Archive for the 'Navy' Category

Vaccine Mandate Is Hurting Recruiting, Top Marine General Says

1 year, 5 months ago

Give the Marines credit for at least citing the cause. Last week here at TCJ, we noted how the Navy gave no reasons for its recruiting and retention problems.

The COVID-19 vaccine mandate is contributing to the military’s recruitment troubles, the top general in the Marine Corps said on Saturday.

Speaking during a panel at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger defended the vaccine mandate as a necessity for keeping the force healthy. But he indicated the mandate has posed problems for recruiting in pockets of the United States where vaccine misinformation is prevalent.

“Where it is having an impact for sure is on recruiting, where in parts of the country there’s still myths and misbeliefs about the back story behind it,” Berger said.

Speaking to reporters at the conference later Saturday afternoon, Berger added that the mandate has posed an issue for recruiting in the South in particular.

“There was not accurate information out early on and it was very politicized and people make decisions and they still have those same beliefs. That’s hard to work your way past really hard to work,” he said in response to a question from

“Small areas, big factor,” he added when pressed about how much the mandate has contributed to recruiting issues. “You talk to me in the cafeteria, and one of my first questions is, ‘Do I have to get that vaccine?’ And you go, ‘Yeah, you do.’ Ok, I’ll talk to you later. It’s that fast.”

The military has faced a recruiting crisis over the last year as it tackles the twin difficulties of increasing numbers of Americans unqualified to serve and decreasing numbers of those who are qualified being interested in serving.

One Pentagon study found that only 23% of young Americans would be eligible, pointing primarily to obesity and minor legal infractions related to things like marijuana use as precluding the vast majority from putting on the uniform.

Navy raises enlistment age limit to 41 as recruiting problems continue

1 year, 5 months ago


Oddly the article fails to address the causes of recruiting shortfalls.

The U.S. Navy has raised its maximum age for general enlistment from 39 to 41, after the U.S. military saw historic struggles with recruiting in the 2022 fiscal year and signs of continued struggles ahead.

Navy Times first reported on the new enlistment age cutoff on Monday. The updated age limit went into effect last week.

Prior to this change, the Navy’s general enlistment cutoff age was 39 and sailors had to report to boot camp before their 40th birthday. Under the new change, recruits must now report to boot camp before their 42nd birthday.

“As we continue to navigate a challenging recruiting environment, raising the enlistment age allows us to widen the pool of potential recruits, creating opportunities for personnel who wish to serve,” Navy Recruiting Command spokesman Cmdr. Dave Benham told Navy Times.


At the present moment, the U.S. Army’s maximum general enlistment age is still set at 35 years old.

The U.S. Air Force’s maximum general enlistment age is 40.

The U.S. Marine Corp maintains the lowest general enlistment age, requiring recruits to enlist by age 28.

In addition to raising its enlistment age, the Navy has been rolling out other measures to attract more recruits.

This year, the Navy barely passed its active-component enlisted recruiting goal 33,400 new enlisted sailors, bringing in 33,442 sailors in total. While it barely met it’s active enlisted recruiting goal, the Navy missed its 200 active-duty officer goal number by 209 officers.

We’re not sure if the 200 vs. 209 numbers are correct or if there is an error in the reporting. Does this mean they had a net loss of nine officers?

The service’s reserve component also saw shortfalls. By the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, the Navy Reserve had recruited 5,442 new recruits of its 7,400-recruit goal. The Navy Reserve also brought in 982 new officers out of its goal of 1,360.

The US military has devolved into a jobs program at this point. But why bother with all the hassle of military life when you can make more money doing roofing without concerning yourself with learning English? Patriotism is why Americans joined up and tolerated the rigors of military life, but the reasons to be patriotic have been systematically removed.

US Naval History and The Current China Threat

1 year, 6 months ago

“Hoist the Flag and Sound the Trumpet” is a bit of a long read, but if all things Navy interest you, check it out.

