Sunday, April 3, 2016

ULTIMATE SACRIFICE

Called in an airstrike on himself . . .

Lieutenant Alexander Prokhorenko with wife Katya, in happier times.

The Russian JTAC officer that died in Syria on March 19 reportedly ordering an airstrike on himself to take as many enemy fighters with him and not be captured alive has been identified as Lieutenant Alexander Prokhorenko, 25 from the village of Gorodki in the Orenburg region of Russia. He was a husband to his wife Katya and a father to a child not yet born. Lieutenant Prokhorenko could have been our enemy yesterday or tomorrow, but as soldiers we respect the valor he displayed on the battlefield and will raise a drink tonight in his honor. Below in the comments is the transcript of his last radio call as it was posted on the pro Kremlin semiofficial website Pravda.ru .

TRANSCRIPT:

Prokhorenko: command I am compromised, I repeat I am compromised.

Command: Please say again and confirm.

Prokhorenko: They have spotted me, there are shooting everywhere, I am pinned, requesting immediate extraction.

Command: Extraction request acknowledged.

Prokhorenko: Please hurry I am low on ammo, they seem to [be] everywhere, I can’t hold them for too long please hurry.

Command: Confirmed, hold them off, continue returning fire, retreat to a safe position, air support is monitoring, state your coordinates

Prokhorenko: [gives coordinates which are blurred in the transcript]

Command: [command repeats coordinates which are blurred.]Confirm

Prokhorenko: Confirmed, please hurry I am low on ammo, they are surrounding me, bastards!

Command: ETA on evacuation 12 minutes, return to the green line, I repeat return to the green line.

Prokhorenko: They are close, I am surrounded, this may be the end, tell my family I love them dearly.

Command: Return to the green line, continue returning fire, help is on the way, followed by air support.

Prokhorenko: Negative, I am surrounded, they are so many of these bastards!

Command: Extract ETA 10 minutes, return to the green line.

Prokhorenko: I can’t they have surrounded me and are closing in, please hurry.

Command: return to the green line, I repeat return to the green line.

Prokhorenko: They are outside, conduct the airstrike now please hurry, this is the end, tell my family I love them and i died fighting for my Motherland.

Command: Negative, return to the green line.

Prokhorenko: Unable command, I am surrounded, they are outside, I don’t want them to take me and parade me, conduct the airstrike, they will make a mockery of me and this uniform. I want to die with dignity and take all these bastards with me. please my last wish, conduct the airstrike, they will kill me either way.

Command: Please confirm your request.

Prokhorenko: They [are] outside, this is the end commander, thank you, tell my family and my country I love them. Tell them I was brave and I fought until I could no longer. Please take care of my family, avenge my death, good bye commander, tell my family I love them!

Command: [No response, orders the airstrike]


RESPECT & HONOR . . .

- STORMBRINGER SENDS

Saturday, March 26, 2016

TWO CROWS . . .

This is an old one . . .


Two crows were sitting on a telephone wire in Mosul when an F-15 went screaming by on full afterburner . . . one crow said to the other:

"MAN ALIVE! That bird sure was flying fast!"

The other crow said:

"Yeah, well if you had two assholes and they were both on fire, YOU'D FLY FAST TOO ! ! !"


That's all for now . . . carry on . . .

STORMBRINGER SENDS

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

ON EATING BUGS, SLUGS AND SNAILS

Somebody asked me today: 'StormBringer: are there any grubs that we cannot eat?' Now, I'm not a bug doctor, but I have never heard of any grubs we are advised not to eat, although I do recommend to cook your grubs first. Below are some general guidelines for when it comes to eating bugs . . . S.L.


Insects (bugs & grubs) are the most abundant life-form on earth, readily available as a food source in a survival situation. Insects are easily caught and provide 65 to 80 percent protein compared to 20 percent for beef.
Avoid all adult insects that sting or bite, hairy or brightly colored insects, and caterpillars and insects that have a pungent odor. Although certain types of tarantula can be cooked and eaten, advice is to generally avoid spiders and of course common disease carriers such as ticks, flies, and mosquitoes.

