1. Journalist Geoff Dyer spent two weeks on the USS George H.W. Bush and chronicled his experience in his new book, Another Great Day At Sea. In the interview Fresh Air contributor Dave Davies asks what it’s like to land on a aircraft carrier: 

"We flew onto the carrier on a Greyhound, this very, very noisy, hulking propeller plane and we took off as normal. We’re all sitting backwards, I should say. Then, after about 40 minutes, we started descending and on that first attempt at landing on the carrier we missed all three of the arresting wires, so we surged upwards again and went round and we came back down again, and this time we came to a very abrupt stop. We hit the deck and in under two seconds we had come to a halt. 


UPDATE: The USS George H.W. Bush has been deployed to the Persian Gulf for possible military assistance with the recent crisis in Iraq. 
You can hear more about life on an aircraft carrier here. 

Photo of the USS George H.W. Bush via Marines View in High-Res

    Journalist Geoff Dyer spent two weeks on the USS George H.W. Bush and chronicled his experience in his new book, Another Great Day At Sea. In the interview Fresh Air contributor Dave Davies asks what it’s like to land on a aircraft carrier: 

    "We flew onto the carrier on a Greyhound, this very, very noisy, hulking propeller plane and we took off as normal. We’re all sitting backwards, I should say. Then, after about 40 minutes, we started descending and on that first attempt at landing on the carrier we missed all three of the arresting wires, so we surged upwards again and went round and we came back down again, and this time we came to a very abrupt stop. We hit the deck and in under two seconds we had come to a halt. 

    UPDATE: The USS George H.W. Bush has been deployed to the Persian Gulf for possible military assistance with the recent crisis in Iraq. 

    You can hear more about life on an aircraft carrier here

    Photo of the USS George H.W. Bush via Marines

  2. aircraft carrier

    military

    ship

    war

    interview

    geoff dyer

  1. Historian Bruce Levine explores the destruction of the old South and the reunified country that emerged from the Civil War in his new book, The Fall of the House of Dixie. He says one result of the Emancipation Proclamation was a flood of black men from the South into the Union Army:

"By the end of the Civil War, nearly 200,000 black men had served in either the Union army or the Union navy, and that alone was an enormous military assistance to the Union at a time when volunteering had fallen drastically and when there was a great deal of hostility to the draft. So these 200,000 men significantly contributed to giving the Union army the volume, the bulk, the size that they needed to cope with their Confederate opponents, and that gave the union the power, ultimately, to overwhelm the opposition."

photo via slideshare View in High-Res

    Historian Bruce Levine explores the destruction of the old South and the reunified country that emerged from the Civil War in his new book, The Fall of the House of Dixie. He says one result of the Emancipation Proclamation was a flood of black men from the South into the Union Army:

    "By the end of the Civil War, nearly 200,000 black men had served in either the Union army or the Union navy, and that alone was an enormous military assistance to the Union at a time when volunteering had fallen drastically and when there was a great deal of hostility to the draft. So these 200,000 men significantly contributed to giving the Union army the volume, the bulk, the size that they needed to cope with their Confederate opponents, and that gave the union the power, ultimately, to overwhelm the opposition."

    photo via slideshare

  2. civil war

    slavery

    bruce levine

    the fall of the house of dixie

    war

    military

    american history

    Emancipation Proclamation

    abraham lincoln

  1. Scot Paltrow tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies about the military payroll debacle that happened to Army Chief of Staff Peter Schoomaker:

He was a four-star general who actually retired and when the Iraq War started, Secretary of Defense [Donald] Rumsfeld persuaded him to come back to active duty to be the Army Chief of Staff, which is the highest military rank in the Army, and so he duly signed on and came back to serve his country and discovered very quickly that he wasn’t getting paid. And it turned out that he had been on the retirement payroll, and he was correctly removed from the retirement payroll. However, the retirement payroll computers were set automatically to believe that when someone was removed from them the reason was that they had died and so the computers sent out a computer-generated condolence letter to his wife on his death, but of course he was very much alive. And meanwhile it took months for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service to straighten things out so that he could put back onto the active duty payroll, and then additional months before he was paid the money that he hadn’t been paid when he first started.”

    Scot Paltrow tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies about the military payroll debacle that happened to Army Chief of Staff Peter Schoomaker:

    He was a four-star general who actually retired and when the Iraq War started, Secretary of Defense [Donald] Rumsfeld persuaded him to come back to active duty to be the Army Chief of Staff, which is the highest military rank in the Army, and so he duly signed on and came back to serve his country and discovered very quickly that he wasn’t getting paid. And it turned out that he had been on the retirement payroll, and he was correctly removed from the retirement payroll. However, the retirement payroll computers were set automatically to believe that when someone was removed from them the reason was that they had died and so the computers sent out a computer-generated condolence letter to his wife on his death, but of course he was very much alive. And meanwhile it took months for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service to straighten things out so that he could put back onto the active duty payroll, and then additional months before he was paid the money that he hadn’t been paid when he first started.”