The need for a navy has been recognized for thousands of years. The Athenian Themistocles said that “he who controls the sea controls everything.” And you cannot control the sea without a sufficient navy. By the American Revolution, we had our own naval advocate in John Paul Jones who said, “in time of peace, it is necessary to prepare, and always be prepared for war by sea…without a respectable navy, alas America.” But how do you do that?

We can go start at the American Revolution when an ad hoc navy was both constructed and procured, when merchant ships became privateers or, like the Bonhomme Richard converted to a warship. We had a continental navy, state navies, privateers, and an ally with the French navy, but coordination was always a challenge. Harassing British seaborne commerce largely fell to the privateers. During the war, 1,700 letters of marque were issued. In the last year of the war alone there were 450 privateers patrolling the Atlantic seeking British merchant ships as prizes. Privateers captured three times as many prizes as the Continental Navy. British shipping insurance, as a result, increased ten-fold to thirty percent of their cargo value. That made merchants take notice who shared their displeasure with their members of Parliament.

Following the war, absent a navy, the young nation faced a new debate about a new Constitution. And in that debate between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists, we find them just as passionate on whether to have a standing navy and the size of the navy as on any other subject. It is Alexander Hamilton in Federalist Paper 11 who argued for a standing navy – a navy of respectable weight including great ships of the line against maritime powers to place a check on them. In Federalist Paper 41, James Madison argued that the Atlantic states and towns would benefit from naval protection, “if they have hitherto been suffered to sleep quietly in their beds.”

And, so, was born a clause in Article 1 Section 8 of the new United States Constitution that Congress must “provide and maintain a navy.” What remained to be determined, however, is what size to make an eventual navy.


We as a nation and a navy are not ready because we have chosen not to be. What do we need to prepare for a potential conflict with China?

We need executive vision and action.

We need congressional interest, oversight and funding.

We need a navy to build operational platforms.

We need a much larger industrial base. 

Well, our industrial base was shipped (sorry, couldn’t resist) to China. The fixation with the number of ships is strange. And, who precisely, is going to man these ships?


Lessons from the 600-Ship Navy

1 year, 7 months ago


The U.S. Navy of the 1980s provides a reminder what serious peer competition in the naval sphere looks like and the resources and human willpower that it requires. E. B. Potter describes the 1980s buildup to counter the Soviet Union as the “most expensive peacetime military buildup in the nation’s history, to cost $1.5 trillion in five years . . . the Navy would be built up from 456 to 600 ships, including 15 carrier-centered battle groups.”1

The 1980s maritime strategy and naval buildup was advocated by senior officers in uniform, approved by civilian leadership, and then laboriously implemented across all levels. Growing pains were worked out, and complex exercises in frigid environments executed. The renaissance of naval strategic thought in the late 1970s and subsequent buildup of the 1980s should provide a source of strength and inspiration to today’s sailors and civilian defense officials. Lessons in strategy, fleet exercises, and force structure remain directly relevant.


A clearly defined naval strategy with concrete operations and tactics guided the 1980s naval expansion. John Lehman, Secretary of the Navy from 1981 to 1987, notes that President Ronald Reagan “approved the Navy recommendation to begin at once pursuing a forward strategy of aggressive exercising around the vulnerable coasts of Russia,” and “this demonstrated to the Soviets that we could defeat the combined Warsaw Pact Navies and use the seas to strike and destroy their vital strategic assets with carrier-based air power.”4 Active-duty naval officers such as Admiral James Holloway, Admiral Thomas Hayward, and Admiral James Lyons had long been advocating for such a strategy. These officers, as well as many others, rejected the consensus view of the previous Carter administration on the role of the Navy in a war with the Soviet Union:

We’ll get back to that. We have questions about the differences between then and now. The real threat to America is from the south. The border is wide open. Russia and China’s vested interests are in letting the US continue its long, slow, ugly decline into the wastebin of history, although America seems bent upon hastening that demise. Who is going to man, oops, person this Navy; Nigerians, Nicaraguans?

