Sunday, May 25, 2014

Heroes, by Larry Usoff

Heroes, by Larry Usoff
          The other day I watched a movie about Charles Lindbergh.  It struck me, as I watched, that he was an American, and he was a hero.  We have had many heroes in the 238 years, in the life time of my country.  You cannot go through a day without seeing something that was brought to light by an American...and speaking of light, we have Thomas Edison.   If you glance up at the blue sky you might see a silver airplane and, unless I'm mistaken, Americans were the first in powered, successful flight.  That would be the brothers Wright, from Ohio.  Although the powered automobile was first introduced in Germany by Carl Benz, it was an American, Henry Ford, that made the automobile a permanent part of America.  Someone could argue that some of the people that I consider heroes might have had some odd thoughts when it came to politics, and that's all well and good.  This country was founded on a difference of opinion about politics.
          America has been fortunate in one respect…whenever, in the past, the country has been in danger militarily, economically, even morally, a hero has come forward to help save it.  From George Washington to George Patton, when duty called, they answered.   Who will answer the call now, when our country is in such danger from within, from the very top?  Is there a hero, or several, that will answer the call to duty now?  I keep saying for America to wake up, but is it?
The papers are splattered with the latest gossip about sports figures, or who’s having a baby…out of wedlock.   What sort of person can call themselves an American who can forget about Benghazi, or the complete disregard for the rule of law which is now running rampant through the nation?
          Where is my hero, the one man or woman that can right the ship of state, and keep it from foundering?  Do we have any heroes left?  Of course we do, but they are becoming less and less visible.  There is a systematic decimation of my country going on and, other than writing and talking about it, my hands are tied.
Perhaps there is a hero still left, one person to whom duty, honor, country, still come before their personal lives.  We have had many brave Americans who went to war because their country needed them…and people like them are needed now.  One of my heroes was a Navy Lieutenant, who, when his ship was sunk, helped his shipmates to shore, even while he suffered a back injury.  You know who it was, don’t you?  John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who could have been one of the great ones.
          World War Two saw many of our top movie stars in the service of their country, and I don’t mean just making films for the troops.  We had major celebrities in harm’s way, and they were proud to do it.  Pat Tillman, who could
have stayed home, made lots of money, and been safe…instead chose to enlist, go to Afghanistan and fight for his country.  He died there.   Maybe this is just an old man wanting to preserve the America in which he grew up, and maybe this is just the last gasp for America…but I hope it isn’t.   No matter how many times it’s said, America is the land of the free because of the brave, that’s something that should not be forgotten. 
          Old men talk about the past because they have no future, and young men talk about the future because they have no past.  This was told to me many, many years ago and it’s only in the last few years that I’ve come to truly understand what that means.   It was my privilege to live in what was known as the greatest country in the world…the United States of America.  We led the world in this and that, we made this and that and made it better.  We pioneered, we progressed, we fed and protected the world.  What a wonderful country it was…and now…what?  Shall this noble experiment, as one person called us, disappear under some tinhorn dictator, or wannabe tyrant?  I sincerely hope not.
          I’ll close for now. I’m tired and my head aches from thinking…but don’t let that stop YOU from thinking.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Band of brothers…Larry Usoff
This was sent to me by a listener, and there’s a credit further down, but I’m not sure he wrote all of this.  I don’t even know when Band Of Brothers Day might be, but we have Memorial Day coming up and this fits. From William Shakespeare’s Henry V, 1598: ” We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me, Shall be my brother;”  I have lived a long life, seen many things, but yet, I know very little!  Tomorrow however, I will know much more!   About 9% of the US population has served in the military. Just under one percent are serving on active duty today. These numbers are small but often it is the small things that nurture greatness. As our government is headed towards a most drastic reduction in our military capability at a time when we may be facing a growing worldwide threat from Russia, China and the Middle East, I worry that our culture has come to denigrate the contribution and sacrifice of those who serve. Bless you all.
          You may have served in Combat or in non-combat. You may have retired out or you may have served for a short time. You may have been a
draftee or a volunteer. You may have served in the Corps, Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard or the Merchant Marines, BUT YOU SERVED!. YOU DID YOUR JOB HONORABLY and for that I am PROUD to call you Brother. You may have served during Korea, WWII,. Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Iraq or Afghanistan, BUT YOU SERVED--YOU DID NOT RUN!  You have a DD 214 with those words "HONORABLY DISCHARGED" two of the most noble words in the world.  Again I am proud to know each and every one of you.
          * Today is Band of Brothers' Day* ; send this to all your brothers, fathers, sons and fellow veterans you know. Happy Brothers' Day! To the cool men that have touched my life: Here's to you!! I was never a hero, but I am thankful and proud to have served among them. A real Brother walks with you when the rest of the world walks on you. Send to all your Band of Brothers, because the fake ones won't.
