Tag Archives: military

The Borinqueneers

I just returned from a week in Puerto Rico, just ahead of the hurricane/tropical storm. My wife and I go there often and have been to most of the other major islands. However, after watching a segment of history about Puerto Rico on a morning talk show, I thought about I have never heard about Puerto Rican military people when I was in the military nor read about them in history books. It was as if, like Black military people and Native Americans, they never existed. I did some research, and it did not take long to find a lot of information.

               Like Black people, Hispanic people volunteered for military service and was delegated to segregated units. During WWI they formed the 65th Infantry Regiment and served as the U.S. military’s last segregated unit composed primarily of Hispanic Soldiers. This have echoes of Black soldiers in the military. These soldiers are known as Borinqueneers.

               There is a short piece in the history pages that I found, and it say ‘shortly after Puerto Rico became part of the United States in 1898, a regiment of Puerto Rican Soldiers was formed, and they served our nation bravely ever since. In World War I, they defended the homeland and patrolled the Panama Canal Zone. In World War II, they fought in Europe. In Korea, they fought in mud and snow. They are the 65th Infantry Regime, U.S. Army. They are also known as Borinqueneers’. The nickname ‘Borinqueneers’ originated from the Borinquen – one of the native Taino Indian names for the island of Puerto Rico.

               One interesting fact is that two hundred Hispanic women joined the military and was given the job as code talkers, just like the Native Americans. Now that I have a taste of Hispanic history, I will delve more into it because I know there is much more to discover. Like all the other ethnic groups of people, the Hispanics have done well in many things for the United States including doing better than average in the military. Also, like other ethnic groups in the military, the Hispanics were short changed when it came to receiving medals. When ex-President Obama was in office, he gave out a record twenty-four Medal of Honor at one award ceremony.

               Although Puerto Rico is a possession of the USA, they have trouble getting USA support when there is a disaster, need of an influx of money for infrastructure upgrades, and so forth. I really love that island and would love to live there if the hurricanes would skip the place. The island is usually in the path of most hurricanes that leave the coast of Africa. And, while I was there, the news said there were earthquakes on the east coast of the island. I didn’t feel them.

               I invite all of you to join me and dig deeper into Hispanic history (music also), especially the Borinqueneers. These people are as interesting as the Tuskegee Airmen and others. Mexico is not the only place for Hispanics, but most people only think of Mexico and southward as the only Hispanics. Duh, not so. Look at Puerto Rico and other places. Huum, I have to do more traveling. By the way, HAPPY HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH!!

Classified Material

I have handled classified material all through my military and civil service career, but I have never imagined anything like what is in the news today. I had both respect and fear of the material I was handling. Respect because I knew what it was, what it could do if the wrong eyes saw it and honored to be able to handle such sensitive material. I feared it because I knew if I mishandled it, lost it, or allowed the wrong eyes to see it I was in very big trouble and the trouble would come very quickly. I used to say, ‘they would dump me in a very deep hole, fill it in, and build a prison over me’. Evidently not so today.

               When the boxes of material were taken from the White House, when the ex-President was reluctantly leaving, I asked then how he was allowed to take the material or is it the law had changed. Eighteen months ago, the removal of classified material was known. Yet, people are acting like it is new news. A year after the material was taken Trump was asked for the return of the material. See-sawing back and forth through delay after delay got the government nowhere with just asking for the return of the material. In June a subpoena was issued for its return. Again, delay after delay resulted in just some of the material being returned, although his lawyers said that was all of it. Now the raid produced boxes of highly classified material. Surprise-surprise-surprise!

               In my civil servant job, when I handled classified correspondence, I had to be very careful. I signed for the material, took it where it had to go, stood there while the individual read it, they signed for it, I took it to a secure storage place, signed in and stored it. When it was time to destroy it, there was a strict procedure that had to be followed to the letter. I could not just flush it down the toilet. If I did not follow the rules to the letter, there would not be a warning nor a chance to delay nor a subpoena nor more than a year going past before I was in handcuffs. Oh, I get it. I am not an ex-President.

               I have said from day one, if I did anything remotely close to what Trump have done, I would have been in prison years ago serving a very long sentence. My leading question is, what was he going to do with that trove of classified material? I know Putin blackmailed people with material like that (he is ex-KGB). Was he trying to do something like that? Was he going to sell it for the money he needs? I guess we will never know. We can only speculate.

               The handling of classified material takes obvious precautions with harsh penalties if you miss the mark, regardless of who you are. There are people for Trump calling for the disbandment of the law enforcement agencies involved or just leaving him alone. I guess they are saying you and me must follow the law and/or rules but Trump does not. He is above the law. He was given time to return the material where-by anyone else would immediately be in jail for the slightest misstep.  Who said this world is fair?

