Monday, September 14, 2020

ARRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!

 Back in the Stone ages when I was in College, I had a couple of posters hanging on my dorm room wall.

One was this one.

Source

Which kinda summed up my attitude at the time.  I wanted to get out of college and get on with living.

The other was a bit of a throttle on that emotion.

Source

But, Mrs J and I had a vivid example of the truth in the latter this past week.  We had been set up to close on our house today since the 25th of August.  We've checked at least weekly with the various agencies involved to make sure everything was on target.

"Yep, juvat, all's well."  

You know where this is going don't you?

Thursday we called again to check.  When we called the bank, we got a "We'll get back to you". 

Yes, my internal Radar Threat Warning gear went into screaming alarm mode.  Later that afternoon, we  got a call saying the underwriters were behind and our closing was rescheduled for the end of the month.

Fortunately, NASA was quickly able to strap a payload to my hind end and save launch cost for a resupply run to the ISS.

Upon returning to Earth, I explained to them that the agreement with Tilson expired the end of the month, that we had already arranged for the moving company to move our heavy stuff Tuesday and they would not be available again until after the end of the month and, finally, that we had set up delivery of our appliances which also could not be rescheduled.

At that point, Mrs J being the kinder and gentler of the two of us, asked what was the hold up.  The banker replied that the refinance office was way behind due to a huge demand for refinancing (low interest rates expected to go back up).  But...Refinancing a loan isn't all that time sensitive (other than the interest rated going up, but they're usually locked in at some point), the people are in the house already and not moving, so they take a more laid back approach to deadlines.

We should have been a new home finance case.  Mrs J was much better able to explain that to them than I.  I was still exhausted from my flight to the ISS.

"Oh, well, that IS a horse of a different color." said the banker.

"No S#!7, Sherlock" I think to myself (I hope).

Lots of phone calling ensued and the end result is the closing is scheduled for next Monday, however, Tilson is allowing us to move in as scheduled.  All that was needed was to add them to our insurance policy in the interim until closing.  USAA was happy to oblige.  So there were at least two customer conscious companies in the process.

Replies to comments for this post may be a bit slow as I'll be otherwise occupied while you are reading this.

Now, to change the subject, a bit.

Most of you know that my last couple of posts have been about the Medal of Honor awarding process and some of the things going on behind the curtains.  Not meaning to disparage a recipient, but it appears to me that some MOH awards are, let's just say, more "obviously" appropriate than others.

And as I was researching awards that were in the consideration process for upgrading a previously awarded medal, I came across one of those "obviously" Medal of Honor worthy situations.

Source

It's October of 2005, SFC Alwyn Cashe is leading his squad in a Bradley fighting vehicle when it hits an IED.  The squad's translator is killed in the explosion and the vehicle is engulfed in flames.  SFC Cashe has been blown off the vehicle but reboards and rescues the driver who is on fire.  He extinguishes those flames as rifle fire starts erupting around him.  One of the other survivors manages to open the hatch, but the interior of the vehicle is on fire.  SFC Cashe's uniform is soaked in fuel, but re-enters the vehicle to rescue the members of his squad.

Now on fire, he re-enters 3 more times rescuing all 6 members of his squad.  By this time, he is the most severely injured member thereof.  With 72% of his body covered in 2nd and 3rd degree burns, he insists that the other members of his squad are on the medevac flight before him.  SFC Cashe died at Brooke Army Medical Center 3 weeks later.  People who were with him said he never stopped asking about his soldiers.

For his actions, SFC Cashe received a Silver Star. You read that right, re-enters a burning vehicle rescuing all 6 members of his squad while himself on fire and gets the third highest award for Valor.

In 2011, his commander realized that he'd made a mistake and submitted paperwork to upgrade it to the Medal of Honor.  No action was taken.  In 2017, the decision was made to re-evaluate many awards, including SFC Cashe's, for possible upgrade.  His package has been slowly making its way through Fort Fumble and finally the SecDef recommended approval in August this year.  The final step will be approval by the President.  

Folks, this is a "No Brainer".  This is quite likely THE most deserving Medal of Honor recipient I've read about, and that is in no way denigrating any other recipient. "Conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty" is the criteria. 

Yeah, if he doesn't meet that criteria, I don't see how anyone else ever will.

Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe's Silver Star Citation:

Sergeant First Class Alwyn Crendall Cashe heroically distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous conduct in the face of the enemy of the United States as a Platoon Sergeant in 1st Platoon, Alpha Company (HARDOCK), 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment stationed at Forward Operating Base MACKENZIE, Iraq, on 17 October 2005. 

On the evening of 17 October 2005, Sergeant First Class Cashe's heroic actions saved the lives of six of his fellow soldiers. At approximately 1920 hours, 1st Platoon of Alpha Company, 1-15 Infantry departed FOB MACKENZIE to conduct a route clearance in the city of Daliaya, Iraq. 

