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Saturday, July 30, 2005

A Warrior at Rest


Today I had the privilege to attend the funeral of Petty Officer James E. Suh at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills. As I entered the gates of Forest Lawn, the LA City Fire Department had positioned a Ladder Truck on either side of the entrance in order to hang a giant American Flag from beneath the crossed ladders.

When James arrived at LAX from the East Coast two weeks ago, he was greeted by the LAX Police Honor Guard who carefully placed him in the waiting hearse. A SEAL Reservist member of the Santa Monica PD arranged this honor for James, and he told me that the entire airport terminal basically shut down for an hour while James was reunited with his family.
Waiting passengers pressed their faces against the glass and baggage handlers removed their hats and stood in silence as this hero was transferred from the aircraft. The LA County Sheriff's Special Enforcement Bureau SWAT Team personally escorted the fallen SEAL to the Forest Lawn Mortuary where he was prepared for burial. LAPD and LAFD officers were well represented at the funeral itself, and counted at least three Assistant Chiefs of Police in attendance.

The Navy laid on an aircraft for SDV Team ONE members to attend, and at least 50 Team members made the trip. The Chapel services were very intimate, and it became immediately apparent that James had a large and very loving family. James was eulogized by a SEAL Chief, a Petty Officer from SDVT 1, and his sister Claudia. Claudia demonstrated great courage and warmth as she recounted her childhood with James and their father. She recalled the moment when as a big sister she realized her little brother was no longer subject to her physical domination. She remembered finding herself pinned to the floor with a large string of spit dangling from a mischievous grin on James’ face. The Chapel services concluded with a stirring photographic montage set to a beautiful hymn. The pictorial tribute showed how many lives James had touched, and in his powerful gaze were a quiet confidence and a charming wry smile.
This was the first funeral with full military honors that I have ever had the privilege to attend. The gravesite was flanked on each side by the family and members of the LAPD and LAFD. At James’ head was the Navy Honor Guard and at his feet SDV Team ONE.Everyone in uniform saluted as James’ flag draped coffin was carried by six of his comrades to the grave led by Admiral Maguire and the Chaplain. The Honor Guard flawlessly performed three volleys of seven rounds from their M-14s as two LAPD helicopters flew overhead informing everyone within earshot that a hero was being laid to rest nearby and to take heed.
The flag was carefully folded ensuring that every crease was smoothed and every fold crisp. It was received by Admiral Maguire who personally presented it to James’ father on behalf of a grateful nation.

Just as at the Memorial in Hawaii I was struck by a truly unique SEAL tradition that I hadn’t expected to see. Upon the dismissal of the assembly by the funeral director, the men of SDV Team ONE solemnly formed a single file and approached James’ immaculate wood coffin. One by one, each man removed his Trident from the breast of his uniform and pounded it into the gleaming wooden lid of his coffin. Dozens of golden Tridents were left shimmering in the sun to accompany James on his journey…forever.

Navy Hymn

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea.

Eternal Father, faithful friend,
Be quick to answer those we send
In brotherhood and urgent trust
On hidden missions dangerous;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee
For SEALs in air on land and sea.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Convicted Gangrape Trio Could Be Out by Christmas… This Year!

The three scumbags that were convicted on several felony counts related to the gang rape and sodomy of a high school classmate are still trying to avoid their own gang rapes on the cellblock. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the case, these posts will fill you in. The arguments being made by attorneys for the three convicted rapists are that they were each 17 at the time of the assault so they should be referred to the California Youth Authority and the Juvenile Court system for sentencing even though they were convicted in Orange County Superior Court. The CYA and Juvenile Court can only sentence convicts under their purview to incarceration up until their 21st birthdays at which point they would be considered to be “rehabilitated”.

Two of the rapists will turn 21 in December and the other one in June 2006. Sentencing is scheduled for October meaning that if they were transitioned to the Juvenile Court, the sentences would be time served plus 2 MONTHS for the two and plus 8 MONTHS for the other!

‘Prosecutor Chuck Middleton views the CYA scenario as an attempt to thwart justice. “That would be a slap on the wrist,” he said. In Superior Court Judge Francisco Briseño’s court, the sentencing ranges from probation to a maximum of more than 14 years in prison for each defendant. Middleton has not yet provided Briseño his sentencing recommendation, but courthouse observers believe it’s likely to be eight years or more.

“For somebody to do this type of activity [raping as well as vaginally and anally molesting an intoxicated minor with a pool cue, Snapple bottle, juice can and lit cigarette] that has such risk and such danger, I think they should be sent to state prison,” Middleton said.’

You’re damn skippy!

In my opinion, the potential for reciprocation is a key to justice being effectively meted out in this case. I guess I’m an “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” kind of guy. When you consider some of the unspeakable horrors committed on people by their fellow citizens, often the best that we can do to get some payback is to give the perpetrator a shot that makes them sleepy and then dead. In the case of these gang rapists, we have an opportunity to employ the Golden Rule in reverse. Do unto rapists, what they have done unto others.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

How Did the NYT Let This Slip Through?

Apparently, the Opinion Editor at the New York Times is on vacation or had a family emergency or something because that page allowed the publication of perhaps the most sensible and thoughtful opinion piece I have read there in some time. Paul Sperry, a Hoover Institute fellow and recent guest of Michael Medved, authored a very important defense of the use of police profiling to interdict islamofascist terrorists on the nation’s critical transportation infrastructure. I’m not kidding. Click the link. I’m serious. No, really, click it.

That this column was published in the NYT at this time is a very pleasant surprise, and yet a disturbing one as well. The NYT head shed must be very concerned that the City is now facing a significant terrorist threat to have allowed a liberal shibboleth like this to be so publicly defiled. I applaud them for it, and I earnestly hope that this sentiment catches on not just in New York, but within security and law enforcement circles nationwide.

Over the past several months, I have sensed a creeping anxiety about additional terrorist attacks to the American Homeland. The “Lodi Cell” that was recently rolled up by the FBI Sacramento office started to get me thinking, but coupling that with the 7/7 attacks in the UK made the stakes a bit higher. Some dubious sources have been making the claim that AQ already has nukes positioned inside the US, and then all of a sudden the Commissioner of CBP entertains the idea of a civil Border Patrol. The Tancredo Option discussion has launched another series of deliberations and concerns about what the US will do WHEN not if we get nailed again. The point is that we need to be serious about this situation.

I would like to see the gloves taken off not only in our overseas operations, but also at home. At the risk of offending Bill Johnson at the RMN, I don’t see why we shouldn’t take some steps legislatively to make profiling muslim terrorists and shooting suspected terrorist bombers on sight legal here in the US. Of course these “techniques” and many others should be adopted as war time measures with sunsets and provisions for there discontinuation at the end of hostilities whenever that is. We are putting a lot of pressure on our law enforcement community to protect us from these threats to our Homeland, so it stands to reason that if we are going to give them this kind of responsibility, they should be also be given the capability to fulfill it.

One more thing, “Over There” sucked. Big time.

h/t RCP… again

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Liberal and His Breakfast Table

Perusing John McIntyre’s fare over at RCP this morning, I noticed a peculiar headline, “Bus search must have bin Laden smiling”. Bill Johnson, the author of the column, refers to a picture of the NYPD investigating a terrorist threat by searching a bus with bomb sniffing dogs and proning out 5 suspects in a fortunately unfruitful search for explosives. His reaction,

“I nearly fell from the breakfast table to the floor when I first saw it.”

