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The night before the burial of her husband 2nd Lt. James Cathey of the United States Marine Corps, killed in Iraq, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of him, and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. “I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it,” she said. “I think that’s what he would have wanted”.

I’m not sure what is more honorable: Being married to this faithful wife to the end or the Marine standing next to the casket watching over them both. Semper Fi.


Bullet Points:

** SCOTUS Scam: The really neat thing about the permanent administrative state in the US is that they’re more corrupt than any third-world potentate.

Should a Justice’s spouse – in this case the spouse of Chief Justice John Roberts – be able to make millions of dollars recruiting attorneys who are placed into top law firms that argue cases before it?

** Daily Mail – A Covid drug that has just been approved in virus-stricken China causes the coronavirus to mutate in new ways, a study warns.

US and UK researchers identified the new mutations in viral samples taken from dozens of patients given Merck’s antiviral Lagevrio.

** Hunter’s business partner moved 1,850 boxes of sensitive documents from then-VP Joe Biden’s White House office: Lawyers WARNED HIM about including ‘Obama-Biden transition papers’ which Joe ‘likely did not own’ – more here.

** (ZeroHedge) An email from Hunter Biden to US aluminum company Alcoa is raising fresh concerns over the first son’s access to classified documents which were recently discovered in his father’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, as House Republicans kick off investigations into allegations of influence peddling.

The emails which date back to 2011 reveal Hunter Biden offering to trade information on Russian oligarchs to Alcoa for $55,000, according to the NY Post‘s original October 2021 report.


Thank you to MikeW for the cap. I will wear it with pride. The Thai SEAL/UDT Teams are not a large group but they’re always fun to work with just because of who they are.

The Cobra Gold exercise is one of those events that draw more personnel than the standard training evolutions with the Thais.

In my time ST-1 covered Thailand – Jungle Team. I ended up in Korea – Cold Weather Team that ST-5 covered. Thanks again Mike. This is great!

I dug this one (left) out of the duffle bag after I photographed the cap that MikeW kindly sent. This dates back at least thirty years or maybe even longer my days working with ROK Squadron 56 and ROK Team 2 there at Chinhae, Republic of Korea.  There is a little dust on it but you could also say that there is a little dust on me.

If I could travel back in time to young, 18 year old LL, what would I tell myself of adventures to come, of life and love and everything that comes with it?

What would you tell your 18-year-old self? It’s an interesting thinking piece. Upon reflection, I think that I’d tell 18-year-old LL to just enjoy the ride.

Passport photo of LL at 18.


The Caravel

The caravel began as a fishing boat with Latin sails in Portugal in the 13th century. At the beginning of the 14th century, before the time of the great Portuguese discoveries, the same name was used for a two-masted, Latin-sailed merchant ship with a forecastle and hut for the Mediterranean and coastal voyages. After land links to India had been severed by Turkish occupations and the Mediterranean voyage had lost its importance, Portugal became the nation that intensively sought a southern sea route to India. Prince Henry, known as Henry the Navigator (1394 to 1460), was a far-sighted promoter of shipbuilding and shipping. He deserves credit not only for initiating the further development of the caravel but also for founding a state-supported observatory and a navigation school at a very early stage.

From the two-masted caravels, the relatively slender three-masted Latin sail caravels (caravela latina) emerged, which were better suited for longer journeys and had exclusively Latin sails on all three masts. A typical feature, to which the name of the ship type is also attributed, was the Kraweel construction, in which the ship’s planks butted together directly at their longitudinal seams, so that smooth surfaces were created on the outside and inside of the ship’s side walls. The seams were caulked so that the ships took little water even in a swell. In addition, the smooth outer skin could be better protected against fouling and worm damage. Another feature of the caravel was the relatively high stern.


