Transitioning to the Osprey from the CH-46

This is a bitter sweet story for me. I rode a ton in 46s when I was in…

If you have any good CH-46 stories, please share them below!

Speaking for myself, we flew in CH-53s when we were dodging ground fire on our entry into Albania, but most of my flights in the Corps were on 46s. One of them certainly saved my life when we were landing on ship and wind (or pilot error) pushed us off course a bit.

One set of back wheels hit the deck of the LHA and the 46 titled on its side, mere milliseconds from flipping and probably killing us all. Somehow, the pilot recovered, and thankfully the 46 (with its dual blades) had the power to recover from such a dangerous mistake.

I know the Osprey has its advantages in speed and range, but I don’t think in a million years it would have survived a similar mishap.

Again, make sure you share any good stories you have. Love hearing from my fellow brothers and sisters.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

About me: I’m a full-time, action-fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about things American foreign policy, national security, and all things Marine Corps.

P.S. You should really consider buying this book: The Shaolin Workout: 28 Days to Transforming Your Body and Soul the Warrior’s Way. It’s absolutely changed my life for the better.

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Saudi Arabia stops its military action in Yemen

Saudi Arabia has ended its air campaign against Shiite rebels in Yemen.

Looks like air alone wasn’t getting the job done and only making things worse.

Great article about it here if you get a moment: Why Saudi Arabia rolled back its Yemen military action. (H/T Blake K. Baxter)

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

About me: I’m a full-time, action-fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about things American foreign policy, national security, and all things Marine Corps.

P.S. You should really consider buying this book: The Shaolin Workout: 28 Days to Transforming Your Body and Soul the Warrior’s Way. It’s absolutely changed my life for the better.

The two biggest travesties of our 2003 invasion of Iraq.

I think there’s a chance I’ve come across some facts that just boggle the imagination regarding our invasion of Iraq.

Since this is potentially a controversial post, I feel the need to explain how I got here. It began with me noticing Iran’s far-stronger influence in the Middle East of late, and the explosion of violence between Sunni and Shia in several different countries. (None of this is news to my devoted readers.)

But what caused my head to nearly explode was when I stumbled upon a single sentence written back in the early ’90s. I was reading Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf’s autobiography recently, “It Doesn’t Take a Hero,” when I came across this paragraph:

“Though no one had told us, ‘We don’t want you to destroy Iraq as a nation,’ my assumption in directing the planners had been that the United States would continue to need Iraq as a regional counterbalance to Iran.” — From Chapter 17.

Think of that. This book was published on Nov. 1, 1992. Thus, we knew in the ’90s — long before the 2003 invasion to topple Saddam — that Iraq was needed as a counter to our most dangerous regional enemy: Iran.

Furthermore, one of the big rationales for the current invasion was to set up a democracy. The only problem with this concept is the solid majority of Iraq is Shia. Likewise, Iran is Shia. This isn’t rocket science. It’s 9th grade geography.

So, we should have known going in that if we established a democracy in Iraq, we’ve created a Shia state. A huge one, which happens to be adjacent to Iran.

That consequence alone — practically doubling Iran’s power and reach — should have given us serious pause. It should have been known and understood by our strategists.

I have no idea how this was somehow overlooked or ignored, but that’s not all that’s been troubling me of late.

Unfortunately, it gets worse. Because of where Iraq is situated, it served as a buffer for one of the most important borders of Shia and Sunni civilization. Consequently, when we toppled the country’s strong man (Saddam), we set up the perfect situation for a massive regional war between Shias and Sunnis. That regional war has been spreading like wildfire, as everyone now knows, with Shia Iran supporting Shia fighters and the Sunni Saudi Arabia (and other Sunni countries) supporting Sunni fighters.

Now you might say, “But, Stan, who could have known how ugly that would get? How could we have known that religious fighting would spread from Iraq to Syria to Yemen to pretty much you name it in the Middle East?”

But I’d argue that this religious divide, and it’s subsequent clashes (see video below), began 1,400 years ago, and surely someone at the CIA — probably a lot of someones — tried to highlight this fact to the Bush Administration. (If they did, I really want to know this. And if they didn’t, I even more want to know this.)

So, in summary, let’s ignore all of the regular arguments on this issue. Forget arguments about WMD, oil paying for the war, being welcomed as liberators, etc. I can understand how we got much of that wrong.

But, what I want to know is how in the world our leaders overlooked these two potential problems, which seem incredibly simple and easy to see:

  1. That Iraq could become a second state strongly allied with Iran. (And how this would hardly be a good thing for us, Israel, or our long-time ally Saudi Arabia.)
  2. And that toppling Saddam could lead to an ferociously large civil war between Shias and Sunnis. One that will probably rage for years and years and kill (and displace) who knows how many  hundreds of thousands.

We’re already dealing with these consequences, and they’re already getting worse.

Now, we’ve got Russia arming Iran with anti-air missiles and conflict exploding across the Middle East faster than a wildfire with a strong wind behind its back. Iran is ascending and the rest of the Middle East is worried about this growing tiger in their midst.

It’s my strong suspicion that history will want to know how we overlooked these two potential problems, which we should have known.

So, please, dear readers, tell me where I’m wrong on this and what I’m unfairly overlooking.

Oh, and here’s a super short video on the Shia-Sunni divide:

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

About me: I’m a full-time, action-fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about things American foreign policy, national security, and all things Marine Corps.

P.S. You should really consider buying this book: The Shaolin Workout: 28 Days to Transforming Your Body and Soul the Warrior’s Way. It’s absolutely changed my life for the better.

My hesitation in sharing a pretty startling conclusion I’ve been developing

Hey guys,

I apologize for the lack of posts of late. For quite a while now, I’ve been researching and chewing on some information I’ve uncovered regarding Iraq and the larger overall Sunni/Shia conflict that’s increasingly coming to light.

I’ve been digging going all the way back to Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf’s invasion in the early 90s, reading his entire biography and picking up a treasure chest of clues written with no political viewpoint in mind. I can say this with absolute conviction because his book was written prior to our 2000-era invasion and toppling of Saddam.

Furthermore, Schwarzkopf says in his biography that he’s a Republican. I don’t think he’d be wanting to sabotage his own party.

So, I’m beating around the bush here but I don’t want my hesitation to suggest that I haven’t drawn up a conclusion. In fact, I’ve drawn up a serious conclusion. One I feel extremely firm on. But, it can’t be said without coming across as political.

And I’ve learned that once you become political, it’s a deadly thing. Furthermore, I’m a moderate and never want to become a passionate supporter of just one side. I will always support trying to mend fences and create dialogue among people of opposite persuasions. Doing so is how progress is made, and is best for our country, in my opinion.

Additionally, it seems quite clear to me that when you make a political statement, you immediately lose about half your readers. They get defensive. Or pissed. And perhaps rightly so.

So, for now I’m holding off on laying out this great conclusion that I’ve drawn. I’m going to continue to look for someone else who has come across the same thing and hopefully written about it. Once I find that person, I’ll share it here.

But if I don’t find this information somewhere soon, then I think I’m going to lay out my evidence and conclusions. And I will do so as respectfully and from as non-political a viewpoint as possible.

We can only avoid repeating history if we learn from it, and I’m not sure we’ve learned enough from our history the past ten-plus years, since it doesn’t seem anyone is saying what I believe to be a pretty clear truth.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

About me: I’m a full-time, action-fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about things American foreign policy, national security, and all things Marine Corps.

P.S. You should really consider buying this book: The Shaolin Workout: 28 Days to Transforming Your Body and Soul the Warrior’s Way. It’s absolutely changed my life for the better.