The primary lesson is that when it’s not your money, who cares what it costs? That 1980s Navy never got paid for.

Carter subscribed to the NATO strategy that called for employing most of America’s military resources to support the Allied front in Germany. The Navy’s primary role would be defense of the Atlantic SLOC [sea lines of communication], a task that would not require many large deck carriers. Carter’s SLOC strategy prompted Admiral Holloway and a number of naval analysts to warn that if the Navy implemented this policy, it would be unable to perform other vital wartime tasks . . . the strategy essentially ceded the Pacific theater to the Soviets.5

It takes years or a decade to develop warfare systems technologies. We’re no fan of Carter, but one thing he never gets any credit for is signing the bills that enabled a massive technology uplift to all branches of the Department of Defense. The foundation for many technologies that would be used in Desert Storm was started in the 70s and early 80s.

I joined the Navy in the 1980s. The training was excellent. There was a no-nonsense business approach to all phases of operations. The enlisted men were trusted and respected (if they worked). There was no radical transformation at the time using the military as a testbed for the integration of the perverse.

Lehman (SecDef in the 80s) describes how the Navy visibly drilled around clearly defined operations and tactics that flowed from the 1980s global maritime strategy:

Nine months after the President’s inauguration, three U.S. and two Royal Navy carriers    executed offensive exercises in the Norwegian Sea and Baltic. In this and subsequent massive exercises there and in the northwest Pacific carried out every year, carrier aircraft proved that they could operate effectively in ice and fog, penetrate the best   defenses, and strike all of the bases and nodes of the Soviet strategic nuclear fleet.10


In a 1986 defense of the maritime strategy in Proceedings, Lehman described the scale of the naval exercises of the 1980s and how strategy guided this training:

Title 10 of the U. S. Code charges the Secretary of the Navy with ensuring the highest level of training appropriate to the responsibilities placed upon both the Marine Corps and the Navy. That is what strategy provides to us—a framework within which to train. For example, U. S. naval forces recently conducted a major training exercise, “Ocean Safari 85,” with our NATO allies and the U.S. Coast Guard and Air Force. The “Safari” assembled off the East Coast of the United States and fought its way across the Atlantic, moved north of England and east of Iceland, and ended up in the Norwegian Sea. Approximately 155 ships and 280 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters operated for four weeks in this environment, against 19 real Soviet ships and submarines and 96 Soviet aircraft sorties.11

Taking “great-power competition” as more than just a buzzword requires robust naval exercises so that the Navy can practice like it would fight when confronting a peer adversary. Exercises of such magnitude require depth in the force structure.

Penetrating deep into areas where Soviets had significant assets required electronic deception and emissions control. Admiral Lyons explained how central these concepts were to his fleet exercises in the Norwegian Sea and High North:

The first thing I did after taking command was to tear up the old canned Ocean Venture OPORD [operation order] . . . They were still using World War II carrier formations . . . such a formation was easily tracked by Soviet satellites. What we did was plot out Soviet satellite area footprints and time of exposure. We then went to dispersed dispositions. We used a number of cover and deception decoys and tactics.12

Lehman describes one exercise where Lyons endeavored to make “his entire strike group disappear” through emissions control and foul weather, then reappearing in the Norwegian Sea to the Soviets’ surprise.13 Utilizing military deception and emissions control effectively is a skill that requires practice and risk management but is necessary when operating within a peer adversary’s weapon’s release range.14


The 600-Ship Navy occurred without hollowing the force or falling behind in technological advancements. The 1980s buildup centered on proven platforms while at the same time making critical investments in precision-guided munitions, electronic warfare, and standoff jamming.18 Admiral Hayward (1980s Admiral who would climb to Chief of Naval Operations, the top naval man over all ships and units able to put to sea) made very clear that naval expansion must be made without a decline in readiness:

. . . units which are incapable of meeting the threat are, in a sense, worse than none, because they give some a false sense of our total capabilities vis-à-vis the Soviets. This means that quality cannot generally be traded off for quantity. At the same time, quantity does matter and there is clearly an absolute minimum in numbers of combatant units below which we cannot safely go.19

It’s almost laughable to think that the US could do this now. Maybe the Navy should focus on hiring MBAs in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion from Wharton Business School. This seems like the equitable thing to do.

