Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs

This letter was written by Charles Grennel and his comrades, veterans of the Global War On Terror. Grennel is an Army Reservist who spent two years in Iraq and was a principal in putting together the first Iraq elections in January 2005.

They wrote it to Jill Edwards, student at the University of Washington, who did not want to honor Medal of Honor winner USMC Colonel Greg Boyington. Ms. Edwards, other students and faculty do not think those who serve in the U.S. armed services are good role models.

To: Jill Edwards, Student, University of Washington

Subject: Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs

Miss Edwards, I read of your student activity regarding the proposed memorial to Colonel Greg Boyington, USMC and a Medal of Honor winner. I suspect you will receive many angry emails from conservative people like me.

You may be too young to appreciate fully the sacrifices of generations of servicemen and servicewomen on whose shoulders you and your fellow students stand. I forgive you for the untutored ways of youth and your naiveté. It may be that you are simply a sheep. There’s no dishonor in being a sheep, as long as you know and accept what you are.

William J. Bennett, in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy November 24, 1997 said “Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident. We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people, not capable of hurting each other except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

Then there are the wolves who feed on the sheep without mercy. Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

Then there are sheepdogs and I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf. If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If one has a capacity for violence and no empathy for one’s fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the unsheltered path.

Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.

We know that the sheep live in denial; that is what makes them sheep.

They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kid’s schools. But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid’s school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep’s only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard. So they choose the path of denial.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog that intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours. Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land.

They would prefer that he didn’t tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports, in camouflage fatigues, holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go “Baa.” Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.

The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough high school students, and under ordinary circumstances would not have had the time of day for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they just had nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack, however, and SWAT teams were clearing the rooms and hallways, the officers had to physically peel those clinging, sobbing kids off of them.

This is how the little lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is at the door. Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel? Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be.

Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter. He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed, right along with the young ones.

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day.

After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said “Thank God I wasn’t on one of those planes.” The sheepdogs, the warriors, said “Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference.” You want to be able to make a difference. There is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but he does have one real advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able to survive and thrive in an environment that would destroy 98-percent of the population.

Research was conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority said they specifically targeted victims by body language:

Slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.

Some people may be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe that most people can choose which one they want to be, and I’m proud to say that more and more Americans are choosing to become sheepdogs.

Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001, Todd Beamer was honored in his hometown of Cranbury, New Jersey. Todd, as you recall, was the man on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his cell phone to alert an operator from United Airlines about the hijacking. When they learned of the other three passenger planes that had been used as weapons, Todd and the other passengers confronted the terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation occurred among the passengers — athletes, business people and parents — from sheep to sheepdogs and together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an unknown number of lives on the ground.

Edmund Burke said “There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men.” Here is the point I want to emphasize, especially to the thousands of police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the sheep, real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, and so are wolves. They don’t have a choice.

But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be whatever you want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision. If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you.

If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior’s path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.

This business of being a sheep or a sheepdog is not a “yes-no” dichotomy.

It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of degrees, a continuum. On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep and on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on one end or the other. Most of us live somewhere in between.

Since 9-11 almost everyone in America took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The sheep took a few steps toward accepting and appreciating their warriors and the warriors started taking their job more seriously.

It’s OK to be a sheep, but do not kick the sheepdog. Indeed, the sheepdog may just run a little harder, strive to protect a little better and be fully prepared to pay an ultimate price in battle and spirit with the sheep moving from “Baa” to “Thanks.”

We do not call for gifts or freedoms beyond our lot. We just need a small pat on the head, a smile and a thank you to fill the emotional tank which is drained protecting the sheep. And, when our number is called by The Almighty, and day retreats into night, a small prayer before the heavens just may be in order to say thanks for letting you continue to be a sheep. And be grateful for the millions of American sheepdogs who permit you the freedom to express even bad ideas.

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Happy 241st Birthday Leathernecks!