And I’m sure you can guess why. Mr. Johnson further contends that one Usama bin Laden,
“…did not teeter in his chair, but just laughed his backside off…inside a dusty, faraway cave where he takes his breakfast.”
Really, Mr. Johnson? I’m not sure that UBL gets the Rocky Mountain News, but hey, who knows what he reads in his cave while “taking his breakfast”. Could you be any more short sighted and naïve, Mr. Johnson? Do you really think that we are under attack by a global cabal of suicidal zealots because their intentions are to cause liberals like you to shoot your lattes through your nose when you read the morning paper? I think that they have a somewhat more ambitious plan.

Here’s another gem in Mr. Johnson’s jewelry box of brilliant terrorism analysis,
“You just have to know he (UBL) is a man now thoroughly satisfied with himself if he understands at all the lengths to which we have gone as we quake at the mere specter of him and his henchmen. How thrilled he must be at what is occurring in New York as we speak, the way authorities there are now conducting more than 1,100 searches a day of riders on the city's massive transit system, how the biggest bust so far has been one of a 21-year-old man caught with a cache of illegal fireworks.”
I’m fairly certain that UBL is not “now thoroughly satisfied” with his achievements in his jihad against the US. Seeing as his goal is to install a worldwide Islamic caliphate and to impose sharia law on the entire planet, I’d say he feels like there is still some work to be done. I’m not saying that his ambitions are at all realistic, but the road to his dream is nearly as bloody as the destination. We are trying to tear up that road right now all across the globe.

More Johnson:

“The cave dweller might also have been pleased that our government - or, more specifically, the Transportation Security Administration - last week was found to have violated constitutional privacy protections by secretly collecting personal information on at least a quarter-million Americans.”

“When do the freedoms we've long enjoyed, the same ones we supposedly are fighting to export overseas, become no longer operative for us here in America?”

Which freedoms are those? The freedom to strap a bomb vest on and blow up a busload of people? Or maybe you are talking about the freedom to hijack an aircraft and ram it into a building full of innocents? I guess I missed those Amendments to the Constitution you limp-wristed narcissist. Next time you sit down to whine about how thousands of people in this nation spend their very lives protecting you from the indignity of being blown up at work, why don’t you offer us all some of your enlightened wisdom as to how you might be better cared for without infringing on the freedoms that you daily enjoy.

Apparently San Diego Hasn’t Reached Rock Bottom…Yet

It looks like the City of San Diego hasn’t run itself into the ground enough, so they decided to elect a card-carrying moonbat in Donna Frye. Donna is married to legendary surfboard shaper, Skip Frye. Let’s take a quick look at San Diego City politics over the past few years.

Mayor Susan Golding and City Council decide to buy all unsold Chargers tickets in an effort to buy the team’s loyalty to the city. The effect of this is that every Charger home game is “sold out” and therefore televised in San Diego making it less likely that people will bother to buy tickets for the games. To date, the City has spent millions of dollars subsidizing Alex Spanos the Charger’s owner.

The Pension fund for City employees is critically underfunded and allegations of malfeasance and corruption are well founded and will result in indictments.

Speaking of indictments, two current City Council members have been convicted in Federal Court for accepting bribes from the owner of a local strip club to relax rules for lap dances. One of the convicted felons was actually acting Mayor for one day… until the jury came in with the verdict.

The Mayor resigned after nearly being beaten by Donna Frye in a write-in campaign last November when he was Number 2 on Time Magazines Worst Big City Mayor list.

I was in town last weekend and went to go see the first house we bought in Pt. Loma to reminisce about the old days. My worst memory of that house was when the City tore up the street to put in a new sewer line. Then after doing a shoddy and unsightly patch job, they tore the street up again a few months later to put in a new water line which caused a gas leak that “could have blown up the whole neighborhood” according to the SDGE engineer at the scene. On my trip down memory lane last weekend, I couldn’t help but notice that my old street was once again torn up and this time they decided to rip out the sidewalks in various places. Way to go San Diego.

Like a drug addict, the people San Diego are going to have to hit rock bottom before they are able to roll over on their backs and look up. Donna Frye could hardly be less prepared to lead the City through the minefield of scandal, corruption, incompetence, and humiliation that awaits.

Smash will be your source for all the details I’m sure.

UPDATE: Smash Sez that Frye needs 50% to avoid a run off so there may be hope after all. C'mon San Diego, wake up!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Back on Course

Hugh and I have been trading emails on this the past couple of days, and even though I’m not sure if we have reached an accord, he and Frank Gaffney took down the CAIR shill today piece by piece. I give credit where it is due, and the difference from yesterday to today was a matter of preparation.

The underlying purpose for yesterday’s interview with Ayloush was to discredit Rep. Tancredo’s “nuke Mecca” threat by offering the point of view of a “moderate” muslim from a “mainstream” organization. Ayloush is not moderate, and CAIR is not mainstream. I’m not sure why Ayloush was selected for this purpose, but I believe that it became apparent to Hugh through the course of the interview that he had the wrong man for the job on his show. Dr. Morey is clearly a moonbat, and did not offer Hugh the critical eye that he was trying to focus on Ayloush’s slick presentation of CAIR as something other than the islamist apologists that they are. The other thing that bothered me and many of you was that he used a terror propagandist as a foil against Tancredo’s ill advised proclamations. Tancredo may be a fool, but he’s our fool. Nobody wants an AQ shill to have carte blanche to tear up one of our US Congressmen no matter if he’s right or wrong.

Some bloggers have trotted out the dhimmi charge and tried to apply that to Hugh which I think is unfair and stupid. I am willing to cut him some slack, but from some of the emails and comments I’ve seen here, many of you are not. I appreciate his importance to the blogosphere and his contributions to the ongoing political discussion in this country on a whole host of issues that are important to me. I don’t mind giving my friends course corrections when I think they are off track, but I don’t see any reason to throw the man under the bus and call him dhimmi. I almost wish I hadn’t posted on this matter yesterday because it makes me feel like my site has become like a gossip column or something. So get over it.

Not interested in comments on this issue.

Froggy OUT

Monday, July 25, 2005

Hugh Hewitt Gets Taken For a Ride

Hugh, my friend, feel thou not slammed. Just a bit of constructive criticism, Froggystyle.

Hosting Hassam Aloush (?) the SoCal head of C A I R for the first two hours of his program today, Hugh unwittingly turned the keys of his radio show over to an organization that has a long track record of apologizing for islamic terror. I’m not sure if Hugh was simply unprepared for the interview, or in his zealousness to deconstruct the Tancredo Option that he decided to swing the conversation in the opposite direction. At the end of the day it really doesn’t matter. Toward the end of the first hour he had Duane working the phones desperately to get Frank Gaffney on the show to bail him out. What he got was some guy named Dr. Morey (?) who was as much a moonbat as the CAIR guy.

Throw in a couple of hillbillies getting past the call screener calling for the US to nuke the muslims and you have yourself the show that should never have happened. Look, I’m not a radio talkshow host and I can’t imagine the show prep that goes into this kind of thing (neither did Jeff Goldstein and Bill Ardolino), but it obviously didn’t go the way it was planned. Aloush stonewalled on every point, and gave the impression, like a good little CAIR spokesman, that there really isn’t any terrorism in the world. Hugh pulls out the guy who murdered Van Gogh in Amsterdam, Aloush retorts with Eric Rudolf. He dismissed the Lakawanna Six, the Lodi cell, any acknowledgement of any radical imams in the US, and denied that wahabbi charities had ties to terrorism and were active in the US. He said that “hundreds of fatwas” have been issued AGAINST Usama bin Laden, and offered no substantiation at all. He criticized MEMRI as essentially racist. I can’t remember all the deceptions and outright lies that were told and many of them went unchallenged.

