Category Archives: Military

To Space Force and Beyond

On December 20 2019 President Trump sighed into law, as part of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, the creation of a separate but equal military branch the US Space Force. Here is a direct mission quote from the Space Force website.

” The U.S. Space Force is a military service that organizes, trains, and equips space forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force. USSF responsibilities will include developing military space professionals, acquiring military space systems, maturing the military doctrine for space power, and organizing space forces to present to our Combatant Commands “

The new Space Force is suppose to be a separate but equal branch operating under the Air Force, much as the Marines operate under the navy. This is the first new branch in 70 years, when the Air Force split from the Army. I suspect that it will migrate much like that did. The Air Force took a few years growing apart from the Army Air Corp. Then they started naming their command structure different. Wearing their own disincentive uniforms, down to the color of them. Even changed the enlisted rank insignia, flipping the chevrons over and calling them wings.

At first the Air Force space command will transition over to the Space Force with the eventual vision being to incorporate the Army and Navy’s space missions. I personally would like to see totally distinctive uniforms and a new rank structure. Naturally E1through E9 and O-1 through O-10 grades would be the same. But I’d like to see a blending of service rank terms. I don’t know what to call the lowest enlisted ranks. (please no space man or cadet) But let’s keep the sergeant terms of some sort. Maybe have Technical Sergeants and Gunnys. Maybe have Lt.s and Commanders. Keep the General term as it’s more of a universal norm.

And let’s make a unique uniform. Maybe in a Grey or Black or some combination there of. Just for heaven’s sake make it look like a military uniform and not a Brooks Brother suit. (McPeak) And let’s have a bus driver cap, it just looks classy.

U.S. Army Finally Chooses M9 Replacement

The M9 is the US military’s Beretta Model 92 service pistol.  The M9 replaced the M1911 when it entered service in 1990. I remember when they did this. There was some concerns over stopping power when using the 9mm ball ammo.  A few arguments in favor of the switch from 45ACP to 9mm was increased magazine capacity, the military was getting more smaller men and women in larger numbers and the 9mm has less recoil  and standardizing the caliber with NATO. Never mind the USAF issued me a 38 Special, but that’s another gripe.

On 2005 the US Special Operations Command conducted the M9 replacement plan called the Joint Combat Pistol program. Some requirements were 45 caliber, striker fired, high capacity. Several manufactures submitted designs including S&W, Sig, H&K, Springfield Armory, Taurus, Ruger, Beretta, and FN.

On January 19, 2017 the Army announced it was replacing the M9 with the XM17, a military version of the Sig Sauer P320. This is a modular handgun system. Grips can be changed for better ergonomics, barrel lengths and calibers can be changed. The core is a serialized frame.  It is a polymer striker fired pistol with a Picatinny rail.

The Army has chosen the 9mm over the 40 caliber. I suspect that they will move away from ball ammo towards newer 9mm that offers better ballistics and expansion.  This is a result of the Modular Handgun System (MHS) study co authored with the Air Force.  The Marines have expressed a desire to replace their sidearms by 2020. I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t choose this by then. The Navy SEALS have always liked the 9mm cartridge and until recently used the Sig Sauer P226. It wouldn’t be that much of a leap for the Navy to get on board. The SEALS are now using the Glock 19 now BTW. But during the MHS trials the Glock lost out because it wasn’t a modular system.

Army Times

Sig Sauer


Bye Bye Betty

bitching-betty-ledeLeslie Shook, the voice of the F-18 cockpit warning system, retires after 20 years. She is affectionately know by pilots and aviators as Bitchin Betty. If you’re flying and she talks to you, you’re a second away from a very bad day. Better do as she tells you.


From the Boeing site:

“I have loved these planes for a lot of years,” said Boeing employee Leslie Shook as she gazed up at the cockpit of an F/A-18 Super Hornet. Leslie’s special connection with the jet spans 20 years. She is the voice of the cockpit warning system. Every technician and every pilot who has trained on or flown in an F-18 has heard Leslie’s stern commands. Her voice is affectionately known in the fighter jet world as ‘Bitchin’ Betty.’

