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The Revolving Door at the Border

I enjoyed your September editorial about securing the U.S. borders.  Your ideas are sound and reasonable.  I too would like to see President Bush make a pledge to secure our borders, but the corporate lobbies will prevent that. 

Over the years I have become extremely frustrated with illegal immigration and crime.  I worked the Yuma, Arizona area as a DEA agent in the late 90's before going overseas.  I arrested numerous illegal immigrant drug smugglers who had previously been convicted of drug crimes and deported.  It was also very frustrating to see U.S. Magistrate Judges release these people with the promise that they would return for their court hearings.  You and I know what they would do - flee to Mexico and do it all over again. 

As you know illegal immigration and its connection to drug trafficking is not just reserved for the Southwest border.  Since returning to my native State of Oregon in 2002, I am appalled at the condition of Portland and the immediate surrounding areas.  Once fine cities such as my mine have turned into little "Cartels."  Latino gangs are a huge problem.  Course the good mayor of Portland does not see it that way. 

Some police departments have ordered that their officers not turn over or notify the INS (BICE now) of illegal immigrants.  Voter, food stamp and health fraud is rampant, but not vigorously investigated.  Illegal immigrants take advantage of our ill conceived state run health plan, which is partly responsible for our $10+ billion budget deficit. 

U.S. Immigration agents in Portland have been ordered not to actively seek out illegal immigrants because it is not considered P.C.  I have found that for an illegal immigrant to be arrested for an immigration violation he/she must first commit some other offense like drug trafficking.   It burns me to search a house where the occupants swear at me in Spanish, but reap the benefits of the many social programs while we seize thousands in drug proceeds.

When I get down I remember that I still have some power and that is in my right to vote!  Thanks for the hard work on the G2mil website and the many informative and interesting articles and editorials.

                                                                                                Name Withheld

Troops Belong on the Border

I am glad someone else has had the balls to say that.  I find it very interesting that in 1943 the 1st Cav was on the US/Mexican border and no one had a problem.  But now it's against the law or against the odds.  I am glad to know that at least I am not the only person in the country that knows how to read and interpret a sentence or paragraph.  And that some other intelligent individual has determined that the Posse Comitatus does not mean that US Military can not guard and protect our borders.  You are dead on balls accurate in your assessment of the situation.

I would make a couple changes in your plan though.  I see no reason why US troops cannot guard check points secondary checkpoints.  Let the INS and the Border Patrol take care of the main points of entry.  But there is nothing wrong with US troops doing that at secondary locations.  Let them search cars, and check papers, etc.  They are doing it in Kosovo, the 'Stan, and Iraq.  Surely they can do it on our borders.


Ed: If US troops search autos there will be an incident where a soldier shoots someone.  It doesn't matter if its an armed drug smuggler, some politicos will scream and the Army will pull all troops from border duty.  I find it bizarre that US Army troops are now protecting Iraq's borders to keep out terrorists.

Rising Hospital Costs 

Howdy from a Texas border town.  Del Rio, which must be a Spanglish word for near the edge of the earth, is where I live.  I'm stationed at Laughlin AFB (which we would love to see closed!).  I was talking with some AirLife Helo drivers from San Antonio last week.  They report another taxpayer funded free entry into our great country.  Now, instead of just coming across the border and requiring medical care, they have the Mexican ambulance drop them off, but many claim they have a "life threatening" condition that cannot be properly cared for in Del Rio.  So, a Life Flight helicopter is dispatched. The helicopter avoids the US Border Patrol check point about 60 miles out of town on all roads leading out of Del Rio. 

Once in San Antonio, the illegals condition improves and he is released.  Then, when it is time to go home for X-mas or a special holiday, they just deliver themselves to the INS, who FLY them back to Del Rio on a government charted 727.  I saw the jet with my own eyes on Wed.  After a nice vacation back home, it's time for the dreaded "malady" to return, and they get yet another free (and quick) ride back to San Antonio.  I agree something must be done.  But, unfortunately I don't think the ridiculous political system we have will do anything.

                                                                                         Name Withheld

True Border Shooting Incident Account

1. That incident with the goat herder was unreported and then misreported when it was.

2. Well, the kid that was herding goats exhibited behavior very indicative of what the drug smugglers use in flushing out troops on surveillance.

