19 November 2015

Anniversary: The Gettysburg Address

Today marks the anniversary of the delivery of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Could the Confederates have won the battle? How? By: Brant

11 November 2015

Mike Royko on Veterans' Day

Mike Royko is a WWII Veteran who was a newspaper columnist for a lot of years. This column has been in circulation for over a decade, but it should be required reading every Veterans' Day.

I just phoned six friends and asked them what they will be doing on Monday.

They all said the same thing: working.

Me, too.

There is something else we share. We are all military veterans.

And there is a third thing we have in common. We are not employees of the federal government, state government, county government, municipal government, the Postal Service, the courts, banks, or S & Ls, and we don’t teach school.

If we did, we would be among the many millions of people who will spend Monday goofing off.

Which is why it is about time Congress revised the ridiculous terms of Veterans Day as a national holiday.

The purpose of Veterans Day is to honor all veterans.

So how does this country honor them?…

…By letting the veterans, the majority of whom work in the private sector, spend the day at their jobs so they can pay taxes that permit millions of non-veterans to get paid for doing nothing.

As my friend Harry put it:

“First I went through basic training. Then infantry school. Then I got on a crowded, stinking troop ship that took 23 days to get from San Francisco to Japan. We went through a storm that had 90 percent of the guys on the ship throwing up for a week.

“Then I rode a beat-up transport plane from Japan to Korea, and it almost went down in the drink. I think the pilot was drunk.

“When I got to Korea, I was lucky. The war ended seven months after I got there, and I didn’t kill anybody and nobody killed me.

“But it was still a miserable experience. Then when my tour was over, I got on another troop ship and it took 21 stinking days to cross the Pacific.

“When I got home on leave, one of the older guys at the neighborhood bar — he was a World War II vet — told me I was a —-head because we didn’t win, we only got a tie.

“So now on Veterans Day I get up in the morning and go down to the office and work.

“You know what my nephew does? He sleeps in. That’s because he works for the state.

“And do you know what he did during the Vietnam War? He ducked the draft by getting a job teaching at an inner-city school.

“Now, is that a raw deal or what?”

Of course that’s a raw deal. So I propose that the members of Congress revise Veterans Day to provide the following:

- All veterans — and only veterans — should have the day off from work. It doesn’t matter if they were combat heroes or stateside clerk-typists.

Anybody who went through basic training and was awakened before dawn by a red-neck drill sergeant who bellowed: “Drop your whatsis and grab your socks and fall out on the road,” is entitled.

- Those veterans who wish to march in parades, make speeches or listen to speeches can do so. But for those who don’t, all local gambling laws should be suspended for the day to permit vets to gather in taverns, pull a couple of tables together and spend the day playing poker, blackjack, craps, drinking and telling lewd lies about lewd experiences with lewd women. All bar prices should be rolled back to enlisted men’s club prices, Officers can pay the going rate, the stiffs.

- All anti-smoking laws will be suspended for Veterans Day. The same hold for all misdemeanor laws pertaining to disorderly conduct, non-felonious brawling, leering, gawking and any other gross and disgusting public behavior that does not harm another individual.

- It will be a treasonable offense for any spouse or live-in girlfriend (or boyfriend, if it applies) to utter the dreaded words: “What time will you be home tonight?”

- Anyone caught posing as a veteran will be required to eat a triple portion of chipped beef on toast, with Spam on the side, and spend the day watching a chaplain present a color-slide presentation on the horrors of VD.

- Regardless of how high his office, no politician who had the opportunity to serve in the military, but didn’t, will be allowed to make a patriotic speech, appear on TV, or poke his nose out of his office for the entire day.

Any politician who defies this ban will be required to spend 12 hours wearing headphones and listening to tapes of President Clinton explaining his deferments.

Now, deal the cards and pass the tequila.

- Mike Royko

By: Brant

06 November 2015

If you're wondering

where we've been, Brant's spend most of his time running www.grogheads.com

After a few years of hoping that GrogNews would become a bigger deal than it did, it was pretty clear that folks were already set enough in their regular reading/browsing/commenting patterns that we just weren't able to offer enough to change their habits to make us a more regular part of their day.
That's really OK with us.  We tried.  Some of it worked; some of it didn't.  Some of the lessons have been used to improve GrogHeads.  Some of them acted as cautionary tales of what not to do, too.

It's been fun, and we appreciate y'all joining us.  We're going to leave the site here for the archives, but don't expect a lot of new content (as you probably guessed).

In the meantime, feel free to join us over at GrogHeads, and check out the forums where a lot of news and articles get posted, shared, and discussed.


29 June 2015

Detail of Canada's Deployment to Poland

In support of NATO defensive missions, the Canadian Army is deploying troops to Poland for Operation REASSURANCE. Details from Canadian Forces press release.

  • Soldiers from 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group - part of the 2nd Canadian Division - will take part in a series of exercises over the next six months to demonstrate the troops’ state of readiness and operational interoperability with our NATO allies and our security partners.
  • These training opportunities ensure NATO is able to react in an effectively and in a timely manner to a whole possible situations no matter where they might occur.
  • The Canadian Army benefits from these training opportunities, which allow our soldiers to achieve better interoperability with NATO allies, showcase their capabilities, and further demonstrate their leadership abilities.
  • Members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have been in Central and Eastern Europe since May 2014, and have participated in collective training exercises and partnership engagements with our allies.
  • Operation REASSURANCE refers to the military activities undertaken by the CAF in support of NATO’s assurance measures in Central and Eastern Europe. Canada’s land contribution consists of the military capabilities for training, exercises, demonstrations and assigned NATO tasks.

