Hand to Hand...

...now this is the spirit, ladies and gentlemen... you may have to register to read the whole article... but, it's worth it... the photo with the bloodstained knife is indeed worth a thousand words... to all of the fighting men and women of our country... and, the coalition... thank you...

Salvadoran soldiers praised for Iraq role

By Denis D. Gray

NAJAF, Iraq — One of his friends was dead, 12 others lay wounded and the four soldiers still left standing were surrounded and out of ammunition. So Salvadoran Cpl. Samuel Toloza said a prayer, whipped out his knife and charged the Iraqi gunmen.

In one of the only known instances of hand-to-hand combat in the Iraq conflict, Cpl. Toloza stabbed several attackers swarming around a comrade. The stunned assailants backed away momentarily, just as a relief column came to the unit's rescue.

"We never considered surrender. I was trained to fight until the end," said the 25-year-old corporal, one of 380 soldiers from El Salvador whose heroism is being cited just as other members of the multinational force in Iraq are facing criticism.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said recently that the Central American unit has "gained a fantastic reputation among the coalition" and expressed hope that the Salvadorans will stay beyond their scheduled departure.

Phil Kosnett, who leads the Coalition Provisional Authority office in this holy Shi'ite city, says he owes his life to Salvadorans who repelled a well-executed insurgent attack on his three-car convoy in March. He has nominated six of them for the U.S. Army's Bronze Star medal.

"You hear this snotty phrase 'coalition of the billing' for some of the smaller contingents," said Mr. Kosnett, referring to the apparent eagerness of some nations to charge their Iraq operations to Washington. "The El Sals? No way. These guys are punching way above their weight. They're probably the bravest and most professional troops I've every worked with."

The Salvadorans are eager to stress their role as peacekeepers rather than warriors, perhaps with an eye toward public opinion back home. Masked protesters last week seized the cathedral in the capital, San Salvador, demanding that President-elect Tony Saca pull the troops out of Iraq.

Mr. Saca, who takes office June 1, has said that he will leave the unit in Iraq until August as had been planned, despite the early departure of Spanish troops, under whom the Salvadorans were serving. The other three Central American contingents — from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras — have returned home or are scheduled to do so soon.

"We didn't come here to fire a single shot. Our rifles were just part of our equipment and uniforms. But we were prepared to repel an attack," said Col. Hugo Omar Orellana Calidonio, a 27-year-old who commands the Cuscatlan Battalion.

The troops, El Salvador's first peacekeepers abroad, have conducted a range of humanitarian missions in Najaf. They have provided books, electricity, playground equipment and other supplies to destitute schools and have helped farmers with irrigation works and fertilizer supplies.

"Our country came out of a similar situation as in Iraq 12 years ago, so people in El Salvador can understand what is happening here," said Col. Calidonio, referring to the civil war between the U.S.-backed government and leftist guerrillas that left about 75,000 dead. The military was held responsible for widespread abuses.

"We came here to help and we were helping. Our relationship with the people was excellent. They were happy with what we were doing," Col. Calidonio said.

Then came April 4, when armed followers of Sheik Muqtada al-Sadr, a radical Shi'ite cleric, seized virtual control of the city and staged attacks on two camps — Baker and Golf — near bases on the fringes of Najaf occupied by the Salvadoran and Spanish units.

When Cpl. Toloza and 16 other soldiers arrived that morning at a low-walled compound of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, about a mile from their camp, they found that its 350 occupants had melted away. They also found themselves trapped by Sheik al-Sadr's Mahdi Army.

Lt. Col. Francisco Flores, the battalion's operations officer, said the surrounded soldiers held their fire for nearly a half-hour, fearful of inflicting civilian casualties, even as 10 of their number were wounded by rocket-propelled grenades and bullets from assault rifles and machine guns.

After several hours of combat, the besieged unit ran out of ammunition, having come with only 300 rounds for each of their M-16 rifles. Pvt. Natividad Mendez, Cpl. Toloza's friend for three years, lay dead, shot twice probably by a sniper. Two more were wounded as the close-quarters fighting intensified.

"I thought, 'This is the end.' But, at the same time, I asked the Lord to protect and save me," Cpl. Toloza recalled.

The wounded were placed on a truck while Cpl. Toloza and the three other soldiers moved on the ground, trying to make their way back to the base. They were soon confronted with Sheik al-Sadr's fighters, about 10 of whom tried to seize one of the soldiers.

"My immediate reaction was that I had to defend my friend, and the only thing I had in my hands was a knife," Cpl. Toloza said.

As reinforcements arrived to save Cpl. Toloza's unit, the two camps were under attack, with the Salvadorans and a small U.S. contingent of soldiers and civilian security personnel trying to protect the perimeter and retake an adjoining seven-story hospital captured by the insurgents.

The Spaniards didn't fight and only after a long delay agreed to send armored vehicles to help evacuate the wounded. Col. Flores said he cannot question the Spanish decisions that day, but added that the Spaniards "could have helped us sooner."

U.S. troops have replaced the Spaniards. Salvadoran officers, many of whom were trained at military schools in the United States, say they're pleased to be working with the Americans.

Anzac Day...

...one of my old Marine Corps buddies is coming down to visit in June... he and I were good friends when we were stationed in Alaska... but, when I PCS'd out to Scotland... he was sent to MCB Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii two weeks later.. to serve with 1st Radio Battalion...

...well, we have kept in touch over the years... and, I go up to visit him in Anchorage every other year or so... and, on our down years, he and his Wife come to visit Tennessee... this year, it's his turn.. they will be here shortly.. anyway, back to the story...

...he had not been at 1st Radio very long when he was deployed (I think with 11 MEU(SOC)) to Somalia... he, and a team of about 8 Comms/Elint/EW Marines set up a communications and collection point in Building One in Mogadishu....

