The repeal of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy (DADT)

I am not gay. I don’t care if you are gay.
I do not care if a Marine is gay.

Don’t care. Couldn’t possibly care less. Literally impossible.

I care if a Marine is WEAK.

The only disruption a gay Marine brings to my life is the hours of briefs talking about the implementation of the new policy that are very clearly oriented to the homosexual service member afraid to ask questions. Which is fine. I get that. I know for fact that I have served with gay Marines who were just as bad ass as straight guys and could fight just as well.

This does not mean that Marines will suddenly have pink skivee shirts and cut off utility trousers so high the pockets hang out. It changes nothing to our conduct. What a Marine does with his own time effects me little so long as they eat clean, kill their bodies, study the trade and don’t get arrested. Having a boyfriend vice a girlfriend means nothing to me. Fixing bayonets and repelling the enemy’s assaults matter to me.

The argument is that gay Marines will be incapable of keeping there urge for same sex lovin’ to his or her self. What about hetro Marines? How do they manage to act accordingly? And when they don’t what happens? HAMMERED! Lose money, rank and freedom! Why in the world, then, is this any damn different? It is certainly NOT social acceptance. Americans as a whole are acceptant to homosexuals. More acceptant to homosexuals, in fact, then the actions the military undertakes in the war. Americans like homosexuals more than fighting wars! How could anyone like something more than fighting a war?!?!

The difference lies in a refusal to accept change unique to the military in general. This is compounded when the change is pushed from the outside in. Quadrupled when it involves the Marines. Old Corps blah, blah, blah, blah. We are not people. We are not like you. We take care of ourselves.

The Corps, however, has much bigger problems to worry about than this. Protecting the world, slimming down, winning ANOTHER war for America, killing pirates, liberating the oppressed, re taking embassies, saving those in need, ya know. Stuff like that.
Straight or gay a good Marine is a good Marine, and a weak, sub-standard, baby crap soft Marine is just as useless straight as he is gay.

I will find the weak, separate them from the pack, and either assimilate or eliminate thier weak asses!

P.S. If you have some deep rooted religious based moral objection, citing that gays go to hell, that leaves heaven homosexual free, so quit your bitchin! Me and the queers will be bayonet training in HELL...


Mindset II, Part Two

Here is my philosophy. It is simple. I believe sound, and can be utilized by anyone for anything. Understand that it was originally written for young Marines, warriors who may not fully understand their situation. It was written for combatants. For men who will kill men. It is applicable as is to these types of people.

Men ready to do savagery against others. Also for those who may not be completely sure of the responsibility they have “signed on” for. It dissolves ambiguity and galvanizes responsibility. It is prioritized in order and needs to be refreshed often;

1. Remember that you did this to yourself.
        This is applicable to everyone. In any instance. Everywhere. All the time. In our case WE signed the contract, WE decided to serve. There is no turning back. Sorry if you made the wrong choice. Sucks to be you. For everyone else it simply applies to EVERYTHING. The confrontation you get into, or walk away from. The parking spot you take. The speeding ticket. What ever. Simply put you made a decision, good or bad, now its time to work through it. No cop outs. Make it work!

2. Discipline leads to mastery.
     This was shown to me early by welders. Men that were hardened by the trade. Two specific types; ones makin’ 15 bucks an hour, and the ones makin’ 30 bucks an hour. The men making the big money worked hard, measured twice and cut once. For the war fighter it’s the little things, straps tight, weapon clean, awake on post, clean uniform, good shave, squared away wall lockers, stay fit. These turn into very important ideals that translate into the battle field and literally become life and death. This is TRADE or JOB specific.

3. In order to master your profession, you need to first master yourself (SELF DISCIPLINE).
     Those same great welders lived comfortably because of hard work. On the other hand they drank too much, did other questionable lifestyle actions, invested poorly with time and money away from work. They were not centered. They could not complete the package. For the Marines it relates to this stupid ass “Field Marine” concept. No such thing. If a Marine is a GREAT infantry man, but beats his wife, gets a DUI, and smokes dope, he’s just another punk getting paid by tax money.

