Friday, December 31, 2010

Praxis: Fire Starters and CordLock Lights from

The other day I received two versions of an excellent piece of equipment called the GobSpark produced by Ron Fontaine of

Ron doesn't call it "GobSpark" without reason, for when I opened the box and tried it out, my daughters cried out in alarm as a fountain of sparks shot across the room in the general direction of the Christmas tree.

The larger of the two, pictured above, is the Armageddon FireSteel has an oversize handle designed to use with gloved hands and is priced, with lanyard and striker, at $10.99 each. The Ranger FireSteel, pictured below, has a smaller handle for those who seek to minimize gear weight. It is priced at $4.99.

Here is an independent evaluation I found on YouTube:

Today Matt called me from Germany (yes, he's finally finished his third tour of Iraq) and we were talking about these inexpensive and very nifty instruments when he pulled up this page on the FireSteel website about another product:

The CordLock LED light can attach to any 550 cord lanyard or drawstring, making illumination very handy. No fumbling around for a flashlight in your cargo pocket or pack, the CordLock is always close at hand. The website says:

Pressing the black button on the side of the cord lock turns on the bright LED light. Press the button again to make the light even brighter. Press the button a third time to cause the light to rapidly blink. It is that easy.

These are not cheaply made - composed of rugged plastic with a corrosion proof stainless steel cord lock spring, these cordlocks are designed with the outdoorsman in mind.

Lithium batteries included.


* 3mm Hyper Bright white LED
* Power Source, Lithium CR1220 batteries X2, Shelf Life 5 years
* Weight: 1/4 ounce (8 grams)
* Water Resistant Construction
* 3 Modes Low-High-Flash
* Corrosion Proof Stainless Steel Cord Lock Spring
* Rugged plastic construction


* Three powerful LED Settings: medium intensity light, high intensity light, and flashing light.
* Bright yellow color for easy location.
* Burn times: 12 hours on high, 20 hours on low, 50 hours on flash.
* Comes with two replaceable lithium CR1220 batteries.

The CordLock light from FireSteel is priced at $6.99 each.

"Hey, that's a good idea," Matt said when he saw it. He's going to be getting some of these to try out on his gear and when he evaluates them, I'll let post it here. He would prefer to have them in a more subdued color, but hey, that's what spray paint and camo tape is for.

Here's an independent video evaluation of the CordLock light:

Anyway, if you're looking for a fire starter, you really ought to try one of FireSteel's "GobSparks." I can attest to the fact that they certainly produce gobs of sparks.


PS: And remember boys and girls, don't try it out under the Christmas tree.

"Next Year's Wars"

"Only the dead have seen the end of war."

Foreign Policy magazine presents: "The 16 brewing conflicts to watch for in 2011."

And if the ATF, either inadvertently or at the behest of its Obamanoid masters, does something Waco-stupid again, make it 17. And that one would dwarf all the rest.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Consigned to limbo by his supposed friends? Interesting new rumor about Traver nomination.

To wit, that his nomination was sent back to the White House with the approval of Chuck Schumer. Now, having the nomination returned means -- I am told by folks more intimately acquainted with the ins and outs of DC than I am -- that the subject of such a returned nomination cannot be then appointed in recess. Traver is now in limbo, and if the rumor is true then it is with the concurrence of the Number One Anti-Firearm Guy in the Senate.

Things that are known: Schumer was very happy having the Chief Counsel's Office at his beck and call. The links between his office and CCO were very agenda-driven and harmonious.

Things that are reliably rumored: In self-defense, Traver asked that the CCO miscreants (who had sandbagged more than one acting director in the past and were responsible for most of the current scandals) be cleared out before he took office so that he wouldn't be bound by the 120-day restriction if he had to do it himself.

Things of idle speculation: Is this CCO retaliation through their sponsor for the move on them by Traver? How much is the hand of Eric Holder to be seen in this? Some say not at all. Others say his fingerprints are all over it. Remember, Holder is not one of the "Chicago Gang," so he owes no loyalty to Traver and Company.

Now it could be that the extent of opposition to the Traver nomination caused the remaining "blue dogs" in The Senate to demand it, especially those who face re-election. And Schumer is, if nothing else, cold and calculating in political terms. On the other hand, would he go against the Chicago Gang if it weren't in his own interest?

Proof of all intentions is going to come swiftly with the new Congress: Will the administration re-submit Traver's nomination, or, after the re-set, try a recess appointment again? Or, having perhaps decided to fragment the agency into several pieces, is there no longer any urgency about having a director at all?

What a fun new year we have to look forward to.


Poor Andy. All dressed up with his AK and no place to rule.

Another academic candidate worthy of being bound, gagged and dropped by air into Waziristan to explain the concept of "peace studies" to Jihadis.

"ROTC and its warrior ethic taint the intellectual purity of a school, if by purity we mean trying to rise above the foul idea that nations can kill and destroy their way to peace."

NYC Sanitation Workers Conspire to Kill Citizens by Inaction.

The shape of things to come.

Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts -- a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned.

Miles of roads stretching from as north as Whitestone, Queens, to the south shore of Staten Island still remained treacherously unplowed last night because of the shameless job action, several sources and a city lawmaker said, which was over a raft of demotions, attrition and budget cuts.

"They sent a message to the rest of the city that these particular labor issues are more important," said City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens), who was visited yesterday by a group of guilt-ridden sanitation workers who confessed the shameless plot.

Fearing terrorist attacks by LEGO policemen with 2" plastic guns, NYC schools threaten 9 year old with suspension

Rabid hoplophobia trumps common sense -- again.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Barry's Column

Tom Barry's recollection of the Irish War of Independence is required reading for all Threepers. I was reminded of the pivotal role of Barry and his Third (West) Cork Brigade's flying column when I stumbled across this video, "Barry's Column" while I was looking for something else today. The video is from The Wind That Shakes the Barley, the narration is Tom Barry's own late-in-life description of the Flying Column and the tune is from Wolfhound.

Lyrics of "Barry's Column":

From East to West, from North to South,
They tried to hunt the column out
But the Tans were forced to go without
The boys of Barry's Column

In armoured cars they came to stay,
And wipe the Irish cowards away
But oh, the lovely holiday
Was stopped by Barry's Column

Oh but isn't great to see
The Tommies and the R.I.C
The Black And Tans and the Staters flee
Away from Barry's Column

By, George might have some wiley tricks
And have the volunteers to fix
Yet all his Black And Tans go sick
When they think of Barry's Column

His ships all come in red and black,
No tanks or war equipment lack
Yet o'er the sea, they'll ne'er get back
If caught by Barry's Column

Along the lonely road they wind
Armed in front, and armed behind
"We're sorry, but that bridge is mine"
Said the lads of Barry's Column

They stopped to rest just for a spell
Some hand-grenades upon them fell
"Here sort them out among yourselves"
Said the lads from Barry's Column

Oh but isn't it great to see,
The Staters and the R.I.C
The Tommies and the Tans all flee
Away from Barry's Column

Six recess appointments and no Traver yet.

Poor Andy. All dressed up with his AK and no place to rule.

My stone on the marker. The passing of a principled, wise and stubborn American. I was proud to know him and work with him.

"If every German Jew and anti-Nazi had possessed a Mauser rifle, twenty rounds and the will to use it, Adolf Hitler would be a footnote to the history of the Weimar Republic." -- Aaron Zelman, 1995.

Forwarded by Mama Liberty comes this sad news from Claire Wolfe, referencing this obituary:

Zelman, Aaron S. December 21, 2010, age 64 years, of Erin, WI. Beloved husband of Nancy Zelman (nee Soderlund). Dear father of Erik and Jeremy Zelman. Further survived by other relatives and friends. Funeral services 11:00 AM Friday, December 24, 2010 at Beth El Ner Tamid Synagogue, 2909 W. Mequon Rd., Mequon. Memorials to JPFO, P.O. Box 270143, Hartford, WI 53027 or Beth El Ner Tamid Synagogue are appreciated.

Claire says, in part:

Aaron and I worked together for seven years. I admired him and even though he could be crazy-making at times, he had one of the most creative minds I’ve ever encountered and he was unfailingly a gentleman and a gentle-spoken man. He created a unique niche in the gun-rights movement and I hope JPFO can continue without him.

Aaron was born with Marfan Syndrome, which can cause a host of related problems, some potentially fatal. I don’t know what he died from, but between that and his Type-A, hard-driving nature, it’s not surprising, though it’s shocking and tragic, that he died so young. Rather, I tell myself it shouldn’t be surprising. Yet Aaron was such a powerful personality, it’s hard to think of him being extinguished.

