Losing Face in the Gulf:

Washington (CNN)The 10 U.S. Navy sailors held by Iran were told by their captors to “act happy” while they were being videotaped during their detention, according to a U.S. defense official with access to the latest information about the debriefing of the sailors.

The U.S. commander who spoke on camera has indicated he felt pressure to talk about how well they were being treated. It’s not yet clear if he was directly ordered to apologize, the official said.

The U.S sailor was filmed saying, “It was a mistake that was our fault and we apologize for our mistake.”

While the nine men and one woman sailor were not physically mistreated, the information from the defense official was the first indication they were under some direct mental duress from the Iranians.

Let us stipulate at the outset: There is much that we still don’t know. From what we do know, this is at the very least an embarrassment to the United States Navy. Let’s go to the original video footage, Iranian network PressTV:

These sailors were doing what they were told to do, which was to cooperate. I don’t think this falls under violating the Code of Conduct (more on that in a minute,) but it didn’t look good. And although this maybe wasn’t the worst thing in the world, the crew didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory, either. After all, we aren’t technically at war with Iran. So I don’t think they should have just started smoking the Iranians and spark a huge international incident. They were in the wrong, and put themselves in a bad position.

But Iran sure as hell ain’t our buddies, either. Friendly nations do not have a sizable contingent of their power players in government who would love nothing more than to see us wiped off the map. Friendly nations do not have Americans being held against their will (now released). Friendly nations are not responsible for training our enemies or for manufacturing munitions that have killed and maimed thousands of American troops in Iraq. Friendly nations do not make propaganda videos.

That’s what that was. Anyone who doesn’t see that this was huge propaganda victory for Iran is putting their head in the sand. The Arab/Iranian/Muslim machismo culture is a thing, and things like this matter. And when the rest of that world sees a few tiny boats holding the mighty American Navy at gunpoint, it matters.

I don’t know how much SERE training a Navy boat crew has had, but you don’t gush about how great the hospitality is when they are sticking state media cameras and microphones in your face. And then freaking coaching you how to act? At that point, you have to know what’s going on. You don’t have to be a dick about it; just give them your name and rank, and with a smile say, “We’re fine. We’re waiting to speak to American government representatives.” You follow procedure and let the command know you’re OK.

Don’t talk about hospitality, how it was your fault, mistakes being made, and all that crap. I can’t get into specifics because I think some of it is sensitive information, so let me be careful: Anyone who has graduated from a formal SERE course is made to understood through some fantastic training just how easy it is for an enemy/not-so-friendly country to get great propaganda value through what seems to be an innocuous comment or demeanor. I don’t know if a boat crew is lucky enough to get training like that. I know the SWCC crews get it, but I don’t think this bunch was part of that crew.

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This is “peacetime government detention,” of which the Army’s Code of Conduct/SERE training has this to say:

Once in the custody of a hostile government, regardless of the circumstances that preceded the detention situation, detainees are subject to the laws of that government. In light of this, detainees will maintain military bearing and should avoid any aggressive, combative, or illegal behavior. The latter could complicate their situation, their legal status, and any efforts to negotiate a rapid release.

a . As American citizens, detainees should be allowed to be placed in contact with U.S. or friendly embassy personnel. Thus, detainees should ask immediately and continually to see U.S. embassy personnel or a representative of an allied or neutral government.

b. Soldiers who become lost or isolated in a hostile foreign country during peacetime will not act as combatants during evasion attempts. Since a state of armed conflict does not exist, there is no protection afforded under the Geneva Conventions. The civil laws of that country apply. Soldiers are therefore encouraged to contact local authorities as soon as possible in these situations. However, delays in contacting local authorities can be caused by—

(1) Injuries affecting the soldier’s mobility.
(2) Disorientation.
(3) Fear of captivity.
(4) A desire to see if a rescue attempt could be made.

c. Since the detainer’s goals may be maximum political exploitation, soldiers who are detained must be extremely cautious in everything they say and do. In addition to asking for a U.S.representative, detainees should provide name, rank and social security number, date of birth, and the innocent circumstances leading to their detention. Further discussions should be limited to and revolve around health and welfare matters, conditions of their fellow detainees, and going home.

