Good Morning Campers! Well, another weekend is here and another UTA full of stuff for me to do. I’ll be working all day Saturday and again all day on Sunday, not only are we teaching class this weekend, but we are conducting an exercise at which I’m playing a special part! I get to play the part of Islamic Agitator! I’ve been preparing for this role for months! How? You ask. Well, I won’t tell you as much as I show you. I reveal to you now, Jihad Bob! Yes, that’s really me with two months worth of beard. I tell you what, I will be so damn glad when this is over with on Sunday, cause this son-of-a-gun itches!!! Although I do kind of like the look. I’ll try and get some pictures from the exercise on Sunday and see if I can’t share them with you next week.
But in the mean time….
The history of the United States Coast Guard goes back to the Revenue Cutter Service, which was founded on 4 August 1790 as part of the Department of the Treasury. The Revenue Cutter Service and the United States Life-Saving Service were merged to become the Coast Guard per 14 U.S.C.§ 1 which states: “The Coast Guard as established January 28, 1915, shall be a military service and a branch of the armed forces of the United States at all times.” In 1939, the United States Lighthouse Service was merged into the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard itself was moved to the Department of Transportation in 1967, and on 25 February 2003 it became part of the Department of Homeland Security. However, under 14 U.S.C.§ 3 as amended by section 211 of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2006, upon the declaration of war and when Congress so directs in the declaration, or when the President directs, the Coast Guard operates as a service in the Department of the Navy.
Swab summer class most diverse in Coast Guard Academy’s history
New London — The smallest class in more than a decade arrived at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Monday.
The Coast Guard is going to commission fewer young officers because many of the people who are already in the service aren’t leaving. The military’s retention rates are at record levels as people choose the job stability of the service over taking their chances in a struggling economy.
And like the rest of the military, the Coast Guard has to downsize. With the proposed cuts to defense spending in the 2013 budget, the service stands to lose 1,000 people.
Adm. Robert J. Papp, Jr., the Coast Guard commandant, said in an interview that the slight reduction at the academy this year is “just the start of perhaps going down a little further.”
248 students sworn in
A typical class starts with close to 300 students. For the Class of 2016, 248 students were sworn in, making it a small but diverse class. Monday was reporting-in day and the start of swab summer, an intense, seven-week program designed to transform civilian students into military recruits and prepare them for the academic year.
With 36 percent women and 35 percent minority students, it is the most diverse class in the academy’s history. Last year, the incoming class set a record with 34 percent women and 34 percent minority students.
Raddae Chew said the uptick in the number of women and minority students at the school was one reason she decided to join the class. As a junior in high school, Chew, 19, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., went to one of the academy’s campus visit programs for underrepresented minority and first-generation college students.
“Opportunity of lifetime”
“I figured it was the opportunity of a lifetime,” Chew said as she tried on shoes Monday in the bookstore.
Chew described the first day as “structured chaos.”
The Chase Hall barracks rang out with the voices of upper-class cadets yelling instructions at the new students, or swabs, who had to stay in the center of the hall and square, or sharply pivot, around each corner, all while looking straight ahead and greeting people correctly.
“I’m going to teach you how to square because you look like a train wreck,” Larla Brown, a second-class cadet, screamed at Echo Company.
Thomas Bondurant, a second-class cadet, chastised the company for forgetting his name. He said after the swabs are “in shock.”
“Some are just so befuddled they can’t really speak,” he said.
Hayley Smith was not as befuddled by the military commands as some, having spent a year in preparatory school and four years in the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps unit at New London High School.
“If you pay attention to them, they’re telling you things you need to know. It’s not just pointless yelling,” said Smith, 19, of Scotland.
Smith said swab summer is “a challenge and an opportunity to excel.”
Steele Johnson, a first-class cadet and Alpha Company commander, said it’s important the swabs begin to rely on their classmates.
“Maybe they won’t have trouble in school or adjusting to the military lifestyle but they need help doing both. It’s hard to handle on your own,” he said. “We want to make that point now so they don’t realize it later when they’re failing a class.”
At the end of the summer, he said, “they will feel like they accomplished something personally and as a group.”
The last time an incoming class started with close to 250 students was in 1999, when 240 students entered the academy. By graduation, the incoming class will likely be closer to 200 since the retention rate is about 80 percent.
Papp is looking for more of a mix of officers from the academy and the 17-week Officer Candidate School. The OCS classes have been reduced in past years to accommodate the large numbers of officers graduating from the academy, he said.
The retention rate for officers has been about 94 percent during the past three fiscal years, according to the Coast Guard. The rate for enlisted personnel is slightly lower.