Of course he promised to come back on the show with Frank Gaffney who would have called him out on his many specious claims, but he accomplished his mission and I doubt he answers Duane’s phone calls. Hell, Charles Johnson of LGF would have been just as good. Somehow I don’t think this transcript is going to make it onto Radioblogger.com

Hugh, Aaron has the goods on CAIR

UPDATE: I stand corrected. Hugh got him back... v.s. Frank Gaffney this time. And Duane has the mp3 at Radioblogger.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Apparently the Brits Aren’t Dicking Around

If you are a Pakistani running away from the police in London into the Tube wearing a thick winter jacket in the summer the day after the second round of terrorist attacks, you’re a$$ is going to get shot. Which is nice to hear. While liberals in NYC are wearing T-shirts bearing the defiant statement: “I do not consent to be searched” to thwart police officers from protecting them from terrorists with thoughts of carnage and dreams of virgins on their minds, at least somebody is getting serious about interdicting terrorists.

What this paradox really highlights is the total inadequacy of leaving counter-terrorism responsibilities in the hands of law enforcement. The effective strategy (shooting terrorists on sight) is invariably going to ruffle feathers amongst the citizens of civilized nations. The ineffective strategy of preparing indictments and filing criminal complaints against people wishing to commit mass murder is little more than a salve for restless populations.

The strategy for victory entails going into the terrorist’s backyard and stomping his a$$ into the ground, finding out where his fellow heathen live and killing them before they can defile our societies. Lefties can’t have it both ways. We either need to aggressively prosecute the GWOT on in our enemy’s homeland and destroy them thoroughly, or accept the reality that there will be Pakis running around blowing stuff up in our cities. It’s nice to see British police acting definitively to address terrorist threats in London, but we should be able to agree that spilling terrorist blood is best done in their cities, not ours.

UPDATE: I am not prepared to criticize the UK for putting that fool down on the Tube even if he wasn't a suicide bomber. If you don't know enough to not run from the cops in London into the Tube right now, then you willingly place your life at risk. The UK is unfortunately reaping what it had sown by acting the dhimmie to the multiculti pap which allowed its own population to become radicalized under its nose. Organizations like CAIR are attempting to create similar conditions here in the US.

BTW Here's your Paki is a racist term retort.

More Low Order Detonations

I am very glad to see that AQ’s British cell has been embarrassingly ineffective considering the potential carnage that they may have wrought. By my count, a total of 10 demolition charges have been found or detonated in London this month. Four charges went high order and killed more than 50 Brits. Two were found undetonated on July 7th, and four more were low order detonations today. That is a 60% failure rate. If 50 innocent people were killed by four “successful” charges, then the poor preparation of the six faulty devices may have spared at least 75 additional lives.

One thing that continues to perplex me is the cowardice of the so called “moderate” muslim community. We are told that the islamofascists are a small minority that has “hijacked” and “perverted” a peaceful religion. When these terrorists attack a multiculti paradise like London, the thin veneer of PC “tolerance” begins to crack and normal folk in London begin to have doubts about the motives of their muslim neighbors. These muslim neighbors are ostensibly this “huge moderate majority” and they are not only supposed to oppose terrorism, but they are also the ones who suffer when the terrorists strike (in addition to the dead and wounded and their families, friends and co-workers of course). So why don’t these people speak out against this evil? I mean they are a “huge majority” committed to peace and all that. Are they afraid of the handful of bag eggs? Which begs the question: are these “moderates” cowards or sympathizers?

I sincerely hope that the Brits realize that they got off easy so far and that they need to crack down hard to prevent a serious attack. I also hope that this will serve as a wake up call to people in the US that this threat is ongoing and its elimination is directly related to the amount of terrorists we can kill or capture in the GWOT.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Tancredo Option and Other Counterstrike Scenarios

Listening to my benefactor Hugh Hewitt the other day, I heard him attempting to do damage control on Tom Tancredo’s behalf for suggesting that the US might want to target Mecca in response to a large scale WMD attack in the continental United States. Hugh was quite certain that this was not only a strategic error if carried out, but also useless and unconstructive as a threat to prevent terrorists from carrying out a WMD attack on the US.

I’m not sure that it matters at all. The way I see it, if the US experiences a nuclear detonation in a population center resulting in massive casualties and environmental destruction at the hands of islamofascist terrorists, then virtually no action in response could be considered overblown. The US would be under no obligation to use restraint during the counter-strike, and it would be imperative that we change the geography and geology of the middle east permanently. I would expect to see that the entire nations of Syria and Pakistan would be wiped clean from the face of the earth. Leadership targets and WMD sites in Iran should be mercilessly destroyed without concern for collateral damage. The Saudi Royal Family and leadership apparatus should be immediately taken out and the oilfields of Saudi Arabia seized by US forces. Obviously, Iraq would be on its own at this point as our troops would be needed to take control of the Arabian Peninsula and conduct Direct Action in Iran. North Korea would be on a very short leash at this point, and if they so much as flinched, we would be wise to launch on them with our submarine based ICBMs.

The destruction of Mecca would really not serve a strategic purpose, but in light of the new circumstances that we would have to impose on the region, I don’t think too many people would be in a position to visit in any case. I am not convinced that Tancredo’s remarks will prove especially harmful to our efforts in the GWOT. When you consider that MSM outlets in the region already “report” that Israelis use the blood of Palestinian babies to make bread, I would be surprised if claims of the US targeting Mecca were not already in circulation. At the same time, if the US did officially announce this policy of targeting Mecca in retaliation for a WMD attack on the US mainland, it would have no preventative effect on the terrorists plotting to do just that.

At the end of the day, Hugh is right that targeting Mecca would be of no strategic benefit, but it hardly matters what we do or say about islam because the paranoia and backwardness of most of the islamic world precludes our “message” from getting through to them anyway. The best way to get our message “heard” is to be victorious on the GWOT battlefield.

Juliette agrees

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Punchbowl Memorial Video

Here is a video clip that very accurately summarizes the SDVT 1 Memorial Service at the Punchbowl on July 11, 2005. Do yourself a favor and watch it.

Big hat tip to Cat

SCOTUS Confirmation Watch: Whopper of the Day

George W. Bush's nomination of John Roberts, Jr. is a setback for American women, just has his policies in Iraq have produced a setback for women's rights in the Arab world. Indeed, Bush has been bad for women all around the globe.” Juan Cole, professor of revisionist history at the University of Michigan h/t RCP

I don’t really have the time or inclination to delve into the total lack of perspective and rank idiocy of this statement except to say two words: Burkha and Afghanistan

Update: Iowahawk has the strategy memos that will be used by "mainstream" progressive organizations to defend America from the scourge of__John Roberts__

The ONE

I have been trying to come up with a way to discuss the ONE who survived the SR near Asadabad, Afghanistan while 11 of his Teammates did not. I spoke to several of this man’s Teammates in Hawaii, and it is interesting that he is a twin and his brother is a Frogman as well. Actually, each of the brothers has half of a Trident tattooed on their backs so that when they stand side by side, it forms one large Trident. When his brother was informed that the ONE was missing, he immediately knew that his brother was alive and evading. According to what I was told, it was not just hopeful speculation, but some of that twin brother mojo letting his brother know that he was still in the fight.

The story of this harrowing evasion will probably come out eventually, but while the account that I was unofficially given was not very specific, it is truly awe inspiring. After the 4 man SR was compromised and engaged, they called for the QRF and defended themselves from the large taliban hoard that was firing at them. At some point, two of the SR team members were shot and clearly KIA, one other was severely wounded, and he and the ONE continued to fight. I was told that the ONE dragged his critically wounded Teammate while the wounded man continued to fire at the enemy. Eventually, the pair received close incoming mortar fire and the ONE was “blown off the side of the mountain”.