Insect larvae are also edible. Insects such as beetles and grasshoppers that have a hard outer shell will have parasites. Cook them before eating. Remove any wings and barbed legs also. You can eat most insects raw. The taste varies from one species to another. Wood grubs are bland, while some species of ants store honey in their bodies, giving them a sweet taste. You can grind a collection of insects into a paste, mix them with edible vegetation, and cook them to improve their taste

Rotting logs lying on the ground are excellent places to look for a variety of insects including ants, termites, beetles, and grubs, which are beetle larvae. Do not overlook insect nests on or in the ground. Grassy areas, such as fields, are good areas to search because the insects are easily seen. Stones, boards, or other materials lying on the ground provide the insects with good nesting sites.
Most species of ants are edible. Because ants secrete an acid when threatened, this gives them a vinegar-like flavor. Ants can be roasted with salt. Queen ants have large, fatty abdomens, therefore provide more nutrition than regular ants.

To harvest ants, one can put a stick on an anthill, wait for it to get covered with ants, then shake it off into a container. Roasting them right away will kill them quickly and prevent them from secreting much of the acid which gives that vinegar-like flavor. Ant larvae are found in clumps under rocks, or on top of anthills when they are being moved or kept warm. They have no sour flavor.
Slugs, like their cousin the snail, are edible and highly nutritious. Slugs are an abundant food source, especially in warm, wet environments. However, slugs (and snails) are host to a potentially dangerous parasite: rat lungworm. They contract this parasite by eating the feces of infected rodents. If a human eats raw snail or slug, these parasites will not live in the body, but can produce a toxic reaction called eosinophilic meningitis. Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, a sheath surrounding the brain, and can cause severe brain damage. To avoid this, cook all snails and slugs before you eat them.

Slugs sometimes eat things we can’t — toxic plants and fungi, poo, etc., so gut them by first killing the slug by chopping its head off, then simply squeeze out the entrails. The slug will shrink considerably, and you will get slime on your hands. Cook them chopped up in a stew, or roasted over the fire or chopped, marinated and sautéed, if you have the ability to do so!

Snails are abundant in spring and can often be found in good numbers, making them a good food source. The usual method of preparation is to steam them five to ten minutes, remove from the shell and sauté. They are quite tasty, though if you leave the guts in and they have been eating bark (one of their favorite foods), they will have some astringent flavor. All of the above cautions regarding eating slugs apply to snails. Snails, like slugs, may consume vegetation or fungi toxic to humans. To ensure snails are safe to eat, steam them, remove the shell, then slit the belly remove the cooked entrails.

Inhabitants of open meadows, grassland, fields and some forests, crickets are a delicacy in many traditional societies. They should be fried or roasted before eating. Crickets are excellent pan-fried or oven toasted, with a bit of oil and salt if you like. The legs should be removed before eating as they can catch in the throat and are irritating. Crickets can also be dried and stored for future use.

A simple trap can be made using a Mason jar and some bait. Dig a small hole in the ground of a cricket-inhabited area, put the jar into this hole and move the soil back into place around it or simply put the jar on its side on the ground. A piece of bait is then placed in the jar (a slice of apple, oats, bread, carrot, lettuce, or a banana). In the morning there should be some crickets enjoying themselves in there. Put the lid on the jar, with holes poked in if you want to keep them alive. As a variation, put water in the jar along with the bait and the crickets will drown. Often people use a solution of molasses and water or stale beer for this; other sweeteners or foods mixed with water may also work.

Grasshoppers inhabit similar terrain as crickets and are similarly prepared and esteemed. They can be harvested by hand in the early morning before they are fully awake, using the same type of traps as described above for crickets, or using more ambitious methods.
A method of harvesting grasshoppers - if you have enough people - is holding hands to form a human wall, and walk across a field of tall grass, herding grasshoppers into a tarp on the other end of the field.

