2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Some random thoughts....

On popularity...

According to my counter on the right hand column, this blog has been visited by over 43,000 visitors since the counter went live back in 2008. Not bad for a hobby I guess, it seems I generate somewhere between 30 to 150 hits a day and sometimes more depending if somebody links me. Cool. Blogger now has a new tool available in "Blogger in Draft" called "stats" it shows some interesting stuff like this little chart that shows the most popular posts that people have hit since it started tracking data back in May...

..people love that PT845...

On the black Army beret...

I was just mobilized back in 2001 when we first got issued our black berets per (then) GEN Shinseki's "everyone is special" program and had to wear them. Once a symbol of being an member of an elite unit in the Army (Airborne, Ranger or Special Forces) now all members got to wear them. Needless to say, hilarity ensued as troops that had never worn berets lead by leaders who had never worn then just slapped them on and went about their duties with a fuzzy bonnet upon their heads. I had at least an idea of what to do with mine (soak in hot water, shape to head, shave, repeat) to get it to a more felt like material and could manage to make it work for me. Many troops almost a decade later still fail to get it close to right. In my opinion, the berets are a useless piece of crap anyway, they do not provide any degree of protection in either hot or cold environments, do not shield a wearer's eyes from the sun and are difficult to maintain correctly. The Army realizes this and the only place you can wear them is in a stateside garrison environment, troops in Iraq or "the 'Stan" wear patrol caps or boonie caps instead. Yeah, they beret may look cool if worn correctly, but as I have pointed out not everyone can wear them right.

I much prefer the style of beret worn by European armies such as Great Britain and France. It is much simpler to wear (no stiffener and flash to worry about centering, no "touch the ear crap") and to me just looks better. Here the European style is shown being worn by a Canadian Soldier who was KIA in Afghanistan March 28, 2010. RIP Pte. Costall, for what its worth you rocked that beret solidly and I salute you for your service and ultimate sacrifice in our combined cause.

The movie Aliens and the colonial marines....

Watched this movie on Netflix the other night for the umpteenth time in my life, it is amazing how well this move has stood up against time, 25 years later the technology and feel of the picture is holding up well even with modern CGI and technology to compare it against. Most of the computers they show are old monochrome displays as were most computers back in the mid 1980's when this movie was made, but the look is still believable today and the story keeps your mind focused on it and not the details like monochrome displays. What I especially like in the movie is the depiction and use of Colonial Marines. Yes, some of their actions and bravado are way over the top, but it is a Hollywood movie for crying out loud. That overly macho crap is how the industry makes you believe that they are "real" soldiers and does not really reflect on how most military personnel conduct themselves. Its funny how some of the stuff portrayed in the film as it pertains to the military has actually come more or less to fruition in real life...

  • Women are more integrated today than they were when the film was made. Female combat pilots (like the one portrayed in the film) are almost commonplace these days. And while women have not be fully allowed to take positions in "combat specialties" in the Army, their contributions and valor in the War on Terror are too numerous to mention here.
  • In the film the officer monitors and tracks his troops remotely via camera, tracking devices and health monitors. This is much in the same way that our Blue force tracker systems work overseas and the integration of other systems with the individual soldier to give maximum transfer of real time information across the spectrum of resources available.
  • The Marines have a robot, Bishop, that is used in the film. Thousands of robots and drones are used daily in Iraq and Afghanistan to eliminate bombs and recon the battlefield.
  • Each Marine is shown wearing body armor. I got into the military back in the 80's and although flak jackets existed, nobody wore them for all practical purposes. Today, everyone wears them.

Other interesting points from the film...

  • The fictional M41A1 pulse rifle in the film are actually modified Thompson SMG's with Remington 870 barrels and Franchi SPAS-12 fore end.
  • The use of drop ships in lieu of airborne drops.
  • The Marines have a medic with them, something a lot of movies fail to include that are not primarily war style flicks.
  • The fictional Weyland-Yutani Corporations influence on the actions of the military closely resemble some of the interaction of modern companies like Halliburton and its former subsidiary, KBR with our contingency forces overseas.

If you haven't seen Aliens in a while, give it another go. While you are at it, check out Predator as well, another fine action film that plays as well now as it did a quarter century ago.

2 comments:

Josh said...

Ahhh, the black beret. I was in the 82nd back in 2001 when the "everybody is special" program went into effect. I agree, it was comical to see legs everywhere looking like they just stepped off the short bus in their new headgear. As I recall, somebody showed us one of those issued berets, and they were junk anyway. Weren't quite made the same way as the ones we wore, which certainly added to the problem.

Huey148 said...

agreed, the berets they issued were crap and to make matters worse they bled like a mofo after getting wet, the first time it rained. Guys would walk around with a black band around their head where the band of the beret was....I guess I'm old fashioned I still prefer to roll my own...patrol cap that is..