It's not all relegated to one political leaning, either. Both sides have kooks coming out of the frikkin' woodwork like termites with the drunk munchies.
|Do you have a moment to talk about Jade Helm?|
The left-wing liberal kooks are claiming that Jade Helm is the start of a military coup to oust Lord Obama from his castle and institute a military junta and martial law as we become slaves to the Illuminati, the giant corporations, and a cyborg Dick Cheney and their plan for a Thousand Year Reich.
The right wing uber-conservative kooks claim Jade Helm is the beginning of martial law and the confiscation of civilian guns in a military takeover designed to install Obama as Dictator for Life, turn America into a Muslim Caliphate, and imprison threats to the One True Faith before summary executions.
C'mon, guys. Get real.
On paper, Jade Helm 15 is a massive exercise involving thousands of American Special Operations troops, playing out over several weeks this summer and across several states. And people are absolutely losing their mother-effing minds over it.
I almost think people are losing their shit because the government has been so open about the exercise and it's freaking people out. You must admit, transparency isn't exactly what we've gotten from this administration, no? So for the military to release entire press packets about the exercise, under the auspices of keeping the general public calm and informed about why there's helicopters to and fro and unusual movements of military gear and personnel, it brings out the tinfoil faster than the Hanson Brothers at a hockey game.
Oh My Gawd, they're telling everyone to stay calm and not to fret so that no one will resist the invasion!!!!
Oh, please. Look, I sure as hell don't trust 90% of the government and distrust 101% of the current administration, but I do trust the American Warrior. I trust our troops to do the right thing. I think if the US military were ordered arbitrarily to impose martial law and enforce a government takeover, the vast majority of our people would question it and openly revolt. And if a takeover were to be tried, while many of our citizens would blindly go along like good little sheep, a huge swath of the population would take up arms against the government. There's an old adage wrongly attributed to Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamato (he who planned and executed the attack of Pearl Harbor) that iterates the foolishness of invading mainland America because there would be a rifle behind every blade of grass. While there is no clear evidence that he said that, the notion is sound. There would be a well-armed and trained partisan insurgency against martial law and takeover. We are, after all, a gun-owning populace and the rights that guarantee such were granted with fighting a tyrannical government in mind.
|He never said that, even though it's the truth|
Still, the lunatic fringe is flooding the Interwebz with all manner of Chicken Little nonsense that is so comical that debunking it makes your brain hurt from the sheer tedium.
There are constant reports of convoys being spotted. That's nice; various units (especially transportation units) practice convoy movements all the time. And people are going apeshit over trains being spotted with military equipment on them. Guys, it is so much easier to railhead your gear to a training area across the country than it is to try and fly it (a C-17 can only carry but so much....think of moving an apartment building full of furniture across the state using just a few standard moving trucks. Better yet, imagine moving everything you own across the state using just a Smart Car.) If you tried to drive it all across country it would burn way too much fuel, take way too long, and cause excess wear and tear on the gear. For example, an M1A1 Abrams tank typically uses a half gallon of fuel per mile, though it can get one gallon per mile, depending on engine temperature, environment, etc. It can reach a 70 mph top speed with the governor disabled, in which case the engine will likely overheat quickly and cause bad ju-ju... It typically travels at 40 mph top speed, so one hour at 40 will use less than one fifth of its 504 gallon fuel tank. The max distance it can travel is about 250 miles on one tank, uses 8 gallons to start up and get warmed up for action and little more than a half gallon per mile in desert operating conditions (with heat and sand affecting the engine). It also requires almost an hour and a half of maintenance for every hour that it is operated. And this is just one tank.
Now, multiply all this by however many Hummers, trucks, MRAPs, and other miscellaneous vehicles (yeah, I'm simplifying for my civilian readers) the unit may have..... at 40 miles an hour. Yeah, it is so much easier to put it all on a train.