After waking from unconsciousness, the ONE was once again being closed upon by enemy forces. Apparently the ONE is a rather large fellow, and not known particularly for his long distance running. So he ran for a while, stopped and shot a few taliban, then repeated that until he was shot in the a$$; at which point he stopped… and laughed. This went on for a while until darkness fell and he was able to get into a more concealed position. Eventually he was discovered by a local tribesman who took him into his village and notified US forces of his location.

The SEALs that were on the MH-47 that were preparing to fastrope into the firefight to rescue their SR brothers were all awarded Bronze Stars with “V” for Valor. The members of the SR team that perished in the firefight were all awarded the Silver Star. Many believe that the ONE may be under consideration for a couple of awards that are even higher than those two. I don’t want to jinx it so I will simply say that I hope he gets what he deserves.

It occurs to me that the ONE could use some prayer at this point in his life. It is about this time that someone in his situation might be asking himself questions about why he survived when ALL of his brothers did not. While he deserves every accolade we can give him, he probably needs our compassion and support more than anything else.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Dangerous Work

After I attended the SEAL Memorial at the Punchbowl last week, I had the opportunity to visit the new SDV Team area for a reception. It was here that I was able to spend some time with long lost friends from the Teams, get some free food, and drain a couple kegs with the boys. I was very pleased to have reunited with a very close friend from BUD/S that I had not seen or heard from in 9 years. We talked for hours at the reception, eventually adjourning to his friend’s home where we polished off yet another keg of beer on the lanai. I got the chance to spend several hours with many of the guys from SDVT ONE, and their wives, talking about the guys that we had just memorialized and also the kind of operations that these operators were conducting.

I have to admit that I never had any desire to go to an SDV Team because driving SDVs is a very difficult and tedious proposition. Without going into any particular detail, suffice it to say that spending 12 hours crammed into the back of a wet mini-sub freezing my a$$ off was not my idea of the SEAL Team lifestyle. But that is only the beginning of an SDV operation. Back in the cold war days when SDVs were penetrating Vladivostok harbor in Siberia to emplace listening devices to eavesdrop on the Soviets, the combat swimmer mission was the primary objective of SDV operators. Sneaking into enemy harbors on bubble-free SCUBA rebreathers, the SDV mission was to attach limpet mines onto the bottom of enemy naval vessels. Well, the combat swimmer mission is not one that has a tremendous amount of application to the current conflict and I know of only one real world combat swimmer attack that was actually executed. A good friend and former BUD/S instructor of mine and his platoon blew up Manuel Noriega’s yacht in the Panama Canal during the 1989 invasion.

The four man recon team that was compromised, attacked, and called for help in Afghanistan was comprised of SDV operators. Strange isn’t it? The SEAL Team’s diving gurus were sneaking around the Hindu Kush mountains at 8,000 feet. Well, the SDV is the sneakiest vehicle in the world; it stands to reason that the sneakiest guys in the world are inside. After the 12 hour infiltration by SDV, the recon team comes across the beach to perform reconnaissance and surveillance on the enemy before returning to the sea. In A-stan, the SDV guys aren’t infiltrating underwater, but the mission profile is the same. These are US SOF’s stealthiest men, and they travel deep behind enemy lines to observe and report on the enemy’s activities. In order to perform their hazardous tasks without being noticed, they are lightly armed and work in very small groups. They live by their wits, many of them snipers trained to stalk and hide. They find the targets, and call in the regular SEAL platoon to conduct the Direct Action mission to destroy it. A very dangerous job. A very thankless job. You see, in the hyper aggressive world of the SEAL Teams, nobody wants to do the Special Reconnaissance, they want to do the DA. But the DA can’t happen without the SR, and the SDV guys are the SR gurus too.

The SDV operators have done dozens and dozens of these high risk SR missions in A-stan in the past few years, and somehow this one went wrong. There is no insertion platform aside from the helicopter in the Hindu Kush, and they were likely seen or heard being inserted the night before they were compromised. That’s all part of the risk of this deadly business. Speaking of risk, I spent some time with the Deputy Commander of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment whose helicopter and crew were lost during the rescue attempt of the SR team. He told me that he always has a bad feeling whenever his aircrews have to operate during the day. The Nightstalkers were the same unit to lose two MH-60s in Mogadishu during a daylight raid which was recounted in the film Blackhawk Down. Indeed, the QRF on this rescue mission was planning to fastrope in broad daylight into the middle of a firefight on the side of a mountain. The MH-47 was setting up to hover in plain view of enemy forces when it was struck with the RPG. No matter what happened that day, there was going to be some casualties. When you realize exactly what the SEALs and Nightstalkers were willing to do in order to rescue their comrades, you can begin to understand the great heroism and love these men had for their brothers.

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. -Jesus Christ, John 15:13 NKJV

Friday, July 15, 2005

The SEAL Ethos

Recently, several of my teammates came together in an effort to compose a SEAL philosophy or ethos. This is something that the Teams had neglected to formally do for far too long. Nevertheless, I am very pleased and impressed with the result:

"In times of war or uncertainty there is a special breed of warrior ready to answer our Nation’s call; a common man with uncommon desire to succeed. Forged by adversity, he stands alongside America’s finest special operations forces to serve his country and the American people, and to protect their way of life. I am that man.

My Trident is a symbol of honor and heritage. Bestowed upon me by the heroes who have gone before, it embodies the trust of those whom I have sworn to protect. By wearing the Trident, I accept the responsibility of my chosen profession and way of life. It is a privilege that I must earn every day.

My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans, always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own.

I serve with honor on and off the battlefield. The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other men. Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.

We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders I will take charge, lead my teammates, and accomplish the mission. I lead by example in all situations.

I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will drawn on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish the mission. I am never out of the fight.

We demand discipline. We expect innovation. The lives of my teammates and the success of the mission depend on me-my technical skill, tactical proficiency, and attention to detail. My training is never complete.

We train for war and fight to win. I stand ready to bring the full spectrum of combat power to bear in order to achieve my mission and the goals established by my country. The execution of my duties will be swift and violent when required, yet guided by the very principles I serve to defend.

Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold. In the worst of conditions, the legacy of my teammates steadies my resolve and silently guides my every deed. I will not fail."


Having a document such as this has been a staple for the Army, and nearly every combat arms classification has a published credo or philosophy that is memorized by new guys and used as a basis for unit conduct in combat or in garrison. During the long "winter" for the SEAL Teams, it became easy to mock such blatant displays especially those composed by our nemesis, the Army. Now that the sting of combat has salted the flesh of many Frogmen, these words replace empty slogans of the past and focus a SEAL's energy on the tasks at hand.

Better late than never.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

SEAL Memorial at the Punchbowl


SEAL's Crosses

I had never been to a SEAL memorial before. Of course I have had many friends die in training and combat, but I was never able to attend any of their services. So when 11 Frogmen died at 8,000 feet in the Hindu Kush, I felt compelled to attend one of the memorial services. The first one that I heard about was for the fallen members of SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in an extinct volcano crater above the city of Honolulu, Oahu.

I made the travel plans somewhat impulsively, not really thinking the trip through. After purchasing the non-refundable plane tickets, it hit me that I was going to a memorial for 5 SDV guys that I had never met who were stationed at a Team that was a community within a community, separated from the West Coast and East Coast Teams geographically and culturally. I figured I would know a couple of guys, but would they remember me? After all, it has been 5 long years since I wore a Trident every day, and I wasn’t sure how or if I would fit in with a bunch of salty combat veterans. Would they look at me and ask, “So you flew out here from LA, and you didn’t even know any of these guys?”