The academy is the Coast Guard’s primary source of officers with engineering degrees. Officer Candidate School is a way for people who are already serving in the Coast Guard in enlisted roles or who have an undergraduate degree to become officers.
“We need a mix of specialties and individuals of different backgrounds and education,” Papp said.
Smaller classes will put less pressure on the academy’s facilities, Papp said. The Coast Guard made an offer to purchase a portion of the abutting Riverside Park to use for expansion, but city residents voted down that sale in November.
Given the budget climate, Papp said funding for additional land in New London “will not be forthcoming.” He said his top priority is recapitalizing the aging fleet of ships and aircraft, which are becoming increasingly more expensive to maintain.
For high school students interested in the academy, the changes mean the school will be harder to get into.
Of the roughly 2,000 students who completed applications for the Class of 2016, 315 were offered appointments and 251 students from 39 states accepted, including 17 from Connecticut. The average SAT score is 60 points higher than last year. Five international students also joined the class.
Capt. Stephan P. Finton, the academy’s director of admissions, said it will be more competitive simply because “there are just fewer slots.”
“The quality of the student, I’d like to think, will be better,” he said. “But they’re all amazing students. This class is going to be amazing.”
Matthew Navetta said he was proud to have been selected.
“I did pretty well in high school so I think I deserve a spot. I’m just trying to prove myself,” Navetta, 17, of Oakdale, said after getting his head shaved at the barber shop.
The rain, heavy at times, cleared by the afternoon. The class marched onto Washington Parade Field and swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
“I just felt it was my purpose in life to be here,” said Hayden Hughes, 19, of Charlotte, N.C. “It’s going to be hard but it’s supposed to be. They’re making us better.”
The Coast Guard’s enduring roles are maritime safety, security, and stewardship. To carry out those roles the Coast Guard has eleven statutory missions, which include enforcing U.S. law in the world’s largest exclusive economic zone of 3.4 million square miles.
Well, with August 4th being the birthday of the Coast Guard, it seemed too fitting not to put this in. Purple Heart Day is Tuesday…not sure how the celebrating goes, but if you happen to know any Purple Heart recipients, you might, at the very least, thank them for their service.
Purple Heart Day – August 7th
The Medal of Honor that is now the Purple Heart actually began as the ‘Badge of Military Merit.’ On August 7th, 1782 in Newburgh, New York, General George Washington designed a new badge of distinction for enlisted men and noncommissioned officers. They were awarded for ‘any singularly meritorious action.’ The badge was a figure of a heart in purple cloth or silk, edged with narrow lace or binding. It was pinned to a uniform coat above the left breast. That was then, this is now.
On January 7th of the year 1931, a new design was reopened. Ms. Elizabeth Will, an army heraldic specialist in the Office of the Quarter, created the design sketch for the present medal of the Purple Heart. It consists of a purple enameled heart within a bronze quarter inch border showing a relief profile of George Washington in continental uniform. Washington’s family coat of arms adorns the medal, along with an inscription inside the heart that reads, ‘For Military Merit.’
The Purple Heart is awarded to any member of the Armed Forces that has been wounded or killed, died as a result of a wound in battle, or otherwise designated by the President of the United States. This now includes those persons killed as a result of friendly fire. Now we celebrate Purple Heart Day on the anniversary of its inception, August 7th. On this day it is our patriotic duty to remember and recognize those people willing to serve our country, no matter the price.
Source: U.S. Army, Center for Military History, The American War Library
With all the Olympic stuff going on, I just had to show you why I didn’t make it to London:
And remember, in order to watch the videos, you have to go to the actual website: http://dragonlaffs.com
These guys are really something. You will really enjoy it.
Half the counties in the U.S. have been declared natural disaster areas from the drought. The other half are man made disaster areas from the economy.
I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic. It’s syncing now.
When chemists die, they barium.
Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.
I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.
How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.
I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.
This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I’d never met herbivore.
I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can’t put it down.
I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.
They told me I had type-A blood, but it was a Type-O.
PMS jokes aren’t funny; period.
Why were the Indians here first? They had reservations.
We’re going on a class trip to the Coca-Cola factory. I hope there’s no pop quiz.
I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.
Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?
When you get a bladder infection urine trouble.
Broken pencils are pointless.
I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.
What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.
England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.
I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.
I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.
All the toilets in New York’s police stations have been stolen. The police have nothing to go on.
I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.
Haunted French pancakes give me the crêpes.
Velcro — what a rip off!
A cartoonist was found dead in his home. Details are sketchy.