When 1st Infantry Division geared up for Gulf War One in the fall of '90, all their vehicles were railheaded from our base at Fort Riley, KS and sent to a port where it was then shipped (by ship of course) to the war zone. then after the war, it reversed and all came back to the wheat fields of middle America by train, minus a couple vehicles destroyed but plus a bunch of captured Iraqi gear.
|This is a picture of me standing on a captured Soviet-made self-propelled howitzer at the railhead at Ft. Riley.|
Now, another thing to consider: how much of this is equipment headed to the exercise, and how much of it is equipment simply returning to the US from having been deployed overseas in the various war zones? It takes a long time to ship home all the stuff that was sent over there during a 10-year-plus war. It gets loaded on a big ship, floats over here to a port and gets put on a train to go back to its base of origin, or to a refit and maintenance depot where it may be completely stripped down, refurbished, and rebuilt before being shipped back out.
|A still capture from a YouTube video that whines about a trainload of tanks. They look brand new. My guess? Refurbished.|
Now, where the hell was I?
Ah, yes. Lunatics.
One afternoon the Interwebz was abuzz with hullabaloo concerning a military unit walking down a suburban street in Ontario, California. I fail to see how this is news, actually. A National Guard or Army Reserve unit on their weekend drill time conducting a road march does not constitute preparations for a takeover. Here is a link to the report from CBS in California, and one from an alleged Conservative site. Utter hogwash.
One Facebook page posted this tripe:
My God. The bullshit meter is pegged in the red. Microwave weapon? That, kids, is an STT on a trailer. What's an STT? A Satellite Transportable Terminal. It's a frikkin' satellite dish for mobile communications. It's not a death ray. It's not a microwave weapon. It's a big foldup satellite dish on a trailer. And in front of it on the right? That's a generator on a trailer.
The National Guard armory down the street has a few of them. Buddy of mine works there and I'm pretty sure he'd have mentioned death rays when he gave me the nickel tour of the place a few months ago.
First, that's not an MRAP, you twatwaffle. That's an LAV-25. It's a lightweight 8-wheeled armored personnel carrier that the Marines use. They routinely drive them on California highways around Camp Pendleton and Twentynine Palms. An MRAP looks nothing like an LAV, other than being big and having wheels.
|Yup, that's not an MRAP. That's an LAV-25.|
|That, friends, is a Cougar MRAP.|
|Click to embiggen the picture, and you'll see an MRAP really looks nothing like an LAV.|
You mean they drive them on the HIGHWAY? Yeah, chummy, they do. All the time. For reals.
Secondly, what the hell is so disturbing about two Turkish pilots at a frikkin' Walmart? We invite pilots from fellow NATO nations (Yes, genius, Turkey is in NATO) to train here all the time. I repeat: All. The. Time.
|A Turkish F-16. Someone has to teach them to fly their multimillion dollar purchases, right?|
Joint Base San Antonio encompasses Fort Sam Houston (where the Army teaches its medical personnel), Randolph Air Force Base (the headquarters of Air Education and Training Command, ie: the place where people go to learn to FLY PLANES) and Lackland Air Force Base (a huge training center that includes students from dozens of allied nations).
And Clinton, Missouri is a small town, population under 10,000. That's not a whole lot larger than the town I live in. That said, chances are high that neither the Clinton Police Department nor the Henry County Sheriff's Office has a bomb squad. However, about 20 miles away is Whiteman Air Force Base, and they do have a bomb squad, thus explaining why the Air Force was at the Walmart for a bomb threat. My God, you're an idiot.
Then you get this article of pure fantasy concerning alleged missile batteries near Lubbock, Texas. Somehow they *must* be part of the Jade Helm Conspiracy, right? Nope. Try again. They're fakes, a mockup of Soviet-made SAM batteries used for targeting training by nearby Dyess Air Force Base.
|Plywood. Artifice. Fake. Mockup. Leave your parents basement once in a while.|
Debunking this Jade Help crap is child's play. Some of these idiots aren't even trying to hide their fakery and are counting on the ignorance and gullibility of the public.
|Beware of everything and anything!!!|
The above picture is a perfect example. Those are European road signs (the red and white circles...those are Do Not Enter signs) and the Army hasn't had their tanks painted black & green camo since about 1991 or all-over olive drab green since about 1985. This is likely a mid-1980s train crossing in Germany.