A caravela latina, by Stephen Biesty

Under the influence of and in continuation of Roman traditions with divided square sails, the development of the three-masted square-rigged caravel (caravela redonda) took place during the 15th century, with square sails on the bowsprit, foremast, and mainmast. Above the mainsail on the mainmast was the topsail. Because of their favorable steering characteristics, square-rigged caravels always had lateen sails on the mizzen mast. From the 14th to the 16th century, caravels were among the most seaworthy sailing ships, including four-masted caravels. Some consider this a forerunner of the galleons.


Reconstruction of a Caravel of Christopher Columbus. Drawing by Julio Guillen Y Tato (1897-1972), 1932 

Vasco da Gama’s ships were also caravels. Of the three ships with which Columbus sailed along Central America in 1492, the Pinta and the Nina were probably caravels, the Santa Maria was probably a Nao. He gave the speed in his diary as up to 15 Italian miles per hour, which is about 11 knots. So it was pretty fast if you can call it that. The usual Portuguese caravels had a carrying capacity of 50 to 60 tons, and later a much higher capacity. Thus, the ships of the Magellan also included larger four-masted caravels.

Because of its advantages over Holland, the caravel construction method soon became the determining construction method for wooden ships throughout Europe. Thus, in 1460, the first “Karvielscheepen” were built in Holland in considerable sizes for 400 loads (800t) carrying capacity with a length of about 43 m and a width of 12 m. In the first half of the 16th century, Lübeck and Gdansk took a leading position in the construction of large Caravel ships.


Square-rigged caravels (here caravela armada) fighting and escorting naos in India Armadas, in: Livro de Lisuarte de Abreu, c. 1565 

A little later, however, the carrack and later the galleons took over and the caravels became less and less important. But not completely, because as a caravela armada – an armed caravel – it remained in service with the Portuguese until the 18th century and was nothing other than a larger cross-sail caravel. The Portuguese used it as an escort on Brazil and India routes as well as to protect shipping with the Atlantic islands, it was used to monitor the Straits of Gibraltar, but also for coastal protection and anti-piracy.


37 thoughts on “Free-Fall

    1. Thai Freefall Wings, and they’re not mine. But as with all things Thai, they’re fancy.

  1. The L-T Cathey trophy awarded to the high scoring shooter in the 200-yard slow fire standing event during the annual three-day Midwestern Armed Forces Memorial Matches under the auspices of the Remembering the Brave organization formerly held at the Colorado Rifle Club at Byers, Colorado until very recently. It was a whale of a match while it lasted, every segment had the name of a service member or first responder who bought the farm, you follow? Sometimes, the person’s family was on hand to present the awards. Unfortunately, the gentleman honchoing the event is no longer able to continue running it and no one has stepped forward to take that helm.

  2. I’d kick my ass, cause it truly wasn’t done enough to get the the arrogance and stupid out of me.

    1. Dizzy Dean: “If you done it, it ain’t bragging.” I think that Walt Whitman said something along the same line. It doesn’t matter if it was original with Jay Hanna “Dizzy” Dean, also known as Jerome Herman Dean or not. There are a lot of dangerous things that people do that require 100% confidence, and people not in those positions confuse it with arrogance. If you doubt yourself, you’re screwed.

  3. LL, ever make it to Thunder Ranch in Central Texas (prior to move to the Northwest)? Reason I ask, is ran into some TR cadre at a local watering hole in the mid 90’s…”local” being appx. 45 miles away from the TR gate. One claimed to be ex SEAL, but no way to confirm. Although, he correctly responded to some questions I put to him in Hijazi dialect Arabic. Lived in the general populated area close to TR at the time and had friends who probably could have confirmed his claim, but never was interested enough to follow up.
    One local story was that SEAL’s would occasionally train at TR, although that story never stuck with me as the Navy Dept. had way more $$ to spend on trainers & training facilities than the owner of TR.

    1. I don’t know where I heard of Thunder Ranch. I don’t think that it was in a military context. I’ve never heard of military training conducted there. In the world of SEAL Teams, there are the “White Side” Teams – the line teams, and there are the “Black Side” Teams. There is a crossover because the assignment to DEVGRU is supposed to be one where those people bring the skills they learned back to help the White side of the house.

