Sunday, January 16, 2005

Calling the kettle Blackfive.

I am Brad Pitt's body double.

Interesting week. Following the revelation that the Bush administration paid Armstrong Williams a cool quarter million to shill the No Child Left Behind Act, there has been a campaign from the right attempting to smear two bloggers on the left as having similarly benefitted from pay-for-play scenarios. I'm not going to discuss that here, I wanted to concentrate for a moment on a post over at Blackfive, a prominent milblogger with a decided conservative bent. His post is simply titled "Credibility."

I've been reading Blackfive for a little over a year now, and while I think his politics and views in general are crap, his support of the military is unwavering. When I first find a blog which interests me I tend to read all the archives, and while reading through his I found some conflicts and problems in his biographical posts which started to nag at me. I've assembled a chronology pieced together from different posts, you can see what I mean. All pages which had been cached I've linked to via Google's cache, because hey, you can't edit those bad boys.*

Enlisted and went to Basic in the summer of 1985, and trained to be a mechanic.
Attended Airborne School early 1986.
Served with the 82nd Airborne as an m60 gunner.
Left active duty as a Sergeant in 1986 and was assigned to the 12th Special Forces Group in the Army Reserve.
Attended college 1986-1990, commissioned 1989.

Okay, so far we have a few problems. He claims to have entered the Army as a mechanic in 1985, served on active duty with the 82nd but as an infantryman (he specifies a line infantry company and that he was a '60 gunner), and by the fall of 1986 is no longer on active duty but has been assigned to a reserve unit and is going to college. One year of active duty and two MOS's? One year tours are a no-go; three is pretty standard and two is rare, particularly if the Army is teaching you a trade (mechanic). You cannot reclassify your MOS until you have completed a tour of duty.

He later states that as an elisted man he served as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant (although he refers to "Special Forces Light Weapons Expert"). There is a problem here in that the reserve Special Forces (now National Guard) personnel are required to successfully negotiate the same training pipeline as their active duty counterparts. Completing selection, the Q course, MOS course, language school, and so on requires a year and a half on active duty at Ft. Bragg, NC. Doing this while going to college full time in Illinois would be an impressive feat.

I am William Wallace!

Let's move on. Elsewhere Mr. Blackfive states that he deployed to Iraq in 1990 as the XO of a Special Forces Team (the buzzwords here are "Team Sergeant," as in Special Forces A Team). Special Forces officers with previous SF experience as an enlisted man must start over in regards to qualification and training, since the roles have little in common. Another year in the training pipeline (presumably he would not have had to repeat language school). Special Forces officer candidates must also be Captains or promotable First Lieutenants, which requires a cumulative minimum (under law) of three and a half years time in grade, 18 months as a 2lt and 2 years as a 1lt. Yet he was commissioned in 1989 and is an SF officer in 1990.

He recently gave an interview in which he was asked what he did with his time between 1985 and 1991. The answer says nothing about any Special Forces training, either as an enlisted man or officer. When did this training take place? Enquiring minds want to know.

This crap has been bothering me for a while, but frankly I didn't really care enough to do anything about it. But I'll tell you, reading this garbage titled "Credibility" after seeing these sorts of credibility issues on the blog pissed me off. Maybe this guy is a former Special Forces dude, in which case I would gladly and publicly apologize, but his story does not add up the way he's posted it.

I am Spartacus!

*I am a former 11B1P, and I endorse this message.