Category Archives: Military

Navy pilots strike: not the first time. Get rid of the weasel top brass, masters of tender snowflake fluff-speak.

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[[ Picture above: George Byers, Jr. – Top Gun before there were Top Guns ]]

It took a FoxNews story for the Department of the Navy to check into grave safety issues encountered by pilots, you know, because it’s not about pilot safety, nor about military readiness, but about image, perception, looking good even while purposely (=intransigently ignoring problems) running our military literally into the ground with crash after crash. It’s not the first time.

But let’s go back some decades when my dad, after his illustrious career as commander of the famed Checkerboard squadron, after ten years of fighter attack sorties in Guam, Philippines, Japan, China and Korea, after many years more at Andrews AFB training the guys while doing his law studies at Georgetown, went to train the guys with the new jets at Chicago’s civil-military airport freshly named after another commander-pilot, Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare, all this under the larger umbrella of the Department of the Navy.

My dad up and quit in protest against protracted government intransigence regarding, as always, lack of funding for the training programs. He told me he went ahead and took a cut in rank and pay and then joined the National Guard (unable to cut himself away from the military), because he couldn’t take so many of his trainee pilots dying while he was training them in. The problem in this case, he said, was that funding to conduct training flights was cut out from under them, enabling them to do only sporadic flights, and this just as the new jets were getting quicker. This is always  the problem. He said that his guys were smashing their planes right into the ground because they couldn’t handle flying by the instinct gained only with a high frequency of training flights. Instead of instinct, they thought their way through a maneuver, thinking themselves right into the grave. He said that staging this protest was the honorable thing to do as he brought me as a tiny little kid into the NG Armory in Saint Cloud, MN., or up to Camp Ripley. Just before that he would be taking the shingles off the roof with his Corsair, making my heart thrill, often still going down to Chicago, but more frequently to the Twin Cities at the airport named after World War I pilots Ernest Wold and Cyrus Chamberlain.

If we don’t learn from history, we’re bound to repeat it. And here we go again. The top brass are full of tender snowflake “fluff speak” when speaking in public even while “discussions” and “conversations” with the pilots are extremely heated behind closed doors. This is insanity. You either have a military at the ready or you surrender to whoever wants the country. We need to drain the swamp as a first step, and then fund the military with those interested spending the money on readiness.

I’ll tell you this, the tender snowflake “fluff speak” about “discussions” and “conversations” of our top brass in our military and the top brass in our intel services is sickening. I’m getting to think it is tantamount to treason, purposely subverting the readiness of the military while arrogantly upholding their “honor” and “integrity.” As soon as you are complacent with honor and integrity or are only concerned with the perception of those things, you not only don’t have them anymore, but try to punish those who are honorable and full of integrity.

We need to drain the swamp as a first step, and then fund the military with those interested spending the money on readiness.

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I love that bumper sticker @ 72 virgins

72 virgins dating service

This bumper sticker was seen in my driveway the other day, not on the bumper of this friend’s truck, but on the back window of his truck.

I like that Pope Francis doesn’t want us throw around insults just to do it.

But this bumper sticker is merely a rather sharp reprimand of ISIS-minded people who torture and kill people just to it, hoping that they will themselves be “martyred” so that they can go to heaven and have 72 virgins to rape for eternity (since it’s all about women’s rights, right?).

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Filed under Interreligious dialogue, Military, Terrorism

Update: Israeli Air Force getting cocky about doing the impossible. Dancing.

But the Israelis are not the first to land an attack fighter with only one wing. Perhaps my dad was the first. He also had the wing of his gull-wing corsair knocked off during a training exercise at Andrews Air Force Base in D.C. by a knucklehead student pilot coming up out of a barrel roll a bit too quickly. In the case of my dad, Commander of the Checkerboarders, he was able to keep the inevitable spin from happening by holding the stick all the way over while flying at 45 degree angle, landing on the tip of his good wing, and then the wheel of his good wing. Hah! He would have used the side of his plane for the necessary lift. Hah!

corsair vmfa 312 USMC Korea

Whenever I see cockiness trounced, I am tempted to do a dance. Attack pilots are the same. And attack pilots are pretty much all the same. Here are some Russians. I can just hear the criticisms, saying that those are toy planes without any serious possibilities in a real war, blah blah blah. Regardless, this is some good flying:

Even if tender snowflakes are offended by this, I have to say: Competition is a good thing. It’s hilarious. It brings us beyond where we’re at. A challenge to overcome. Let’s see what Saint Paul says in Romans 12:10-19:

“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. [Outdo one another in showing honor.] Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. [Outdo one another in showing honor.] Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. [Outdo one another in showing honor.] Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.[!] Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. [Outdo one another in showing honor.] If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. [Outdo one another in showing honor.]

You get the idea.

