USAF Combat Controller, TAC-P in Fatal Parachuting Accident:

Two Special Tactics airmen were honored during a private memorial service Friday at Hurlburt Field, according to a news release from the base.

More than 650 friends and family members gathered to mourn the loss of Tech. Sgt. Timothy Officer Jr. and Tech. Sgt. Marty Bettelyoun, who were killed Monday during a military freefall training accident on Eglin Range.

During the ceremony, both Special Tactics airmen posthumously received the Meritorious Service Medal for their impact on the Air Force’s ground special operations training and mission.

Officer, 32, was a tactical air control party Airman assigned to the 720th OSS. He was a 14-year combat veteran with multiple deployments in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He earned multiple medals including two Bronze Stars (one with Valor) for his bravery. Officer is survived by his parents.

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Technical Sgt. Timothy Officer Jr.

Bettelyoun, 35, was a combat controller assigned to the 720th OSS. He was a 15-year combat veteran with multiple deployments to several combat zones and sensitive areas around the world. Bettelyoun is survived by his wife and five children.

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Technical Sgt. Marty Bettelyoun

Horrible news. Once again, we are reminded of the very real life-and-death dangers inherent in this line of work. I didn’t see a GoFundMe link or anything, but if anyone knows where donations can be sent, please let us know so we can put that out.

Blue skies. R.I.P.

UPDATE: Gofundme link to TSgt. Bettelyoun can be found here. We’re still looking for one for TSgt. Officer.

UPDATE #2: Link to donations for Tsgt Officer. Thank you to the Facebook commenters for finding these.

NFL Running Back-Turned-Paratrooper:

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — When Glen Coffee left the University of Alabama a year early to play in the National Football League, it surprised many fans. He was coming off a strong junior season in which he rushed for 1,501 yards, but could have returned and worked toward a better draft position the following season.

Behind the scenes, the decision included far more turmoil than that. The running back had stopped enjoying football years before, even quitting a team in middle school before his mother intervened, he said. He found success at Alabama after a standout high school career, but still didn’t like the game and left the university because he thought an NFL paycheck might make playing more palatable, he said…

Coffee, 28, is now a specialist in the Army infantry after enlisting in 2013. He agreed to an interview here with The Washington Post while media were at Eglin for another assignment. He has rarely talked to the media since becoming a soldier.

Very cool story about former pro-baller Glen Coffee. I remember when this happened. You could tell from how he talked at the time that he was just over it. The story did mention that Coffee was intending to go through the Special Force’s selection course, but it didn’t work out. The story just left it there with no explanation. They did sort of HINT at it later:

But he showed his tenacity and athleticism by improving his swimming to the point where he was no longer considered weak at it.

Is there a swim test to go to SF? Maybe he had a hard time in the pool. Obviously he was used to doing a completely different kind of training for the NFL. Coffee stated that he had never even run one full mile until after he retired from the NFL, so you’d have to expect he’d have some things to work on. Bet he can out-squat everyone in that section, though, that’s for sure.

Although not in Special Operations, Coffee serves in the waterborne operations section of Ranger School. He is asked regularly if he wants to attend Ranger School himself…

“That’s one of those things I ask myself right now, as a matter of fact,” Coffee said of attending the course. “Am I thinking about that because I want to do it out of pride, or because it would actually better me as a person? So, I’m debating that right now. I have to ask myself, why would I want to go?”

Well done, Specialist Coffee. Also, hell yeah you should go to Ranger school. If you want to pay anyone to scream at you for motivational training, please contact any of us here at SOFREP. We work on the cheap.

Aspiring Dictators Gather to Shout Nationalistic Slogans:

The first primetime Republican primary debate of the 2016 election cycle was not, as many were predicting, all about Donald Trump.

“We don’t want to make it the Donald Trump show,” said Fox News’ Chris Wallace, one of the moderators, on Tuesday. “But it is.”

The billionaire businessman has lit up the early GOP primary with his trash-talking approach to politics, and he certainly didn’t pull any punches during Thursday’s debate, which was hosted in Cleveland, Ohio by Fox News.

He tossed some barbs at other candidates, at President Obama, even at Rosie O’Donnell – and he received a few in return. But his combative style didn’t dominate the evening. Instead, most of the other candidates focused on burnishing their own strengths and carving out their own brands within a winnowed-but-still-crowded lineup.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush positioned himself as a sober problem-solver, vowing not to use “wedge issues” like immigration and education to score cheap political points. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz did not relent in his war on the GOP establishment, reminding voters about his scuffles with Republican Senate leaders who “don’t honor their commitments.”

Jeb! doesn’t want to talk about things people are actually the most concerned with. That’s a wedge issue.