Higher Education

I have been told I would not amount to anything nor have a good job without a degree. I have been told that a degree is the only way to success. A degree will ensure a comfortable senior life. A degree will, after a good job, guarantee a good pension. I was also told that it is the people with degrees that have made the finer things that have been invented. I say, not necessarily so.

               The Great Pyramids were created by people that were versed in the construction of such things. The labor, as in many things before that and since then, was done by slaves and common people. Some may have been versed on the subject, but the overall majority were not, maybe none. Those structures still stand after thousands of years yet today we have structures that fail after a few years of wear.

               I am going to tell a story of facts that happened to me while I was in the military. I only have a high school education because, at the time, I did not have the money to attend college and the draft was looming. When I became the kennelmaster at a base in Germany, I had my own budget to care for the kennels. My budget was separate from the squadron’s budget. The squadron’s budget was maintained by a sergeant that was college educated in finance and an officer. My budget was a few hundreds of thousands of dollars and the squadrons was, of course, much more than that. The yearly money was broken into four quarters, yet each quarter they came to me to borrow from my budget. I maintained a well-balanced budget for a few years and the squadron decided to replace me by putting me in another section of the squadron and putting a college educated sergeant in my place. From what I heard; the kennels was never the same. There were always problems, and both the squadron and kennels were always in trouble with the money.

               It does not take a degree to do everything. Look at the British military. In the United States Military, a person must have a college degree to even be considered to become an aircraft pilot. In England a Warrant Officer, who is not a full officer, can fly. I have met a few. If that is not enough, look at the pilots that are in high school and can fly.

               One last example about education. Back in the day, the days of slavery in the United States, just about everything was done by the slave. Without the slave, America would not have been built. The slave worked hard and to make his labors easier, the slave invented ways to ease the situation. Since the slave was denied applying for or having a patient the slave owner acquired the patient for himself. Everyone knows the slave was not educated and, in most cases, neither was the slave owner.

               These were just a few cases that say a higher education is not needed for success nor to get anything of value done. All that is needed is a good brain, volition, and wherewithal for any endeavor. Never say never nor that something is impossible to do. Just say, no one beats a failure but someone that never tries. Higher education is great, but it is not everything.

War Crimes

Although the United States have tried to do the right thing when in battle, occasionally there is a hic-up, a rogue combatant that does the wrong thing. However, when these things come to light the United States government comes down on them with a heavy hand along with our justice system. War crimes are not tolerated, no matter who commits them. Not so in some other countries and Russia have joined that list.

               Our adversary has done many things that we consider wrong but not bad enough to stop talking to them nor co-operating with them on many projects. To the Russians we are made to be taken advantage of and they have done it to us for many years. When caught the Russians will try anything and everything to bribe their way out of the situation, i.e., they do not like what is being said about them in Ukraine, so they threaten to use nukes, they want oil products paid in rubles, they tell lies, etc.

               The Russian military is not as good as I thought they were. In fact, they have shown me the opposite although I have suspected them not being so good for many years. Every now and then I would hear about planes crashing for no reason or ships sinking and submarines going down and never coming back up. However, I never thought about the military being so untrained as they are. I even thought their commanders were more capable than they are. We can not forget about their logistics and equipment which leave a lot to be desired. They even had a few of their newest and best fighter aircraft shot down by the Ukrainian army.

               Getting back to the war crimes, Russia has denied them and have said there is no proof that it even happened. Well, because of poor equipment we know the truth. Russians use unencrypted communications plus open channel communications to talk to each other. One thing overheard was how to get information from captured Ukrainian forces and civilians and then shoot them in the head. They even talked about raping women and children, then razing the entire city, killing everyone that they can. This is proof that can not be denied. They even say the pictures of mass graves, the dead civilians lying all around for days, even in the middle of the road, is fake (where have I heard that word before) and have banned the media in Russia.

               I learned many good things when I was a kid and one of them was to never fight someone in their own back yard, you will never win. The United States found that out in Viet Nam, Afghanistan, and a few other places. Russia has, or should I say suppose to have, every piece of modern war equipment the world has to offer. The Ukrainians did not have much until the world started helping them with equipment plus teaching them how to use it. The Russians, who started a fight in the Ukrainian’s back yard is moving backward. Now the Russians want to holler about war crimes being committed on them. They are the invaders and should have never invaded but Putin wanted to make Russia larger and thought Ukraine was a pushover. He is responsible for everything that have happened, war crimes and all.