Update:

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Forcing Vatican regime changes and…

assange

The rather well connected Thomas D Williams (son in law of an acquaintance of mine) wrote the other day about a conspiracy to force Benedict out and to replace him with someone a bit more malleable[!], hinting at this, among other things, by way of tidbits from Julian Paul Assange’s Wikileaks about John David Podesta, and from hints from Archbishop Luigi Negri, close friend of Pope Benedict XVI: HERE.

edward arsenault

But hey! What do I know? All I know is that the little tidbits that keep coming in are consonant with and answer the most questions about various developments, including the double-murder of Pope Francis’ pregnant “Front of House” “Receptionist” at the time of the gay-marriage referendum in Italy, when enormous pressure was put on the Catholic Hierarchy not to say anything about it, or else. I mean, really, the repeated tantrum like public protestations of the porporati that they didn’t say anything were apoplectic. Some pieces haven’t yet come into the spotlight, and need to be aired. The pressure isn’t just about moral topics and the manipulation of voters’ consciences.

I think I should go have a chat with Julian. I do, after all, have a number of ulterior motives to go to London. The Embassy of Ecuador is just a stroll away from where I would stay, which is just on the other side of Hyde Park (with some 40 volumes of materials to analyse there…), and a bit closer to the American Embassy [!], and a stone’s throw from Tony Blair’s back yard. I’ve been waiting to have a certain chat with Tony since early 2010 about a certain televised debate I would like to set up. He would be the moderator. It’s on a topic he’s spent his retirement facilitating one way or the other. A best friend of mine who is also a best friend of his would boil the billy for the encounter. I don’t think it’s illegal to speak to Assange, or slip a message to him, since he hasn’t been formally charged with anything as far as I know. If you know differently, let me know.

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Filed under Holy See, Intelligence Community, Military, Politics, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis, Terrorism

Solum Facilis die fuit heri – Sealing it!

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Solum Facilis die fuit heri. The only easy day was yesterday. – A Navy Seal motto…

Some think to get a bit of hope by things becoming easier. The Navy Seals get hope by having tougher days, as the tougher days are the only ones by which one can be challenged to excel all the more in the service of all.

There’s a spiritual analogy here… no? What think you?

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Father Byers: Thank you Nikki Haley! “USA! USA!” and “US-UN! US-UN!”

All of a sudden America is no longer a puppet for Islam.

I love that. I could have written that speech.

Disclaimers: I’m a Catholic priest, and I’m also Jewish, you know, mom, grandma, great-grand-ma… enough for me to be a Knesset qualified Israeli. I’ve lived in Israel. Been there multiple times. I have friends there. Contacts. Dare I say המוסד has always been really good to me. I think Israel has a right to defend itself, has a right to security, has a right not to be obliterated by Iran or others. Moreover, “Salvation is from the Jews,” said Jesus. And Paul:

They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Messiah. God who is over all be blessed forever. Amen.

Disclaimers: I also deplore unjust actions meant to antagonize, and I saw really a lot of that while living in Israel and spending really a lot of time all over the West Bank, far North to deep South, West to way to the fence on the East. I raised my voice about injustices to the consternation of many others. Economic slavery only brings frustration and anger and… revenge. There are a million little anecdotes that I heard from friends, but those add up to make a culture, a policy. Also, just to say, anecdotally, a Palestinian man saved me from getting shot by wild IDF gun-fire (spraying bullets just to do it, or perhaps a bit directed). Another saved me from abduction. Another very dramatically stopped me from getting killed. Ironically, it was while I was attending a university in the occupied West Bank that I noted just about half of the student body also wanted peace by way justice, so, I’m not alone in that. I would like to see it be easier for priests and nuns to renew their visas so as to work in the clinics and schools and orphanages that no one else takes care of. I condemn what comes down to a forced removal of Catholics from the West Bank to anywhere else in the world, as the former Patriarch had warned was happening in one of his pastoral letters.

Having said all that: Thank you, Nikki Haley. What you said had to be said. Utterly reasonable. Keep up the good work. I had to laugh out loud at your rambunctious and repeated statement: “US-UN”! Hah! That should be a new chant at all South Carolina sporting events along with “USA! USA!” Let’s shout: “US-UN! US-UN!” Hah! What a great day brightener.

img_20170222_073706Totally off topic (and I ask forgiveness in advance… I put these things up for a reason…). After my sacramental visits on my day off yesterday (some hundreds of miles), bringing Holy Communion, Anointing the sick, and other sacraments, I was able to get off a clip or two from the Glock. It’s been a while. This is really the first time that, instead of aiming so much, I was concentrating on the basics (as I’m a complete beginner), so that with now abandoned Israeli-carry, I was practicing drawing from the holster hot. This is what I did with the bottom corner of a moldy folder from the hermitage (which is still there I’m happy to say). That folder was the only target I had to use. I was aiming to the upper right side of that pattern, so I’m still a bit South and to the left. But still pretty good I thought for this activity.