Some defense planners today advocate wagering the future on unmanned systems, artificial intelligence, and cyber at the expense of traditional platforms to counter China.21 While these disruptive technologies undeniably require investment, using them to justify broad cuts in traditional platforms at a time when the Navy needs to grow would take on a dangerous level of risk. Indeed, the Ford, Zumwalt, and littoral combat ship highlight the pitfalls of betting that new technology can revolutionize naval warfare and offset a reduction in hulls. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) recently called for a more prudent approach to force structure, imploring “the return to an Aegis-type development model in which critical subsystems are matured before the Navy procures the lead ship of a new class.”22 Admiral Holloway wrote an entire Naval Warfare Publication to assist force-structure planning and emphasized the centrality of risk assessment:

Naval force structure is derived from consideration of strategy, threat, and risk. If proper strategy is projected, the threat correctly assessed, and risks accurately identified, uncertainty can be minimized and naval requirements can be established.23

All of our lives, we’ve been told that Reagan’s military buildup is what collapsed the Soviet Union. But, we ended up expending those munitions and fleet capabilities to destroy Iraq, a fourth-rate power.

The Navy’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier just left port

1 year, 7 months ago

USS Ford, CVN-78, is ready for action.

You (and we use that word with some regret) can build a ship, but can you fight with her? Are you even allowed to refer to her as her? The term Paper Tiger comes to mind.

The aircraft carrier is a 100-year-old concept. I suspect that today, after only one month of actual war, it would be realized that a new primary naval surface system and tactics would be needed. I’ve been at sea on the Lincoln CVN-72 and the Stennis CVN-74, though not as ship’s company (crew member). They are impressive in operation.

The Ford’s construction began in 2009, and it was formally commissioned in 2017. In 2008, when funding for the Ford was approved, it cost $13.3 billion. The ship was first declared operational in December 2021, though it suffered delays as work on technical problems, like weapons elevators, was still needed before it could properly set sail.

The Ford is the eleventh aircraft carrier presently in the fleet to enter active service, and it’s the first of the new design. The previous Nimitz-class carriers first entered service in 1975, with the most recent of that class joining in 2009. Eleven carriers is a lot, more than that of any other nation, though it’s also the minimum allowed by Congress. It’s a number that also does not include the Navy’s amphibious assault ships, in both Wasp and America classes, which have flight decks and are comparable in size to the aircraft carriers of other nations.

The Ford borrows a hull design from the Nimitz class, though it is somewhat modified. Internally, the carrier is redesigned to maximize both its utility and minimize long-term costs. This includes, most notably, the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), which replaces the steam catapults on earlier carriers. Steam catapults help planes get up to speed when taking off from the short carrier runways, pulling a cable that helps hurl the plane as it accelerates to flight. EMALS replaces the steam buildup and launch of the previous system for an electromagnetic rail, which can be reset and reused more quickly.

The EMALS is one of several systems developed for the Ford-class carriers that have had performance issues in development, necessitating repair and modification. Other design changes include replacing the hydraulic weapons elevators of the Nimitz system with electromagnetic motors, allowing more and faster movement of munitions to and from deck. There are 11 of these elevators on the ship, and all 11 were fixed after construction, with repairs continuing until December 2021, even as the Ford was conducting trials at sea.


The Ford class also includes a more powerful nuclear power plant, allowing it to run existing and future electronics systems. Another big change with the design is that the Ford class is designed to need about 800-1,200 fewer crew than a Nimitz class, saving space, labor costs, and ultimately, allowing the Navy to fulfill more needs on more ships with fewer people.

