IN THE NEWS: Spotify’s #1 Podcast; Space Force theme song; Space Force has new Chiefs; China rivalry; Missile warnings; Vets in Congress at all-time low; Gen Mattis doesn’t get it; Military’s biggest AI challenge; DISA did Teams; Pandemic stirs bio-attack worries; NASA says mystery object is not an asteroid; C130s to influence election runoff?; Old soldier aids terrorists; Soldier earns astronaut device; Holiday toy dive; This soldier is not a dad; Landing on six classes of carriers; $30-million to scrap the boat; Marines have a drug problem; Just infantry; Coast Guard deploys to the Persian Gulf; Military’s pandemic shutdowns are stupid; Rule change for service animals; Remember Pearl Harbor, but not here; Icons of Armor; The Neutral Zone.
In 1968, Chief Master Sergeant Richard “Dick Etchberger was part of a covert CIA and USAF team working out of a small radar site on a remote mountain in Laos called Lima Site 85. He was part of a highly-classified operation called “Project Heavy Green.” At this time, Laos was a neutral country, so it was illegal for either the United States or North Vietnam to have military forces in the country, so, Chief Etchberger and his team had to “voluntarily” resign from the Air Force and become civilians. As “employees” of the Lockheed Corporation, the Lima Site 85 crew directed USAF bombers to their targets in North Vietnam using mobile, computer-linked radar. However, what started as a mission to link bombers to targets in North Vietnam, soon moved closer to “home”, as Lima Site 85 started directing strikes in Laos as the People’s Republic of Vietnam Army moved closer and closer to their position. With the enemy at their doorstep, top brass considered evacuating Lima Site 85, but they were a day late and a dollar short as a group of specially-trained North Vietnamese Dac Cong sappers attacked the site on the evening of March 10, 1968. And the only thing between the Dac Cong and the crew of Lima Site 85 was Chief Dick Etchberger. This is his story.
IN THE NEWS: You’re fired!; Space Force deploys; Charlie Brown in TIME’s 100; Training for the new Cold War; What’s old is new again; Nellis leads the way; Army’s new A.I., sorta, not really; Three big Army deployments! What could it mean?; Beetle Bailey turns 70; The Navy has a real pirate ship; Big new mission for the Carl Vinson; Marines reshape from within; Diversity saves lives; Diversity quotas; Military couples still divorcing; SECDEF guts military healthcare; State Department restores auto-citizenship; Appeals Court says the male-only draft is Constitutional…for now.
Chief Master Sergeant Juan Lewis served 28-years in the U.S. Air Force before retiring from active service. During his career, the former Services troop held many key billets on Joint Task Forces, NATO, and as the Wing Command Chief on several bases. He was given the moniker, the “Fired-Up Chief,” by the Airmen he led due to his passion to serve and champion their interests. In retirement, the Fired-Up Chief continues to serve the Airmen he loves. To him, each one of them is HERO (Helping Everyone Realize Opportunity) and his job is to keep them fired-up with Pride, Enthusiasm, and Passion (PEP). And he does this through motivating PEP talks as he travels around the Air Force and as a consistent source of encouragement to his tens of thousands of followers on social media. But in April of this year, the Fired-Up Chief found he was the one in need of motivation and encouragement as he fought for his life after contracting the coronavirus. Lying in his hospital bed in the Dutch city of Sittard, which lies just across the border from Geilenkirchen NATO Air Base in Germany, the Fired-Up Chief thought that at any moment, he would breathe his last.
The U.S. Army’s Fort Hood is on track to have the biggest year yet in soldier deaths due to accidents, illness, suicide, and murder! The Texas military installation, on which Army psychiatrist Maj Nidal Hasan killed 13 people and injured 32 others in a 2009 mass shooting, has seen more than its share of bloodshed. In 2014, five years after Hasan’s killing rampage, Iraq War veteran and Army veteran SPC Ivan Lopez opened fire on the base, killing three soldiers and injuring another 16 before killing himself. Today, it seems not much has changed. Not only is Fort Hood the army’s premier installation to train and deploy heavy forces, but it also leads the service in soldier murders and sexual assault cases. Of course, this should come as no surprise because, from 2014 and 2019, there was an average of 129 felonies committed annually at Fort Hood, including cases of homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, robbery, and aggravated assault. Maybe the base should think about changing its name to Fort Hoodlum. Anyway, to try to glean some perspective into the chilling number of deaths on Fort Hood, we invited SFC Ron Barteau, a former tank commander and Fort Hood alum, to share his experience and insight into the base climate and culture, and what leaders today might be missing.
The Amazing 25th Episode Podcast Spectacular! Of course, it’s really no different than our regular episodes…okay, so it’s a regular episode, but it’s special because it’s number 25–a podcast milestone! To celebrate #25, we talk about the origin of The Digression Podcast on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. And, as if that wasn’t enough, we share some stories about a favorite topic that has received several mentions throughout our podcasts: Star Trek, the sci-fi series that wouldn’t die! This time it’s more than a mention, as we explore how the series raised social awareness and literally saved lives during the Vietnam war.
Since we have a little time on our hands thanks to COVID-19, we’re putting out this extra “minicast” for folks who find themselves with a little extra time for podcasts. In this episode: We salute you, NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio; Why are The Angry Cops so angry?; The Comfort is here; where are the patients?; Teddy Roosevelt’s skipper gets canned; A famous sailor passes; and some Q&A from a listener.
The fateful day that changed the course of Sergeant Major Charles Morris’ life was June 29, 1966. On a search-and-destroy mission in Xuan Loc, South Vietnam, he came within 20-feet of a Viet Cong machine gunner and was shot in the chest. He returned fire and took out the machine gun nest as the platoon came under heavy fire from an enemy force that significantly outnumbered them. For the next eight hours, Sergeant Morris refused medical attention as he continued to direct and encourage his men. He would earn the Medal of Honor for his actions that day.
Internet porn hits home; Basic training and intro to military discipline; M16 necklace; Marching and airplane-watching; Gun-wielding drunk-driver on base; The EEO freeze; Busted, promoted, then busted again; The man with $200 in his pocket; Honey? Did you do something wrong?; Pushup Ninja; The Black Flag; Follow the matrix; Clap for the Air Force Song, dammit!; Why Chief Hanks is right; and The Shirt said to sweep the parking lot.