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Filed under Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Military, Politics, Terrorism, המוסד

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, American puppet[?] treated like royalty

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Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is in federal lockup, up on the tenth floor of Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, second in security only to the ultra-super-max in Colorado. There are more than forty witnesses ready to testify against him. I’d like to add one more name to that list…

From prison, Guzman will continue to head up the world’s largest drug cartel (concentrating on cocaine, heroin and meth), which is, as expected, also by far the most violent. His Sinaloa thugs have killed more than 30,000 people, a third of the more than 100,000 people assassinated in the Mexican drug war. That’s not counting the millions whose lives were destroyed by his drugs right around the world, and millions more for succeeding generations. He is largely responsible for the rampant drug use in these USA, and is indirectly responsible for all the crime and murder and family sorrow related to the presence of drugs. Anyone who has ever helped him now has a debt of honor to work against him…

I would have some questions for our own government about all this, you know, why it seems that he was simply our puppet, someone who would destabilize a neighboring country so that it couldn’t possibly prosper. Remember how he was the hero assisting the U.S. government in the investigation of the assassination of Cardinal Ocampo? Remember how we supplied him weapons? Is he here in the USA because he won’t be able to talk much to the outside world about our partnership with him?

I would have some questions for the Mexican government along these lines, such as why Mexico, which wants to see Guzman convicted and imprisoned about 100,000 times more than these USA… why did they give him up to these USA?

Guzman enjoys 240 square feet of floor space. Multiply that by air space up to the ceiling and that’s 2,400 square feet. That’s one hundred times as much space as American prisoners in, say, the New Hampshire State Prison for Men, where inmates get a total of 24 square feet, that is, a coffin sized bunk two feet high, two feet wide and six feet long. That’s it. These USA treat Guzman like royalty. Why is that?

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Filed under Drugs, Military, Prison, Terrorism

*NOC*NOC* “Who’s there?” “Fear.” “Fear who?”

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N.O.C. – I pass by this sign all the time. It will soon be a frozen ghost town in the middle of nowhere in the mountains. In some rather arcane circles, the letters N.O.C. also stand for Non-Official Cover, the rather obnoxious title for “illegals,” who are neither illegal (at least for us), nor non-official (at least for us), and whose only cover (usually business and politics) might be playing the self-referential fool, kind of like the Holy Roman Empire which was not Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire.

At any rate, being an illegal, a NOC, usually, is nothing Kryptos. But that’s the problem. It should be everything Kryptos. Can anyone figure out terrorist initiative without being Kryptos? No, not without being Kryptos, at least my version of it, you know, taking into consideration the geological and mathematical elements physically represented and begging to be brought into one’s heart of hearts. What’s an analyst without it? Just someone manipulated by others. Not being at the heart of Kryptos is all play. An analyst might get lucky once in a while without being at the heart of all, but once in a while isn’t good enough. In fact, it makes one vulnerable to being used, the most dangerous NOC of all. All NOCs should be Kryptos.

It’s kind of like the difference between being “spiritual” and religious, as if those who are religious are not at all spiritual. The “spiritual” but not religious person is a faker, the most dangerous person of all. They congratulate themselves for being, you know, nice, sharing some supposedly common value, say, of niceness, that one supposes some spiritual power somewhere out in outer-space might appreciate in a heartless, mindless, but, you know, nice way. As often as not, it’s psychologism replacing a truly spiritual life. And that’s a licence to murder: “The god of my creation is on my side.” That’s when right and wrong lose the integrity of black and white and become 50 shades of self-serving gray, lusting for the power that covers the innocent in the red blood if death. Is that still called integrity? Integrity demands excellence. It’s the harder option, but is always worth it.

Excellence demands smarts and guts. True religion frees one from fear of being smart and from fear of having guts. One can face reality head on. It’s exhilarating. NOCs should give it a try. Those who insist “Gray is good for integrity” are low-life scum, you know, the ultra sophisticated creepo guys who have gone all Gnostic about “gray”. Having been had, betrayed, almost killed however many times, having seen killings even by the hundreds, having killed many… none of that means facing reality head on. It just means one has had those experiences which, however much they may put an edge on someone, do not of themselves make anyone less fearful of the big picture, perhaps more. Only watching God take our place in tortured death so as to have the right in his own justice to demand forgiveness can be the occasion for for one not to run away from seeing the big picture: “Father, forgive them.”

