Thursday, September 5, 2013
Friday, August 30, 2013
Members of the Syrian rebel movement have admitted that they were behind the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus.
According to the report, the chemicals were provided by Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who “has been at the very heart of the push for war by the U.S. against Assad.”
The group Doctors Without Borders went to the town of Ghouta, where more than 350 people were killed as a result of the chemical attack. After interviewing “numerous...doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families,” the group obtained testimony that the attack was a result of mismanagement and ignorance on the part of the rebels, who didn't realize that they had chemical weapons."
“My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” the Mint Press quotes Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel who was killed in a tunnel during the chemical attack.
“Jabhat al-Nusra militants do not cooperate with other rebels, except with fighting on the ground," another rebel called J added. "They do not share secret information. They merely used some ordinary rebels to carry and operate this material.
“We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions.”
Jabhat al-Nusra is a branch of al Qaeda from Iraq comprised of members who fought and killed American troops during the U.S. occupation of that country.
Despite the admission from these rebels, the Obama administration continues to claim that the Bashar al-Assad regime was behind the attack.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
I grew up playing Ghost Recon and the Rainbow 6 series. These games portrayed an aspect of digital-combat that is largely forgotten today, that being of course the tactical shooter. Having said that, I’ve been following two games that are attempting to replicate that genre – Takedown and Ground Branch.
Ground Branch has remained in development hell for a long time, while Takedown: Red Sabre is gearing up to launch on the 20th of September. Regardless of some of the shady dealings Serellan has been involved with (Anon hacker group & IP pilfering) since the games inception, I was still looking forward to the title. I wanted that old-school feeling of planning an operation, choosing my load-out, and taking down some bad guys with my buddies in an online match.
That is until I saw the launch trailer which represents the final product.
Talk about horrendous. Not only does it not feature a campaign (not really a big deal), or a planning phase, but the animations are ugly, the sound design is sub-par, and the visuals are highly lacking. Some of these issues can easily be forgiven, but the shooting mechanics and weapon manipulation appear overtly clunky, not to mention the unrealistic reloading animations. You're also stuck with a lot of 2D optics, the kind that completely eliminate any and all peripheral vision. Here I was thinking it was 2013 and not 2003.
Judging by the trailer, it certainly looks a budget title, the kind you used to find in a bin at stores.
At least they had the good conscience to charge a budget price for a budget game.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
I've had a bracelet on my wrist for the better part of four years now (everyone in my old unit can attest to this). It's a hero bracelet. The kind stamped with a name, a service, and date of death. It's a black bracelet.
I never knew him. I bought it because a large portion of the proceeds go to Veterans Groups, and I liked that. I also bought it because people forget. They forget what we do. They forget the sacrifices we make. They forget we do this for the men to our left and right. I didn't want to forget.
Starring at it yesterday, I thought I'd do a bit of research. I know it's a bit belated given the date on the bracelet, but I thought it prudent nonetheless. This is what I found.
Semper Fidelis - You are not forgotten
Friday, May 31, 2013
As Real as it Gets
There is no denying that I have a singular love for the ArmA series and it's precursor Operation Flashpoint. I started playing way back when during my first term in the military, around the time OFP Resistance came out, which is widely viewed as the pinnacle of the series.
A lot of people hate the game, and I certainly won't fault them for it. It's highly unforgiving, hard to master, and the control scheme while greatly improved in A3, still leaves a lot to be desired. Still, it represents the one and only simulation of Combined Arms conflict on the modern battlefield, and it does it exceedingly well (see VBS2).
A player could spend upwards of 10-15 minutes simply humpin' it to an objective only to be shot by someone in a terrain feature they hadn't covered, and by a player, AI or otherwise, that they never saw. It can be a disconcerting and frustrating experience for even the most battle-hardened ArmA vet. But I believe this is where the appeal is at it's greatest, in the difficult nature of the game, and how simply running and gunning doesn't work.
Teamwork and proper communication is essential, which is why I think a lot of military personnel gravitate to it, and why the ArmA series is better for it. You'd be hard pressed not to find someone on a server somewhere that was or is a actively serving member of their respective Armed Services - Be they Americans, Brits, Aussies, Danes, etcetera.
So, if you're new to the series and are stuck in a rut of frustration, seek out those groups that have prior and current serving military personnel. Play a few rounds with them. I can guarantee it'll greatly increase the fun factor.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Wounded Warrior Needs Your Help
In October of 2012, SFC Josh Gillette, a member of 5th Group, was conducting a dismounted patrol in the Helmand Province along with his ODA Team and his Explosives Detection K-9, Banan. Little did he know, that patrol would change his life in ways he hadn't imagined.
SFC Gillette and Banan were sweeping a structure atop a hill for IED's. Banan lead the way with Josh following behind as they began searching the rooms for devices. It wasn't long until his K-9 was alerted to a potential IED, and Josh was aware that he and Banan may have walked over the device several times without realizing it.
With Banan unable to locate its exact position, SFC Gillette turned around and began walking back over his own steps. With a prevalence of Pressure Plate Initiated Devices in Helmand, walking over ones own steps can typically ensure you avoid triggering the IED. Unfortunately however, that wasn't the case here.
The IED exploded sending SFC Gillette and Banan flying, and from the comments of his teammates, well over 50 feet into the air. Josh came to rest in a bush, his kit ripped in two, his weapon bent into a almost perfect V, and his ballistic plate concaved outwards. His FAST Helmet would later be found 100 meters away from where he landed.
With his teammates providing causality care to a severely wounded Gillette, Josh's primary concern was that of his dog. He would later be told that Banan had been killed in the blast. An event he is still distraught over.
SFC Gillette's face had been shattered in the explosion along with his right arm and most of his teeth. Frag had impacted his eyes. Skin from his thigh had to be used rebuild his face. His vision comes and goes but the doctors are optimistic as to his eyesight's recovery. At present, he has undergone more surgeries than I count with still more planned.
I spoke with Josh today via the phone who is recovering at Walter Reed. He is in remarkably good spirits and I'm confident he'll make a full recovery.
What he and his family need now is your help. A traumatic event like this not only takes a toll on your body and emotional state, but on that of your family, and their income as well. I'm hoping you guys will spread the word and possibly donate to help them out. Special thanks to Shain Gillette for reaching out and contacting me. I never would've know about Josh had he not done so.
FCN/ABC Story on Josh
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