Again, this wasn’t exactly the worst Code of Conduct issue ever, in my opinion. It’s not like he’s holding up charts and demonstrating how the comms work on camera. But Lieutenant David Nartker has to do better than that. You were put on your knees at gunpoint and had your boat, weapons, and electronics seized. This isn’t like the Brits picking you up. At that point, you have to go into a mode where it is understood that you are being detained against your will. You were only there a day, and you’re making a video marveling about the hospitality? Freaking guys in ‘Nam were tortured DAILY for YEARS. I just think that Lt. Narker could have held out a little more than a few hours before complimenting the chef on the kebabs.

Far worse, to me, was the issue with the female sailor made to cover her head. Now, it’s possible that, steeped in many, many, MANY hours of diversity training, the sailor took it upon herself to cover her head. I don’t know yet. But let’s assume they told her to. If you think that’s OK, imagine the United States detaining an Iranian vessel, taking one of it’s hijab’d-up female sailors (Do they have those? Not sure.) and making her remove her head covering, then videotaping and releasing it on CNN. The Muz would go apeshit. So yeah, it matters. That is one of our wonderful, strong American female military members, and you’re going to make her cover her head with your goddamn primitive, bizarre religious head garb? And then plaster it across the news? GET THE FUCK OUT. That is inexcusable and unforgivable.

If that wasn’t bad enough, then there was the gross incompetence displayed throughout. Let’s look at the mission itself:

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As more information has come to light through the debriefs, it’s now understood that the crew decided to “cut a corner” to make up time to get to a planned refueling point. It’s not clear whether they were lower on fuel than expected.

Two others defense officials also said it appears the crew was so involved in fixing the engine that they didn’t realize where they were until the Iranians boats approached them.

So you send two small “riverine” boats through hundreds of miles of open ocean in the Persian Gulf, and nobody’s really paying attention? What the hell? Who was in charge of monitoring the movement? Did they make a radio call when they first started having engine problems? Don’t you have other boats at least spinning up by that point? Were they? Were the Blue Force Trackers on? Who was monitoring THAT? Were the on-board GPS units operational? Were they being monitored? Did they dump the crypto and zero the radios? Did the entire fleet have to do a radio re-key? (I’m guessing yes.) What did the boat’s maintenance logs say? Were they current? In other words, I have a lot of questions.

Who called the commander of the riverine boat crew and told him to not resist? What was the ROE in the area? Because in a lot of places, if there is a gun pulled on you and pointed at your chest, you’re cleared hot to engage. Did they call it in? Who told them to not resist? Were they told? I mean, this has to be a career-ender for Lt. Nartker. Taking it upon himself to deviate from the mission, allowing a foreign navy to sneak up on him and hold him and his crew at gunpoint, and then blabbing all over Iranian State television? But it’s not just him who needs to answer, it was the entire chain of command that put him in this position. This seems like poor tactics and poor seamanship, in my opinion. Something stinks about this, and I’m not sure what it is yet.

I’ve also watched the video carefully and tried to make sense of the weapons posture. I couldn’t really tell, but it didn’t look like a lot of these mounted weapons system had any ammo. I saw a few feed boxes, but didn’t see any rounds. (I could be wrong on that; watch for yourselves.) Were those weapons ready to go? And look at the state of the ammunition!

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Rusty, corroded brass and linkage. “No big deal. Everyone knows that the Gulf is a really stable place and not prone at all to spontaneous, flaming, explosive chaos, so it’s absolutely fine to have your weapons and ammo in a shoddy state,” he said sarcastically. And now, Iran can afford to look totally magnanimous and throw us a bone by giving us back our hostages they’ve been holding prisoner, while getting back a few guys we are hanging on to. They look like big-dick players, and we look like total buffoons. Totally Un-Sat. With more yet to come out, heads are gonna roll. The Navy shit the bed on this one, big time.

