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The General and the Community Organizer

by Paul R. Hollrah

June 24, 2010

Channel-surfing from ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN through MSNBC and Fox News, the inside-the-beltway pundits had a field day trying to get inside the heads of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, General Stanley McChrystal, and McChrystal's top aides. The one thing common to all of the analyses, by the most famous and highly-paid talking heads in the Western World, was that they are all wrong… dead wrong. What is certain is that these media folks all owe General McChrystal and his senior aides an apology for assuming that they are lame-brained numbskulls.

The facts of the McChrystal case are not in dispute. General McChrystal and his senior officers allowed a reporter for Rolling Stone Magazine, Michael Hastings, to have almost unprecedented access during an extended stay in Paris. The extended stay was due, in part, to an excess of atmospheric ash from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano, keeping the McChrystal party grounded for days.

In an interview with CNN, Hastings reported that he had a tape recorder in his hand most of the time and that McChrystal was "very aware" that his comments would find their way into print. He said, "McChrystal and his people set no ground rules for their conversations, although they did ask that some parts of their conversations were off the record." Hastings subsequently published a lengthy profile of General McChrystal on June 22, titled, The Runaway General.

As Hastings wrote in his profile, McChrystal thought that Obama looked "uncomfortable and intimidated" by the roomful of military brass during their first meeting. Of their second meeting, an advisor to McChrystal quoted the general as saying that it was "a 10-minute photo op." He went on to say, "Obama clearly didn't know anything about (McChrystal), who he was. Here's the guy who's going to run his f_ _ _ing war, but he didn't seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed."

As General McChrystal flew from Afghanistan to Washington to face Obama in the Oval Office, the almost unanimous opinion of the talking heads was that the comments made by McChrystal and his staff were off the cuff and inadvertent. But to believe that is to totally ignore who these men are.

General McChrystal and his top officers are not simple-minded, knuckle-dragging brutes. To the contrary, they are intelligent, thoughtful, highly educated, patriots… graduates of West Point and other fine universities… who are dedicated to duty, honor, and country. To think that such men would be so careless as to speak unflatteringly of Obama, Biden, and other top administration figures, in the presence of a reporter for a notoriously left wing publication, defies logic… at the very least. To think that men who are trained to be careful and deliberate in everything they do, could do something so careless and so unguarded is simply beyond comprehension.

I would argue that McChrystal and his aides knew exactly what they were doing.

From the day that he became the handpicked "spear carrier" for Obama's unique brand of warfare… playing at being Commander in Chief while playing to his far left constituency… McChrystal's life had been one of constant frustration. After telling Obama exactly how many troops he needed to carry out his mission, Obama dithered for months before deciding to give him just half the troops he requested. McChrystal could not have been happy about that.

The Obama team insisted on new Rules of Engagement designed to reduce collateral damage (civilian casualties). Obama's ROE required that U.S. troops must be able to see the enemy with weapon in hand before they were allowed to return fire. One videotape circulated on the Internet showed a platoon of Marines pinned down by enemy sniper fire. But since the enemy was firing from some distance behind the open window of a building, the Marines could not actually see the weapon being fired. Although they were taking deadly fire, they were prohibited by Obama's ROE from putting small arms fire or an RPG through the window opening.

Under Obama's politically correct ROE, our soldiers and Marines were required to fight with one hand tied behind their backs. McChrystal could not have been happy about that.

A strict new interrogation policy, dictated by Attorney General Eric Holder, required that prisoners must be delivered to an Interrogation Center within twenty-four hours of being captured or be released. A great deal of actionable intelligence was lost as a result and battle-hardened enemy fighters were returned to the field to kill Americans. McChrystal must have found that to be incomprehensible.

But the greatest insult to our troops in the field, and to the officers who lead them, may be a new battlefield medal designed by the Obama team. It is called the Courageous Restraint Medal and is awarded to soldiers and Marines who demonstrate uncommon restraint in combat by not firing their weapons even when they feel threatened by the enemy. Would we be surprised to learn that the preponderance of these medals were awarded posthumously? McChrystal must have found that to be an insanity.

I suggest that, having his best military judgments subjected to the White House political sieve for nearly a year and a half, McChrystal decided that he'd had enough. And when he announced to his senior staff that he was prepared to retire they decided to push back… to make the most of a bad situation. It was clear that, if McChrystal were to simply take off his uniform and walk away, his retirement would be page-twenty news for a day or two before the mainstream media and the American people forgot all about him.

They had to make the most of his retirement because it provided a one-time opportunity to show the American people, as well as our enemies and our allies, that the man who claims the title of Commander in Chief of the U.S. military does not command the respect of our men and women in uniform. To make the most of that opportunity they had to choose their messenger very carefully.

They knew that, by openly showing their disrespect for Obama in front of just any newsman, they may not attract the attention they desired. Like any astute observer of the MSM, they knew that most reporters would turn on their own mothers if it meant a good story. But they could not take a chance that a mainstream media reporter might suffer a rare pang of conscience when confronted with the prospect of ruining the careers of some of the most senior officers in the War on Terror. They had to fix the odds as much as possible in their favor so they chose to use Michael Hastings and Rolling Stone Magazine.

During the long hours that General McChrystal was in the air between Kabul and Washington, Obama knew that he had just two choices… both bad. He could declare McChrystal to be an irreplaceable asset in the war effort, give him a public reprimand, and send him back to Kabul. Or he could fire McChrystal, sending a clear message that, at least in his own mind, he was the Commander in Chief.

In the former case, he was certain to appear weak and ineffectual… a man not totally in charge. In the latter case, he might at least win a few rave reviews from the KoolAde drinkers in the mainstream media. He chose the latter of the two options.

But what is now lost in all of the hand-wringing and speculation is the fact that McChrystal and his people have succeeded in doing exactly what they set out to do. They wanted to plant the seed in the minds of the American people that Obama is not up to the task of being Commander in Chief and that he does not command the respect of the men and women of the uniformed services… from the newest Private E-1 up to the top four-star generals and admirals.

That seed is now firmly planted and it cannot be unplanted.

From this day forward, no one will have to tell the American people that Stanley McChrystal is a true warrior, a man's man.

Well done, General.

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I think you nailed this one Gar! Great post! :whoope: :whoope: :whoope: - Terry

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If you've never read the biography of a General in the U.S. Army

here's your chance....a great patriot and warrior...

PLEASE NOTE - READ ALL THE WAY DOWN TO END

Maybe he just wanted out - after 3 + decades, who can blame him?

Especially with his new boss -

General McChrystal Biography

Commander, International Security Assistance Force/

Commander, United States Forces Afghanistan

United States Army

SOURCE OF COMMISSIONED SERVICE: USMA EDUCATIONAL DEGREES

United States Military Academy - BS - No Major

United States Naval War College - MA - National Security and Strategic Studies

Salve Regina University - MS - International Relations

MILITARY SCHOOLS ATTENDED:

Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses

United States Naval Command and Staff College

Senior Service College Fellowship Harvard University

FOREIGN LANGUAGES:

Spanish

PROMOTIONS DATE OF APPOINTMENT:

2LT 2 Jun 76

1LT 2 Jun 78

CPT 1 Aug 80

MAJ 1 Jul 87

LTC 1 Sep 92

COL 1 Sep 96

BG 1 Jan 01

MG 1 May 04

LTG 16 Feb 06

GEN 11 Jun 09

FROM TO ASSIGNMENT:

Nov 76 Feb 78 Weapons Platoon Leader, C Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Feb 78 Jul 78 Rifle Platoon Leader, C Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Jul 78 Nov 78 Executive Officer, C Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Nov 78 Apr 79 Student, Special Forces Officer Course, Special Forces School, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Apr 79 Jun 80 Commander, Detachment A, A Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Jun 80 Feb 81 Student, Infantry Officer Advanced Course, United States Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia

Feb 81 Mar 82 S2/S3 (Intelligence/Operations), United Nations Command Support Group Joint Security Area, Korea

Mar 82 Nov 82 Training Officer, Directorate of Plans and Training, A Company, Headquarters Command, Fort Stewart, Georgia

Nov 82 Sep 84 Commander, A Company, 3d Battalion, 19th Infantry, 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Stewart, Georgia

Sep 84 Sep 85 S3 (Operations), 3d Battalion, 19th Infantry, 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Stewart, Georgia

Sep 85 Jan 86 Liaison Officer, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia

Jan 86 May 87 Commander, A Company, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia

May 87 Apr 88 Liaison Officer, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia

Apr 88 Jun 89 S3 (Operations), 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia

Jun 89 Jun 90 Student, Command and Staff Course, United States Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island

Jun 90 Apr 93 Army Special Operations Action Officer, J3, Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina and OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD/STORM, Saudi Arabia

Apr 93 Nov 94 Commander, 2d Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Nov 94 Jun 96 Commander, 2d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Lewis, Washington

Jun 96 Jun 97 Senior Service College Fellowship, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Jun 97 Aug 99 Commander, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia

Aug 99 Jun 00 Military Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, New York, New York

Jun 00 Jun 01 Assistant Division Commander (Operations), 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina to include duty as Commander, Combined Joint Task Force Kuwait, Camp Doha, Kuwait

Jun 01 Jul 02 Chief of Staff, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, Fort Bragg, North Carolina to include duty as Chief of Staff, Combined Joint Task Force180, OPERATION ENDURING

FREEDOM, Afghanistan

Jul 02 Sep 03 Vice Director for Operations, J3, The Joint Staff, Washington, DC

Sep 03 Feb 06 Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Feb 06 Jun 08 Commander, Joint Special Operations Command/Commander, Joint Special Operations Command Forward, United States Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Aug 08 Jun 09 Director, The Joint Staff, Washington, DC

Jun 09 Present Commander, International Security Assistance Force/Commander, United States Forces Afghanistan, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan

SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS:

S2/S3 (Intelligence/Operations), United Nations Command Support Group Joint Security Area, Korea (Feb 81-Mar 82, Captain)

Army Special Operations Action Officer, J3, Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina and OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD/STORM, Saudi Arabia Jun 90-Apr 93 Major/Lieutenant Colonel)

Chief of Staff, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, Fort Bragg, North Carolina to include duty as Chief of Staff, Combined Joint Task Force180, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan (Jun 01-Jul 02, Brigadier General)

Vice Director for Operations, J3, The Joint Staff, Washington, DC (Jul 02-Sep 03, Brigadier General)

Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina (Sep 03-Feb 06, Brigadier General/Major General)

Commander, Joint Special Operations Command/Commander, Joint Special Operations

Command Forward, United States Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina (Feb 06-Jun 08, Major General/Lieutenant General)

Director, The Joint Staff, Washington, DC (Aug 08-Jun 09, Lieutenant General)

Commander, International Security Assistance Force/Commander, United States Forces Afghanistan, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan (Jun 09-Present, General)

SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS ASSIGNMENTS DATE GRADE

Army Special Operations Action Officer, J3, Joint Special Operations Command, OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD/STORM, Saudi Arabia (Jun 90-Mar 91, Major)

Commander, Combined Joint Task Force Kuwait, Camp Doha, Kuwait (Apr 01-Jun 01, Brigadier General)

Chief of Staff, Combined Joint Task Force180, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan (May 02-Jul 02, Brigadier General)

Commander, International Security Assistance Force/Commander, United States Forces Afghanistan, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan (Jun 09- Present, General)

US DECORATIONS AND BADGES:

Defense Distinguished Service Medal

Defense Superior Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster)

Legion of Merit (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters)

Bronze Star Medal

Defense Meritorious Service Medal

Meritorious Service Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters)

Army Commendation Medal

Army Achievement Medal

Expert Infantryman Badge

Master Parachutist Badge

Ranger Tab

Special Forces Tab

Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge

_________________________________________________________________

Obama Biography:

Birthplace: Location remains questionable.

Proof of United States Citizenship hasn't been provided.

Education: Columbia University, Harvard Law School.

Records never produced, attendance remains questionable.

Military Career: None

Business Career: None

Political Career: Community organizer, Chicago, 1983-86; civil rights attorney, Chicago, 1991-96;

University of Chicago, lecturer, early 1990s-2004;

Illinois State Senator, 1996-2005; U.S. Senator, 2005-2008;

President 2008-????.

____________________________________________________________________

I believe the wrong guy resigned.

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G'Day All, Joined Navy in 1959 @ 17yoa. Iwas a AO on Sea Planes, P5M Martin-Marlin, was in VP-40 & VP-48, stationed at USNAS NORRIS (San Diego ) Kodiak Iland and USNAS Sangley Point, Republic Of The Philippines. My Squadron flew the South China Sea in support of the Vietnam War-later after I rotated the Squadron was in country on the Rivers..Two Sons served in the Army in the Middle East wars and I discouraged the third son as I felt we were lucky to have two sons go off to war and come home in good health and I did not feel like pressing our luck with the third son..............Thanks to ALL that served and to ALL that supported anyone in any way who served.....GOD SAVE AND BLESS THE USA

................Idaho Al

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Gar, this is one of your BEST posts EVER - in my never humble opinion :thumbsupanim - Terry

If you've never read the biography of a General in the U.S. Army

here's your chance....a great patriot and warrior...

PLEASE NOTE - READ ALL THE WAY DOWN TO END

Maybe he just wanted out - after 3 + decades, who can blame him?

Especially with his new boss -

General McChrystal Biography

Commander, International Security Assistance Force/

Commander, United States Forces Afghanistan

United States Army

SOURCE OF COMMISSIONED SERVICE: USMA EDUCATIONAL DEGREES

United States Military Academy - BS - No Major

United States Naval War College - MA - National Security and Strategic Studies

Salve Regina University - MS - International Relations

MILITARY SCHOOLS ATTENDED:

Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses

United States Naval Command and Staff College

Senior Service College Fellowship Harvard University

FOREIGN LANGUAGES:

Spanish

PROMOTIONS DATE OF APPOINTMENT:

2LT 2 Jun 76

1LT 2 Jun 78

CPT 1 Aug 80

MAJ 1 Jul 87

LTC 1 Sep 92

COL 1 Sep 96

BG 1 Jan 01

MG 1 May 04

LTG 16 Feb 06

GEN 11 Jun 09

FROM TO ASSIGNMENT:

Nov 76 Feb 78 Weapons Platoon Leader, C Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Feb 78 Jul 78 Rifle Platoon Leader, C Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Jul 78 Nov 78 Executive Officer, C Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Nov 78 Apr 79 Student, Special Forces Officer Course, Special Forces School, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Apr 79 Jun 80 Commander, Detachment A, A Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Jun 80 Feb 81 Student, Infantry Officer Advanced Course, United States Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia

Feb 81 Mar 82 S2/S3 (Intelligence/Operations), United Nations Command Support Group Joint Security Area, Korea

Mar 82 Nov 82 Training Officer, Directorate of Plans and Training, A Company, Headquarters Command, Fort Stewart, Georgia

Nov 82 Sep 84 Commander, A Company, 3d Battalion, 19th Infantry, 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Stewart, Georgia

Sep 84 Sep 85 S3 (Operations), 3d Battalion, 19th Infantry, 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Stewart, Georgia

Sep 85 Jan 86 Liaison Officer, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia

Jan 86 May 87 Commander, A Company, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia

May 87 Apr 88 Liaison Officer, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia

Apr 88 Jun 89 S3 (Operations), 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia

Jun 89 Jun 90 Student, Command and Staff Course, United States Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island

Jun 90 Apr 93 Army Special Operations Action Officer, J3, Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina and OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD/STORM, Saudi Arabia

Apr 93 Nov 94 Commander, 2d Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Nov 94 Jun 96 Commander, 2d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Lewis, Washington

Jun 96 Jun 97 Senior Service College Fellowship, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Jun 97 Aug 99 Commander, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia

Aug 99 Jun 00 Military Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, New York, New York

Jun 00 Jun 01 Assistant Division Commander (Operations), 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina to include duty as Commander, Combined Joint Task Force Kuwait, Camp Doha, Kuwait

Jun 01 Jul 02 Chief of Staff, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, Fort Bragg, North Carolina to include duty as Chief of Staff, Combined Joint Task Force180, OPERATION ENDURING

FREEDOM, Afghanistan

Jul 02 Sep 03 Vice Director for Operations, J3, The Joint Staff, Washington, DC

Sep 03 Feb 06 Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Feb 06 Jun 08 Commander, Joint Special Operations Command/Commander, Joint Special Operations Command Forward, United States Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Aug 08 Jun 09 Director, The Joint Staff, Washington, DC

Jun 09 Present Commander, International Security Assistance Force/Commander, United States Forces Afghanistan, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan

SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS:

S2/S3 (Intelligence/Operations), United Nations Command Support Group Joint Security Area, Korea (Feb 81-Mar 82, Captain)

Army Special Operations Action Officer, J3, Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina and OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD/STORM, Saudi Arabia Jun 90-Apr 93 Major/Lieutenant Colonel)