I worked with Aaron on firearms rights issues long-distance for fifteen years, and I'm stricken because he was one of those fixtures that you come to count on, thinking they'll always be around.

David Codrea speaks for me as well:

I had the great privilege of working with Aaron over the past several years, including corresponding and speaking on the telephone, and was pleased to do what I could to help promote the great and innovative work of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.

We have lost a giant. The sadness I feel is gripping.

Goodbye, my friend. What an honor it was to know you. I am so grateful for the work you did on behalf of freedom, and for the legacy you leave behind.

May we be worthy of it.

You know, in has been a tradition for thousands of years that visitors to the grave of a Jewish man or woman would place stones on their grave markers, which originally were themselves just heaps of stones. It began, it is said, as a sign of kindness and respect to the deceased and his or her family. In a time before technology, one might hear of the death of a friend many weeks or even months after the funeral. Yet even after a tombstone was erected, one could participate in the "mitzvah" by adding your own stone to the grave. It is a token of respect and of commitment.

By placing your own stone on the mound, you showed not only that you respected the deceased, but you demonstrated that we the living are never finished building the monument to the life's work of the great soul who has passed on.

One day, I will place my own stone on Aaron Zelman's marker.

He was truly a great soul, and one hell of a fighter for American liberty. I shall miss him terribly.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

And now for something really different: Save your keyboard and swallow your coffee before you watch this too-weird-for-words video.

Border Patrol agent killed with ATF-smuggled AR? Some ATF agents seem to think so.

Waldo brought this interesting exchange at to my attention. It refers to Border Patrol officer Brian A. Terry, killed in a shoot-out with smugglers near the border at Nogales earlier this month.

This is consistent with rumors within and without the ATF that in order to bump up Operation Gunrunner numbers, the Arizona ATF has been encouraging snitches to buy semi-auto rifles and smuggle them south. As you will read below, there are also reports that one of these rifles was used to kill BP officer Terry.

Understand, this is not Alex Jones saying these things, but ATF street agents appalled at their own management's derelictions of duty and law-breaking.

The thread began with this post from "1desertrat:

"1desertrat" Posted this on 22 December 2010

Word is that curious George Gillett the Phoenix ASAC stepped on it again. Allegedly he has approved more than 500 AR-15 type rifles from Tucson and Phoenix cases to be “walked” to Mexico. Appears that ATF may be one of the largest suppliers of assault rifles to the Mexican cartels! One of these rifles is rumored to have been linked to the recent killing of a Border Patrol Officer in Nogales, AZ. Can anyone confirm this information?

Microscope replies:

Does this surprise anyone? Gillett is and has been operating several levels above his appropriate pay grade for years. Whatever he touches turns to crap. The word on the street is that some huge battle damage is going to hit ATF behind this guy very soon. Was this guns to Mexico the thing that people were talking about? I thought is was something else. If he had a hand in allowing the gun that killed the BP agent to go to Mexico then the s**t is about to hit the fan for ATF. If I was the deceased agents family and this rumor turns out to be true I would bankrupt ATF in a lawsuit (not that money could ever bring back their son or ease their pain). Rest in Peace brother.

"Apostate" replied:

If this is true it really does not surprise me. Incompetent ATF Supervisors' decisions led to the deaths of four ATF agents in Waco. They then tried to cover it up and lied to Congress and still kept their jobs. That culture, regardless of Melson's efforts, still persists today. Again if this is true I am sure there will be another attempt at a cover-up.

RIP Agent Terry. You were a good guy and a great agent. Our sympathies go out to his family

Write your congresscritter and ask when it is that the oversight hearings will begin?


Monday, December 27, 2010

"You're not scaring away the big, bad government with your .38." Really? How about a single shot .45?

-----Original Message-----
From: georgemason1776
To: jmoon Montgomery Advertiser
Sent: Mon, Dec 27, 2010 11:28 am
Subject: Historical and military illiteracy (or is it amnesia?) is no excuse for unconstitutional proposals that can spark another civil war.

Mr. Moon,

After reaction to your recent column advocating, among other unconstitutional things, government permission to purchase ammunition by way of an ID requirement, you made this ridiculous statement:

"I'm not pushing to have guns banned, but at the same time, you've got to admit, there's a pretty big difference between a right to bear arms when both sides have muskets and cannons and a right to bear arms when you've got a handgun and the government has heat-seeking missiles. You're not scaring away the big, bad government with your .38. If Uncle Sam wants to come in and take your stuff, there's not much you can do about it."

Try it and find out. There is in fact no difference at all. Were you not so apparently historically and militarily illiterate you would know that. For a modern example, ask the Taliban. Or, better yet, consult the Founders who faced down the greatest empire in the world in their time in a ridiculously lop-sided David vs. Goliath contest. David won, though you apparently have not internalized that fact.

In actuality, what you are saying here (beyond some Borg-quisling mewling of "resistance is futile") is that if the federal government comes to take YOUR stuff there's not much YOU will do about it. Having established your own cowardice, you extrapolate that to your fellow citizens. Big mistake. Other people, "bitter clingers" to use Obama's phrase, will die for a deeply held principle even if you would not. They will also, by extension, kill for it. And thinking that the natural, inalienable and God-given rights which are merely described in the Second Amendment can be negated without consequence by the back-door means of restricting the ammunition supply is dangerous, even deadly, hallucination. Trying to prevent random street killings by sparking a civil war is, well, not only ironic but vastly stupid.

Insofar as the illiterate estimation of the balance of forces of your proposed American civil war is concerned, let me explain. Hypothetically, to use your construct, a heat-seeking missile may be defeated by a man with a .38 by the following time-tested means:

a. Not being there when the heat-seeking missile lands.

b. Killing the skilled operator of the heat-seeking missile while he's sitting in an off-base bar knocking back beers.

c. Shooting the driver of the truck carrying the missile to its launcher, stealing the enemy's missile and using their own weapon on them.

d. Best of all, putting the .38 up beside the head of the politician who ordered the missile fired and pulling the trigger, evacuating his brains all over the wall of the elevator as an example to the next tyrannical moke who wants his job.

Twelve years ago or so I wrote an essay entitled, What Good Can a Handgun Do Against an Army? In it I explored the theory and practice of the Liberator pistol, a cheap, inaccurate .45 single shot pistol that we parachuted to resistance groups behind enemy lines in World War II. You would do well to study that, as well as the general concepts of Fourth Generation Warfare, Last but not least in terms of your personal interest as an opinion purveyor, consider Bill Clinton's 1999 rules of engagement (ROE) versus the Serbians. You may recall that he changed American military ROE to include the politicians, media and the opinion purveyors who laid the intellectual underpinnings of the enemy's war effort and, having done so, expressed his enthusiasm for the new policy by dropping precision guided munitions -- your "heat seeking missiles" -- into the windows of the homes of politicians as well as Serbian radio and television.

Extrapolating Clinton's ROE through the lens of the unrepealable and iron-clad Law of Unintended Consequences, I would lastly urge you to consider the Chinese admonition: "Be careful what you wish for, for you may get it."


Mike Vanderboegh
The alleged leader of a merry band of Three Percenters.
PO Box 926
Pinson, AL 35126

Sunday, December 26, 2010

ATF to be cannibalized? From, factual tidbits and speculations about destroying the agency to save the agenda.

Once upon a scandal, the BATF Air Force idea got sent to the boneyard. Now, maybe, it will be the entire agency. Don't celebrate, though, because if it is it will only be in furtherance of the anti-firearm Federale agenda.

Most of you, gentle readers, are familiar by now with the dissident ATF agent site known as

Here are some interesting discussions between ATF agents from that site, beginning with a link to this video about the terminal stupidity of banning certain Airsoft guns, and commentary upon it.

Just an observation by a former ATF agent:

Word on the street is another agency in DOJ is making sure this video is floating around Congress during the current budget discussions. And the rumor is they are currently considering taking away your firearms jurisdiction too after seeing this and are taking into account the fall-out after the recent ATF Gun Runner fiasco. All that hard, dangerous, dedicated work by ATF street agents targeting the most dangerous "worst of the worst" criminals over the years for the agency wasted.


Good job am sure he gave himself a big bonus this year.

