Junior Special Agent? Yikes!

Thanks to a Facebook post by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, I found that they actually have an online giftshop.

ATF said:

Many people reach out looking for collector items such as coins and patches. Here is the perfect place to stock up on all your official ATF memorabilia.

Official ATF memorabilia? I could be snarky and ask if that includes photos suitable for framing of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco but I won’t.

What did catch my eye was this T-Shirt for kids.

Forcing a kid to wear that T-shirt is pretty darn close to child abuse. Who in the world would want their child to wear that thing other than David Chipman?

Some of the other stuff includes ATF caps and polo shirts with logos. Maybe I’m giving criminals too much credit but I would think that would be ideal cover to get someone to open their door prior to a home invasion. All they would need to do is pair that with a navy windbreaker and a fake badge to complete their impersonation.

All in all it seems a stupid idea to have such a giftshop even if some of the proceeds go to the blind.

You Did It! Frank Tait Is On The Ballot

Thanks to everyone who signed petitions for Frank Tait, he beat the “margin of Wayne” and is on the ballot for the 2022 NRA Board of Directors election. He could not have done it without your help and the help of many others who want change at the NRA.

This means that instead of being forced to choose between voting for one of the hand-picked “friends of Wayne” or not voting, you now have a choice.

If you are a voting member, now is the time to start talking to your friends who are also voting members. A personal recommendation from you should mean a lot more than the usual propaganda that you see month after month in the official journal.

Remember it is our NRA and not Wayne’s NRA.

UPDATE: From Frank on getting on the ballot.

The petitions were “beyond the margin of Wayne” and I am on the ballot!

I have to get my approved 150-word biographical sketch in by December 17 so it can be included with the ballots.

This would not be possible without the support of many great people and organizations around the country including the participants at the IDPA Liberty Match, Bitter of Shall Not be Questioned Blog, and the members of Falls Township Rifle and Pistol Association, the participants of the Nineteenth Bi-Annual Machinegun Shoot at Eastern Lancaster County Rod & Gun Club, and the Montgomery County Federation of Sportsmens Clubs Trapshooting League.

I am grateful for this tremendous support and am committed to reforming the board and management of the NRA

League Of Women Voters Rejects Rule Of Law

I am on the press release mailing list of a number of organizations. I don’t know how I got on some of them as they are far afield from what this blog deals with. For example, I get a lot from the Council on American Islamic Relations dealing with Confederate statues in North Carolina which they want removed. I don’t quite get the connection between Muslims and the Confederacy but so be it.

One group who has been sending me press releases on a regular basis is the League of Women Voters. In my naivete, I had long assumed they were interested in getting people out to vote and urging a fair examination of the issues on the ballot. That may have been the case years ago but it is not the case now. If the press releases I have been getting over the last few years are an indication, they have moved from the middle of the political spectrum much (much!) further to the left.

The latest press release I received from them involved the Kyle Rittenhouse trial and the verdict of not guilty on all counts. After pondering why they were even sending out a release on an issue far removed from voting, voting districts, or gerrymandering, I read it.

From their release:

“Today justice was not served for Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, who should still be alive.

“We are saddened and disappointed, but not surprised. Too often our justice system fails to hold accountable wealthy or white antagonizers while disproportionately over-policing and incarcerating people in Black and brown communities.

“Our justice system is in desperate need of repair. Our national obsession with firearms is out of control. Today sets a dangerous precedent that armed civilians can take to the streets and incite violence. America has had yet another wake up call. How many more lives must be lost unnecessarily?”

Excuse me? WTF?

Rosenbaum and Huber were both convicted felons whose crimes led them to serve time in prison. That they intended to kill Rittenhouse or cause him severe bodily injury was established by the evidence.

The rule of law worked in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. A jury listened to the evidence and deliberated for almost four days. In the end, they decided that he defended himself as is allowed by law. The only incitement to violence was done by the rioters.

The only thing the League of Women Voters has shown by this ridiculous press release is that they are far removed from middle America. That and they have no use for the rule of law which is the basis of this American republic.

“Modern War in an Ancient Land”

The war in Afghanistan has been of interest to me for a long time for a couple of reasons. First, my late best friend’s son served as a platoon leader and the executive officer of Viper Company, 1-26 INF, 3 BCT, 1st Infantry Division when they were in the Korengal Valley. Second, a friend from graduate school, Dr. Larry Goodson, wrote one of the only books examining Afghanistan from the time of the Soviet invasion until just prior to our intervention. That book, Afghanistan’s Endless War: State Failure, Regional Politics, and the Rise of the Taliban, is still available on Amazon (commission earned).

