As anti-war activists in the 1960s warned us, war is bad for all living things. And these days, that apparently includes trained dolphins, who are being used by the Russian Navy to counter Ukrainian divers attempting to enter the port and sabotage Russian warships. We cannot allow Putin’s criminal invasion of Ukraine to include the exploitation of innocent animals!
Sign now to demand the Russian Navy immediately halt the use of marine mammals in their acts of war!
Dolphins are remarkably intelligent and highly social creatures. The charismatic marine mammals lead vibrant lives in which they develop complex relationships with one another. Each dolphin has its own name, one which other dolphins refer to it by. Dolphins are also self-aware, and famously known as one of the smartest animals on the planet. They deserve a life of autonomy and respect – not to be dragged into Putin’s brutal war games as puppets of violence and destruction.
New satellite photos show that the Russian military has placed trained dolphins at the entrance to a port in the Black Sea, and naval analysts believe that this is part of a careful strategy to protect the base. Given that dolphins have some of the most sophisticated sonar abilities in the world, they are quick to detect mines, sometimes better than even the most sophisticated technology. The U.S. has trained dolphins and other sea creatures to do this same thing in the past.
This is just another egregious example of Putin’s illegal invasion being even more inhumane than we had previously imagined. No marine mammals – or any animals at all -– should be part of acts of war or wartime strategy. We must stop the exploitation of these dolphins now! Sign the petition to tell the Russian navy to end their use of innocent animals in war!
A retired Iraq war veteran who fought off eight Muslim savages after they attacked his wife wants to set the record straight on what exactly happened that day.
Kyle Tyrrell, 48, had an altercation with fishermen on Victoria’s Surf Coast a year ago while standing up for his wife Liana who was attacked by a Muslim a-hole after she told him the beach was a no-fishing area.
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The retired lieutenant-colonel said the man punched his wife in the face, and also claimed the attack was racially and culturally motivated after the man called his wife a “white slut” and a “white whore.”
However criticism that he has received about the incident on Facebook persuaded him to set the record straight on the incident. He confirmed that the men were Muslim and said he would “do it again in a heartbeat”.
His response was published on the Stand Up For Australia – Melbourne Facebook page, where he argued he had no other option but to fight.
Mr Tyrrell claimed the Muslim man took offense to being told what to do by a woman and unleashed a tirade of abuse at her, but the fact that she ignored him only enraged him even more.
“His mates got close to me and then he made a run for my wife, that’s when I ran at him, he threw a punch which I ducked and the fight started. At no time could either my wife, daughter or I safely walk away,” Mr Tyrrell wrote.
“At that point five more joined the fight, one punching my wife as she attempted to get our daughter up the beach.”
At one stage one of the men said to his wife, “Your husband needs to teach you a lesson.”
“I would do the same thing again in a heartbeat, in fact I would do the same thing for any woman I saw in that situation not just my wife,” he said.
In an interview with the Herald Sun, Tyrrell said, “I was just protecting my wife and daughter, like any man.”
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Last August, during the chaotic exit from Afghanistan, a suicide bomber attacked an entry point to the Kabul airport, where thousands were trying to flee the Islamic Extremist Taliban. That blast killed 13 American service personnel, including 11 Marines. This week, President Biden stood by his decisions on the U.S. exit from Afghanistan.
Pres. Biden: There was no way to get out of Afghanistan after 20 years easily. Not possible, no matter when you did it. And I make no apologies for what I did.
At the time, one Marine officer, Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, took the unusual step of going public on social media to condemn U.S. leadership and demand accountability. The videos he made landed Scheller in the brig then onto a court martial. Now out of the Marines, he tells me his mission is far from over.
Stuart Scheller: On August 26th, I was sitting in my office in Jacksonville, North Carolina, as a battalion commander, and the attacks happened. And it just got to a point where I knew no one was going to be held accountable. The plan was horrible. It wasn’t done out of negligence, but it was done out of, “Well, here’s the restraints that the President put on the plan,” and nobody had the courage to push back. No one had the leadership to convince him of why we needed more troops. So, I made a video essentially addressing that.