Meanwhile, the truly religious person lives out the ultimate virtue of justice, namely, religion, namely, giving to God that which is God’s due: “Thank you, God, for having this otherwise useless heap of weakness live what is reasonable and just in service of you and others, even if it means I have to lay down my life that others might live for that which is reasonable and just, for you.” Doing the religious thing, say, going to Mass, the Last Supper united with Calvary (see Kryptos) – This is my body given for you in Sacrifice, my blood poured out for you in Sacrifice – giving to God that which is his due in all justice, he himself standing in our stead to take on the death we deserve for original sin and whatever personal sin so that he might have the right in his own justice to have mercy on us… yes, that is also spiritual and brings one without fear into the heart of all.

And that’s deadly important: no fear. The merely “spiritual” person is full of fear. They are on the run from themselves. Such an analyst might fill his waking hours and his nightmares with innumerable facts, all so intriguing with their interconnectedness or not, and the adrenaline rush had by someone who lives the fake-news cycle, thinking they are it, you know, special. Such a person doesn’t want to get to the heart of all. They are afraid. They paint themselves into the peripheries so that they can’t see the way things really are, however much violence and injustice they otherwise see.

But for the religious person who is truly spiritual there is no fear of finding the answer in oneself when looking for the terrorist, and one can find that terrorist, even in the early stages, well, pretty much every time as quick as quick can be. In Jerusalem I did this for recreation. Starting from scratch, one could get a stop-watch and see how many minutes it would take me to get the personal contact info of someone personally named on our terrorist list. My record on the street is, I think, eight minutes. That was in Jerusalem, but the head terrorist guy for whom I got the contact info was in Syria. Then you see who those guys know in Jerusalem, etc. I’m not tooting my own horn here, as my point is that anyone can do this if you’re not afraid to see what is right in front of you. Fakers not only waste everyone’s time, they bring everyone down with them: “We didn’t think it was important.” Compared to what is the question. What’s the standard of importance, of urgency, of whether something means something? When the importance of fake-religion (e.g. ISIS rubbish) is dismissed, successful terrorism ensues. One cannot see the importance of fake-religion unless one sees the importance of true religion. One cannot see the importance of true religion unless one lives it with integrity.

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John Kerry’s bogus speech – Part 2

A reader sent in the above video. It reminds me of the one I made, perhaps even more to the point, at Yad vaShem back just before the first Gulf War:

As I mentioned in my first post on John Kerry’s bogus speech 28 Dec 2016, I had a long chat with him in the Vatican Gardens. That was immediately after the funeral of Saint Pope John Paul II. The diplomats had to leave through the gardens, as well as the priests who were helping with Communion (I was with the choir right at the facade of Saint Peter’s). I beckoned him and we had quite the conversation about Catholic doctrine and abortion, at the end of which he agreed to a televised debate. That never came about. He was, after all, moving up in the world, right? His body guards were almost pulling him off his crutches (he having a broken leg at the time). But he insisted on speaking with me at length. Those were the days when, after pushing for abortion as strenuously as he might, he would be televised going to Communion. Thank the Lord that diplomats never ever receive Communion at Papal Masses. I would have scolded him just like JPII scolded Father Knucklehead in Nicaragua. Did I mention that today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents? The nations rage against the Lord and against his anointed, but the Lord is the Lord of History.

This calls to mind the night I spent at the Iranian Embassy with the Chief Rabbi of Rome. The Jews of Rome gathered to pray since just hours before Iran threatened to wipe Israel from the face of the earth. I was in my roman cassock and collar, obviously a priest. The Rabbi came over to greet me, he saying to me: “Praised be Jesus Christ!”

ISIS sawed in half a five year old boy the other day. I wonder if that kind of thing is what John Kerry means by “not-significant security risks.” I wonder if kids don’t matter to John Kerry outside the womb just like they don’t matter for him inside the womb.

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John Kerry’s bogus speech 28 Dec 2016

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John Kerry’s passionate speech (like my one-on-one 15 minutes with him in the Vatican Gardens), was entirely anachronistic, living in the past, utterly suppressing present day realities of these U.S.A. helping Iran wipe Israel off the face of the earth with Iran’s increasingly aggressive nuclear program.

The two-state-solution means nothing if one of those states is dying from the cancer subsequent to nuclear fallout, also making the land unlivable for the other state. Everything under the Obama Administration, anything touched by this Secretary of State, is deadly for Israel and the Jewish people.

There are a thousand ambiguities and openings to terrorism in the speech. How many times was it referenced that moving forward in whatever way would only involve a not-significant risk to security? What on earth does that mean? How many terrorist incidents would be allowed under the high bar of “not-significant”? What does that even mean when people are getting killed? On and on. Is Russia really a best friend of Israel in the region? Unbelievable…

I have to wonder if the analysts who had input into that speech were conspiring to go out of their way to make Kerry look like a clown in hopes of getting promotions under the upcoming Administration. I mean, really, it’s just that bad, and, I’m afraid, just that easy to do. It’s just too easy.