Chief of Staff, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, Fort Bragg, North Carolina to include duty as Chief of Staff, Combined Joint Task Force180, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan (Jun 01-Jul 02, Brigadier General)

Vice Director for Operations, J3, The Joint Staff, Washington, DC (Jul 02-Sep 03, Brigadier General)

Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina (Sep 03-Feb 06, Brigadier General/Major General)

Commander, Joint Special Operations Command/Commander, Joint Special Operations

Command Forward, United States Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina (Feb 06-Jun 08, Major General/Lieutenant General)

Director, The Joint Staff, Washington, DC (Aug 08-Jun 09, Lieutenant General)

Commander, International Security Assistance Force/Commander, United States Forces Afghanistan, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan (Jun 09-Present, General)

SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS ASSIGNMENTS DATE GRADE

Army Special Operations Action Officer, J3, Joint Special Operations Command, OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD/STORM, Saudi Arabia (Jun 90-Mar 91, Major)

Commander, Combined Joint Task Force Kuwait, Camp Doha, Kuwait (Apr 01-Jun 01, Brigadier General)

Chief of Staff, Combined Joint Task Force180, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan (May 02-Jul 02, Brigadier General)

Commander, International Security Assistance Force/Commander, United States Forces Afghanistan, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan (Jun 09- Present, General)

US DECORATIONS AND BADGES:

Defense Distinguished Service Medal

Defense Superior Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster)

Legion of Merit (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters)

Bronze Star Medal

Defense Meritorious Service Medal

Meritorious Service Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters)

Army Commendation Medal

Army Achievement Medal

Expert Infantryman Badge

Master Parachutist Badge

Ranger Tab

Special Forces Tab

Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge

_________________________________________________________________

Obama Biography:

Birthplace: Location remains questionable.

Proof of United States Citizenship hasn't been provided.

Education: Columbia University, Harvard Law School.

Records never produced, attendance remains questionable.

Military Career: None

Business Career: None

Political Career: Community organizer, Chicago, 1983-86; civil rights attorney, Chicago, 1991-96;

University of Chicago, lecturer, early 1990s-2004;

Illinois State Senator, 1996-2005; U.S. Senator, 2005-2008;

President 2008-????.

____________________________________________________________________

I believe the wrong guy resigned.

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Hey Al! Thank You for your service, and your children's service to our great country! God Bless and Big Nuggets! - Terry

G'Day All, Joined Navy in 1959 @ 17yoa. Iwas a AO on Sea Planes, P5M Martin-Marlin, was in VP-40 & VP-48, stationed at USNAS NORRIS (San Diego ) Kodiak Iland and USNAS Sangley Point, Republic Of The Philippines. My Squadron flew the South China Sea in support of the Vietnam War-later after I rotated the Squadron was in country on the Rivers..Two Sons served in the Army in the Middle East wars and I discouraged the third son as I felt we were lucky to have two sons go off to war and come home in good health and I did not feel like pressing our luck with the third son..............Thanks to ALL that served and to ALL that supported anyone in any way who served.....GOD SAVE AND BLESS THE USA

................Idaho Al

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Welcome aboard swabby Idaho Al....that's one swabby to another kind of hello....thanks for your service and

tell the kids thanks from all of us here....enjoy the forum and hope you have luck when your hunting for gold...

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Hopfully we can consider this a "sign in" by General McChrystal...

Remarks by Secretary Gates, General Casey, and General McChrystal at Fort McNair Washington, D.C.

GEN. CASEY: The Casey-McChystal connections go back a long ways. Stan's the fourth of six siblings, all of whom served in the military or married someone in the military. So I'd just to take a moment to recognize the immediate family who's here.

First of all, the brothers, Peter, David, Scott and Bill, where are you? Wave your hands. Great, nice to see you. (Applause.)

Sam is Stan and Annie's son. Sam and his fiancée, Stacy -- I hope I got that right -- wave your hands. There you go. (Applause.) If that's not right, Stacy, work it for everything it's worth. And, of course, Stan's best friend, Annie. (Applause.)

I know you've got many more family and friends here, Stan, so I'm going to leave that to you.

Today, we honor a magnificent soldier and leader and one of the Army's most experienced and successful officers. Stan has had a truly remarkable career in both peace and war.

So I must admit I found it interesting when I looked at Stan's officer records brief; something that it was clear that Stan has not looked at since he was a second lieutenant. The officer records brief is the Army's documented record of a soldier's career, and it has a box on it where it tracks the officer's dwell. That's the time they spend at home between deployments.

According to Stan's most recent brief, he has accumulated 415 months and 11 days of dwell. Now, even using Casey math, that's over 34 years at home. So either Stan's deployments have been so secret he couldn't share them with us, or we couldn't quite get him into the fight. But I think it's the former and not the latter.

The reality is that Stan has done more to carry the fight to al-Qaeda since 2001 than any other person in this department and possibly in the country. His vision, his innovative genius, his ability to bring disparate organizations together and his unrelenting drive and commitment to defeating the extremists that threaten our way of life have kept al-Qaeda off balance around the world and kept this country safe.

Stan, we are in your debt.

Now, usually when I lay out an officer's career, I normally talk about how many corps and divisions they've served in, but Stan's career has been unique.

He began his formative years as a paratrooper in 82nd Airborne Division following his graduation from West Point in 1976. His first battalion was the Red Devils of the 1st Battalion 504th Parachute Infantry.

But jumping out of planes didn't seem to be exciting enough for Stan, so he volunteered for Special Forces, qualified and commanded a detachment in the 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg before he headed off for the Infantry Advanced Course.

After a tour in the United Nations Command in Panmunjom, Korea, he returned to Fort Stewart, Georgia, and the 24th Infantry Division for company command.

It was following this company command in 1985 that Stan chose the path that he would follow for the rest of his career. He was accepted into the 3rd Battalion 75th Rangers, and he has been a leader in our special operations community ever since.

Along the way, he mixed challenging assignments in the Rangers, Joint Special Operations Command and the 82nd Airborne Division with broadening experiences at the Naval War College, the JFK Center of Government, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the joint staff.

He left lasting contributions at every level. As a major, during the liberation of Kuwait, he delivered the highly successful special operations actions into Iraq. As the commander of the 2nd Battalion 75th Rangers, he spurred the beginning of the modern Army combaters program.

And as the chief of staff of Combined Joint Task Force 180 in the early days of Afghanistan, he established the headquarters that came to direct Operation Enduring Freedom.

While serving as the vice J-3 in the Pentagon at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Stan was selected to deliver the daily Pentagon press and Hill briefings on the war. Now, candidly, he didn't have to put up much of a fight for that, but he took the job and did it magnificently.

It was as the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command where I believe Stan made his greatest and most lasting contributions to our Army and to this country. He personally oversaw the successful hunts for Saddam Hussein, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and other key al-Qaeda leaders.

He brought the intelligence community together in support of his operations by sheer force of will and unrelenting commitment to the mission.

Thinking back to 2003 and 2004, no one had really done the kinds of things Stan's folks were required to do. So he wrote the book and pulled the interagency together in support.

And not satisfied with just improving his own capabilities, Stan saw the utility in migrating these skills to our general-purpose forces, something he progressively did over time and something that has exponentially increased the effectiveness of our forces in prosecuting this war.

For me, working with Stan in Iraq was a privilege. I can honestly say that the work his team did against al-Qaeda made our success there possible. They applied continuous and progressive pressure against a constantly evolving network by building an organization that rewarded teamwork, innovation and risk-taking.

I watched Stan through the low lows of a just-missed target or lost comrade and the high highs of the Zarqawi operation. Throughout it all, he remained calm, focused and committed.

Although I do remember the night that we thought we had killed Zarqawi but still weren't sure. Stan had the body brought to his headquarters compound for identification. We decided not to tell anyone until we were sure, so Stan went down to check out the body and called me.

He said, "General, we've been tracking this guy for two and a half years, and I think it's him." I said, "How sure are you?" He responded quietly, "I'm sure." And that was the first and only time in our time together there that I heard his voice crack with emotion.

Following his time at JSOC, Stan was given a break as the director of the joint staff, the position he held when he was chosen by the president to head the International Security Assistance Force.

I'm going to leave the discussion of that period to Secretary Gates, but I believe that, in his time there, Stan began to establish the conditions for our long-term success.

When you ask soldiers about Stan McChrystal, what they think, here's what they say. They say he's a great leader. They say that, in fact, his people trust and respect him in a way that is truly remarkable. They say he's a man of integrity and great personal courage. They say he's always ready to laugh even in the most trying circumstances. And they say that he's absolutely selfless.