As we celebrate our Corps’ Birthday, a heartfelt Semper Fi! We’ll toast to those who have gone before us and to those forever by our side.

cwmln7g

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Marine One Computer Security Breach?

NOT GOOD! Somebody needs to be held accountable…
~Wally

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-10184558-83.html
An Internet security company claims that Iran has taken advantage of a computer security breach to obtain engineering and communications information about Marine One, President Barack Obama’s helicopter, according to a report by WPXI, NBC’s affiliate in Pittsburgh.

Tiversa, headquartered in Cranberry Township, Pa., reportedly discovered a security breach that led to the transfer of military information to an Iranian IP address, according to WPXI. The information is said to include planned engineering upgrades, avionic schematics, and computer network information.

The channel quoted the company’s CEO, Bob Boback, who said Tiversa found a file containing the entire blueprints and avionics package for Marine One.

“What appears to be a defense contractor in Bethesda, Md., had a file-sharing program on one of their systems that also contained highly sensitive blueprints for Marine One,” Boback told WPXI.

Tiversa makes products that monitor the sharing of files online. A representative for the company was not immediately available for comment.

Boback believes that the files probably were transferred through a peer-to-peer file-sharing network such as LimeWire or BearShare, then compromised.

==
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/03/01/report-pennsylvania-company-discovers-marine-security-breach/

A Pennsylvania company that monitors peer-to-peer file-sharing networks discovered a potentially serious security breach involving President Obama’s helicopter, Marine One, NBC affiliate WPXI in Pittsburgh reported.

Sensitive information about Marine One was reportedly found by Tiversa employees at an IP address in Tehran.

Tiversa CEO Bob Boback said a defense contractor in Bethesda, Md., had a file sharing program on one of their systems that contained highly sensitive blueprints for Marine One and financial information about the cost of the helicopter.

“We found a file containing entire blueprints and avionics package for Marine One,” Boback said.

Boback said the issue most likely stemmed from someone downloading the file-sharing program without realizing the problems that could result.

“When downloading one of these file-sharing programs, you are effectively allowing others around the world to access your hard drive,” Boback told WPXI.

“We found where this information came from. We know exactly what computer it came from. I’m sure that person is embarrassed and may even lose their job, but we know where it came from and we know where it went,” Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, an adviser to Tiversa, told WPXI.

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Colonel Gregory R. “Pappy” Boyington, Medal of Honor Recipient

Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Marine Squadron 214.
Place and date: Central Solomons area, from 12 September 1943 to 3 January 1944. Entered service at: Washington. Born: 4 December 1912, Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. Other Navy award: Navy Cross.

Citation:
For extraordinary heroism and valiant devotion to duty as commanding officer of Marine Fighting Squadron 214 in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Central Solomons area from 12 September 1943 to 3 January 1944. Consistently outnumbered throughout successive hazardous flights over heavily defended hostile territory, Maj. Boyington struck at the enemy with daring and courageous persistence, leading his squadron into combat with devastating results to Japanese shipping, shore installations, and aerial forces. Resolute in his efforts to inflict crippling damage on the enemy, Maj. Boyington led a formation of 24 fighters over Kahili on 17 October and, persistently circling the airdrome where 60 hostile aircraft were grounded, boldly challenged the Japanese to send up planes. Under his brilliant command, our fighters shot down 20 enemy craft in the ensuing action without the loss of a single ship. A superb airman and determined fighter against overwhelming odds, Maj. Boyington personally destroyed 26 of the many Japanese planes shot down by his squadron and, by his forceful leadership, developed the combat readiness in his command which was a distinctive factor in the Allied aerial achievements in this vitally strategic area.

Boyington died of cancer on January 11, 1988 at the age of 75 in Fresno, California.

He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on January 15, 1988, in plot 7A-150 with full honors accorded to a Medal of Honor recipient, including a missing man fly-by conducted by the F-4 Phantom IIs of the Marine detachment at Andrews Air Force Base. Before his flight from Fresno, California, VMA-214 (the current incarnation of the Black Sheep Squadron) did a flyby. They intended to do a missing man formation, but one of the four aircraft suffered a mechanical problem.