Here’s a rundown of weapons systems, capabilities (on paper), and capacities.

Referring to your ship as she indicates the mutual respect and dependency necessary to be at sea. Whether you like it or not, you’re married to her, and she’s the only one you’ve got. It’s not as though you can call 911 if something goes wrong. You take care of her, and she’ll be true to you, fighting every battle by your side through to the end. Some ships are good ol’ gals, and some are rotten stinkers that sometimes need a good kick to the pants. I always thought it interesting that each vessel seems to have her own personality, much of which is reflected in her by the very first commissioning crew. I refer to them as she; take me to the gulag if you think you can.

Navy Tags:

Unvaxxed Navy sailors face ‘deplorable’ living conditions while religious exemptions pend

1 year, 9 months ago

Fox News: First Liberty Institute has filed a class action on behalf of several sailors, including SEALs and reservists.

U.S. Navy service members who are seeking religious exemptions to the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate have been transferred into deplorable living conditions and, in some cases, are unable to leave while awaiting termination from the military, according to court documents.


“Because I could not leave the area, I moved onto the berthing barge for the Eisenhower. The conditions on the barge are deplorable, much like the USS George Washington, which is anchored in the same shipyard. There is mold everywhere and the barge’s toilets back up and leak. The water leaks out of the base of the toilet and collects near my rack and out into the hall. On bad days, it goes into the berthings on the other side. The leaks seem to be sewage—it smells like sewage and looks like it too. See Exhibit C (water I’ve mopped up from under my rack).”

“There is some sort of worm thriving in the stagnant water in the toilet bowls and on the floor in the leaked water around the base of the toilets. Needless to say, I do not feel comfortable or safe in this environment and I have contacted mental health services multiple times,” continued the sailor.

Not sure why he called mental health services; he should contact the chief corpsman to investigate dangerous health environments. The Navy hasn’t granted a single exemption with more than 4000 pending.

Navy Tags:

SEALs Not Deployable Without The Jab

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 7 months ago

Epoch Times.

Navy SEALs have been informed by superiors that they won’t be deployed if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine, even if they’re granted a religious or medical exemption, according to lawyers representing the elite special operations troops and a document seen by The Epoch Times.

“What they’ve been told is if they apply for a religious accommodation, they will no longer be deployable,” R. Davis Younts, who is representing seven SEALs and is in talks to take on approximately 20 others, told The Epoch Times.

Timothy Parlatore, whose firm represents a number of SEALs and other service members concerned about the vaccines, said his clients have also been given a similar ultimatum.

Some SEALs have even been sent home mid-deployment for refusing a COVID-19 vaccine, one of his clients told him.

A document presented to the SEALs says that any special operations personnel, including Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen, “who refuse to receive the COVID-19 vaccine based solely on personal or religious beliefs will be disqualified from [special operations] duty.” It was signed by Capt. Liam Hulin.

“This will affect deployment and special pays,” the document also states. “This provision does not pertain to medical contraindications or allergies to vaccine administration.”

The reasons the SEALs don’t want a shot are the same as many unvaccinated Americans. They believe they have so-called natural immunity, or protection against reinfection after getting COVID-19 and recovering. And a subset are Christians who don’t want any medicines that are developed using cells from aborted fetuses.

“These guys are not anti-vax, they just—given the extraordinarily low risk of COVID to them and the substantial risk of unknown long-term effects of the vaccine—they aren’t comfortable with it right now,” Parlatore told The Epoch Times.

The exact number of SEALs considering not getting a vaccine isn’t known, but both Parlatore and a pastor who is advising some of them say it’s in the hundreds. The loss of that many SEALs could devastate the elite force, which has 2,450 active-duty members. So far, lawyers have not been successful in attempts to convince military leaders to alter the harsh mandate.