The War in Ukraine

I am watching the war in Ukraine, and I am sad about this on two accounts. First, I am too old to go there and take up arms against the invading forces. Second, this reminds me of a civil war because a portion of the Ukraine populace speak Russian, and some have family in Russia. This is a war started by a mad man and he does not care about anything except what he wants.

               I see the civilian buildings shattered and burned, children and women dying, not even understanding what is going on nor why. I also see fearless people taking on the invaders knowing they could die at a moments notice. I see the people that have never held a weapon trying to quickly learn to shoot and protect their country. This should never happen.

               The Russian military is not as good as they think they are. There is video of them giving up because their vehicles are out of fuel, they are hungry and tired. The Ukraine people gave them food and comfort and, from the videos I saw, did not harm nor restrain them. But that is only some of the military because others followed orders and purposely targeted civilians and their domiciles. Why is it taking so long to overrun a country the size of Ukraine with a large Russian army? Incompetence, leadership, the will to fight, what?

               Everyone is afraid of a nuclear war if a nation with nuclear powers joins the Ukraine fight. Never to worry, worry about Russia targeting the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and going after another. We were lucky that the bombing did not cause the release of any radiation on the first one, but we may not be lucky if they bomb the next one. Nuclear radiation does not know the difference between friend or foe nor boarders.

               Of course, President Biden is accursed of not doing enough to stop the start of the war, among other things he is falsely accused of. The Congressmen that released unauthorized video, when there was a video talk with the Ukraine President, will not even get a slap on the wrist. The rules Russia goes by, our rules, and the rules of the rest of the world are not the same rules. Plus, no one can believe anything Russia say. Russia told the world, before the invasion, that they were conducting war games. We knew better because we now have a President that listens to the intelligence reports. The reports were correct.

               But the question now is ‘what can the world do to stop this invasion’? Not much besides the sanctions. The rest of the world could take up arms to help Ukraine, but the Russian mad man may be crazy enough to drop a nuclear bomb. Roll the dice. Then the entire world is in jeopardy. The world can not negotiate with a mad man.

               The bottom line is to watch and wait to see what develops and hope it is good. We all must support Ukraine anyway we can with whatever we have. We can also pray for them and keep them in our prayers until this is over. When this is over it will take years to rebuild the country.

The Difference of Two Wars

There is a debate about should we have left Afghanistan, or should we have stayed and all fingers are pointed at President Biden because he COMPLETED leaving Afghanistan. Some say he was right, and some say he was wrong. The agreement to pullout was agreed upon a couple of years before he came into office, and he could not stop it. Then there are those that compare leaving Afghanistan to the way we left Viet Nam, which, in a way, is true. Also, there are some that compare how Viet Nam was and lives lost to the war in Afghanistan. Not true. The majority that are saying this were not born at the time.

               During the time of Viet Nam there was a draft that all eligible American males had to register for. They even alluded all branches of the military was involved in the draft. Wrong, the air force did not participate in the draft. The air force never drafted except when it was a part of the army which was called the Army Air Corp.

               We got into Viet Nam the same way we got into Afghanistan. The French were there and left the country. Next came the American advisors to teach the people how to fight, etc. When things started to go bad, America started sending in ground personnel and air support. Years later we, like the French, pulled out of the country. In Afghanistan and Viet Nam, there was a warning about the pullout and the Vietnamese that wanted to go left the country. But, in Afghanistan, most waited until it was too late.

               Let us not forget the American men and women that died. There is no comparison. There was a couple thousand that died in Afghanistan (Americans yelled long and hard about that) compared to a couple hundred thousand that died in Viet Nam (I do not have the exact number, but most Americans rarely spoke about the lives lost). I was air force, and I was among the first waves of American troops going to Viet Nam. I remember, every base was either mortared or attempted to be over run or both by enemy forces. Everyone wondered if the next mortar round or next bullet would have their name on it and they would go home in a casket, so many thousands did. That is a big difference in the two wars.

               Another big difference is upon returning home because the Viet Nam veterans were hated by the American populace. I still remember returning home, in 1966, I landed at Travis, AFB, California and had to change into civilian clothes, before leaving base to catch a plane to my next base, for fear of being cat called, spit on, or assaulted. I then hoped my haircut did not give me away.

               As far as leaving the country’s people behind (news media also), there was ample time to leave because for a long time it was known that the American forces were leaving. There was more than enough time to get out. Those that waited until the last minute and found themselves stuck want to put the onus on someone else and want someone to risk their life to save theirs. This have happened in every conflict and, rest assured, it will happen again because we do not learn from history.