After the burial service for Boyington, one of his friends, Fred Losch, looked down at the headstone that he was standing next to, the boxing legend Joe Louis, and remarked that “Ol’ Pappy wouldn’t have to go far to find a good fight.”

[ More about Pappy ]

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Colonel Gregory R. "Pappy" Boyington, Medal of Honor Recipient

Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Marine Squadron 214.
Place and date: Central Solomons area, from 12 September 1943 to 3 January 1944. Entered service at: Washington. Born: 4 December 1912, Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. Other Navy award: Navy Cross.

Citation:
For extraordinary heroism and valiant devotion to duty as commanding officer of Marine Fighting Squadron 214 in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Central Solomons area from 12 September 1943 to 3 January 1944. Consistently outnumbered throughout successive hazardous flights over heavily defended hostile territory, Maj. Boyington struck at the enemy with daring and courageous persistence, leading his squadron into combat with devastating results to Japanese shipping, shore installations, and aerial forces. Resolute in his efforts to inflict crippling damage on the enemy, Maj. Boyington led a formation of 24 fighters over Kahili on 17 October and, persistently circling the airdrome where 60 hostile aircraft were grounded, boldly challenged the Japanese to send up planes. Under his brilliant command, our fighters shot down 20 enemy craft in the ensuing action without the loss of a single ship. A superb airman and determined fighter against overwhelming odds, Maj. Boyington personally destroyed 26 of the many Japanese planes shot down by his squadron and, by his forceful leadership, developed the combat readiness in his command which was a distinctive factor in the Allied aerial achievements in this vitally strategic area.

Boyington died of cancer on January 11, 1988 at the age of 75 in Fresno, California.

He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on January 15, 1988, in plot 7A-150 with full honors accorded to a Medal of Honor recipient, including a missing man fly-by conducted by the F-4 Phantom IIs of the Marine detachment at Andrews Air Force Base. Before his flight from Fresno, California, VMA-214 (the current incarnation of the Black Sheep Squadron) did a flyby. They intended to do a missing man formation, but one of the four aircraft suffered a mechanical problem.

After the burial service for Boyington, one of his friends, Fred Losch, looked down at the headstone that he was standing next to, the boxing legend Joe Louis, and remarked that “Ol’ Pappy wouldn’t have to go far to find a good fight.”

[ More about Pappy ]

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Giovanna’s Hero

This wonder piece completely moved me.
~Wally

Marine Sergeant, Police Officer Sean P.
By Giovanna P., Hull, MA

To me, heroes are those who put others first, even if it means risking their life. Heroes have courage, integrity, and bravery. They will stop at nothing. A hero is a person who is not afraid of adversity. My hero is my cousin Sean.

As a young boy growing up in New Hampshire, Sean looked up to his father, a Vietnam veteran. He dreamed of following in his footsteps and serving our country. And so when he reached 18, he enrolled in the Marine Corps. He packed his bags and headed for boot camp in North Carolina, where he learned military tactics and survival skills for battle. The demanding and wrenching physical fitness was difficult, but Sean stuck with it.

Then Sean was sent to Iraq and placed on the front line. The ­climate was dry, and dust emanated in the air with each footstep. Not once did Sean regret being in the service. After his tour was up, he returned to North Carolina, and a year later was deployed to serve another tour in Iraq. Each day he prayed and was happy to be alive. Sean survived two tours of duty and returned home to New Hampshire. Although his time in the Marines had ended, Sean was not finished serving.

Sean was accepted into the police academy, and became an ­officer for Hopkinton, New Hampshire. He took these responsibility seriously and knew the standards he needed to fulfill. Then tragedy struck. In the small New Hampshire town sirens sounded, and reporters arrived at the scene in seconds. One ­reporter said with heavy emotion, “On this night of August 15, 2008, Sean Powers was struck from behind by an alleged drunk driver, on his way home from work, and killed.”