From one of the comments, “I would love to have the unvaccinated SEALS stay in the United States.  We are going to need them.”

I’m not sure how those who refuse the jab will look at this, whether they will go silently into the night and be quiet like the FedGov wants them to and accept potentially not being able to vote, purchase a firearm, and having to accept a bad conduct discharge (if it comes to that).  My bet would be against that.

However, it disappoints me that any SEALs accepted the jab.  But that’s up to them.

I knew this information anyway several weeks ago.  I know someone who is connected to the SEAL community and he told me this information, and informs me that “morale is very low in the SEAL community at the moment.”

Yea, I don’t doubt it.

The Worst OPSEC Violation In My Lifetime

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 8 months ago


Joe Biden just announced a new working group with Britain and Australia to share advanced technologies — including the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines — in a thinly veiled bid to counter China.

The trio, now known by the acronym AUKUS, will make it easier for the three countries to share information and know-how in key technological areas like artificial intelligence, cyber, quantum, underwater systems, and long-range strike capabilities.

Biden, joined virtually by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday afternoon, detailed the reasons for the trilateral effort.

“This is about investing in our greatest source of strength, our alliances and updating them to better meet the threats of today and tomorrow,” Biden said from the White House in between two monitors showing the other world leaders. “AUKUS — it sounds strange, all these acronyms, but it’s a good one.”

“We must now take our partnership to a new level,” said Morrison.

“We’re adding a new chapter in our friendship,” Johnson added.

All three countries will work over the next 18 months to figure out how best to deliver the technology, which the U.S. traditionally has only shared with the U.K., the official said. U.S. officials and experts noted that Australia currently doesn’t have the requisite fissile material to run a nuclear-powered submarine, meaning the next year and a half of negotiations will likely feature nuclear-material transfer discussions.

Let’s leave behind for the moment the issue of Australia imprisoning their own people who have not taken the mRNA vaccine, or the draconian lockdowns, the street beatings administered by the cops, and other highly objectionable behavior.

I know folks who left the Navy nuclear program, and while they are allowed to report on their CV or resume what ship they worked on, they cannot publish the type of nuclear reactor, or vice versa, they can put the nuclear reactor type with which they have had experience, but not connect it to a specific ship.  Many of the engineers and scientists at KAPL stay for a long time, but some leave because they can’t publish.  Publishing what they know isn’t allowed.

Because I know nuclear engineering and have been around so many people for so long who work in the same discipline I do, I know things like the allowable SUR (startup rate) they are allowed to achieve when returning to power from a reactor trip (it’s important to get power back in a submarine), as well as many other things about Navy nuclear power propulsion systems.  I know many of the things they cover in their nuclear prep / nuclear fundamentals course, I know fuel enrichments, etc., etc.

I would never divulge the information I know, regardless of whether the information was classified or FOUO or not, and regardless of whether I am under any specific NDA.  It isn’t wise.  I stand to gain no benefit, while potentially divulging sensitive information.  I care about things like that.

Australia is owned to a literal degree by China even more so than the U.S.  Not only is Biden risking violation of NDAs by Australians, whether intentional or not, he is also putting sensitive information in the hands of a country that is beholden to China.  This information spans not just the nuclear technology we have, but defense technology and how the two interrelate and support each other.  You can’t design a core without the software to do it, so this transfer must include things like highly proprietary and sensitive computer codes, from Monte Carlo transport and depletion codes to thermal hydraulics codes using CFD, critical heat flux correlations, DNB correlations, etc., etc.

My mind is racing at the technology we’re getting ready to package up and deliver to people who might not protect it.

In a time when the Department of Defense is concerned about whether TV shows, movies or the gaming industry divulges TTPs (tactics, techniques and procedures) of its SpecOps community, potentially endangering them in future engagements, Biden is committing OPSEC violations of his own.

This is the worst OPSEC violation in my lifetime.  I’ve never seen worse.  Admiral Rickover is turning in his grave.