Venison for dinner again? Oh deer!
The earthquake in Washington obviously was the government’s fault.
And even worse, who the hell is he going to blame it on?
Here’s a great opinion piece by Matt Patterson… I couldn’t have said it better myself. No, really, I mean it, I really couldn’t have said it better, that’s why his post is here…
By Matt Patterson (columnist – Washington Post, New York Post, San Francisco Examiner)
Government & Society:
Years from now, historians may regard the 2008 election of Barack Obama as an inscrutable and disturbing phenomenon, the result of a baffling breed of mass hysteria akin perhaps to the witch craze of the Middle Ages.
How, they will wonder, did a man so devoid of professional accomplishment beguile so many into thinking he could manage the world’s largest economy, direct the world’s most powerful military, execute the world’s most consequential job?
Imagine a future historian examining Obama’s pre-presidential life: ushered into and through the Ivy League despite unremarkable grades and test scores along the way; a cushy non-job as a “community organizer”; a brief career as a state legislator devoid of legislative achievement (and in fact nearly devoid of his attention, so often did he vote “present”); and finally an unaccomplished single term in the United States Senate, the entirety of which was devoted to his presidential ambitions.
He left no academic legacy in academia, authored no signature legislation as a legislator. And then there is the matter of his troubling associations: the white-hating, America-loathing preacher who for decades served as Obama’s “spiritual mentor”; a real-life, actual terrorist who served as Obama’s colleague and political sponsor.
It is easy to imagine a future historian looking at it all and asking: how on Earth was such a man elected president?
Not content to wait for history, the incomparable Norman Podhoretz addressed the question recently in the Wall Street Journal: To be sure, no white candidate who had close associations with an outspoken hater of America like Jeremiah Wright and an unrepentant terrorist like Bill Ayers, would have lasted a single day.
But because Mr. Obama was black, and therefore entitled in the eyes of liberaldom to have hung out with protesters against various American injustices, even if they were a bit extreme, he was given a pass. Let that sink in: Obama was given a pass – held to a lower standard – because of the color of his skin.
Podhoretz continues: And in any case, what did such ancient history matter when he was also so articulate and elegant and (as he himself had said) “non-threatening,” all of which gave him a fighting chance to become the first black president and thereby to lay the curse of racism to rest?
Podhoretz puts his finger, I think, on the animating pulse of the Obama phenomenon – affirmative action. Not in the legal sense, of course. But certainly in the motivating sentiment behind all affirmative action laws and regulations, which are designed primarily to make white people, and especially white liberals, feel good about themselves.
Unfortunately, minorities often suffer so that whites can pat themselves on the back. Liberals routinely admit minorities to schools for which they are not qualified, yet take no responsibility for the inevitable poor performance and high drop-out rates which follow.
Liberals don’t care if these minority students fail; liberals aren’t around to witness the emotional devastation and deflated self-esteem resulting from the racist policy that is affirmative action. Yes, racist.
Holding someone to a separate standard merely because of the color of his skin – that’s affirmative action in a nutshell, and if that isn’t racism, then nothing is.
And that is what America did to Obama. True, Obama himself was never troubled by his lack of achievements, but why would he be? As many have noted, Obama was told he was good enough for Columbia despite undistinguished grades at Occidental; he was told he was good enough for the US Senate despite a mediocre record in Illinois; he was told he was good enough to be president despite no record at all in the Senate.
All his life, every step of the way, Obama was told he was good enough for the next step, in spite of ample evidence to the contrary.
What could this breed if not the sort of empty narcissism on display every time Obama speaks?
In 2008, many who agreed that he lacked executive qualifications nonetheless raved about Obama’s oratory skills, intellect, and cool character.
Those people – conservatives included – ought now to be deeply embarrassed. The man thinks and speaks in the hoariest of clichés, and that’s when he has his Teleprompters in front of him; when the prompter is absent he can barely think or speak at all.
Not one original idea has ever issued from his mouth – it’s all warmed-over Marxism of the kind that has failed over and over again for 100 years.
And what about his character?
Obama is constantly blaming anything and everything else for his troubles.
Bush did it; it was bad luck; I inherited this mess.
It is embarrassing to see a president so willing to advertise his own powerlessness, so comfortable with his own incompetence.
But really, what were we to expect?
The man has never been responsible for anything, so how do we expect him to act responsibly?
In short: our president is a small and small-minded man, with neither the temperament nor the intellect to handle his job.
When you understand that, and only when you understand that, will the current erosion of liberty and prosperity make sense. It could not have gone otherwise with such a man in the Oval Office.