These are the traits of a leader that we value in our Army. In over 34 years, Stan McChrystal has applied them as he selflessly dedicated his life to protecting this country.

And while his operational experiences span the spectrum of conflict, I can think of no officer who has had more impact on this country's battle against extremism. He leaves a legacy of service that will be emulated for decades. (Applause.)

Annie, now, most of you know that Stan and Annie were high school sweethearts. And when folks think about Annie, the first word that usually comes to mind is "strength." Not only is she a marathoner, but she has survived and braved the marathon of Army life.

This is a testament to your overall, amazing inner strength. And she's needed that to navigate the last decade while Stan has committed himself to fighting this war especially since I've been told he's developed a few idiosyncrasies along the way.

One story claims that Stan has lived on Zulu time for so long that, when he comes home, he has Annie change all the clocks in the house to Zulu time. Another is that he's so accustomed to PowerPoint briefings that Annie has to slip him a slide if she's wants to get something important to him.

Now, I am sure none of that is true, but if it were, Annie would figure it out. Annie's been at Stan's side throughout his career and, as importantly for our Army, she has been there for the soldiers and families and communities across the United States.

Her commitment has been a personal one illustrated by her visits to wounded warriors, her presence at family readiness groups and her volunteer work, including the toughest but the most rewarding of assignments, raising an Army family.

Annie's contributions make it especially hard to say goodbye to the McChrystals. So, Annie, thank you for your courage, for your strength and for your commitment to the soldiers and families of our Army. (Applause.)

For 34 years, Stan McChrystal has been the man in the arena. His face has been marred by the dust and the sweat and the blood of combat in defense of this nation. He's demonstrated the kind of infectious personal courage that has inspired anyone who served with him. He is a soldier to his core. Our Army and this country will miss him deeply.

There is a monument in Burma in a British cemetery to recognize the sacrifice of a British division in World War II. It says: When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today.

Stan and Annie have given their todays for 34 years so the people of this country and those in Iraq and Afghanistan can have a better tomorrow. We owe them a debt of gratitude.

And Stan and Annie, thank you for your service and for your friendship, and the entire Army family wishes you good luck and God speed. (Applause.)

MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, the Secretary of Defense, the Honorable Robert M. Gates.

SEC. GATES: Well, first off, I would tell you that the weather here today is worse than in Jakarta.

We gather today to say farewell to a treasured friend and colleague and to pay tribute to one of the finest men at arms this country has ever produced.

There are many distinguished guests and VIPs here today but none so distinguished and none so important to General McChrystal as his wife, Annie and son, Sam.

Like so many Army families since 9/11 and especially families in the special operations community, they have endured long separations from their husband and dad. And like so many families, they have done so with grace and resilience. Our nation is deeply in your debt.

We bid farewell to Stan McChrystal today with pride and sadness. Pride for his unique record as a man and a soldier. Sadness that our comrade and his prodigious talents are leaving us.

Looking back at the totality of Stan McChrystal's life and career, it seems appropriate that he ended up in the special operations world, as virtually nothing about this man could be considered ordinary.

Even as he rose to the highest ranks of the service, he retained his trademark humility and remarkably low requirements in his trappings, tastes and what we at the Pentagon call personal maintenance.

He had little use for amenities that tend to grow up around the rear echelon, much to the chagrin of a few of his ISAF colleagues. To Stan, fast food counted as fine dining, but neither fine dining nor beer gardens had any place in his war zone.

In spite of or, perhaps, because of his no-nonsense approach to war fighting, Stan enjoyed a special bond with his troops. They respected his devotion to them as well as to the mission. And as evidenced by all the uniforms here this evening, they remain just as devoted to him.

That's because Stan never forgot about the troops most often in harm's way. Always keeping in mind the frontline World War II soldier quoted by Stephen Ambrose, "Any son of a bitch behind my foxhole is rear echelon."

His fearsome exercise, sleeping and eating routines are legendary. I get tired and hungry just reading about them.

At the same time, this consummate Ranger possessed one of the sharpest and most inquisitive minds in the Army. A scholar who earned fellowships to Harvard and the Council on Foreign Relations, a voracious reader who, as one of his friends told a reporter, was prone to spending his free time wandering around old bookstores and reading about what he called "weird things" -- stuff like Shakespeare.

The attacks of September 11 and the wars that followed would call on every ounce of General McChrystal's intellect, skill and determination. Over the past decade, no single American has inflicted more fear and more loss of life on our country's most vicious and violent enemies than Stan McChrystal.

Commanding special operations forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, Stan was a pioneer in creating a revolution in warfare that fused intelligence and operations. He employed every tool available, high-tech and low, signals, intelligence, HUMINT and others in new and collaborative ways.

As a lieutenant general, he went out on night missions with his teams, subjecting himself to their hardships and dangers. After going on one operation that resulted in a fire fight, some of his British comrades awarded Stan the distinction of being the highest-paid rifleman in the United States Army.

Night after night, intercept by intercept, cell by cell, Stan and his forces first confronted and then crushed al-Qaeda in Iraq. It was a campaign that was well under way before the surge when the violence seemed unstoppable and when so many had given up hope in our mission there.

Stan McChrystal never lost faith with his troopers, never relented, never gave up on Iraq. And his efforts played a decisive part in the dramatic security gains that now allow Iraq to move forward as a democracy and us to draw down U.S. forces there.

Last year when it became clear to me that our mission in Afghanistan needed new thinking, new energy and new leadership, there was no doubt in my mind who that new leader should be. I wanted the very best warrior general in our armed forces for this fight. I needed to be able to tell myself, the president and the troops that we had the very best possible person in charge in Afghanistan. I owed that to the troops there and to the American people.

And when President Obama and his national security team deliberated on the way forward in Afghanistan, General McChrystal provided his expert and best unvarnished military advice. And once we all agreed on the new strategy, General McChrystal embraced it and carried out the president's orders with the brilliance and devotion that characterize every difficult mission that he has taken on and accomplished throughout his career.

Over the last year, General McChrystal laid the groundwork for success and the achievement of our national security objectives in that part of the world. I know the Afghan government and people are grateful for what he accomplished in a year as ISAF commander and the lives of innocent Afghans saved, the territory freed from the grip of the Taliban, for the new vigor and sense of purpose he brought to the international military effort there.

As he now completes a journey that began on a West Point parade field nearly four decades ago, Stan McChrystal enters this next phase of his life to a respite richly earned. He does so with the gratitude of the nation he did so much to protect, with the reverence of the troops he led at every level, with his place secure as one of America's greatest warriors. (Applause.)

MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, General Stanley A. McChrystal. (Applause.)

GEN. MCCHRYSTAL: This is frustrating. I spent a career waiting to give a retirement speech and lie about what a great soldier I was. Then people show up who were actually there. It proves what Doug Brown taught me long ago; nothing ruins a good war story like an eyewitness.

To show you how bad it is, I can't even tell you I was the best player in my little league because the kid who was the best player is here tonight. In case you're looking around, he's not a kid anymore.

But to those here tonight who feel the need to contradict my memories with the truth, remember I was there too. I have stories on all of you, photos on many, and I know a Rolling Stone reporter. (Laughter.) (Applause.)

Look, this has the potential to be an awkward or even a sad occasion. With my resignation, I left a mission I feel strongly about. I ended a career I loved that began over 38 years ago. And I left unfulfilled commitments I made to many comrades in the fight, commitments I hold sacred.

My service did not end as I would have wished, and there are misperceptions about the loyalty and service of some dedicated professionals that will likely take some time but I believe will be corrected.

Still, Annie and I aren't approaching the future with sadness but with hope and iPhones. And my feelings for more than 34 years I spent as an Army officer are a combination of surprise that any experience could have been as rich and fulfilling as mine was and gratitude for the comrades and friends we were blessed with.

That's what I feel. And if I fail to communicate that effectively tonight, I'll simply remind you that Secretary Gates once told me I was a modern Patton of strategic communications. (Laughter.) Fair point.

So if we laugh tonight, it doesn't mean all these years have not been important to me. It means the opposite; that every day and every friend were gifts I treasure and I need to celebrate.

But first, I need to address two questions that we've been asked often lately. The first is: What are you going to do? Actually, Annie is the one who's asking me that. I'm thinking I'd be a good fashion consultant and spokesman for Gucci -- (laughter) -- but they haven't called.

The other question is always asked a bit tentatively. How are you and Annie doing? We did spend some years apart, but we're doing well. And I am carrying some of what I learned into retirement.