“You hear this voice every day telling you things are okay or that you need to take action,” said Dana Perkins, Boeing Flight Operations, Weapons Systems Operator. “You start trusting this person’s voice. If she said ‘stand up straight,’ everyone would stand up straight!”

Leslie’s run as the voice behind the F-18 started as a happy accident. The F-15 contained the voice of the original ‘Bitchin’ Betty.’ Crews imported that voice into the F-18; but, additional calls were needed. Leslie was a media producer filling in as a sound engineer on the recording sessions. But, the talent couldn’t quite capture the sense of urgency needed for the job. “Betty’s got a cadence and a sharpness to it,” said Leslie. The program manager heard her directions and decided she was fit for the role—a role that has endured for the last two decades.

As the expression goes, all good things must come to an end. Boeing employees and Navy pilots recently gathered in St. Louis, Mo. to meet the woman behind the voice on her last day. “As soon as she started talking, we all grinned and said ‘oh yeah, that’s her!'” said Lt. Cmdr. Doug Crane, a DCMA Weapons Systems Officer on EA-18G and F/A-18F aircraft.

Leslie’s distinct voice cracked slightly as she said goodbye to ‘her plane.’ Watch the video to hear Leslie’s story in her own words and how her sharp command at the right moment saved one pilot’s life.


Rolling Thunder

On this Memorial Day my buddy Ricardo Lowe is currently in Washington DC. He’s an avid motorcycle rider and is participating in Rolling Thunder. I served with in Ricardo in Ecuador around 2003. He is a retired

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veteran of the United States Air Force. Rolling Thunder is an annual motorcycle rally that is held in Washington, DC during the Memorial Day weekend to call for the government’s recognition and protection

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of Prisoners of War (POWs) and those Missing in Action (MIAs). The tribute to American war heroes started out in 1988 with 2,500 participants. Now approximately 900,000 participants and spectators are involved with this annual demonstration in Washington, DC. Rolling Thunder celebrates its 25th anniversary this year with expanded programming. I seem not to have any pictures of Ric myself. Maybe someone out there can help me out. Have a safe ride back to Texas Ric.

Official Site Rolling Thunder – A Marine’s Vigil And one last thing. I ran into some of these guys in my hometown a few years ago. A young Army private that had given his all in Afghanistan was being brought home to be buried. I was downtown that day conducting business at the courthouse. I noticed a large number of bikers a couple of blocks away. They were the Patriot Guard Riders. Their main job was to be a shield between grieving family members at the funeral home and the low life degenerate scum, the Westburo Baptist Church.(Spat!) But that another blog. Give thanks for both of these patriotic biker organizations.

No Habla Espanol

On Sunday the Obama White House administration rushed to call Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai condolences for the alleged shooting of civilians by a U.S. service member. Obama stated to him that no effort would be spared to gather facts and hold those responsible fully accountable under the law. The incident in question accuses one lone US service member of walking into Afghanistan homes and shooting down a conflicted number of civilians, including nine children and three women. I say conflicting because when reporters showed up, they were shown burned bodies under blankets. Why were the bodies of a shooting burnt? The accused was a regular soldier in support of a special ops unit. If he did this , I hope he gets everything he has coming to him. But let me stress one thing, He acted alone.

Someone who did not act alone was Eric Holder. President Barack Obama has never apologized to Mexican President Felipe Calderon for the 300 civilians murdered with weapons the United States provided to Mexico’s drug cartels. 300 civilians and one American border Patrol agent Brian Terry. When asked the White House on Sunday March 11why Obama hasn’t similarly apologized to Calderon for the murders that resulted from the U.S. policy of providing weapons to the Mexican cartels. Obama spokesman Eric Schultz did not answer.

Mr. Obama, if you want to get the facts as quickly as possible and to hold accountable anyone responsible in Afghanistan, don’t you support the same goal in regards to Operation Fast and Furious?