...they did their jobs for a few months... and, when the time came, the Marines were pulled out of Mogadishu to be replaced with the US Army... well, once the Army took control of intel collection, NSA started complaining... they seemed to like the Jarhead Intel weenies better... so, that small team of 8 guys was sent back to Building One... leaving the US Army still in charge of security... in effect, stranding a tiny cadre of Marines in a sea of Soldiers...

...this cycle continued... the US Army was relieved of security for Building One, and replaced by the Australians... meanwhile, those intrepid 8 Jarheads remained in the upper floors of Building One.. continuing to do their jobs... collecting, and reporting back to NSA... I must say, those 8 guys did one helluva job... not only did they demonstrate the quality of USMC ELINT and Comms, they also had the opportunity to work closely with many of the UN Members' Armed Forces.. most notably, the Australians, the Turks, and the French Foreign Legion... all of whom provided security for Building One at various times...

...how the hell does all of this tie in to Anzac Day?... well, as History is often full of strange coincidences... my Buddy once told me a story that typical of most Military Operations....

...it seemed that the Australians had taken a shine to the 8 US Marines... they all got along great... and, as Anzac Day approached, the Marines began hearing stories of the incredible party being planned to celebrate the holiday... and, as an added surprise, there were going to be "Special Visitors" at the Anzac Day party this year...

...when the night arrived, and the ceremonies had been completed... of course, the beer began to flow... and then, the "Special Visitors" were announced... this being a UN Operation, it was announced that the Turks were going to be relieving the Aussies... on Anzac Day... so, in walk the Turks... who, as fellow soldiers, were welcomed with cheers... and, beer... to the Anzac Party... it must have been a surreal situation... but, in a way, a fitting one.... Australians and Turks... celebrating together... what was a victory for the Turks, and a bloodbath for the Aussies... yet, now... fighting for the same goals in Somalia... incredible... but, fighting men, regardless of their country of origin, are part of a brotherhood... mutual admiration, fear, and respect for the job...

...I wasn't there.. and, I am telling this story second hand... so, some of the details may be slightly askew... but, the story is true... so, Happy Anzac Day, everyone.... the sacrifice those brave troops made at Gallipoli should never be forgotten... the sacrifice of today's fighting men and women.. also... should not be forgotten... we owe them all a lot more than we could ever pay...

About Damn Time..

.... I think this is a good idea... and long overdue...

"San Diego Union-Tribune ( MAR. 22)
Defying more than two centuries of history and tradition, a move is gaining momentum to change the title of the secretary of the Navy to recognize his role as manager of two distinct armed services. A bill to change the title to "secretary of the Navy and the Marine Corps" received ringing endorsements at a House Armed Services Committee hearing yesterday. Both witnesses and committee members said the change would be a symbolic but important shift reflecting the reality that the Marines are much more than the "sea soldiers" they were in the 18th century. "The whole issue is that the Marine Corps has been designated by past congresses as the fourth armed service," said the bill's author, Rep. Walter Jones, R N.C. "It is not part of the Navy."

The Price of Service..

... all work... and no play.. make Cypriot women DULL GIRLS... hey, I can see her point... and, as usual, we here at Straight White Guy are, of course, overcome with sympathy......although, from my experience in the Service... a poor sex life was due to the fact we were 500 miles away from the nearest hot chicks...

The Marines are landing...

... just in case you are interested... some Marines view deployment as an opportunity to finally do their job.... Good luck, gentlemen... Semper Fi..

Marines Taking Over For Army In Iraq
By Scott Schonauer
Stars and Stripes
European Edition
February 27, 2004

AL-ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq — Once they crossed the Kuwaiti border into Iraq, the Marine helicopters flew so low over the desert that their wake ruffled tents and scared livestock.

A goat herder saw the dual- rotor CH-46s approach from the south and gave a long, slow wave.

The gesture surprised the pilots and crew, who braced for bullets instead of a friendly welcome.

"That was relieving, to see that," said 1st Lt. Eric Sandberg, a pilot with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261. "We're flying over people at 50 feet above their house and they're waving. That was pretty cool."

Not everyone in Iraq is going to be that accepting, and Marine pilots know it.

About 25,000 Marines are streaming into western Iraq to take over security and rebuilding duties from the Army. Members of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 and Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 167 are the first Marine aviation units to arrive at Al-Asad Air Base.

The sprawling former Iraqi air force base — about 110 miles west of Baghdad — is home to the Army's 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, but will soon be the nerve center for the 3rd Marine Air Wing.

While some Marines rotating into Iraq helped topple Saddam Hussein's regime last year, most with the New River, N.C.-based Squadron 261, nicknamed the "Raging Bulls," have never been to Iraq, let alone on a real mission.

Some pilots and crewmembers have fewer than five years of flight time in the CH-46 and weren't even born when the CH-47 was first introduced to the military 30 years ago.

Sandberg, 25, of East North Port, N.Y., has only eight months of flight time in the CH-46 and looks at the seven-month deployment as an opportunity to "actually get a chance to do your job."

"This is what we've been training for," he said. "Some guys spend their whole career and never go anywhere or do anything."

The Marines have trained for months for this moment.

Many heading to the Middle East practiced in the arid region of Yuma, Ariz., with simulated surface-to-air missiles.

"We're all pretty much eager to do our jobs," said Staff Sgt. Marvin Clark, who also read "Lawrence of Arabia" several times before the Marines launched off the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan on Friday for a dusty staging base in Kuwait.

The main mission of "the Bulls" will be to supply Marines at smaller bases scattered throughout the region and transport casualties to medical teams. Part of the area they will operate in is the menacing city of Fallujah, where insurgents have shot down at least three other Army helicopters.

The Marine squadrons have upgraded defensive equipment and implemented different tactics to counter possible attacks. But that doesn't mean the pilots and crewmembers do not think about the risks.

"It's really in the forefront of my mind," said pilot Maj. Brian Wiktorek, who is married and has four children. "We're sending crews out there against a valid threat and that's why we spend so much time training to really beat that threat."

