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I Learned Something About Mitt Romney

By Greg L | 18 October 2012 | National Politics | 10 Comments

I attend quite a few campaign events during election season and I’m rather pleased that this year, given that Virginia is a battleground state, we have both presidential candidates making numerous visits.  There’s an opportunity to learn something about a candidate in person that no television or radio program will ever reveal to you, even when you’re surrounded by ten thousand other people.  Tonight was that chance for me to learn something about Mitt Romney, and I couldn’t be happier to have had that chance.

I’ve heard Mitt Romney debate, I’ve seen him at events before, and honestly most of tonight’s event was the same stuff I’d heard many times before.  It’s good stuff, mind you — real talk about our economy, about our foreign policy, about our domestic challenges, and I appreciate that he’s forcefully making the case that we need a change.  What I hadn’t seen up to now was an unscripted moment.  Those are the kinds of things that campaigns utterly detest, and do everything they can to eliminate any possibility that a candidate could veer from their rehearsed remarks and do anything that hadn’t been carefully thought out in advance, subjected to review by high-priced consultants, carefully assembled focus groups, and selected donors.  I love them, though.  That’s where you get to know the person.

During Mitt’s speech the unique, unmistakable sound of an approaching UH-1 Iroquis (known in common parlance as a “Huey”) helicopter started to rise.  During my time in the infantry I’d heard that sound hundreds of times, and recognized it immediately.  It got louder and louder, and eventually got the attention of Mitt Romney.  Romney stopped what he was doing, looked up, and this sense of awe and wonder washed over his face before he veered off his speech and started talking about how much he respects those who serve in our armed forces.

Mitt 4

That’s not the look of a faker.  That look reminds me precisely of how I felt when I saw a member of the armed forces when I was a kid, an expression of admiration, respect and love that ultimately inspired me to enlist in the armed forces.  Mitt’s path in life was different than mine, but it’s clear to me especially now that when he talks about how he cares for our military that is an honest expression of what is in his heart.

So what’s the big deal about that?  How many presidents have we had who decided that military lives were less important than political advantage?  Presidents who not only sent these brave men and women off to combat, but then slashed their training, equipment, and operational budgets so they wouldn’t have the tools and training they needed to succeed in a war zone?  Too damn many.

My gut churns with the memory of what Bill Clinton did to our armed forces, and then sent them off to terrifically dangerous places like Bosnia.  I remember buying transmission fluid for a HMMWV (a “HummVee” to you non-veterans out there) because there was no money in the maintenance budget to provide it.  Sometimes we bought our own ammunition to supplement the pitiful allocation we got under that administration, because otherwise we couldn’t qualify all our riflemen.  Training was reduced, equipment went unrepaired, morale dropped, and our ability to survive on the battlefield suffered.  All so the philanderer-in-chief could have his “peace dividend.”  I can only imagine what is happening to soldiers under the Obama administration, but some of the stories I’ve heard about what his senior officials have been doing during their visits to Afghanistan have me very deeply concerned, and if those folks are willing to put our soldiers at risk, I can just imagine what is happening on the front lines.

I learned tonight that Mitt Romney will be a very different president, one who treats our armed forces as a very valuable national asset worthy of his dedication, and which will only be employed after careful consideration and preparation.  I’m certain he’s not going to second-guess military leaders to make them take a course of action that may seem politically advantageous, but militarily foolish.  He will listen, he will learn what those leaders will teach him, and I have little doubt he will perform as well in the role of commander-in-chief as did Ronald Reagan, who was C-in-C when I enlisted.  Reagan’s love for the armed forces didn’t just come from his movie roles, he wore a uniform as well, and serving under his command was utterly wonderful.

If a military helicopter flew over Obama while he was giving a campaign speech, can you imagine him doing anything other than hoping to get revenge on the pilot?  Just consider how the vastly differing contexts between these two candidates would like manifest themselves as they made decisions which ultimately decide who will live and who will die.  Vote accordingly.

For more of my photos from this event, visit my flickr page. 

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  1. cdubbs said on 18 Oct 2012 at 7:58 am:
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    Very well said. I am a retired Marine and I remember the Carter years down at Camp LeJeune. As a young Second Lieutenant I had the opportunity to take hard charging Marines on field exercises with no blanks to train with. Young Marines got pretty tired of yelling “Bang” and using rocks for grenade practice. No fuel for vehicles, No ammo for my artillery unit. Things changed quickly once President Reagan was at the helm. But I digress.

    There are three reasons why as a retired Marine I cannot support the current President for reelection:

    1. I cannont abide a CIC who espouses a “leading from behind” philosophy. You can only lead from the front. Second Lieutenant 101.
    2. I cannot abide a CIC who is “uncomfortable with the word Victory”.
    3. I cannot abide a CIC who bows to foreign potentates.

    That’s it in a nutshell.