Earthworms are highly nutritious. Worms often come out during heavy rains when the soil becomes so saturated with water they need to get out or drown. A method of trapping them is to dig holes (about six inches diameter, >12” deep), in clay soil. After a heavy rain, the bodies of countless drowned worms will be present in the holes.

Worms’ bodies are filled with dirt, which makes worms sandy and unpleasant to eat. This dirt can be removed by purging (soaking them in water for 3–24 hours) or taking a worm in one hand and squeezing the dirt out of it with your free hand’s fingers. After purging, their flavor can be a little bitter. Drying them mellows this flavor, and reduces their sliminess. Frying worms until crispy also makes them more palatable.
Maggots are a traditional superfood. They are also probably the most revolting insect one could imagine. Maggots are extremely fatty and a rich source of essential amino acids, making them nutritionally far more valuable than lean meat.

Aphids are another edible insect. Depending on what foliage they are feeding on, they can range from slightly bitter to sweet. Upon finding an infested plant or patch of plants, simply collect the aphids and eat them fresh or incorporate them into a meal as a nutritious supplement.

Termites are also cuisine in many traditional societies. They can be harvested individually or in small groups and then toasted in a hot pan. They have a high oil content relative to the size of their body and are quite tasty, with a slightly nutty flavor. Winged termites (alates) are larger and fattier. Alates are harvested using a lamp with netting around it. They are attracted to the light and will collect on the netting. The wings are shed easily by winnowing after they have been toasted. A candle next to a mirror at dusk at the right time of year can yield good results.

Sources:

FM 3-05.70 US Army Survival Manual (formerly FM 21-76)
AFR 64-4 Vol I USAF Search & Rescue Survival Training
SAS Survival Handbook by John Wiseman

Bon Apetit!
STORMBRINGER SENDS

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

LONG BAR STORY . . .


DONE . . . and done!



AND . . . a quiet drink to celebrate: Long Bar Story (Rough Draft) final chapter written complete . . . . . . now all I gotta do is edit, edit, and edit again - three or four times - throw in some illustrations, because everybody likes to look at pictures while they're reading a book full of words . . . S.L.




A LONG TERM GOAL has been to become a published author, but I never seem to have been able to bring a project to completion. There's always some damn distraction - work, mostly. My work is complex and takes me to some pretty exotic destinations. Finally last summer I had some time on my hands, pulling late night shifts while doing maritime security on the oil platforms in the Gulf of Guinea. And so I started writing the stories that became The Long Bar.

My influences are Somerset Maugham for the tropical locales where his stories take place and his subtle sense of irony, Conrad for the dark, introspective ambiance of his works, and of course Hemingway for his brevity and style. Searching for a plot had me hung up but I was determined not to let that stop me, and so the plot became a writer - in a lush tropical locale - struggling with writer's block, and the stories that unfold around him. I set the end of December for a target end date, then got hung up on the final chapter. It was late November and I simply could not get the thing to go down. I'm deployed right now in fact, in the Congo - the setting for Conrad's Heart of Darkness of course - and its been a rough time. This weekend I decided I'd knock out that last chapter come Hell or High Water, and lo and behold I did it.


Nine chapters, between two to three thousand words each, and each one stands alone as a short story on its own merit, but there is an intertwining common theme and they actually play out in a sort of chronological order. The main character owns & operates an unconventional hotel, located on a jungled cliff overlooking the Andaman Sea in southern Thailand. The hotel is actually a series of traditional Thai houses - baan - interconnected by a series of multi-level decks. In the middle of the hotel is a traditional pub: The Long Bar. People come and go, there are some long term residents, events happen and misadventures play out.

The Long Bar is a working title. I'm considering something else, perhaps "Drops of Rain" - inspired by the Highwayman, by Jimmy Webb and performed by The Highwaymen: Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash. A country song about reincarnation that takes one all the way from a highway robber in old England to the captain of a starship, across the Universe Divide. I have always loved that song.