The squadrons have a ton of work ahead before they take over for the Army aviators, who have been in Iraq for months.

First, they need to learn the lay of the land. While Marines and soldiers have conflicting philosophies on how to go about the same missions, squadrons from both services have planned to meet this week to exchange tips and tactics.

There is plenty to learn, but the Marines aim to fly real missions in about a week, said Lt. Mike Belding, the squadron commander.

And the coming days will serve as a real test for many in the unit, especially the junior pilots and crewmembers.

"When we leave here, the young guys will be better than their peer group because of the experiences they will have," Belding said.

Required Listening..

...being a bit of a Military history geek buff, Dog Snot Diaries has just provided me with 33 minutes of education.. go now, and listen to General MacArthur's speech... the last five minutes are the best, so perseverance is a must... funnily enough, I just finished re-reading American Caesar a few months ago...

....a full text of his "Duty, Honor, Country" speech can be FOUND HERE.. if you prefer to read it instead....

"You are the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. From your ranks come the great captains who hold the nation's destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds. The Long Gray Line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses thundering those magic words: Duty, Honor, Country.

This does not mean that you are war mongers.

On the contrary, the soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.

But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato that wisest of all philosophers: "Only the dead have seen the end of war."

Top of The Roof Gang

...I was just over at Castle Argghhh, and I noticed that John has a post reminding us of the USS Pueblo.. being a former Crypto/ELINT guy myself, his mention of "Surveillance Ships" got me to reminiscing... heh... I've seen a few of the Russian versions too, but alas, that is for another blog.. oh, and if you haven't read his post and comments, then get over there and read the story...

...I remember once watching a Master Gunnery Sergeant get inducted into the "Top of The Roof Gang"... at the time, he was ending his career in the Corps, and moving into a cushy civilian job as a Network Security Manager in Atlanta.. being a newbie at the time, I had never heard of the "Top of the Roof" boys... but, at his ceremony, the Captain gave a speech about the birth of Naval Cryptography... he spoke about the original "gang"... and how, those talented few Men had helped to change the course of the War in the Pacific... since then, Sailors and Marines who had added something to the Naval Crypto community, were honorarily inducted into the "gang".... so, it was quite an honor for his name to have been added to that list of notable cryptographers...

I just did a quick search for "Top of The Roof Gang", and didn't come up with much...except this little article from a book review...here is a small sample... click below to see the whole article....

"The JN-25 code appeared first on the radio circuits carrying the Japanese fleet's traffic on 1 June 1939. Long before this the U.S. Navy had established a network of listening posts across the Pacific--at Guam, Honolulu, and Cavite. (The Marines operated a fourth post, at Shanghai, that concentrated on Japanese diplomatic traffic.) Since 1928, the Navy had been training special radio operators in the esoteric craft of intercepting and taking down the unique Japanese Morse code. They soon became known as the "On the Roof Gang." Trainees sent to Washington for the course found that their first assignment each day was to climb a ladder to a concrete blockhouse where the classes took place, in great secrecy, atop the sixth wing of the old Navy Department Building. "

"Too Late for Pearl Harbor

By Stephen Budiansky

Few genuine mysteries remain from what is probably the most exhaustively probed event in U.S. history--the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. One that especially has nagged historians--until now--is the extent of U.S. Navy codebreakers' ability to read the main Japanese naval code in the months preceding the attack.

Almost immediately after World War II, congressional investigations broke the secret that the United States had been reading Japanese diplomatic codes before the outbreak of hostilities. Through these "MAGIC" decrypts, the U.S. government had definite knowledge on the night before 7 December 1941 of Japan's intentions to break diplomatic relations. For several weeks before, the decrypts also had contained strong hints that Japan was preparing to initiate hostilities.

When Frank Rowlett, a senior cryptanalyst of the Army's Signal Intelligence Service, arrived at his office in the old Munitions Building on the Mall in Washington, D.C., at noon on 3 December, he found the latest MAGIC decrypt on his desk. Minutes later he found himself seized with astonishment: The Japanese embassy in Washington was being ordered to destroy its codebooks and one of the two precious machines with which it had been entrusted for coding and decoding diplomatic traffic.

Colonel Otis Sadtler, who was in charge of distributing MAGIC, showed up at Rowlett's office at that moment and began peppering him with questions about what this latest communication could mean. Had the Japanese sent anything like this before? No, Rowlett said, and it was hard to see how the embassy people could handle even their normal flow of traffic if they destroyed their codes and machine. By this point, Sadtler had become so agitated that he pulled himself to attention and barked out, "Rowlett, do you know what this means? It means Japan is about to go to war with the United States!"

Decrypt in hand, Sadtler took off, literally running down the corridor to alert the head of Army Intelligence. Secretary of State Cordell Hull recalled later that when he saw this decrypt, he felt that "the chances had diminished from one in a thousand to one in a million that war could then be avoided."

On the night of 6 December, President Franklin D. Roosevelt received MAGIC decrypts that revealed the final instructions to Tokyo's embassy that it should break off relations. Roosevelt read in silence; he then turned to his aide, Harry Hopkins, who had joined him in his bedroom at the White House as the news came in, and said that this meant war.

Conspiracy theorists have mined the MAGIC decrypts for all they are worth. But while they show that Washington had strong indications of Japan's intentions to strike, they contain not a hint of where that strike might come. To know that would have required intelligence from a very different source. Historians have known since the 1960s that the U.S. Navy's brilliant decryption of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Fleet General Purpose Code in early 1942 turned the tide of the Battle of Midway that June. Also well established is the fact that the Navy began working on this code, which U.S. codebreakers dubbed AN-1, and later JN-25, from the time it first appeared in 1939.

What has not been well established, because of continuing security classification of key documents, is just how much of JN-25 was readable in the critical months before the Pearl Harbor attack. Perhaps inevitably, this secrecy has fueled speculation of something to hide in all of this; those out to prove that President Roosevelt deliberately concealed warnings of an attack on Pearl Harbor to bring the nation into war first have to prove that something was there to conceal. The mystery surrounding JN-25 offers fertile ground for speculation.

