1763: With Ottawa chief Pontiac laying siege to Fort Pitt (modern-day Pittsburgh), a force marches to the frontier fort to break the siege, consisting of Pennsylvania rangers and Scottish soldiers of the 42d Royal Highlanders – the famed “Black Watch.” Allied natives ambush the relief force at a creek known as Bushy Run and a bloody two-day battle kicks off. Col. Henry Bouquet’s men emerge victorious, routing the Indians – although at high cost to the Scottish/American troops – and lifting the siege at Fort Pitt.
Today’s 111th Infantry Regiment traces its lineage to the Philadelphia “Associators” militia regiment (formed by Benjamin Franklin) that manned Fort Pitt. Each year at their “dining-in” banquet, an empty table setting is left in honor of the commander of the Black Watch. At least twice in the last 200-plus year tradition, the officer has been on hand to accept the honor.
1945: A lone B-29 bomber takes off from Tinian Island’s North Field and heads out for a six-hour flight to Japan. Once the Enola Gay is over its target of Hiroshima, Col. Paul Tibbetts releases the bomb and dives to speed away from the device’s powerful shock wave. 43 seconds later, the world’s first atomic bomb detonates, killing between 80,000 and 140,000 Japanese instantly, and severely wounding another 100,000.
Although the United States demonstrated they now possess the ability to utterly annihilate entire cities, the Japanese government vows to fight on. Another atomic bomb will have to fall before Japan is brought to its knees.
From a previous piece I wrote about SEALs in space,
When the Apollo 11 command module landed in the Pacific Ocean after astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon, it was SEALs that were assigned to recover their craft. “Sea King” helicopters from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet carried a handpicked team of four SEALs, wearing special isolation suits to protect them from possible lunar pathogens, to wrestle the “bucking bronco” from the ocean.
Wes Chesser, Clancy Hatleberg, John Wolfram, and Mike Mallory jumped into the water, fighting 12-foot waves and 28-m.p.h. winds to perform the daunting task of attaching a 200-lb. inflatable raft to the 12,000-lb. Apollo capsule as it pitched up and down with the ocean swell. Failure could have resulted in the astronauts and their capsule sinking to the bottom of the sea.
This month, NASA’s group of 12 candidates begin their two-year training program to become the nation’s next generation of astronauts. Among them is Jonny Kim, a physician and former special operator with the Navy SEALs.
Kim enlisted in the Navy in 2002 and entered Naval Special Warfare Training Center in Coronado, Calif. After graduation, he was assigned to SEAL Team Three in San Diego, where he served as a combat medic, sniper, navigator, and point man on 100 combat missions during his two tours in the Middle East. Kim was awarded both the Silver Star and the Bronze Star with the Combat “V” device for valor as well as the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with the Combat “V.”
Kim’s astronaut training focuses on “International Space Station systems, robotics, Russian language, flying T-38 training jets, and spacewalk training,” Brandi Dean of NASA’s public affairs office informs OpsLens.
“In addition, they’ll have activities that build what we call expeditionary skills – things like leadership, followership, team care, and communication,” Dean adds.
All traits Kim undoubtedly excelled at as a member of Naval Special Warfare.
Once he completes his two-year training program, Kim will be considered a “full astronaut” and is eligible for mission assignment, with the possibly of a trip to Mars not yet out of the question.
However, Kim will not be the first, or even the second SEAL that NASA found to have “the right stuff.”
Last year, members of the Navy SEAL elite counterterrorism unit set out on the mission America had waited for since September 11, 2001. We were finally going to get Osama bin Laden. Hours later, the leader of al Qaeda was in a body bag, and stories have circulated ever since on how the operation went down.
Considering the secrecy of our top-tier special operation forces, like SEAL Team Six, we were left to guess which of those accounts were accurate – if any truly were.
Former SEAL Matt Bissonnette was not just there, but saw bin Laden go down. Writing under the pseudonym Mark Owen, he published a detailed and accurate account of the battle, No Easy Day.
Although No Easy Day has all the detail and excitement of a Tom Clancy novel, from the near-fatal helicopter crash on insertion to evading the Pakistani air force on the return trip, the author avoids disclosing anything that could be used by the enemy.
The Pentagon claims the author violated nondisclosure agreements and has threatened legal action. Mr. Bissonnette and his lawyers assert that he did not.
That is for the lawyers to decide.
Members of the SEAL community have spoken out about the author’s decision to publish, saying he violated the SEAL Ethos: “I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions…”
I am not a SEAL, so I leave that to Bissonnette and his former teammates to work out.
What I can say is that No Easy Day is… [Read the rest at The US Report]
On Thursday, the Associated (with Terrorists) Press published an article on a military jury finding Navy SEAL Petty Officer Julio Huertas not guilty of covering up an alleged detainee beating.
But the AP just couldn’t help but turn a story where justice prevailed into a propaganda piece attacking the U.S. military. Kay Day at The US Report writes:
Things were going pretty good until I got to this part: “The case has drawn fire from at least 20 members of Congress and other Americans who see it as coddling terrorists to overcompensate for the notorious Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Thursday’s verdict was met by anger and sad shrugs from Iraqis who said they no longer expect to see U.S. troops held accountable for atrocities or other abuses.”