On Monday morning I arrived early so that I could take some pictures of the venue and get a sense of what was to come. The Punchbowl is a truly impressive and spectacular sight. I had been there once before on a trip to Hawaii with my friend and his family when I was a teenager. The deep blue sky contrasted sharply with the white marble of the monuments and the lush green grass marked by thousands of gravestones of fallen US servicemen. The memorial service was set to take place at the foot of a large white marble staircase that is guarded by imposing marble blocks bearing the names of 56,000 American war dead. At the summit of the staircase is a giant marble statue of an angel with arms beckoning perched upon the bow of a naval vessel.

As I approached the dais I noticed that the men of SDVT 1 had set up displays to commemorate their fallen brothers, displays that flooded me with emotion upon seeing them. On the left side of the stage were 11 pairs of UDT Duck Feet swim fins tips down, ankle straps crossed, sitting beneath a desert painted M-4 rifle with its muzzle downward topped by a desert cammie helmet. A SEAL's Cross. Five of these had a Hawaiian lei placed around the rifle to signify the five sailors from Hawaii that had perished. On a table behind the rifles were shadow boxes for each man containing their full compliment of military awards, rank insignia, and a tri folded American flag. Above each shadow box was a large photo of each man. On another table just to the side was another display consisting of five sets of UDT Duck Feet draped with a UDT life jacket and topped with an old style oval shaped SCUBA facemask that had the name and BUD/S class number of each man engraved on the glass. Leaning on each was a Navy K-bar knife that had each man’s name and BUD/S class engraved upon it as well.

Soon buses began to arrive filled with the men and families of SDVT 1, and hundreds of SEALs began to form a line in order to view the displays that I had just seen. I scanned the crowd, and saw a few familiar faces, but no one with whom I had been especially close. The left side of the seating area was reserved for members of SDVT 1 and their families, so I sat on the right side with civilians, other military servicemembers, veterans from the Fleet Reserve Association, and non-SEAL Navy personnel.

The memorial was very professionally conducted, and a SEAL who had been close to each fallen man wrote and delivered a eulogy for his friend. Some of the men were able to deliver the eulogy with relatively little emotion, and some of them were clearly stricken with the task. One of the members of the Platoon from which these men had been assigned accompanied the remains back to the US and spoke on behalf of his platoon which continues to operate in Afghanistan. He flew back the next day and I learned later that he just wanted to get back to his platoon and finish the deployment even though he had permission to stay. Three families of the fallen were in attendance and were presented with posthumous Bronze Stars with “V”, Purple Hearts, and Combat Action ribbons. The 25th Infantry Division stationed at Schoefield Barracks on the North Shore provided a flight of helicopters which performed the “missing man” formation near the end of the ceremony. This was followed by six bagpipes piping “Amazing Grace” which was all that I could handle as I began to sob and cry. I wasn’t the only one though, not by a long shot. Then came the buglers playing “Echo Taps” as the assembly quietly cried.

I felt better having had the opportunity to express those emotions with others of like mind, and yet I still felt a sense of distance from my comrades across the aisle somehow. And then it all changed. One of the men from SDVT 1 called out,

“Miiiiiiiiiike Murphyyyyyyyyyy!!!!” I knew exactly what to do. So did every SEAL within the sound of his booming voice. In perfect unison with precise inflection and emphasis we all replied, “HOOYAH, Mike Murphy!”

“Daaaaaan Heeeeealyyyyy!!!” “HOOYAH, Dan Healy!”

“Maaaaatt Axelsooooooonnnnn!!!” “HOOYAH, Matt Axelson!”

“Shaaaaane Pattoooooooonnnn!!!” “HOOYAH, Shane Patton!”

“Jaaaaames Suuuuuuuuhhhh!!!” “HOOYAH, James Suh!”

The circle was complete. When we were in BUD/S, we had to greet our instructors whenever they came nearby. There were always a couple of guys stationed around the class to provide early warning for approaching instructors. We would greet them in rank order by repeating the lookout’s call, “Instructor Valderaaaaaammmaaaaa!!!” We replied, “HOOYAH, Instructor Valderama!” It is a tradition that goes back for decades in SEAL training. At the beginning of our SEAL career, each of us gave respect and welcomed our instructors whose task it was to hone us into warriors. At the end of these men’s distinguished SEAL careers, their brothers offered their final respects and welcomed them into the pantheon of fallen heroes.

I was the lone man in my seating area that cried out in return. And in that moment I wasn’t across the aisle anymore and I wasn’t alone, I was in the midst of my brothers again.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Memorial

While in Virginia last week, I had the opportunity to attend the East Coast memorial service for the SEALS killed in Afghanistan. It was a moving tribute to those fallen, their families and their teammates; close to 3,000 attended.

Parts of the ceremony were inexpressibly sad; I saw a young boy, about the same age as my youngest son, presented with his father’s Bronze Star, and I heard a grieving widow share her love for the husband that she will never again see on this earth. Many teammates gave fine tributes to their fallen brothers.

Of the many fine things that were said, the thing that resonated most with me was this:

Jhn 15:13 - Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

The SEALS that got on the helo that day knew exactly what they were doing. They knew they were going into a fight, one that by all accounts was going very badly. They knew it would be dangerous, but they were going to the aid of fellow Americans, fellow Frogmen, and any Frogman would have gladly taken their place.

A reception was held after the ceremony, with many in attendance. I ran into many friends and former teammates. I was at the same time proud to have served with them and humbled just to know them.

While the loss of the eleven brothers in Afghanistan was certainly a blow to the SEAL community, morale is high. There is still a war on and I have never seen everyone so focused. The SEALS today are doing more and doing it better than we did just a few short years ago.

If you are wondering what you can do to support our nation’s greatest warriors, please continue to pray for them and their families. The pre-deployment and deployment cycles are endless; it takes a toll on those left behind. Please also visit the following organizations, they do a great job helping to take care of the families of those operators who have given their lives in the defense of freedom.

United Warrior Survivor Foundation

Special Operations Warrior Foundation

Naval Special Warfare Foundation

All Accounted For

The body of the fourth member of the SR team has been found in Afghanistan.

In a statement released today, Colonel James Yonts said the following:

"The location and disposition of the service member's remains indicate he died while fighting off enemy terrorists on or about June 28,”

“This individual was never in custody, he was never defamed or disgraced."

Please pray earnestly for this Frogman’s family and friends, as they are dealing with their loss.

Update: The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew G. Axelson, 29, of Cupertino, Calif, died while conducting counter-terrorism operations in Kunar province, Afghanistan. Coalition forces located the service member while conducting a combat search and rescue operation July 10 in Kunar province. Axelson was assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.