The best shit ever is the attempt to connect the closings of five Walmart stores to government takeovers. While the unannounced and unexpected closings of these five stores is indeed a cover-up, it's not for the reasons you may be thinking. Didn't hear about this? Well, it seems that without warning Walmart closed five stores in Texas, California, Florida, and Oklahoma and laid off thousands of workers, claiming that they had "plumbing issues". Funny thing is, no plumbing contractors have been hired, no permits have been pulled, and in at least one location a local building inspector was escorted off the premises and refused entry. I personally think it has more to do with an asshole giant corporation exercising its muscle against stores with labor disputes and NOTHING to do with these stores allegedly being stockpile centers for supplies for the Jade Helm invaders, connected underground by thousands of miles of secret military tunnels. Why stockpile shit in Florida to invade Texas?
|Closed, yes. Part of a government plot? No. Ask the assholes in Arkansas why they're closed.|
|We can't finish a border fence and you think we have thousands of miles of tunnels? Put down the bath salts, pal.|
So, really, what exactly is this exercise? The military has been very open and forthcoming about what's going to happen, as previously stated. They've released a lot of information to assuage the public's idiocy. See here below for just a sample, direct from US Special Operations Command. FOUO means For Official Use Only.
Sounds reasonable enough. Thanks for letting us know. That's mighty decent of you.
Of course, the tinfoil hat brigade has to twist it all to meet their own agenda as shown below.
More from the idiot who did the above picture here. It makes your brain hurt to read the drivel.
|But there's Illuminati in my loaf of bread!!!!|
This leads me to seriously question whether the average John and Jane Doe in America really knows just what the hell Special Operations troops actually do. I mean, the Air Force part of it is pretty cut and dry. They have specially trained aviators who fly the shooters to their destinations and pick them up. (yeah, I'm simplifying the scope of USAF SpecOps. Read the full scope here.) The Marines Special Ops focus is to train, advise and assist friendly host nation forces as well as reconnaissance and direct-action against enemy forces. That's a bit like the Army's Rangers and a bit like the Army's Special Forces. The Rangers are more of a direct-action and recon force, while the SF can do all of that plus gets tasked to train and advise friendly militaries to build their own forces up. The Navy's SEAL teams are more direct-action and less training of friendlies. Not to take anything away from the 82d Airborne, but apart from being ready to deploy at a moment's notice and ability to go in with a lighter combat compliment than a regular US infantry division, once they jump and hit the ground they're basically just that, an infantry division.
Now, brace yourselves, kiddies: I've seen stuff like this Jade Helm before and actually participated in it. Yes, you read that correctly. This isn't new, people. Hardly. Back in the fall of 1989, yours truly was a minor player in the grand scheme of things called JCRX Coronet Rodeo 89.
Yeah, great name, right? This crap is all computer generated anyways. A JCRX is a Joint Combat Readiness Exercise. For three weeks in October of 89, my unit was one of several dozen units involved in an exercise that spanned damn near the entire southern quarter of West Germany. Most of it took place below Munich and down towards Bad Toelz, but some of it extended up all the way to Stuttgart. All of us would be performing what would ostensibly be our real-world wartime missions. In peacetime, my unit worked for US Customs. In wartime however, we were an EPW/CI unit. More on that in a minute.
The soldiers of the 10th Special Forces Group were tasked to infiltrate the local area, both in uniform and in civilian attire to blend in with the local populace. They've done the same thing in Afghanistan by wearing a man-dress and shemagh and growing beards to blend in. It's called going mufti. They were to evade detection and do what Green Berets do.
Now, on our side of the event, we had regular infantry units patrolling the hills looking for the SF guys. We had counter-intelligence units and translators and radio intercept people hunting down the SF troops and finding their locations. They would call in either the Infantry or Military Police units to capture them and transport them to the EPW/CI facility. That was me.