28 June 2015

The Most Interesting Man In The Army

This guy is purportedly the last Vietnam vet on active duty. Which is pretty damn cool, really...

In the 1970s, he was among the last Marines sent to Vietnam.

In the '80s, as an Army Green Beret, he deployed into Honduras during the Contra Wars.

In 1991, he was gassed in Iraq.

But wait - Iraq didn't launch any chemical munitions at us, remember? Our stated policy was to shoot back with nukes, and I don't remember us using any nukes...

24 June 2015

Should've Just Left The Tanks There In The First Place

The US is going to "temporarily" pre-position armor assets and other equipment in Baltics, Poland, southern Europe. In this case "temporary" = "until the Russians quit dicking around," so it could be a while.

The U.S. will temporarily pre-position a brigade’s worth of tanks and other vehicles in the Baltics and elsewhere in eastern Europe, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced in Estonia Tuesday, as the U.S. continues efforts to reassure allies concerned about Russian revanchism.

The U.S. will spread about 250 Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, artillery and other equipment around Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, according to the plan, to make it easier for U.S. forces to participate in training maneuvers in those countries, according to the Defense Department. Such equipment is also stationed in Germany.

All of those countries “have agreed to host company- to battalion-size elements of this equipment, which will be moved around the region for training and exercises,” Carter said, according to a transcript of his remarks.

Carter met in Estonia with his counterparts from all three Baltic states. Estonian President Toomas Ilves said the crisis in Ukraine underscored the need for the U.S.-led NATO alliance to demonstrate its solidarity with vulnerable partners.

“For a year and half now, a war has been underway in Europe,” Ilves said. “For Estonia, this has brought the realization that our freedom, our sense of security and safety is not as self-evident as we are used to believing. But we have also learned something else. We have learned about the solidarity of Estonia’s allies. And now, even the doubters know that Estonia has reliable allies.”

21 June 2015

Updating NATO?

Ash Carter is going to push the other NATO members to move beyond the "mass of Russian armor thru the Fulda Gap" plans that've been on the books for so long.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter will urge NATO allies to "dispose of the Cold War playbook" during a trip to Europe this week, as the alliance adapts to a new kind of threat from Russia in the east and Islamic State to the south, U.S. officials said.

Carter heads first to Berlin, where he is expected to call for a more muscular global security role from Germany, Europe's largest economy. Germany remains hesitant to deploy troops abroad, seven decades after the end of World War Two.

"He will encourage Germany, under the firm leadership of the minister of defense, to increase their security role in the world, commensurate with their political and economic weight," a senior U.S. defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Relations between Moscow and the West have plunged to a post-Cold War low since Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region. NATO says Russian is still actively providing military support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, despite Moscow's denials.

U.S. officials say Ukraine has illustrated the importance of being able to counter "hybrid warfare," the blend of unidentified troops, propaganda and economic pressure that the west says Russia has used there. NATO's historic focus had been the conventional threats of the Cold War, which ended in 1991.

"Carter ... will really push the alliance to think about new threats, new techniques, urge them to kind of dispose of the Cold War playbook and think about new ways to counter new threats," the official said.

In visits in Germany and then in Estonia, Carter will get a first-hand look at NATO's new rapid response forces and climb aboard a U.S. warship fresh from Baltic Sea drills, aiming to reassure allies unnerved by Russia's intervention in Ukraine.

Carter will likely offer details on plans to pre-position heavy military equipment in Europe, the official said.

All of the moves been decried by Moscow, which has threatened to beef up its own forces and to add more than 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles to its nuclear arsenal this year.

17 June 2015

Closing Up Shop in Korea

We're closing down the'Iron' Brigade of 2ID(M) in Korea.

Spring cleaning was a bigger chore than usual for the 1st “Iron” Brigade Combat Team this year. Soldiers have been clearing out gear accumulated from 50 years on the Korean Peninsula.

In Korea since July 1965, the Iron Brigade is preparing to inactivate and turn over its mission to 4,600 soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team. The Fort Hood, Texas-based unit will be the first rotational heavy brigade to deploy to South Korea when it takes over July 2.

Members of 1st Brigade have been going through nooks and crannies at Camp Hovey, their base just south of the Demilitarized Zone, and turning in excess equipment that has piled up over the decades.

Lt. Col. Darrell O’Steen, 45, of Douglas, Ga., 1st Brigade’s deputy commander, said it won’t be simple swapping permanently stationed soldiers for rotational troops.

When the unit cases its colors, its tanks, armored personnel carriers and other tactical vehicles will stay in Korea. The 2nd Brigade troops will use them during their rotation and pass them onto the unit that replaces them nine months later, O’Steen said.

The transfer of duties to the incoming troops will be similar to handovers in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, but it will be complicated by the need to maintain “fight tonight readiness all the way to the end,” according to 1st Brigade executive officer Maj. Ryan Workman, 36, of Evansville, Ind.