Our deepest condolences to his family.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Individual Funeral Services (UPDATED)

PO1 Jeffery Lucas-1300 Funeral receiving/Funeral Service 3 p.m. Thursday July 7th Little Creek Amphibious Base ChapelVirginia Beach, VA Service Dress Blues

LT Michael McGreevy- 1330 Saturday July 9th at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church 1968 Sandbridge Rd. Virginia Beach. Service Dress Blues

PO2 Shane Patton-0900 Saturday July 9th Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City Open to public except for members of the press

CPO Jacques Fontan-Monday July 11 Time TBD-Jacksonville Memorial Gardens Funeral Home 111 Blanding Blvd. Orange Park, FL (904) 272-2435 Service Dress Whites

LT Michael Patrick Murphy-Wednesday, 13 July at 1100 Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Pathogue, NY /1300 Interment at the Calverton National Cemetery Calverton, NY Service Dress Blues or civilian equivalent

PO2 Danny Dietz-Wednesday July 13 Funeral Services at First Christian Reformed Church, 1814 S. Emerson St., Denver/ Interment Fort Logan National Cemetary Denver, CO (Time TBD)

LCDR Erik Kristensen-10 a.m. July 19 at the Naval Academy Chapel, with burial to follow in the academy's cemetery. Participants Service Dress Whites/ Guests Summer Whites

These were the only funeral services that I could find on the web so far. If anyone has information on the remaining SEAL funerals, please email it to me.

UPDATE: I am enroute to Hawaii for the SDVT1 Memorial Services and unable to update this list. If your friend or family member's funeral is not posted, please see the comments. If you have information to pass along, please put it in the comments. Thanks, Froggy.

West Coast SEAL Memorial Service

A west coast Memorial Service will be held at 1000 next Tuesday, 12 July, at the NASNI Chapel for all recent Team KIAs.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Looking at the Bright Side of the London Attacks

First of all I would like to offer my personal condolences and sympathy to the victims, their families, and to the brave and stalwart people of the United Kingdom who have stood by the United States through thick and thin. I would also like to congratulate, belatedly, the British people for having reelected a man of character and resolve as their Prime Minister. The fruits of this wise decision are now being borne out, and will continue to be demonstrated in the weeks and months ahead.

The attack from what I have been able to glean consisted of four separate bombings of rail transportation nodes throughout the city of London starting at 0849 and concluding with a bus at 0950. Reports indicate that two of the bombs failed to detonate and are now in the possession of Scotland Yard. The attack occurred on the first day of the G-8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland which is a major international diplomatic event that had been the subject of numerous media reports for several months.

The terrorists, assuming correctly that UK law enforcement and security forces would be focused on quelling Leftist/Anarchist demonstrations near the Summit, took advantage of what was likely the day security forces were least prepared. From a concept of operations standpoint, the attack could hardly have been planned for a more successful execution, and the target selection at rush hour held great potential for maximum casualties. Additionally, at this point UK intelligence didn’t seem to have been aware of the plot, meaning that the conspirators had a fairly free hand to roam the countryside and prepare for the attack. If some of the terrorists had been under surveillance, then they had not attracted enough scrutiny to preclude them from their activities.

Assuming that the conditions above were in effect, these terrorists had the table set for a real blockbuster attack. While I am certainly not discounting the loss of life and the maiming of hundreds as insignificant, it was no 9/11 or even 3/11 for that matter. What this cell was able to execute, under conditions in London that will never be that good again, was essentially four Palestinian style bombings. However, it seems that this cell was unable to convince at least six islamofascists to take one for allah. I guess life in the UK is just a little more fun than the third world rat’s nests where they were likely spawned. A 33% failure rate for there munitions indicates either lack of quality demolition materials, poor training and bombmaking skills or both. All in all it was a poor showing tactically for the terrorists. It was enough to make a statement, but not much more.

The presence of two unexploded bombs holds the potential promise for a very effective and rapidly evolving investigation. The authorities may be able to obtain fingerprints and DNA samples which can be used to identify suspects or to verify the culpability of those taken into custody. The type of demolition material and the type of initiation can be helpful in discerning where, when, and how they had been obtained. The design of the bomb itself can be compared to AQ manuals and previous bomb designs to determine who, where, and when the bombmaker was trained.

The implications for the US GWOT (Leftist carping notwithstanding) within the capitals of Europe could hardly be better. I think I heard Vladimir Putin say that the civilized world has failed to sufficiently unite in efforts to destroy the terrorists. That’s a great start, at least rhetorically, to reinvigorate the GWOT. If Iran and its terrorist president were found to be implicated, then we may actually “address” the nuclear issue once and for all. While we pray for the victims and their families, let’s pray that Europe gets this wake up call and doesn’t hit the snooze button again.

Foundations for Monetary Contributions

This list is almost certainly incomplete, but I will post it anyway.

LCDR Erik Kristensen
US Naval Academy Foundation
25 Maryland Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21401

LT Mike McGreevey
Laura McGreevey c/o Naval Special Warfare Foundation
PO Box 5965
Virginia Beach, VA 23471

PO1 Jeffery Lucas
Seth A. Lucas Trust Fund c/o Navy Federal Credit Union
4001 Virginia Beach Blvd. Suite 312
Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Attn: Joe Lipscomb

The Families of SCPO Dan Healy, CPO Jacques Fontan, PO1 Jeffrey Taylor, and PO2 Danny Dietz can be helped by your contributions to the Naval Special Warfare Foundation

As I have mentioned before the following organizations are committed to assisting the families of fallen SOF operators:

United Warrior Survivor Foundation
Special Operations Warrior Foundation

If anyone has corrections or additions to this list please email me at froggyruminations(at)gmail(dot)com

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Names of the Fallen-SR Team

From Defenselink:

Lt. Michael P. Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y. Murphy was assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny P. Dietz, 25, of Littleton, Colo. Dietz was assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team Two, Virginia Beach, Va.

The AP is reporting on the sequence of events that led to the SR team calling for assistance and the MH-47 subsequently crashing. Official DOD sources are quoted in the story. (h/t Chris J.)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Memorial Service for SEAL Team TEN Operators That Perished in Operation Red Wing

There will be a memorial service held at the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, VA theatre on Friday July 8th at 10:00 am to honor the fallen members of SEAL Team TEN. Unless you have a military ID or are sponsored by a service member, it may be difficult to attend this service. If anyone has further details, please provide them in the comments.

Broken News

Like you, I have seen all of the media reports and even CENTCOM press releases regarding the remaining SEAL evaders of Operation Red Wing. I have purposely decided that this site is not going to report any further news updates on the fate of those operators until the status of ALL THREE of them is known for certain. I cannot tell you how frustrated I am as I watch the irresponsible reporting by the wire services, newspapers, TV outlets, and even other blogs.

Look, I understand wanting to break a story first and the rush of being a “go to” source for an important story. A perfect example would be the retirement of SCOTUS Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Media outlets and blogs are competing with greater and greater speculation about who is going to be nominated to replace her, postulations regarding the chances of Democratic filibuster, or just finding out what kind of absurd regurgitations are going to vomit forth from Ted Kennedy’s pie hole. I get that. There’s no harm in bandying about wild theories, and using dubious sources because eventually we’re all going to have the answers to those questions. Besides, its political sport, which is after all a very American past time.

But the unconfirmed, poorly sourced, and often flatly wrong information coming out about the CSAR operation underway in Afghanistan is not only irresponsible, it could prove lethal. Speculating about the location of a wounded US evader in the field while recovery operations are ongoing is an outrageous violation of basic ethics. Can a civil society not recognize that the potential hazards of reporting these claims far outweigh any value that could be gained from being first on the story? There is no doubt that upon hearing the claim by an Afghan provincial governor(?) that he knew the location of an evading US serviceman, the reporter’s next call was to the US military spokesman for reaction. And I am just as certain that any US military spokesman would beg and plead for that reporter to sit on that information, be it true or false. How long did it take you to figure out that information of that kind could have a devastating impact on the rescue efforts underway?

It is cliché to say that the media and its 24 hour news cycle reach new lows on a regular basis. It is annoying to see the Michael Jackson/Scott Peterson/Koranic flushathon every time you turn on the TV. But they have been playing with a man’s life this weekend. It becomes something north of annoying when that man is one of your own brothers in arms struggling against all odds to evade and survive. It is infuriating. Let’s hope the media’s big competition doesn’t get someone killed. I’m not letting them off the hook either way.