Merry Christmas ATF

One agency using another agency's foibles to sandbag them in Congress? Say it ain't so, Herr Mueller. To which another agent, Noreaster, responded to moderator Doc Holliday:

Heard from some buddies over the last couple days that we are now in big trouble in the explosives field. Here is the basic story I heard: The federal Office of Management and Budget filed a report looking to cut out our explosives work and claims we just duplicate what the FBI does except for our regulatory work, and also said we should have our money taken away for NIBIN, state and local training and PCS moves. I also heard Chait sent a memo to the SACs in the last few days saying we need to start cutting NRT, SRT, travel, conferences, office supplies, cars, hiring, the new Glocks, and all state and local training.

Allegedly our huge new explosives building in Alabama has no money to operate and no people to run it, so Melson and Hoover are quietly looking to deal it away to the FBI or Homeland Security before we get caught in a scandal by the OIG or the media. Long time boot licker and Friend of Billy, Joe Riehl, the guy who for years been the point man in gutting our explosives jurisdiction, has been given marching orders to help cover up things in Alabama, was made acting chief of the facility and as a reward, he has been promised the new senior executive job in Quantico at TEDAC, and he has been heard in the halls of HQ telling people ATF "owes him" for doing the bidding of Chait, Boxler, Martin, Carter, Domenech, Hoover and Melson for years on explosives.

Martin thinks he is a real funny guy telling people in HQ that we can pay for explosives by turning the Alabama center into a bed and breakfast, or selling pies. It would not be so funny if Martin didn't have a record for selling us out and taking care of his classmates like Riehl.

Can anyone out there confirm any or all of this?

(MBV NOTE: I can.

The ATF National Explosives Training Center in Huntsville is one of the items I have had on my "dream list of Congressional oversight committee hearing subjects." Hadn't mentioned it because I didn't want to warn Holder, Traver and Company that it was in our cross-hairs, but since the CleanUp guys mention it. . .

Birmingham area ATF agents are quite well informed about this scandal ready to break and gossip about it frequently where little birdies flit from tree to tree. But, since it is now out on CleanUp, perhaps some enterprising reporter can begin digging. Not the long-since-tamed Birmingham News of course, whose crime reporter Carol Robinson used to be married to an ATF agent (or so I'm told) and who depends on friendly relations with the Feds for story tips, but perhaps CNN or FOX Atlanta? I can tell you that SOMEONE at some point will discover this story simply because it is so juicy. Film at Eleven.)

Later, Doc Holliday replied:

Its true.Our leaders don't think past their own immediate personal gain. They have mismanaged virtually every aspect and every directorate through Waste, Fraud and Abuse, Gross mismanagement with virtually no accountability. They have and continue to personally prosper while vital programs and public safety suffer. We have Congress' attention and will continue to press the media to challenge the illegal, unethical and corrupt practices that are happening right before our eyes. Hopefully it won't be too little, too late.

CPT Jonathan Tuttle comments:

My take:

When OMB, etc. gets its claws into what it regards as duplication of explosives by federal LE, somebody's budget (i.e., ATF's) WILL get cut in this environment as the Congress looks to reduce Government spending. What on Earth does anybody THINK will happen when the Congress finally moves on cutting budgets? We've got a Continuing Resolution until March 1st. That means all Federal agencies get to operate on the same funding level as last year, and no assurance that funds won't be cut for the REST of the fiscal year 2011.

Cling and die, ATF, because that's what's fixing to happen.

If won't be the FBI that takes the hit. It will be ATF. ATF has been leaderless for some 6 years now, and "Acting" or "Deputy" Directors don't get a full seat at the table because they command no juice. This is not peculiar to ATF --- it happens to ANY federal agency that is unfortunate enough not to have a permanent Director. ATF retains its hostility to the FBI, and the sentiment is fully returned --- quite the spectacle, and an embarrassing one that the Department of Justice will be glad to resolve.

ATF's "explosives" component is in more than mortal danger of being eliminated from that alone, and it is likely to be eased out of existence by (1) the blatant hostilities about turf, so far essentially unresolved, between ATF and the FBI, and (2) Congressional and Department of Justice OIG disgust over the failure of ATF and the FBI to work something out, in a mutually hostile "dance" that has been orchestrated on both sides for several years now. Even publishing a Justice OIG report didn't help. Oh well, cling and die.

It seems likely that Appropriations will refuse to fund the "explosives" component of ATF, which means that all those ATF personnel may eat shit and die --- because if positions are ELIMINATED, there's no appeal or recourse beyond whatever the usual severance arrangements are.

ATF management has brought this upon itself. It is the fault of management, MANAGEMENT, people who are paid lots of money to supposedly know better than to allow this stuff to get out of hand, but who have nothing better to do than pursue their own personal interests and bureaucratic games than to act in the best interests of the taxpayers and of the loyal street agents who are more than horrified at what they are watching, powerless to get MANAGEMENT to do anything about it. The ATF street agents can't in fairness be blamed --- they are the football team that gets sent out to do a job, and they do it, they are not by definition managers by any stretch of the imagination, NOR SHOULD THEY BE. Management owes them their backing and to watch their backs, and MANAGEMENT has utterly failed to do that. It is MANAGEMENT that has screwed this pooch. There is nobody else to blame.

But whatever will the Obamanoids do with ATF's functions if they do divide it in order to short-circuit investigation into the many looming scandals?

Later, CPT Jonathan Tuttle advised me:

Based on the attached article, it is fairly easy to trace the recent Federal Register notice to May 2010 and Obama's meeting with the Mexican President. ATF certainly knows better than to publish illegal regulations, and I don't think ATF is behind this --- the latest demon in the White House menangerie is one Cass Sunstein, Esq., a law professor who has been directing the boneheaded policies emitting therefrom. . .

From what I've been reading on CleanUpATF lately, the prospect of budget cuts there loom, if not a reorganization.

Consider the October 2009 audit report by the Department of Justice Inspector General (see about the horrific situation with explosives jurisdiction. It won't take much for OMB to chop ATF out of that chunk of pie. It wouldn't take much to put Alcohol back at Treasury where it belongs, and Tobacco to FDA given the fact that tobacco is a drug. I think there are two possibilities for Firearms: (1) the Department of Homeland Security, given the domestic focus, or (2) (REDACTED'S) take, which is to Customs & Border Protection (CBP) because of the importation and ITAR aspects. I am less certain about that.

So, breaking up ATF preemptively allows the Obamanoids to duck responsibility for the scandals by saying, "See, we've cleaned it up by getting rid of the offending agency." Heck, they will even try to claim credit for it as a "cost-cutting" measure.

Doing so will also assign the agents and the mission to DHS, where Big Sis has always wanted more bully boys to put on the street. Just peachy. A win-win for the Federal Leviathan, making future misadventures more likely, and hence, civil war a certainty.

Therefore, when they tell you ATF is no more, don't celebrate and don't relax.

Rather, increase your vigilance and preparations.

For Leviathan -- having learned no lessons at all and with its appetite for our liberty and property undiminished -- will still be advancing, flying a different battle flag perhaps, but advancing nonetheless.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Absolved status.

Well, once again Vanderboegh never fails to disappoint. While my Christmas present to y'all is not exactly a lump of coal, it is perhaps like getting an IOU instead of the thousand rounds of 7.62 NATO you wanted Santa to put in your stocking. Big stocking, I know.

What I had intended to do was give you a prequel chapter about Charlie Quintard's early years back in Winston County after the loss of his job and wife, some insights from his childhood, culminating in the terrible confrontation with the meth cookers that started him on the warrior path. You'll still get that, but trying to make it right (it had been written some time ago but left on the editing floor, so I thought it was an easy gimme) bogged me down and I ran out of time. It also got in the way of the Absolved final edit.

Having disappointed y'all often enough in the past, I make no more promises about Absolved. However, all plot devices have been re-artificed and as many factual errors as possible have been corrected so the final fisk for punctuation and minor errata begins tomorrow. The time away from the blog recharging batteries helped that process. I hope when you read the final product you will forgive the wait. When you see the prequel chapter posted here, you will know I have sent the final off to the publisher.

Have a blessed Christmas.


Friday, December 24, 2010

May all of you have a blessed Christmas.

May God bless you all -- grinches Kerodin and Traver too, for it is in the spirit of Christ alone that we all may yet be saved -- but especially those who sent me Christmas cards of encouragement. It is absolutely humbling to have such friends and kindred spirits. I will try in the coming year to be worthy of such friendship.

Mike Vanderboegh

PS: Look for a present under the Sipsey Street Christmas tree tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tired and shutting down for a while.