I sat down to start taking notes on the debate; then I thought I’d just try live-tweeting the event. It would help remind me on who said what anyway. So you should head over to my Twitter account and read along as I followed the action. Lots of crazy stuff was happening up on that stage:

What? THAT’S WHAT HE SAID. More or less.

Overall it was fine. I mean, the guys only talked for a couple minutes each, so I think it’s ludicrous that the media keeps arguing about who “won” the debate. Not nearly enough time for the candidates to get into it. But it was fairly feisty.

First, the hosts at Fox News: I thought they did a pretty good job. We’ve been so used to seven years of the media wiping their chins after Obama tosses them a Kleenex and cab fare that we’ve forgotten that the press is supposed to be adversarial. Every question started off almost as an insult: “So, you ran your state into the ground. Why do you think you should be president?”

I liked it. I did think it was kind of weird that they’re still asking abortion and gay marriage questions. I thought I was in a time machine back to the early ’90s or something.

And that last question by Megyn Kelly asking if any of them were talking with God was BIZARRE. I swear, she intended to go down the line and ask all 10 of them that question. Mercifully, she stopped after three or so. But hey, at least the hosts didn’t take any crap. Good for them. I’m SURE Hillary Clinton will face equally hostile questioning. I can see it now:

MSNBC Host: “Thank you, Mrs. Clin—…beg your pardon, MADAME SECRETARY. Would you describe your tenure at the State Department as freaking awesome, insanely awesome, or merely pretty awesome?

Clinton: “I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear the question with your face buried in my crotch like that. Besides, at this point, what difference does it make? Also, I don’t recall those emails.”

Speaking of Clinton, while the 10 Republicans were going at it, the leading candidate of the Democratic Party was getting checks and taking pictures with a well-known porn star and special-needs singer:

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This alone should disqualify you from the presidency.

I digress. Back to the debate. The candidates mixed it up and showed their personalities. Except for Jeb!, who looked as if he was annoyed at even having to be there and had the personality of a length of seaweed.

Obviously, the draw was Trump. He was pretty middle-of-the-road. Of course, the Fox hosts hated him. It was palpable. And he didn’t care. He was quick enough on his feet to get in a few jabs. He’ll probably get better. These other guys have been standing on stages and lying to people for decades.

It is HILARIOUS watching the parade of pundits, clearly uncomfortable with a guy who speaks in plain English, continue to act as if Trump is going to fail any minute now. They still don’t get it. They have been conditioned to accept that there is a Certain Way To Do Things, and he’s not playing ball.

Quick bullet-point takeaways:

  • Trump: Got some laughs, stayed blunt. Didn’t hurt himself. Solid meh.
  • Jeb!: Boring as the pile of dog turds I almost stepped in yesterday. Said nothing, is nothing.
  • Rubio: I swear that guy is a cyborg. Very EARNEST.
  • Walker: Dull, but I bet behind the scenes he’s ruthless. Dude has mad battle scars, politically speaking.
  • Carson: Sounded as though anesthetized at first. Came alive toward the end.
  • Kasich: Hometown governor got a TON of time, considering his polling sucks. Dodged immigration query.
  • Cruz: Always sounded like he was winding up to deliver a long speech. You could tell he was a debater.
  • Rand: Obviously was trying to get attention by picking fights. Kept shouting.
  • Christie: Needed several towels for profuse sweating.
  • Huckabee: I change the channel every time I see his face, but I will grudgingly admit he was sort of funny.

One other quick point. Since I rag on him and his far-left Marxism so much, I’d like to actually hand out this week’s Affable Nod to Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders. Liberty University, a bastion of the Christian right, has invited him to give a speech, and he’s accepted. Probably won’t take any questions, but hey, it’s something. People with opposing beliefs barely talk in real life anymore, preferring to sling anonymous barbs on the Internet.

Good for him, and good for Liberty University.

I’m sure any day now, Cal Berkeley will extend an invitation to Ted Cruz to speak. Could you imagine? There aren’t enough couches in San Francisco to contain the fainting that all of the lady boys up there would be doing.

Homeless Man Bearded Man Becomes Air Force Officer:

In 2014 Rabbi Elie Estrin became the first bearded chaplain in the US Air Force, and this week he celebrated a new landmark as he upgraded to the post of the Air Force’s second bearded officer in its history.

Rabbi Michell Geller became the first bearded officer in the US Air Force after winning a lawsuit against the Defense Department in 1976.

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Yeah, I kid because I’m jealous. Look at the smile on Estrin’s face up there. He knows everyone is going to be CRAZY envious of him. Although I swear that he has the top button of his shirt unbuttoned in that picture. The overall impression he gives is that of a 1970s lounge singer somewhere in Jersey City. Clean it up, Estrin. They have beard product now, bro.

