Tag Archives: War on Terror

Warbirds – AH-1 Cobra ,Super Cobra, and Viper

Today’s installment of Warbirds brings us to the venerable AH-1 Cobra / Super Cobra / Viper.  This iconic helicopter saw its debut in Vietnam and still serves to this day.  The AH-1’s first flight took place on September 7th, 1965.

AH-1W wireframe

In the late 1950’s Bell Helicopter was committed to the US Army’s air cavalry concept.  With  the realization that the UH-1 “Hueys” were more vulnerable to North Vietnamese and even Viet Cong ground fire that first envisioned, it was decided that an armed escort was needed.  To fill this role some UH-1s were upgraded to carry multiple machine guns and rockets.  However, their light armor, slow speed, and open architecture meant that they were ill suited to close support and a would provide no permanent solution.

During the development of the “Huey”, Bell had begun work on designs for an attack helicopter.  The D-255 “Iroquois Warrior” was their concept mockup that led to the building of the “Sioux Scout” built on the Model 47 airframe.  It included many of the modern attack helicopter elements such as a tandem cockpit, weapons mounts on stub wings, and a chin mounted weapons system.  However, the underpowered and undersized nature of the scout was deemed to be unsuitable.  The Army decided to go with the Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS).  10 years and millions later, the spawn of the AAFSS, the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne was cancelled.

AH-1 Super Cobra weapons loadout

Despite not being chosen to compete for AAFSS, Bell went ahead with their development of a new attack helicopter based on many of the tried and true components in the UH-1.  With AAFSS development proving costly and slow, the Army announced that they were looking for quick development of an interim gunship.  Presented to the Army in 1965 as the Model 209, Bell’s prototype rolled out on September 3rd and was in the air just 4 days later.  Only 7 months later the AH-1G was selected over the other competitors – the  Boeing-Vertol ACH-47A, Kaman HH-2C Tomahawk, Piasecki 16H Pathfinder, and Sikorsky S-61.

With its own increasing use of helicopters, the Marine Corps was highly interested in adding a dedicated gunship to its growing fleet of support aircraft.  The Corps, however, determined that they needed increased reliability and firepower.  Out of these requirements Bell developed a twin-engine version designated the AH-1J.  Further upgrades were ordered for future Army models that would include better avionics, more powerful engines, and integration of the TOW weapons system for greater anti-tank capability.  These would lead to upgrades and designations of AH-1F, Q, and S.

Cobra Cap

Cobras of all sorts saw over a million operational hours during Vietnam.  They would also be used in the Invasion of Grenada, Operation Just Hope, and the Invasion of Panama.  By the 90’s, the Army began its transition from the Cobra to the newer AH-64 Apache.  Though being phased out, Cobras still played a vital role in the Gulf War, Somalia, and even some humanitarian operations.  the last Army AH-1 left service in March of 1999.

AH-1 Cobra from Marine Medium Tilitorotor Squadron (VMM) 161 on flight deck of San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23)

The Marine Corps was also interested in acquiring the Apache, but the request was denied by Congress.  It was felt that the cost of creating a ship-based version would be too costly and that the Marine Corps would be the only customer for such a specialized craft.  In response, a new wave of upgrades was applied to the fleet of Marine SeaCobras; turning them into SuperCobras.  models AH-1T, T+, and W would result in greater reliability, more power, integration of more advance avionics, and the capability to utilize AIM-9 Sidewinder and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles

israeli cobras over masada

By the end of the 1990’s, another denial by Congress of the Marine Corps acquisition of Apaches led to a new development wave.  Today’s AH-1Z Viper is the result.  It features a new four-blade, composite rotor system for better battle damage tolerance, reduced noise, and increased flight characteristics.  Additionally, the Viper has longer stub wings with an increased payload capacity.  And, to fully take advantage of increased force integration and communication, a fully modernized suite of avionics and electronics was included.  With these upgrades, the venerable AH-1 has continued to fill a critical vital role in both Iraq and Afghanistan during the Global War on Terror.

ah-1z viper

Over 2500 AH-1 aircraft of various models have been built since 1965.  They have seen service on battlefields around the world and with the armed forces of the US, Iran, Israel, Japan, Pakistan, Taiwan, and Turkey.  Today you will even find retired Army Cobras working in the US Forest Service and the Florida Division of Forestry for fire monitoring and suppression.

