Saturday, December 07, 2013

FNG and the Hasty Ambush

It was a sunny spring day in Vietnam, 1970, and we had spent the afternoon doing "A Walk In The Sun".  Just ambling along, not being particularly aggressive, patrolling our AOR (Area Of Responsibility).

We hadn't any recent news from other platoons in our Company that they had contact with VC, and we were all enjoying the sunshine after months of Monsoon weather.  

So the sun was still up when we stopped our patrol for the night.

The drill was, we got up early in the morning, wandered through the "jungle" which was in this area mostly bamboo thickets, high-grass fields, and the surrounding alder thickets.  If you didn't run across an adder or an eight-inch centipede or a booby-trap or a VC patrol, and you had plenty of water and your socks weren't wet, we considered it "A Walk In The Sun".

We were a little uncomfortable with the day because only a week ago we had lost Bruce, and "The Chief" had been wounded by a booby trap.  The memorial ceremony for Bruce was tough on us.  He was walking "Pace" and The Chief was walking "Point", when Chief caught a trip wire which was connected to a couple of hand-grenades, and .. well, the Chief was in the hospital with shrapnel wounds in his back, and Bruce was coming up on the buried grenades when they went off.

But that's another story.

Enough to say that we were down a couple of men, and we were trying to deal with their loss (Chief came back to the platoon after he got out of the hospital, and the memorial ceremony for Bruce was .. weepy).  In the meantime we had a replacement from the REPL-DEPOT ... Division Replacement company.  We weren't quite sure how to fit him into the company, so the LT had given him to the two squads I was leading on this particular patrol.

At the end of this day, we were tired from a long hike and I decided to take advantage of what was a beautiful, pastoral setting.  Surrounded by thin trees, the high grass offered concealment and with the onset of sundown we expected to have only another twenty or thirty minutes of daylight before we could relax in the concealing comfort of the night.

We had set up Claymore Mines (Command Detonated, directional bombs which projected 700 .30 caliber steel ball-bearings in the direction in which they were aimed) and had established a watch-list.  In the meantime, we were doing our pooping and peeing, eating C-rations, laying out Ponchos and Poncho Liners as our "beds" in the soft Spring grass, and generally getting ready for a night of "Hold Your Ass 'Til Daylight".

That was how we described camping out in an alder thicket where we knew that VC might possibly travel through.  Think "Platoon", where Charlie Sheen sits and watches a VC patrol walk past him while everyone else is asleep.  My favorite nightmare, and I was happy that I never actually had that happen.

What DID happen, was that just as we were getting settled in we spotted a 5-man patrol of VC walking by on the trail which we had chosen to 'ambush' that night.  A trail that we had been paralleling for the past few hours.

I made signals to the squad to hunker down and get ready, but the FNG  (F**king New Guy) was up on his feet wandering around, smoking a cigarette and trying to get acquainted with the rest of the half-platoon members.  When everyone was saying "Shhhhhh!", he was saying "WTF?"  He hadn't yet learned Situational Awareness, and when we were trying to get him to lie down in the tall grass so we could avoid been seen and shot up by the passing VC, he thought we were being rude to him because he was .. well, the FNG.

I was positioned, as always, by the initiators .. or "Clackers" as we called them .. which controlled the Claymores.  Each clacker was arranged in a circle, so I knew which clacker would detonate which Claymore.  I had clackers for the two Claymores which were pointed at that arc of the trail which the VC patrol was traversing, but I couldn't trigger them because the FNG was still standing up and arguing with all the guys who were saying "SHHHhhhh!" and making frantic hand-motion for him to lay down!

Understand, if you will, that while Claymores are directional, they are encased in a plastic body.  And with a pound and a quarter of Composition Four Plastic Explosive, the back-blast can be quite powerful .. and will blast small plastic particles back toward the party which sets them off.

That "party" was US, and especially the FNG who would rather argue than obey commands from his Platoon Sergeant.

It took a few seconds for the FNG to notice that he was the center of attention, and then he turned around and looked where we were pointing ... at the VC.

The VC had spotted him, and were starting to point their AK-47's in our general direction, so I blew the mines.  I had no choice; they were ready to shoot and all we had in the few seconds since we had spotted them were the clackers in my hands.  And the FNG was standing between the Claymores (and the VC), and the rest of is.

KaBOOOOOM!  Both of the Claymores went off.  The VC went running away and we never saw them again.  All I can say is that they got out of the Forward Kill Zone of the Claymore Mines before they were detonated.

The FNG, however, did not escape the back-blast.


When the smoke had cleared, and we determined that the VC had escaped without injury (due to the delay in initiating the "Hasty Ambush"), all we were left with was a wide swath of close-mown grass and a bleeding FNG.

A moment of silence, and then the FNG was back on his feet.  He looked at the bloody gash in his pants and starting screaming "WHAT THE F**K DID YOU DO THAT FOR?  YOU ALMOST KILLED ME!  LOOK, ANOTHER INCH AND YOU WOULD HAVE BLOWN MY BALLS OFF, YOU BASTARD!"

It hadn't yet occurred to him that he was perhaps the luckiest man in the Army.  He had caught just one fragment of the plastic Claymore case, and it hit his upper thigh just a few inches from .... yes ... his Family Jewels.

There was a little blood, a lot of pain, and it took only a few minutes for us to clean the wound and put a band-aid on it.

He should have been dead.  In fact, his squad leader later told him "I almost killed you myself, you sorry bastard, for standing up and giving us away to the VC!".

In the end, the VC got away probably a lot less damaged than our FNG.  HE never forgave me for almost blowing his balls off, and I never forgave him for being such a clueless ... person.