Several authors have attempted to weave a circumstantial case that British and U.S. codebreakers were indeed reading JN-25, and therefore that specific intelligence must have been available regarding Japan's plan of attack. The most recent and the most vehement of these authors is Robert Stinnett, whose new book, Day of Deceit (New York: The Free Press, 1999), contends that JN-25 and other Japanese codes were read throughout 1941. Stinnett argues that because documents show that U.S. Navy codebreakers were close to cracking JN-25 in October 1940, they surely were reading it a year later.

In testimony before the many investigating bodies that scrutinized the U.S. intelligence failure at Pearl Harbor, the Navy codebreakers recalled that only 10% to 15% of JN-25 was being read in November 1941. But those statements all were based on memory, not documentary evidence. And so enough doubt has lingered to keep the conspiracy theories alive.

In March 1999, while conducting research at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland, I discovered several heretofore unreleased documents detailing the Navy's work on JN-25 during this crucial period. These were declassified several years ago but had not yet been processed by the Archives staff; nor were they listed in the finding aids of materials available to researchers. The documents include contemporaneous, month-by-month, date-stamped progress reports on how many code groups in JN-25 had been deciphered. They also include the first declassified account of exactly how JN-25 was broken.

What they show beyond all doubt is that by 1 December 1941--when Japan changed all of its codes and call signs in preparation for the Pearl Harbor attack--the U.S. Navy had succeeded in identifying the meanings of only a minuscule fraction of the currently used JN-25 code groups. The documents show that in the year leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack, the Navy codebreakers failed to read a single JN-25 message sent at any time during that period. And the documents show why they failed: A year earlier, on 1 December 1940, the Japanese threw out their codebook and introduced an entirely new book for JN-25. It was a huge setback for the codebreakers. This new documentary evidence, of which Stinnett and other conspiracy theorists are completely
unaware, decisively refutes the claim that JN-25 or any other high-level Japanese codes were being read in the months leading up to the Japanese attack.

These newly available documents also show, ever so painfully, what might have been. The Navy's codebreakers had broken the basic key to JN-25 months before in a truly brilliant feat of cryptanalysis. They had developed pioneering methods of using IBM punch card sorters and printers in that precomputer age to automate much of the needle-in-a-haystack searching that is the stock in trade of codebreaking. All they lacked was the manpower to get the job done in time.

How different history might have been is heartbreakingly revealed in the JN-25 traffic from those fateful months that was only much later--in 1945 and 1946--broken out. One of the most striking of these messages, read four years too late, was an order sent by Carrier Division 2, on 4 November 1941:

YUUZUKI-DD will pick up and take to Kagoshima the torpedoes which CARDIVs 1 and 2 are to fire against anchored capital ships on the morning in question.

None of the messages mentions Pearl Harbor specifically, but their cumulative weight as certainly suggestive. Dozens of key messages give an unmistakable indication of preparations to initiate hostilities shortly after 1 December. Several make explicit references to a surprise air attack--several refer to practice drills for an "ambush"--to be launched from carriers against the U.S. fleet.

The New Code Appears

The JN-25 code appeared first on the radio circuits carrying the Japanese fleet's traffic on 1 June 1939. Long before this the U.S. Navy had established a network of listening posts across the Pacific--at Guam, Honolulu, and Cavite. (The Marines operated a fourth post, at Shanghai, that concentrated on Japanese diplomatic traffic.) Since 1928, the Navy had been training special radio operators in the esoteric craft of intercepting and taking down the unique Japanese Morse code. They soon became known as the "On the Roof Gang." Trainees sent to Washington for the course found that their first assignment each day was to climb a ladder to a concrete blockhouse where the classes took place, in great secrecy, atop the sixth wing of the old Navy Department Building.

At each of the Navy's monitoring outposts, operators tuned into the stream of dots and dashes and copied down messages that were, to them, completely incomprehensible--nothing but a series of meaningless Japanese syllables, each of which was represented by a unique string of dots and dashes in the Japanese Morse system. It was a mind-numbing task that demanded total concentration; a single slip could render a coded intercept worthless. Rumors circulated constantly about trainees who had gone "code nutty" under the strain of listening to nothing but beeps for hours on end.

Once a week, the message sheets were bundled together and turned over to a captain of one of the Dollar Line's "President" ships that plied the Pacific. The captains all held commissions in the U.S. Naval Reserve and so had authority to serve as couriers for top-secret documents; upon reaching the West Coast they would forward their packets of intercepts to the Navy Department via registered mail. A small amount of urgent traffic could be dispatched by way of the "Clippers" of Pan-American Airways. A small strongbox had been built into the hull of each aircraft just for this purpose, with the keys held by Navy officers.

The Navy radio operators who listened in on their future enemies noticed immediately that they were dealing with something new when the JN-25 messages began to appear. Unlike earlier Japanese codes, these were sent in groups of five numbers. The U.S. codebreakers would, in short order, become all-too-familiar with this type of code. It was a type used for all high-level Japanese naval and military communications, and it was based on a system that, to any normal human being, would seem impenetrable. Words, numbers, place names, punctuation, Japanese syllables, and various abbreviations were each assigned a distinct, five-digit code number. JN-25 initially used such 30,000 code groups. To encode a message, a clerk would look up each word or
character in a book and write down its numerical equivalent. Then came the devilish complication: The clerk would open a second book, a 300-page volume that contained 30,000 random five-digit numbers, 100 to a page. This was known as the "additive" book. He would open the book at random and copy out as many five-digit additives as there were code groups in the message he was preparing. He would then add each code group to each additive in turn. For example:

message text:
code text:
21936 48322 01905 38832 87039 11520 38832
from upper case Kaga stop ETA 2130 stop follows additive:
02923 41338 00989 15861 28959 23693 18229
enciphered text:
23859 89650 01884 43693 05988 34113 46051

To simplify matters and to keep each resulting sum of enciphered text a five-digit number, the addition was done digit by digit, without carrying (e.g., 9 plus 4 equals 3). When the clerk was finished, he had a string of five-digit numbers that, to any casual or even not-so-casual observer, would seem random and meaningless. Although the code group "stop" appears twice in the message text above, it appears in the final signal as 43693 in one place and 46051 in another. In another message it would appear as an entirely different number. That was a mighty armament against cryptanalytic attack.

