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An Honest Civil Servant

During the great depression, there was a big socialistic swing to the left resulting in military bases all over the place. I admit my reluctance to return to the private sector (at least I've had experience there unlike some others!). When you're 52 years old, its rough to start over.  I do agree that it would be good to close many of these bases. I'm willing to take my chances of either trying to get on at another base (already had to do that when McClellan AFB was closed), or retire to a mobile home in Reno!

"The local aristocracies that have grown up in these dukedoms is what drives base operations costs through the roof."  You've sure got that right! this base (Hill AFB in Utah) is a kingdom!!!!!!!! My branch is a dukedom (This branch is bigger than a directorate I used to work for!  The branch chief is a GS-13 who doesn't even have a college degree. This is the most suck ass outfit I've ever experienced by far! You should see some of the smug hotshots here costing the taxpayers unnecessary big bucks!

                                                                               Name Withheld

Ed: I received hundreds of e-mails about the base closure list, and some included valuable input allowing the list to be improved.  Exchanging e-mails with some colonels reminded me of why I left the military.  Some of these guys live in a fantasyland where they know everything, and they are quick to insult anyone with childish remarks who proves them wrong.


I am an officer in the US Army and want to congratulate you on your brave behavior to inform the troops on the things that are really happening in our military.  On the article on new bases closure I agree 110% with you because I worked at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey as a civilian employee and they only think in themselves, not of the soldiers having the hard times in combat areas.  That is why the President canceled the Crusader program that they were running from Picatinny when it was an excuse to retain jobs by political influence of an obsolete cold war era Artillery Gun.  I am requesting your permission to add a link into my websites that do the same that your website is doing to inform soldiers about injustice and abuse that some communist civilians are doing for their on personal benefit, not for the benefit of the ones who defend democracy-- the soldiers.  

                                                                 2LT Rafael A Baragano

                                                                         US Army, QM

Ed: Yes, he wanted his name used since his grievances there are well known.  Someone from that moth sanctuary sent this link which shows their work. 

Arsenal Problems

There is an urgent need to recast the entire business model for all ARDECs, not just at Picatinny.  Add on top of this an antiquated personnel system for civilian and military and it doesn't get better.  Military developers are not motivated in the same manner as civilians, they have differing agendas and thus goals.  Change and align careers together or get rid of one. 

”Why, for example, can a foreign government provide minimal guidance and money to industry competitors to prototype a major system within 2 years, select a winner and transition into EMD/SDD.  Because there's a lot closer work relationship, albeit on a smaller scale, and each knows what to expect for the money.  STABILITY results.  We've got too much built-in turbulence where every half-baked hack can disrupt things.  No gold plating, evolutionary but steady advances in technology.  We fool ourselves into thinking hardware must be revolutionary advancement over existing stuff - but the existing stuff may be the latest A6 model, E7 being on the drawing boards.  The system analysts have done it by their marginal benefit work. 

”But the user keeps thinking that good engineering can overcome the laws of physics - and they keep asking for the E20 version.  Worse yet, the ARDECs (developers) sees future program funding (job preservation) in the balance and ends up prostituting himself, time after time.  When have you ever heard of a developer saying that unless you provide an adequate balance amongst cost, schedule and performance you ain't gonna get like you think.  No one lately has the intellectual integrity to tell it like it is. 

”AMC needs to act to close those facilities already closed by Congress.  I mean shut them down ASAP and CLOSE them and not keep them "inactive" and draining dollars ad nauseum. 

”ARDECs 'record' is terrible but a lot of it is the result of structural inefficiencies of the system.  However, they fail to deliver on a regular basis and they are too costly.  Anyone not too close to them could walk in an offer ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency overnight by at minimal 10-15%.  Piece of cake. “

                                                                                               Name Withheld

Fighting Holes

I read your article "Innovative Infantry Tactics."  It was a good article.  But as far as the two-man fighting hole you describe, the Army has been teaching that technique for years.  See chapter two of Field Manual 21-75: Chap 2, FM 21-75

When I was in basic training in 1975, it was called the "Dupuy Fighting Position," named after the general who supposedly invented it (or at least he was the guy that insisted that the drill sergeants teach us how to dig it).    

At Fort Dix, they had one range set up with a model rifle squad position consisting of two man foxholes dug in for the defense.  At night, each squad would occupy the position and conduct a defensive live fire exercise.  While one squad was firing, the other squads in the platoon sat in the bleachers and observed.  You could watch the tracers and see a graphic demonstration of the effectiveness of interlocking fires. 

Your article of base closures was also right on target.  Keeping all those bases open is eating up way too many resources that could be better used elsewhere.

Keep up the good work.

                                                                                          Mike Davino

Forts and Foxholes

In your article "Innovative Infantry Tactics" you wrote:

(...) "However, this Army manual described the advantage of building up a dirt berm in front of the hole.  Each infantryman would cover the angle to his side while relying on adjacent two-man teams to cover their front.  This made it impossible for an advancing enemy to see the infantrymen and made direct enemy suppressing fires much less effective. "

Actually the cross-fire defense principle has been developed almost to perfection in the 17th century by Sebastien le Prestre de VAUBAN, who was Military Engineer to King Louis XIV of France. The idea was to protect the guns of the fortresses from suppressing enemy fire (who could, after all, have bigger guns) while protecting the approaches to the fortress itself. This effectively ended the practice of storming the walls of fortresses by the "human wave" tactics. The same idea (of interlocking areas of crossfire) was used in the construction of bunkers in 1920-1939 in Poland (2 machine gun light bunkers) and Czechoslovakia (medium size, machine gun/ light gun bunkers).