First, Annie and I are reconnecting. And now, we're up on Skype with each other. Of course, we never did that all the years I was 10,000 miles away, but now we can connect by video link when we're 15 feet apart. And I think she really likes that. (Laughter.)

I was so enthused I tried using Skype for a daily family VTC -- (laughter) -- where I could get updates and pass out guidance, but there's some resistance to flatter and faster in the McChrystal household.

The same is true for the tactical directive I issued soon after my return. It's reasonable guidance: One meal a day, early-morning PT, the basics of a good family life. (Laughter.)

But I've gotten a few night letters, and Annie's stocking up on ammonium nitrate fertilizer -- (laughter) -- which is strange since our new yard is smaller than this podium.

Although the insurgency is relatively small -- one woman -- she's uninterested in reintegration. (Laughter.) I assess the situation as serious and, in many ways, deteriorating. (Laughter.)

Mr. Secretary, look at her. I'm thinking at least 40,000 troops. (Laughter.) (Applause.)

Let me thank everyone for being here. This turnout is truly humbling. Here tonight are my wife and son, my four brothers, two nephews, mentors, comrades from countless phases of my career, and some special guests whose service and sacrifice are impossible to describe with words.

But because this crowd is pretty big, for good order and discipline, I've divided you all into four groups. Please remember your group number. (Laughter.)

Group 1 are all the people who accepted responsibility for making this ceremony work from the planners to the soldiers on the field. My apologies for all the time you spend in the heat. You're special people. And in my mind, you also represent soldiers all over the world. You have my sincere appreciation.

The second group -- (applause). The second group is distinguished servants of all nations who have taken time from your often-crushing schedules to be here. And thanks for your years of support and friendship. I got you out of the office early on Friday.

Group 3 are warriors of all ranks, and that includes many who don't wear a uniform but defend our nation with whom I have shared aircraft, VTCs, remote outposts, frustrations, triumphs, laughs and a common cause for many years. You are not all here. Some of you are deployed and in the fight. Others rest across river in Arlington. Most of the credit I've received actually belongs to you. It has been your comradeship that I have considered the greatest honor of my career.

Finally, Group 4 is all those who've heard we're having two kegs of beer in the backyard after my ceremony. This group includes a number of my classmates from West Point, old friends, most of the warriors from Group 3, and some others who defy accurate description. Anyone already carrying a plastic cup might be considered the vanguard of Group 4. (Laughter.) Everyone here today is invited to join.

To Secretary Gates, I want to express my personal thanks, certainly, for your generous remarks but more for your wisdom and leadership which I experienced firsthand in each of my last three jobs. Your contribution to the nation and to the force is nothing short of historic.

Similarly, I want to thank the many leaders, civilian and military, of our nation beginning with President Obama for whom and with whom I was honored to serve. Whether elected, appointed or commissioned, the common denominator of selfless service has been inspiring.

As COM ISAF, I was provided a unique opportunity to serve alongside the professionals of 46 nations under the leadership of NATO. We were stronger for the diversity of our force, and I'm better for the experience.

My thanks, also, to the leadership and people of Afghanistan for their partnership, hospitality and friendship. For those who are tempted to simplify their view of Afghanistan and focus on the challenges ahead, I counter with my belief that Afghans have courage, strength and resiliency that will prove equal to the task.

My career included some amazing moments and memories, but it is the people I'll remember. It was always about the people. It was about the soldiers who are well-trained but, at the end of the day, act out of faith in their leaders and each other; about the young sergeants who emerge from the ranks with strength, discipline, commitment and courage.

As I grew older, the soldiers and sergeants of my youth grew older as well. They became the old sergeants, long-service professionals whose wisdom and incredible sense of responsibility for the mission and for our soldiers is extraordinary.

And the sergeants major -- they were a national treasure. They mold and maintain the force and leaders like me. They have been my comrade, confidante, constructive critic, mentor and best friend.

A little more than a year ago on a single e-mail, Command Sergeant Major Mike Hall came out of retirement, leaving a job, his son and his amazing wife Brenda to join me in Afghanistan. To Mike, I could never express my thanks. To Brenda, I know after all these years, I owe you. I also love you.

To true professionals like Sergeants Major Rudy Valentine, Jody Nacy, Steve Cuffie, CW Thompson, Chris Craven, Jeff Mellinger and Chris Farris, your presence here today is proof that, when something is truly important, like this ceremony, you're on hand to make sure I don't screw it up.

I've been blessed with the presence of old friends throughout my career, friendships that began long ago at West Point, Forts Benning, Bragg, Lewis or countless other locations and shared years of Army life, moving vans, kids, laughs, disappointments, and each other's successes which grew into bonds that became critical on the battlefield.

I treasure a note I received during a particularly tough time in Afghanistan in 2007 from fellow commander, Dave Rodriguez, that quoted Sherman's confidence that, if he ever needed support, he knew his friend Grant would come to his aid if alive. Serving with people who say and mean such words is extraordinary.

I served with many. Many of you are here tonight. And not all the heroes are comrades are in uniform. In the back of a darkened helicopter over Kunar, Afghanistan, in 2004, a comrade in blue jeans whose friendship I cherish to this day passed me a note. Scribbled on a page torn from a pocket notebook, the note said, "I don't know the Ranger Creed, but you can count on me to always be there." He lived up to his promise many times over.

To have shared so much with and been so dependent on people of such courage, physical and moral, integrity and selflessness taught me to believe.

Annie's here tonight. No doubt she walked the 50 feet from our front door in cute little Italian shoes of which we have an extensive collection. (Laughter.) In Afghanistan, I once considered using Annie's shoe purchases as an argument to get Italy to send additional forces. (Laughter.) But truth be known, I have no control over that part of the McChrystal economy. (Laughter.)

But she's here like she's always been there when it mattered. Always gorgeous. For three and a half years, she was my girlfriend then fiancée and, for over 33 years, she's been my wife.

For many years, I've joked, sometimes publicly, about her lousy cooking, terrifying closets, demolition derby driving and addiction to M&M candy, which is all true. But as we conclude a career together, it's important for you to know she was there.

She was there when my father commissioned me a second lieutenant of infantry and was waiting some months later when I emerged from Ranger School. Together, we moved all we owned in my used Chevrolet Vega to our first apartment at Fort Bragg. The move, with our first days in our $180-a-month apartment, was the only honeymoon I was able to give her, a fact she has mentioned a few times since.

Annie always knew what to do. She was gracious when she answered the door at midnight in her nightgown to fight Sergeant Emo Holtz, a huge mortarman, carrying a grocery bag of cheap liquor for a platoon party I'd hastily coordinated that evening and not told Annie about following a Friday night jump. I got home not long after to find Annie making food for assembling paratroopers. Intuitively, Annie knew what was right and quietly did it.

With 9/11, she saw us off to war and patiently supported the families of our fallen with stoic grace. As the years passed and the fight grew ever more difficult and deadly, Annie's quiet courage gave me strength I would never otherwise have found.

It's an axiom in the Army that soldiers write the checks but families pay the bills. And war increases both the accuracy of that statement and the cost families pay.

In a novel based on history, Steven Pressfield captured poignantly just how important families were and, I believe, are today. Facing an invading Persian army under King Xerxes, a coalition of Greek states sent a small force to buy time by defending the pass at Thermopylae and were led by 300 special, selected Spartans. The mission was desperate and death for the 300 certain.

Before he left to lead them, the Spartan king, Leonidas, explained to one of the Spartan wives how he had selected the 300 from an entire army famed for its professionalism, courage and dedication to duty.

"I chose them not for their valor, lady, but for that of their women. Greece stands now upon her most perilous hour. If she saves herself, it will not be at the gates. Death alone awaits us and our allies there but later in battles yet to come by land and sea.

"Then Greece, if the gods will it, will preserve herself. Do you understand this, lady? Well, now, listen, when the battle is over, when the 300 have gone to death, then all Greece will look to the Spartans to see how they bear it. But who, lady, will the Spartans look to? To you. To you and the other wives and mothers, sisters and daughters of the fallen.

"If they behold your hearts riven and broken with grief, they too will break and Greece will break with them. But if you bear up, dry eyed, not alone enduring your loss but seizing it with contempt for its agony and embracing it as the honor that it is in truth, then Sparta will stand and all Greece will stand behind her.

"Why have I nominated you, lady, to bear up beneath this most terrible of trials, you and your sisters of the 300? Because you can."

To all who wear no uniform but give so much, sacrifice so willingly and serve as such an example to our nation and each other, my thanks.