It may be days, it may be weeks, but as I am reminded numerous times every day I have things to finish in the real world. If something pops up that I need to comment on, I will, but for right now I am sick, exhausted, over-tasked and just slap disappointed at the quality of my work product in several areas. I am not over-discouraged. I am not quitting the fight. I just need a break. My daughters are home from college and I would like to enjoy them while I can. There are economic needs that press in (especially paying back friends for legal fee frontage) that must be addressed. Finally, there are my own preparations that need to be seen to, and I have committed to help out a number of newbie militia groups who need an experienced eye in their equipment, organization and training. All these things I can do, but not this too.

A blog becomes a weight after a while, like an emotional ruck that you put on every morning to make that day's road march of duty. There are days that I don't mind shouldering the responsibility and days when I sprint ahead at the sheer joy of making a difference. I try to have fun and to entertain y'all as we deal with some of the most awful aspects of what I believe are the coming dark days ahead. But just right now, it has been a while since this has been fun.

I want to thank y'all for the support you have shown me over the past couple of years. I even thank those of you who have thrown verbal brickbats at me in the process. It keeps me on my mental feet, and every action, thought and even principle should be subject to, and able to resist, outside challenge.

I will have a couple of Christmas gifts for y'all, but as far as a daily blog, I need some R&R from Sipsey Street. I will, however, release any comments you may make on existing posts in the interim.

Feel free to email me at GeorgeMason1776ATaolDOTcom, if you need to draw my attention to something important.

In the interim, look to your preps.

Cherish your loved ones.

God bless you all.

I'll be back.


Correction to earlier PS: All final surplus orders, both UPS and USPS, have been shipped today, Friday, 17 December. Merry Christmas.

LATER: If you wish to send me a Christmas card or a death threat, my address is P.O. Box 926, Pinson, AL 35126

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More on the "second banana" the other day.

Bubba bests Barack.

Praxis: The efficacy of "secure bases" against an intelligent enemy. "There is no Green Zone that cannot be violently redecorated in red by 4GW."

Cu Chi, 25th Infantry Division base camp.

Much is made of the "secure Green Zone" in Baghdad as applied, in theory, to some future American civil war scenario. The principal malefactors, it is postulated will be able to live safe behind their walls while the rest of us are ravaged by their minions. "Resistance is futile!" cries the Borg.

Uh huh.

I dealt with my insomnia last night by taking in a few pages of The Tunnels of Cu Chi by Tom Mangold and John Penycate. Here are some pages for your edification and amusement about the "impregnable" (in the words of one of its commanders) base camp of the 25th Infantry Division at Cu Chi, RVN, circa 1966-1969.

But despite the distractions the 25th was at war -- and not just with an unseen enemy outside the wire. There was a fifth column inside as well, an enemy that found it easy to operate within the comparatively lax security system that took into account the entertainment needs of the soldiers and the necessity to use local labor to service the huge complex. The Vietnamese workers on the base lived in nearby strategic hamlets. In theory they were screened by the national police. In fact, some were guerrillas using tunnels round the base, and most workers were in touch with their local NLF organization. The Viet Cong cracked down heavily on fraternizing with the Americans, except on a commercial basis. For example, a Vietnamese girl who worked in the PX was known to be seeking permission to marry a GI. One morning her head was found on a post outside the main gate, with a note that said, "This is what happens to Vietnamese people who go around with the enemy." A special mobile punishment unit of Viet Cong was responsible for such executions.

The Vietnamese workers on Cu Chi base lined up to be counted and checked as they arrived and left each day. However, an explosive device or booby trap was found inside the base once or twice each week. Mess hall walls seemed to be a favorite place to leave them. One such bomb caused dozens of casualties in a mess hall on 5 January 1969. Today, few of the civilian workers are happy to admit that they ever worked for the Americans. Mrs. Le Thi Tien, for example, is a self-employed seamstress with one child in the village of Phuoc Hiep, a short distance up Route 1, north of Cu Chi town. During the war she worked as a waitress in the officers' club on the base. She recalled: "I had to work there because my family was so poor. Most of the villages in the area were destroyed by bombs, so we all had to live temporarily in the villages along the road. I was forced to work for the Americans to support my mother, who was blind. I was told to observe everything in the base and report it to the local cadre." The man to whom she reported was Ho Van Nhein, who is still the party cadre in Phuoc Hiep today. (1985) "Each village sent in spies," he said. "I had many report to me. Some were laborers filling sandbags. They reported whenever the Americans launched an operation. The bar girl (Mrs. Le Thi Tien) reported whatever conversations she overheard. I reported back to the district committee so that they could prepare to deal with any attack." He described how intelligence messages detailing future search-and-destroy operations were written on small sheets of paper, wrapped in nylon, hidden in the hair of women couriers, who attracted less suspicion from the police. Another of Ho's agents worked at the graves registration point, the mortuary on Cu Chi base, preparing American dead for shipment home. By this means, the Viet Cong had a far more accurate picture of American casualty figures than was ever made public. The camp barbers, too, were well placed to gather intelligence.

Sergeant Arnold Gutierrez recalled an episode concerning a barber. He and a patrol were in the Boi Loi woods and came under sniper fire from a tree. Gutierrez had the radio and was the prime target; he was wounded in the elbow. The patrol sprayed the tree with machine-gun fire and brought the sniper down. It turned out to be a thirteen-year-old girl, and -- worse still -- the daughter of one of the camp's barbers, a friend and confidant of the men. The girl had been in the tunnels since she was ten. That night the barber was hanged. In January 1967, during Operation Cedar Falls, tunnel rats found a VC document that named dozens of sympathizers working inside Cu Chi base. It included all fourteen of the camp's barbers.

Map of Cu Chi base.

For attacks from the outside, Cu Chi's intricate defensive perimeter turned out to be well-justified. Because of the formidable American presence that descended on the area and the semipermanence of the buildings and structure, as well as the wholesale devastation and depopulation of the surrounding countryside, the Viet Cong always saw Cu Chi -- like other U.S. bases -- as an affront and a challenge. Truong Ky, a top Viet Cong staff officer, announced in 1967: "We will continue to encircle and hug their bases wherever they establish them." The interrogation report of Viet Cong prisoner Ngo Van Giang (made in January 1968) bears this out. He said: "Some permanent U.S. troop bases are near VC areas. Prostitutes around these camps make it easy for us to learn the defensive system and the strength of the post. At night, the Americans fire flares to assist in their observation of the area, but unconsciously they also help our sappers observe how to enter the post."

Not only did the Viet Cong lob mortar shells and rockets into Cu Chi base camp but, incredibly, they executed daring raids on it from the surrounding tunnels. These were carried out by parties of thirty or forty guerrillas at most, and often by smaller groups, even by the classic Viet Cong three-man cells. Some caused enormous damage, to helicopters and tanks for example, and loss of life among the American soldiers. The raids were profoundly unsettling and of psychological and propaganda value far beyond their military importance. The Viet Cong demonstrated to the Americans that none of their installations was impregnable; that their adversaries were self-sacrificially brave; and that the Viet Cong would keep coming back, even after the annihilation of their villages and apparently fearsome casualties. Twenty years earlier, Ho Chi Minh himself had warned the French: "You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours, but even at those odds, you will lose and I will win."

Once the Americans had succeeded in blocking up all the tunnels that ran underneath Cu Chi base, the Viet Cong created a complex structure of tunnels, trenches, and firing positions all around it. This ring of tunnels they called the belt. (The same technique had been used against the French at the siege of Dien Bien Phu in 1954.) The belt connected most of the villages surrounding Cu Chi base, including Trung Lap, Nhuan Duc, and Phu Hoa Dong. Every fifty meters, branch tunnels headed off toward the base itself. . .

The belt was constantly used for infiltration by main-force Viet Cong from the more secure areas of War Zone C in Tay Ninh Province or from Cambodia, to attack Cu Chi base itself or to proceed to other attacks in or near Saigon. One of those who worked and fought in the belt was Mrs. Vo Thi Mo, the one female guerrilla who survived the squad that stayed behind in Nhuan Duc. In 966 she was still a teenager but dedicated to the cause she had espoused. "Our fighting area was the belt around Dong Zu (Cu Chi) base. My duty was to lead the way for the regular troops from Nhuan Duc to Dong Zu. In the daytime I went to Dong Zu openly by myself to obsevre the road, the fences, the terrain -- the ways by which one could penetrate the base. Then at night I guided the reconnaissance group to observe the base. The regular forces mounted attacks. My duty was to guide the troops on their way back and help carry the wounded. Sometimes I went there legally, with puppet identity cards, on a Honda moped. Inside the base I was guided by liason agents. I collected information from women inside the base, like cleaners and prostitutes, about the Americans' activities. I ran fifteen secret cells. That way we knew in advance the names and times and places of some of the big operations like Cedar Falls."