I was one of the guards for an Enemy Prisoner of War/Civilian Internee camp. Under orders from the 511th Military Intelligence Battalion, we made sure the “prisoners” got no more than 2 hours of sleep at a stretch, sometimes giving them as little as 45 minutes between wake-ups and roll calls. The lights were always on to ensure they never had a darkened area to sleep in. We kept them silent, and didn’t allow them to bathe but every few days. (The stench in the main tent was special). At night they were stripped to their skivvies and t-shirts to sleep in. But in the case of their leader, a Special Forces Captain, he wasn’t wearing any skivvies when “captured” so he got the added bonus perceived embarrassment of standing at attention for all the roll calls with his junk in the breeze in front of his subordinates. Southern Germany is cold and wet in late October so he was quite miserable. After about a week, we gifted him with a pair of pink panties donated by a female trooper, again for the humiliation factor, assisting in breaking the subordinates respect for their leader and in breaking down the officer for interrogation.
|Keep 'em quiet, keep 'em apart, keep 'em from escaping.|
The interrogations themselves were an amazing learning experience to see, even though I don’t speak Russian, the primary language used during the sessions. (This added realism to the exercises). There was a lot of yelling, banging on tables, the ubiquitous single light bulb overhead, and implied threats of a very personal nature, judging from the interrogators’ body language. The chief interrogator was a crusty old former Special Forces guy who escaped a labor camp in his native Bulgaria by beating a guard to death with the magazine of the guard's AK-47. Trust me, this dude was legendary. I was saddened to hear of his passing in 2008.
Some of the “prisoners” were graduates of the military’s SERE School, so the stuff we were told to do by the Intel staffers were a walk in the park for them. SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) is a program that provides military personnel with training in the Code of Conduct, survival skills, evading capture, recovery and dealing with captivity. Please look it up for a full overview. One prisoner even went on a hunger strike, eating nothing but grass until an admin time-out was called and he was ordered by the higher ups running the exercise to eat.
All in all, it was a fascinating training event. Read all about MP operations concerning prisoners of war here.
All in all, it was a fascinating training event. Read all about MP operations concerning prisoners of war here.
So the fact that soldiers in civilian clothes will be a part of the exercise shouldn't alarm anyone in the least. And as far as being armed, the literature days they will be equipped with blanks. How do you know they're blanks? Well, you don't have a blank-firing adapter (BFA) for a pistol, but rifles and machine guns certainly, so you'll know. But truth be told, true special operators can kill you eight ways to Sunday with nothing more than a bobby pin and a drinking straw, so blanks or not makes no difference.
|Those little yellow boxes on the muzzles of their rifles are BFA's. Sometimes they are red.|
Why a giant exercise here in America? Because it's ours. It costs money to fly troops and gear across the sea to train in foreign locations, and we usually have to bargain with host nations to get access to do so. That costs the taxpayers millions in foreign aid, promises, favors, and just plain old graft and bribes. We have vast swaths of open terrain in our own country to train in, terrain that in many ways is similar to the terrain these warfighters will be operating in as they go in harm's way.
|Colorado? Afghanistan? You never know...|
Much fuss has been made over recent (and upcoming) training missions by the military in populated areas and in large cities. Many of you are under the naive notion that fighting in an open desert is the same as fighting in the mountains is the same as fighting in a swampy jungle is the same as fighting house to house in a built up area. Surprise, kids; it ain't. Wide open areas are great for bulky things like tanks where they have room to maneuver. Tanks and other tracked vehicles are at a serious disadvantage in a city; no room to move and they can be easily outflanked and ambushed.
|No maneuver room for that beast..|
|Iraq. Or Detroit. Hard to tell, actually.|
City fighting is perhaps the most dangerous and deadliest form of combat. It's what the military calls euphemistically Military Operations in Urban Terrain, or MOUT. Buildings need to be cleared floor by floor, room by room. The possibility of booby traps, IED's, ambushes, snipers, and even hand to hand fighting is high. During the Battle for Stalingrad in WW2, it has been estimated that over two million casualties were suffered in some of the most brutal fighting of the war. At one point thousands of troops were fighting each other in the ruins of a tractor factory that was still producing T-34 tanks during the combat. Tanks would literally come off the assembly line, be fueled and armed, and then driven directly into the fighting by factory workers.
|Are you trained enough to survive this?|
Training for MOUT is taken very seriously. Some of the most vicious battles we fought in Iraq were for the cities. Fallujah, Tikrit, Ramadi...When I went through Military Police School in early 1988 at Fort McClellan, Alabama, the MOUT course was rudimentary and somewhat unrealistic in retrospect. Approach lanes of mud and dirt to belly-crawl through under razor wire. Three or four one story wooden structures that we had to boost a poor bastard up through a window where he was supposed to tuck and roll like a gymnast, spraying the room with gunfire. I swear, sometimes we were taught just enough to get us killed.