  2. Randy Minchew said on 18 Oct 2012 at 8:33 am:
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    Absolutely correct, Greg.
    That moment with the Huey last night was unscripted, genuine and demonstrative of the character of Mitt Romney. As the helicopter neared, he paused, smiled like a kid at his first air show, and then, borrowing that great line that Virginia Beach residents use to describe F/A-18 Super Hornets coming into NAS Oceana, called the noise the “sound of freedom”.
    Thanks for writing about this.

  3. Skepp said on 18 Oct 2012 at 1:12 pm:
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    Glad Romney enjoyed the helicopter; also glad that he respects the military.
    Don’t know how deep that respect goes, though. He has five sons. As far as I know, not one of them has volunteered for military duty.
    (don’t tell me that spreading Mormor religion for two years is complarable)

    Serving under Reagan’s command was “utterly” wonderful??
    Gee, gosh and golly - Were you perhaps stationed on Hawaii?

  4. Greg L said on 18 Oct 2012 at 2:13 pm:
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    No, my duty station was in CONUS. We got additional training as needed, I traded in my Vietnam-era rifle for an M16A2, the old .45 cal pistols were replaced, our ammunition allocation was increased so we could spend more time on the range, turned in our old mortar systems to get new ones with better ranges that were safer to operate, got mortar ballistics computers that replaced the old “whiz wheels” that let us compute fire quicker and more accurately, better radios, better field gear, better food, the list goes on and on.

    Probably the best was the additional training available. We sent guys to airborne, air assault, pathfinder and a whole bunch of other schools. In short order graduates earned promotions making our non-com and commissioned leaders the best and most competent we’d ever had.

    That is the army that went to Desert Shield and it kicked butt. The reason why is that it was ready for the mission, lead by qualified leaders, and other than Colin Powell getting a case of cold feet was allowed to do it’s job without political intervention.

    Do I care about what Romney’s kids did in their careers? No. Utterly irrelevant. What matters to me is what I saw with my own eyes. That spoke volumes to me.

  5. Prester John said on 18 Oct 2012 at 2:38 pm:
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    Re: serving in the military under Carter vice Reagan.

    1978 to 1981 in Germany–threats of not being paid due to inaction of Dem WH, Dem House, and Dem Senate, not taking all of our equipment to the field because there wasn’t enough money for fuel and parts, decreases in the amount of all types ammunition we could shoot down range, such miserable enlistment numbers that a soldier had to practically be a convicted felon in order to get rid of him, dismal morale.

    1982 to 1985 at Fort Hood–generous pay raises, increased morale, new equipment, increased numbers of much better qualified soldiers, the ability to get rid of lowlifes in the matter of days, more fuel, more ammunition, more parts.

  6. Wineplz said on 18 Oct 2012 at 6:47 pm:
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    Great photos, Greg…thanks for sharing them. I wanted to go up there but with my husband out of town, I had no one to care for my three little guys, so I’m glad to have seen some pics of the event, including that wonderful look of awe on Romney’s face. Reminds me of how my boys looked at the Manassas Air Show earlier this year. Did you happen to see the pics of when Romney did an impromtu stop at an elementary school last week? Or pics from before the 2nd Debate the other night? I don’t know where they’re posted besides at Twitchy.com, so please excuse the two links. The pics are great and give folks another view into Mitt and his genuine love of his family and kids.

  7. may ferris said on 19 Oct 2012 at 10:15 pm:
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    OKAY - no one can take that great service away from you. But what about negative-service to USA? - also under the name of our great Republican part???

    In our own county we have a great patriot, Mr. Mark Wolfe, avowed enemy of illegal aliens, who has indulged in the hiring of an illegal alien - and probably ruined that poor person’s life and career at the same time.

    Shall we just let this one go?????????????????/


  8. Ellie Lockwood said on 19 Oct 2012 at 10:57 pm:
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    I echo all of the above except that I did not appreciate helicopters overhead. It reminded me of airplanes headed into the twin towers. I wondered what the Secret Service was thinking at the time.

  9. Anonymous said on 27 Oct 2012 at 12:16 pm:
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    Nobody Died in Watergate, but Four Dead in Benghazi (Inspired by CSN&Y)


  10. Anonymous said on 27 Oct 2012 at 12:52 pm:
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    Slain Marine Had Been Forced to Apologize to Enemy Within



    Joint Chiefs Army General Blames “Insensitive” Soldiers For Friendly Fire On Own U.S. Troops

    Afghan security forces, our supposed allies, are slaughtering American troops. Thirty-three soldiers have been killed by “green
    on blue” attacks this year alone. The situation is so bad that the training of Afghan forces has been temporarily suspended.
    How has the Pentagon responded?

    By blaming our troops.

    Top officials believe culturally offensive behavior is the motivation behind the killings, so it’s stepped up Islamic sensitivity training for our troops.If you don’t want to be shot in the back by your Afghan training partners, the Pentagon advises, don’t offend their religious sensibilities. Don’t kick your feet up on a table, for instance, and never ask to see a picture of their wives and kids.

    “There’s a percentage [of attacks] which are cultural
    affronts,” Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said…


    God Bless our troops and vets.

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