Below you can enjoy a clip of Cobras and Vipers in action.

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Lost and Found – September 20th Edition

What to remember about September 20th…

  • 1519  Expedition led by Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan sets sail from Spain; Vittoria completes 1st circumnavigation of the globe nearly 3 years later
  • 1863  Confederate forces win bloody victory at Battle of Chickamauga
  • 1881  Chester A. Arthur is sworn in as president after the death of James Garfield; he is 3rd person to serve as president that year
  • 1893  Duryea brothers road test the 1st American made gasoline powered automobile
  • 1958  Izola Ware Curry attempts to assassinate civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr in New York City
  • 1977  Socialist Republic of Vietnam is admitted to the United Nations
  • 2001  President George W. Bush addresses Congress stating “Our ‘war on terror’ begins with Al Qaeda, but it does not end there.”
  • 2011  “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy ends in the U.S. military
  • 2014  Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan arrives in Dallas, TX.  Infected with Ebola, he becomes “patient zero” in 1st outbreak of the disease in US.

Warbirds – AH-1 Cobra ,Super Cobra, and Viper

Today’s installment of Warbirds brings us to the venerable AH-1 Cobra / Super Cobra / Viper.  This iconic helicopter saw its debut in Vietnam and still serves to this day.  The AH-1’s first flight took place on September 7th, 1965.

AH-1W wireframe

In the late 1950’s Bell Helicopter was committed to the US Army’s air cavalry concept.  With  the realization that the UH-1 “Hueys” were more vulnerable to North Vietnamese and even Viet Cong ground fire that first envisioned, it was decided that an armed escort was needed.  To fill this role some UH-1s were upgraded to carry multiple machine guns and rockets.  However, their light armor, slow speed, and open architecture meant that they were ill suited to close support and a would provide no permanent solution.

During the development of the “Huey”, Bell had begun work on designs for an attack helicopter.  The D-255 “Iroquois Warrior” was their concept mockup that led to the building of the “Sioux Scout” built on the Model 47 airframe.  It included many of the modern attack helicopter elements such as a tandem cockpit, weapons mounts on stub wings, and a chin mounted weapons system.  However, the underpowered and undersized nature of the scout was deemed to be unsuitable.  The Army decided to go with the Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS).  10 years and millions later, the spawn of the AAFSS, the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne was cancelled.

AH-1 Super Cobra weapons loadout

Despite not being chosen to compete for AAFSS, Bell went ahead with their development of a new attack helicopter based on many of the tried and true components in the UH-1.  With AAFSS development proving costly and slow, the Army announced that they were looking for quick development of an interim gunship.  Presented to the Army in 1965 as the Model 209, Bell’s prototype rolled out on September 3rd and was in the air just 4 days later.  Only 7 months later the AH-1G was selected over the other competitors – the  Boeing-Vertol ACH-47A, Kaman HH-2C Tomahawk, Piasecki 16H Pathfinder, and Sikorsky S-61.

With its own increasing use of helicopters, the Marine Corps was highly interested in adding a dedicated gunship to its growing fleet of support aircraft.  The Corps, however, determined that they needed increased reliability and firepower.  Out of these requirements Bell developed a twin-engine version designated the AH-1J.  Further upgrades were ordered for future Army models that would include better avionics, more powerful engines, and integration of the TOW weapons system for greater anti-tank capability.  These would lead to upgrades and designations of AH-1F, Q, and S.

Cobra Cap

Cobras of all sorts saw over a million operational hours during Vietnam.  They would also be used in the Invasion of Grenada, Operation Just Hope, and the Invasion of Panama.  By the 90’s, the Army began its transition from the Cobra to the newer AH-64 Apache.  Though being phased out, Cobras still played a vital role in the Gulf War, Somalia, and even some humanitarian operations.  the last Army AH-1 left service in March of 1999.