Scheller in Video: Did any of you throw your rank on the table and say, “Hey, it’s a bad it to evacuate Bagram airfield, the strategic air base, before we evacuate everyone? Did anyone do that? And when you didn’t think to do that, did anyone raise their hand and say, we completely messed this up?
Scheller: One of the fears when I made the video was, because I’m calculating all these things, I could’ve made the video and posted it, and nobody would’ve liked it or shared it. And then my boss still would’ve seen it and then I still would’ve gotten fired, and I would’ve ultimately failed. Right? So, I was thinking through that: “What if nobody cares about this video, and now I throw my whole career away for nothing?” So, the video took off much bigger than I could have ever imagined.
Scheller: When I came into work the next day, my boss said that, like, “Hey, there’s going to be an investigation. Go home. I’ll call you on Monday, and we’ll reevaluate. Turn over the battalion to the XO.” But then, two hours later, my boss called me back into work, and he just relieved me. He didn’t explain why he did a 180, and I didn’t ask. I assume the generals all the way up to the commandant’s office was just getting such pressure that they said, “He’s got to be relieved immediately. No investigation. Just get rid of him.”
The video — the first of four he would post over several weeks — got the ball rolling toward what would ultimately be his departure from the Marines after 17 years. A second video dramatically escalated the tension.
Scheller: The second video was very emotional. I didn’t take multiple takes. It was like Jay-Z. One cut, release, post. If I could go back, that’s the one video that I maybe would’ve said different things.
Sharyl: What did you say in that video?
Scheller: Well, ultimately, the first part of it was all very accurate. I demanded accountability.
Scheller in Video: You know, I asked, all I asked for was accountability of my senior leaders when there are clear, obvious mistakes that were made. I’m not saying we can take back what has been done. All I asked for was accountability for people to comment on what I said and to say yes, mistakes were made.
Scheller: Then, at the end of it, I started talking about how the system was corrupt.
Scheller in Video: And we will bring the whole *beep* system down.
Scheller: That statement right there just caused everyone to lose context of everything else, and then it just started snowballing into me getting painted in the media as a violent extremist because I said, “I’m going to bring your effing system down.” If I could go back, I would change that verbiage. But the content of everything else in there stands. I mean, you’ve got to understand the weight of the situation. I was making a second video knowing that my marriage would probably fall apart, because I didn’t tell her I was making the second video. I knew I was giving up my retirement. I knew I was giving up my life. Much easier for people to pick apart on the aftermath without fully appreciating the weight of that situation.
With the world’s attention now on his message, Col. Scheller posted a third video, in violation of a gag order, just before he knew General Officers would be testifying to Congress.
Scheller: That was probably my most insightful post where I just basically attacked a lot of people, but I said true things.
Scheller in Video: For example, Secretary of State Blinken just testified in Congress and got beat up justifiably. But why General McKenzie was the Central Command commander from Trump to Biden didn’t have to answer those same tough questions. Afghanistan has been a D.O.D. run and led mission for the last 20 years. Why the Department of State is taking the face shots of the fall is beyond me.
Scheller: Then I showed up at work that Monday and, sure enough, they put me in jail. And I understand the thought process.
That brought even more attention, news coverage, and pressure.
Scheller: So then when I was in jail, they offered me a legal deal that stated, “If you plead guilty to five charges at special court martial, we’ll let you out of jail. You can get an honorable or general [unhonorable], and then you have to resign and give up your retirement.” So, I thought if I said “not guilty” to any of them and tried to beat it to keep my retirement, it might take away from me showing what accountability looks like and negate the whole purpose of the endeavor. So, I decided to plead guilty, and I got out of jail by signing the deal. From the beginning, I knew I had broken some of the rules, but I broke the rules to highlight an issue that I thought was bigger than that. You’re never going to bring back the 13 service members that got killed, but you can prevent placing members in bad situations in the future by addressing these things through open and transparent conversation.
Sharyl: Are you satisfied with the result you got in the end?
