So something I’ve always had a passing interest in is improving the human system. I’ve never used steroids before as I got scared off by seeing how they effected some of my Army buddies. From ‘roid rage to dude’s growing permanent “bitch tits” because they weren’t cycling properly. It is too bad the FDA over regulates this stuff because if it were not illegal than doctors could professionalize steroid use so that soldiers, athletes, and regular people could use them safely.
But more interesting to me personally is improving the cognitive process. There are many ways to do this of course, if you never stop learning we can supposedly tack on an additional 10 IQ points to our score every decade. There are other ways to achieve balance and clarity such as Yoga and meditation. I was interested when I heard about a supplement called Alpha Brain which claims to increase focus, clarity, increase creativity, and also induce lucid dreams.
I ordered the smaller 30 tablet bottle and began taking two pills a day for two weeks. The first day I noticed a clear difference. The two Alpha Brain pills mellowed me out big time. Not like I was lazy and sitting around all day, but as I was going around doing things I felt very laid back. I can see how this effect would be helpful when you have a task at hand that requires you to focus in and not be scatter brained. However, I only experienced this the first day I used Alpha Brain. These results were never repeated again.
One other effect that Alpha Brain had was inducing lucid dreams. In this sense the product lived up to the advertising. One night I popped two pills just before bed. I had some insane dreams. I was a spy and had to pass off a secret message that was hidden in one of those red Netflix envelops. Bob Barker was my handler and I spent a lot of time hanging out on the set of The Price is Right. Betty White was one of my targets. I had to retrieve critical information from her but had a difficult time sorting through all her Cosco cards to find it. That dream was pretty funny, but I found that when I took the pills during the day I would still have some lucid dreams at night. To tell you the truth, it got to the point where it made it uncomfortable for me to sleep. I don’t remember those dreams very well but they were unsettling enough to wake me up. One that I do remember was a guy getting his face cut off and he continued to scrambling around looking for help.
I won’t be ordering Alpha Brain again. It was interesting to try out but the day time effects wore off very quickly, perhaps because my body chemically adjusted to the contents of the pills but I’m not a doctor… Taking a couple before bed in an interesting experience but otherwise the dreams they induce prevented me from getting a full night’s sleep. It seems my quest for cognitive enhancement will continue. Right now I feel like the dude in the Bourne Legacy who’s Army recruiter tacked ten IQ points onto his test so that he could make his quota.
I have to say, the highlight of SHOT 2013 was the Crye Precision party. This year it had a Roman Empire/Ben Hur type theme where we all got issued togas on the way in. Then came the chariot races… The proletariat was issued with vegetables to throw at the racers as they shot by. It was hard to get some distance with the bananas but I saw one driver get pegged right in the junk with an orange…ouch.
So far we are weapons hot here in Las Vegas for the SHOT show. I hosted Inside the Team Room, filmed in The Foundation Room at the top of the Mandalay Hotel yesterday. The guests were former 3rd Ranger Battalion soldiers Isaiah Burkhart, Clyde Carmody, and Nick Irving. I think we got some great stuff on tape, the bulk of the show will consist of funny and ridiculous stories from Ranger Battalion with an equal amount of time spent on combat deployments. Inside the Team Room will now go in to Post-Production and I will keep you up to date for when the first episode goes live.
Jack, Burkhart, Carmody, and Nick
Finally getting some sleep, Burkhart, Nick, and myself headed out to the Media Range Day with Brandon Webb this morning. We got to fire some guns but it was way colder than anyone expected. Not at all a fun day to shoot! We did check out the new Gen. 4 10mm Glocks which were pretty sweet. I also finally got some trigger time on the HK 417. In my novel, Target Deck, I have the team sniper carry the 417 as his primary weapon. I didn’t have any experience behind this rifle myself but when some experts in the field that I know tell me that this is their favorite semi-automatic sniper rifle I am willing to take their word for it.
Shooting the HK 417, as you can see it was a little windy
The rifle itself fired much like the SR-25 but with the gas-piston upper receiver the recoil goes straight to the rear of the rifle as opposed to pushing the rifle to the rear and upwards with a traditional gas gun. Long distance marksmanship (and marksmanship in general) is a perishable skill and unfortunately I don’t get much trigger time these days as I live in New York City and don’t get away from my college studies as much as I might want too. Yeah, I had no trouble knocking out the center of a steel target, but that is with a 7.62 rifle, with a ten power scope, from about 75 meters away. Not exactly an impressive sniper shot. However, I came away from my experience with the 417 thinking one thing: I WANT ONE.
Thanks everyone who ordered, the response was pretty overwhelming! I’ve only got three more Target Deck paperbacks available at this time and then I will have to order another shipment. On the other hand, I’ve got three boxes filled with Reflexive Fire novels…
Brandon and I are grinding away at this ebook about Benghazi and are slowly making some progress. It is a complicated topic that very quickly shoots out in a few dozen different directions. I think today I’m going to write into it how General Petraeus figures into this mess, or rather, how he doesn’t.
(Pictured: Private Security Contractor in Libya during the Civil War with an HK 417. The ebook will also cover previously unreleased information about PMC’s in Libya as Gaddafi’s reign came to an end)
On November 23rd, 2009 over 100 armed men descended on a convoy belonging to Filipino political candidate Esmael Mangudadatu. The candidate was not traveling with his entourage, which consisted of dozens of people including family members and journalists. With a bounty put on Mangudadatu’s head, gunmen consisting of private bodyguards, off duty soldiers, policemen, police auxiliaries, a civilian armed forces group, and hired assassins converged on the convoy simultaneously.