***UPDATE***…. Goddammit:

A senior Iranian military commander in charge of the country’s Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed that the 10 U.S. sailors who were recently captured and subsequently released by the Islamic Republic “started crying after [their] arrest,” according to Persian language comments made during military celebrations this weekend.

Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the IRGC, which is responsible for boarding the U.S. ships and arresting the sailors, claimed in recent remarks, the “American sailors started crying after arrest, but the kindness of our Guard made them feel calm.

If this is true, this is a disgrace. (It could be bullshit.)

Search Continues for Missing Marines in Hawaii:

Rescuers battled winds of up to 23 mph and waves up to 30 feet as they searched for 12 Marines who are missing after two helicopters they were in crashed off the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

The winds and the waves complicated the search, possibly pushing debris beyond the 2 mile search area.

“It makes finding things incredibly difficult,” Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Scott Carr said.

The Coast Guard was notified late Thursday of the crash by a civilian who saw the aircraft flying then disappear and a fireball. Someone else reported a flare in the sky, Carr said. It was not clear if the fireball and the flare were the same.

The Marines were alerted when the CH-53E helicopters carrying six crew members each failed to return to their base at Kaneohe Bay following a nighttime training mission. Hours later, a Coast Guard helicopter and C-130 airplane spotted debris 2 1/2 miles off of Oahu.

This is terrible. Very sad day for the families.

Go See This Movie and Remember Our Brothers:

Army Vet Craig Hall Doing Outstanding Work:

Three American soldiers are on their way to receiving the honors they missed out on when they died 29 years ago.

The three men died in 1987 while living in or near Napa County, but their cremains were never recovered by family or next-of-kin. Instead they were stored, for many years at Tulocay Cemetery, awaiting their proper burial.

Fast-forward to last August.

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Craig Hall, 69, an Army veteran, was appointed as the county’s first veterans remains officer by the Napa County Board of Supervisors. Since then, Hall has been working without pay to find, identify, and inter the unclaimed cremated remains of American veterans.

As a result of his efforts, along with help from the Napa County Sheriff’s Office and the Missing in America Project (MIAP), Hall has identified three soldiers.

On Wednesday, their remains, each in a box wrapped in a tiny American flag, were transported by the Napa County Sheriff’s Honor Guard in a short procession of vehicles, lights flashing in the fast lane, to the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon, where they will be buried with proper military honors.

The veterans were identified as Waightsel J. Lumpkin, Keith E. Sipma and Quenton Oren Nickell.

Huge News Roundup Affable Nod to Craig Hall. This is going way above and beyond. I would love to buy this great American a beer sometime.

They Found One of Those Missing Afghani Pilot Students:

One of the two missing Afghan airmen who went AWOL from a Georgia Air Force base in December has been found.Unknown

 

It’s still unclear which of the two airmen — Mirwais Kohistani or Shirzad Rohullah — was located, but officials confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security discovered him in Virginia, according to WSBTV.

About freaking time. These two guys managed to evade detection for a month in the south. And they still haven’t even found the other guy. They had to have had some help here. I can’t believe that two guys just avoided capture all on their own with no help. Oh, and get the chutzpah on this jabroni:

The airman who was located is said to be seeking political asylum through an attorney, according to WSBTV.

HELL NAH. I don’t think so, Jack. Get your ass back to your country and fight for it.

Navy Corpsman Accused of Murdering Toddler:

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – A Navy Corpsman accused of murdering his girlfriend’s toddler son at their Alpine apartment is behind bars Friday.

Brett Brown, 29, was arrested at a Shelter Island hotel early Thursday morning in the death of 19-month old Lucas Orlando.

Sheriff’s deputies were called to the couple’s home on Monday and found Lucas badly injured. He later died.

Brown told deputies that Lucas had fallen.

Detectives say the boy’s injuries were too severe to have been caused by a fall.

Jesus. Can we just string him up now? I’ve heard enough evidence.

Scumbag Steals Navy Vet’s Wedding Ring, Hat:

AUDUBON, N.J. (WPVI) — Patriotic is how family members describe Edward Joyce, a World War II veteran from Audubon, New Jersey, who died last week at the age of 93.