As late as February 1969, after three years of Cu Chi base's existence, the camp was the victim of a daring and destructive Viet Cong attack that penetrated right inside its security perimeter. It came from the least expected quarter: not from the notorious Ho Bo woods or Fil Hol sides, but from the side facing Cu Chi town, which was normally government-controlled. Local guerrillas like Mrs. Mo had guided the Viet Cong main force around the belt to the side chosen for the attack. They slept the previous day in the tunnels. In the dead of night, Dac Cong, or special force, sappers crawled forward to clear a path through the protective minefield and barbed wire, unobserved by the patrolling sentries. Then the thirty-nine Viet Cong, three squads of thirteen, some of them women, entered the base. Their main aim, as with so many Viet Cong attacks, was to destroy their enemies' most feared and hated weapon -- helicopters. They knew exactly where to find them. Using satchel charges, the guerrillas blew up fourteen of the big troop-carrying CH-47 Chinook helicopters on the ground, all those in Cu Chi at the time. The realization that the Viet Cong were "inside the wire" created some panic. The defenders fired ghostly parachute flares into the air to illuminate the base and help spot the attackers. Firing broke out on all sides; there was the whoosh and boom of rocket grenades. A medical orderly in the 12th Evacuation Hospital later recalled that night: "Guys confirmed that the VC were inside the base. They said the enemy had killed some of our people and had blown up some helicopters. That the VC were inside our wire scared the wounded guys pretty bad. It scared me, too, and for the rest of the night, whenever the door opened on either ward my heart flipped and I froze, half expecting it would be VC. The shooting and the rockets and the flares kept up for hours." Thirty-eight Americans were killed, but all but thirteen of the attackers escaped safely and unharmed when they melted away before dawn. They left in a direction different from the one they had taken to reach the base; they knew that artillery fire would rake the area from which it was thought they had traveled. -- The Tunnels of Cu Chi, pp. 143-147.

Diplomatic Spook: I don't like it. First time out a whole battalion gets massacred?
Army Intelligence Officer: You think this is a massacre?
Diplomatic Spook: I call losing a lot of draftees a bad week. Losing a Colonel's a massacre. -- We Were Soldiers, 2002.

Mind you, the VC here were still playing somewhat of an attrition warfare game. With perfect intelligence of the layout of the base, they could have used small teams to target the intelligence and operations shops and personnel, the commanding general's quarters, and the POL stocks as well as the helicopters. And if Lyndon Johnson and the Joint Chiefs happened to visit, a 4GW attack would have made certain to get them.

And if it happened in the first week of the war? On our soil? Where the enemy speaks the same language and is not color-coded for suspicion?

Remember this if nothing else:

There is no Green Zone that cannot be violently redecorated in red by an intelligent and determined 4GW opponent.

Doing what comes naturally? Blowing the gobbler.

The avalanche picks up speed.

The eurozone is in bad need of an undertaker. B/T to Stan.

"Enemies, Foreign and Domestic." Pete's excellent idea and a parallel one of Michael Collins' -- The "Which One Hundred Heads? Contest."

From Pete at WRSA: Open Source Intel Project.

"Volunteers will agree to read English-language foreign dailies on an ongoing basis. When they find a relevant article, send it by link, along with a synopsis, to the designated email box."

This is an excellent idea. Much news that would otherwise go unnoticed that is absolutely critical to understanding the situation within our country can be found without our borders. However, I would like to propose that it is time for a parallel bit of research as well, one that takes things a bit further, but one also designed to give strategic warning, both for lovers of liberty and their would-be tyrants.

"I want a file drawn up on every member of the British administration. Look through whatever you can find. Who's Who. Stubb's, Society columns. I want names, addresses, clubs, where they bank down to what they eat for breakfast. Keep it up to date. Add to it every week." -- Liam Neeson as Michael Collins.

Long-time readers will recall that Absolved, while written in the hope of avoiding civil war, explores what a modern 4th Generation Warfare American civil war might look like. In chapters like "Nemesis" and "Ten Thousand Lawyers"(Part One, Part Two, and Part Three), I lay out the gruesome potentialities of such a conflict.

That was fiction. However, in the real world of the current cold war fought against the liberty-loving by representatives of the federal leviathan, some remarkable forward thinking of the "what if" variety has already been put on the table by a Marine Corps scout-sniper in a note to me last year that I entitled "One Hundred Heads."

Having explained something of this real world dynamic in my first letter to Eric Holder "No More Free Wacos," I followed it up with another entitled "'In re U.S. vs. Olofson': A second Open Letter to Eric Holder, this time explicating the obvious about misadventure, 'decapitation' and spasm," which more fully explained the dangers of federal bureaucratic misadventure in a 4GW world.

It is impossible at this juncture for anyone outside the inner circle on the command deck at Main Justice to say if any of this had an effect on their decision-making, but the fact of the matter is that the rumored ATF death threats on Len Savage which prompted my "No More Free Wacos" letter to Holder have not only subsided, but the people who are said to have issued them and the people who prosecuted the "economic Waco" against him are in deep, deep excrement just now. Internal investigations are proceeding, ATF employees have been given whistleblower status, other real malefactors have already left or are being shown the door. Congressional oversight looms large and the acting Director designate Traver and Main Justice are not only exerting a tight rein on the present set of ATF senior executives, but they are trying to clean the Augean stables before Congress smells the manure and guesses its depth. They will not succeed. In addition, the street agents sense that, as much as any other time in the bureau's history, DC and the command structure does not have their back. This uncertainty is also reflected in the growing trend of U.S. Attorneys who, having seen some of their fellow federal prosecutors damage their careers by believing the ATF's narratives in cases that have later blown up in their faces, are extremely skeptical now of ATF competence. This has made the agency less aggressive in pursuing paperwork violations and agenda-driven busts.

This is a "goodness thing."

It is also not enough. For the ATF is but one agency, and the threats to our liberty -- and thereby the threats of deadly bureaucratic misadventure triggering a future civil war -- are not simply about firearms.

U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson of Richmond, Virginia did us all a favor by declaring the "health care mandate" unconstitutional the other day, but that court case has a long time yet to run and there is no telling whether or not the Nine Black Robes will finally throw it out or not. The federal gun that Nancy "Are you serious?" Pelosi plunked down on the table threatening IRS raid teams if we do not comply with her diktat is still there. If it is not overturned it WILL be resisted and people WILL be killed, all in the name of "health care."

And everywhere else in this administration, suddenly shorn of the absolute power they have enjoyed the past two years, the executive branch regulatory schemers are working around that little obstacle by means of proposed "presidential decision directives" and tyrannical bureaucratic rule-making and diktats. Any one of these which, upon enforcement could, in the present confrontation between those who believe they have the right to rule and those who are done backing up, lead to another "shot heard 'round the world' on any given day.

These issues run the gamut from the war on family farming and co-ops to Internet "neutrality" to the ill-named "Fairness Doctrine" to the latest FCC proposed tyranny, the "Public Value Test."

Sniper: "So, what do you think? Does the asshole meet the 'Public Value Test?'" Spotter: "Naw, take the shot."

The photo/cartoon I put together to accompany the post on that one was only half in jest. There are people who will take these further infringements seriously enough that someone, somewhere, perhaps inadvertently, perhaps intentionally, is going to end up dead over them, because the intended victims will figure that this is their personal line in the sand and that if it is worth dying for it also worth killing for. And that will merely be the beginning, for there truly are "No More Free Wacos." That is not a wish on my part, it is merely sad, awful reality.

And yet we see from FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps' proposal for a "Public Value Test" -- and this is hardly atypical -- that there is no understanding of the primal forces they are toying with, no sense of the danger of throwing lit matches in a powder magazine. They have the "power" so they think we must bow to it without, they are certain, negative unintended consequences to themselves.

Throughout history it is upon such miscalculations that are heaped the million mounds of dead bloodily harvested in civil war.

Fourth Generation Warfare Schwerpunkts

Knowledge is not power. Power alone is power. What knowledge does is provide the means to determine where to focus that power, for maximum effect.

Knowledge can even be dangerous. Poring over it to excess paralyzes action. Different elements may be in conflict with each other, suggesting sometimes even diametrically opposed courses of action. There are almost always gaping gaps. It is here that decisive leadership and a robust decision making process is paramount. Every time, the less impressive strategy, ferociously executed, beats the perfect strategy that is executed timidly, if at all.

In many quarters, it is not politically correct to equate business to war and I would be the first to agree that parallels need to be drawn very carefully indeed. On the other hand, the issues in military and corporate strategy are often strikingly similar. The first two paragraphs of this posting may have come as easily from a business strategy book, as a military science manual.