To tell his recipient how to decipher this otherwise meaningless string of numbers, the code clerk's last step was to include in the message an additional five-digit group that served as a "key" or "indicator"--a number that, when decoded, would indicate on what page and line number of the additive book he had started. The recipient would turn to that page and line number, subtract the additives from the enciphered code groups he had received, and then finally look up the meanings of the recovered code groups.

The security of the system depended above all on not reusing any one stretch of the additive book too often. Japanese code clerks were under strict orders to pick a different starting point for each message. To spread the traffic even more thinly across the entire additive book, different clerks each were ordered to begin using additives in a different part of the book.

Only through the laziness of Japanese code clerks did the Navy's cryptanalysts make their first crucial break. Throughout the summer of 1939 the codebreakers at the Navy's OP-20-G in Washington, under the direction of Commander Laurance Safford, punched every intercepted message onto IBM cards and began groping for even the slightest irregularity that would give them a toehold. After searching every way they could imagine, they found one vague unevenness, so slight as to be almost invisible. If the code clerks really had done their jobs, the indicators would be random. They were not. When the codebreakers printed out a complete catalog of the indicators in each day's
traffic, they found that the numbers tended to bunch up. In other words, the clerks were tending to use the same pages over and over. (Not surprisingly, these pages corresponded to the front of the additive book, the easiest place to flip open a book.)

That was a small toehold indeed. But to a codebreaker it meant everything; it meant the theoretical possibility of beginning to tease apart the underlying code groups from the additive encipherment that concealed its true value. The trick was to find, among the thousands of messages, two that overlapped, two that had been enciphered with the same stretch of additive. If it was the cryptanalyst's lucky day, a pair of these overlapping messages might contain identical pairs of code groups that had been enciphered by one additive in one spot, another additive in another. From such slender reeds the cryptanalysts of OP-20-G--one year and hundreds of thousands of IBM cards later--had identified the numerical values of a few dozen code groups and a few dozen additives.

The First Break

The real break in JN-25 came on a single day in early fall 1940, and when it came it proved a remarkable blend of absolute brilliance, combined with sheer doggedness and just a touch of thievery.

To start, IBM runs had found another curious bunching. The only place where enough overlaps occurred to allow additives to be recovered were in the first four groups of messages. The IBM searches revealed that the same code groups were being used at the start of some messages. That led immediately to the hypothesis that these code groups stood for numerals: It was natural to begin a message by saying something such as "Reference your message 1234."

See much more http://www.usni.org/Proceedings/Articles99/PRObudiansky.htm

A Russian General...

hmmm...I wonder what The Commissar has to say about THIS?...heh...

"A Russian air force general landed his MiG fighter jet on its belly after forgetting to lower the landing gear and was forced to eject to safety.

"The pilot forgot to put the landing gear down," Russian Air Force chief Colonel General Vladimir Mikhailov said.

He said that an empty additional fuel tank suspended under the fighter's fuselage helped cushion the impact, and the jet suffered minimal damage during the landing at a military airbase in the southern Rostov region."

Once A Marine....

I just found this over HERE....and I though I'd share...

"When you guys get home and face an antiwar protester, look him in the eyes and shake his hand. Then, wink at his girlfriend, because she knows she's dating a pussy."
-Commanding General 1st Marine Division

Thanks, Doc!

A Few Quotes for my Jarhead Brothers...

"The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!" Eleanor Roosevelt, 1945...

"Marines are about the most peculiar breed of human beings I have ever witnessed. They treat their service as if it were some kind of cult, plastering their emblem on almost everything they own, making themselves up to look like insane fanatics with haircuts ungentlemanly short, worshipping their Commandant almost as if he were a god, and making weird animal noises like a band of savages. They will fight like rabid dogs at the drop of a hat just for the sake of a little action and are the cockiest SOB's I have ever known. Most have the foulest mouths and drink well beyond a man's normal limits. But, their high spirits and sense of brotherhood set them apart and generally speaking the United States Marines I have come in contact with are the most professional soldiers and the finest men I have had the pleasure to meet."
Anonymous Canadian Citizen, 1969

I found these quotes over HERE...

I just GOTSTA know!

Ok, heads up to some of my current and former Military bloggers out there...go and take THIS TEST and tell me your results...I've got some of my own ideas about you guys, but, I really want to know...so, c'mon...after all, it IS Saturday..what ELSE would you be doing?....but, beware...one of the possible outcomes is the Prince Of Darkness himself, Gen. Clark......

Yeah, I'm talking to YOU guys, Blackfive, Bejus, Baldilocks, Jack, John, Geoffrey, HomicidalManiak, Mike the Marine, Parkway Rest Stop, Single Southern Guy....

UPDATE: Here are the results as of right now...not at ALL what I was expecting..
Baldilocks: Teddy Roosevelt
Jack: Robert E. Lee
John: Teddy Roosevelt
Mike the Marine: William Tecumseh Sherman
Single Southern Guy: Teddy Roosevelt
Straight White Guy: U. S. Grant
Jennifer Martinez: Stonewall Jackson
HomicidalManiak: William Tecumseh Sherman
Geoffrey of Dog Snot Diaries: George Washington


I've been reading a lot of posts about today being the 62nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor....a lot of blogs have taken the time to pause to remember the significance of that attack, and it's implications to us today...when I think of that day, one word sticks in my mind....a simple, powerful word....Resolve....