U.S. Navy Wants Atheist Chaplains

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 2 months ago


If there aren’t atheists in foxholes, why should we put them in the Chaplain Corps? Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) can’t imagine. Like most leaders, he’s astounded that the Navy is even considering letting someone who doesn’t believe in God join the chaplaincy. Three years ago, the idea was so absurd that even Obama’s military attorneys went to court to stop it. Now, with Secretary Jim Mattis at the helm, no one can quite understand why the topic is even up for discussion.

The bizarre storyline started in 2015 when Jason Heap tried to sue his way into the chaplaincy. Not surprisingly, the Navy rejected him because he planned to associate with two humanist groups instead of an actual religious denomination. Ultimately, the military ended up in court defending the notion that religious leaders should serve a religious purpose. They won. But this year, Heap is trying again — and, according to Senator Wicker — the Chaplain Appointment and Retention Eligibility Advisory Group is actually recommending the Navy accept him.

This is your U.S. Navy.  Leading the way in freakish trashiness.  Like always.  My former Marine had to interact with the Navy during a MEU to the Middle East after his deployment to Iraq.  I don’t think I’ve ever told you what he thinks about the Navy.  Except for Navy Corpsmen, of course, who aren’t really Navy.

Not Feeling The Love For The Navy SEALs

BY Herschel Smith
7 years, 9 months ago

First there was Operation Red Wings, which as I have stated I believe to have been cocky, arrogant, chaotic, ill-conceived, ill-planned, badly executed, badly supported, poorly coupled with any other branch of the service, and ultimately bad for morale.

Next, there is this from The New York Times.

Britt Slabinski could hear the bullets ricochet off the rocks in the darkness. It was the first firefight for his six-man reconnaissance unit from SEAL Team 6, and it was outnumbered, outgunned and taking casualties on an Afghan mountaintop.

A half-dozen feet or so to his right, John Chapman, an Air Force technical sergeant acting as the unit’s radioman, lay wounded in the snow. Mr. Slabinski, a senior chief petty officer, could see through his night-vision goggles an aiming laser from Sergeant Chapman’s rifle rising and falling with his breathing, a sign he was alive.

Then another of the Americans was struck in a furious exchange of grenades and machine-gun fire, and the chief realized that his team had to get off the peak immediately.

He looked back over at Sergeant Chapman. The laser was no longer moving, Chief Slabinski recalls, though he was not close enough to check the airman’s pulse. Chased by bullets that hit a second SEAL in the leg, the chief said, he crawled on top of the sergeant but could not detect any response, so he slid down the mountain face with the other men. When they reached temporary cover, one asked: “Where’s John? Where’s Chappy?” Chief Slabinski responded, “He’s dead.”

Now, more than 14 years after that brutal fight, in which seven Americans ultimately died, the Air Force says that Chief Slabinski was wrong — and that Sergeant Chapman not only was alive, but also fought on alone for more than an hour after the SEALs had retreated. The Air Force secretary is pushing for a Medal of Honor, the military’s highest award, after new technology used in an examination of videos from aircraft flying overhead helped officials conclude that the sergeant had killed two fighters with Al Qaeda — one in hand-to-hand combat — before dying in an attempt to protect arriving reinforcements.

Good Lord!  Whatever happened to no man left behind?  This is really dark, and is surely a blight on their reputation, with the reputation questionable in my opinion anyway.

Now there is something that apparently I’m late to, perhaps because I wasn’t watching closely enough.  It pertains to Marcus Luttrell.

If Marcus doesn’t understand the problem with universal background checks, then he is part of the problem rather than the solution.  If he can’t fathom an overextended federal executive infringing on God-given rights and liberties, then he needs to study history and philosophy before opening his mouth again.  This is the problem with making more of military heroism than is there.  He is a military hero.  He isn’t a political philosopher, theologian or veteran of the war of independence (which began over gun control as much as anything else).

Why am I not feeling the love for the Navy SEALs?

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