Memorial Service for SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE Operators That Perished in Operation Red Wing

There will be a memorial service held at the Punchbowl National Cemetary in Oahu on Monday July 11, 2005 at 10:00 am to honor the fallen members of SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE. Uniform of the Day for active duty is Summer Whites. Contact Trident 86 for details.

Monday, July 04, 2005

4th of July

The 4th of July is always a big deal in Coronado. The day usually kicks off with a parade on Orange Avenue, followed by a UDT/SEAL demonstration in Glorietta Bay, ending up with fireworks and a few too many beers.

It has been several years since I have enjoyed the 4th in Coronado, but this is the first one that I will miss. While this year’s celebration will likely take a more somber note, it will also have that much more significance.

With the losses this last week, freedom should taste sweeter; its celebration should also be a celebration of the indomitable character of the men who have secured it for us and of the men who continue to secure it, not only for us, but also for countless others around the world.

Today of all days, we should remember them. We should tell their names with reverence as we enjoy the fruits of their labors. We should remind our children what the fireworks signify. We should pray for their families. And for me, at the end of the day, I will lift my glass, with tears in my eyes, thanking God for men such as these.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Words of Wisdom

As this situation has unfolded thousands of miles away, we have all been riveted on media reports, many of them false, and have tried to reconstruct the events of the past week. This week has been a difficult one for the Naval Special Warfare community, and undoubtedly these events will be scrutinized within the Teams and elsewhere. The identity and “story” of the SEAL that was recovered today will probably never become public knowledge, and that’s the way it has to be. I have asked a very close friend who is currently on active duty in the SEAL Teams with 17 years of service to write something from the perspective of an operator who has deployed both to Afghanistan and Iraq. His message is simple and the purity of it will be apparent.


I have been asked to comment on the events that are taking place currently in Afghanistan. I will state categorically that I have no advanced or secret information concerning these events this is intentional, and that in no way do I write for Naval Special Warfare or any of the component commands of Naval Special Warfare.

There has been a significant amount of speculation concerning the actions that took place, the amount of people involved, and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) for conducting special reconnaissance and recovery operations. I would ask you all now to stop. Stop speculating and pray. Stop reading this and pray. Pray for the families of the confirmed dead and for the men that are still listed as missing. This is your job as the American public, as it is my job as a frogman.

I have been deeply touched by the sentiments expressed by all of you concerning these matters. This is a significant and positive change in public opinion pertaining to the military. I am truly thankful to you. But I must remind you that you were not there on the ground with these men. I was not there with them. Sitting around trying to figure out what happened without the facts can do nothing but harm. These facts, when known, will come from the men that were there, not from me or the media.

I have learned many things in my years in the Teams, and I will share two with you. First, if you were not there, and I mean actually on site, you have no right to judge the actions of the troops in the field. The worst thing that can happen to a military man is to have his tactical decisions be questioned after the fact by people who simply were not there. When this takes place it will inevitably lead to finger pointing and remove any possibility of learning from what happened. And if we, as military men, do not learn from events both positive and negative, then we might as well draw swords and have us a good old fashioned knife fight.

Secondly, sometimes enough is enough. Even though I have no knowledge of what has taken place and what I assume is still taking place other than what I have read in the news, I can guarantee you that everything that can be done to effect a positive outcome is being done. It is still fashionable to mock the level of intelligence of military men and women, but this is simply not correct. We know our trade, we live our trade, and we damn sure look after our own. So, with that said, back to my first statement; Stop reading this and pray for the families of the confirmed dead and for the men that are still listed as missing. That is what I am doing.


Coming from a SEAL Chief Petty Officer, I’d say that was an order!

Latest from NYT

UPDATE: I would like to add something to what my friend has written. It's something we discussed but he did not cover in his letter. These men who died in an effort to save their comrades are not victims, they are warriors. It is easy to say that since they went down in a helo crash that this was some kind of tragedy like a traditional civilian aircraft accident. This is a war people. They jumped on that bird knowing that they were going to be engaging the enemy, and unfortunately, the enemy engaged them before they got the chance. I wanted to spell this out so that no one makes the mistake of treating this terrible situation like an episode of Law and Order. Sh*t happens in war, and there's nothing anyone can do to prevent it. Sure, we can learn from every experience, and we will, but I will not allow people who are not a party to the actions described here to start pointing fingers and assigning blame. People who want to know and understand the Teams and SOF community come here for information and analysis, people that want to start concocting their fantasy scenarios about who should have done what should go elsewhere.

Froggy OUT

UPDATE 2: THERE IS A LOT OF ERRONEOUS REPORTING OCCURRING ABOUT THIS SITUATION RIGHT NOW. I REFUSE TO PRINT RUMORS, INNUENDO, AND BS MEDIA REPORTS. I AM SHUTTING DOWN COMMENTS ON THIS THREAD FOR THE TIME BEING. WHEN I FEEL COMFORTABLE THAT SOMETHING OFFICIAL AND DEFINITIVE HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED, I WILL POST IT. UNTIL THEN, HANG TIGHT, AND HAVE A BEER.

E & E Recovery

Breaking at CNN:

"One member of a U.S. special operations reconnaissance team missing in Afghanistan since Tuesday has been rescued, a U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity told CNN.

The team member 'evaded the enemy and was successfully rescued by U.S. forces,' the official said."

(hat tip: Sully)

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Names

SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel R. Healy, 36, of Exeter, N.H.
Petty Officer 2nd Class James Suh, 28, of Deerfield Beach, Fla.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric S. Patton, 22, of Boulder City, Nev.

SEAL Team TEN, Little Creek, VA
Lt. Cmdr. Erik S. Kristensen, 33, of San Diego, Calif.
Lt. Michael M. McGreevy, Jr., 30, of Portville, N.Y.
Chief Petty Officer Jacques J. Fontan, 36, of New Orleans, La.
Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffery A. Lucas, 33, of Corbett, Ore.
Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey S. Taylor, 30, of Midway, W.Va.

3rd Bn./160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, GA
Maj. Stephen C. Reich, 34, of Washington Depot, Conn
Chief Warrant Officer Chris J. Scherkenbach, 40, of Jacksonville, Fla.
Chief Warrant Officer Corey J. Goodnature, 35, of Clarks Grove, Minn.
MSgt James W. Ponder III, 36, of Franklin, Tenn.
Sgt. 1st Class Marcus V. Muralles, 33, of Shelbyville, Ind.
Sgt. 1st Class Michael L. Russell, 31, of Stafford, Va.
SSgt. Shamus O. Goare, 29, of Danville, Ohio
Sgt. Kip A. Jacoby, 21, of Pompano Beach, Fla.

I would like to invite family and friends of all of these operators to submit some reflections that I can post here at Froggy Ruminations. Email them to me at froggyruminations(at)gmail(dot)com. Include a picture if you can. Also, please include your name and phone number so that I can contact you to verify that you are a friend or family member of the deceased. I will not publish this personal information, but I need to protect these men from malicious persons by verifying you.

A Tribute to the Fallen

Mark Devine, the owner of navyseals.com offers his tribute to our fallen brethren. As a friend of Mark's I can readily feel the emotion in his words,

"A light shines above them, and an angel comes down to them – beckoning them to come. The angel is dressed in a WWI style infantryman’s uniform. He tells them, without words, not to worry. Warriors take care of their own in Heaven, he says. They have been expected, and there is a big reception planned."
Read the rest of Mark's tribute here.