It is easy, somehow, for us to sit here today and watch The Halls of Montezuma, and cheer when Richard Widmark wins the day...the war is over....we won..it is all down in the history books....but, what we often fail to remember is that...in that day, nothing was certain...were we going to win?...where was the next attack coming from?....

I recall walking down the sidewalk of a small Scottish village once....and I noticed something strange on the small stone walls that ran between the old Victorian houses and the road...there was a row of rusty stubs about 6 inches apart that ran down the center of the stone wall....I asked a passer-by what they were....and what he said was incredible....he told me that all of those houses once had cast iron fences running along the road...but, during the war, the Ministry of Defense came and cut down the fences so that they could use the iron to build tanks....now, this was just one TINY contribution that a TINY village made...a couple of streets over, and you could see the WWI and WWII memorials of the dead JUST from that small place....

RESOLVE was a word that they knew...RESOLVE was a word that WE knew....and let us hope that we NEVER forget how to steel ourselves against the evil that we MUST destroy...

I Always Wanted To Say This...

Will over at Fedup Citizen has posted on a military issue that is close to me...I LOVE Nicholson's rant at the end of A Few Good Men....like Will says, I know of no one who would condone what happened in the movie, discipline is maintained without beating or abusing troops...but, it IS discipline.....but the spirit in which Jack spouts those words "You can't handle the truth!"....damn....I liked the Nicholson character a LOT better than Cruise's lawyer...

"You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.
"We use words like honor, code, loyalty...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline.
I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I'd prefer you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to."

go read his site, and then talk amongst yourselves...anyway, it is on blogspot, so you'll have to scroll down to the entry called "I relate to the warrior mentality"

Norks "Allowing" Five More Searches

N. Korea Troop Searches Agreed On
Associated Press
November 18, 2003

WASHINGTON - The United States and North Korea agreed on five new search missions for the remains of American troops killed half a century ago during the Korean War.

The agreement calls for the joint search missions to begin early next year in Unsan County and near the Chosin Reservoir north of the capital, Pyongyang, the Pentagon said Monday. The two sides agreed on the searches during talks Friday and Saturday in Bangkok, Thailand, the Pentagon statement said.

Go HERE for the rest...dammit, we should be DEMANDING they be found and returned...

My "Best War Movies" List..

I've never done one of these lists before...so, I guess it is about time...here are my Favorites...

1. Battleground...seeing Ricardo Montalban tear that German's jugular vein out with his teeth is truly awe inspiring..

2. Hell in the Pacific...starring Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune...and no one else..Classic...

3. Full Metal Jacket....the most realistic Boot Camp scene I've ever seen...and lessons in using foul language that are simply indispensable...

4. The Sands of Iwo Jima...I've got a Belgian movie poster of this hanging in my office at work...John Wayne at his best...

5. Gettysburg....makes me wish that Joshua Chamberlain was on OUR side...simply the best historical run-down of the battle that I can think of...

6. The Big Red One...the original "old war horse" movie...creating a character that spans BOTH World Wars...

7. Patton...Best theme song EVER in a war movie..."Patton's March" is sure to instill even the meekest with a strong urge to kick some ass..

8. To Hell and Back....one of my distant relatives - Audie Murphy - was just a plain and simple HERO...

9. Sergeant York.....once a conscientious objector, but made to see the light by his religion, and became the most decorated soldier of WWI...and, also a fellow Tennessean...

10. Tora Tora Tora....best single WWII quote I can think of..."I fear we have awakened a Sleeping Giant".....ooohhh yeah, baby.....

11. Blackhawk Down...a REAL story....Rangers making the best of a BAD situation...

12. The Longest Day....A celebfest with practically EVERYbody who was ANYbody in Hollywood in it...and a pretty good take on the D-day invasion of Normandy..

13. Saving Private Ryan....The scene were Tom Hanks won't let them shoot the POW is a MUST see...and somehow relavant to today's news...

14. The Battle of the Bulge.....Fonda does a pretty good job...and my Grandpa was actually captured by the Germans during the actual battle...

15. The Best Years of our Lives.....I LOVE this movie....

I might think of some more later....ha!...wow...that was pretty fun....and, yes, I have copies of ALL of these movies in my collection....

Another Veteran's Day Tribute

Donnie over at Ain't Done It has been won over to the "Dark Side"...heh...He has posted a poem in honor of his Brothers in the 7th ID...Good job, Donnie...the poem was a perfect gift to them...Tennyson would be proud...

oh...and as an aside, there is absolutely nothing wrong with reading, writing, posting, or reciting poems...which reminds me..dangit...I have GOT to post more Robert Service to day...I've been slackin' in the "Arts and Leisure" department...

A Veteran's Story..

A wonderful tale of a East Tennessee Veteran is currently up over at South Knox Bubba's site.....Give it a read if you get a chance....it is long, but so are most people's stories...and it is worth the effort...

"We struck out across the ocean heading for North Africa. It took us about 21 or 22 days to cross. I never saw such a storm in my life. There were waves that were twice as high as the ship. Lots of time when you got in the trough of that wave, you couldn't see the ship next to you, which was usually no more than 50 yards away.

They kept that convoy real close and the German U-Boats had been sinking a lot of ships from those convoys going over. So naturally, we were concerned about that. We took a lot of safety or evacuation drills. Of course, if you had dropped off into that sea, as rough as some of those 30 foot high waves were, if you had dropped out into that, there would be no way you'd ever survive because it was cold as the dickens. You might as well have just gone down with the ship but didn't have enough sense to know the difference. "

Go HERE for the rest...

Time to Cook Steaks and Mourn..