3. The Marines were in a hide spot, and had been told there would have been smuggler vehicles passing through.

4. These smugglers send whole convoys through at once, in military precision. An advance guard precedes the convoy.

5. The advance guard uses reconnaissance by fire to flush out the surveillance on the U.S. side.

6. This goat herder did just exactly this.

7. First fired into suspected hide spots, over a wide area. Was spotted by the Marines, and only watched at this time.

8. Then returned, and specifically advanced toward the Marines, as if he knew where their position was, leveled his rifle at the hide spot, and prepared to fire. The Marines then cut him down.

9. If the full story of what goes on around the border with Mexico was appreciated by the American people, I would hope they would demand action. But I fear not.

                                                                                               Al Linsenmeyer

We need more than 10,000 Border Troops

On the whole, I'd say this is one of the best topics you've touched on yet - excellent work on the border issue.  It's arguably the most complete and concise position on the topic I've seen and this is an issue that's been near and dear to my heart for a long time.  That having been said, there is only one major flaw in your viewpoint - It will take a lot more men today to man the border than you are estimating as being required.

As you accurately noted in another segment on the topic, due to rotational needs, holidays, and such, only about one fourth to one third of the personnel involved in this mission will be on guard at any given time.  Many figure that since this is the military, we can run them longer and harder but this isn't really practical as the troops need to be at their best 24/7 in this mission which as you note, will occasionally be a matter of life and death.  You mention forming a division but this would essentially leave you with only a single brigade on station at any given time which is clearly not enough for the task at hand.

About the use of dogs - I would note that every year, literally hundreds of thousands if not millions of healthy unwanted dogs are euthanized in this country due to overpopulation.  Instead of killing these dogs who have done nothing wrong to anyone, they can be given a proper home and care on the border serving their country.  The current wording of your proposal is bound to piss off the PETA crowd but if you present the idea for what it REALLY is - a viable alternative for dealing with canine overpopulation in a productive manner - they may even support your idea.  While the dogs would be serving a useful security function, they would also be able to run free, socialize with other dogs, and would be well taken care of, better than most of these animals would ever be treated elsewhere.

                                                                                         Scott Miller

Ed: I agree that more troops are needed until the flow is halted and word spreads South that its nearly impossible to cross over.  However, I wrote this as modest proposal in hopes of getting some troops back on the border.

The V-22 Continues to Fail 

The September article on the V-22 was very well done, timely, and covered most of the bases.  I would offer a comment that the nose gun was most likely negated by the lack of pitch authority in the hover mode, since the cg problem therein couldn't be satisfied by merely moving some other things aft.

The deployability of the V-22 is diminished substantially by the fact that it won't stuff into either a C-5 or C-17.  In my view that outweighs the ferry range argument advanced by the proponents.  It is useful to note that the EH-101, which was built to satisfy the Marine requirement for 24 combat Marines taken to a 200 n.m. radius, does "stuff" into those airlifters.  It is also useful to note that the EH-101's mission gross weight is less than the empty weight of the V-22.  That says something about the efficiency of a tilt rotor, and the price to be paid for 250 knots.

Your discussion of the family tree of retired aviation generals will help illuminate a theme I've been suggesting to folks in Washington.  During my three tours at HQ, such a departure from propriety would have been unimaginable.

                                                                                                     A retired Marine Corps Aviator

V-22 Unsafe

After being employed at Boeing for over ten years and having spent years in the Air Force I can say without a doubt that the V-22 is not safe. I was involved in the structural testing of this machine and those test were flawed. The data is incorrect and a vast majority of the mechanics that assisted the engineers were not qualified to set-up the test jigs for any evaluations. I have documents that prove this.

                                                                                                            Name Withheld

Ed: There is a DoD IG investigation underway concerning negative test results which were withheld from senior DoD officials in 2000.  Recent V-22 landing as "unimproved" sites at Yuma AZ showed the V-22 was unsuitable for such missions.  The V-22s rotors pelted the fuselage with rocks and broke windows as the cabin filled with sand and dust.  The program then decided that only grassy areas would be used for unimproved site testing.

Looting Amarillo 

I live in Amarillo, Texas, where the V-22 is assembled. I agree completely with your article and overview, but you cannot imagine the hidden scandal that is here in Texas. Our city, like many other has an Economic Development Corporation, designed to attract business and hopefully to convince companies to relocate to Amarillo. What the AEDC (Amarillo Economic Development Corporation) did to land the Bell program is sadly amazing.