Along Route JAIME, the lead Bradley Fighting Vehicle, of which Sergeant First Class Cashe was gunner having just moved from a NMC vehicle, struck a victim detonated pressure-switch IED at grid MC 25357243. The blast ignited the fuel cell on the vehicle causing fuel to spew everywhere. The vehicle came to a stop and immediately erupted in flames. 

Sergeant First Class Cashe was initially slightly injured and drenched with fuel. Despite his condition, he bravely managed to get out of the gunner's hatch, crawl down the BFV and assist the driver out of the driver's hatch. The driver had been burned and Sergeant First Class Cashe extinguished his flames. 

The following minutes were crucial. Six soldiers and a translator were in the back of the Bradley. Flames had engulfed the entire vehicle from the bottom and were coming out of every portal. The squad leader inside the vehicle managed to open the troop hatch door to help the soldiers escape. 

Without regard for his personal safety, Sergeant First Class Cashe rushed to the back of the vehicle, reaching into the hot flames and started pulling out his soldiers. The flames gripped his fuel soaked uniform. Flames quickly spread all over his body. 

Despite the terrible pain, Sergeant First Class Cashe placed the injured soldier on the ground and returned to the burning vehicle to retrieve another burning soldier; all the while, he was still on fire. 

A crew from a trail Bradley arrived within moments and assisted with CASEVAC. During all this and with severe burns, Sergeant First Class Cashe bravely continued to take control of the chaos. Within minutes, the company First Sergeant was on the scene and began to evacuate the seriously injured soldiers. One of which was Sergeant First Class Cashe. 

In the end, the national translator was killed in action, and 10 soldiers were injured. Seven of the ten were very seriously injured. Sergeant First Class Cashe stayed a hero through it all. His injuries were the worst as he suffered form 2d and 3d degree burns over 72% of his body. 

Sergeant First Class Cashe's heroic actions saved the lives of six of his beloved soldiers. He is truly deserving of this award. His actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military heroism and reflect distinct credit upon himself, Task Force LIBERTY and the United States Army."

Rest in Peace, Warrior!

*Last week Beans had asked, since it's known as the Congressional Medal of Honor, why Congress wasn't involved in the Medal of Honor approval process.  That answer is "Because the medal is presented "in the name of Congress", it is incorrectly known as the "Congressional Medal of Honor". However, the official name of the current award is "Medal of Honor". A bit of linguistic trivia for a Monday morning.


38 comments:

  1. Isn't it funny that if you're ten seconds late in getting a deposit in, they dun you a ton. And then push your account into a different system for 6 months that ensures they'll get to do it all over again before the end of the 6 months. And if they want paperwork, you'd better start up the time machine so you can go back in time far enough to get it in on time and to their satisfaction.

    But if it's on their side, oh, go sit on your hands and wait for them to get around to it.

    Bastiges.

    As to the good SFC. What the HELL was the Awards Board doing when his file crossed their desks? More like, how far up their derrieres were their heads? Seriously, whomever was in charge and screwed up ought to apologize most fulsomely to the SFC's family and go do a good imitation of an oriental loss-of-face ceremony.

    He truly is a warrior par excellence. Is, because a heart that big lives forever.

    Thank you for bringing him to our attention. I hope he is brought to the President's attention soon.

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    1. And in my household, I'm the one crawling down the phone line screaming things not meant to be heard even in Hell, while Mrs. Andrew, who is much more reserved, is the good phone cop who comes to the poor bastiges', on the other end of the phone line, rescue.

      I don't like making mistakes, and I really hate when the 'experts' screw up.

      Delete
    2. Beans the first.
      Re” whomever was in charge”. There are two underlined sections in the post that should provide the answer to that question.

      Delete
    3. Beans Ii. We have much in common in that last statement. Sons of Fighter Pilots perhaps?

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    4. juvat the First - yeah, suspected as much. The Trumpening probably shook the Pentagon to it's very core. Hopefully. Bastiges (re: 2011.) The re-evaluation of awards recommendation is proof, proof I say, that Trump hates servicemembers... NOT! (What a load of rot and rasslefrasslefrikledicklemumblemumble....GRRRRRRRrrrrrrrr.)

      juvat II (and not Little Juvat) - perhaps. Me dad was known to 'fly off' into tirades that made sailors blush, Marines not break things, and shake whole islands (well, it seemed that way when us boys put some sort of athletic ball through an empty (fortunately) 500 gallon fish tank.

      I will follow the MOH postings to see if the good SFC gets his just rewards.