     This principle is you. How far are you willing to go to work for improvement. MASTERY. Of self. Internal focus. Complete control and understanding of you. How you interact, react, and live with your family and community. For us it is directly related to the fire team (4 men), squad (12), and platoon (40-50). That’s our community. In the office or on the job site it needs to be applied, just like the battle field. Constantly challenge yourself.

4. Increase your lethality every chance you get. EVERY DAY.
     I wrote this specifically thinking of perishable skills, most notably CQB style shooting, and bayonet work. It can be translated to SURVIVABILITY. Work out to make your self stronger and harder. The sexy body is a side effect to being hard. If you have a job where you need to stay on the “edge” of something, than work to stay ahead of the curve! Put in the extra hours here and there to make sure you perform at the highest levels. No need to be a “workaholic”, or neglect other aspects of life just the extra mile to be stay ahead of the herd.

5. If you won’t work on lethality, at least work on some form of self development.
     I often thought of omitting this one, but chose to keep it in to reinforce the fact that there are many aspects to successful living, not just bayoneting bad guys (even though it’s not true!). For us it’s professional reading and taking care of education and preparing ourselves to be the best citizens we can when we leave the Corps.

I would translate it for a civilian as this; even though your not getting paid for what your doing, or may not immediately get some reward for your actions, put forth the effort as if you are.

6. Become proficient in the things you DO NOT enjoy.
     The military is full of wicked cool crap to do…  about 10% of the time. The other times it is full of rather menial work and laborious tasks or desperate boredom. The better we get at the crap that sucks the more time for the crap that rocks!! The big thing now is the attention Special Forces receive since OIF/OEF. Companies market gear, books, and clothing after these guys. But guess what…none of that makes them Special Forces. Not the beards, or the partially rolled sleeves, or the “high speed” crap they walk around with. This does; they pack gear smarter, they think about and fix logistical shortfalls, they are good at the small details. The boring un-fun crap that needs to be done. Every time.

This again equates to pulling ahead of the herd. If there is some horrible task/aspect of what you do just lie to yourself! Tell your self it’s the best thing you’ll do all day. I’ve done this with long heavy force marches for 10 damn years now. These suck. They make you feel like crap and plain hurt during and after! But I have lied to my self for sooo long about how much I LOVE them, that I do now. Sorta.
7. Accept that the basics ARE brilliant.
     This is a clique in the military now, but no truer words have been said. Hence why I attempted to insist on the acceptance of this idea. Remember the acronym K.I.S.S.

I use this when teaching or talking through complex events. Particularly in any urban training. Remember that it can be applied everywhere. And should. This will be a life saver. Save time, money, aggravation. Think hard about this one and all the possible applications. It’s just a simple fact.

Look at professional athletes, ESPN just shows the amazing crap they do, but they practice the crap you do in pee-wee and little leagues. They always return to fundamentals and basics. They have mastered the basics, which makes it seem like they are doing something more complex! That’s what makes them pro’s. Accept it! (2&3).

8. Remember that practice makes PERMANENT.
        How many times have you heard that practice makes perfect? Nope. It just makes the crap your doing wrong happen all the time. By slowing down, and applying 6 and 7, you will ensure you are getting PERFECT practice, which will make your practice perfect. Making habits of action.

   It’s important to note however that function beats form in most cases. If I get in a gun fight I just need to shoot better than the bad guys, NOT PERFECT! But if I practice to be perfect, I will shoot better than John Q Criminal. It’s same with any conflict. I just want to be stronger, faster and harder than the adversary. This will work for gun fighters, not heart surgeons!