The U.S. Army Center of Military History has now released a two-volume set on the war in Afghanistan entitled, Modern War in an Ancient Land: The United States Army in Afghanistan 2001–2014.

These volumes were prepared by the Chief of Staff of the Army’s Operation Enduring Freedom Study Group led by Col. Edmund Degen (USA-Ret). The Study Group was formed by the late Gen. Raymond Odierno when he was Chief of Staff to research and write an operational history of the U.S. Army’s involvement in Afghanistan from October 2001 until December 2014. I would imagine a third volume covering the years from 2015 until our disastrous withdrawal earlier this year will eventually be forthcoming.

The narrative is focused at the operational level of war and will discuss policy and strategy only as needed to illuminate the operational story. At the same time, it will delve into the tactical realm only when such insights amplify the implications of the operational decisions or occurrences.

Copies of both volumes are available for download free of charge. If you want print copies, they can be ordered from the Government Printing Office. That order number is GPO S/N: 008-029-00656-1.

To download:

Volume One

Volume Two

Do You Know Who I Am?

I got a piece of mail yesterday from the NRA that greatly amused me. It said it was from the “Honors Committee” of the NRA. I was nominated get the “National Patriot’s Medal” and to be a member of the “NRA Golden Eagles.”

Don’t they know I’m one of those dissident Life Members who is royally disgusted with Wayne and the majority of the Board of Directors? That I signed the ballot petition for their arch-nemesis Frank Tait? That I’ve been a critic of the NRA’s leadership and its direction for the last two years? That 1st VP Willes Lee has labeled me a “hater”?

I guess for the low, low payment of only $250 annually or a quarterly payment of $62.50 required to be a NRA Golden Eagle that all is forgiven.

My $250 would get me a special decal for my car, a NRA Golden Eagle ball cap (probably made in China), and the knowledge that I, too, could help pay the legal fees of Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors.

As the great Groucho Marx said in one form or another, “I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member.” There are some I for which I’d make exceptions but this isn’t one of them.

Dakota Arms Is Now Parkwest Arms

One of the questions often asked with the Remington bankruptcy and subsequent auction of its companies was what happened to Dakota Arms. This would also apply to the Remington Custom Shop run by Dakota. Now we have an answer.

The new company is called Parkwest Arms and is still located in Sturgis, South Dakota. Currently, their webpage is primarily a placeholder as is their links to Facebook and Instagram.

From what I understand, the name Dakota Arms went to a large corporation and the rest of the business was purchased by a small investor group. They will be building the same rifles in the same previous facility using the same equipment as before.

Here is a message from “Cole” at Parkwest regarding the new company on the Long Range Hunting Forum:

I would like to introduce our company to the Long Range Hunting community. We are new to this forum, but have been in the firearms business for over thirty years. Many of you may have done business with us in the past as Dakota Arms or the Remington Custom Shop. We are under new ownership, but retain the wealth of knowledge and skill that has allowed us to produce some of the highest quality rifles that money can buy. We look forward to getting to know this forum and all of its members. We are still located in Sturgis, SD and can be reached at 605-702-0060. We will be posting some semi custom rifles that we currently have in inventory, and will soon be taking orders on our custom hunting, tactical, and safari rifles.

For those of us who love firearms made of blued steel and beautiful wood, this is great news. I hope they continue to do as well or better than they did in the past.

“Beyond The Margin Of Wayne”

Frank Tait reports that people have come through in signing his petition to be on the NRA Board of Directors ballot. He received approximately 238% of the number needed to be put on the ballot. He had been advised to have at least double what he needed. Certainly some will be invalid. That said, I will flatly say that if he is kept off the ballot for not meeting the requisite number, it will be due to shenanigans. Because I don’t want to be sued by Wayne’s pin-striped legal wizard (sic) who just lost another case, I won’t call it fraud.

I’ll let Frank Tait give more details:

I submitted a total of 334 petition sheets. These sheets averaged 3.4 signatures per page. This is up significantly from the 2020 campaign. What made the difference this year is that people signing petitions got others to sign.

I received petitions from NRA members in 43 states. 41% of the signatures were from my home state PA. Significant numbers of signatures came in from Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Arizona, Georgia, Wyoming, Delaware, North Carolina, Texas, Maryland, California, Florida, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Social media contacts were the next largest contributor bringing in 36% of the signatures. Many NRA instructors and training counselors gathered signatures. 16% were from my home club, LPRGC. 24% came from the Eagle Arms gun shows. A certain group of “Deplorables” that meets semi-annually at the NRA Whittington Center brought in 13% of the signatures.