I have decided to hold off announcing the names until the official Navy notification process has been completed. That said, here are some links that you might want to check.

Trident 86
PilotOnline
Honolulu Advisor

There has been a lot of speculation regarding the fate of the recon team having fallen into the hands of the taliban and all of the horrors that possibility denotes. I have it on what I consider to be good authority that this did NOT happen. I will go no further than that at this time. The taliban "spokesman" also said that they videotaped the helo being struck by the rocket and its subsequent crash. Even if that is true, I don't see that video tape making it very far from where it was filmed. There are something like 1000+ Marines in the area and I'm confident that those Devil Dogs won't be letting anything out of that province alive.

Standby for more updates. Here's one Report 7/2/05 0700 PST
UPDATE 1300 PDT: WaPo says that the remains of the 8 Frogs lost in the helo crash have returned home

By the way, here is the transcript of my radio interview with Hugh Hewitt

Froggy OUT

Friday, July 01, 2005

Accountability Update

I am going to refrain from analysis on this report because the implications of it are clearly self evident. Coupled with this Army Times report, a possible scenario for the SR element is emerging although certainly not confirmed. Scott and I are aware that there are family members and friends focusing their attention here, and in light of that we think it would be wise to defer speculation on a whole host of issues.

I have a call in to the CNSWC Public Affairs Officer requesting official notification of the names of the fallen. Once the Navy sees fit to put that information out, we will post it here. Once the names are published, I will be soliciting emails from friends and family in order to post their reflections. We will also provide contact information for donations, memorial services, and other relevant functions for the families as we receive them. For now there is:

United Warrior Survivor Foundation
Special Operations Warrior Foundation
Naval Special Warfare Foundation

For those who want to provide some more "practical assistance" in addition to helping the families of the fallen, you can go see Brian at Adopt a Sniper and put some gear in the hands of the boys whose job it is to get some payback.

Froggy OUT

UPDATE: THIS LINK TO GOOGLE NEWS IS BEING CONTINUOUSLY UPDATED AND THERE ARE REPORTS OUT WITH NAMES REPORTED TO THE MEDIA BY FAMILY MEMBERS THAT HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED. I AM WAITING FOR OFFICIAL NOTIFICATION TO OCCUR BEFORE POSTING THE NAMES, BUT FOR THOSE THAT CANNOT WAIT, CHECK THAT LINK FROM TIME TO TIME.

Weep With Those Who Weep

Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

There is much to weep for, and for which to pray. If you are not sure what to pray for, imagine a young boy or girl with a calendar on the wall, counting off the days until their daddy comes home. Now imagine a grieving widow trying to explain to that child why their daddy will never be home.

Psalms68:5 Father to the fatherless, defender of widows- this is God, whose dwelling is holy.

Countless times in his word, God expresses his concern for the fatherless and the widow. Please pray for the comfort that He died to give them. Pray also for the mothers and fathers who have lost beloved sons. Pray for sisters, brothers, girlfriends, and friends.

Please also pray for those still engaged, who do not have the luxury of grieving their brothers properly and giving them the send off they deserve. Pray that they would have the strength and focus they need, that their minds would be sharpened, their resolve steeled. Pray for the wisdom of the commanders, who are making difficult decisions, on which the fate of many will rest.

If you want to give financially, the NSW Foundation, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and the United Warrior Survivor Foundation are all worthy causes. Once names are publicly released and family arrangements made, we will post where gifts and donations can be sent for individual children and families.

Just to add something, I received this email from Dawn who is a widowed SOF spouse:

...And I think it's great that you remind people about the Warrior Foundation. They do such a great job. Unfortunately, I know first hand because my two kids lost their Dad in a training accident in 2001. The Foundation contacted us within a month of his death and has kept in touch ever since. They include the kids in events that they hold in our area, which is really special for them.

Keep writing, I enjoyed reading your blog!

Dawn

Dark Days Ahead

As a Team Guy, I am filled with rage, and wish that I could avenge the deaths of my fallen brothers, but that is for others at this point. As a husband and father of two boys, my heart is broken, broken for the wives who will never see their husbands again, broken for the children will always have a hole in their lives where their fathers should live, and broken for the parents hearing of the deaths of their sons in a far off land.

This episode reminds me of how I felt in December of 1989, when SEAL Team 4 lost four men in an assault at Paitilla Airfield. Afterwards, a former platoon-mate (we had been in the same platoon together with three of the four killed) recounted to me his reaction to the loss of our friends – he was angry. He said that at the time he did not feel sorrow, grief, or pain, just raw anger, the consuming kind. He looked for targets, found them and killed them - with great satisfaction, and no remorse.

There is one major difference between the situations in Panama and Afghanistan. You see, after the relatively quick invasion of Panama, there were no targets upon which to channel the anger, but there are plenty of targets in the GWOT, and they will pay.

I am certain that there is a dark mood coming over our guys in country right now, Allah will not be able to save our enemies from the wrath that will soon befall them. Kipling wrote about it many years ago, and while the places and names have changed, the blackness of heart is still the same.


The Grave of the Hundred Head

There's a widow in sleepy Chester
Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
A grave that the Burmans shun;
And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri
Who tells how the work was done.

A Snider squibbed in the jungle,
Somebody laughed and fled,
And the men of the First Shikaris
Picked up their Subaltern dead,
With a big blue mark in his forehead
And the back blown out of his head.

Subadar Prag Tewarri,
Jemadar Hira Lal,
Took command of the party,
Twenty rifles in all,
Marched them down to the river
As the day was beginning to fall.

They buried the boy by the river,
A blanket over his face --
They wept for their dead Lieutenant,
The men of an alien race --
They made a samadh in his honor,
A mark for his resting-place.

For they swore by the Holy Water,
They swore by the salt they ate,
That the soul of Lieutenant Eshmitt Sahib
Should go to his God in state,
With fifty file of Burmans
To open him Heaven's gate.

The men of the First Shikaris
Marched till the break of day,
Till they came to the rebel village,
The village of Pabengmay --
A jingal covered the clearing,
Calthrops hampered the way.

Subadar Prag Tewarri,
Bidding them load with ball,
Halted a dozen rifles
Under the village wall;
Sent out a flanking-party
With Jemadar Hira Lal.

The men of the First Shikaris
Shouted and smote and slew,
Turning the grinning jingal
On to the howling crew.
The Jemadar's flanking-party
Butchered the folk who flew.

Long was the morn of slaughter,
Long was the list of slain,
Five score heads were taken,
Five score heads and twain;
And the men of the First Shickaris
Went back to their grave again,

Each man bearing a basket
Red as his palms that day,
Red as the blazing village --
The village of Pabengmay,
And the "drip-drip-drip" from the baskets
Reddened the grass by the way.

They made a pile of their trophies
High as a tall man's chin,
Head upon head distorted,
Set in a sightless grin,
Anger and pain and terror
Stamped on the smoke-scorched skin.

Subadar Prag Tewarri
Put the head of the Boh
On the top of the mound of triumph,
The head of his son below --
With the sword and the peacock-banner
That the world might behold and know.

Thus the samadh was perfect,
Thus was the lesson plain
Of the wrath of the First Shikaris --
The price of a white man slain;
And the men of the First Shikaris
Went back into camp again.

Then a silence came to the river,
A hush fell over the shore,
And Bohs that were brave departed,
And Sniders squibbed no more;
For the Burmans said
That a white man's head
Must be paid for with heads five-score.

There's a widow in sleepy Chester
Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
A grave that the Burmans shun;
And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri
Who tells how the work was done.