Themes include adventures that start in the here and now and vector off in other-worldly directions, science fiction, Thai animism, Thai Buddhism, Chinese spiritualism and the Hindu view of the Universe. Humans interface with spiritual beings, often without even being aware of it, and karma drives the action to ironic conclusions. Think Somerset Maugham meets The Twilight Zone. Or rather, YOURSELF - meeting ME - in a traditional pub, at an exotic hotel on a jungled cliff overlooking the Andaman Sea, in southern Thailand.

A question now is how to publish? Traditional book route doesn't pay much, versus ebook format. I'm leaning toward the latter. Since I announced my achievement - a complete manuscript - publishing people are coming out of the woodwork. I'm open to any and all suggestions.


For the record. I have written three books, this is the first one that made it all the way to the end. That means there are two other manuscripts - action/adventure in the kind of places my work takes me, with the kind of people I work for and with - so if a publishing house picks me up, they've got at least two more coming down the pipeline. And when you read my book, you'll be reading a book that was written on an oil platform off the coast of Nigeria, in a luxury hotel in Addis Ababa, snowed in a basement in Pennsylvania, and completed on the veranda of an ancient colonial-era hotel in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

This is why I've been so quiet, and I thank each and every one of you for your support . . .

STORMBRINGER SENDS



Monday, November 16, 2015

IT AIN'T NEVER OVER . . .


Sitting here in a diner in Northern Virginia, just pulled into town yesterday from one of the most exotic lands I've ever had the privilege of visiting . . . Ethiopia . . . only just heard of the Paris attacks after I got off the plane - they happened on my birthday. I'm surrounded by good American people on this autumn Sunday morning, coming from church, having a special morning out, talking about school, sporting events or buying cars; meanwhile I'm trying to figure it all out . . . will it ever be over?. . . There ain't no figuring it out . . . this is War, and War is Hell, and it ain't ever over . . .

STORMBRINGER SENDS

Friday, October 23, 2015

RIP CORPORAL NATHAN CIRILLO

One year ago he lost his life standing guard at the National War Memorial.


There are two important lessons learned from last years terror attack in the Canadian capital:

A) The terrorists continue to attack us on our own territory,

B) If you are carrying a weapon, it makes no sense for it not to be loaded, and

It is true that the terrorist was a self-recruited local. However, it is also true that this is also besides the point; it merely points to the effectiveness of the enemy's tactics, which include unorthodox recruiting and training techniques. It is also most likely that the outcome would have been the same if Corporal Cirillo was fully armed, but I'd say its a safe bet that nowadays honor guards at monuments in North America are carrying loaded weapons.

It is also significant to note that Canada is an unarmed population; they have no 2d Amendment. Fortunately there was an armed individual within the Parliament building who could resolve the situation before more lives were taken. This leads to a third important lesson learned:

C) To stop a terrorist / mass murderer (i.e. "active shooter"), an individual armed with a gun is required.

We can't seem to get away from that.

Corporal Nathan Cirillo, RIP

STORMBRINGER SENDS

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

SURVIVAL KITS - WHAT TO KNOW

Read a good book this week . . . here's one I helped write . . . S.L.


The types of items you carry in your survival kit will depend directly upon the environment you are operating in. Layer your survival kits; a small kit that can be carried on your body (items in your pockets, pouches fastened to your belt, lanyards around your neck), more items carried in a small backpack (your "bugout bag"), and a larger kit (packed in a rucksack and carried in the back of your vehicle). Keep important items on your body or in your small backpack, with your phone and other devices. For example; GPS, map and compass, and basic life-sustaining items (knife, lighter). Place bulky items in the rucksack, such as a tarpaulin or other shelter, cans of food, a couple gallons of water and perhaps a sleeping bag.