We tried to track the VC, but never picked up their trail.  We were running out of light. So we packed up and slipped away, and didn't settle down for the night until we were far, far away.

The next week, I got the FNG transferred to another company.  I didn't tell their Platoon Leader that he was an idiot, but I suppose he figured it out soon enough.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Geek Humor

 "Sorry, your password has not been in use for 30 days and has expired
 - you must register a new one."
"Sorry, too few characters."
pretty roses
"Sorry, you must use at least one numerical character."
1 pretty rose
"Sorry, you cannot use blank spaces."
"Sorry, you must use at least 10 different characters."
"Sorry, you must use at least one upper case character."
"Sorry, you cannot use more than one upper case character
"Sorry, you must use no fewer than 20 total characters."
"Sorry, you cannot use punctuation."
"Sorry, that password is already in use."

Hat Tip from The G-Man

Thursday, December 05, 2013

"Don't Give An Inch!"

NYPD cracks down on long guns that hold more than five rounds | Fox News:  (December 5, 2013)

The New York City Police Department is taking aim at owners of shotguns and rifles capable of holding more than five rounds, demanding such guns be surrendered, altered or taken out of the city. The demand came in the form of some 500 letters mailed out to owners of registered long guns that are in violation of a 2010 city ordinance. The first option for the letter's recipient is to, "Immediately surrender your Rifle and/or Shotgun to your local police precinct, and notify this office of the invoice number. The firearm may be sold or permanently removed from the City of New York thereafter." 

 The notices, mailed Nov. 18, also give owners the options of demonstrating the gun has been moved out of NYPD jurisdiction or modified by a licensed gunsmith to comply with the law. 

Although an NYPD spokeswoman told the law has been on the books since 2010, critics say this year is the first time the notices were so widely dispersed. The notice was first reported on the  website
 It's good to be King.  You get to sleep with the Queen.  And you get to make your own laws!

This is wrong on so many levels:
  • Unconstitutional
  • Undermines the public confidence of the Citizenry in their "government"
  • Includes taxes on AMMO?
  • Options include "modification by licensed gunsmith"
  • Exposes lies of "registration"
  • Exposes lies of "confiscation"
Let's look at these questions:

Violates Second Amendment.  What part of "shall not infringe" do you not understand, Mayor Bloomberg?   The Second Amendment is as inviolable as the First Amendment, and all other Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.  They apply equally to all states, all counties or parishes, and all municipalities.  Mayor Bloomberg, you may be a King, but you are still constrained by the Constitution of the United States of America.  (I see a Constitutional Challenge on this law, now that The King of NYC has established, and is openly attempting to enforce, an unconstitutional law.

Question: in a feudal society (which Bloomberg is apparently attempting to establish), would he be more than the Baron of NYC?  The Governor would apparently be a Duke or an Earl, one would think.

Undermines the public confidence:

This 'law' was enacted literally overnight, and was approved immediately by Gov. Cuomo without question.  Both the Mayor and the governor were approving "Government by Edict".  I know we are a Nation of Laws rather than a Nation of Kings, but this kind of action on a municipal and provincial level makes it clear that the public cannot count on the good will of its elected leaders.

Includes taxes on AMMO?
This portion of the law was apparently tossed in as a 'freebie', as it has nothing to do with the ammunition CAPACITY of the referenced firearms.

In 1993, then-Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) proposed an addendum to President Clinton's  "Hillary-care" bill to include a (500% - 1,000%) tax on ammunition.

"Guns don't kill people; bullets do," he told the Senate as he introduced his legislation today. "It is time the Federal Government began taxing handgun ammunition used in crime out of existence."
(SEE Blog Search for "MOYNIHAN")

But Bloomberg has taken Moynihan's radical approach to gun-control one step further by (apparently) applying the same approach to long-gun control in addition to handgun control.

Oh, and in case you're one of those poor confused people who think that removing firearms from civilian hands will 'tax ... crime out of existence', I suggest you look at the crime rates in England, where it is illegal for most people to own ANY kind of firearm.  Assault and violent crime rates are UP, because the law-abiding citizen has no way to protect themselves against aggressive violence.

So Bloomberg's Law only exacerbates the 20-year-old effort of Moynihan by applying it across the board.  Even Moynihan, that colorful Irish Clown, avoided long-gun crime because he knew that it represented only a small percent of violent crime.

Options include "modification by licensed gunsmith":
 This is merely a note of confusion;  are gunsmiths required to be licensed in NYC?  Why?  Not to disparage Gunsmiths, but they're mechanics.  You wouldn't take your car to be repaired by an incompetent auto-mechanic, why would you take your firearm to be repaired by an incompetent gunsmith?  Are all Gunsmiths required to be licensed?  Is that, like, a Federal law?

Exposes lies of "registration":
 We saw this in California in the 1990's where certain firearms were subject to registration ... and then, the State Assembly decided that some firearms were just too "evil" to abide at all.  Then they confiscated the firearms.

We've talked about this here before, and it's probably been over-discussed.  The fact is, that "Registration" almost invariably leads (eventually) to "Confiscation".   It's just one more arrow in the quiver.

We've also talked about Mayor Bloomberg (see 2011 post "Boo Bloomberg")

 Finally ... why confiscation of  'banned' firearms?   There will come a time when (as Robert Heinlein so graphically illustrated in his brilliant set of essays stories based on the premise "If This Goes On"), any trend either scientific or cultural will eventually advance to its logical absurdity.

We mentioned England a few paragraphs ago.  There's a video in a 2008 post by Xavier (who has since ceased blogging) which graphically illustrates the conundrum that --- "when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns".

The lesson is clear: it's about Liberty.

Don't give an inch!