“Even when they sing the Star Spangled Banner, no matter where we were he would cry,” said granddaughter Jeana Hagan.

“He was, if not the greatest, one of the greatest men I ever met,” said grandson Tim Hagan.

The proud Navy seaman was rarely seen without his USS Wichita cap adorned with medals.

That hat along with his wedding ring is missing, stolen from a car just hours after his funeral.

“To have that stuff taken for, you know, no reason, it’s a gut punch” said grandson Terry O’brien.

She believes a man seen in surveillance footage is the person who took off with Joyce’s possessions.

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Bowe Freaking Bergdahl May Not Get His POW Medals:

WASHINGTON — The Army will not decide whether Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will receive two medals that could be associated with his five years of captivity until after he is court-martialed for deliberately walking away from his infantry platoon’s base in 2009, an Army official said.

The awards are the Prisoner of War Medal and the Purple Heart. The POW Medal goes to service members who are granted “creditable U.S. military service” and who were held captive while involved in a conflict with an opposing force, while the Purple Heart goes to troops who are killed or wounded by an enemy force. Bergdahl, who had been based in Afghanistan, was held hostage by the Haqqani network, a group affiliated with the Taliban, and tortured while held captive, according to Army officials who have testified in the soldier’s criminal case.

The Army also will not decide whether Bergdahl is eligible to receive the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the NATO Medal until after the trial. The campaign medal goes to service members who served in Afghanistan for 30 days consecutively or 60 days non-consecutively, while the NATO Medal goes to service members who serve in a variety of international commands in which NATO is involved.

75th Ranger Regimental Commander Relieved for Having Fun:

…Several attendees created the game questions, and the game was played just like on the TV game show, with couples separated by gender so they could answer the questions without their partner knowing their answers.

One of the questions asked players “if making whoopee were equated to frequent flyer miles, how far would you have traveled?” The answer options were Phenix City, Alabama, which is near Fort Benning, Georgia; California; or Afghanistan.

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Another question asked players to describe their husband in bed. The answer options were private, specialist, general or rear-detachment commander, according to the report.

In response to another question that asked how players met their spouse and the identity of his last girlfriend, one female player, whose name is redacted, wrote “Columbus, local, dirty whore,” according to the report.

Aw, COME ON. That’s hilarious. Oh, there were also “inappropriate costumes” at a Halloween party:

Two attendees, whose names are redacted but are identified as officers, dressed as the Tom Cruise character in the movie “Risky Business,” wearing sunglasses, a dress shirt and white socks. They were not wearing pants or shoes, according to the report. One of the men wore “two pairs of white underwear briefs,” while the other wore “gray bicycling shorts.”

Bahahaha. If there is ever an event in which it is semi-permissable for a military man to wear tiny, inappropriate shorts/underwear, you bet your ass he’s going to do it. Halloween is great for that kind of stuff. Of course, the Buzz Killingtons were out in full force on that one, too:

Someone at the event told the investigator she was bothered to see one of the men “in his underwear,” the report states. Another “stated that [redacted] placed one foot up on the chair next to him like a ‘Captain Morgan’ advertisement and put his crotch in the [sergeant major’s] face. He added that [redacted] did the same to others. [Redacted] acknowledged that although it was done in a joking manner, it was absolutely inappropriate especially because spouses were present,” according to the report.

If it were illegal for military pipe hitters do the Captain Morgan pose and stick their crotches in other people’s faces, we would literally not have a military left, because they’d all be in jail.

During this event, a group of staff officers and at least one spouse played a game of beer pong, described in the report as “a drinking game designed to hasten inebriation.” The game was not part of the planned official event of the hail and farewell, nor was it advertised to be part of the night’s activities, according to the report.

Oh, well…I mean…IT WASN’T IN THE BROCHURE. This is some bullshit. Yeah, no shit it’s a “drinking game designed to hasten inebriation.” That’s the only reason people go to these events. So they can hasten the SHIT out of their inebriation.

Ridiculous. There’s no offense here. Set my man free.