Rabbi Estrin is, together with his wife Chaya, the co-director of the Rohr Chabad House for Jewish Life at the University of Washington in Seattle. He graduated on Monday from Officer Training School at the Maxwell Air Force base in Montgomery, Alabama.

In January of 2014, the military ban on wearing a beard and other such displays of religious belief, was lifted by the Pentagon, paving the way for Rabbi Estrin to join the military chaplaincy.

If he can have that beard, airmen can have freaking tattoos on their forearms. I HAVE DECIDED.

Marine Officer Relieved of Command:

A loss of trust and confidence spurred a colonel to relieve a school’s commanding officer recently aboard Camp Johnson, a Marine Corps spokesman told The Daily News.

Lt. Col. Paul Fillmore was relieved July 31 from his command of Personnel Administration School, the spokesman said. The spokesman is the Public Affairs officer for Training and Education Command (TECOM) aboard Camp Lejeune.

Nearly two months before Fillmore assumed command of the school, he married Toshia Cameron Sundermier on Feb. 27, 2014, according to information from Onslow County Register of Deeds. At that time, Sundermier was a sergeant major—an enlisted rank—in the Marine Corps, according to information from Manpower and Reserve Affairs in Quantico, Virginia.

“Unduly familiar personal relationships between seniors and subordinates are contrary to Naval custom as they undermine the respect for authority that is essential to the Naval Service’s ability to accomplish its mission,” according to the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps Commander’s Quick Reference Handbook for Legal Issues. “Fraternization is prohibited and punishable under the (Uniform Code of Military Justice.)”

I don’t get this at all. The Marine Corps had to know the guy was married, didn’t they? Did they do it in secret or something? As usual, the article leaves out any other detail that might prove helpful. I suspect there is a lot more going on here than is being portrayed.

Thanks For Nothing, Colorado:

Nine of the 12 jurors in the Colorado theater shooting trial wanted to execute James Holmes, but one was steadfastly against the death penalty and two others wavering, a juror told reporters after the verdict was announced.

Because the 12 jurors failed to unanimously agree that Holmes should be executed, he will be sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 2012 attack on a midnight screening of a Batman movie in Aurora that also left 70 injured.

“Mental illness played into the decision more than anything else,” said the woman, who would not give her name. “All the jurors feel so much empathy for the victims. It’s a tragedy.”

Unbelievable. This guy planned and schemed for months to carry this out, all with meticulous detail, and because of “mental illness” they won’t off him? What kind of hippies were on that jury?

Army Field Artillery Going Co-Ed:

The Army intends to open all but one field artillery military occupation specialty — 13F fire support specialist — to female soldiers, a move that would cover 21,000 previously male-only jobs, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday.
Women could be authorized by late October to serve in the newly opened cannon crewmember and field artillery automated data systems specialist MOSs, according to Army spokesman Paul Prince, who said Defense Secretary Ash Carter sent official notification to Congress last month.

In the Army, about 124,000 positions, primarily in the infantry, armor and Special Forces fields, will remain closed to women for now. Prince said a final decision about those — including the field artillery MOS that works with infantry and armor units — has yet to be made.

“We’ve done a lot of pilot programs, we’ve done a lot of physical testing, we’ve done a lot of testing on how we integrate women into units, and those are all going well,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno told Army Times on Monday. “We want the best person, if they’re qualified and meet the standards, we want to give them the opportunity to do whatever they want.”

Let me use my general translator with that:

“We’ve done a lot of pilot programs, we’ve done a lot of physical testing on how we integrate women into units, and they’ve all been crappy. I mean, really crappy. Ninety-five percent of the women failed, but none of that matters because Congress told me to get some wimmenz in there. So, BY GOD, that’s what we’re going to do.”

Former SEAL Charged With Assault…Again:

ESCONDIDO, Calif. – For the second time in two years, a recently discharged Navy SEAL is accused in an assault case.

“Mr. Blackwell was apparently out there to pick a fight,” said San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Patricia Lavermicocca.

Prosecutors say on a Friday night in July, Kyle Blackwell — who authorities say had been drinking — came up to a 17-year-old he didn’t know in the parking lot outside the teen’s Escondido apartment. According to prosecutors, Blackwell started a fight and punched the teen in the face.

“He ended up hitting him in the jaw and breaking his jaw,” said Lavermicocca.