Items in your survival kit(s) should fall into the following categories:

• Water (filtering, purifying, storage & transportation)
• Shelter
• Food (acquisition & preservation)
• Fire
• Medical
• Signalling
• Weapon (and/or tool, and/or the means to make primitive weapons or tools)
• Miscellaneous

Each category should contain items that allow you to sustain your basic needs. For example; water - you should have items that allow you to scoop up, draw up, soak up, or suck up water; something to gather rainwater, condensation, or perspiration; something to transport water; and something to purify or filter water. Some examples of each category are as follows:

• Water - collapsible canteens or heavy duty plastic bags for carrying water; purification tablets, bleach or povidone-iodine drops (for purifying water), scarves, small towels or scarves, sponges, small plastic or rubber tubing.
• Fire - lighter, metal match, waterproof matches, magnesium bar, candle, magnifying lens.
• Shelter - parachute line (550 cord), tarpaulin or poncho, space blanket, hammock, mosquito net, wire saw.
• Food - knife, snare wire, fishhooks, fish and snare line, bouillon cubes or soup packets, high energy food bars, granola bars, gill net, aluminum foil, zip-lock bags.
• Medical - oxytetracycline tablets (to treat diarrhea or infection), surgical blades or surgical preparation knife, butterfly sutures, lip balm, safety pins, sutures, antidiarrheal medication (imodium), antimalarials (doxycycline), broad-spectrum antibiotics (rocephin and zithromax) and broad spectrum topical ophthalmic (eye) antibiotic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen), petrolatum gauze, and soap. Medical items may make up approximately 50 percent of your survival kit and could certainly be the subject of a stand-alone article.
• Signalling - signal mirror, strobe, pen flares, whistle, International Orange scarves or panels, flashlight, laser pointer, solar blanket.
• Weapon and/or tool - and/or the means to make primitive weapons or tools - even a small penknife or multi-tool can fashion primitive weapons or tools from bamboo or branches. Think of frog gigs, clubs, crossbows, or even wooden knives for killing game and preparing meat and hides. Digging tools, bamboo water containers and cookware, and walking sticks are useful tools you can easily make.
• Miscellaneous - compass, needle and thread, money, extra eyeglasses, knife sharpening stone or steel, salt, and survival manual.


Given your circumstances, you might carry a large sheath knife, machete or hatchet. Learn survival techniques in the references at the end of this article. Consider the environment in which you are working or traveling through, then prepare your survival kit(s) with items that are durable, multipurpose, and lightweight.

In preparing your survival kit, select items that are multipurpose, compact, lightweight, durable, and most importantly, functional. An item is not good if it looks great but doesn't do what it was designed for, or breaks after the first use. Items should complement each other from layer to layer. A signal mirror in your pocket can be backed up by pen flares in your personal survival kit, and a signal panel in your bug-out bag. A lighter in your pocket can be augmented by a magnesium bar in your survival kit and additional dry tinder in your bug-out bag.

Survival kits need not be elaborate. You only need functional items that will meet your needs and a container to hold the items. A soap dish, tobacco tin, first aid case, ammunition pouch, or plastic food container might be a suitable case. This case should be waterproof, easy to carry or attach to your body, suitable to accept various-sized components, and durable.

You are only limited by your imagination; indeed, creative thought combined with basic skills can replace many of the items in a kit. Combined with the will to live, it can mean the difference between surviving to return home with dignity or not returning at all.


Sources:

US Army Field Manual 3-05.70 Survival (formerly FM 21-76)

The SAS Survival Guide by John “Lofty” Wiseman

The Boy Scout Handbook

12 Outdoor Survival Skillsw Every Guy Should Master

5 Basic Survival Skills You Can Practice In Your Backyard Now

Since I retired from active duty I've had my ups and downs and been knocked around a bit in this crazy world . . . nowadays I find myself right back where I started seven years ago - albeit under much better circumstances and for a significant amount more pay. Intelligence + Experience = Wisdom . . . that and a robust network will get you to where you want to go in Life - its working for me . . . cheers -

STORMBRINGER SENDS