Mangudadtu had been warned by his political rivals of what would happen if he chose to run for governor, and stayed behind when he sent his convoy ahead to register his candidacy. Previously, a group of armed Ampatuans showed up at his residence to deliver the message in no uncertain terms.
Esmael’s convoy was halted on the way to file Mangudadtu’s Certificate of Candidacy by the Filipino National Police and Auxiliary. What followed was the ruthless slaughter of 58 civilians, including the rape and murder of women as well as the mutilation of their bodies. Additionally, 34 journalists traveling with the convoy were also executed.
Both Ampatuan and Mangundatatu are powerful families in the Muslim-dominated Mindinao Island of the Philippines. They have to be courted by the political establishment in order to be elected to office. Both families essentially constitute private Armies, the heads of each acting as shoguns over their personal fiefdoms. Perhaps the Western comparison is between medieval feuding family clans such as in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. As news of the massacre spread, the surrounding area was placed under martial law on December 5th, 2009.
The Filipino security forces who participated in the massacre have been released, as they are innocent until proven guilty, but it is believed that the bulk of the killing was done by Ampatuan hitmen and goons, the Ampatuan private militia as it were.
I’ve been very open about the fact that I do not support having women in Infantry and Special Operations roles but that hasn’t stopped people to projecting and assuming various things after reading this interview I recently conducted with a female Special Forces enabler. Actually, I might be giving them to much credit by saying they read it. I think they are just looking at the pictures and than ranting based on their preconceived belief system rather than reading what is actually said in the interview. I knew this was going to be a hot topic, but had no idea that I would have to put out some fires in some strange quarters over it. I could have written 100 pieces about combat reform and they wouldn’t get a fraction of the interest that any article about women in combat gets!
What type of patrols did you go out on and what was your duty position and responsibilities?
We went out on both mounted and dismounted patrols. We conducted clearings some of which were conducted in the local villages. During missions, I was part of the security element and when engaged, fought side-by-side with the team.
After proving myself to be a capable soldier, I was viewed as such, which meant I was not seen as a female that needed to be protected (I was not a distraction on the battlefield). Additionally, as a CST, my partner and I conducted female engagements.
What is it like going out on patrol as a female soldier with Infantry and Special Forces soldiers who are exclusively male? Does it make a difference or is it just a part of the job?
Going out on patrols with the guys was awesome! I would rather work with a bunch of “Type-A” males then a bunch of females any day! It’s pretty easy to get along with these types of guys, you just have to know how to roll with shit and make sure you’ve got thick skin, very thick skin. Now I’m not saying it’s all puppies and sunshine, to the contrary, you better bring it and if you suck at life, you’re screwed, I’ve seen it!
I recently gave a presentation on Directed Energy Weapons for a class I took at Columbia University:
You can view more, including some additional commentary by reading the full article on SOFREP.com
This week I also wrote an article on women’s self defense that I hope clears up some of the disingenuous information that is out there on this topic.
My friend Iassen, a fellow Ranger Regiment veteran, wrote a very interesting article about the three Special Operations soldiers who were killed in Mali this week.
I wrote some commentary recently about mission creep in regards to the deployment of UAV’s on American soil.
With some help, I put together an update on what is going on in the Philippines and in the Pacific Rim with China attempting to throw it’s weight around. Today it’s the Scarborough Shoal, tomorrow it may be the entire South China Sea.
Special Forces soldiers caught up in a scandal with Colombian hookers?!?! Oh, nooooeeesss! Say it ain’t so!
In case you missed it, Brandon and I were recently interviewed by ABC News!
In part 1 of this series we covered the exploits of Matthew VanDyke, an American Georgetown grad who traveled to Libya to join his friends and participate in the armed rebellion against Gaddafi’s 40+ year dictatorship. In part 2, Matt told me about the circumstances of his capture by the Libyan military.
“On March 12 I went with three other rebels on a reconnaissance mission to Brega. Ra’s Lanuf had just fallen to Gaddafi’s forces a couple of days before, and Brega would be attacked next. We did not think that Gaddafi would move so quickly after taking Ra’s Lanuf and thought we had a few days before Brega would be attacked. The plan was to recon the city, identify defensive positions, and then return to Benghazi to gather more men and weapons before going back to Brega to help defend it.
On March 13, during the reconnaissance mission, we were ambushed by Gaddafi’s forces. I was struck in the head during the ambush and woke up in a prison cell to the sound of a man being tortured in a room above me. I have no memory of the ambush or what happened to the men I was with. One minute we were talking to some locals in the street who served us coffee and I took their picture, and the next thing I remember was regaining consciousness for a few seconds with my hands and legs tightly bound and me being carried, and then I woke up in the prison cell.
This is the official website for my military action-adventure novel, "Reflexive Fire" and the "PROMIS" series. Here you will be able to sample large portions of my books and read more about them. Also discussed are various military and para-military topics such as Private Military Companies, mercenaries, Special Operations units, historical events, book reviews, and much more. Please feel free to respond with any questions or comments you may have.