As I leave the Army, to those with responsibility to carry on, I'd say, service in this business is tough and often dangerous. It extracts a price for participation, and that price can be high.

It is tempting to protect yourself from the personal or professional costs of loss by limiting how much you commit, how much of belief and trust in people, and how deeply you care. Caution and cynicism are safe, but soldiers don't want to follow cautious cynics. They follow leaders who believe enough to risk failure or disappointment for a worthy cause.

If I had it to do over again, I'd do some things in my career differently but not many. I believed in people, and I still believe in them. I trusted and I still trust. I cared and I still care. I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Winston Churchill said we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. To the young leaders of today and tomorrow, it's a great life. Thank you. (Applause.)

=

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This is a true American and a truer public servant, we need a lot more like him!!!

Sheriff Tony DeMeo, goes against the BLM and Forest Service, Parts- One - Two - Three

Skip

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Wouldn't it be wonderful if our elected officals in Capitol Hill

had the knowledge...honesty....and honor that this elected Sheriff

DeMeo has!!!!

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Congratulations Rear Adm. Tyson - and America! :thumbsupanim Thank's for the great post Gar! - Terry

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This is not a political statement for or against any person or party but just a drop in

the bucket of what actually took place shortly after the USA was attacked on 9/11...

Condoleezza Rice ordered George Bush not to return to Washington after the 9/11 attacks before hanging up the phone, the former national security advisor revealed in a documentary interview.

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Condoleeza Rice had to 'raise her voice' to convince the President not to return to Washington Photo: AP In a heated exchange, Ms Rice had to argue with the US President in Florida not to return to the White House because it was a potential terrorist target.

She told the Channel 4 documentary: "The President got on the phone and he said: 'I'm coming back'.

"I said: 'You cannot come back here. The United States of America is under attack, you have to go to safety. We don't know what is going on here'.

"He said: 'I'm coming back'. I said: 'You can't'.

"I said to him in a raised voice, and I had never raised my voice to the president before, I said: 'You cannot come back here'. I hung up.

"The president was quite annoyed with me to say the least.

"I've known the president a long time and I knew that he wanted nothing more than to be there at the helm of the ship."

Ms Rice also revealed that the bunker beneath the White House, where she was sheltering with Vice President Dick Cheney, began to run out of air.

She said: "There were so many people in the bunker that the oxygen levels started dropping and the secret service came in and said we've got to get some people out of here.

"They literally went around telling people that they weren't essential and they had to leave."

Meanwhile, the government communication systems were failing and even Mr Bush resorted to an unsecured line to talk to Washington.

Ms Rice said: "Despite all of the sophisticated hierarchy, sophisticated command and control equipment that we had, at that moment much of it didn't function very well and people instead did whatever they could to communicate messages. And frankly we then had to make it up.

"I think back on the number of cell phones that were probably used to communicate the most sensitive information because somebody was driving in or somebody couldn't get to a landline.

"And I think how really dangerous that was because if the terrorists were monitoring our communications, they would have heard a lot on cell phones."

Mr Bush gave the order authorising the airforce to shoot down any commercial airliner that was not responding.

And when United 93 came down Ms Rice and the other officials believed it may have been shot out of the sky.

She said: "Everyone in that room thinks that perhaps it's been shot down. I got on the phone with somebody at the National Military Command Centre... just saying: 'You must know whether or not you you've shot down a commercial airliner or not.'

"That was just a horrible thought that the American air force would have shot down innocent civilians, that was a horrible thought."

She continued: "As I've reflected now on what the passengers and crew of, of 93, flight 93 did, first of all there's a sense of personal gratitude that they may well have saved my life, me personally.

"I also think of what they did for the country because had another plane hit the White House or the capital I just don't think we had much more capacity to absorb greater shock than we already had."

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The new guy would probably just take a vacation...........

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post-300-088844500 1284240731_thumb.jpgWASHINGTON -- A U.S. soldier who risked his life in Afghanistan in 2007 to save a wounded comrade from being captured by enemy forces will receive the Medal of Honor from President Obama, it was announced Friday.

Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta will be the first living person awarded the medal, the nation's top military honor, since the Vietnam War. The medal is given for the highest valor in combat.

Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta served in the Army as rifle team leader for the 2nd Battalion 503rd Infantry during combat operations in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. The White House says Giunta went beyond the call of duty in October 2007 when he exposed himself to enemy fire to pull a comrade back to cover.

When he later noticed two insurgents carrying away another soldier, Giunta engaged the enemy, killing one and wounding the other before he rescued the soldier and tried to provide medical aid.

Obama notified Giunta on Thursday that he will receive the award in a White House ceremony on an as-yet undetermined date.

post-300-042159100 1284240824_thumb.jpgGiunta, 25, was born and raised in Hiawatha, Iowa, and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2005, receiving Basic and Infantry training at Ft. Benning, Ga.

He has been deployed for combat to Afghanistan on two occasions, his first in March 2005 until March 2006, and his most recent from May 2007 until July 2008.

Giunta's past decorations and honors include: The Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, an Army Service Ribbon and the NATO Service Medal. His actions as specialist in 2007 also had him promoted to staff sergeant in August 2009.

Giunta will become the eighth serviceman to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The first soldier to receive the award was Sgt.1st Class Monti, who was honored last September for operations in Afghanistan.

Currently stationed with his wife as a non-commissioned officer in charge of the rear detachment for the 2nd Battalion 503rd Infantry in Vicenza, Italy, Giunta works and is responsible for the morale, training, health and welfare of all assigned personnel in his area.

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Here's the true hero's that we should be honoring every day by offering to help them!!!!

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Double-Amputee Returns to Combat

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ASHOQEH, Afghanistan -- When a bomb exploded under Dan Luckett's Army Humvee in Iraq two years ago -- blowing off one of his legs and part of his foot -- the first thing he thought was: "That's it. You're done. No more Army for you."

But two years later, the 27-year-old Norcross, Ga., native is back on duty -- a double-amputee fighting on the front lines of America's Afghan surge in one of the most dangerous parts of this volatile country.

Luckett's remarkable recovery can be attributed in part to dogged self-determination. But technological advances have been crucial: Artificial limbs today are so effective, some war-wounded like Luckett are not only able to do intensive sports like snow skiing, they can return to active duty as fully operational Soldiers. The Pentagon says 41 American amputee veterans are now serving in combat zones worldwide.

Luckett was a young platoon leader on his first tour in Iraq when an explosively formed penetrator -- a bomb that hurls an armor-piercing lump of molten copper -- ripped through his vehicle on a Baghdad street on Mother's Day 2008.

His Humvee cabin instantly filled with heavy gray smoke and the smell of burning diesel and molten metal. Luckett felt an excruciating pain and a "liquid" -- his blood -- pouring out of his legs. He looked down and saw a shocking sight: his own left foot sheared off above the ankle and his right boot a bloody mangle of flesh and dust.

Still conscious, he took deep breaths and made a deliberate effort to calm down.

A voice rang out over the radio -- his squad leader checking in.

"1-6, is everybody all right?" the Soldier asked, referring to Luckett's call-sign.

"Negative," Luckett responded. "My feet are gone."

He was evacuated by helicopter to a Baghdad emergency room, flown to Germany, and six days after the blast, he was back in the U.S.

As his plane touched down at Andrews Air Force Base, he made a determined decision. He was going to rejoin the 101st Airborne Division any way he could.

For the first month at Washington's Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Luckett was bound to a wheelchair. He hated the dependence that came with it. He hated the way people changed their voice when they spoke to him -- soft and sympathetic.

He wondered: How long is THIS going to last? Will I be dependent on others for the rest of my life?

At night, he dreamed of walking on two legs.

When he woke, only the stump of his left leg was there, painfully tender and swollen.

His family wanted to know, is this going to be the same Dan?

He assured them he was.

Luckett was fortunate in one sense. His wounds had been caused not by shrapnel, but the projectile itself, which made a relatively clean cut. That meant no complications -- no joint or nerve damage or bone fractures.

His right foot was sheered across his metatarsals, the five long bones before the toes. Doctors fitted it with a removable carbon fiber plate that runs under the foot and fills the space where toes should be with hardened foam.

His left leg was a far bigger challenge.

In early July, Luckett strapped into a harness, leaned on a set of parallel bars, and tried out his first prosthetic leg.

It felt awkward, but he was able to balance and walk.

The next day, Luckett tried the leg on crutches -- and tried to walk out the door.

"They were like, 'You gotta' give the leg back,' " Luckett said of his therapists. After a brief argument, they grudgingly gave in. "They said, 'If you're gonna be that hard-headed about it, do it smart, don't wear it all the time.' "

By February 2009, he had progressed so far, he could run a mile in eight minutes.