               There is much more between the differences of the two wars, I have only lightly touched of a few points. To get into the political points would take one or two more blogs. It is a very complicated subject, and it would ruffle a lot of feathers. I was there, on the ground in Viet Nam and Thailand (which some people do not know was a part of the Viet Nam war), I was not a draft dodger, but I did dodge the bullets and mortars and made it home. I was not in Afghanistan, but I read enough and watched enough news reels to know the difference.

The Flag

As I wake-up to take my dog out to the backyard for his morning rituals I gaze at the back of the house on the street behind me. The house is less than a football field away and each morning I see the occupants’ flag fluttering in the breeze. Each morning I see a Confederate flag flying in their yard. There are a few American flags flying in the front yards of the occupant’s neighbors. However, they choose to hide their flag in the back of the house and lower than the topmost part of the house’s roof.

               I understand why they fly the flag. I have been told more than once they want to continue to love and show their heritage. These people are proud southerners, and this is their way of showing it. I do not know about that sentiment because I know of northerners that also fly the Confederate flag and they have never been to the southern states nor know anyone that live in the south.

               The flag is properly named the Confederate Battle Flag. Please excuse my ignorance but I thought the Confederate States of America lost the Civil War. My understanding of a loser of a war is that all their spoils are taken by the winner. If that is the case then why are there monuments, plaques, books, memorabilia, and the still flying battle flags of the loser?

               As losers they have major bridges, roads, buildings, parks (local and national), military bases, and many other things dedicated to them and their proclaimed heroes. Heroes of what? There is a strong fight to not offend, tear down, destroy or rename anything that is Confederate. If it is Union, there is nothing said or done about it. This kind of thinking befuddles the mind. For someone not knowing history it would seem as though the Confederacy won the Civil War and the government in charge took the country from them.

               Yet, each and every day I see that flag flying and cannot say anything about it unless I want to start a huge mess. I do not know the people, never met them. I see them occasionally and never wanted to have a conversation with them. They may be nice people, but I know that deep inside them I am not wanted in their neighborhood. I am not sure if they want me to be alive because I am Black and I am an American, not Confederate. I do not know if they participated in the January 6th siege on the U.S. Capitol. I do not know if they are planning or is a part in the planning of another siege. They fly their flag which make me think anything is possible.

               I will fly my American flag and I am proud to have retired from the United States military. We have lost a few battles, but we are winners. Things are at last starting an attempt to change but there is a long road ahead. As the courts and laws change against things Confederate look around you for those that scream the loudest because of the attempted change. Are they American or are they Confederate? Look for the flag. That will tell you who they are.

Commander-in-Chief

When you think things cannot get any worse, they do. Never believe your situation is as bad as it can get because there is always someone that have it worse than you. When I was stationed in Thailand, during the Viet Nam war, I was a dog handler and was informed the Viet Cong had a bounty on our lives. There was a bounty on the life of the dog handler and a larger bounty on the life of the dog. Why? It was almost impossible for them to penetrate the base perimeter with the dog teams deployed to protect the base. That made us dog teams extra alert and, while I was there, there was not one base penetration or loss of life although they tried.
I am thankful we were informed about the bounty because to not have known could have meant loss of life, my life. To have a Commander-in-Chief knowing there is a bounty on the lives of our military, not raising hell about it, and loving up to the enemy that placed that bounty is disturbing. This only says to me that the military life means nothing to the Commander-in-Chief and make me wonder why we call him that. Make me wonder why we fight for him, put our lives in danger for him and the country, when he doesn’t love us but loves the enemy more.
There have been many traitors in every conflict the United States have encountered but it has never been from the top. These are troubled times. Not only does the people fight in-country turmoil but those in the military have to not only concentrate on their duty and attempt to save their life but wonder if the orders given to them are valid and it is not aiding the enemy.
All of us that have worn the uniform and those that are presently in uniform depend on our commanders to have our best interests in mind. We know that they would never intentionally do anything that could bring us harm, or do they? We also knew that they would tell us anything and everything that would help get the mission completed and prevent the loss of life, or is that still true?
The Russians have never been our friend. They have always been our enemy and history bears that out. Trying to get along with them is one thing but to love them and trust them is another thing. Putin can never be trusted. He has tried everything he can to disrupt everything in every country. And, being ex-KGB, knows every trick in the book. I cannot respect a Commander-in-Chief that will publicly show love for this enemy and will do his bidding. I cannot respect a Commander-in-Chief that is willing to sacrifice his military because he is loyal to and love the enemy.
This Commander-in-Chief have bowed to every dictator in the world and I cannot think of any that love the United States of America. Like our Commander-in-Chief, they only think of themselves and not their people. They eat and drink good, party and live good while their people are very poor and are dying. They, as so our President, want it all and want to be glorified. The only difference is the other countries care for their military and our Commander-in-Chief does not.