Interestingly enough, German engineers of that era seemed to favor heavily armored bunkers firing to the front (a nice example of that is in the huge Miedzyrzecz fortifications http://www.miedzyrzecz.pl/gb/mru.php ) which proved vulnerable to heavy tanks - non existent at the time of the fortress' construction. It is a nice example of how learning history, and learning FROM history, can greatly benefit the modern soldier.

                                                                                Michal Hachulski MD

Innovative Infantry Tactics

First of all, thank you for your effort in assembling these helpful bits of information. I will forward this throughout my list of contacts and hopefully it will save some lives.  Just wanted to clarify something however, I believe the book about the Nazis in Indochina is called "The Devil's Guard" The Devil's Brigade is the 1st Special Service Forces the served proudly in Italy and Southern France during WWII.  I hope that you can make this correction as it is a wonderful book and the lessons within can save lives as well as making us a more effective fighting

                                                                Floyd Getchell

Ed: Yes, it's "The Devil's Guard".  Another thing they did in that book was to use machine guns with tracers to mark targets at night for aircraft.

The V-22 is robbing the Marines

Thank you for publishing this article. I was an active duty Marine Corps machinegun squad leader that refused to reenlist in Jan. 1999. My largest fear was that I would be in charge of a stick assigned to fly into battle on a V-22. As you pointed out in your article the V-22 has many fundamental flaws. As a Marine I followed the course of development of the V-22 and my concern has carried over into my civilian life. With the threat of war upon our nation. I am appalled at the reluctance to drop the V-22 from the Marine Corps budget. 

As a Marine I was continually made to do with what was there, because of the lack of funds to provide essential needs for myself and my Marines. In one instance my company was left at a secluded training area for 2 weeks longer then scheduled because the Marine Corps couldn't afford to pay for the fuel to fly us home. When we did return to our home base the civilian DOD employee's were on strike because they hadn't been paid in over a month. I would hate to think that the V-22 project could create a similar situation to our current Marine infantry forces.

In my four years in the Marine Corps I never once felt neglected. Today I find it appalling and indecent for our government to allow such an atrocity as the V-22 to continue to drive the Marine Corps into the ground.

Thank you again for providing this valuable information to the public.


Ed: Each month a new $160 million V-22 comes off the production line and is rolled into storage since its unsafe to fly.

MH-53J is Better

I'm in the USAF and work as maintainer on the MH-53M and MH-53J PAVLOW Helicopters for the past 3 years. The V-22 is a great idea Key word being "IDEA". I gotten a good look at one when they brought it around on a show and tell tour before it was grounded for the like 100th time. It is way small, I'm 5'10" and can't stand up strait inside it. I can reach out and touch both side wall at the same time. SOF troop carrying capacity is cut by 2/3 and all their toys like boats and ATVs will have to be replaced with new and smaller ones.  I as well have talked to pararescue guys, and they say the rotor wash put out by the twin rotors is so great, that it makes the fast ropes spin about like a cyclone flinging troop off. Plus when landing the engines exhaust sometimes starts ground fires.  Question what happens if the engine nacelles get stuck in the down position how does it land without doing millions upon millions of dollars worth of damage to the rotors, engines, and gear boxes? Give me a new MH-53E its the big 7 bladed 3 engined bastard with a tilted tail rotor and pylon. PAVE it out with the latest IDAS/JTIDS and a new TF/TA RADAR and both the pilots and maintainers would be happy.



I enjoy reading your insightful articles.  There has been talk recently about reinstating the draft as was done in the past.  Indeed, if the "war on terrorism" continues for a long time (which I am sure the politicians will ensure that it does) our current volunteer system will inevitably be replaced with conscription.  I have family members who are citizens of other countries, were obliged to serve in the military, and the system used by Switzerland may be the most interesting pattern for the USA to follow.  As I understand their system, all able-bodied young men enlist for a short period of time (I believe its less than a year) where they are taught "basic training" and "advanced training".  After that, they return to there homes and perform refresher training and field exercises for a short periods which does not to interfere with the soldiers civilian careers.  

It sounds to me to be very much like being a soldier in the National Guard, of which I was a part of.  My thought was this:  If there is a need for conscription, all young men should be made to serve only basic training and advanced training and then be obliged to serve their communities in the role of "homeland defense", for a short length of time.  From that pool of young recruits, the option should be given to motivated individuals to volunteer to serve in the active duty army for a standard enlistment.  The reason I think this is a good idea is this:  The one thing I found to hold true in the army, was that the least likely person I thought would enjoy army life and even make it a career, were almost always the one's I thought would fail at it.  There are young men out there, with a preconceived idea of what the army, or military life in general, is all about.  So, if all young men are obliged to serve, at a minimum, as a National Guard soldier, they will get that "taste" of military discipline without the commitment of having to go to a war.  

No one can argue the need to protect the "homeland" and a ready pool of trained Guardsman used strictly within the USA would not be as offensive to our citizens compared to having sons and daughters being shipped out overseas.  The young man or woman, now a trained soldier, can make a educated choice whether he or she wishes to serve on active duty, or if protecting his or her community on a part-time basis and having a productive civilian career is more for them. 

                                                                     A Guardsman

Ed: I agree that would be the way to go.  However, would all the dopers, homos, felons, fat bodies, and idiots (Cat IV) get an exemption?  That's about three of every four 18-year old males.  What about women?

A better step would be to end all federal college aid to students who haven't served a day.  That would save our government billions of dollars and encourage many new recruits to join the military.