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Annie Glenn and John Glenn (RIP) and me preaching with my eyes closed

john glenn annie

Update: As you know, John Glenn died the other day. I thought I might re-publish this article in honor of he and his wife and the encourgement I also take from his hero.

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A great Australian lady who had once been invited to be an astronaut with NASA sent me a story written some years ago about the still very much alive American hero John Glenn and his heroine, his still very much alive wife Annie Glenn. My own father must have known John as they followed each other around the Pacific at the very same time as USMC fighter-attack pilots, at one time both flying Corsairs, both flying a zillion combat missions, both getting planes filled with bullets. So, the story caught my eye. Very moving. Well worth the read. This is the beauty of marriage, for better, for worse.

Annie Glenn, mind you, is the heroine who stands out amidst all the hoopla about John and his extraordinary career. She had a terrible stutter which made some people fairly disgusted with her. Meanwhile, what comes to mind for me is my absolute inability to preach with my eyes open. I just can’t do it. And for some people, this is unforgivably disgusting. They feel used and abused, as if I couldn’t care less about them, or didn’t believe what I was preaching, blah blah blah. All pretty hurtful I must say. I now and again get told off pretty severely after Mass by those in the pews of whatever parish (not mine, as I not infrequently beg my congregation’s forgiveness for this disability). Those who criticize create all sorts of scenarios for the psychological genesis of such a phenomenon, not excluding it being all my fault for moral reasons. Through the decades, priests have been the most awful in their attacks, condemning my total lack of pastoral sensitivity and holding this against me. I regret that some blind themselves to the message of the homily just because I have my eyes closed. A bit of irony there, perhaps?

I have often joked that this is like the Irish monks who made a practice of closing the eyes during Mass since there was Someone more important to whom we are to look during Holy Mass than each other. And if that bit of ecclesiastical history doesn’t work then I add that this eyes closed thing has surely saved me many times. For instance, if I speak about prostitutes as I did recently (what with the Gospel from Luke 7), wouldn’t it be terrible if every time I said the word prostitute I happened to look at this or that woman who thought that I was then judging her in front of everyone else? Yikes!

Anyway, I could certainly identify with Annie Glenn. She overcame her difficulty. I wonder if I’ll just continue with my own little cross until I die. Anyway, no eyes closed in heaven. There is the beatific vision, after all! Please God I get to fly up to heaven better than any astronaut after this life is over and see the Most Holy Trinity, including Jesus, who will, of course, come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

A quick read: The story of John and Annie Glenn

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Laudie-dog / PTSD-dog: a reminder…

laudie-dog-ptsd-dog

Laudie-dog has now claimed a plastic bin as her favorite bed in the rectory where she can be happy and lazy and secure, checking every so often to see if I’m O.K. I’m her security project, her little puppy she adopted on that far away mountain top so many years ago, coming to me skeletally thin, with a bit of mange, and shot between the shoulder blades.

After smiling with the realization that I’m just fine, she falls asleep, but every so often this can be traumatic with fierce nightmares, growling, barking and, from the movement of her legs, she looks to be on the attack. And she is. In her dreams.

She saved me from wolves both red and grey, from bears and, most memorably, a panther. I’m guessing it’s the panther she dreams about, as she was the prey while protecting me.

I don’t wake her up at such times, hoping that the process will be even just a little bit healing for her, and afraid to add to the trauma by waking her up in the middle of it. I am thankful to God at such times for creating such marvelous creatures who are so tied to mankind and of great service to us. She deserves a bit of pampering.

Of course, all of that immediately has me think of those having experience in law enforcement, the military, the “Company”, and so on, those who may be suffering from PTSD, which never goes away, though you can somehow in some way learn at least a little how to deal with it, the ongoing battle, the ongoing trauma, not in being pampered, mind you, but by doing what one has always done best, continuing on in a spirit of solidarity with others whether or not these others have a clue about how to be in solidarity with those who serve them often in secret and therefore seemingly thankless ways.

I stand in awe of those who have been of great service all their lives, suffer for it now in every way, and who would – if they could – continue to serve in extraordinarily self-sacrificing ways. Lest we forget, we at least pray for them. And that’s already something very worth while. Hail Mary…

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Pearl Harbor Attack: Story of First Chaplain Killed in WWII, Fr Schmitt

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Jill Kruse of CNS reports that Father Aloysius Schmitt’s remains have been identified and have been returned to Iowa for burial.

There was nothing yet infamous about Dec. 7, 1941, when Father Aloysius Schmitt woke up aboard the battleship the USS Oklahoma to celebrate Mass that Sunday morning at Pearl Harbor. But just minutes after the liturgy ended, a surprise Japanese attack was underway, and Father Schmitt would lose his life while helping save the lives of 12 others, becoming the first U.S. chaplain to die during World War II.