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    5. Yeah, I knew I was in deep kimchi when Mom uttered the terrifying words "Wait til your Dad comes home?". He's arrive, there'd be a hurried conference and he'd emerge with his unfiltered Lucky Strike smashed flat between his teeth. I knew I had about 5 seconds to get outside of visual range. I rarely made it. And I rarely annoyed my Mother in that manner again.

      I won't say good times, but excellent education.

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    6. There is something to be said for percussive discipline, isn't there?

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  2. Heads up on checking the finance bureaucracy juvat. For SFC Cashe to receive a Silver Star given the facts staggers my mind......how could.... SIX soldiers....on fire....yet......speechless I am.

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    1. Yeah, it astounded me, also. But since the SecDef has signed off on it, I feel certain Our President will also. Fairly quickly, I would imagine.

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  3. Another reason why I dislike banks.

    Yup, SFC Cashe should have been awarded the MoH right off the bat. I mean FFS the man gave his life saving his men, there is no greater sacrifice one can offer than that.

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    1. Well, considering what the previous administration considered as 'heroic' and 'outstanding' (cough...Bradley Manning...cough, cough..) My head still hurts from that whole episode of doublespeak ungoodness.

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    2. The fact that the press still fawns over "it", tells me all I need to know about where their allegiance lies, and it's not "We the People", or that wonderful document those words begin, or even America. In the end, I don't think they believe in "Free Press" or at least for anyone but them.

      It will end badly for them.

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  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, for both sections of the post, it seemed appropriate.

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  5. Yeah, banks are a somewhat necessary evil, but still an evil. Since Tilson fronts all the construction cost and the banks are used to construction loans, this probably threw them for a loop. However, comma, we explained that to our bank when we started the process a year ago, and our loan officer said she’d worked with Tilson before and was familiar with the differences. Which explains Nasa’s good fortune in taking advantage of an unscheduled trip to the ISS last week. Finising my breakfast now and off to see the bankers wi
    Th a lien extension forthem to notarize. We’ll email that to Tilson then we should be back on schedule, except for appliances which earliest redelivery date is the 29th.

    Yep, and re-entering the Bradley multiple times? Very similar tothrowingyourself on multiple grenades. The MoH can’t bring him back, but should give him the recognition he deserves.

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    Replies
    1. Very similar to throwing yourself on multiple grenades in a serial fashion.

      What is it with Texas and being able to get to the ISS cheaply? I mean, SpaceX has done it, juvat has done it, who next?

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    2. Sarge, replied to your comment above on my iPad (always dangerous, this time merely awkward). Gomen Nasai!

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    3. Beans,
      It just takes one of those *tion words. Determination...Frustration, in your examples.

      Delete
  6. Juvat, I've followed the SFC Cashe saga since he was first moved to BAMC in 2005. His "how are my boys" concern struck a chord then and still stands for the epitome of Leadership (with a capital "L") today. Certainly MOH worthy but I suspect that the paper pushers and Perfumed Princes at the five sided puzzle palace just did the easy thing and approved the original recommendation instead of fighting for someone who couldn't further their individual careers. I've had faith that the current POTUS would do the right thing when given the opportunity to correct SFC Cashe's award. regards, Alemaster

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    1. Alemaster, I think your faith is well founded. I think he'll approve it because it's obviously the right thing to do. That there might be a little political benefit to it is just icing on the cake. I don't believe his opponent would do the same thing even if there were political benefit in it for her.

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  7. Perspective.
    John Kerry got (not necessarily earned) a Silver Star in Vietnam.

    SFC Cashe's actions definitely deserve at least the Distinguished Service Cross and almost certainly the MOH.
    A truly heroic leader, and selfless. Unlike the other Silver Star recipient.

    Condolences on your ongoing victimization at the hands of inept bureaucrats.
    John Blackshoe

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    1. John,
      Thanks. We'll see what tomorrow will bring.

      Unfortunately, there are a lot of John Kerry's in the world, and not enough Alwyn Cashe's.

      Delete
  8. SFC Cashe - Real leadership and Sacrifice. Hope his memory is enshrined in the annals of the MOH recipients.

    USAA all the way (if possible!)

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    1. As do I D4, as do I.

      The family's been with USAA since forever. Never had a problem that wasn't corrected ASAP after notification. Highly recommended.

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  9. Once had a boss who would say, "I'd rather have a sister on the streets than a brother in a loan office".

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    1. Hadn't heard that one WSF, but...I think it's quite apt!

      Thanks

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  10. Long overdue on the MOH in this case. And yeah, loan offices ARE a PITA... Grrr...

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  11. Good luck with the banksters and... total respect for SFC Cashe. RIP.

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  12. When I last sold my house, when moving from NYS to MI, the closing was moved 4x due to issues that the young couple who was buying the place had to clear up with the loan office.