  2. Fresh Air

    Interviews

    Scot Paltrow

    General Peter Schoomaker

    U.S. Army

    Military

  1. Tom Ricks on reinstating a draft:

The Vietnam approach is not the only approach to a draft. The reason I think we should have a draft is there is a basic disconnection now in this country between the population and the wars we’re fighting. There are two 1 percents in America. There’s the 1 percent that is grabbing all the wealth in this country right now, and then there’s the 1 percent — a different 1 percent — that fights our wars. … And the 99 percent is not affected by [those wars] at all. That is no way for a democracy to conduct itself.
It means that our wars are conducted with some inattention, that our politicians are pushed by our people and our politicians don’t push our generals to fight more effectively to terminate our wars more quickly. And our wars tend to drag on, to dither and to be led by mediocrity, conducting mediocre campaigns. If you had a draft, you would reconnect the people to the wars they fight, and they would be a lot more interested in the military. They’d pay a lot more attention. They would not stand for the kind of organization and leadership you see in the army in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Tom Ricks on reinstating a draft:

    The Vietnam approach is not the only approach to a draft. The reason I think we should have a draft is there is a basic disconnection now in this country between the population and the wars we’re fighting. There are two 1 percents in America. There’s the 1 percent that is grabbing all the wealth in this country right now, and then there’s the 1 percent — a different 1 percent — that fights our wars. … And the 99 percent is not affected by [those wars] at all. That is no way for a democracy to conduct itself.

    It means that our wars are conducted with some inattention, that our politicians are pushed by our people and our politicians don’t push our generals to fight more effectively to terminate our wars more quickly. And our wars tend to drag on, to dither and to be led by mediocrity, conducting mediocre campaigns. If you had a draft, you would reconnect the people to the wars they fight, and they would be a lot more interested in the military. They’d pay a lot more attention. They would not stand for the kind of organization and leadership you see in the army in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

  2. Tom Ricks

    military

    Fresh Air

  1. Tom Ricks on why accountability for generals has declined:

I think the first major change was the nature of our wars. In World War II, it was pretty clear what we were fighting about. The whole country was at war, and there was a sense of obligation to the country, especially on the part of George Marshall, the chief of the army in World War II, that look, ‘We’re fighting a war for democracy. We are responsible in a democratic way to our enlisted troops. Their lives are more important than the careers of our generals. The army kind of loses that sense in Vietnam and subsequent wars.
One general, Gen. William DePuy, said that we ran Vietnam to help the careers of officers, not to win the war — and as other generals commented, it was a hell of a way to run a war. The nature of our wars’ becoming murkier has also made it harder to tell what success is. So in World War II, it was very clear what was successful. In Vietnam, Korean, Iraq, it’s not so clear. So it’s harder to have a clear cut ‘You’re fired’ because you failed.
And thirdly, when you’re fighting small, unpopular wars, there’s a natural inclination I think on the part of the military not to want to make their problems public. So in the Korean War, when Matthew Ridgway took over there at the end of 1950, he began firing a lot of generals. And the Pentagon told him to stop — they said, ‘You’re embarrassing us and you’re going to cause Congress to start asking embarrassing questions. So if you’re going to get rid of people, you have to do it quietly. You have to disguise — maybe find places to park unsuccessful generals, but don’t fire them publicly like we did in World War II.’

    Tom Ricks on why accountability for generals has declined:

    I think the first major change was the nature of our wars. In World War II, it was pretty clear what we were fighting about. The whole country was at war, and there was a sense of obligation to the country, especially on the part of George Marshall, the chief of the army in World War II, that look, ‘We’re fighting a war for democracy. We are responsible in a democratic way to our enlisted troops. Their lives are more important than the careers of our generals. The army kind of loses that sense in Vietnam and subsequent wars.

    One general, Gen. William DePuy, said that we ran Vietnam to help the careers of officers, not to win the war — and as other generals commented, it was a hell of a way to run a war. The nature of our wars’ becoming murkier has also made it harder to tell what success is. So in World War II, it was very clear what was successful. In Vietnam, Korean, Iraq, it’s not so clear. So it’s harder to have a clear cut ‘You’re fired’ because you failed.

    And thirdly, when you’re fighting small, unpopular wars, there’s a natural inclination I think on the part of the military not to want to make their problems public. So in the Korean War, when Matthew Ridgway took over there at the end of 1950, he began firing a lot of generals. And the Pentagon told him to stop — they said, ‘You’re embarrassing us and you’re going to cause Congress to start asking embarrassing questions. So if you’re going to get rid of people, you have to do it quietly. You have to disguise — maybe find places to park unsuccessful generals, but don’t fire them publicly like we did in World War II.’

  2. Tom Ricks

    military

    Fresh Air

  1. Today, being a general in the army is a lot like a professor having tenure in a university. If you have a moral lapse, they might get rid of you, but if you’re just not very good at your job, you’re comfortable and you have tenure.