On the fateful day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Father Schmitt’s ship was hit by four torpedoes and capsized, trapping him and much of the rest of the crew below deck.

Father Schmitt and a number of other sailors who were in one of the ship’s flooding compartments managed to find a small porthole that provided a way out of the ship. In the frantic moments that followed, survivors reported that Father Schmitt scarified his own chance of escape and instead helped 12 men through the porthole to safety.

He received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal and the Purple Heart for his brave actions that day. In 1943, the U.S. Navy named a destroyer escort in his honor — the USS Schmitt.

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When going dark becomes light itself

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Rays of the sun flooding Arlington National Cemetery as seen from the bridge to such honor during my pilgrimage witnessing light in the darkness. Visited were:

  • United States Holocaust Memorial
  • National Police Memorial
  • World War II Memorial
  • Korean War Memorial
  • Vietnam War Memorial
  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • USMC Memorial
  • Memorial honoring Martin Luther King Jr
  • National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, whose various national chapels in honor of the Mother of God often commemorate untold numbers of martyrs in various countries visiting those shrines during dire persecutions

More on all of these in future posts. I had intended to go to the CIA memorials but ran out of time. What impressed me deeply was the brightness of the honor in all the darkness. The brightness of the honor that could not, cannot and will not be besmirched with compromise. I was filled with zeal to strive to join however unworthily that noble company. And for that great gift I thank them for being a light in the darkness.

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Can I be forgiven for the killing I did as a soldier? I enjoyed pulling the trigger.

In that short video Chris puts the RPG guy down, but not the kid. It’s important to see the difference in Chris’ face when he pulls the trigger for the RPG guy and then almost for the kid. There’s a difference, right? But a Vet might say…

When I killed a guy like the RPG guy, I mean, that guy was still some guy, the son of his mother, the husband of a wife, the father of his kids, caught up in some horror much bigger than him, and it haunts me…. it just does…. especially because, you know, in myself, while I was pulling the trigger, I mean, I really enjoyed it, because I was killing a bad guy who was a danger to us, to me and my brothers on the scene. I don’t think I can be forgiven because it was such a rush of adrenaline and and it was like, YEAH! I GOT HIM! which is inhuman now that I think about it. I should have regretted it and I guess I did, but right then, you should have seen the wryness of my smile. That smirk could have killed someone all on its own.

Sure you can be forgiven. That reaction of fallen human nature is to be expected. You can count on it. That doesn’t mean you’re a monster. You did what you had to do. Just because your emotions went overboard doesn’t mean a thing. It’s a cross to carry. Pray for the repose of the souls of those you killed, and their families. That’s O.K. It’s not hypocritical.

Also, just to say, what if you killed innocents, you know, just to do it? Can you be forgiven for that? Yes, you can. Go to confession. There isn’t a sin greater than our Lord’s mercy. He loves us, and let Himself be killed in our stead. Jesus is the warrior. He has the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, to claim us as His booty, bringing us to heaven to give as a gift to our heavenly Father.

Look, all you Vets out there. Don’t beat yourselves up. Be good friends with Jesus.

And to all of us, let’s go to Confession!

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Vets and VA: a doctor’s perspective

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Backlog of cases at the V.A. now posing an avalanche risk for workers.

Father Byers: while I applaud your Vet post [The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten. Lest we forget…], and agree with a lot of it, I am starting a […] VA job next week.  The VA system has its challenges (unionized workforce seems to be the main one, good luck un-doing that!). However, in the rank and file VA health care workers, there is a lot of respect and admiration for the vets, even if one is not a military veteran.  To make ALL VA health system workers military veterans? Good luck with that. Vets admire most of the physicians, and vice versa.  Now the “executives”? I don’t have a problem with them required to be veterans, there is already a preference for vets in hiring—of course, diversity and being transgender ( whatever that means) has been thrown in. // The problems in the VA health care system are largely the same problems with health care nationally—“managed”, meaning capitated which is great when people are healthy, not good when people have serious health issues. Also, vets over 65 have better health care, under 65, have to come under “service connection” to have coverage for specific ailments judged to be stemming from their military service. Otherwise, oops, you can have obamacare now? unless you are lucky enough to have benefits from a job. // Pray for me, we physicians are damned if we do and damned if we don’t—I just take care of my patients, as I would my family. Veterans are family. I had an uncle, and now have nephews in the military. // And I needed four ( four!) background checks for this position. It took forever. // Your aim is getting to be scary good! [Flores for the Immaculate Conception (Clergy 10x and almost 10x edition)] I fly back from […] tonight, and last night wished I had my gun (in […] now of course) in case the rioting got to my house. But with your aim.  You are a good shepherd, and I continue to pray for you and your intentions.