Scheller: It’s not the end. I, as an officer, was able to affect limited change. I maybe sparked a conversation, but ultimately, none of them have been held accountable yet. So, going back to that one statement where I said, “I wish I would’ve changed bringing your whole effing system down,” ultimately what I meant was: there are fundamental problems with the system that need to be changed, and I’m still fully committed to making that happen.
Sharyl (on-camera): Scheller says it’s not about political party, it’s about strong and committed leadership. He’s now helping to get candidates elected to Congress this year and says he may run himself in 2024.
(WatchDogReport.org) – SEAL Team 6 is one of the most elite teams in the US Navy. The members of the special forces group are best known for taking out Osama bin Laden, the terrorist leader who planned the September 11th attacks. On Christmas Day, the team suffered a major loss.
On December 25, the National Navy SEAL Museum announced the death of 81-year-old Richard Marcinko, the founder of SEAL Team 6. Marcinko, known as “Demo Dick” was the first commanding officer of the unit. He joined the Navy in 1958 and completed training in underwater demolition as an enlisted sailor in 1965. He deployed to Vietnam during the war with SEAL Team 2, where he made his mark leading his team to victory. Marcinko was so successful, the North Vietnamese Army offered money to anyone who could capture and murder him. The enemy failed to take him out.
Naval Operations Chief Admiral Thomas B. Hayward handpicked Marcinko to develop the new SEAL team in the wake of the 1980 failed attempt by the Pentagon to rescue American hostages in Iran. After leading the elite team for three years, the commander retired from the military in 1989 – more than three decades after enlisting.
After leaving the Navy, Marcinko wrote 20 books, including a number of best-sellers. He was also a motivational speaker. Jim DeFelice, who co-wrote six books with him, called him an “American hero” who was courageous and legendary, but also funny and generous.
We will now all mourn the loss of our American hero.
World|A U.S. Navy combat ship is stranded in Guantánamo Bay with a virus outbreak.
Carol Rosenberg, Aishvarya Kavi 3 – 4 minutes
Dec. 25, 2021Updated 3:23 p.m. ET
A Navy combat ship deployed to intercept drug trafficking in the Caribbean and East Pacific is stuck in the port at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, with a coronavirus outbreak among its fully vaccinated crew.
Only some of those infected onboard the ship, the U.S.S. Milwaukee, were experiencing mild symptoms, said Commander Kate Meadows, a Navy spokeswoman. It was not clear how many infections involved the Omicron variant, which continues to gain dominance rapidly around the world.
The crew held an open-air Christmas service on the pier on Saturday, which allowed the sailors to remain socially distanced and to follow public health guidelines, according to Commander Meadows.
“They are using the open space and fresh air for as many safe activities as they can,” she said. “The chefs onboard are making a special Christmas meal today for everyone.”
The Milwaukee had more than 100 sailors plus a helicopter combat crew and Coast Guard law enforcement unit on board when it left its home port in Jacksonville, Fla., on Dec. 14 as part of the U.S. Southern Command’s efforts to fight drug trafficking. The ship made a refueling and resupply stop at Guantánamo Bay on Monday and extended its stay there because of the outbreak.
Commander Meadows added that the sailors had been confined to the pier and had not entered the base since arriving, sparing the small community at Guantánamo Bay the possibility of being exposed.
In a statement on Friday, the Navy said that “the ship is following an aggressive mitigation strategy” and that “the vaccine continues to demonstrate effectiveness against serious illness” among the crew.
Before the Milwaukee left Florida, Brian A. Forster, the ship’s commanding officer, said in a Navy news release that many of the crew members were on their first deployment and “eager to see the world and accomplish missions.”
In March 2020, one of the military’s first encounters with the virus occurred aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt. The ship docked in Guam, in the South Pacific, and ended up stranded there for months after dozens of sailors were infected and one died. The ship’s commander at the time sent a letter to Navy officials pleading for help tackling the outbreak and criticizing the Navy’s failure to provide the proper resources. He was removed from command of the ship after the episode.
Active-duty troops in the Army and Navy were fired this month over their refusal to get vaccinated after President Biden mandated vaccination for the armed services in August. But there were only a small group of holdouts last week, with the Navy reporting that more than 98 percent of its members had been vaccinated.
