04/4/20

Understanding The Chain of Command — Aircraft Carrier Commander Relieved

The military is an organization designed to operate under the most trying situations — combat with America’s enemies. It is a hard warrior culture.

Men are given command of meaningful warfighting assets — aircraft carriers, fighter wings, divisions, landing forces — within a chain of command that goes both up (superiors) and down (subordinates).

Any commander knows this reality when they receive command — they are given it by their immediate superior.

When I commanded a combat engineer company, the battalion commander handed me the company guidon and empowered me to run the unit within the guidelines of his orders.

I knew the deal. He knew the deal.

If I had a question, I asked the battalion commander. If he wanted me to do something, he gave me an order and I then passed it along to my platoon leaders, the first sergeant, and the men. We then accomplished the assigned mission.

If I had a beef with the battalion commander, I was welcome to state it, but once he made a decision, I saluted and carried out the order. If I did not accomplish the mission or if I refused to undertake the order, I expected to be relieved.

The Army, the military, only works in times of distress if and only if subordinates carry out the orders of their superiors.

A subordinate commander has a responsibility to inform his superior as to the status of  any mission on a continuing basis.

The Army mantra is: Shoot, Move, Communicate.

The Aircraft Carrier

The USS Theodore Roosevelt is one of ten of Nimitz-class nuclear powered aircraft carriers. It is at the core of an attack carrier group and is a powerful extension of American force.

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12/4/19

Welcome Home

I was at Lowes today buying a dehumidifier for a little stone repair I am in the midst of. It seems that water got behind some Carrera marble and some pinwheel stone flooring and I have to suck it out using a huuuuuuge dehumidifier. So, I park at the Veterans Parking Spaces at Lowes.

I love that Lowes has parking spaces reserved for veterans and provides a 10% Veterans Discount. Well played, Lowes.

I do my business and I get my 10% veterans discount. I return to my vehicle with my $300 dehumidifier.

There are several other cars parked in the spaces. One is a Jeep looking SUV with a Bronze Star on its license plate. I witness a conversation.

The Bronze Star recipient and another gentleman, whose age suggested he was a Vietnam War Era veteran, strike up a conversation. I listen to it as I’m stuffing my enormous humidifier in my truck.

They have a nice chat. If you have never been in the Army, you don’t understand that soldiers when they meet compare where they were and what units they served with. It’s a soldier thing.

The Bronze Star guy had been awarded his medal for valor in Iraq.

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12/24/18

Generals v Politicians

Big Red Car here on a sunny Christmas Eve awaiting Christmas and the Prince of Peace which brings me to the subject of generals, politicians, and wars.

As a soldier (combat engineer officer), I spent a lot of time around generals. As a class of the species, they represent the top 0.1% of any year group of officers. The road to the top is a meritocracy and a very tough one. [Sure, there are some political generals, but as a general assessment they are the best of the best — if they remember to stay in their lane.]

Generals are at the top of their profession which is to wage war against the enemies of the United States and WIN.

Trump: Mattis out as of Jan. 1; deputy to be acting chief

Resigned Secretary of Defense James N Mattis, former USMC General.

The part about winning is an essential element in the General business.

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01/6/18

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder — PTSD

PTSD — Big Red Car here on a somber Saturday in the ATX. Bit cold, but quite bright and headed to 60F.

So, the BRC has been around soldiers his whole life. The Boss, the BRC owner, was a soldier as was his father and mother. He grew up on Army posts and was educated at Virginia Military Institute.

Soldiering is a noble, necessary profession. It comes at some high personal cost to those who are thrown into combat.

Let’s discuss this a bit, shall we?

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07/11/17

Veterans Administration Changes — Culture

The toxic culture at the Veterans Administration is finally getting some overdue attention. Bravo!

Big Red Car here on an incredibly beautiful Texas day. Will be hot, sunny, and Texas. On Earth as it is in Texas, y’all!

So, big things going on over at the Veterans Administration. Finally!

In late June, the President signed the Veterans Administration Accountability bill codifying some simple commonsense changes to an organization with a toxic culture which falsified records resulting in veterans not receiving timely care and employees receiving performance related bonuses based on bogus information. Not a good thing. One would that fraud in most instances, financial fraud. The kind of fraud folks go to jail for, but not at the VA.

The Union — can you believe that government employees at the VA are union members? — says it is a wholesale assault on Federal workers to which the Big Red Car says, “Bravo! About time!”

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05/30/17

NATO Allies, Ungrateful Freeloaders?

NATO allies are ungrateful freeloaders, Big Red Car? Not all of them, just some.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, having spent a few days with President Donald J Trump in Washington, DC and now having spent a NATO Summit and G7 meeting utters:

“The times when we could fully rely upon others are to some extent over. I experienced that in the last few days. We Europeans must take our own destiny into our own hands.”

Read those words a second time and see if you have any basic disagreement with them. The Big Red Car sayeth, “Duh?”

This bit of wisdom comes on the heels of President Trump repeating what he has said for a long period of time — NATO members are not living up to their contractual obligations to spend 2% of their GDP on defense.

This is as essential element of the NATO (the Atlantic Charter) as Article V which states an attack on one is an attack on all. It is difficult to see why the Europeans think the United States should honor Article V and come to their rescue if they don’t honor their part of the deal.

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05/29/16

Memorial Day v Veterans Day

Big Red Car here on a quiet Sunday morning. Tomorrow is Memorial Day.

Memorial Day is different than Veterans Day.

Let the Big Red Car explain the difference. This is why we have Memorial Day.

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Texas Military Cemetery near Fort Hood with the Hill Country in the background, decorated for Christmas.

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05/1/16

Military Shrinking, Danger Ahead

The United States of America has always enjoyed a national security and military advantage not afforded to other countries by virtue of being separated from much of the world by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It has provided both safety and a temporal barrier that has given us time and space in which to plan for war.

Other than the War of 1812 and some Mexican border escapades, the US mainland has never really been threatened in a meaningful way. We have never suffered the fate of London or Paris or Berlin.

The Germans in WWII were able to bring the fight to our home waters on the Atlantic with their subs and the Japs shelled the west coast but other than that, these oceans have served us well.

The terrorists of 9-11 broke that safe barrier with their attack.

We live in a different world. That world has a resurgent traditional military threat (Russia, China) and an asymmetrical warfare threat. It has become more, not less, complicated.

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