Thanks, Doc. I stand corrected. But make sure you have better aim than me!

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The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten. Lest we forget…

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“Armistice Day is commemorated every year on November 11 to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning—the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. The date was declared a national holiday in many allied nations, and coincides with Remembrance Day and Veterans Day, public holidays.”(W)

usmc2The above was seen on the back of the jacket of one of my parishioners, a veteran of the USAF. He and his wife took me out to lunch at The Hub in Robbinsville after the Noon Mass at Prince of Peace mission church in Graham County. These are always good times. Meanwhile, the owner of The Hub, another Vet, this time on the Avionics side of the USMC was wearing the T-Shirt you see here, the dress blues with a memorial flag for Vets of the past.

Here in America we’ve been doing a terrible job at taking care of our Vets, particularly those who have been injured in whatever way. It’s as if we’ve been punishing them for somehow insulting these United States for having the integrity and humility and fortitude to serve us all at great cost to themselves.

Do you remember the list of potential, that is, already suspected domestic terrorists came out under the present administration (2016), which included Christians and those who respect life? Do you remember that all Veterans, because of being Veterans, were also included on that list? We have hope that this will change. Can we do it? Yes we can!

Recommendations:

  • Get rid of all the anti-American brass in the military that were put in place by the present Administration.
  • Dishonorably discharge high ranking military chaplains who were pawns of the present Administration, who persecuted lower ranking chaplains for exercising their constitutional right to free exercise of religion when they could do this according to circumstance, and then ensure that our military chaplains are provided what they need to bring good morale, good religion, to our men and women serving these USA.
  • Get rid of all non-military administration, staff, doctors, everyone in the Veterans Administration health care system, all of them, and replace them with military Vets who have seen action or been in theater, those who actually care about our Vets.
  • Imprison those in the V.A. who went out of their way to ensure that Vets did not get the care they needed these past years.
  • Beef up our Military with good training and state of the art tools.

Meanwhile…

Yesterday, November 10, was the birthday of the USMC, to whom I’m partial since my dad flew fighter-attack (Corsairs) from 1943-1953 in Guam, Philippines, Japan, China and Korea as commander of the Checkerboarders. It just happens that the owner of The Hub offered his skills in Avionics for the USMC Checkerboarders at Beaufort, SC, for years. This tapestry of the units hangs in The Hub, with my dad’s unit, VMFA-312, being the second one down on the left:

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That big white space could be filled, in my opinion, with a Checkerboard Corsair. After all, MCAS Beaufort is the original home of the Checkerboarders.

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That’s my dad with his back to you at the inside corner of the uplifted gull-wing.

Those who are boo-hoo-ing about the election results need to spend some time in the military serving their country. They are Way Too Soft.

 

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Ricky Bogue: A hero is not someone you praise; it’s who you strive to be like

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Some pics came in today. I’ve written of Ricky previously: In honor of Ricky. That’s his service dog. What surprises me about Western North Carolina is that there is pretty much zero respect for service dogs like Max here. Too bad, that. That’s disrespect for the owner. That bespeaks total ignorance. But there’s really a lot of meth heads here. The thing is, Ricky did what he did for them as well. That’s something to think about. Note the purple heart. Shot twice. Axe to the face once. Blown up six times by IEDs.

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That’s his very classy mom, long-suffering with him. She’s prayed quite a bit for me, surely so that I come to know that heroes are not so much to be praised but instead imitated in their spirit of self-sacrificing service to others. Thanks, Ricky. You lead the way. Thank you.

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Ricky

 

You’ll remember that Ricky, in his short tour from 2010 to 2011, got shot twice, an axe in the face once, and blown up six times by IEDs, with the last one giving him traumatic brain injury. His brain was injured in such a way that no pain medication of whatever kind touches the pain. If they give him too much of one type he stops breathing and it doesn’t help anyway. If they give him the other kind, even dozens of times the max, it still doesn’t touch the pain. In this way he lays down his life every single day, every moment of every day, for all of us. Put it this way: If you help one Afghani, you help us all. Thanks, Ricky.

Just to say, although when he came down to visit my neighbors at the hermitage he had his best day in his best week in all these years, he’s now paying the price for having way over-exerted himself. Seizures, maxed out headaches, dizziness, way overtired… And on top of that, and I feel guilty about this, he took a tumble while giving me some pointers on how to shoot. Many tumbles actually. He didn’t seem to mind, and I remembered my own tumbles when I was on crutches and didn’t want others to mind. It’s just that he actually broke a finger on one of those tumbles and didn’t say a word until they were back in South Dakota. He didn’t want anyone to be concerned… Please, remember him in prayer. He does his battle every second of every day for you and I. Hail Mary…

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My day with the combat wounded, with me taking the part of an Afghan soldier.