During the Cold War the Army operated a large MOUT Course inside Berlin, called Doughboy City, literally right up against the Berlin Wall and within sight of East German and Soviet forces. The Brits operated a couple of large MOUT courses too, including a mockup of a German village at a place called Copehill Down.
|Copehill Down's German Village.|
Now the MP school is at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, and has a rather large MOUT course built with knowledge gleaned the hard way. The military has several MOUT ranges around the country now. The Marine Corps base at Quantico, Virginia has an Urban Training Center with 163 buildings. The adjacent FBI facility at Quantico also has a MOUT range called Hogan's Alley. The Marines also have one at Camp Lejuene and one at Camp Pendleton operated by the Special Operations Training Group. There are Urban Assault Courses at Fort Carson CO, Fort A.P. Hill, VA, Camp Blanding FL, Fort Stewart GA, Fort Polk LA, Fort Lewis WA, Fort Hood TX, Fort Campbell KY, and at my old stomping grounds at Fort Riley, KS. Pretty much anywhere the Army has a division stationed, there is now an Urban Assault MOUT range. Fort Bragg, NC has a couple of them, Range 37 and Range 74, for use by the 82d Airborne and Special Forces.
|Part of the MOUT Course at Fort A.P. Hill|
|Marines at the Quantico Urban Assault Course|
|Rangers training at a range at Fort Bragg|
|Inside a live-fire shoot house on a MOUT range|
As a soldier (or airman, sailor, or Marine) you're only as good as your training. There's an old maxim that goes roughly "The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat". We've come to expect a lot from our troops, and pretty much expect miracles from our Special Operations troops. They need places to train for the myriad environments we send them to.
That's all Jade Helm is. A large training exercise. It's not an invasion. It's not the UN taking over our government. It's not martial law. It's not gun confiscation. It's not a New World Order. It's not the Illuminati. It's not a vast right wing conspiracy. It's not a coup to topple Obama, or a coup to install Obama as dictator for life. You aren't gonna be sent to a FEMA camp.
Sure, the government can't always be trusted. They lie to us, make shady deals, keep us in the dark, spy on us, grope us at the airport, and piss our money away on frivolity, but I do trust the American Warrior and the commitment of our troops to freedom and upholding the rights of all Americans guaranteed in the Constitution. So please, stop listening to the fear mongers and the click-bait websites and the tinfoil hat brigade kooks.
That billion dollar stockpile of FEMA coffins for use when the government kills us off with an Ebola outbreak? Well, that was BS, as they were just burial vaults for use is areas like mine where drainage and ground seepage is a problem with burial sites, and there was no Ebola outbreak here so that's two conspiracies debunked for the price of one. The alleged FEMA death camp in Wyoming was proven to be a satellite photo of a labor camp in North Korea.
|Nope. False. Total lie. Hoax. Bullshit.|
The conspiracy theories out there are mind-blowing and after you read a few you just want to pour a stiff gin and tonic. Not because they're credible, but more rather because the sheer ludicrous asinine lunacy associated with them is just maddening. A mental asylum prison camp in Alaska with room for 2 million prisoners. Over 100,000 three-tier boxcars with shackles and guillotines to transport us to over 800 camps, and in looking at alleged maps to these camps, several are located in Canada. I somehow don't think they'd go along with DC operating concentration camps in their country. The government can't even operate Amtrak; you think they can keep up with 100,000+ death train cattle cars?
And if I do turn out to be wrong, you can say "I told you so" as we stare out beyond the barbed wire together at a re-education camp somewhere if we survive the train trip... Maybe even Wyoming.