AH-1 Cobra from Marine Medium Tilitorotor Squadron (VMM) 161 on flight deck of San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23)

The Marine Corps was also interested in acquiring the Apache, but the request was denied by Congress.  It was felt that the cost of creating a ship-based version would be too costly and that the Marine Corps would be the only customer for such a specialized craft.  In response, a new wave of upgrades was applied to the fleet of Marine SeaCobras; turning them into SuperCobras.  models AH-1T, T+, and W would result in greater reliability, more power, integration of more advance avionics, and the capability to utilize AIM-9 Sidewinder and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles

israeli cobras over masada

By the end of the 1990’s, another denial by Congress of the Marine Corps acquisition of Apaches led to a new development wave.  Today’s AH-1Z Viper is the result.  It features a new four-blade, composite rotor system for better battle damage tolerance, reduced noise, and increased flight characteristics.  Additionally, the Viper has longer stub wings with an increased payload capacity.  And, to fully take advantage of increased force integration and communication, a fully modernized suite of avionics and electronics was included.  With these upgrades, the venerable AH-1 has continued to fill a critical vital role in both Iraq and Afghanistan during the Global War on Terror.

ah-1z viper

Over 2500 AH-1 aircraft of various models have been built since 1965.  They have seen service on battlefields around the world and with the armed forces of the US, Iran, Israel, Japan, Pakistan, Taiwan, and Turkey.  Today you will even find retired Army Cobras working in the US Forest Service and the Florida Division of Forestry for fire monitoring and suppression.

Below you can enjoy a clip of Cobras and Vipers in action.

Warbirds – AH-1 Cobra ,Super Cobra, and Viper

Today’s installment of Warbirds brings us to the venerable AH-1 Cobra / Super Cobra / Viper.  This iconic helicopter saw its debut in Vietnam and still serves to this day.  The AH-1’s first flight took place on September 7th, 1965.

AH-1W wireframe

In the late 1950’s Bell Helicopter was committed to the US Army’s air cavalry concept.  With  the realization that the UH-1 “Hueys” were more vulnerable to North Vietnamese and even Viet Cong ground fire that first envisioned, it was decided that an armed escort was needed.  To fill this role some UH-1s were upgraded to carry multiple machine guns and rockets.  However, their light armor, slow speed, and open architecture meant that they were ill suited to close support and a would provide no permanent solution.

During the development of the “Huey”, Bell had begun work on designs for an attack helicopter.  The D-255 “Iroquois Warrior” was their concept mockup that led to the building of the “Sioux Scout” built on the Model 47 airframe.  It included many of the modern attack helicopter elements such as a tandem cockpit, weapons mounts on stub wings, and a chin mounted weapons system.  However, the underpowered and undersized nature of the scout was deemed to be unsuitable.  The Army decided to go with the Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS).  10 years and millions later, the spawn of the AAFSS, the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne was cancelled.

AH-1 Super Cobra weapons loadout

Despite not being chosen to compete for AAFSS, Bell went ahead with their development of a new attack helicopter based on many of the tried and true components in the UH-1.  With AAFSS development proving costly and slow, the Army announced that they were looking for quick development of an interim gunship.  Presented to the Army in 1965 as the Model 209, Bell’s prototype rolled out on September 3rd and was in the air just 4 days later.  Only 7 months later the AH-1G was selected over the other competitors – the  Boeing-Vertol ACH-47A, Kaman HH-2C Tomahawk, Piasecki 16H Pathfinder, and Sikorsky S-61.

With its own increasing use of helicopters, the Marine Corps was highly interested in adding a dedicated gunship to its growing fleet of support aircraft.  The Corps, however, determined that they needed increased reliability and firepower.  Out of these requirements Bell developed a twin-engine version designated the AH-1J.  Further upgrades were ordered for future Army models that would include better avionics, more powerful engines, and integration of the TOW weapons system for greater anti-tank capability.  These would lead to upgrades and designations of AH-1F, Q, and S.

Cobra Cap

Cobras of all sorts saw over a million operational hours during Vietnam.  They would also be used in the Invasion of Grenada, Operation Just Hope, and the Invasion of Panama.  By the 90’s, the Army began its transition from the Cobra to the newer AH-64 Apache.  Though being phased out, Cobras still played a vital role in the Gulf War, Somalia, and even some humanitarian operations.  the last Army AH-1 left service in March of 1999.

