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In May of this year, Special Warfare Operator 1st Class (SEAL) Charlie Keating IV was killed in northern Iraq when his quick reaction force confronted over a hundred ISIS fighters who were threatening to overwhelm a small American advise-and-assist team and the Kurdish Peshmerga forces it was supporting. A US Naval Institute article from May 4, 2016 describes the scene: “The U.S. advise-and-assist team – composed of fewer than a dozen U.S. troops — was in the town of Tel Askuf when the force of more than 120 ISIS fighters pushed into the area. The ISIS force was made up…

My father was a World War II veteran, an experience that he credited for changing his life for the better. A high school dropout and part time troublemaker, he joined the Navy two days before his 18th birthday, on June 6, 1944. D-Day. He loved the Navy until the day he died, marrying his beautiful bride on the same day ten years later in Emporia, Kansas, the town where Veterans Day was first created, and where my mother and brother (and family) still live. One of my father’s favorite songs was Amazing Grace. It was played during his memorial service…

(If you haven’t seen the video at the top of the page, take five minutes and watch it.) “On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress approved the resolution to establish two battalions of Marines able to fight for independence at sea and on shore. This date marks the official formation of the Continental Marines.” 1st Commandant: Major Samuel Nicholas (1775-1783) From its founding days before the Revolution to today’s ongoing operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and other deadly places around the world, the Marine Corps has unblinkingly answered the clarion call whenever the nation needed protectors. More than those serving in…

Today is election day and most of the people I talk to think we are in deep kimchi no matter who wins. I don’t do politics, but what I DO know is that my town…heck, my state is in Big Trouble because it is about to be overrun by a rogue band of [gulp]… Cartoonists. I know. Scary. They will be in town to support the Wyakin Foundation’s Guardian Ball on December 3rd, and the authorities have been alerted. You can join them, you know – heck, even sit at their tables and dine with them. All you have to…

Every day I get the privilege of working with some incredible human beings. Each of them has suffered a life-altering injury in service to the country, and as we get to know each veteran, we learn what overcoming challenges really means. To me, it might be dealing with some lingering knee pain. To Wyakin Warriors like Colby Morgan, it is dealing with blindness that resulted from receiving a series of shots as he prepared to deploy to Afghanistan. His body reacted to them by damaging his eyes. What would you do as a suddenly-blind teenager whose Army career was so…

Whatever happened to uniform shorts? The Navy used to have them in the inventory. I know because I have worn them before. In fact, here is a page right out of the Navy uniform regulations in 1995: Dapper. Don’t laugh too hard, ladies, because you had them too. Suave. If you look for them now, however, they cannot be found in Navy uniform regulations or just about anywhere else you look. It is as if they were erased from history altogether. Like Stalin did after he had one of his advisors executed. I have a theory that the tropical attire…

Fifteen years ago on October 7 a U.S. led coalition began Operation Enduring Freedom in retaliation for the terrorist attacks on the United States a few weeks earlier. US and coalition forces used Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (or TLAM for short), air strikes, precision bombing, and special operations to begin it all, soon followed by more conventional boots on the ground. For the first time since NATO’s inception in 1949, Article V was invoked, which states, “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against…

On September 12, 2001 America woke up to this iconic image. A huge flag was draped over the side of the Pentagon as military and civilian employees went back to work in the still-burning building, both actions serving to notify the world that our national resolve could not be shaken by random acts of terrorism. What most of us do not know is that a smaller version of the flag was posted on the roof on the night of 9/11. According to a news report by Laura Evans of Fox 5 out of Washington, D.C., she was approached by an…

Underway replenishments, universally known as UNREPS, are uniquely Navy and one of the most dangerous evolutions ships go through on deployment and when underway for extended periods of time. Thousands of tons of steel cruise through the pitching ocean about 150 feet apart as they transfer fuel, ammunition, spare parts and food to ships on the pointy end of the spear. They often take several hours to complete. This is a video of two destroyers (ROOSEVELT (DDG 80) and MASON (DDG 87) according to the clip) conducting simultaneous UNREPS with USNS LARAMIE (T-AO 203) in the FIFTH Fleet AOR (Middle…

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