I know, I know....today is the glorious Corps' birthday...and tomorrow is Veteran's Day....and I've had to work BOTH days....anyway...I posted earlier in the week about all of the Marines in my family that I had known and loved...a few of which are here with me tonight in Spirit...and, a few who will NEVER be with me ever again EXCEPT in Spirit...maybe in my dreams, or in some afterlife.....I'm going outside to my grill in a few minutes....tonight's bloggin is done....I'm going to cook a steak, and remember my Father, my Grandfather, my Great Uncle Rob, and my Great Uncle George...they are all vets that I miss greatly....people that I think of every single day of my life....and I miss them..so, you can take this Veteran's Day however you see fit...I, on the other hand, am going to mourn...

I feel worse on Veteran's Day than I do on my Father's birthday, or on the anniversary of the day he died...when I joined the Corps, I looked upon my Father from that day forward as a Brother AND a Father....he was, and will always be my Dad, but he is also my Brother Marine...it is quite difficult to explain..I love him, and I miss him...more and more each day.


Tun Tavern Revisited...

228 years ago today, like minded men got together in a bar in Philadelphia. The name of the joint was Tun Tavern, and the year was 1775. After much drinking, political conversation, pinching of the serving wench's buttocks, and a few bar brawls, the gentlemen present created the Marine Corps.

....and Marines around the world continue to follow in the sterling footsteps of their forebearers...

Happy Birthday to ALL of my brothers and sisters!! Semper Fidelis!

MUST Read...

If you have not read the President's latest speech, you need to give yourself a quick, sharp kick in the ass....go now and read THIS....

It should be clear to all that Islam -- the faith of one-fifth of humanity -- is consistent with democratic rule. Democratic progress is found in many predominantly Muslim countries -- in Turkey and Indonesia, and Senegal and Albania, Niger and Sierra Leone. Muslim men and women are good citizens of India and South Africa, of the nations of Western Europe, and of the United States of America.

More than half of all the Muslims in the world live in freedom under democratically constituted governments. They succeed in democratic societies, not in spite of their faith, but because of it. A religion that demands individual moral accountability, and encourages the encounter of the individual with God, is fully compatible with the rights and responsibilities of self-government.

..and THIS...

Some skeptics of democracy assert that the traditions of Islam are inhospitable to the representative government. This "cultural condescension," as Ronald Reagan termed it, has a long history. After the Japanese surrender in 1945, a so-called Japan expert asserted that democracy in that former empire would "never work." Another observer declared the prospects for democracy in post-Hitler Germany are, and I quote, "most uncertain at best" -- he made that claim in 1957. Seventy-four years ago, The Sunday London Times declared nine-tenths of the population of India to be "illiterates not caring a fig for politics." Yet when Indian democracy was imperiled in the 1970s, the Indian people showed their commitment to liberty in a national referendum that saved their form of government.

Hat tip to Say Anything for the post...via Everyday Stranger's Blogroll....

Happy Birthday, Brothers..

The United States Marine Corps will be 228 years old tomorrow. I want to take this time to recognize a few members of my family, and all my other Brothers and Sisters who have served, and who continue to serve.

My Father - Cpl, USMC, 1966-69, 1st Shore Party Bn, 1st MARDIV, Vietnam, Hue City, Da Nang

My Uncle Tommy - Cpl, USMC, 1965-1969, 24th Marines, Vietnam - Khe Sahn

My Cousin Mike - Sgt, USMC, 1966-1969, 3rd Recon, Vietnam

My Great Uncle Frank - Sgt, USMC, 1942-1945, Mike Battery, 14th Artillery, 4th MARDIV, WWII - Siapan, Tinian, Iwo Jima

I raise my glass tonight, and give you the traditional toast...

Absentibus Amicis

Semper Fi

Wrap Your Sharia Around THIS, Allah..

This is a breath of fresh air...I love this article on so many, many levels...talk about "leading", and changing people's minds by "example"..check out THIS quote...

It's standard procedure for this Army civil-affairs unit, but there's a subtle feminine touch. Major Paine is a woman. So is Captain Callaham. So is the psychological operations Spc. Andrea Vivers, who hands out pro-government propaganda and Beanie Babies donated by an American Girl Scout troop.

The conversation with Afghan villagers is neighborly, but the subtext is gently radical: I am woman - now, let's rebuild your country

"You would hope that seeing women from America doing these jobs would have an effect," says Paine, commander of the US Army's civil-affairs unit at Kandahar air base. "Afghans are not used to seeing females in the military. When we first arrived, we used to ask the village leaders, 'Do you have a problem working with women?' And they said, 'We understand that's your culture and we will work with you.' And for our part, we try to work with them in their culture."

Intentional or not, some see a delicious irony in having female soldiers operating here in Kandahar. After all, this was the birthplace of the Taliban, the hard-line Islamist regime that forced women to quit their jobs and wear head-to-toe veils. Today, in villages where mothers and daughters still flee at the arrival of any stranger, Afghan men are getting an object lesson in women's empowerment. If they want to work with the US, occasionally they will have to work with American women and treat them as equals.

Whether this lesson has any lasting effect, however, is an open question. The two-year-long American presence has not set off a feminist revolution - no veil burnings, no street protests, no student movements demanding women's rights. Experts say that Afghan culture has a time-tested resistance to outside influences.

"My impression is that they view Americans as another species of animal, and one of the characteristics of this animal is that they let their women work as soldiers," says David Edwards, an anthropologist at Williams College and specialist on Afghan culture. "The Afghans see the Americans and say, 'They drink, they eat pork, they don't fast during Ramadan. There's a whole package of things they do that we don't do.' "

Go HERE for the whole article...

The 14 Leadership Traits

This is a direct cut-and-paste copy of an entry I did over on my old blogspot address....certain events have happened recently which brought this old post to mind...so, even though I'll be repeating myself, here is my two cents worth...

"OK...after today, I feel the NEED to impart some information to all of you. Since the dawn of time, there have been leaders of men...people who are known as natural "leaders"...how are they "natural leaders"....they were born wiith a sense of common sense and fairness........now, this goes for the military...but what a lot of people DON'T know is that these traits are useful in LIFE...just basic, everyday kinda life...if you can fulfill these 14 simple rules, you will be a leader. First you lead YOURSELF, and THEN you can lead other people...and even if you are not in a leadership role, these traits will make you a better person...seriously....I am NOT joking...