AH-1 Cobra from Marine Medium Tilitorotor Squadron (VMM) 161 on flight deck of San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23)

The Marine Corps was also interested in acquiring the Apache, but the request was denied by Congress.  It was felt that the cost of creating a ship-based version would be too costly and that the Marine Corps would be the only customer for such a specialized craft.  In response, a new wave of upgrades was applied to the fleet of Marine SeaCobras; turning them into SuperCobras.  models AH-1T, T+, and W would result in greater reliability, more power, integration of more advance avionics, and the capability to utilize AIM-9 Sidewinder and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles

israeli cobras over masada

By the end of the 1990’s, another denial by Congress of the Marine Corps acquisition of Apaches led to a new development wave.  Today’s AH-1Z Viper is the result.  It features a new four-blade, composite rotor system for better battle damage tolerance, reduced noise, and increased flight characteristics.  Additionally, the Viper has longer stub wings with an increased payload capacity.  And, to fully take advantage of increased force integration and communication, a fully modernized suite of avionics and electronics was included.  With these upgrades, the venerable AH-1 has continued to fill a critical vital role in both Iraq and Afghanistan during the Global War on Terror.

ah-1z viper

Over 2500 AH-1 aircraft of various models have been built since 1965.  They have seen service on battlefields around the world and with the armed forces of the US, Iran, Israel, Japan, Pakistan, Taiwan, and Turkey.  Today you will even find retired Army Cobras working in the US Forest Service and the Florida Division of Forestry for fire monitoring and suppression.

Below you can enjoy a clip of Cobras and Vipers in action.

Lost and Found – September 20th Edition

What to remember about September 20th…

  • 1519  Expedition led by Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan sets sail from Spain; Vittoria completes 1st circumnavigation of the globe nearly 3 years later
  • 1863  Confederate forces win bloody victory at Battle of Chickamauga
  • 1881  Chester A. Arthur is sworn in as president after the death of James Garfield; he is 3rd person to serve as president that year
  • 1893  Duryea brothers road test the 1st American made gasoline powered automobile
  • 1958  Izola Ware Curry attempts to assassinate civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr in New York City
  • 1977  Socialist Republic of Vietnam is admitted to the United Nations
  • 2001  President George W. Bush addresses Congress stating “Our ‘war on terror’ begins with Al Qaeda, but it does not end there.”
  • 2011  “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy ends in the U.S. military
  • 2014  Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan arrives in Dallas, TX.  Infected with Ebola, he becomes “patient zero” in 1st outbreak of the disease in US.

Lost and Found – November 13th Edition

What to remember about November 13th…

  • 1775  Patriot forces under General Montgomery capture Montreal, Canada
  • 1927  In New York City, the Holland Tunnel opens to traffic; 1st vehicle tunnel passing under the Hudson River
  • 1940  Walt Disney animated film Fantasia makes theatrical debut
  • 1945  President Truman announces panel to investigate settling Jewish refugees who survived Holocaust in British Palestine
  • 1969  2-day “March Against Death” begins in Washington, D.C. to protest the war in Vietnam
  • 1982  Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C.
  • 2001  President Bush signs order establishing military tribunals for foreigners captured as part of the War on Terror
  • 2009  NASA announces that impact of LCROSS satellite on the Moon has revealed the presence water

Lost and Found – September 20th Edition

What to remember about September 20th…

  • 1519  Expedition led by Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan sets sail from Spain; Vittoria completes 1st circumnavigation of the globe nearly 3 years later
  • 1863  Confederate forces win bloody victory at Battle of Chickamauga
  • 1881  Chester A. Arthur is sworn in as president after the death of James Garfield; he is 3rd person to serve as president that year
  • 1893  Duryea brothers road test the 1st American made gasoline powered automobile
  • 1958  Izola Ware Curry attempts to assassinate civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr in New York City
  • 1977  Socialist Republic of Vietnam is admitted to the United Nations
  • 2001  President George W. Bush addresses Congress stating “Our ‘war on terror’ begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there.”
  • 2011  “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy ends in the U.S. military

Staff Sergeant Jared C. Monti, MoH – RiP

For a Commander-in-Chief who deems that the War on Terror in now primarily on the internet, I would take a moment to remind him of the sacrifices of  our military men, women, and their families.  Here is one who gave all so that we can enjoy the bounty and blessings of freedom.