One of the concepts that I believe is particularly applicable in business is that of schwerpunkt. It was developed by one of the greatest military theorists, the Prussian Karl von Clausewitz (1780 - 1831,) author of the book On War.

The direct translation of schwerpunkt is centre of gravity (the point where the mass is concentrated most densely) and this is the most common meaning attributed to the term. In fact, the meaning Clausewitz intended may have been more subtle. Recent interpretations suggest that schwerpunkt means not the point of densest mass, but the point at which the maximum result can be achieved, with a given effort. Perhaps a better translation would be the centre of balance or the focal point. -- Rob Millard, Schwerpunkt.

For the uninitiated, Fourth Generation Warfare is targeted, generically, at the command structure, political hierarchy, and philosophical and intellectual underpinnings -- the schwerpunkt -- of the enemy. 4GW warriors avoid direct attacks on the strong points of their enemies -- soldiers, police -- and attack the center of balance. In his frustration with the Serbs in 1999, Bill Clinton expanded the rules of engagement of the American military by targeting the politicians, media and intellectual underpinnings of the Milosevic regime with precision guided munitions. Clinton bent the Serbs to his will. That was the intended consequences. The unintended consequences was that we, his perceived domestic enemies, paid attention, watched and learned. Schwerpunkt.

Another name for this strategy within the halls of government is called "decapitation." Such theorists who advocate it for "insurgents" hardly ever consider that it applies to them as well.

So, as I pointed out the AG Holder in my second letter, the consequences of a second Waco would look like a spasm of 4GW violence, targeted at the war makers, the media that supported them and the intellectuals who provided the underpinnings of tyranny.

Such a strategy has several advantages. It takes only a small, dedicated force with minimum technology. It is precisely targeted -- it must be in order to be effective -- and reduces the killing of innocents to a minimum. If personnel is policy, 4GW warfare changes policy one bullet at a time, to the encouragement of the others, as a Frenchman would say.

In advance of a war, the universal recognition of the unintended consequences of their actions among the Mandarins and literati of a creeping tyranny might even prevent one.

I have asked this question before. They will fight to the last ATF agent or to the last oath-breaking soldier. Will they fight to the first senior bureaucrat, the second Congressman, the third newspaper editor, the fourth Senator, the fifth White House aide? Can they stand Bill Clinton's rules of engagement?

These are the stakes for them, though they do not understand it.

And once they start it, they will find it impossible to stop, until they surrender unconditionally or personally face the music themselves. -- Mike Vanderboegh, "Dark Thoughts," 17 September 2009.

So, that said, let us play, hypothetically of course, the Michael Collins' game. Who would YOU put on a "Bucket List" of current American tyrant wannabes for the day after their policy prescriptions and bureaucratic bumbling start the next hypothetical civil war? I guess you could also call this the "Which One Hundred Heads? Contest." Again, hypothetically. Think of it as a list of "The Ten Sexiest Men and Women" as applied to future tyranny. It is, in a backhanded sort of way, a compliment to the nominees.

All nominations will be noted, tallied, evaluated -- don't put your brother-in-law on the list because he's a deadbeat who lives in your basement -- and then posted after nominations are closed at the first of the year. Be thoughtful. Be hypothetical. Have fun. ;-)


Monday, December 13, 2010

I thought Kentucky boys were smarter than this.

Not a useful alibi.

Report on today's hearing. Plus, my tax dollars at work.

Things looking up, I think. Case continued until 4 April 2011 at 1330 HRS. Little I can tell you about specifics but we are still looking at getting the charge dropped. I am happier with the new attorney than I was with the first. He actually has a plan that may work.

On a much funnier note, the courthouse security waved me though (twice, morning and afternoon) after going through the scanner (it still beeped) but didn't submit me to individual wanding and because (I'm convinced) they saw my new ATF Canine Unit key ring that Waldo gave me. That's the first time THAT'S ever happened. My tax dollars at work.

Attack of the chameleon: Convicted extortionist criticizes anti-ATF campaign and proposes instead the "magic bullet" . . .

Give the ATF a pass and concentrate on "Elect(ing) Politicians who will vote them away."

Politicians created the Sparklie with a vote, and only Politicians will kill the Sparklie. You want the ATF to go away? Do you want the premise, the real problem that is the anti-gun disposition of Government to go away? Elect Politicians who will vote them away. It really is that simple.

Right. That'll work. After all, it has worked real well up to this point. He reiterates this theme in this post.

Convicted felon Kerodin, who himself is eminently subject to ATF blackmail having also had contact with them when he was convicted on another federal firearm charge, wants us to give the ATF a pass. He doesn't mention me by name, concentrating on the straw man of the NRA, but this is part of his continuing campaign to throw grenades in the direction of Sipsey Street.

The anti-ATF campaign of the Willing Coalition of Lilliputians is designed to do many things, but when have you heard me say it is the end-all, be-all?




Reinvigorating the constitutional militia of the various states as a bulwark against tyranny.

That is my program.

Causing disorder within, and checking the basest impulses of, the single agency most likely to initiate civil war in order that we have the time to achieve that program is my goal. It is not a waste of time.

The cold war proceeds on many fronts, and "Kerodin" (not his real name) is, in my estimation, merely flying a false flag and working subtly for other masters. He claims to be a Three Percenter. He is, in fact, a One Percenter.


PS: I note this morning that Kerodin has removed his screed against me and put up some fluff about wishing me well at the hearing today when he originally criticized me loudly and long for not dying in the street for my principles. What has changed? Only the chameleon shades of Kerodin. It WILL change again, in whatever hue his masters decree.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

An Irregular needs some help on finding a redtick coonhound.

He sends the following email:

Do you know anyone within a couple hours of Pensacola (or on the way from Navarre FL to San Antonio) who breeds redtick coonhounds? One of my folks' hounds died and the other is inconsolable.

If you can help, please email me at GeorgeMason1776ATaolDOTcom and I will forward.


Comintern Pulitzer Prize for Phraseology: "Puppet warmongers' reckless saber-rattling. "

You just don't find classic collectivist writing like this anymore, except in North Korea.

Another country heard from. "Liberals: your moral and intellectual superiors!"

Courtesy of Irregular Julian, we have these links from Five Feet of Fury:

Columbia professor is charged with incest, accused of bedding young relative for 3 years. (Note the Daily News doesn't say it is his daughter, merely a "young relative.")

Huffington Post Blogger Charged With Incest. Noel Sheppard at News Busters was more direct.

A Columbia University political science professor that blogs at the Huffington Post was charged Thursday with having a sexual relationship with his 24 year old daughter.

I wonder how many "in-bred hillbilly" jokes Epstein has told or laughed at in his lifetime?

"Criminal scoundrels and bandits!" -- The 66th Anniversary of the Private War of 1st Lieutenant Eric Fisher Wood

"But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period -- I am addressing myself to the School -- surely from this period of ten months, this is the lesson: Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never -- in nothing, great or small, large or petty -- never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." -- Winston Churchill, in a speech at Harrow School, 29 October 1941, speaking just after the "Blitz."

"There is always one more thing you can do to increase your odds of success." -- LTC (later Lieutenant General) Harold Gregory "Hal" Moore, Jr.


As I am going to court on Monday with my liberty possibly on the table, I am posting this now because I don't want to miss this commemoration of the life and heroic death of one of the brave men in my private pantheon of heroes.

16 December 1944 saw the opening of the German offensive later known as the Battle of the Bulge. Remember, as you mark this day, Eric Fisher Wood, an American warrior, a man who more than any other single man, made a material difference to the outcome of the battle. His story is inspiring, almost electrifying, in its incredible details. The fact that his name is almost entirely unknown to this generation of Americans condemns us all.

One of my favorite subjects of study is the American army in defeat -- Philippines, 1942, Kasserine Pass, 1942, Battle of the Bulge, 1944-45, Korea, June, 1950 & November, 1950 -- for only in defeat do you see the best and the worst of humanity and in that terrible crucible learn lessons that are visible nowhere else.

Rifleman Dodd by C.S. Forester is likewise one of my favorite novels. Dodd, skirmisher of the 95th Rifles in Wellington's Army during the Peninsular War, was cut off from his unit as it retreated. His story of continued resistance against all odds was written in 1932, first published in England under the title "Death to the French." By the time Eric Fisher Wood entered West Point it was popular reading among cadets. One can only speculate what effect Rifleman Dodd had on the young plebe. What is certain is that Eric Fisher Wood, an American Dodd, outdid his fictional hero by a country mile. I will have some more comments on the other side of his story.