   With pressure from Senators, Congressional reps and Military influence, the AEDC gave Bell Helicopter one of the most one sided, front loaded grants that as ever been conceived. And at a time-1997-before the V-22 program was even fully funded or fully awarded. Basically, Bell was given the land, buildings and ramp area at our Rick Husband International Airport complex. Included was a free utility grant and free building maintenance for at least ten years. All with the hope that Bell would bring and support around 2000 jobs by 2006. There are currently about 300 employees. In all the AEDC grant to Bell amounts to around 80 million dollars over ten years. All to a program flawed and doubtful at best. Here locally the AEDC has a "magic cups and ball" scheme when anyone tries to get all the figures. I assure you if you looked into this side of the V-22 affair, you would uncover more of the sad, deceitful events surround this entire military blunder. There is a much deeper story here and I hope someone from the outside would investigate. Thank you for your piece and Best of Luck to you.


We Need the V-22

I figure you have some biased viewpoint in your  scathing articles about the V-22. I guarantee you this I could find and report just as many articles supporting the V-22 as you have condemning it. Are you some individual who lost a job or contract as a result of the program going forward ? Any new technology is going to experience some failures and setbacks. I could care less about how strongly you feel that the program is flawed and corrupted. We need this technology. You probably are one of the ones who would ground the space shuttle because of the impending doom it will experience. If we adopt this sort of philosophy about the future and development then we might as well live back into the stone age. I as a former Marine and proud American I feel that any risk involved to further our national security and in turn propel us into the future is well the price we have to pay. 

                                                                                                                Bill Martin

The V-22 is Junk

I currently work on the "junk" we call the Osprey.  I agree with the article I just read of yours.  I have some input that you left out.  First , a good friend was onboard the ship USS Iwo Jima and saw the inept ability of our "Engineers".  We had problems with a component being affected by a shipboard Radar,  what did they do to fix the problem?  They had him wrap it in Aluminum foil, and wire mesh.  Now back here on shore what have they done to correct the problem after 9 months.  Nothing.  

    2nd; onboard a ship which was designed for the Osprey when in the Hangar Maintenance  would be very difficult. It cannot fully rotate up and spread its blades in the hangar.  It has to be placed perfectly in place so that one side can be manually rotated up.  This would cause the rest of the hangar space to be wasted around it. Only one Osprey can need to be in the up position at a time in the Hangar since it only has one special spot to do the conversion up.

    3rd;  While out on the Boat the A/C would not accept boat power they had to have a portable power cart to have electrical power.  This is because the Osprey on the boat is so sensitive that it will not accept power above like 116VAC.  the boat had like 117.9VAC any other A/C that I have worked on would accept this power and all the other Helos onboard had no problem with it.

    4th;  the Fuel System is poorly designed.  If I was on any other A/C and needed to transfer fuel from one tank to another I push a fuel transfer button and away we go.  On the Osprey in the infinite wisdom of our "engineers"  does not have a fuel system like that.  If I have too much fuel in one of my sponsons tanks I have to defuel and refuel and select tanks on and off to get the desired levels.  That is a costly evolution.  If I need to work in a fuel cell instead of transferring fuel from one tank to another I must defuel completely.  

     5th;  the maintainers on the floor are handcuffed so bad that engineers do all the troubleshooting from a desk and do not allow the actual worker to use his ability to think on his own.  It is a very inefficient way to work.  It also causes a high turnover rate, it keeps moral low and keeps the experience level down.

      There are many more things I could go on about but I will stop here.  Please do not in any way use anything that might identify me in any way. 

Ed:  Even though the V-22 program is unclassified, everyone working on the program has been told they will be fired or punished should they leak any negative information.  One V-22 manager e-mailed me that my article was full of errors.  I asked him to identify them so I could post a correction.  He then claimed he was unable to discuss the program.


The Rhodesians had something similar, called an alpha bomb, but I'm guessing that it was smaller since they dropped them from Lynxes -aka Cessna 337s or O-2s.  Their wrinkle was to paint the bomblets bright orange so the advancing ground troops had a better chance of spotting the duds. Possibly under certain conditions this allowed the pilot to see the pattern in flight and assess his coverage?

                                                                                                       Phil West