When I first read this, there was absolutely no detail at all. Like, was the kid mouthing off? Did he hit his car? Anything? Maybe there’s something that was a reasonable provocation that caused him to defend himself. I mean, I wanted to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. Then I kept reading:

The incident comes a year and half after Blackwell was accused of punching cab driver Avtar Singh several times—once through the mostly shut window—after a night of drinking in the Gaslamp Quarter.

The then-Navy SEAL told police it was self-defense, believing Singh—an Indian-American—could have been a Muslim extremist.

Ok, if that’s true? This guy is a goddamn MORON.

Swabbies Swapping Smut:

The U.S. Navy might want to reemphasize, verbally and otherwise, the importance of its personnel complying with its ban on cellphones aboard military vessels. In recent times, sailors have used the devices to humiliate female officers, taking photos of them undressing, and, just this summer, federal authorities arrested a sailor after photos of an attack submarine were allegedly discovered on a cellphone found in a city dump in Connecticut in May that was traced back to him.

In each case, the Navy’s ban on personal electronic devices was ignored.

Photos taken aboard the attack sub in the most recent arrest included the submarine’s control panels, reactor compartment and a monitor displaying the sub’s precise location at the time of the photo. The sailor, a 28-year-old machinist mate from Vermont, was charged with unauthorized retention of defense information and destroying his laptop and a camera to thwart an FBI probe, according to the Navy Times. He was indicted in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in July.

The sailor, denying the photos are his, was released on $100,000 bond and assigned to a Navy support operation in New York. Taking sensitive photos aboard a U.S. military vessel, whatever the reason, was a reckless act. It’s information that could easily fall into the hands of an enemy or a potential enemy, even unintentionally.

Sounds like a dumb guy just made a dumb move, as opposed to espionage or something. But regarding the ban on personal electronics devices, how on earth is the Navy supposed to enforce that? Strip searches before you get on the ship? I’m guessing they were on the honor system. I don’t see how you put a stop to this, short of full gear inspections before a tour. Good luck with that.

GAO Report on Special Operations Released:

Public perception of special operations is always interesting, if nothing else. One common misconception is that SEALs are the smallest, most elite special operations unit. SEALs are the scalpel and Rangers are the hammer, or so we are lead to believe. Actually, I’m not entirely sure what that is supposed to mean in the first place. However, a recent OPSEC-busting (Operational Security) congressional report released to the public blows this misconception right out of the water. There is a reason why the Chinese love congressional research reports: They frequently inadvertently leak classified information.

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The total number of personnel in the SEAL teams comes in at 8,195. Subtracting those assigned to SEAL Team Six, we get a figure of 6,895. Looking at the total number of soldiers assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment, we get 3,473. Can we lay this rumor to rest now? There are way more SEALs than there are Rangers.

SOFREP’s own Jack Murphy went deep into the numbers of the GAO report, posted online right here. Great stuff. For those of you worried about OPSEC, rest assured: The Chinese already know. And look at my Air Force!

Attorney General Behaving Badly:

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, once a rising star in the state’s Democratic Party, was charged Thursday with leaking grand jury information and then lying under oath to hide her involvement.

Kane is the nation’s second attorney general to be criminally charged this week. On Monday, Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was charged with securities fraud.

Kane, 49, was charged with perjury, conspiracy, obstructing justice, official oppression and false swearing stemming from an investigation that began more than a year ago. Her driver, Patrick Reese, was charged with aiding the cover-up.

If a public official ever asks you to help cover up a crime, the answer is always NO.

Worst Butt-Dial in History:

A man was accused of butt dialing a friend while having sex with his dog.

Ex-carnival worker Russell Joseph Meyers, 54, was arrested after he accidentally called a friend while allegedly engaging in a sex act with his German Shepherd, reports AL.com.

EX-CARNIVAL WORKER, he said unsurprisingly.

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Sure…it was only four times.

Police say the act of bestiality was caught on voicemail when no one answered the phone.
‘Abnormal’: Russell Meyers, of Phil Campbell, Alabama, has been accused of having sex with his German Shepherd dog at least four times.

”It’s obvious there is a condition there; it’s just abnormal, no matter how you look at it,’ Sheriff Shannon Oliver told WAFF.

The man, who lives in Phil Campbell, Alabama, will be the second person charged under the state’s new, tougher bestiality law.

You catch that? Apparently, the OLD bestiality law was pretty lax, hence old Meyers up there playing find-the-pickle with his German Shepard. The poor animal was last seen huddled on the floor in the shower, shivering and listening to Tori Amos songs.

Just like the standing offer put forward last week on the video of the naked 81-year-old humping a bush, the SOFREP News Roundup team is prepared to make a SUBSTANTIAL offer on the recording that was left on that voicemail. Tens and tens of dollars could be yours. Contact me at @BKactual to begin negotiations.