The Lonely War of Lt. Eric Fisher Wood, Jr.

Saturday Evening Post, December 20, 1947 by R. Ernest Dupuy, Col. USA, Ret.

Told for the first time, the story of a young lieutenant who almost single-handedly saved the right flank of an American army in the Battle of the Bulge, "the most amazing example of heroism in World War II."

DARING indeed would be he who named one individual as the epitome of human heroism. Through the ages, men of all nations and all races have fought well and died well. Once in a great while, however, a man emerges who, under extraordinary circumstances, flings down the gauntlet to death, defies fate, says farewell to the conflict only when breath leaves his body. Since chance - and chance alone - decides whether or not there be witnesses to such an exploit, let us say of what follows only that it is the most amazing example of heroism as yet to come out of World War II.

The man was a first lieutenant, Field Artillery, AUS, one of thousands bearing identical labels. The cannons were squatty, humped-up, wicked looking pieces towed by great six-by-six trucks- three of thousands of the same type carried on Ordnance records aa "Howitzer, 105 mm., M1." There the resemblance of this man and these cannons to others of their respective kinds ceases. For the cannons saved the right flank of an American army in the Ardennes. And had it not been for the man, they wouldn't have been available to do it. After the cannons bad been lost with honor when howling waves of the Nazi 2nd SS Panzer Division washed over both them and the remnants of the field artillery battalion serving them, the man continued to wage single handed warfare against the 6th SS Panzer Army. So the man, as always, is the important element. And his tale is worth the telling.

The patch of the 106th Infantry Division, which first arrived on the front lines in the ETO on 11 December 1944 in a sleepy little sector where no action was expected, the Schnee Eifel. The 106th called themselves "The Snarling Lions." The veteran 2nd Infantry Division GIs who they relieved called them "The Puking Pussycats." Five days later the Germans attacked and the 106th lost over two-thirds of its men, killed, wounded and captured.

It begins on December 16,1944, when the Battle of the Bulge broke furiously on the Ardennes front. The howitzers - there were four of them to start with - of Battery A, 589th Field Artillery Battalion, 106th Infantry Division, emplaced in rear of the little village of Schlausenbach on the north- western slopes of the Schnee Eifel, were, with the rest of the battalion, supporting the 422nd Infantry Regiment of the same division. 1st Lt. Eric F. Wood, Jr., from Bedford, Pennsylvania, twenty-five year- old Princeton fullback, five feet eleven, 195 pounds in weight and catlike in reflexes, was executive officer of the battery. His skipper, Capt. Aloysiua J. Menke, up at a forward OP, was silent. He would continue to be silent, for the first kraut wave had overrun the OP, and Menke, a prisoner, will not enter this story again. Wood was then acting battery commander.

Up the forest through a gaping hole torn in the northern sector of the 106th Division's recently inherited cordon defense positions, the Germans were swarming around the left flank and rear of the infantry, and into the artillery positions. Three German tanks pushed along the road, one leading on the road and two others off the road in the draw behind the leader. Lt. Wood, from his command position, shouted commands to his No. 1 piece gunner, John Gatens, who with two shots destroyed the lead tank by direct fire. No. 1, incidentally, was the only piece in the entire battalion which could reach any of the defilade tanks. Lt. Wood, the previous day, had arranged for No. 1 gun to be placed so that it could sweep the road. The lead tank destroyed by No. 1 gun, Wood then ordered all four guns to fire on the remaining tanks that were below the hill. He did this with high elevation fire, using one powder bag instead of seven. The remaining two tanks were disabled by this "indirect fire." He then swept the woods around him with short-cut fuse, breaking up the enemy's infantry support.

All this was but a temporary respite.. By nightfall the battalion was ordered to fall back; the krauts were crowding in from all sides. But getting out was easier said than done. In the Battery A positions the big tow trucks churned the icy muck to a paste in which the howitzers sank almost hub deep. Hostile fire, small arms and artillery was sweeping the area. Snow blew patchily into sweating faces in the night. The wind howled through trees each of which might be hiding an infiltrating enemy soldier. Hostile flares flickered over the snow drooped pines. It was not nice. But Eric Wood tore around, and the men of Battery A tore and tugged with him. He was that kind of guy. At last they got the howitzers on the road one by one, with two trucks grinding at each piece and with little clumps of men pushing, like ants tussling with twigs. The howitzers could shoot again, once they dropped trails, for Eric Wood had packed eighty-three rounds of ammunition for each piece in the trucks. In the rest of the battalion Battery C never got out. The pieces, too deeply mired, had to be blown up. That left eight howitzers out of twelve. Battery B got out ahead of A, and the outfit went swaying and fumbling in the dark over a narrow corduroy trail, while the enemy, with white phosphorus shells, hunted for them.

They got to their new positions by dawn. A field on the right of the road that runs north from Bleialf into Schonberg on the Our. They were about a mile and a quarter from Schonberg itself. Battery B got in first. Wood got three of his howitzers in. The last one, lagging, its tow truck partly crippled, he held on the road as antitank defense. The Germans were really bursting through in force that second morning. From the north they were coming down the Our valley into Schönberg; from the south they were coming up this road from Bleialf. But all that Eric Wood knew was that the world seemed full of krauts. The enemy from the south washed nearer, overrunning their neighbors. The acting battalion commander - the original was cut off behind them with Battery C - ordered the outfit out, to push through Schönberg and west toward St. Vith. Wood got two pieces rolling and sent the crippled third howitzer back with them. "I'll meet you west of Schönberg," he told the section chief, Sgt. Barney M. Alford, "if I get there."

For Wood's last howitzer was stuck. Once again the perversity of inanima to objects was working against him. So he stayed to get it out, with its crew. They worked at it while more krauts began to overrun Battery B, and its howitzers were abandoned. That, of course, left four howitzers in the battalion, out of twelve. When Wood at long last got his last piece on the road and swung over the tail gate of the truck, the last man out, the main body of the 589th Field Artillery Battalion consisting now of Wood's three other howitzers and some truckloads of men of both batteries, was way ahead of him. This bedraggled outfit hit Schönberg to find the krauts coming in from the north. The three piece "battalion" beat them to the Our River bridge by seconds, and got away. It got away to fight again, beginning on December nineteenth, at a dreary crossroads far to the west on the hastily forming and still somewhat nebulous right flank of the United States 1st Army. How these three howitzers for four days saved the right flank of the 82nd Airborne Division and of the Army at "Parker's Crossroads" is another story.

When Eric Wood and the twelve men with him in the truck now came rolling down the steep hill into Schönberg the howitzer bounding behind, a kraut tank poked its nose out of the southern entrance of the village. Brake bands screamed as the truck pulled up in front of it. Wood and his men piled out to attack it. Pfc. Campagna had a bazooka, the others their carbines. But the tank wasn't having any - God knows why! It scuttled crab like back across the bridge and disappeared into the town with Wood and his gang in pursuit. They crossed the bridge and pointed west in Schönberg's one street, with snipers pecking at them. And they slowed down while Sergeant Scannapico and Pfc. Campagna, still hugging his bazooka, ran ahead to see where that tank had holed up. They found it tucked in an alley. Scannapico fired his carbine at it. Campagna, climbing into the truck, let fly with his bazooka as they rolled past. Again the tank wasn't having any. The truck slowed to let Scannapico catch up, but a sniper got him cold. So the section rolled on. They gathered speed as they left the village and met, over a rise in the road, another kraut tank. A medium, this, with its cannon and machine guns trained directly on them.

Wood's reflexes worked instantaneously. He pitched his men and himself out into the ditch an instant before the tank's artillery blasted the truck to scrap iron. That was that, so far as getting the howitzer back safely was concerned. It left the battalion's score at three out of twelve. But what about Wood and his men? The enemy was firing at them now from across the river on the right. Kraut infantry were firing from the trees beyond the meadow across the road to the right rear. More kraut infantry was pouring out of Schönberg behind them. And that tank squatted in front of them a stone's throw away. To the ordinary man, the situation seemed hopeless. And all but one of the group were ordinary men. They raised their hands to surrender. They were through. But Eric Wood wasn't through. Leaping the ditch, he ran, dodging northwards the trees. The others could see kraut bullets sending little squirts of snow puffing up in the meadow at his heels, until he disappeared from sight in the shelter of the forest.

