Category Archives: Rescue

Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler: Another Hero Dies in Action

Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler

Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler, who died Thursday in Iraq, was the the first American in four years to die there in combat. He was 39.

Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler was a hero.

A member of Delta Force, the Army equivalent of Navy SEAL teams, he accompanied a group of Kurdish commandos on a helicopter raid to rescue about 70 hostages from being murdered by Islamic State militants. He and the other Americans who accompanied the mission were not supposed to join in the action, but he couldn’t stand by and watch the mission fail.

A former Delta Force officer who had commanded Sergeant Wheeler in Iraq and had been briefed on the mission said that the Kurdish fighters, known as pesh merga, tried to blast a hole in the compound’s outer wall, but could not. Sergeant Wheeler and another American, part of a team of 10 to 20 Delta Force operators who were present, ran up to the wall, breached it with explosives, and were the first ones through the hole.

“When you blow a hole in a compound wall, all the enemy fire gets directed toward that hole, and that is where he was,” [the former Delta Force officer said.]

He grew up in a “thinly populated, economically struggling patch of eastern Oklahoma” and had a difficult childhood with few options. One was to join the Army, and he took it. “In that area, if you didn’t go to college, you basically had a choice of the oil fields or the military,” said his uncle, Jack Shamblin. “The Army really suited him; he always had such robust energy and he always wanted to help people, and he felt he was doing that.” Obviously, he was right.

His mother had been married twice; both times, to alcoholic, abusive men. As the oldest child in this dysfunctional family, Wheeler had always made sure his younger siblings were clothed and fed. This sense of responsibility carried over into adulthood and served him well, leading to his success as “a highly decorated combat veteran in the elite and secretive Delta Force.”

Too many heroes die in action, as did Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler. This is a terrible tragedy. But he helped save the lives of about 70 ISIS prisoners, by performing the extremely dangerous work he had been trained to do.

We need more heroes like Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler, people willing and able to lay down their lives (if necessary) for their fellow humans. But, when possible, we desperately need to find ways to keep them alive. We need all the genuine heroes we can get, and we don’t need them dead.

There was another American scaling that wall with him, but we are not told his name. This other man was equally a hero. Wheeler was not a hero because he died; rather, they were both heroes because they went “above and beyond the call of duty” to save the lives of others.

One lived and one died. They were both heroes in equal measure.


President Obama’s Speech and the Islamic State

At times I have been very disappointed with our “President of change.” This time, I agree with what he says. My only disappointment here is that we’ve waited so long already to bomb these barbarians to hell! (Literally or figuratively. Whatever.)

We’ve stood by and watched while they cut the heads off two American journalists and slaughtered hundreds of innocent civilians who just happened to be in the wrong place. It’s time to put and end to it.

Below are some very revealing news videos created inside the Islamic State itself. Look how these very well trained (though not so well disciplined) terrorists with modern weapons challenge the rest of the world openly. Arrogantly. Even proudly! They dare us: “WE WILL DIVIDE THE UNITED STATES IN TWO.”

(Click inside this video for parts 2-5. When I posted these, the Arabic parts had good English captions. Now they have been largely covered over with French. They’re still worth seeing, though.)

We should have blasted these barbarians out of existence when they crossed the border into Iraq. If not sooner. They were originally part of al-Queda, after all.

I do not believe the Islamic State leaders represent the average, ordinary Muslim. Rather, I suspect that most Muslims in most countries (especially those in the US) are Muslim in name only, just as most Christians are Christian in name only. (In most of the Muslim countries, of course, they have to practice the official religion to whatever extent is required in their particular country, regardless of their own real beliefs or desires.

This particular group of Islamist extremists, being originally part of Al Queda, should have been dealt with long before they ever left Syria. Now we should evacuate refugees when appropriate and drop humanitarian supplies to others while we protect them from the air as needed.

Note: I am definitely NOT suggesting we send American soldiers back into the Middle East to fight on the ground. We did that! Now we need to blast these barbarians — the new “caliphate” — out of existence from the air, using missiles and drones whenever possible. (I don’t understand why we are using manned bombers. Neither have I ever understood the rage some Americans have at the use of drones. If we have to fight, I am in favor of fighting to win quickly with as little loss to Americans and other innocents as possible.)

​This “caliphate” is​ calling for all Muslims everywhere to pledge allegiance to its leader, the new “Caliph,” who is said to be a direct descendent of Mohammad’s family, thus trying to lend some credence to his rule. If all Muslims declared their allegiance to him, of course, that would mean all Muslim states would instantly come under his rule and become part of the IS. That is a truly terrifying thought!

Of course, I know this is not going to happen. But I don’t think he is going to stop where he is. He clearly intends to take the rest of Iraq and Syria and then as much of the Middle East as he can. And he is already teaching young boys to say they want to “divide the United States in two.” He is NOT going to stop until somebody stops him, and the IS will be a worse hotbed of terrorism than Afghanistan and Pakistan have ever been.

​The time to stop these uncivilized barbarians was several years ago, but we didn’t do it then. Now​ it MUST be done.

Cat Rescues Tot

This is an amazing set of videos, evidently compiled from a home surveillance system. The pictures were obviously taken from several angles, edited, and joined into a single video to tell the story. A large dog viciously attacks a small boy on a bike without apparent provocation. It grabs him by a foot and appears to be trying to drag him away when a cat suddenly comes to the boys rescue. You have to see it!

I’ve seen a lot of discussion on the net as to the validity of the videos. I’m no expert on video editing and assembling, but it looks real to me.

Personally, it seems to me the cat was simply rescuing a helpless member of her own family. Her pack or pride, if you prefer. It is my definite opinion that cats and dogs, as well as other mammals and birds, seldom get credit for their own intelligence and the empathy and affection that some of them show. They are more than just robots running on instinct.

I know almost nothing about the jungle cats from which modern house cats descended, but lions live in prides, feed and protect one another’s cubs, and cooperate in hunts and battles against other prides or groups of hyenas or baboons. Though it is less well known, feral house cats also form societies and cooperate with one another in various ways that appear to be for the good of the group.

Social animals like humans, wolves and dogs, some kinds of cat, porpoises, many kinds of bird, and others survive best in groups. Therefore, individuals who learn to live well as part of the group tend to survive best. This is why we develop morals and social skills that seem to benefit the group. It is actually for the benefit of the individual, but it helps everybody involved.

It seems clear to me this cat was protecting the “cub” that belonged to another member of her “pride.”

I tend to be more of a “dog person” (though my dogs never ran loose like this one). Regardless, THIS IS ONE GREAT CAT!