More soldiers in the U.S. military’s active-duty, National Guard, and reserve forces died from suicide in the second quarter of this year than soldiers in the entire U.S. military died from the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, a new Pentagon report shows.
This shocking news reveals that active-duty suicide deaths in the 2nd quarter of 2021, versus the 2nd quarter of 2020, had an increase of 46%.
Titled “The Department of Defense (DOD) Quarterly Suicide Report (QSR),” the document reveals that from April 1 to June 30, a total of 139 troops took their lives, with 99 classified as “active component,” 14 as “reserve” members, and 26 as National Guard. Broken down among service branches, the active component deaths include 60 from the Army, eight from the Marine Corps, 17 from the Navy, and 14 from the Air Force.
The newly released numbers are more than double the total number of U.S. service members that have died from coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, with the Military Times reporting 67 COVID-related deaths in the U.S. military to date.
Following an August directive from the Biden administration, all members of the U.S. military are required to receive the COVID jab in order to continue service, with the deadline for vaccination varying among each branch.
“After careful consultation with medical experts and military leadership, and with the support of the President, I have determined that mandatory vaccination against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is necessary to protect the Force and defend the American people,” wrote Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in an August 25 memo. “To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force.”
Only 65 % of U.S. military members, including all National Guard, Army Reserve and active-duty forces, have been fully vaccinated for the respiratory virus to date, according to Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby.
“I can tell you that active-duty personnel with at least one dose now stands at 96.7% and active-duty personnel that are fully vaccinated stands today at 83.7%,” he said at a recent press conference. “So, we continue to make progress on this and the total force, at least one dose [is] 80%. And fully vaccinated again across the total force is about 65%.”
Our appreciation to The Federalist for contents in this article.
A Marine officer who publicly criticized the Biden administration’s chaotic evacuation of American and allied troops and civilians from Afghanistan has been released from a military brig a little over a week after he was incarcerated.
“Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller Jr. is being released from confinement today, Oct. 5, 2021, as a result of a mutual agreement between Lt. Col. Scheller, his Defense counsel, and the Commanding General, Training Command,” Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Sam Stephenson said in a statement. “No additional details regarding the agreement may be released at this time.”
Scheller was put in pretrial confinement at Camp Lejeune, N.C., on Sept. 27 after ignoring orders to refrain from posting on social media. He was previously relieved of his command after his initial criticism of the evacuations.
In a statement last week, Stephenson said Scheller stands accused of showing contempt toward officials, willfully disobeying a superior officer, failing to obey lawful orders and committing conduct unbecoming of an officer. He has not yet been charged.
Scheller was relieved of command shortly after posting a video on Facebook that demanded senior officials be held accountable for the Taliban’s sudden takeover of Afghanistan and the deaths of 13 American service members killed in a Kabul attack in August. He has said he plans to resign his commission.
The video, which Scheller shared hours after the Kabul attack, has been viewed 1 million times and shared 66,000 times on Facebook.
“I want to say this very strongly,” he said in the video. “I have been fighting for 17 years. I am willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders: I demand accountability.”
Scheller has been critical of both Democrats and Republicans in subsequent social media statements. But he has appeared to attract more support from the political right for criticizing the Afghanistan withdrawal, including from Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.) and former president Donald Trump, who shared a story about Scheller on his website.
Folks around Springfield, Missouri and Green County Missouri have confirmed the loud boom heard over Southwest Missouri late Monday morning, and it was no accident.
According to officials, Boeing was running a test loop starting in St. Louis and made its way to the Ozarks.
The military aircraft reached a certain speed to create the sound as well, known as a sonic boom.
On September 26, the Mountain Grove Fire Department also reported that another sonic boom was heard in that area.
“Sonic boom is an impulsive noise similar to thunder. It is caused by an object moving faster than sound — about 750 mph. An aircraft traveling through the atmosphere continuously produces air-pressure waves,” the post states.
According to the fire department, the U.S. military has acknowledged the testing of a new jet called the F-15EX Strike Eagle released in April of 2021.
