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Interesting Military News and Information From Around the World

Friday, December 23, 2005

Marines Build Plastic Bottle Christmas Tree in Iraq

Source: Marine Corps News

There was no "artificial or real Christmas tree" debate this year for the Marines of MTACS-28 currently stationed in Al Asad, Iraq - all they had were plastic bottles and a whole lot of Marine initiative and motivation!


"The Christmas tree consists of 4,130 water bottles. It stands more than 15 feet high. The entire squadron (Marine Tactical Air Command Squadron 28) was involved in the collection of the water bottles. The Marines saved bottles and set up collection boxes throughout Al Asad.

"Marines were pulling 12-hour shifts, and then coming to help us," said Staff Sgt. William Lee, the utilities chief with MTACS-28 and a Dawson, Ill., native. "I even had the physical conditioning platoon go on a run and pick up water bottles. After we collected the bottles, we had to cut, clean and peal the labels off them. It may not seem like much, but imagine cutting 2,500 bottles in one day."

Read the entire article at:


Monday, December 12, 2005

Iraqi Snake Eaters?

"Snake Eater" is a term used to describe the "badasses" in U.S. Military special forces and elite infantry units. These are the guys who "get down and dirty" to get the job done.

I get the impression that most of the Iraqi Snake Eaters are either in the insurgency or the militias. They don't seem to be in the Iraqi Army that the United States is training.

Actually, the Iraqis should be teaching the Americans a thing or two about fighting in the Middle East. After all, the Iraqi military, prior to the U.S. invasion, actually had a pretty good handle on a tough situation. They regularly conducted heavy-handed urban military operations around the country to keep the various groups in check. During the '80s, they fought a large-scale conventional war, complete with chemical weapons, against the Iranians.

Why then, are the Americans having such a hard time training the new Iraqi Army? One aspect, of course, is bringing Iraqi forces in general up to the standards of the professional American military. But another aspect is motivation. The insurgency is mainly carried out by the Snake Eaters from the old Sunni-dominated Iraq Army. The new Iraq Army is made up of some motivated Iraqis, but also of many non-Snake Eaters who are just looking for a paycheck.

Once the U.S. Military can find a few Snake Eaters for the new Iraq Army, then it can come home!


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Book: Marine 'Indiana Jones' Tracks Looted Iraq Antiquities

Some guys have all the luck! Some guys make their own luck!

Marine Reserve Colonel Matthew Bogdanos is one of those guys. Bogdanos is the Manhattan district attorney who handled the case against Sean "Puffy" Combs. Recalled to active duty after 9/11, he was involved in the search for terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq before investigating the looting of the Iraq National Museum. His team has recovered more than 5,000 of the missing artifacts.

Bogdanos's new book, Thieves of Baghdad, is the riveting true story of how he applied his skills as a Marine, an investigator, and a passionate student of classical history to rescue antiquities he studied as a youth. Far from being a police blotter of the thefts, Bogdanos's story is a combination of Indiana Jones, JAG and CSI. In the mix are military operations, international intrigue, investigative procedures, and harrowing raids in the backstreets of Iraq. The personal aspects of the story and the way the story immerses the reader into the culture of Iraq is reminiscent of the way James Clavell's book Whirlwind immerses readers into the Iranian Revolution. If you enjoy art, ancient history, law enforcement, the military, and/or current events, you will enjoy this Marine's account of his adventures in the world's most dangerous place tracking down ancient antiquities from the Cradle of Civilization!

Matthew Bogdanos's royalties for Thieves of Baghdad will be donated to the Iraq Museum.

You can order the book at by following the below link:

Matthew Bogdanos DoD News Items:

Also see:

Regional Meeting to Fight the Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property Stolen From Iraq

Interpol's Most Wanted Works of Art

The British Museum information

Object ID


Saturday, December 03, 2005

Rocket Racing League

Q: What do you get when you cross NASCAR with Tatooine Pod Racing?
A: Rocket Racing League

Soon, Top Gun pilots will have a career path after their military service that doesn't involve flying 727s back and forth across the country!

Here's more about the league from a RRL press release:

"Similar to auto racing organizations, the RRL will organize, host and run competitions across the United States, with the finals taking place each year at the X PRIZE Cup in New Mexico. The league also plans to produce nationwide tours of its rocket planes and pilots to answer the public's demand for high-excitement entertainment. A video game based on the RRL is slated to launch in late 2007.

Rocket races will operate much like auto races, with the exception that the "track" is up in the sky. Courses are expected to be approximately two miles long, one mile wide, and about 5,000 feet high, running perpendicularly to spectators. The rocket planes, called X-Racers, will take off from a runway both in a staggered fashion and side-by side and fly a course based on the design of a Grand Prix competition, with long straight-aways, vertical ascents, and deep banks. Each pilot will follow his or her own virtual "tunnel" or "track" of space through which to fly, safely separated from their competitors by a few hundred feet.

Highly skilled X-Racer pilots will employ state-of-the-art differential GPS technology to ensure minimal chances of physical contact between the racers.

Upon take-off, onlookers will easily follow the race as the rocket planes remain in view and sport 20-foot rocket plumes. Fans can also track their favorite pilots' progress via large screen televisions and hand-held GPS tracking devices using WiFi to stream video of the cockpit, live "on-track" shots, "side by side" views and wing angle views."

Learn more about the RRL at:

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