Here are the 14 Leadership Traits as of the USMC...all young Marines are taught them right off the bat during their training....I assume that most few middle managers, and MOST top management have never HEARD of these traits...anyway, here they are....


Justice is defined as the practice of being fair and consistent.

Judgment is your ability to think about things clearly, calmly, and in an orderly fashion so that you can make good decisions.

Dependability means that you can be relied upon to perform your duties properly. It means that you can be trusted to complete a job. It is the willing and voluntary support of the policies and orders of the chain of command. Dependability also means consistently putting forth your best effort in an attempt to achieve the highest standards of performance.

Integrity means that you are honest and truthful in what you say and do. You put honesty, sense of duty, and sound moral principles above all else.

Decisiveness means that you are able to make good decisions without delay. You get all the facts and weigh them against each other, then act – calmly and quickly – arriving at a sound decision.

Tact means that you can deal with people in a manner that will maintain good relations and avoid problems. It means that you are polite, calm, and firm in approach.

Initiative is taking action even though you haven’t been given orders. It means meeting new and unexpected situations with prompt action. It includes using resourcefulness to get something done without the normal material or methods being available to you.

Endurance is almost like courage. It is the mental and physical stamina that is measured by your ability to withstand pain, fatigue, stress, and hardship. A lack of endurance in a combat situation is sometimes viewed as cowardice. In peacetime, endurance is the quality of withstanding pain. For example, enduring pain during a conditioning march in order to improve stamina is crucial in the development of leadership.

Bearing is defined as your general appearance, how you conduct and carry yourself. Your personal appearance and the condition of your clothing and equipment should be outstanding. Your manner should reflect alertness, competence, confidence, and control.

Unselfishness means that you avoid making yourself comfortable at the expense of others. Be considerate of others. Give credit to those who work well rather than take the credit for yourself.

Courage is what allows you to remain calm while recognizing fear. Moral courage means that you have the guts to stand up for what is right and to accept blame when something is your fault. Physical courage means that you can continue to function effectively when there is physical danger present.

Knowledge is the understanding of a science or art. Knowledge means that you have acquired information and that you understand people. Your knowledge should be broad, and in addition to knowing your job and your MOS, you should know your unit’s policies and keep up with current events.

Loyalty means that you are devoted to your country, the Corps, and to your seniors, peers, and subordinates. The motto of our Corps is Semper Fidelis! You owe unwavering loyalty up and down the chain of command, to seniors, subordinates, and peers.

Enthusiasm is defined as a sincere interest and exuberance in the performance of your duties. If you are enthusiastic, you are optimistic, cheerful, and willing to accept the challenge of the Marine Corps.

If you can do these things...you will go faaaaaar, pilgrim...
on a side note, just to help you all remember these as you travel through your normal lives, the acronym for these traits is JJ DID TIE BUCKLE...."

Iraq = Vietnam??

For those of you who are SICK and TIRED of every Liberal you talk to spouting "THIS IS JUST ANOTHER VIETNAM!!" whilst foaming at the mouth and generally acting stupid...there is a HELLUVA comparison of the two conflicts over at Silent Running...

As for the second similarity - well, that has been rather explosive and short lived so far in this latest outburst, but the basic strategy is there. Latest is the apparent attempt over the past 48 hours by the die hard Ba'athists and radical foreign Islamists to create a Tet style atmosphere at the beginning of Ramadan. Festivities in time for the holidays. Who says these guys don't have a touch of Martha in them!

Yesterday saw the attack of the Al Rashid - a significant and symbolic US associated facility, and today the wave of bombings throughout the country. Not unlike the offensive mounted by the Vietnamese - with the exception that the dead-enders do not have the resources or capabilities to actually replicate one of the key elements of Tet - the ground forces capture of the city of Hue, a provincial capital.

The Ba'athists and Islamists don't have the capability to incite that level of mayhem. It is also useful to keep in mind that militarily, the Tet offensive was an unmitigated battlefield disaster for the Vietnamese, simply because it caused them to place so many of their well hidden forces into plain view that the pummeling they took probably set them back to before square one in their attempt to conquer the South via force.

So, the next time one of those Liberal weenie friends of yours says how we are about to have our asses handed to us by the VC in desert dress, just tell them to be quiet..and if the persist, smack them HARD with the nearest cluebat..

Why Parachuting is just Crazy

I've sat on the sidelines while watching Donnie and Matt duke it out about being a "Leg Ranger", or "Airborne Ranger"...and frankly, I have to say that I'm on Donnie's side....jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft is just nuts...I have two uncles who were Airborne...and both of them are complete lunatics...one was 173rd AND 82nd...and the other was just in the 82nd....

One of my first blog entries..back on blogspot....was about taking my darling wife to an airshow and riding with her during her first helicopter

ride...after we landed, the FIRST thing she said was...:I wanna go SKYDIVING!!!"...now, ...you can imagine my horror...sure, if she wants to do it, I'll knuckle down and do it with her....but, it is NOT one of my "things I wanna do before I die"....anyway, I just read THIS POST, and that pretty much freaks me out about jumping out of a moving plane....no freaking THANK you....

The murder of Stephen Hilder during a routine skydive, on Friday 4 July, remains a disturbing mystery. We know how he was killed, we know when, and there are a limited number of suspects. After three months, however, police have not identified his killer. What we know is that on that July day at the Hibaldstow Parachute Centre, north Lincolnshire, the trust that exists between British skydivers was broken for the first time. Since the murder, people have closed ranks, mistrust of the media following close behind the general unease.

Note to Goblins...if you are gonna kill me...just shoot me, stab me, or take my OWN pistol off of me, and pistol whip me to death....but....do NOT mess around with my parachute....you can go ahead and kill me, but dicking with my chute is just MEAN....dang....