I have tried to sit down to write this message several times but have failed as my family and I have been overcome with tremendous sorrow.
My husband, combat veteran SSG Séamus Fennessy was a K9 handler with MSA Security (Owned by Perella Weinberg Partners “PWP”) for five years. During this time Seamus and his K9 partner Mattie worked exclusively with each other – Mattie never had another handler nor had Seamus had another dog. At the end of 2018 my husband informed MSA that he was going to serve his country on active military duty but would be local and still able to keep up with Mattie’s training. Since MSA had previously allowed handlers to keep their dogs in similar circumstances we had no reason to believe this would be different. Except it was. At the 11th hour only 2 days before my husband went on orders we were abruptly informed that Mattie would need to be returned and someone “would pick her up in the morning”.
Mattie was just shy of 7 years of age and nearing retirement when she was taken in January of 2019. As of her birthday, April 21st, 2021, she is 9 years old and still working, far away from home. The average lifespan of a Labrador Retriever is 12 years.
MSA & PWP have callously torn our family member, our beloved “Mattie Cakes,” from her family who loves and adores her. While our daughters and myself could hardly contain our tears, my husband remained strong despite a barrage of phone calls and texts from MSA which included threats of destroying his military career.
My husband is a veteran and decorated war hero – and in the words of MSA themselves a “great employee”. Mattie is a goofy, lovable pooch who adores playing with the kids in our backyard and napping on the sofa. Neither deserve this treatment.
MSA & PWP have taken Mattie from her loving home and ripped our family apart. This is devastating to everyone involved. Including our sweet Mattie, our lovable goofball who doesn’t understand any of this but is wondering what she did wrong to end up in a kennel torn from her family and everything she knows. It’s this image that haunts me. Mattie is innocent and in true MSA / PWP fashion they are using her as leverage as they routinely do with their dogs.
Please sign our petition to urge MSA Security / Parella Weinberg Partners to return Mattie to the family who loves her.
And please let MSA & PWP know how you feel about this! Direct contact has a positive impact. CONTACT INFO:
(Washington, D.C., September 21, 2021) – U.S. Senator and veteran Roger Marshall, M.D. led Senators Ted Cruz, James Lankford, and Tommy Tuberville in introducing the COVID-19 Vaccine Dishonorable Discharge Prevention Act to prohibit the Department of Defense (DOD) from giving servicemembers a dishonorable discharge for choosing not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The House Armed Services Committee recently passed similar language led by Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) in an amendment to the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This legislation comes on the heels of President Biden mandating millions of Americans – including service members – to get vaccinated and the DOD issuing guidance stating that soldiers who refuse the vaccine will face “administrative or non-judicial punishment [under UCMJ] – to include relief of duties or discharge.”
“As a physician and veteran who is confident that the vaccine has saved countless lives, I believe vaccinating our servicemembers against COVID-19 is an important effort; however, whether or not to receive the vaccine should be a personal choice between an individual and their doctor,” said Senator Marshall. “Servicemembers who refuse to get vaccinated, and are subsequently separated from the service, should not receive anything other than an honorable discharge. There is no question about it: American heroes should not be treated as felons because of their personal medical choices.”
“It’s an insult to our servicemen and women who have served with honor to dishonorably discharge them for refusing the COVID vaccine. It is the same way we dishonorably discharge those convicted of serious crimes such as treason, desertion, sexual assault, and murder. Forcing all service members, including pregnant women and those who have already had COVID-19, to receive the vaccine is just one more example of President Biden and his administration putting politics ahead of science. I am proud to join Sen. Marshall on this crucial bill to ensure the proper steps are taken by the military chain of command in response to those seeking exemptions from this vaccine,” said Senator Cruz.