There Will Be Lots of Banter When SOFREP Hits SHOT Show Next Week:

Fellow SOFREP author and Navy SEAL/CIA spook Frumentarius thinks it’s funny that the USAF was considering changing the title “airman.” (They’ve since come to their senses…for now.)

You son of a bitch.

What About This is Offensive?

Military officials have pulled a provocative flyer featuring Martin Luther King Jr. atop a “fun shoot” at an Air Force Base in Georgia to be held on the holiday honoring civil rights icon.

The flyer advertised a noon gathering on Jan. 18 for the Robins Air Force Base Trap and Skeet Club. An official at the military base’s Outdoor Recreation office said it was created by a marketing team.

“We didn’t make the flyer,” said Leroy Minus, the official. “We squared it away. We got rid of the picture.”

The base, in a statement, called it an “honest mistake.”

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Here’s the full statement:

We’re deeply sorry for any offense or harm caused by our insensitivity and failure to provide appropriate oversight of our marketing process. The flyer does not represent the values, opinions, or views of the Department of Defense, the Air Force, or Robins Air Force Base leadership and its employees.

We realized the inappropriateness of the advertisement several days ago and immediately began removing the flyer. There was no malice of forethought in the flyer’s creation and it was never the base’s intention to portray Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a negative light. It was an honest mistake, to which we’ve personally counseled the parties involved and will provide them with remedial training and appropriate oversight to prevent this sort of inattention from occurring in the future.

Again, we offer our heartfelt apology to those affected by our thoughtlessness. We hold the legacy of Dr. King in the highest regard.

What’s the problem here? If they mean that King would have not approved of this, I’m not sure that’s correct. King was known to be an avid gun owner. True, he would later give them up and insist on unarmed guards. That didn’t go so well for him. So lesson learned, kids: Don’t give up your guns.

But none of that should matter. It’s a holiday weekend and they’re going skeet shooting. They aren’t MURDERING anyone, for fuck’s sake. Christ.

Don’t Take Pictures of Your Penis While in Uniform, People:

The former vice commander of the 50th Space Wing has been charged with rape, adultery, assault, among other lewd acts which include taking photos of his genitals while in uniform.

Col. Eugene Marcus Caughey, currently assigned to Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, was charged Dec.10 with various misconduct dating back to 2013, according to his charge sheet.

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He was charged with rape and assault at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, in late 2014 or early 2015 after he used “unlawful force” to hold the victim “against the wall and floor” while committing a sexual act, the documents reveal.

Caughey, a 23-year Air Force veteran, committed six counts of adultery between 2013 and 2015, in violation of Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. One charge with two specifications in violation of Article 133, conduct unbecoming of an officer and gentleman, of the UCMJ states Caughey around 2014 or 2015 held “his erect penis in his hand while in uniform and seated in his office, proceed[ed] to take a picture of himself.”

This is what guys do all day now. Sit around the office and take dick pics. COME ON, GUY.

Yes, I’m Getting to Waffle House Woman:

A 37-year-old woman was arrested after police say she stripped off all her clothes and went on a rampage at a Georgia Waffle House.

Investigators said Jennifer Mary Nicholson, 37, of Marietta, Ga., took off all her clothes, punched a woman in the face and broke her nose and then threw plates and other dishes at a window and at stunned patrons on Jan. 8, Fox 5 Atlanta reports.

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The incident took place at the Waffle House restaurant in Kennesaw, about 27 miles north of Atlanta, the station reported Thursday.

Jennie Box told the station Nicholson grabbed her and then punched her.

“She came across and hit me in the nose, grabbed me in the chest and made a second attempt to grab me in the arm,” Box said. “She broke my nose, broke my glasses and my phone went flying out of my hand.”

Police said they restrained Nicholson with a stun gun. She is facing several charges, including assault and public indecency. She’s also accused of scratching one of the arresting officers.

Yes, yes. Thank you to @J.J.M and @ChuckRunamok for the heads-up. You are both doing yeoman’s work in scouring the Internet for naked people on drugs.

See you at SHOT Show. @BKactual