9. Imagine that someone you respect is watching everything you do, ALL THE TIME.
        I’ve been doing this as long as I can remember. For what ever reason when I was young I ALWAYS thought an adult was secretly watching me. I know it’s weird but it has served me well. In fact when I have NOT applied it, it seems I always do something more stupid than normal. Pick anyone. I tell my Marines “that if I were with you watching your stupid ass would you still do what you’re about to do or currently doing? If the answers no, DON’T DO IT!”.

   I firmly believe that if you apply this all the time, and the person you are imagining is a good person, you will be fine. This is similar to the whole “God is watching you” crap. Instead of picking something that may or may not be there pick something real. Your dad, a teacher, or someone who you just believe to be a good, proficient, person or someone you strive to be like. A mentor or role model maybe. Someone something, doesn’t matter. Just do it. Of all of these, this and the first one get the most positive feed back. It works.
10. Know your limits.
     Don’t hurt yourself. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. You’ve heard this before. Don’t swim beyond your means, don’t climb Everest first, don’t fist fight bears until you’ve had a few fights with people. Stuff like that.

The problem for us is actually doing it. We tend to have a bit of a wolf pack mentality and get upset if someone can’t perform. Just don’t go too far because someone else can. Know yourself. With anything. Just do your best.

11. Constantly work to exceed your limits, SAFELY.
        All the time. This brings the whole list above it together. This is the completion of the ideas. The next few build off of the concepts above. Never be satisfied with your performance, but realize that you WILL get hurt if you don’t improve in intervals. It’s fitness based. If running 6 miles is your limit, than work to get 6.5. Slowly.

12. Balance mental proficiency with physical proficiency.
Balance physical capacity with mental capacity.
     In the Marines they say “you can be dumb and strong, or weak and smart” (neither of which is true). The idea here is to read as much as you run. To study as much as you apply. And not forget that all your strength doesn’t matter if you cannot complete an idea, and convey it to others.

Be as good at the physical stuff as you are at the mental stuff. Id rather have a decent runner who can think through complex problems, than the worlds fastest idiot. Make this your mission.

13. Make time to rest.
            for some reason some Marines (like the idiot mentioned in part one) take pride in the fact that they don’t sleep, or more commonly, try to make it seem that they never sleep, cause they are soooo hard. This is stupid. Your mind and body repairs significantly faster when asleep. 4 hours minimum. As much as possible.

I’ve HAD to stay awake for days, and sometimes you just need to do it. That’s a discipline. Not a physical attribute. Try your best to get 6 or 7 hours sleep every night. Especially after taxing days.

So there it is. The reason for the order is necessity really. If you get 1 and 2 done all the time it helps with 3. 4,5,6,7 help with 8, and 8 helps with 4,5,6,7. 9 helps with all of them all of the time. 10 and 11 will help condition your body and mind while 12 will make sure you don’t get lopsided. And 13 will keep you sane!


Mindset II, Part One

If you have seen any of my blog (such a strange name) before you may have seen the first entry (Mindset). It has a set of principles that outline a very specific end state in mindset that I attempt to get all of my Marines to. In the second part of this post I will re introduce this philosophy and civilianize it, as well as describe it in greater detail. I would say that it has been in development for nine or so years, but really fine tuned in the last three, and finally put to paper with in the last 11 or so months.

The sources for this vary. Some are from myself, where as others are adages I’ve picked up from superiors and subordinates alike, or crap I’ve read over the years. Fundamentally though there are two direct inspirational type sources; “Principles of personal defense, by Col. Jeff Cooper”, and “The 7 habits of highly effective people, by Stephen R. Covey”.

First some disclaimers. Col. Cooper is a BA. No question. He was however a bit conservative and hard lined on some things. He was educated, battle tested, and decent none the less. A good man. His family made a site for him, here. Check it out. I have done a lot of research on him and “know” him well. Stephen Covey on the other hand, I have NOT researched. I THINK he’s big into God. I THINK he’s Mormon. I THINK he is anti-gun/violence. I THINK he and I would not like one another. But I KNOW he is very smart, very good, and wrote an amazing life altering book! Check! On with the post...