          This apparently was authored by one 1st Sgt. Ray L. Flood, U.S. Army Military Police (ret.). He probably wanted to serve in the Air Force but they were undoubtedly all booked up that month when he went to sign up. At least he decided America was more important than being all you can be at Domino’s Pizza.
And to be fair and all-inclusive to the Kumbaya Korps, I embrace all of you who wanted to serve but felt the call of the wild in Canada. As Winston Churchill might have observed   “They served also who only stood on the other side of the border and waited.” Thank you all, my unselfish fellow brothers and sisters.    For all of us who served in Vietnam Band of Brothers Day is officially May 7th every year as that is the day the American Government declared the “conflict” over. I believe the race to the rooftop over at the US Embassy was April 30, 1975 but I do know some of my friends in Air America were still over at Tan Son Nhut packing up PC-6s for transport out to Taiwan on the 7th when the NVA showed up.
          To you who served…thank you for your service.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Wussification Of America

The Wussification Of America by Larry Usoff           
The wussification of's well underway and it's dangerous for the future of this country.  My father gave me a pocketknife when I was about 7 or 8, and told me that a gentleman always had a pocketknife, to clean his fingernails if necessary.  I used that knife for years and years, and kept my fingernails clean, along with cutting string, whittling things that never turned out like I wanted, and, once, giving me a little extra smack-power when I had it in my rolled-up fist.  Not once, in all the years that I had that knife, did I ever think of using it as a weapon...not once.  I still carry a pocket knife.
            Sports was never my thing, but it certainly does generate a lot of interest among men, and in the context of this conversation, it's a good thing.  I'd prefer that there was more interest in things like math and science, but that's a whole other story.  Sports figures today are taking the place of the gladiators of the past.  They are what we want to be, and we live through them vicariously.  Perhaps we should look at the spectators rather than the gladiators, or sports figures.  The majority of the people do not participate except by watching, and except for a shout now and then, there's little physical activity on our part.   Special olympics are of particular interest to me because it represents a fighting spirit in people, people that, according to some, should only be vegetables.
            If you've never been to a special olympics, you should go.  The contestants are there to win, and they try very, very hard.  That fighting spirit that these folks show is being diminished, systematically, in normal athletes.  There are games without scores, because the idea that everyone gets a chance to play, rather than the idea of winning, is primary.  While I don't advocate playing sports without the proper gear, it does seem that saying that tackling in football should be eliminated due
to the amount of injuries.  Sports, by their nature, are pretty much rough-and-tumble and injuries are going to happen.  Perhaps a shorter professional sports-life is the answer.  A professional athlete might want to consider a 10 year, or shorter, time in the game.
            The military has openly gay men and women serving and right now I'm going to say that I've served with gay men, and never had a problem with them.  I knew they were gay, they knew I was straight, and that was that.  Women in the military...well, that's another burr under my saddle.  There's no getting around the fact that women cannot perform physical tasks as well as men.  In areas where women might be captured, they may, and probably will, suffer torture, sexual attacks, and even death.  And before you say anything, yes, men are captured, tortured and killed also...but women are considered prizes because the enemy can figure that our men will try even harder to set them free.   If there is no chance of close combat, yes, let the women serve.
            With the openly gay service personnel, has come another quirk.  There are elements of the military that I believe have been asked if, should the need arise, would they shoot fellow Americans, on American soil?   The patriots, as I term them, have said no, and they are quietly discharged, brought up on phony charges, and outright forced out of their careers.   Another element, and this one I'm really strong on, is Muslims serving in the armed forces.  Because I've done some studying of the Quran it strikes me that A TRUE MUSLIM can never have allegiance to anything or anyone, but Islam, Mohammed and Allah.   The current administration is, in my opinion, a strong supporter of Islam, and that's bad for America...and the world.  Muslims practice taqiyya, which is lying to infidels so long as it furthers the cause of
Islam.   We cannot simply turn our backs on the facts, and continue to wussify Americans.
            War, by definition, is a conflict carried on by force of arms, as between nations or between parties within a nation; warfare, as by land, sea, or air.   In war, people are hurt and killed.   I understand that, but what I don't understand is the wussified rules of engagement that our people face, and which places them at a great disadvantage.   I don't understand the wussification of our country by cutting the armed forces down to the point where it places our nation and our people, in great jeopardy.   This wussification started a long time ago, but the current administration has made it into a science almost.   We must regain our fighting spirit.   We have to find the minutemen inside of us, and prepare for whatever is coming...which I think is right around the corner, but I could be wrong.
            Larry Usoff, US Navy Retired
            Duty.  Honor.  Country.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Recollections of America
          Many people, reading this, will probably think that it's the ravings of an old man...and they'd be right.  America today is a technological wonder, but seems to have lost the meaning of America.  That might be confusing to someone that isn't in my age bracket, or near to it, but if you read on, you'll understand.  My father was a product of a time when education was something precious, yet he didn't get a formal one because he had to go to work when he was in the third grade, to help support the family.  Families were large back then because childhood mortality took a great toll.  My father had 3 brothers and 5 sisters, and all lived to, and through, adulthood.  Today large families are an exception and we look at them and wonder why?  You have to be family-oriented to appreciate things like that.