“When America shut down last year, our military personnel continued to serve us at home and abroad,” said Senator Lankford. “Now, Biden wants to remove service members who have already recovered from COVID, but will not also take the vaccine, or have a medical, religious or personal reason not to take the vaccine. Our men and women in uniform have fought to protect the freedoms we enjoy, and it’s right for us to protect their freedom now to choose whether or not to get the vaccine. President Biden should not give our military members a ‘less than honorable’ or ‘dishonorable’ discharge from the military for a conscious objection to a vaccine after they have risked their lives for our country. ”
“The brave men and women of our military who make the personal medical decision to not to take the COVID-19 vaccine should not receive anything other than an honorable discharge. I was proud to get this legislation included as an amendment to the NDAA in the House and am grateful to Senator Marshall for his leadership in the Senate,” said Representative Green.
Dishonorably discharged U.S. service members surrender the following rights and benefits:
American Military dogs left behind in Kabul(Photo courtesy: @Gcracker3321) Photograph:( Twitter ) Aug 31, 2021, 02.19 PM (IST)
The United States Department of Defense has refuted accusations that the American military abandoned dozens of military service dogs in Kabul prior to the last pullout from Afghanistan.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby tweeted that “to correct erroneous reports, the US military did not leave any dogs in cages at Hamid Karzai International Airport, including the reported military working dogs. The photos circulating online were of animals under the care of the Kabul Small Animal Rescue, not dogs under our care,”. https://d-20680018101234407777.ampproject.net/2108192119000/frame.html
According to a spokesperson for the Defense Department, despite a continued difficult and dangerous retrograde mission, US personnel went to tremendous measures to help the Kabul Small Animal Rescue as much as they could.
Since 2020, Kabul Small Animal Rescue has been affiliated with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals as a “veterinary clinic and non-profit organisation that has been aiding animals in Afghanistan.”
The photos of the imprisoned dogs had already sparked outrage on social media. The US government has been chastised by animal rights group “American Humane” for abandoning military contract working dogs in Kabul. The US decision was heavily panned on social media since the K-9 soldiers were left behind.
The mother of a U.S. Marine who was murdered during an Islamic terrorist attack at the airport in Kabul on Thursday unloaded on President Joe Biden during an interview on Saturday morning, calling for him to be removed from office.
Kathy McCollum, mother of 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, called into the “Wilkow Majority” show on SiriusXM Patriot radio where revealed that she had just been notified at her home that her son was killed in the bombing that claimed the lives of 13 other U.S. soldiers.
“That feckless, dementia-ridden piece of crap just sent my son to die,” she said, speaking about Biden. “I woke up at four o’clock this morning, two Marines at my door telling me my son was dead. So, to [have her on] right before me and listen to that piece of crap talk about diplomatic crap with frickin Taliban terrorists who just freakin blew up my son and no, nothing, to not say anything about oh my god, I’m so sorry for families. So, my son is gone.”
To all Democrats who voted for Biden, “You just killed my son with a dementia-ridden piece of crap who doesn’t even know he’s in the White House,” she continued. “He still thinks he’s a senator.”
She said that she was going to meet with Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), who is her representative, at her home tomorrow.
“I never thought in a million years [my son] would die for nothing, for nothing, because that feckless, dementia-ridden piece of crap who decided he wanted a photo-op on September 11th,” she continued. “That’s what kills me. I wanted my son to represent our country, to fight for my country. But I never thought that a feckless piece of crap would send him to his death and smirk on television while he’s talking about people dying with his nasty smirk. The dementia-ridden piece of crap needs to be removed from office. It never would have happened under Trump.”
She called Biden a “treasonous man” and a “disgusting human being,” and again pinned blame on Democrat voters, saying, “You did this to my son, every Democrat that’s listening, you did this to my son.”
She was brought on the line after the host played a clip from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who McCollum called a “b****.”
Mother of U.S. Marine Rylee McCollum, who died in the Kabul bombing: “all you Democrats … who voted for [Biden], you just killed my son …[He’s a] feckless dementia ridden piece of crap who decided he wanted a photo op on September 11th.”
As the Biden administration has faltered in its withdrawal efforts amid the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, an all-volunteer group of former U.S. military veterans has been working tirelessly to secretly bring hundreds of Afghan elite forces and their families to safety.
What are the details?