Ok the point to all of this, OTHER than my philosophy: To my knowledge these two men never met. They did however both develop two all encompassing, life changing, and uniquely functional principles. They both got it done in seven. 7 habits, 7 principles. Now its important to note that Mr. Covey has “the 8th habit” book, but this is an after thought of no real relevance if you understand the first book, boiled down he had 7. Like the late Col. Cooper.

Gun nuts and professional war fighters alike both know Col. Coopers principles. They are universal and proven. Time tested.

1.     Alertness
2.     Decisiveness
3.     Aggressiveness
4.     Speed
5.     Coolness
6.     Ruthlessness
7.     Surprise

Like I said pretty self explanatory. They deal with mindset, and conduct of habit vice actual techniques. The book is small, neat, illustrated, and took me about 20 minutes to read cover to cover. It is meant to be re-read periodically and always practically applied.

The good Col. took his time in the writing of stuff martial thinkers have been doing for thousands of years, and suit cased it all nicely. Perhaps coolness should supersede speed, but that’s the only thing I would change, if at all. I preach 2,3,and 6 early and often. As Marines on the battle field we have a certain type of luxury to be offensive as permitted, and typically execute with fine tuned violence. This book is for all of you. Defensive, as a Marine must be when at home. But alert none the less.

Coolness to me is two fold; one I need to be responsible for the ways in which any aggressor will be dealt with while on the “home front”. Also it talks to being able to keep your head in intense moments. I have a friend (kinda), who is the gift from God when it comes to tactics and has seen more combat than anyone else on EARTH (not really), but during any and all evaluations/real world events he turns into a spazz from hell! He has looked at me, and waited for a decision, ran around “looking” for meaningless tasks, and blown tiny and ultimately insignificant things out of proportion. NOT cool. Not at all! This separates good leaders men will look to and depend on because of want, instead of obligation.

1,2, and 5 are necessities in my line of work, and good bases for life for others. These can be applied immediately, and if your like me, you’ve been doing most of them for a long time. My father taught me several of them for that matter. Quite on accident. My father isn’t big on violence like me.

The Seven Habits is faaaaar less martial, but can be applied in anyone’s life, under any circumstances. It is a management book. It talks of business, business owners, and CEO types and applies it to a normal person. It has made me more patient (for those of you who know me imagine me before this friggin book!), a better teacher/student, and a some what better father.

After reading this book I developed a family plan, and made a presentation for it. It spoke to me so clearly that what this man wants is to make you better at what you do. I hunt people. And walk around with a LOT of crap on my back, and live in the woods and junk like that. Shoot weapons. Fight with bayonets…ect.ect. It made me more focused on those things!

Mr. Covey has a much more detailed, taxing book to read. He has four parts, 7 habits, and several appendixes.

I. Paradigms and principles (overview essentially)
II. Private victory
 1. Be proactive
 2. Begin with the end in mind
 3. Put first things first
III. Public victory
 4. Think win/win
 5. Seek first to understand, then be understood
 6. Synergize
IV. Renewal
  7. Sharpen the saw

Part one was a real eye opener for me. It speaks to paradigm shifts, and how to significantly change your prospective on several things. It talks about the importance of controlling the things you CAN, and working WITH the things you cannot.

I found the book (though difficult to read in parts) very enlightening. He hits integrity (just as Col Cooper does) regularly. This is the base for solid lifestyle and happiness. It re-instills honor and focuses your commitment. Coupled with some Marine Corps doctrine pubs, it helped me develop a new base to approach squad leaders and give them a clear and concise direction for themselves and their squads.

No. 5 really hit home. The Corps is a “do as I say” type world at times, especially with the not so good leaders (like my “friend” I mentioned earlier). This leads to one way thinking that does not help with any sort of work environment, especially in combat. now there are times when the iron fist dictator needs to come out, but often someone else has a far better idea, or at least a part of your idea. I work to find the balance there. That’s what separates me from the people I see horizontally and vertically in my current position. I try at least.