    I would hand in my resignation, and a few days later have to go back and say "Um, can I work a bit longer?" as there was nothing to do at home...the pod had been packed, taken away, emptied and returned, and the cable was disconnected, all my books were packed and gone...after the 2nd time, my boss said HR said to call them after I had arrived in MI, just let the scheduler know the night before if possible so she could get the nursing visits covered. I just needed to load my car, put the cat in his carrier, sign my life away and hit the road. Had initally been scheduled to happen 10/18...final date was 12/20.

    That first poster is definitely a keeper. Matter of fact, I could have put it to good use this morning.

    So far as the soon-to-be-MOH awardee SFC Cashe---if he isn't awarded the MOH, this country is in much deeper kimchee than I have initially thought.

    And, lastly, thanks to Beans, I need to clean my 'puter screen. Breaking a (thankfully empty!!!!) 500 gal fish tank...would have loved to have been a fly on THAT wall for sure. /giggle

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    1. I, too, would have loved to have been a fly on the wall.

      But, of course, I wasn't.

      It was the 5 minutes of complete silence before the sounds of the belt being released that was... very unhappy times, you know what I mean.

      Good thing salt water is good for soaking the welts out.

      Caveat - any beatings I incurred were justly incurred. I'm actually surprised, now, as an adult, at the restraint my parents showed in controlling us three hellions.

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    2. Here is what I had on my college wall...Father was a Major in USMC 8 inch Battery

      https://www.pinterest.com/pin/561190803559329685/

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    3. Now that's a favorite of mine.

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  13. I am also glad a way was found to move forward with your closing and move. Hope it's been going well.
    What is it with the damn bureaucrats? Same thing happened to Carlos Hathcock, USMC. Besides being a heck of a warrior and performing in an outstanding manner on many occasions, he also was blown off his APC when it hit a mine. It also caught fire, and he also made many trips to get out fellow Marines, being badly burned in the process. He went decades without any official award recognition, although he was put in for the MOH by many others. He finally was awarded a Silver Star late in his life, when MS, possibly exacerbated by his bad burns, made it where he needed help to stand when receiving the medal.

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  14. This is why I hate buying homes. Period.

    Thank you for posting the citation. More than deserved.

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  15. I worked with a fellow in the 80s who was a throwback to the 60s. He was a bachelor and lived on the upper floor of an old apartment building and his apartment covered the whole floor. It was huge. And-get this-the walls were all covered with 60s posters all nathed in black lights.

    Is this before your time Juvat?

    But they used to make posters specifically to be shown under a black light that just jumped out at you with loud colors

    Far out!

    Gads, I remember latrines like that in the army. Let’s just say you got over any shyness

    Potbellied stove in the latrine is a little before my time though.

    As to the medal of honor I’ve often thought how arbitrary it is. How many do you think would have been deserving but for a witness to report it? Maybe they were all killed. Or an officer that didn’t like paperwork?

    At the 75th anniversary of Iwo Jima I heard two veterans of that battle speak

    One of them was shot in the chest by a Nambu machine gun and the Japanese kept shooting the Corpsmen. He was with another wounded buddy and the buddy said if we want to get to an aod station we’ve got to walk

    And they did

    From what he described of that battle I would say a few hundred would’ve been eligible

    And when it started in the Civil War I read they gave them out a lot freer

    Not that they were passing them out like candy but...

    I wonder how many like that sergeant should’ve had one?

    To be safe from the fire and to go in repeatedly to rescue those you’re responsible for, and then to die a horrible death from burns...

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  16. Last year, I got a second degree burn on the palm of my hand when I stupidly grabbed (with my bare hands) the handle of a skillet I had just pulled out of a 475 degree oven (with oven mitts). That was the worst pain I’ve felt. To feel that pain, and worse over my entire body, repeatedly and voluntarily I can’t begin to imagine.

    Hence, my statement and belief “if he doesn't meet that criteria, I don't see how anyone else ever will.”

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  17. Some good news from the NFL (though I'm still not watching) - Steelers Offensive Tackle (and combat veteran) Alejandro Villanueva had Alwyn Cashe's name (instead of a local teen's name) on his helmet for last night's game. Might he have read Juvat's post this morning?
    https://taskandpurpose.com/news/steelers-alejandro-villanueva-alwyn-cashe

    Thank you, Juvat, for relating the story of one of our many heroes.

    Mike the EE

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  18. The upgrade is clearly deserved of course, but the lack of initial clarity by his superior is astounding. MOH of course, but not even the DSC? Seems like for something like that- conspicuous gallantry in the face of fire (literally), with no thought to his own safety is the exact definition of a what it takes. As for the obvious ones, that makes me wonder about the less obvious ones you've seen. I hope we don't go down the equality road for awardees, vice merit.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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