MoH citation for SSG Jared C. Monti:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Staff Sergeant Jared C. Monti distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a team leader with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3d Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3d Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, in connection with combat operations against an armed enemy in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, on June 21, 2006.

While Staff Sergeant Monti was leading a mission aimed at gathering intelligence and directing fire against the enemy, his 16-man patrol was attacked by as many as 50 enemy fighters. On the verge of being overrun, Staff Sergeant Monti quickly directed his men to set up a defensive position behind a rock formation. He then called for indirect fire support, accurately targeting the rounds upon the enemy who had closed to within 50 meters of his position. While still directing fire, Staff Sergeant Monti personally engaged the enemy with his rifle and a grenade, successfully disrupting an attempt to flank his patrol. Staff Sergeant Monti then realized that one of his Soldiers was lying wounded in the open ground between the advancing enemy and the patrol’s position.

With complete disregard for his own safety, Staff Sergeant Monti twice attempted to move from behind the cover of the rocks into the face of relentless enemy fire to rescue his fallen comrade. Determined not to leave his Soldier, Staff Sergeant Monti made a third attempt to cross open terrain through intense enemy fire. On this final attempt, he was mortally wounded, sacrificing his own life in an effort to save his fellow Soldier.

Staff Sergeant Monti’s selfless acts of heroism inspired his patrol to fight off the larger enemy force. Staff Sergeant Monti’s immeasurable courage and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, and the United States Army.

The video below is one that I had seen on the net before.  But, it turns out that SSG Monti’s story had directly inspired it.  Take a moment to watch it.

Then came the part of the interview that hit me hardest: It was the moment when Paul Monti talked about his son’s truck, and why he still has it, and still drives it.

“What can I tell you? It’s him,” Jared’s father explained, nearly choking on his words. “It’s got his DNA all over it. I love driving it because it reminds me of him, though I don’t need the truck to remind me of him. I think about him every hour of every day.”

I was already tearing up before that story about Jared’s truck. But as the details piled up — the truck was a Dodge 4X4 Ram 1500 with decals on it that included the 10th Mountain Division, the 82nd Airborne Division, an American flag, and a Go Army sticker — I lost it…

I wasn’t the only one in a car crying that day. It turns out that a Nashville songwriter named Connie Harrington was in her car, too, listening to the very same story. Moved to tears, she pulled over to the side of the road, scribbling notes as the story proceeded.

(HT: Ace of Spades HQ – thanks guys.)

I Am The 0.45%

Too many people today take for granted or even look down upon those who have chosen to sacrifice years of their lives in the service of their nation.  The letter below posits that the disconnect may come from the shrinking percentage of Americans that have shared this experience or had someone close to them that did.  Read it and take a moment to really consider the implications.

This came to me via Dave J. from Facebook.  I don’t know where it originated from so I’ll repost the whole thing here and add a link to where it was on Facebook.

*****

Scott

This is a long message but a friend of mine posted this and I thought it should be disseminated to the largest possible audience. Something only a few understand. These aren’t my words but the words of a fellow Soldier.

I remember the day I found out I got into West Point. My mom actually showed up in the hallway of my high school and waited for me to get out of class. She was bawling her eyes out and apologizing that she had opened up my admission letter. She wasn’t crying because it had been her dream for me to go there. She was crying because she knew how hard I’d worked to get in, how much I wanted to attend, and how much I wanted to be an infantry officer. I was going to get that opportunity.

That same day two of my teachers took me aside and essentially told me the following: Nick, you’re a smart guy. You don’t have to join the military. You should go to college, instead.

I could easily write a tome defending West Point and the military as I did that day, explaining that the USMA is an elite institution, that separate from that it is actually statistically much harder to enlist in the military than it is to get admitted to college, that serving the nation is a challenge that all able-bodied men should at least consider for a host of reasons, but I won’t.

What I will say is that when a 16 year-old kid is being told that attending West Point is going to be bad for his future then there is a dangerous disconnect in America, and entirely too many Americans have no idea what kind of burdens our military is bearing.

In World War II, 11.2% of the nation served in four years.

In Vietnam, 4.3% served in 12 years.

Since 2001, only 0.45% of our population has served in the Global War on Terror.

These are unbelievable statistics.

Over time, fewer and fewer people have shouldered more and more of the burden and it is only getting worse.