    — Tom Ricks, senior fellow at the Center for A New American Security and former military correspondent, on the lack of accountability for generals today

  2. Tom Ricks

    military

    Fresh Air

  1. It turns out that you put your blood type and your NKA (no known allergies) on my foot and you stick a dogtag in your laces because it’s the part of you that’s most likely to survive if you get blown up. We found feet a lot. If you’re going to find a part of the bomber or victim, you might find their head. It’s a better chance that you’re going to find their hands and feet.

    — Brian Castner, on why soldiers tie their ID and blood type around their feet instead of their hands, from 'The Life That Follows' Disarming IEDs in Iraq

  2. brian castner

    ied

    military

  1. We have [the troops] leaving at a time when just about everybody involved in the discussion — from the American military leaders to the Iraqi military leaders — did not think it was a good idea that all the troops leave — that Iraq is not ready for that.

    — On today’s Fresh Air, we talk to New York Times Baghdad Bureau Chief Tim Arango about what happens to the country after U.S. troops leave at the end of next month. 

  2. tim arango

    iraq

    middle east

    military

  1. On today’s episode of Fresh Air, The Bay State Winds (Master Sgt. Jennifer Dashnaw, Master Sgt. Kevin Connors, Technical Sgt. Christy Bailes and Staff Sgt. Matthew Ayala) join host Terry Gross for a discussion about what it’s like to be a musician in the military.  View in High-Res

    On today’s episode of Fresh Air, The Bay State Winds (Master Sgt. Jennifer Dashnaw, Master Sgt. Kevin Connors, Technical Sgt. Christy Bailes and Staff Sgt. Matthew Ayala) join host Terry Gross for a discussion about what it’s like to be a musician in the military

  2. music

    military

    veterans day

  1. One of the things that we as a country are learning is that people who are wounded in war are wounded forever.

    — On Thursday’s Fresh Air, veteran combat reporter David Wood talks about some of the challenges that severely wounded soldiers face when they return home from Afghanistan and Iraq.

  2. david wood

    veterans

    wounded warriors

    military

    afghanistan

    iraq

    news

  1. washingtonpoststyle:

Dan: “You know, I am missing my legs. Is that an issue?”
Rebecca: “I never dated a guy because he had nice knees. But I do like nice arms.”
Love after war. Photo by Nikki Kahn (TWP)

Tomorrow: a conversation with journalist David Wood about the complexity and severity of wounds suffered by soldiers who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, and the lack of long term care available to help them. Wood’s series Beyond The Battlefield appears in The Huffington Post.  View in High-Res

    washingtonpoststyle:

    Dan: “You know, I am missing my legs. Is that an issue?”

    Rebecca: “I never dated a guy because he had nice knees. But I do like nice arms.”

    Love after warPhoto by Nikki Kahn (TWP)

    Tomorrow: a conversation with journalist David Wood about the complexity and severity of wounds suffered by soldiers who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, and the lack of long term care available to help them. Wood’s series Beyond The Battlefield appears in The Huffington Post. 

  2. the huffington post

    david wood

    soldiers

    wounded vets

    veterans

    military

  1. Air Force 1st Lt. Josh Seefried: "When ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ existed,  everyone was assumed to be straight. The discrimination  was invisible. So when you were kicking out someone from the military,  everyone got to turn an eye to it. But now that there’s actually openly  gay troops, that’s visible. And it’s very different how gay troops are  being treated than straight troops.” View in High-Res

    Air Force 1st Lt. Josh Seefried: "When ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ existed, everyone was assumed to be straight. The discrimination was invisible. So when you were kicking out someone from the military, everyone got to turn an eye to it. But now that there’s actually openly gay troops, that’s visible. And it’s very different how gay troops are being treated than straight troops.”

  2. don't ask don't tell

    josh seefried

    outserve

    lgbt

    military

  1. They can’t stay there for the 20-30 years it might take to build local government into something that might spawn itself without help. So once they leave, what does it look like? You really can’t tell if there’s any significant change. These Afghan Taliban, this is where they live. They’re not likely to leave. They’re likely to wait.

    — On today’s Fresh Air, New York Times Kabul bureau chief Alissa Rubin discusses what happens when the U.S. troops leave.

  2. afghanistan

    foreign policy

    military

    war

    september 11

  1. nprfunfacts:

    The prime minister of England and the German chancellor both lost a son, as well.

    I’m not sure if this should be classified as fun…but it certainly is astounding.

  2. npr

    fresh air

    WWI

    war

    education

    history

    military

    europe

    oxford

    trivia

    facts

  1. When Wilma Vaught joined the Air Force in 1957 and started her first  day of training, she was unsure about a lot of things, even the basics.
The one thing she did know is that she wanted to be in charge. “I wanted to lead,” says the now-retired brigadier general.
And she has been doing just that ever since. View in High-Res

    When Wilma Vaught joined the Air Force in 1957 and started her first day of training, she was unsure about a lot of things, even the basics.

    The one thing she did know is that she wanted to be in charge. “I wanted to lead,” says the now-retired brigadier general.

    And she has been doing just that ever since.

  2. women

    military