1,134 signatures would not be possible without the support of many great people and organizations around the country including the participants at the IDPA Liberty Match, Bitter of Shall Not be Questioned Blog, and the members of Falls Township Rifle and Pistol Association, the participants of the Nineteenth Bi-Annual Machinegun Shoot at Eastern Lancaster County Rod & Gun Club, and the Montgomery County Federation of Sportsmens Clubs Trapshooting League.

I am grateful for this tremendous support and am committed to reforming the board and management of the NRA.

To those of my readers who sent in signed petitions on behalf of Frank’s candidacy, I thank you.

Breaker Morant Trio Get Service Medals

One of my favorite movies from the 1980s was Breaker Morant starring Edward Woodward as Lt. Harry “Breaker” Morant. The movie, set during the Boer War in South Africa, is told from an Australian perspective. Morant and his fellow Bushveldt Carbineers were engaged in brutal unconventional battle with the Boers where the niceties of civilized combat were discarded. Morant and fellow lieutenants Peter Handcock and George Witton were accused of war crimes for the shooting of Boer prisoners in reprisal for the killing of their commander Capt. Percy Hunt.

Morant, Handcock, and Witton were eventually arrested and tried for the murders of the Boer prisoners. Morant and Handcock were sentenced to death and executive while Witton was given life imprisonment. There is the famous scene in the movie in which Morant is asked under what rule he shot the prisoners.

The execution of Morant and Handcock was considered an injustice in Australia by many. This was to lead the Australian government to demand that no Australians be court-martialed by the British military during WW1.

On November 8th, it was announced that Morant, Handcock, and Witton would be posthumously awarded the service medals to which they were entitled. It only came 120 years after the fact and was due in large part to the efforts of retired military attorney James Unkles.

I am pleased to announce on behalf of the descendants of Morant, Handcock and Witton, medallic recognition that they rendered loyal and exemplary service to the Colonial Contingents during the Boer War.

Australian and British authorities no longer issue medals for service in the Boer War – however replica medals can be sourced for descendants once details of service are confirmed.

There is no legal impediment to such medals being issued to the descendants of these men.

A presentation was made to Brian Turley as a descendant of Lt. Witton. It recognized his service with the 4th Victorian Imperial Bushmen. Presentations will be made to descendants of Morant and Handcock at a later date.

To read more about the case, see this issue of Reconnaisance: The Newsletter of the Military History Society of NSW. It starts on page 7.

Veterans Day 2021

I often think of my father on Veterans Day. He was inducted into the US Army on December 11, 1940, did his basic training at Fort Bragg (which doesn’t need renaming), and was first assigned to a quartermaster company. He transferred to the Corps of Engineers in 1942 and remained in that branch the rest of his 28 year military career.

He, like most veterans of WW2, got out after the war, got married, and went to school on the GI Bill. He graduated college and became a school teacher for a few years. Along the way he joined the local National Guard unit. Then in 1953, he transferred from the National Guard back into the Regular Army where he remained on active duty until he was medically retired in 1972. He passed away almost nine years to the day after his retirement.

I know about his military career in detail because I got his records from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. It is part of the National Archives. As next of kin, I was entitled to get his records. My first request to the NPRC got about 20 pages of documents and replacements for all the medals and ribbons earned. My second request resulted in a stack of paper about 2.5 inches thick. It contained much of his medical history, his evaluations, his re-enlistments, and his entire military history.

It contained both the good and the bad. It seems my dad was AWOL at the replacement depot in Miami on the morning of January 1, 1945. Go figure.

If your deceased father or mother served in the armed services, I would urge you to request a copy of their records. You learn so much about the person who helped create you. It might not always be what you want to hear but it is what it is. For those living veterans with children, I would say get those records anyway. One day it will be too late for your kids and grandkids to ask what did dad or mom do in the Army (or any of the armed forces). Put them away in a safe place if you don’t feel like sharing now.

To all those who served our great nation, I say thank you. It may have been during peace time or during a war. Nonetheless, it was a sacrifice and for that I’m eternally grateful.

Happy 246th, US Marine Corps!

Today marks the 246th birthday of the founding of the US Marine Corps in Tun Tavern.

Think of it – the only armed service founded in a bar.

My friend Lara Smith whose husband Ed served in the Marines posted this on Facebook to point it out.

I always tend to post old recruiting posters in commemoration of this birthday. I found two that caught my attention.

The first from WWII when women were sought to free men to go into combat. Even then, the Marine Corps called these women “Marines” and not “women Marines”.

The second is more modern and reflects the fact that today’s battlefield is not so defined.

I think my friend Amy Dillon, all 4 feet 11 inches of her, would agree as would those recruits she trained as a Marine drill and marksmanship instructor.

Finally, the official birthday video from the Commandant Gen. David Berger.

Finally, to all my friends who have served in the Corps, Semper Fi and thank you.