Friday Thoughts on “A World Apart”

Aleksander Solzhenitsyn was many things in his day: soldier, prisoner, writer, and activist, but his particular skill was his observation of people as they are, as opposed to how he and they wished people to be. As we are spectators to a very dark drama going on inside the Beltway and across America, it may be better to take the rose-colored glasses off and see our elites and leaders for who they are, and not what we wish them to be.

In 1978, Solzhenitsyn delivered an hour-long speech to the graduating class at Harvard. Folks painted the speech, before it was delivered, as another cathartic smack-down of the USSR and communism and everything that animated American Academia to want to be become even more Maoist than Leninist. That wasn’t the speech Solzhenitsyn delivered. Here’s a snippet of it — please go read the rest of it

When the modern Western states were created, the principle was proclaimed that governments are meant to serve man and man lives to be free and to pursue happiness. See, for example, the American Declaration of Independence. Now, at last, during past decades technical and social progress has permitted the realization of such aspirations: the welfare state.

Every citizen has been granted the desired freedom and material goods in such quantity and of such quality as to guarantee in theory the achievement of happiness — in the morally inferior sense of the word which has come into being during those same decades. In the process, however, one psychological detail has been overlooked: the constant desire to have still more things and a still better life and the struggle to attain them imprint many Western faces with worry and even depression, though it is customary to conceal such feelings. Active and tense competition fills all human thoughts without opening a way to free spiritual development.

Solzhenitsyn was surprised at the reaction. He should not have been, as there is no one more invested in living a lie as someone who says they live for truth.

Veröffentlicht unter Stray Voltage, VMI | 1 Kommentar

Sailing on a Learner’s Permit

There’s probably only one feeling worse than being a 15 year old with a new girlfriend and no wheels. That’s being a brand new ensign with a freshly signed-off Qualifications Book and not knowing port from left. Now, as a right proper Army officer, I know that answer. Left is left. Port is served after supper, with a cigar when not in the society of ladies. Count on the Navy to screw that up.

What troubles me is that these officers, and likely most ensigns since 2009, may be sporting SWO-Daddy badges and not really be expert. And getting promoted. And taking charge of ships and sailors. Just me, but what did Vice Admiral Richard Brown discover?

Led by the Surface Warfare Officer School, officer of the deck competency checks were conducted on a random selection of OOD-qualified first-tour division officers (the newest officers in the fleet) in underway bridge navigation simulators fleet-wide between January and March. Of the 164 officers who were evaluated, only 27 passed with “no concerns.” Another 108 completed with “some concerns,” and 29 had “significant concerns,” according to the message, which was released by the Navy’s top surface warfare officer Vice Adm. Richard Brown.

Brown, who leads Naval Surface Force Pacific, termed the results “sobering.”

No, Admiral. “Sobering” is talking to a police officer after your pickup truck got totaled by a Prius. Officers who are not masters of the craft of naval warfare, which includes seamanship as its core component, are an unmitigated disaster.

Now, I’m sure they use the proper plethora of pronouns, and are exceedingly salutatious of Xir and Xirette and all the other Emotional Intelligence PC slang. But an ensign who can’t properly Navy is just… wow. I mean, of what use is an ensign in this case? Use him as stuffing to stop a leak in the bulkhead? Guard the strawberries? What?

With VMI having taken the plunge into PC madness, I wonder if the NROTC Department is taking corrective action to ensure its graduates know how to Navy? Do you take them to the river and put them in a rowboat to learn? Should we ask Liechtenstein if we can borrow their navy for a little while, since it is of better quality than ours? Perhaps we issue learner’s permits, and set sail.

Veröffentlicht unter Navy, VMI | 1 Kommentar

D-Day 2018

On the 74th anniversary of D-Day, one wonders why a sapper from the Stonewall Brigade took a different approach to commuting to work, and if the Institute was heard from today?

Considering the insanity going on inside the Beltway – really FBI? Really? We trusted you! – I’m glad the soldier wasn’t shot dead once he put the victor in park.

Speaking of insanity, the question arose (as we knew it would!) on whether Washington & Lee should change its name. W&L’s namesakes were both slave owners, rebelled against properly constituted authority, and exploited the labor of thousands and were rewarded with comfortable position. Shame shame! Maybe if Washington and Lee had instead been more amphibious, choosing to fight on beaches?

Speaking of beaches, here’s a great speech on beaches.

Interestingly, the Luftwaffe of today is less capable than 1940. Or even 1840, for that matter.

If you have to maneuver on foot, as the Luftwaffe must, perhaps a tour of America’s hidden battlefields to take your mind off news-fatigue and the constant tension of Mueller storming the Bastille White House any second now?

Welcome back readers. Grandpa DaveO is back.

Veröffentlicht unter Army National Guard, Friends & Allies, Great Britain and the Empire, History, VMI | Kommentar hinterlassen

What Is Becoming of the Blog!