Late in the afternoon of the next day, December eighteenth, Peter Maraite, woodsman, left his home in the mountain village of Meyerode, Belgium, about four miles north of where that tank had smashed Eric Wood's truck. There were Germans all around. There had been fighting; doubtless there would be more. But Maraite had something else to think about. He was going to Cut a Christmas tree - there had always been a tree in the Maraite house for Christmas; there always would, as long as Peter could provide one. They are like that, in the Ardennes, war washed for generations. So Peter plodded for a mile through the woods, moving southeast in the general direction of Schönberg. It was cold; clammy mist cloaked the woods. The snow powdered his head as he brushed low branches. Then two armed men loomed in front of him at a six way trail crossing - Americans. Peter knew Americans when he saw them; they had held this sector for more than two months now. One was a big man with single silver bars on the shoulders of his short overcoat. He had a pistol. The other was smaller and wore no insignia of rank. He was armed with an infantryman's rifle, not an artillery man's carbine.

Peter Maraite is insistent on this point. Now, like most of the Belgians of this border country, Peter Maraite spoke only German. The Americans could not speak German. But Peter managed to convey the idea that he was a friend; he invited them home. Cold, wet and tired, they accepted. Because of the Germans, they came home cautiously, slipped into the warm stone house where astonished Anna Maria, Peter Maraite's wife, and wide eyed Eva, their daughter, rushed to pour hot coffee. The Americans gulped it down while Eva slipped out to bring back Peter's trusted friend, and neighbor, Jean Schroder, who spoke English. The watchdog was put outside to guard the door. The Americans relaxed, steaming their soggy clothes before the fire. The big young officer, with a confident, smiling face, told how he had escaped from a detachment surrounded near Schönberg. He and his companion were going to St. Vith. He was concerned about the fate of his men, "all very good and loyal men," as Peter Maraite remembers the conversation. The villagers warned that the country between Meyerode and St. Vith was full of Germans.

The young officer wasn't a bit disturbed by their shaking heads. "I'll either fight my way back to my outfit," he told them, "or I'll collect American stragglers. I've seen some in the woods around here and I'll start a small war of my own." What he wanted now was information about the Germans. He pulled out a map. So, while the woman and the girl bustled to get supper, the young American officer and the two droopy- mustached woodsmen pored over the map. The Americans couldn't go that night, the villagers said; they would. So the two Americans ate and drank with their hosts. The officer cracked jokes "said funny things which made us laugh," is the way Peter and Anna Maria Maraite put it. He seemed to have no fears. After they cleaned their weapons, the Americans repaired to the big soft feather bed while their clothes dried. They slept the sleep of tired but confident men, not waking even when a V bomb crashed in the outskirts of Meyerode with its hideous thunder.

The Maraites at first wondered if their American visitors had been among those captured on the Ades Berg. Perhaps - but odd things were happening in those woods southeast and east of the village, deep behind the German lines in the dense Omerscheid area of the Bullingen Forest. Daily, bursts of small arms fire came from the hills, and sometimes the "wham" of a mortar. These sounds were in addition to the crashes of bombs and pom-pomming of flak guns along the highways to the west. The weather had cleared and the Allied air forces were taking toll of German columns. Fighter bombers continually strafed the roads. The Germans had had to reroute their daylight movements through the secondary roads in the eastern woods leading to the Our Valley and thence through the Losheim Gap. It was from this area that those unexplained small arms bursts were coming over the cold air to the peasants huddled in their homes. Meyerode people began to notice that while large forces came and went at will through the hills, never did a small body of Germans or a supply column pass into the pine woods but that one of those mysterious bursts of fire followed. And the krauts issued orders strictly forbidding civilian movement in the forests.

Chance words dropped by the Germans, unguarded bursts of wrath from officers of the staff billeted in the village, plus the evidence of their own eyes and ears, gradually were pieced together by the Maraites and their neighbors. In a community like Meyerode the grapevine travels fast. Most of the burghers knew of the Americans who had stayed at the Maraite dwelling.

"Criminal scoundrels and bandits!" Sepp Dietrich.

Sepp Dietrich himself, quartered in the home of Jean Pauels, the burgomaster - a relative of Anna Maria Maraite - began to thunder about American "criminal scoundrels and bandits." The krauts were getting nervous, itchy. Daily, wounded men came in from the easterly woods, some hobbling, some carried. Kraut orderlies gossiped. "Damned bandits," it seemed, flitted like ghosts through the trees out there, hid in snow banks. A German traveling those woods never knew when a bullet might come singing his way. Larger and larger detachments were assigned to guard working parties who from time to time took a six horse snowplow out to clear those wood roads. Searching patrols went daily into the forest, but no American prisoners ever were brought back.

So the weeks rolled on, with the daily crack of small arms on the winter air, and the burghers of Meyerode built up their theory. They conjectured that out in the forest a small but organized group of Americans roamed. They had plenty of arms, they had at least one medium mortar, and they were taking a steady toll of the Germans. And all the stories added up one way: that these American guerrillas were led by the young officer who had visited the Maraites, a man "very big and powerful of body and brave of spirit." He kept his wolf pack going, it was said, by sheer will power. There could not have been many of them - the Meyerode woodsmen later found no evidences of large bivouacs other than those known to be German. How they existed through those bone chilling winter weeks no one knows. Probably horse meat was their diet - there were several horse drawn kraut artillery units in the neighborhood, and horse drawn transport was daily passing through. Perhaps the Americans found rations in abandoned dumps. There was an ammunition dump at a trail crossing just a mile south of Meyerode where, after the Germans had gone, villagers found quantities of mortar ammunition still remaining.

Anyway, the daily firing in the woods continued until the middle of January. It was stilled just a few days before the counterattack ebbed and the Americans began slashing back into the neighborhood - perhaps about January twenty-second. When the Germans left, the people of Meyerode combed those woods. The burgomaster first sent two competent woodsmen - his cousin August Pauels and Servatius Maraite - to search. They found German graves and some unburied German dead. And they found a few American dead, also unburied. In a dense thicket southeast of Meyerode, not far from the six way trail crossing, Servatius Maraite found the body of an American officer, a big young man, "with single silver bars on his shoulders." Near him lay the bodies of seven German soldiers. All had been dead about the same length of time - as well as could be judged, perhaps ten days before the Germans were driven out. American Graves Registration people later would fix the date as probably January twenty-second. That no living Germans had later visited this spot, the villagers agree. This was evidenced by the fact that the American officer still had in his clothing his papers and 4000 Belgian francs, a sum no kraut looter would overlook. So the American had died as he had lived -- a free man, taking with him when he went the last of his pursuers.

That American officer, Graves Registration attests, was 1st Lt. Eric F. Wood, Jr. And the people of Meyerode say that he was the man befriended by Peter Maraite and his family - the leader of the American guerrillas, whose description by wounded Germans, according to Burgomaster Jean Pauels, fits "like a police description" with that of Eric Wood. Records and statements of eyewitnesses prove that the only officer of the 106th Infantry Division unaccounted for from December sixteenth onward - that is, neither dead nor alive as free man or prisoner of war - was 1st Lt. Eric F. Wood, Jr.

("The details of the killing of the German tanks were updated from actual accounts (1999) of those that participated in the battle at the time. The additions of these actual accounts do not change the overall description of the original author.")

Belgian monument to Eric Fisher Wood at the trail junction outside of Meyerode where he fought the last battle of his personal war.

MBV: Consider the difference just one indomitable man made in this battle --

The three guns he saved (the only ones of his division that made it out) were critical in the "Battle for Parker's Crossroads," a delaying action on the northern shoulder of the Bulge that allowed the 82nd Airborne and other units to defend the Elsenborn Ridge. Unable to break out to the north or the south, the Germans were channeled into the delaying actions at St. Vith and Bastogne. With the holding of the shoulders, the German offensive was doomed.

Second, we can only speculate what effect his little guerrilla war had on German logistics, but if the Belgian witnesses are correct, it was enough to make Sepp Dietrich half-crazy with frustration. Of course, it was also poor logistics that, as much as being channeled between the shoulders, was another principal reason the offensive failed.

Finally, there is the butcher's bill reckoning of the effectiveness of a soldier. How many Germans did Wood kill before he went down outside Meyerode? Whatever it was, it was a uneven trade for the Germans.

So take a few moments and ponder the incredible fight and sacrifice of Lt. Eric Fisher Wood, Jr. His story is an American inspiration for the ages. We are coming into another dark moment of American history. Let us hope the next Eric Woods are getting ready for the fight.

Below is a touching video made by a Belgian. The English is a little stilted and full of typos, as no doubt would one of mine if I wrote it in another language. Today, there are probably more Belgians who cherish the memory of Eric Fisher Wood than there are Americans -- and what does that say about us?