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« While you were out | Main | Gate City gone »

May 02, 2011


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Ian McDowell

Jeff, I take back everything I've said.

Clearly, these guys are grandmasters at WINNING!


Regarding why SEALS instead of Delta, I think I heard on one news report that Delta has been dealing primarily with Iraq and SEALS with Afghanistan.

Andrew Brod

Jeff, I'll still take Ditka.

Preston Earle

Ian wrote "Now, for a more serious question, why SEAL Team Six instead of Delta? I'm told there's a fair amount of resentment at Bragg these days."

Steve Harrison replied "You're working from the assumption that Delta wasn't there, Ian. I wouldn't."

I'm with Steve on this. The back-story to Mark Bowden's writing Black Hawk Down is interesting. It is related in this article from American Journalism Review which includes this detail (my emphasis):

Late in the summer, Bowden's phone rang. If he could be at Fort Benning, Georgia, at 8 a.m. the next day, he could interview a bunch of Rangers. Trouble was, Bowden wasn't officially working on Mogadishu.

"I tried to call Don Kimelman," who was editing the suburbs project, says Bowden. "Rosey [Robert J. Rosenthal, then the Inquirer's executive editor] was away on vacation. So I got on a plane and flew to Columbus, Georgia, and checked into the Red Roof Inn and showed up at 8 a.m. the next morning."

The gamble paid off. The Rangers told Bowden one hair-raising story after another. "As a reporter, if you are working on a story, all it takes is one really good interview," says Bowden. "Every interview was that quality. Just amazing, amazing stories. These guys had never been asked to tell their stories."

But Bowden sensed they were holding back. He'd learned their reticence was due to the fact that the Rangers were in the operation as backup for Delta Force – a group of soldiers more highly trained and experienced than the Rangers, and often 10 or 15 years older.

"The Delta Force is so secret that they are not allowed to say it exists," Bowden says. "So they are not allowed to say anything about it. So they are having a really hard time explaining things."

Bowden grilled each Ranger. He needed minute details to reconstruct the ferocious battle hour by hour, minute by minute. Bowden unwittingly asked about events in which a Delta operative played a key role.

The Rangers would "get tongue-tied," says Bowden, "and then they'd go out of the room and have a little huddled conference with the guy from military affairs. Then they'd come back in the room and tell me, 'A solider from another unit did this.' "

What other unit? Each replied, "I'm not at liberty to discuss that, sir." Bowden left Fort Benning with a great story. But he needed to do much more reporting. He called Jim Smith.

"My God, those boys are special," Bowden told Smith. "I can't believe what they did."

Maybe things have changed some in the almost 10 years since that article was written, but I suspect Delta Force is still pretty shy about even mentioning their existence.


Have any of you experts (including The Coward)actually been on Shore Patrol where these anecdotal incidents and varied conjecture have taken place?

Account Deleted

Andrew: Ditka would be good. But Braski would be better.

Factoid Central

Factoid: 89% of Muslim women think of Navy Seals while having sex.

11% think of Janet Reno.


"When I asked someone who regularly attends city council meetings if you actually look like this, I was told "yes, but even more [description that earned Ed's rebuke]."

I have never attended a live meeting of city council, Idiot Child. But don't let that stop you from running your big mouth and further embarrassing yourself, as usual.

Billy Jones

Even though Bubba and I disagree on most things, I must admit he's a really big dude who could put some serious ass kicking on most of us in this tread if he were of a mind to do so. Bubba has been to my home and we've met on other occasions in neighborhoods most folks 'round here fear to tread. I, for one, like Bubba and if I had to pick only one of you on this thread to watch my back it would be Bubba.

I've never backed down from an ass kicking in my life but if Bubba was the one kicking ass there just might be a first time.


Don't destroy the little fellow's delusions, billy. It's all he's got.

Ian McDowell

Checking my old Facebook email, I see I've made a mistake and owe Battlin' Bob Grenier an apology. I'll happily call him names, but I shouldn't accuse him of attending city council meetings if it's not true.

My correspondent and I had been discussing the old thread here about Charles Davenport's notorious Facebook update. It was in that thread that Mr. Grenier's delightful thumbnail photo first appeared. Ed chided me not only for harping on Mr. Grenier's appearance but for my mockery of Mr. Davenport's facial hair and muscle shirt.

My Facebook correspondent later said that Davenport's fashion eccentricities extended to wearing v-necked tops and man-jewelery to city meetings. My correspondent's point was not so much to mock Mr. Davenport as to say that this was one way in which one could distinguish Tea Partiers from the Republican Old Guard; the traditional dress code didn't apply.

Our conversation turned to Robert "Bubba" Grenier (and how does a guy from Boston start calling himself that, anyway?). My correspondent claimed to have met Mr. Grenier and assured me that the Gorey-esque thumbnail was an accurate likeness, using a phrase that Ed objected to when I repeated it here. Because of the context -- or, if you'd prefer, a careless and stupid misreading on my part -- I assumed this person was including Mr. Grenier among the Tea Partiers who sat with Mr. Davenport at these readings, but I now see that this wasn't the case. Mea culpa.

Ian McDowell

That said, I wouldn't be taken aback even if Battlin' Bob is as formidable as Billy claims. In the very unlikely event that we were ever to resort to fisticuffs, he's too much the S/o/u/t/h/e/r/n Boston gentleman to shoot me or shiv me or gouge my eyes or bite a chunk out of my face. Worst case scenario; he knocks me silly.

I'm often silly, but I've never been knocked that way, and I'm kind of curious to see what it feels like. The closest I ever came was when holding a padded target for a young future Marine to punch at when a young woman built like Christina Hendricks walked into the room. Both my training partner and I foolishly turned to look at her just as he threw the punch, meaning he took his eyes off the striking pad and I took my eyes off his fist. I got a bloody nose and went wobbly, but don't think I was actually KO'd. Barring brain damage (unlikely to happen in a one-time encounter and which Battlin' Bob would say I've already suffered), I'm curious to know what it's like.

(There was the kid who suckered me with a tire iron one night in front of Tate Street Coffee House, but although my head sprayed blood like a lawn sprinkler, I wasn't stunned and I beat his ass prior to his arrest; this isn't bragging, he was a wispy wimp whom anyone here could have beaten up, and who had the temerity to scream "get off me, I've got a bad back" after hitting me from behind with a weapon. I'm not some macho powderkeg like Fec).

Ian McDowell

And thank you for being so kind as to call me "little fellow," Battlin' Bob! I've been longing to get rid of the weight I'd put on since my work schedule forced me to drop Pai Lum and judo (again, not bragging, I was a lousy martial artist, but as slow and inept as I was, it did get me in something approaching shape). I was afraid that the Alumni Membership at the UNCG gym wasn't cutting it.

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