When I heard this news, I crumbled to my knees and could not find words. My hero, the one who would pick me up when I fell, was gone. I felt all the emotions in a rush: anger, melancholy, and hope that he was now in a better place. Sean touched many lives, and continues to. Sean will always be remembered and loved. He put others before himself in every situation, and never gave up on anyone or anything. For that, he is my hero.

http://www.teenink.com/Heroes/article/86279/Marine-Sergeant-Police-Officer-Sean-P/

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Violence in Iraq Drops to Six-Year Low

American Forces Press Service
Violence in Iraq Drops to Six-Year Low
By John J. Kruzel

BAGHDAD — Feb. 22, Army Maj. Gen. David Perkins, director for strategic effects at MNF – Iraq, told reporters in Baghdad the downtick in violence marks a 90% decrease since the surge of U.S. troops began in 2007.

Contributing to the improved security are the growing Iraqi SF, which have increased the size of their ranks from 463,000 last year to 618,000 now – a 25% boost.
“It’s not only an increase in the size and numbers, but the capability such as planning, orchestrating these very complicated ops, and then leading throughout the country of Iraq,” Perkins said. He added that Iraqi forces led and planned security for the countrywide provincial elections last month, in which some 7 million Iraqis participated in balloting that featured 14,000 registered candidates. “On election day this year, there were no attacks which resulted in any disruption to any of the voting that went on,” Perkins said. “This is in comparison to the last national election period in 2005, where we had hundreds of attacks on election day, with 44 deaths.”

“If you take a look at emerging democracies, historically, it is generally the second election that is sometimes more difficult than the first election,” the general said. “By the time the second election comes, those who may have to lose power or give up power are not necessarily as excited about doing that. “But the fact that we’ve had this second election and a very large number of people participating, both as candidates and as voters,” he continued, “shows the enthusiasm that Iraqis have for the democratic process here in Iraq.”

The agreement between Washington and Baghdad stipulates that American combat forces pull back from cities and villages to major bases by June 30. “There’s no doubt that we will be out of the cities by June,” Perkins said.
[ AP PHOTO ]

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NY Times alters policy on ‘Marines’

source
By Andrew deGrandpré – Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Feb 25, 2009 10:11:16 EST

Leathernecks have long found it irksome — heck, they’ve downright hated the fact — that The New York Times has refused to capitalize the “m” in Marine. It’s a point of pride, Marines always argue, to which the Times has routinely replied, “Yeah, but we don’t capitalize the ‘s’ in soldier.”

Well, the Old Gray Lady has finally come to her senses. In a Feb. 18 blog post titled “When every letter counts,” Deputy News Editor Philip B. Corbett, point man for the newspaper’s style manual, announced that The New York Times has at last decided to join the ranks of Marine Corps Times and countless other publications that adhere to The Associated Press’ longstanding guidance on this matter:

A Marine is a Marine — capital “M,” case closed.

“We heard repeatedly from readers and sources who found our usage puzzling or ill-informed — even … disrespectful,” Corbett wrote. “We’ve assured current and former members of the Marine Corps that the old rule reflected not a lack of respect but rather a desire for consistency.”

Indeed, just as Marines pride themselves on being squared away, The New York Times is a stickler when it comes to syntax. Within its pages, even scoundrels are afforded the courtesy of being referred to as “Mr.” Hitler, McVeigh or bin Laden. So there’s no doubt this decision was made with a lot of hand-wringing.

In the end, Corbett said, it all came back to consistency. “If the term for an individual member is the same as the proper name of the organization, why not capitalize ‘Marine’ just as we capitalize ‘Democrat,’ ‘Catholic’ or ‘Rotarian’?” he reasoned. “Consistency is a virtue. But stubbornness isn’t, and we’re willing to consider revisions when a good case can be made.”

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