 

I Could Be Next

I never think about racist people because, all my life, in every facet of my life, they were always there. Sometimes overtly but most times covertly, always there. It is impossible for White people to understand living through constantly watching your back, looking over your shoulder all your life, knowing they are always there. Literally. In fact, before I reached my teenage years, it was natural to be forever on guard for the comment, subtle action, where I am always, escape routes, and other things White people never have to consider as a life mechanism for protection.
As a child, as far back as I can remember, I was taught how to act, what to say and not say, around White people. I was especially taught to be on watch for the police and, as a child, I have seen the aggressive actions police have toward Black people. I learned that what a White person does and say is always right and a Black person is considered wrong while doing or saying the same exact thing.
It was drilled into my head many times that as a Black person, applying for a job, would have to know two or three times as much, be much better at, if not perfect, and present a better dress and attitude to even be considered than a White person. I remember my first real job where I did almost everything there was to do on the job except, I could not touch the cash register, I had to wait for a White clerk to receive the payment. I still remember some of the rude remarks made to me or about me when all I was doing was my job, silently. A White person would never bear that nor understand that. To the Black people, I was a big successful person because I was the only Black person working in an all-White store.
While in the military I endured, over and over, many rude comments, missed promotions, uncalled for actions but I made it to retirement. I was told, to my face (after the Bill of Rights was passed), that I could not be in a particular corps of military duty because I was Black, it took me three years to finally make it into the outfit and another four years to be its leader. However, I had to endure many, upon many racist attacks. I constantly watched my back and trusted no one at all.
Upon retiring from the military, I joined the police force and immediately met racism that was everywhere within the force. I have seen racist actions, heard racist comments and endured every type of racism there is. Who could I turn to? What could I do? Who could I trust? No one. If I did or said anything I could be like my cousin, the first Black policeman of the same force years ago, setup and killed.
Yes, I have been around it and have seen it all my life and the marching today are echoes of when I marched in the ‘60s. In my blogs, this one and http://www.faithingodministries.net, I often have said that history repeats itself with the only difference being the date. Blacks have died for thousands of years (it goes back to before the Pyramids) because of racism and it is not over yet. Although I would like to see the end of it all, I won’t hold my breathe. I have lived a full and interesting life and, today, I still watch my back. I am still very, very careful. I could be next. I could be stopped by the police for anything at all. I could be erroneously accused by a White person and be killed for being Black. I am in my 70s and I could be next.

 

Think Of Others

All my life I have tried to be compassionate toward others and think how I would feel if someone would do this or that toward me. There are people that feel the same way, however, there are those that think only of themselves and not of others until it concerns them or a member of their family. Normally, these people are affiliated with a sect or movement that have the same mind set.

I understand the demonstrations for reopening the cities and states that are closed because of the COVID-19 virus. I understand that businesses are hurting because they cannot operate. I understand that people want to work because they live from paycheck to paycheck and they have bills to pay and need food on the table. I also understand the local and state governments that have closed most facilities in order to attempt to stop the virus and deaths.

I am not going to try to explain what the federal government is doing because, as they have said, they do not believe the data or science and the states are on their own. I do not want to be too quick to take the chance of living or dying by getting back to normal too soon. I have fought in Viet Nam and a few other small conflicts and have survived. I have also been through isolation while performing my military duties and have survived. Some of the military duties were much worse than the stay-at-home rule that is in force today.

While researching the forces behind these demonstrations I have found they are funded and condoned by the GOP and their big money donors. Extreme illness or death is not a good tradeoff for financial gain. The push behind reopening everything is political. Good financial business gives the GOP a good standing for the upcoming elections, or so they think.

While watching the news on television I heard more than one interviewed demonstrator say they did not care about other people, they only wanted to go where they wanted to go and have fun. They even said that the other people had to take care of themselves because they will do whatever they wanted to do. They are not responsible for whatever will happen to others.

So, in a nutshell, we are all in this together. Not only the USA but the world. With the virus spreading, travel is out of the question. With the spreading virus, state-to-state travel is dangerous. With the spread of the virus everyone is still in danger of falling ill and dying. I was a city police officer and have seen people disregard a restriction because they wanted to have their way. They were the first one to call for help when things went wrong and wanted people to risk their life to save them.

I wonder what these demonstrators would say if they were denied care, when they fall ill from the virus, when they disregard the safe distance rule and the stay-at-home rule. They should not have their cake and eat it too. If they disregard all rules and do whatever they want to do, should a life be at risk to save them?

DO NOT INGEST ANY TYPE OF DISINFECTANT FOR ANY REASON. The life you save maybe your own!