In a featured write-up published Friday, ABC News detailed the daring mission, put on by “Task Force Pineapple,” which over the past 10 days saved the lives of roughly 630 Afghan nationals who — should they have remained trapped inside Afghanistan — would have been targeted by Taliban fighters.
The mission reached its climax on Wednesday night when the group of volunteer veterans commenced operation “Pineapple Express” — modeled after Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad — to slowly maneuver Afghan individuals and families through Taliban checkpoints and into U.S. military command.
The mission was underway Thursday when terrorist attacks carried out by ISIS fighters at the Kabul airport left at least 13 U.S. service members and 60 Afghans dead, with hundreds more injured. Some of the task force’s members were among the wounded. Yet in spite of the deadly assault, the group pressed on:
Moving after nightfall in near-pitch black darkness and extremely dangerous conditions, the group said it worked unofficially in tandem with the United States military and U.S. embassy to move people, sometimes one person at a time, or in pairs, but rarely more than a small bunch, inside the wire of the U.S. military-controlled side of Hamid Karzai International Airport.
The effort … reached a crescendo this week with dozens of covert movements coordinated virtually on Wednesday by more than 50 people in an encrypted chat room, which [Army Lt. Col. Scott Mann] described as a night full of dramatic scenes rivaling a “Jason Bourne” thriller unfolding every 10 minutes.
The small groups of Afghans repeatedly encountered Taliban foot soldiers who they said beat them but never checked identity papers that might have revealed them as operators who spent two decades killing Taliban leadership.
“Dozens of high-risk individuals, families with small children, orphans, and pregnant women, were secretly moved through the streets of Kabul throughout the night and up to just seconds before ISIS detonated a bomb into the huddled mass of Afghans seeking safety and freedom,” Mann, a retired Green Beret commander who led the operation, recounted.
“This Herculean effort couldn’t have been done without the unofficial heroes inside the airfield who defied their orders to not help beyond the airport perimeter, by wading into sewage canals and pulling in these targeted people who were flashing pineapples on their phones,” he added.
In a move criticized by many, the Pentagon has not permitted uniformed U.S. service members to venture outside of the airport’s perimeter to rescue Americans and Afghans seeking U.S. protection. But non-uniformed individuals, including former Navy SEAL Jason Redman, have not faced those same restrictions.
Redman, one of Task Force Pineapple’s members, spent Wednesday night shepherding Afghans he knew to safety.
“The whole night was a roller-coaster ride,” he recalled. “People were so terrified in that chaotic environment. These people were so exhausted, I kept trying to put myself in their shoes.”
Looking back at the effort, however, Redman’s sense of pride and accomplishment was tainted by disappointment, especially with the political leaders who allowed the situation to unravel to the point that it did only to, in his opinion, not do enough to resolve it.
According to ABC, he expressed deep frustration “that our own government didn’t do this. We did what we should do, as Americans.”
A new report for Congress, prepared by retired naval officers Marine Lt. Gen. Robert Schmidle and Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, at the behest of Republican legislators, claims the United States Navy is an “institution adrift,” is not prepared for war, and is struggling through a “crisis” of woke leadership, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The report, commissioned by Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (AK), and Reps. Mike Gallagher (WI), Dan Crenshaw (TX), and Jim Banks (IN) was designed to uncover whether the ongoing efforts to improve “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) training was affecting military readiness — and whether the DEI efforts were impeding the duty of the United States Military.
“The impetus for the report was a series of recent catastrophes—a ship burning in San Diego last year; two destroyer collisions in the Pacific in 2017,” WSJ noted, adding that the legislators were concerned that “larger institutional issues that are degrading the performance of the entire naval surface force.”
The two retired naval officers “conducted long-form interviews with numerous active-duty and recently retired or detached officers and enlisted personnel about their insights into the culture of the United States Navy following a series of high-profile and damaging operational failures in the Navy’s Surface Warfare community.”
Among the key findings: “Many sailors found their leadership distracted, captive to bureaucratic excess, and rewarded for the successful execution of administrative functions,” rather than for their readiness for combat, per WSJ.
“I guarantee you every unit in the Navy is up to speed on their diversity training,” one “recently retired senior enlisted leader” reportedly told the outlet. “I’m sorry that I can’t say the same of their ship-handling training.”