He rejoined his unit at Fort Campbell, Ky., and told his battalion commander he wanted to return to duty "only if I could be an asset, not a liability," he recalled.

Months later, he passed a physical fitness test to attain the Expert Infantryman's Badge. It required running 12 miles (19 kilometers) in under three hours with a 35-pound (16-kilogram) backpack. It was a crucial moment, Luckett said, "because I knew if I can get this badge, then there's nothing they can say that I'm not capable of doing."

The Army agreed, and promoted him to captain.

In May, he deployed to Afghanistan.

On his first patrol, wearing 50 pounds (23 kilograms) of gear and body armor, Luckett slipped and fell down. But when he looked around, everybody else was falling, too.

The region around his outpost at Ashoqeh, just west of the provincial capital of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan, is surrounded by irrigation trenches and 4-foot-high mud walls that grapes grow over. Troops must traverse the treacherous terrain to avoid bombs on footpaths.

Capt. Brant Auge, Luckett's 30-year-old company commander, said Luckett was as capable as every Soldier in his company, and treated no different.

"He's a Soldier who just happens to be missing a leg," said Auge, who is from Ocean Springs, Miss. "He tries to play it down as much as possible; he doesn't like to bring a lot of attention to it."

On one of those early patrols, Luckett took to a knee and his pants leg rode up a little bit, revealing the prosthetic limb to a shocked group of Afghan soldiers nearby, Auge said. One gave him the nickname, the "One-legged Warrior of Ashoqeh."

Beside his cramped bunk-bed, the 185-pound, 5-foot-11 Luckett keeps prosthetic legs for different tasks, each with a carbon fiber socket that attaches to his thigh.

One is fitted with a tennis shoe for running, another a boot. One, made of aluminum so it won't rust, has a waterproof black Croc for showering. The most important leg though, he saves for patrols. It is made with a high-tech axle that allows him to move smoothly over uneven terrain. His squad leader painted its toenails purple.

Luckett's prothesis is often a source of good humor -- most often generated by Luckett himself.

Some joke of his advantage of having little to lose if he steps on a mine. "That's always a big one," he said, "but the reality is, you don't want to step on an IED because you enjoy living and you want stay living. The fear is no different than any other Soldier."

Before heading to Afghanistan, Auge said Luckett had an as yet untried "master plan" to upset the insurgents.

Troops would have Luckett step on a mine and blow his fake leg off. He'd then look up at the trigger man while whipping a replacement leg over his shoulder and slipping it on.

"Then he would flip them off," Auge said, "and keep on walking."

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This post is in honor of a great American GI...in a couple of wars before mine....and

sitting in a cold lonely bubble flying backward all over Europe as a B-17 tailgunner

was my Dad who I believe whould approved of this post....

A lot of people have never heard of him but he is worth reading about.

An outstanding story:

This is an outstanding new US stamp for 2010.

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Makes ya proud to put this stamp on your envelopes........

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Bill Mauldin stamp honors grunts' hero.

The post office gets a lot of criticism. Always has, always will.

And with the renewed push to get rid of Saturday mail deli very, expect complaints to intensify.

But the United States Postal Service deserves a standing ovation for something that happened last month: Bill Mauldin got his own postage stamp.

Mauldin died at age 81 in the early days of 2003. The end of his life had been rugged. He had been scalded in a bathtub, which led to terrible injuries and infections; Alzheimer's disease was inflicting its cruelties. Unable to care for himself after the scalding, he became a resident of aCalifornia nursing home, his health and spirits in rapid decline.[/size]post-300-092185600 1287333851_thumb.jpg

He was not forgotten, though. Mauldin, and his work, meant so much to the millions of Americans who fought in World War II, and to those who had waited for them to come home. He was a kid cartoonist for Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper; Mauldin's drawings of his muddy, exhausted, whisker-stubbled infantrymen Willie and Joe were the voice of truth about what it was like on the front lines.post-300-037627500 1287333966_thumb.jpg

Mauldin was an enlisted man just like the soldiers he drew for; his gripes were their gripes, his laughs were their laughs, his heartaches were their heartaches. He was one of them. They loved him.post-300-072482400 1287334105_thumb.jpg

He never held back. Sometimes, when his cartoons cut too close for comfort, his superior officers tried to tone him down. In one memorable incident, he enraged Gen. George S. Patton, and Patton informed Mauldin he wanted the pointed cartoons -- celebrating the fighting men, lampooning the high-ranking officers -- to stop. Now.post-300-026094400 1287334215_thumb.gif

"I'm beginning to feel like a fugative from th' law of averages."

The news passed from soldier to soldier. How was Sgt. Bill Mauldin going to stand up to Gen. Patton? It seemed impossible.post-300-036150600 1287334379_thumb.jpg

Not quite. Mauldin, it turned out, had an ardent fan: Five-star Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allied forces in Europe . Ike put out the word: Mauldin draws what Mauldin wants. Mauldin won. Patton lost.

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If, in your line of work, you've ever considered yourself a young hotshot, or if you've ever known anyone who has felt that way about himself or herself, the story of Mauldin's young manhood will humble you. Here is what, by the time he was 23 years old, Mauldin had accomplished:post-300-062645200 1287334529_thumb.gif

He won the Pulitzer Prize. He was featured on the cover of Time magazine. His book "Up Front" was the No. 1 best-seller in the United States .

All of that at 23. Yet when he returned to civilian life and he grew older, he never lost that boyish Mauldin grin, he never outgrew his excitement about doing his job, he never big-shotted or high-hatted the people with whom he worked every day.post-300-051365400 1287334621_thumb.jpg

I was lucky enough to be one of them; Mauldin roamed the hallways of the ChicagoSun-Times in the late 1960s and early 1970s with no more officiousness or air of haughtiness than if he was a copyboy. That impish look on his face remained.post-300-056595600 1287334686_thumb.jpg

He had achieved so much. He had won a second Pulitzer Prize, and he should have won a third, for what may be the single greatest editorial cartoon in the history of the craft: his deadline rendering, on the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, of the statue at the Lincoln Memorial slumped in grief, its head cradled in its hands. But he never acted as if he was better than the people he met. He was still Mauldin the enlisted man.post-300-005523800 1287334856_thumb.jpg

During the late summer of 2002, as Mauldin lay in that California nursing home, some of the old World War II infantry guys caught wind of it. They didn't want Mauldin to go out that way. They thought he should know that he was still their hero.post-300-032704000 1287334955_thumb.jpg"This is th' town my pappy told me about."

Gordon Dillow, a columnist for the Orange County Register, put out the call in Southern California for people in the area to send their best wishes to Mauldin; I joined Dillow in the effort, helping to spread the appeal nationally so that Bill would not feel so alone. Soon more than 10,000 letters and cards had arrived at Mauldin's bedside.

Even better than that, the old soldiers began to show up just to sit with Mauldin, to let him know that they were there for him, as he, long ago, had been there for them. So many volunteered to visit Bill that there was a waiting list. Here is how Todd DePastino, in the first paragraph of his wonderful biography of Mauldin, described it:

"Almost every day in the summer and fall of 2002 they came to Park Superior nursing home in Newport Beach , California , to honor Army Sergeant, Technician Third Grade, Bill Mauldin. They came bearing relics of their youth: medals, insignia, photographs, and carefully folded newspaper clippings. Some wore old garrison caps. Others arrived resplendent in uniforms over a half century old. Almost all of them wept as they filed down the corridor like pilgrims fulfilling some long-neglected obligation."post-300-048994300 1287335064_thumb.jpg

One of the veterans explained to me why it was so important:

"You would have to be part of a combat infantry unit to appreciate what moments of relief Bill gave us. You had to be reading a soaking wet Stars and Stripes in a water-filled foxhole and then see one of his cartoons."post-300-093955500 1287335170_thumb.jpg"Th' hell this ain't th' most important hole in the world. I'm in it."

Mauldin is buried in Arlington National Cemetery . Last month, the kid cartoonist made it onto a first-class postage stamp. It's an honor that most generals and admirals never receive.post-300-074430700 1287335294_thumb.jpg

What Mauldin would have loved most, I believe, is the sight of the two guys who are keeping him company on that stamp.

Take a look at it.

There's Willie. There's Joe.post-300-098704200 1287335356_thumb.jpg

And there, to the side, drawing them and smiling that shy, quietly observant smile, is Mauldin himself. With his buddies, right where he belongs. Forever.

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BOB HOPE IN HEAVEN

For those of you too young to remember Bob Hope, ask your Grandparents .