Weekend Update


Remember that New Mexico trooper that was entertaining the chihuahua when he was performing community policing to the dog’s female owner. Well he’s been identified as Bert Lopez and was sacked. Which might have been too bad. In 2009 he won his districts Officer of the year award. Looks like political correctness at work. Whatever happened to corrective punishment? Let’s Be Safe out There

Valid Point or Sour

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This was sent by my buddy Ric. Silverfiddle at Western Hero know him. I can’t vouch for the validity of it. But since it’s a forum, anybody can post anything on them. General FU

No Thanks, I’m Driving

Five NASCAR drivers turned down a request by President Obama to attend a White House invitation to honor the Chase for the Cup champions. These are Greg Biffle, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards. NASCAR has a long tradition of being conservative. No one knows if this a political statement or just a race schedule that doesn’t have much extra time to spare. But unlike other sports NASCAR drivers are independent businessmen. and private sector employees. They are businessmen who know that their livelihood depends on a thriving U.S. economy. Vroom a Zoom Zoom

Money Shot

To add to Western Hero recent post, Rush Limbaugh has suggested that Pres Obama has shot his wad and should resign. That’s Rush, pure class. Not that I disagree, but I may have phrased it different. Way to go Rush. Boom Chica Wow Wow

Military Retirement Unfair? Really?

Reminds Me of Gen McPeak and the Quality Air Force

A recent Defense Business Board study concludes that military benefits are “more generous and expensive” than those available in the private sector, and have therefore become “unaffordable” and “unfair.” Created back when military skills did not easily translate into civilian second careers, the system is also unnecessary, the study argues. And with retirees no longer dying as quickly as they once did, well it’s darn well inconvenient to boot. DBB wants to lift a page out of the corporate playbook: “renegotiate” (i.e. “reduce”) the workforce’s benefits package. Of course, the workforce in this case has spent the past decade not pulling shifts on an assembly line, but rotating between various theaters of war. Put simply, the retirement system promises military members half of their pay for life in exchange for 20 years of service, with the percentage of money increasing incrementally for those who serve more than 20 years. In its place, the DBB advocates a 401(k)-type arrangement with service members and the government both kicking in contributions. The DBB wants the Pentagon to scrap a lifelong retirement pension. In its place, the board would institute a tax-sheltered savings account to accompany service members into the post-military workplace. Counting on civilian employers to contribute to that account, while stipulating that benefits would be “payable at age 60 to 65” rather than at 40 or 45. Providing for Sgt Snorkel’s retirement would become an individual responsibility, shared by however many employers Snorkel could induce to pitch in, not a responsibility that the Pentagon would have to bear alone. I got news for you 401(k) plans may be the civilian norm but military life isn’t the civilian norm either.

This Isn’t Your Daddy’s Military

Gone are the days of cold war luxury. Now it’s frequent rotation. And in case anybody hasn’t been keeping up, we’re losing Germany and Philippines assignments, replacing them with Iraq and Afghanistan. And it’s been that way for the last twenty years. How many civilian jobs force workers to be apart from their families for months or a year? I don’t see any companies in my city that forces it’s workers to live in a crowded tent city like some refugee. Eating freeze dried food in plastic bags. As a retired military member, I never had the chance to tell my boss to “bugger off I quit.” I knew about this up front. I knew that I had to stay in for twenty years to get a retirement. So I toughed it out and went to the desert one more time in my forties. A 401(k) retirement plan? Imagine if the military’s retirement funds were in Wall Street in 2007. When Wall Street tanks a 401(k) pension plan. Service members can’t retire as planned. And now they’re talking about not drawing retirement until your 60? You’re going to see 60 year old men deploying to war zones.

What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

The concept of professionalism remains alive and well in the ranks of the armed forces, where an ethos of service and a commitment to a code of personal conduct have survived. An overhaul would commercialize military service. The effect would be to transform profession into trade, reducing long-serving officers and non-commissioned officers to the status of employees, valued as long as they are needed, expendable when they are not, forgotten the day they leave. I view my retirement pay as home equity I never had. Sure you get a second career because you have to get a second career. And you’re not going to start at the top of a corporation. If you consider the military is a profession that regularly gets sent into harm’s way, then the current retirement system is on par if not as generous as a major city’s police department of FBI agent’s retirement. 99 percent of society chooses to let the remaining one percent fight their wars and take the risks that they won’t take. Then society shouldn’t begrudge these service members of a fair reward. Fox News: Are Military Pensions Too ‘Generous’?