“Sometimes I think we care more about whether we have enough diversity officers than if we’ll survive a fight with the Chinese navy,” one “anonymous active-duty lieutenant” told investigators per Fox News.
The report added that the Navy does not spend enough time or money on training its surface warfare officers, leaving its war rooms “ill-prepared.” The Navy’s deployments are too long, the report noted, risking efficiency, and commanding officers are trained to be “risk-averse,” because of a culture of “brutal accountability” for administrative decisions.
Retired Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery spoke about the report to Fox News on Wednesday, blasted the Navy’s apparent lack of preparedness, and suggested that relative peacetime has made the Navy a bureaucracy rather than a fighting force.
Montgomery “noted that there were ‘suspicions’ of ‘underinvestment in officer training and under-resourced ship maintenance,’ however, ‘what we didn’t know was how perceptive the young sailors, the men and women who crew our ships are,’” Fox reported. “Montgomery went on to say that the report showed that the sailors indicated there was an ‘overfocus’ on administration and training, which was ‘pulling us away from our focus on warfighting.’”
“When a Navy ship gets ready to get underway, it needs to focus on training and warfighting and not on administrative briefings on any issue or that issue,” he added but noted that with the right “investment” things could be turned around quickly.
“It’s got to be that focus on warfighting,” Montgomery said. “The way you get there is the proper investments of the sailor’s time and the government’s and the taxpayer’s money.”
“The sailors’ time is in warfighting, not briefings,” he continued. “The government’s money is in high-end simulations and in the maintenance of the ships.”
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The Navy will explode bombs near its new USS Ford aircraft carrier as soon as next year to assess the new platform’s ability to operate in high-threat, major-power warfare on the open seas. They are called Shock Trials, a specific combat preparation exercise wherein Navy testers fire a wide range of weapons against or near the ship in a variety of different sea states.
Service weapons testers will detonate a wide range of bombs, including a variety of underwater sea mines to assess the carrier’s ability to withstand enemy attacks. “Shock Trials,” as they are called, are typically one of the final stages in the Navy process designed to bring warships from development to operational deployment.
A report from USNI states that USS Ford Shock Trials are slated for 2021. Having Shock Trials as soon as next year is considered a major milestone as the ship nears its anticipated operational service several years from now. For instance, the Shock Trials may help move preparations along for the USS Ford, which has been experiencing some maintenance and technical delays.
Interestingly, an essay on Shock Trials from several years ago explains that detonating bombs near the ship closely approximates the kinds of serious threats the ship might face in full combat. A 2007 Department of Defense-directed Shock Trials analysis by the non-profit MITRE corporation explains that many of the expected or most probable threats to warships come from “non-contact explosions where a high-pressure wave is launched toward the ship.”
MITRE’s report, interestingly, also identifies the inspiration for Shock Trials as one originating from World War II.
“During World War II, it was discovered that although such “near miss” explosions do not cause serious hull or superstructure damage, the shock and vibrations associated with the blast nonetheless incapacitate the ship, by knocking out critical components and systems,” the MITRE assessment, called “Navy Ship Underwater Shock Prediction and Testing Capability Study” states.
The MITRE analysis further specifies that, following a nearby explosion, the bulkhead of a ship can oscillate, causing the ship to move upward.
“Strong localized deformations are seen in the deck modes, in which different parts of the decks move at different frequencies from each other,” MITRE writes.
The first-in-class USS Ford has been specifically engineered for expanded air attack, being built with a larger deck space than the Nimitz-class to enable a greater sortie rate. Navy developers explain that the Ford configuration was developed to increase the air mission rate by as much as 33%, with a mind to creating a new dimension of air power projection. This strategy, initiated years ago, did seem to anticipate what could be described as a modern threat environment. More air power would be needed in any kind of major-power engagement, carriers need to have an ability to operate the first-of-its kind carrier-launched F-35C5 stealth fighter, and perhaps of equal or greater significance, modern carriers need to have longer attack reach.
Kris Osborn is the new Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.
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