Part two will be my take on self development. My little philosophy has gotten rather popular as of late, but like most principles, or principle based ideas, it will be the stuff your already doing. Ideally. I just put it in a word document...


The problem with "On Combat/Killing"

Lt. Col Grossman is a smart guy. I like him and his books. They are informative. He has made a lot of solid points about what we do. He is however, wrong about two things in my mind/opinion.

1. We are mentally geared to identify 70 people or so by sight at a distance (posture, gait, and mannerisms), our natural smell, and voice recognition. I have a great example of this; I grew up in MA with a very distinct dialect. The rest of my family lives in KY, with a very different dialect. I did not meet one of my uncles until I was 7 or so. I immediately recognized his voice and the voices of my cousins as the same “tribe”.

Thus we as a species are pre disposed to be suspicious of folks outside the tribe and hence will kill them for coming into our valley! Extreme yes, but this was how war started. Food, water, land, all causes for fighting. All animals go to war in one shape or form or another. Lions with gazelle for instance. You might say “That’s not a war! It’s nature! Survival!”, go ahead and tell that to the gazelle that have been stalked and hunted by lions for 10,000 years! They are born with the instinct to immediately run the crap away from lions. That’s a war.

2. He classifies society with the animal kingdom incorrectly.
     a. bad guys = wolves
     b. people = sheep
     c. we = sheep dogs.

He talks about the uselessness of the sheep (true), and the nobility of the sheep dog (stupid) and the menace on the fringes of society being the wolf. Incorrect. Wolves are highly disciplined, socially structured pack animals that liken to Marines more than any other K-9 animal. They protect one another from the same tribe only, will care for pups and move to eat. They are neither deviant nor ill willed. They are dedicated, driven, and very good at what they do. Coyotes are a better animal to reference as bad guys. They are typically dirty nomadic, unloyal types who are mischievious and won’t mind their business. Wolves hunt and then tend to themselves. Just don’t provoke them. Sheep dogs stay with the flock.

As a result sheep dogs are not expeditionary in nature. They stay close to the sheep and protect them from threats. Like the police. This is very noble! The police are here to help, in your town. They will protect you from criminals and evil doers, in your town. They are armed and willing to throw down their lives, in your town. Wolves on the other hand are expeditionary and will go great distances and stay there as necessary. Like Marines. We will help all those in need. We will eliminate threats before they become too big, and destroy all those who oppose us. Everywhere.

Here is my classification;
a.     bad guys = ________________
b.     people = sheep
c.     police = sheep dogs
d.     Marines = wolves.

Fill in the blank. Its whatever you want, but not a wolf.



My recent time in our home away from home, CENTCOM, is coming to a close. This was a unique and some what challenging deployment in comparison to my last trips to the AO.

I switched platoons and watched one of the worst turn into the best, and then watched the best turn average. I stopped working for the most disagreeable human on the face of the planet to working with one of the best officers I have met. I realized that some “friends” aren’t, and being humble always pays the bills. I have made close friends, and evaluated future enemies.

The Middle Evil!

I can say that the challenge was not the enemy or the terrain this time, but the movements, the planning and the control of the Marines. My platoon found itself in several locations through out the AO on numerous occasions doing different missions at the same time. My warrior elite NCOs cracked skulls, towed the line and enforced the rules. Non stop. Every day. All day.

From L to R, Cpl Williams, Cpl Carney, Sgt. Wright,
Cpl. Vlasak, Cpl. Thurmond, and sgt. Fritchman

I met some famous people, hazed the crap out of some athletes, and trained soldiers from end to end of the AO.