          In recent gatherings with my family, and extended family, one thing was omnipresent...the smartphone.  Yes, that amazing technological wonder which seems to have replaced the computer, the television, the telephone, and even conversation.  Most people today starting when they're youngsters, even into their 40's and 50's, are involved in life only through their smartphones.  You see them everywhere, head down, thumbs moving to write...and they're not writing full words, thoughts or sentences, no they're using abbreviations for just about everything.  In my day, and that's a phrase that irks most people, but, in my day we learned how to write...real handwriting, which they used to call cursive writing, and now have coined the term "conjoined writing".   My recollections are of classes in which we had to practice swirls, arcs, and bows, in order to have a nice, legible handwriting.
          The computer is a marvelous device and that should go without saying, but it is also responsible for a major portion of the dumbing-down of America, in my opinion.   When schoolwork demanded that you know the answer to something that wasn't in your textbooks, you had to go to the library and look it up.   By going through several drawers of things related to that item you might discover something else that piqued your interest.  That's not going to happen today because you go on the internet, look up the one thing and're finished.  Crouched down in the library, like several other people, you pulled out a drawer with hundreds of file cards in it and began leafing through them to find the thing you're looking for.  When you found it, maybe you wrote down the information about it, put the drawer back and went to the librarian and they then pointed out where that BOOK could be found.
          Books are software for the mind.  You read it, and you can put the book down, never look at it for years, and the information is still there.  Reading a book and exercising your imagination...oh wait, the computer took your imagination and dashed it on the rocks.  Now you can see everything on the computer and your mind's eye is closed for the duration.  Books allowed you to fly, to visit strange exotic lands, to picture in your mind exactly how YOU wanted them to be.  I remember listening to a radio program called "I love a mystery" and the central figure was Doc Savage.  My mind pictured him as tall, blonde, very muscular and always with his shirt half on and half off.  Imagine my disappointment when, years later, I discovered that the voice of Doc Savage was a short, fat man.  What does any of this have to do with America?  I'll tell you.
          America was the Great One.  America could do it all, and we did.  The twentieth century belonged to us, as we stretched from ocean to ocean, and our minds and industry expanded with it.  No country on earth was as we were, and everybody emulated us, our mannerisms, our slang, our movies, our clothing...nothing that was American could be bad...but it was.  We had black marks on our history, but we owned up to them and tried to atone for those marks.  It gave the rest of the world a moment to think about us...maybe we weren't the greatest.  Thoughts like those came and went because America kept right on moving ahead, making things, and making things better for the people of the world.  I recollect that Americans overseas were held in awe sometimes because we came from a country that was exceptional.
          Outside was a marvelous place and we used it to its fullest potential.   When Mother said to go outside and play, we didn't ask with what, or why, because we knew the belonged to us.  Summer vacations were spent outside from dawn to dusk and sometimes even after dark.  We played on the sidewalks, in the streets, in the vacant lots...anywhere, because it was the outside, and it was our world.  One of my vivid memories is asking my mother for a couple of potatoes, and cooking them in an open pit in the vacant lot around the corner, and sharing them with my friends.  You used a small branch to hold them over the fire, turning constantly so neither the branch or the potato caught fire.  They were delicious, skin, ashes and all.
          Times, and people, change.  That's a fact.  It doesn't make it any easier, knowing that what we once were, we no longer are.  We're not as free as we used to be.  We're not as smart as we used to be.  We're not as economically strong as we used to be.  We're not the superpower that we used to be.
Are the recollections of a bygone America never to come back?  Will we ever be the shining city on the hill again.  I certainly hope so.  Perhaps it will come in my lifetime…but I won’t hold my breath.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Harry Reid, Go Back To Nevada
            Mr. Reid you are not good for this country, or your constituents.   You are nasty and divisive, and you lie on a regular basis.   You have lost the right to be called honorable because you have made a mockery of the US Senate, and have not done one thing to enhance the lives of Americans.   You have managed to accumulate great wealth, for yourself, while pushing policies that have taken the middle class down.   You know nothing of civility, or leadership, and have become the dictator of the Senate.   You have demonstrated that the United States Constitution means nothing to you.   Unfortunately, you have become mean-spirited and viciously attack political opponents on a regular basis with outrageous, untruthful, statements.   You have the audacity to stand on the floor of the United States Senate and blast conservative donors, while ignoring the questionable antics of liberal donors.   You were elected to better conditions for the people of Nevada, but you have chosen to selfishly take care of your wants and are a major player in assisting the Obama administration in advancing their socialist ideology.   You have been doing this by lying, demonizing opponents, and ignoring rules and the law.   Shame on you, Harry Reid.  Go back to Nevada, leave Washington, and do no more harm.   Sir, it seems that you have forgotten a very important concept…you work for us, the American people.  We do not work for you!