And "thanks for the memories". WHAT A WONDERFUL E-MAIL.

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HOPE THIS WILL PUT A SMILE ON YOUR FACE AND IN YOUR HEART.

Tribute to a man who DID make a difference.

post-300-068223700 1287483470_thumb.jpg

ON TURNING 70

'You still chase women, but only downhill'.

ON TURNING 80

'That's the time of your life when even your birthday suit needs pressing.'

ON TURNING 90

'You know you're getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.'

ON TURNING 100

'I don't feel old. In fact, I don't feel anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap.'

ON GIVING UP HIS EARLY CAREER, BOXING

'I ruined my hands in the ring. The referee kept stepping on them.'

ON NEVER WINNING AN OSCAR

'Welcome to the Academy Awards or, as it's called at my home, 'Passover'..

ON GOLF

'Golf is my profession. Show business is just to pay the green fees.'

ON PRESIDENTS

'I have performed for 12 presidents and entertained only six.'

ON WHY HE CHOSE SHOWBIZ FOR HIS CAREER

'When I was born, the doctor said to my mother,

"Congratulations, you have an eight pound ham. "

ON RECEIVING THE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL

'I feel very humble, but I think I have the strength of character to fight it.'

ON HIS FAMILY'S EARLY POVERTY

'Four of us slept in the one bed.

When it got cold, mother threw on another brother.'

ON HIS SIX BROTHERS

'That's how I learned to dance. Waiting for the bathroom.'

ON HIS EARLY FAILURES

'I would not have had anything to eat if it wasn't

for the stuff the audience threw at me.'

ON GOING TO HEAVEN

'I've done benefits for ALL religions.

I'd hate to blow the hereafter on a technicality.'

post-300-041338600 1287483641_thumb.jpg

Give me a sense of humor.

Lord, Give me the grace to see a joke,

to get some humor out of life and pass it on to other folks.

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Dear Fellow Proud Americans,

As a retired Special Forces-qualified combat medical officer, I'm honored to forward this message from a U.S. Marine to his father and on to my extended e-mail circle of family, friends and neighbors. Let me also invite everyone to go to www.peasegreeters.org in consideration of joining my family in supporting our troops who are deploying from or returning to Pease Air National Guard Base at the Pease Terminal Building in Newington in order to show them our support and appreciation for their selfless participation in America's global war on terror.

May God bless America, and may God bless our sisters and brothers who are serving in harms way on our behalf.

ALL THE WAY, AND THEN SOME! AIRBORNE! (A traditional U.S. Army Airborne salutation!)

Mike

Dr. Mike Crago, LTCOL, USA (Ret.)

11 Augusta Way, Dover, NH 03820-5013

Voice: 603.749.2590 & Mobile: 603.969.8734

OUR MARINES SERVING IN AFGHANISTAN VERY MUCH WANT THIS TO CIRCULATE AMONG THE AMERICAN PEOPLE:

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Psalm 30:5

THE MARINES WANT THIS TO ROLL ALL OVER THE U.S.

Please don't delete this until you send

it on. Let's send it around the world.

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This is a poem being sent from a Marine

to his Dad. For those who take the time

to read it, you'll see a letter from him to

his dad at the bottom. It makes you truly thankful for not only the Marines, but

ALL of our troops.

THE MARINE

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We all came together,

Both young and old

To fight for our freedom,

To stand and be bold.

post-300-003099900 1288129239_thumb.jpg

In the midst of all evil,

We stand our ground,

And we protect our country

From all terror around.

post-300-061430000 1288129343_thumb.jpg

Peace and not war,

Is what some people say.

But I'll give my life,

So you can live the American way

post-300-094896900 1288129652_thumb.jpg

I give you the right

To talk of your peace.

To stand in your groups,

and protest in our streets.

post-300-070963300 1288129771_thumb.jpg

But still I fight on,

I don't fuss, I don't whine.

I'm just one of the people!

Who is doing your time.

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I'm harder than nails,

Stronger than any machine.

I'm the immortal soldier,

I'm a U.S. MARINE!

post-300-048604400 1288129962_thumb.jpg

So stand in my shoes,

And leave from your home.

Fight for the people who hate you,

With the protests they've shown.

Fight for the stranger,

Fight for the young.

So they all may have,

The greatest freedom you've won

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Fight for the sick,

Fight for the poor

Fight for the cripple,

Who lives next door.

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But when your time comes,

Do what I've done.

For if you stand up for freedom,

You'll stand when the fight's done

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By: Corporal

Aaron M. Gilbert, US Marine Corps

USS SAIPAN, PERSIAN GULF

Hey Dad,

Do me a favor and label this 'The Marine' and send it

to everybody on your email list.. Even leave this letter in it.

I want this rolling all over the US; I want every home reading it. Every eye seeing it.

And every heart to feel it. So can you please send this for me? I would but my email time isn't that long and

I don 't have much time anyway.

You know what Dad?

I wondered what it would be like to truly

understand what JFK said in His inaugural speech. 'When the time comes to lay down my life for my

country, I do not cower from this responsibility.. I

welcome it.'

Well, now I know. And I do. Dad, I welcome the opportunity to do what I do.

Even though I have left behind a beautiful wife, and I will miss the birth of our first born child, I would do it 70 times over to fight for the place that God has made for my home.

I love you all and I miss you very much.

I wish I could be there when Sandi has our

baby, but tell her that I love her, and Lord willing, I

will be coming home soon. Give Mom a great big hug from me and give one to yourself too.

Aaron

Please let this marine (and all our military) know

we care by passing his poem onto your friends even

if you don't usually take time to forward mail...do it this

time!

Let's help Aaron's dad spread the word ....

FREEDOM isn't FREE

Someone pays for you and me.

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One of Maxine's best!! Indeed!

Minorities

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We need to show more sympathy for these people.

* They travel miles in the heat.

* They risk their lives crossing a border.

* They don't get paid enough wages.

* They do jobs that others won't do or are afraid to do.

* They live in crowded conditions among a people who speak a different language.

* They rarely see their families, and they face adversity all day ~ every day.

I'm not talking about illegal Mexicans. I'm talking about our troops! Doesn't it seem strange that the Democrats are willing to lavish all kinds of social benefits on illegals, but don't support our troops, and are even threatening to defund them?

If you wish, pass this on. It is worth the short time it takes to read it.

post-300-084441900 1288698796_thumb.gif

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The passenger is James May one of the hosts of the BBC TV (auto oriented and funny) show TopGear - This programme is available in the USA on BBC America usually on Sunday nights.

A Ride in a U2 Spy Plane You can see why the U-2 is considered the most difficult plane in the world to fly. Each pilot has a co-pilot, who chases the plane on the runway in a sports car. Most of the cars are either Pontiac GTOs or Chevrolet Cameros — the Air Force buys American. The chase cars talk the pilot down as he lands on bicycle-style landing gear.

In that spacesuit, the pilot in the plane simply cannot get a good view of the runway. Upon takeoff, the wings on this plane, which extend 103 feet from tip to tip, literally flap. To stabilize the wings on the runway, two pogo sticks on wheels prop up the ends of the wings.

As the plane flies away, the pogo sticks drop off. The plane climbs at an amazing rate of nearly 10,000 feet a minute. Within about four minutes, I was at 40,000 feet, higher than any commercial airplane. We kept going up to 13 miles above Earth's surface.

You get an incredible sensation up there. As you look out the windows, it feels like you're floating, it feels like you're not moving, but you're actually going 500 mph.. The U-2 was built to go higher than any other aircraft. In fact today, more than 50 years since it went into production, the U-2 flies higher than any aircraft in the world with the exception of the space shuttle.

It is flying more missions and longer missions than ever before — nearly 70 missions a month over Iraq and Afghanistan , an operational tempo that is unequaled in history. The pilots fly for 11 hours at a time, sometimes more than 11 hours up there alone. By flying so high, the U-2 has the capability of doing reconnaissance over a country without actually violating its airspace. It can look off to the side, peering 300 miles or more inside a country without actually flying over it. It can "see" in the dark and through clouds.

It can also "hear," intercepting conversations 14 miles below. The U-2, an incredible piece of history and also a current piece of high technology, is at the center of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan .

Enjoy the ride! Lockheed U-2 Take A Ride in a Spy Plane, Click the link below.

Click Here for a Ride In a U2 - Have Your Sound On <http://www.wimp.com/breathtakingfootage/>

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Now that is what I call spending our money wisely! Plane lovers Video of the year! try this one: RIDE TO HEAVEN!

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