A loyal reader wrote,

„I miss the commentary, as we’re almost two months since the last post. I would be interested in any thoughts about the recent New Market Ceremony. It’s seems as if some pre-emptive watering down / dilution took place yesterday in the name of political correctness and anti-Confederate hysteria, and, as always, I would enjoy hearing what your thought are.“

So let me answer his question regarding New Market, I haven’t gone to the Ceremony in about 5 years.  Unless it has radically changed in that time, it is still a reflection of the traditions of the Institute.  There has been no Confederate imagery or music in a number of years, well over twenty-five.  Good riddance’s in my humble opinion, it is about the Corps of Cadets, fighting under the colors of the Virginia Military Institute.  Their service having been requested by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Regarding the blog.  Our time may have passed.  I have other interest, I know that JPP has other interest.  Dave O has written some rather interesting blogs in the past year but nothing recently.  Slater has not posted in quite a while.  I have been footing the bill for this site for the last several years.  As I begin to make the transition to retirement, maintaining the blog site becomes luxury and not a necessity.  I hope I have answered our dear readers question.

Veröffentlicht unter VMI | Verschlagwortet mit , | 2 Kommentare

Rebuilding Our Navy

The big news is Newport News – 2 aircraft carriers to be built! With the carriers comes the rest of the materiel and personnel, unless 2 or more older carriers are retired and sold off. The big questions in my mind, un-naval as it is, what to do with our experiments in naval stealth? Is this the return of the heavy cruiser? The second question is how do we extract USAF from Space? They’re dead set against it, and frankly don’t possess the right economy of mind to build and deploy a fleet of space-faring ships and crews.

Veröffentlicht unter Air Force, Navy, Readiness | 2 Kommentare

„I Consider Myself a Citadel Alumna…“

This story is making the rounds amongst the Citadel Alumni-

Shannon Faulkner considers herself a hero of sorts but she definitely is not.  The opening of the Citadel to women is pretty marred unlike that of VMI.  Many did not want VMI to be opened, but the school took the steps to do so as professionally as possible.  Shannon Faulkner’s return to the Citadel happened for who knows why.  But as we say, „I wear the ring,“  she does not wear the ring of the school down south.  She quit during a period that we at VMI call „Hell Week.“  She also caused pain in the lives of the other women who attended the Citadel.  Women who’ve attended VMI and graduate know what it took.  Any who matriculate but quit before ever straining and racing stoops along the Ratline within barracks are never considered Alumni.

Nancy Mace, one of the first female graduates of the Citadel could definitely be considered a hero in that respect.  And apparently Ms. Faulkner continues to keep the name Nancy Mace within her story.  Nancy Mace Wrote on Facebook:

She doesn’t wear The Ring because she didn’t earn it. And she sure as hell ain’t my mother. That’s an insult to my mother. And in the hearts of most #Citadel graduates — she’s not alumni. There is no edification or achievement in her failure. And I’m not even going into the revisionist history here but the school admitted Women after VMI lost its battle in the Supreme Court. And no Shannon Faulkner, I wasn’t, in your words, “invited” to attend The Citadel. I had to apply and gain legitimate acceptance under their rules. And when I got in, I graduated, even with the threats on my life and my family. You and your attorneys leaked my name to the press in open court, at a moment in time when I was trying to get my life together for the better. I’ll never forget that day or what it felt like to lose all right to privacy. Lastly, I’ve never met Faulkner, never spoken to her, she’s never even reached out except to make asinine comments in the press. 25 years later and she’s still self-aggrandizing, trying to take credit for the success of others. Why does she think she can assume credit for my and others success where she failed? She can’t even begin to comprehend what myself and hundreds of other women went through to earn the ring. We wear the ring because we earned it.

I matriculated in the 9th year of Women at the Institute.  I can say the place remained arduous for Rats and for individuals.  It is the hardest school for so many reasons.  By strict definition, a person is not an alumnus of an institution unless they complete an academic year. I don’t think any Alumna from the Institute would enjoy having their name in the mouth of someone who only lasted up to Friday of Hell Week.

Veröffentlicht unter Uncategorized, VMI | 4 Kommentare

Titan Rain

Old and yet still current news. While we’re being guided to look very almost closely at Russia, a far more dedicated and successful cyber enemy taking advantage.

“[Shawn] Carpenter had uncovered Titan Rain – the biggest cyber espionage campaign in history, and part of a programme which allowed China to plunder priceless military and commercial secrets from the West.

Special units of the People’s Liberation Army stole secrets ranging from America’s stealth bomber blueprints and Coca-Cola’s business strategy to British Government briefings and BP geological reports.

Newly installed Emperor Xi invested heavily in the PLA’s newest arm, and is now the dominant superpower on a battlefield we’re still discovering exists. Of course, we were warned. Have to admit – this battlefield is certainly more comfortable than our own Army’s standard of living. Emperor Xi still engages in old-fashioned spying though. Good on VMI for paying attention.

Veröffentlicht unter China, VMI | Kommentar hinterlassen