The Boondock Saints dropped in, and we ground fought a bit.

from L to R Troy Duffy, Sean Patrick Flannery, Norman Reedus, and SSgt. Visnick

The Florida Marlins came by and got thrashed by me in an LZ Drill.
From L to R Jeff Conine, Grendel, some dude, John Buck, Logan Morrison, and Don Simpson. 

Tobey Keith spent some time with us, but wouldn’t buy me an iPad. And I can't find my pic with him.

I trained Jordanians in Machine gun gunnery, and fire and maneuver.
Clark with a Z, and a Jordanian Machine Gunner
And got all the boys to Grey Belt.
LCpl Cole buttstrokes Lcpl Mott

Talked to the Pakistanis about MCMAP, and modern base defense along with infiltration.

Worked with the Lebanese and taught them how to shoot fast and clear structures.

PNS Qasim in Karachi, the smelliest place on earth

Grendel and Lt. Cluade Mattar talk tactics to the Lebanese Forces

It wasn’t all work and no play, however.
I went to the baptismal site of God’s kid, Jesus.
Grendel on the site.
And looked at the holy land from Mt. Nebo.
A wolf in the Holy Land
Visited the memorial site for the bombing sites in Beirut.

Marine Corps Holy ground....

PT was extensive, constant, varied and always terrible!!!
I worked hard to get as far as possible in MCMAP, and ended up with 11 brown belts, 25 green belts and the rest grey belts!

America's First Sergeant and I.


Suck fests!!!
All in all. It was an enjoyable experience and can’t wait for the next go around..........


The Other Culture

These inspiring words are from the most wonderful mother, wife, and partner in the world, my wife.

She IS Bushido.

 We are not born Marines wives.  We volunteer for it.  We marry Marines because we love the men that they are.  We are NOT regular women!  We are stronger, harder and more independent.  We stand by our Marines FOREVER!

This is the flip side, and her take on the opening paragraph of my Culture post.


Self Defense Course for Sexual Assualt Prevention Month

Last Month was “Sexual Assault Awareness Month.” FYI. During that period a group of service members called CSADD (Coalition of Service members Against Destructive Decisions) asked me to put together a self defense course. It was a great opportunity to spread the love of controlled violence to other people, so I of course said YES.

The course I put together was more based on mindset, and rapid devastating violence to quickly end an attackers actions, vice how to “fight” an opponent.

My Favorite the eye gouge!

With me I had two of my brown belts, Corporals Dustin Thurmond and Wesley Burnett. They both have a pretty solid Martial art background and are very intelligent young men.

Cpl. Thurmond (L) and Cpl. Burnett (R)

We started off talking about instilling the mindset that these techniques were to be used when you were in imminent and unavoidable danger of serious bodily harm or death. I was teaching open hand strikes, eye gouges, heel stomps, and the ever effective “grab, twist, pull”. Sweeps and reaps were used in real world type attack postures, but only in a limited capacity.

Got violence?

All of the participants were female, and several had done similar training before, however they were not martial artists or fighter types at all. Most impressive to me was a MCPO brought his teenaged daughters to participate. Smart move. They were young and a little uncomfortable but got a lot out of it.

We developed a group of techniques that would avoid the ground, only have open hand strikes, and also immediately give the defender the upper hand, and rapidly switch to the attacker. All of the techniques ended with stomps to the groin, head or both. We taught ear rips, and eye gouges as preferred methods of engagement, as well as throat strikes.

Strikes were open hand only.

The only ground “fighting” we demonstrated, and trained involved the women in the guard assuming that a rape was being attempted, moving to the mount ASAP and resulting in a blind, earless, head crushed rapist!


The event culminated with a complete attack drill, where the students beat the dog crap out of Cpl. Burnett while he wore a full body padded suit. He was happy about the groin protection. Very happy. We preached attacking the gibblies as much as possible.

When you check out the photos those shirts are the “got violence?” shirts of my design in black and red (badass!).

All in all it was a very rewarding experience. It drove me to develop a complete package, and I hope to train more folks in the future.