SGT stopped his fork lift, got off faced toward HQ and saluted, we looked at him, and he said “they are playing our song.” We strained and realized that today as every other day, at 1800 they were playing the Star Spangled Banner, we all joined him and saluted, as I glanced to my right and left I realized that my eyes were not the only ones moist, guess we were looking into the sun.

As all the A Camps were technically under command of the VNSF, the RVN flag flew over them, but you could not be in one more than a minute or two, and not see “Old Glory” peeking out of some hooch or corner.

How many of us carried flags all over the world, in my case a small US flag, and NC flag went everywhere I went, for those two small piece of cloth, not mattered how wrinkled or faded, represented not only what we fought for, but what we loved.

As kids we would go to Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day parades, back then the entire small town of Hatfield closed for both, and we would see the men march by, some in ill-fitting uniforms (at our age we are much more understanding of this phenomenon), some in wheelchairs, some with the limp of old injuries, but all ramrod straight, and the crowd would quietly applaud. In front of each contingent, no matter how small, there would be the Stars and Stripes, for they knew that one day, rather than marching behind that flag, they would be under it on the way to the “Last Formation.”

While the flag is important to all in uniform, I believe that the men of Special Forces have a special relationship, for so many times we are deployed that flags can only be flown in our minds.

On June 14th our flag’s birthday is celebrated, and on June 19th Special Forces celebrates another year of survival, not only from foreign enemies, but from folks at home who don’t understand our unique headgear is a hat, but that hat is worn by a special group of warriors, who spurn their conventional boxes, and strive only to complete their missions.

May each celebrate many more of these anniversaries.

De Oppresso Liber

STORMBRINGER SENDS

GOOD MEMORIES OF A BAD TIME

Originally posted on American Military News as The Tarpaper Shacks of Camp Mackall. If you were there, you'll remember it fondly. If you weren't, you'll probably never believe the US military has a place like this . . . where they make people like me . . . S.L.


October 1987 I entered the Special Forces Qualification Course – SFQC, or simply “the ‘Q’ Course”. They shipped us out to this little piece of Hell known as Camp Mackall where the training cadre met us with grenade simulators, a “smoke session” that involved at least ten thousand pushups right there on the side of the road and a two mile bag drag into the cantonment area.

I remember being tired, hungry and scared shitless. A fellow paratrooper I entered the Q-course with just turned 21 and spent all his money downtown the night before. He didn’t survive Day One.

Back then Camp Mackall only had three buildings; classroom, supply shed and head shed. Everything else was tarpaper shacks or GP medium tents. No heat in the winter, no a/c in the summer, it was a primitive existence. Showering was standing naked outside when it was raining.

I didn’t even have a bunk at first. First time I walked into a tarpaper shack there were only a few folded cots piled on the floor. I grabbed a folded cot, the last one left. It was all torn up and useless. I was so bone-weary, tired on a primal level, I just threw my gear on the floor and slept there.

I remember thinking right before I went to sleep at the end of my first full day out there that this was harder than any day at the ranch where I worked the year before I joined the Army.

Sleep? Let me rephrase that. I was always awake at some level, waiting for the cadre to boot in the door to the hut and roust us out for another day of punishment. I think the only real sleep I got was during Survival Week, when they left us alone to starve in the woods.

There was a method to their madness; the first ten days were basically a ‘gut check’ - to see who really wanted to be there - and to put some miles on our feet, toughen us up for the land navigation and patrolling training to come.

Land Navigation was a Rite of Passage; a twenty-four hour Easter egg hunt over thirty miles of woods and swamp. If you didn’t find all your points, you were out of there. A medic offered me a map with all the land nav points marked on it. I was sorely tempted to take it but had no clue how to conceal it from the cadre. First thing they did when we made it to the cantonment area was go through all our stuff. I’m really glad I didn’t take him up on the offer.

I got infected blisters on the balls of both feet from all that marching. The medic told me he was going to inject Tincture of Benzoin beneath the skin of both feet, to adhere the skin to the raw flesh. I asked if it would hurt? “Like your first night in prison,” he grinned.

I hope to never feel pain like that ever again.

Everybody dreaded early morning wake-up call – a grenade simulator out in the quad – then PT, LOTS and LOTS of PT. It stands for Physical Training but we called it Physical Torture. It didn’t matter rain or shine, we were out there doing it, followed by either a run or a speed march with fifty pound rucks through the ankle-sucking sands of the Carolina Sandhills. My calves scream just thinking about it. I remember doing PT in the rain, then changing uniforms, hanging my wet uniform up to dry. When I returned my uniform was not dry, it was frozen on the line. It remained that way until I left.

Every morning after PT there was a long line of people lining up to quit. They’d play “Another One Bites the Dust” over the loud speakers as folks quit. My best memory was volunteering for garbage detail after we had a hot meal. I got to eat all the scraps others threw away while taking out the trash.

Then there were the Airfield runs, if we eff’d up as a group. Mackall Airfield is a giant equilateral triangle, two miles long on each side.


Running that airfield is PSYCHOLOGICAL TORTURE – you can see the end of the leg you’re on and it seems like you’ll never get there. Then you turn a corner and do it all over again. You never want to do the airfield twice.

To get rid of the stragglers on rucksack marches and airfield runs they’d close the gates to the cantonment area and anyone dragging ass was bounced out of there, the Bag Drag of Shame. They had this trick were they’d run us through the gate, then straight through the compound and out the BACK gate and down the road - dozens would fall out and quit right then and there. God knows how I managed to hang in there even though I was dying. Smoked hamstrings for breakfast, I remember them well...

I remember all of this like it was yesterday. Bone chilling cold, searing heat, heavy rucksacks and long ruck marches with the straps cutting into our shoulders. Too tired to sleep it seemed, pain and hunger were our constant companions. Hunger, hunger, hunger - how the hell can anyone forget hungry? - and laughing through the pain with the best bunch of crazy guys on Earth.

Looking back I’d do it all over again, if that’s the price to pay to get into the most exclusive fraternity in the world.

STORMBRINGER SENDS

Monday, June 12, 2017

"YOU CAN'T BOMB AN IDEOLOGY"


Quote from a WWII Veteran:

"The hell you can't, because we did it. These Muslims are no different than the Imperial Japanese. The Japs had their suicide bombers too. And we stopped them. What it takes is the resolve and will to use a level of brutality and violence that your generations can't stomach. And until you can, this shit won't stop.

It took us on the beaches with bullets, clearing out caves with flamethrowers, and men like Curtis LeMay burning down their cities, killing people by the hundreds of thousands. And then it took two atom bombs on top of it! Plus, we had to bomb the shit out of German cities to get them to quit fighting. But, if that was what it took to win, we were willing to do it.

Until you are willing to do the same . . . well I hope you enjoy this shit, because it ain't going to stop! Back then, we had leadership, resolve, resources and determination. Today we're afraid to hurt people's feelings . . . and worry about which bathroom to piss in!"

STORMBRINGER SENDS