At least 20 members of Congress? Try at least 40 members, and just for fun, add in the fact they are Republicans who supported the SEALs based on evidence compiled by Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.). I know that puts a small grimace on most wire service writers’ faces, but it’s a fact and journalists love facts, right?
Day continues (emphasis mine):
And naturally this social justice loving AP writer had to bring up Abu Ghraib—the word ‘notorious’ does seem a bit ‘overkillish’ to me, however. The very name of the place connotes ‘notorious.’ But to compare [Abu Ghraib with] an alleged punch to a detainee who suffered no real injury and whose story … changed with the wind is akin to comparing a firm handshake to a punch thrown by the great Muhammad Ali.
The AP writes, “In his closing argument, [the prosecutor, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jason Grover] pleaded with the jury to hold Huertas responsible as an example of ‘why we’re better than the terrorists.'”
To hell with justice – let’s show the Iraqis that we will do whatever it takes to please them! The trouble with that logic is the Obama administration has turned placating other nations and our enemies into our foreign policy platform, and it clearly doesn’t work.
Sidenote to Grover and the AP: There’s a thing called justice. That’s one key asset that makes us better than the terrorists.
Then there’s this thing called a jury trial which should never have happened in the first place.
Then there’s another thing called a head. The so-called detainee still has his on top of his body. I’d say that’s the biggest thing making us better than the terrorists.
And why does this lawyer – who happens to be in the Navy – think we need to prove to the Iraqis that we are better than the terrorists? Justice aside – who dethroned their tyrannical government, allowing a democracy to take its place – al Qaeda or the United States? Who destroys infrastructure and terrorizes the population, and who repairs and builds infrastructure and protects the population? Perhaps Lt. Cmdr. Grover should refresh his memory. Or perhaps he is just following orders. Who knows any more?
While trying to paint the alleged crime as revenge for the 2004 grisly massacre of four Blackwater security contractors- of which the alleged victim is believed to have been the mastermind – the AP mistakenly claimed that at least two of the slain Americans were SEALs. In fact, three of the four were former Army. Only one was a SEAL. It’s pretty bad when a blog has more accurate reporting than the AP.
But the real kicker is what the news service wrote next: “‘These trials are just propaganda for their justice and democracy,’ sneered Abdul-Rahman Najim al-Mashhadani, head of the Iraqi human rights group Hammurabi.'”
Time magazine reported that Hammurabi was linked to the (George Soros-linked) Human Rights Watch. When Time used Hammurabi statements during a story on Haditha, they issued a retraction. In closing, here’s what Day had to say:
I’d like to congratulate the AP for continuing a level of reportage I’ve come to expect from an organization that runs content from partisan non-profit organizations without disclosing it to the reader. You did the usual sorry job on informing the reader and you managed to once again slap the very men and women that keep this country free enough for you to write your garbage.
If you would like to let the AP what you think of what they consider “journalism,” their phone number is 212-621-1500, and their email address is email@example.com
Image courtesy of Blackfive
‘‘Attention to all who enter here. If you are coming into this room with sorrow or to feel sorry for my wounds, go elsewhere. The wounds I received I got in a job I love, doing it for people I love, supporting the freedom of a country I deeply love. I am incredibly tough and will make a full recovery. What is full? That is the absolute utmost physically my body has the ability to recover. Then I will push that about 20 percent further through sheer mental tenacity. This room you are about to enter is a room of fun, optimism, and intense rapid regrowth. If you are not prepared for that, go elsewhere. From: The Management”
Navy SEAL Lt. Jason ‘‘Jay” Redman was wounded in Iraq in 2007, hit by multiple bullets in the face and arm. According to a February 2009 article from DCmilitary.com, Redman “endured 25 surgeries with at least 10 more expected, Redman’s treatment has included about 1,200 stitches, 200 staples, 15 skin grafts and one tracheotomy that he wore for seven months and two days.”
Redman’s jaw has been shattered, broken or re-broken three times and was wired shut for 12 weeks. He lost over 50 pounds, spent 143 hours in surgery under anesthesia in the past 15 months and spent 73 days at NNMC. This small portion of treatment only scratches the surface of the recuperation that Redman has undergone.
An update on the SEAL 3 courts-martials: the prosecution’s paper-thin case has taken several more blows recently, but the prosecution limps forward, nonetheless. From The US Report:
At a Scottsdale, Ariz. rally on Saturday, Petty Officer Matthew McCabe – the only SEAL actually accused of striking the detainee – announced that he passed an independently-administered polygraph on March 16.
Additionally, one of the two charges against fellow SEAL Jonathan Keefe has been dropped, as the investigator failed to inform Keefe of his right to remain silent. The same NCIS investigator admitted that he also failed to inform Julio Huertas – the third charged SEAL – of his right to remain silent, so his charges could be dropped as well.
And McCabe’s attorney also informed me that last week the defense’s key witnesses – four SEALs and a Navy Corpsman – were granted immunity and would testify on behalf of the accused SEALs.
All that remains now is the word of a terrorist, who is trained to fake abuse, and a Master-at-Arms Third Class who has given five conflicting statements.