Our troops were sent to war in Iraq by a Congress consisting of 10% Veterans with only one person having a child in the military.

Taxes did not increase to pay for the war. War bonds were not sold. Gas was not regulated. In fact, the average citizen was asked to sacrifice nothing, and has sacrificed nothing unless they have chosen to out of the goodness of their hearts.

The only people who have sacrificed are the veterans and their families. The volunteers. The people who swore an oath to defend this nation.

You stand there, deployment after deployment and fight on. You’ve lost relationships, spent years of your lives in extreme conditions, years apart from kids you’ll never get back, and beaten your body in a way that even professional athletes don’t understand. Then you come home to a nation that doesn’t understand.

They don’t understand suffering.

They don’t understand sacrifice.

They don’t understand why we fight for them.

They don’t understand that bad people exist.

They look at you like you’re a machine – like something is wrong with you. You are the misguided one – not them.

When you get out, you sit in the college classrooms with political science teachers that discount your opinions on Iraq and Afghanistan because YOU WERE THERE and can’t understand the macro issues they gathered from books, because of your bias.

You watch TV shows where every vet has PTSD and the violent strain at that. Your Congress is debating your benefits, your retirement, and your pay, while they ask you to do more. But the amazing thing about you is that you all know this. You know your country will never pay back what you’ve given up. You know that the populace at large will never truly understand or appreciate what you have done for them.

Hell, you know that in some circles, you will be thought as less than normal for having worn the uniform. But you do it anyway. You do what the greatest men and women of this country have done since 1775 – YOU SERVED. Just that decision alone makes you part of an elite group.

“Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.” Winston Churchill

 Thank you to the 0.45% who have and continue to serve our Nation

Is it a War on Terror or the Munchies?

Hey, I am all about disaster preparedness.  I carry an emergency kit with first aid gear in my car.  Hurricane and disaster supplies are always maintained in my house.  The “get outta dodge” packs for the wife and I even include food for our pets.  I believe that an unloaded magazine is a sin.  I will even admit to stocking up on toilet paper and peanut butter for Y2K or Zombie attack.  But, some things just never crossed my mind when I think “preparedness” in terms of Homeland Security.

Well, Montcalm County in Michigan is now officially the most prepared municipality in America.  Due to the recently approved grant request by the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission (WMSRDC), Montcalm and 12 other counties are now each armed with $900 Arctic Blast Sno-Cone machines.

The Greenville Daily News reports that the documents supporting justification of the grant application state that “the snow cone machines can make ice to prevent heat-related illnesses during emergencies, treat injuries and provide snow cones as an outreach at promotional events”.  Preparedness education being the priority, the Montcalm County Emergency Services director says “(he doesn’t)like the term snow cone machine”.  though he admits that the “ice-shaving machine” will probably see a lot more use in the summertime; especially by the fire department.

Now, if emergency services in these counties really felt the need for equipment to provide ice in disaster situations, was this the most cost-effective way to fill their needs?  The units they bought for $900 each are available on Amazon.com for $521 with free shipping.  And, is selling sno-cones the best way to get people to get educated about preparedness and homeland security?  It’s an innovative idea.  But then so was “New Coke”.

However this works out, I do approve of the counties trying to make preparedness more prevalent in our country.  Terrorism aside, the potential for disruptive and deadly disasters is quite real.  Tornados, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, floods and more pose real threats to public safety and personal security.  Always ensure your family has a disaster preparedness plan.  Have a few days non-perishable food and water stored in a knapsack or backpack for each family member.  Keep your first aid supplies stocked and up to date and see about getting extras of critical prescription meds on hand as well (most doctors will prescribe them if you explain why).  Try to have a few hundred dollars in small bills easily at hand as well as plenty of ammunition.  You never know what might make the difference if you find yourself in the middle of something really unpleasant.

As for those counties in Michigan, the voters will have to decide if their tax dollars are being spent wisely.  Preparedness IS important.  I just wonder what justification they used when they asked for the popcorn machines?

(Hat tip to The Drudge Report.  Nice catch.)

UPDATE:  Michigan is so strapped for cash that Detroit joins a growing list of cities that will no longer provide police escorts for funerals.  CBS Detroit has ths story.