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Our hero’s tour included getting shot twice, getting an axe to the face, and being blown up with IEDs six times. The last time involved TBI, traumatic brain injury. You know what happens to your ankles and your head when you’re in a “IED-proof” Humvee, right? He would go back if he could. Deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 at 40 years of age (an exception, as he’s really talented), he returned Stateside in 2011.

He wasn’t in the zone long, but saw more action than most might see in multiple wars. And don’t think it’s over for him. He is absolutely constrained to fighting every single day, both with a bad case of PTSD and its nightmare of being “there”, when you want to do more for your brother but can’t because you’re taken out yourself, and then by way of dealing with injuries, walking with a crutch, getting way overtired very quickly, dizzy, and then… and then… the end of the world headaches… end of the world… non stop, 24/7/365. The brain injury takes all of everything to deal with.

Whenever you see a vet, make sure you go way out of your way to thank them for their service back in the day and their continuing service for the burden they carry to this day. They carry us out of harm’s way to this day by having been available to do that for us all.

I’ve been following our hero’s progress for a number of years (he being related to my neighbors back at the hermitage), but never had the privilege of meeting him until now. He and his mom – I’m forever indebted to her for her prayers – drove down all the way from South Dakota. It’s a kind of miracle, really. This is the best he’s ever done, his best day of his best week in all these years – lots of laughter all day long – but… (I’ll get to that “but…” further below).

When he would get a phone call yesterday morning he would have a moment of hilarity, telling the caller that he would have to get back to them as he was busy now teaching a Catholic priest how to take out terrorists. “A what doing what?!” would be the answer. And on it would go. One of his many jobs over the way was to teach Afghanies how to shoot. He was happy to make me an Afghan soldier for my “day off.” He knows what he’s doing; take a gander at this very short video about his work:

After putting this newbie back about 25 feet (four more feet than NC qualification distance for concealed carry), and giving me tips on stance and posture and arms and hands and fingers and eyes and what exactly I’m looking at, he immediately got bored with that and put me back at 75 feet, well over three times the maximum distance, and then talked to me about ballistics and gravity, saying that I would have to work on distances so that calculations as to the drop would be second nature. He also wanted all the other mechanics to be second nature, muscle memory, muscle memory, muscle memory. I have plenty to work on, but apparently have a little bit of potential…

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I must say that he’s really good at psychology, as I easily despair if I’m not exactly on center-target every time with my 4″ barrel Glock 19. My chance for depression above is 14 out of 15. But he was very encouraging, insisting that for a newbie at that range for a pistol such as I have, my groupings were really very good because very consistent. All I have to do now is sharpen the mechanics a bit and stay practiced. Did I say he was also deployed in PsyOps?

I take this opportunity to remind the more timid readers that all Catholic priest-chaplains for the great Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police force must go through special FBI training, which includes being trained up in weaponry, particularly pistols. Just sayin’

We also talked quite a bit about shooting while running, something I never thought I would be able to do and which is part of the FBI course mentioned just above. But he said if I had the mechanics down for stationary shooting, the bit about running added no further difficulty, demonstrating just what kind of “run” it is when you’re running and shooting a pistol. Yes, of course, thought I, when I saw this. This is exactly what I’ve already seen with what I know of that FBI course. Great! Anyway, that was that.

He accompanied me to do some errands in town and then get some Chinese before heading back out to – dare I say it in view of recent posts? – “The Farm.” There we met up with the others and had the best homemade pizza ever. I got three big pieces to bring home with me. They’re for lunch and supper. Mmmmmm Mmmmm good!

There was lots of laughter all day long, but nothing compared to what happened when 189 million year old Grandma Clara-Gene joined us on speaker phone and had us all rolling on the floor laughing hysterically with her utterly dead-pan statements about her own proficiency with guns compared to all our ridiculous carry-on about useless target practice, because, you know, after all, if you see something that needs a-killin’ you just shoot it and that’s all there is to it. And actually, if she was in the military, she would be expert and an instructor. To hear this gentle grandma carry on was really a hoot and she very much enjoyed it all as well. It was just a really, really good day for all. But…

I was worried that this might be too much for our hero. It was. I got a call about 20 minutes after I left, when I was already just into the 30 mile dead zone for phones. I got the message only after midnight. He had had a seizure about 15 minutes after I was gone. I feel terribly guilty, but this morning he said that I had nothing to do with it. This is just what happens. He not only didn’t regret anything, he said that he thoroughly enjoyed every minute, having the best time ever, very happy with everything. They do plan to come again. And, of course, I could go and make my way up to where he is. I do have some errands I could do in Minnesota and South Dakota…

Update: They’re on their return trip. Pray for their safe travels: Hail Mary…

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