      I never worked on the Black side while a serving officer in that context. I mention this because in my time (prior to 9/11) there was no language training for SEALS. There were ARG deployments, some direct action missions, CSAR, some classified missions in conjunction with CIA but there was no winning of hearts and minds or force multiplier activities (Army mission)

      We had one Iraqi SEAL who didn’t do well and may have washed out. We had one Iranian SEAL and LCDR Pishdad has come out of the closet regarding why he was cashiered. I was either at Team 5 or at Group 1 when he got into trouble. I knew Amir and the Iraqi officer who I won’t name. My point is that most of the people knew didn’t speak Pashtu, Dari, Urdu or Turkik dialects. They would have failed your test.

      Some SEALs go to the CIA and most of the people who take that career path end up in Special Activities Division. CIA is heavy on language and that crew will go to any of a number of courses. Some are better than others. The Spanish language course (for example) was taught by an 80-year-old Cuban gentleman who spoke fluent Castillian, which is nearly unintelligible to many Mexicans who speak “border dialect”.

      There is a lot of cross-over training from 2001 on. For all I know, they may be sending people to DLI. The problem with that is that it short-sheets the Teams, which always seem to have more missions than people. In order to understand why that is, you need to understand the nature of training evolutions and personnel rotation and I’m not going into that.

  4. SCOTUS link: spousal activities and influence are worthy of scrutiny, but that particular link is a hit piece. The “NewCivilRightsMovement” is a homosexual advocacy group and the piece is targeting Roberts because he’s a “conservative” in their view. Note that the other justices mentioned unfavorably are Thomas and Alito. Hilariously, Sheldon Whitehouse and Hank Johnson are mentioned favorably as crusading good-guy lawmakers.

    It’s also interesting to note the spectacular diversity of the reporters, pundits and “legal scholars” quoted in the piece. Does that list “reflect the demographics of modern America”?

    1. I didn’t spend that much time on the article, obviously. I don’t have much time for blogging these days and the quality apparently suffers. I’ll try and keep that in mind. Thanks, Mike_C.

      1. LL, the blog quality is still top rate for “daily nuggets” we need to pay attention…besides, how can anyone know what site is skewing information. Heck, we had the neighbors horses show up at 6 this morning making a mess. No sleeping in and the coffee had to wait. Life happens.

      2. Not meant as a complaint, much less a personal criticism. I read the link through out of genuine curiosity, and just over halfway through I started to get suspicious. Which called for a second reading, which is where the “diversity” (lack thereof) pattern recognition happened by chance. It’s a messed up world.

  5. Is there anyone who does not look back and ponder the road not taken? Every path has its ups and downs. To go back in time and change things would be to forsake the blessings I already have. I think not. If I were to meet my 18 year old self, I would simply smile and say “Press on. You will do fine. I am about to turn 70, so you will at least make it this far”.

    Well OK, I might mention that when he picks up that El Tigre in the Old West Gun Room, buy it.

      1. I’m currently lamenting not making a purchase in a timely way and somebody else snatched it up. It’s not the first time that I dithered. The first time was when I was 16 and I still kick myself over THAT one.

      2. I passed on it because in my callow youth, I did not know that 44 Largo was the Spanish name for 44-40 WCF. All was not lost however. The original owner of Old West Gun Room was George R. Repaire. I bought my 45-70 Trapdoor Springfield rifle from him around 1973. Still have it, still shoot it.

        1. I have an original 44-70 WCF lever action army but I wouldn’t fire it. It’s for looking at.

    1. Yeah, I’d bang my young head against the wall and point at all the good war surplus guns and tell me to buy some M-1s and M-1s (Garands and Carbines) and some Springfields and some M1917s. And ammo. Lots of ammo.

      Also some Enfields, some Garbage-Rods (Mosins,) some Krags, that Lee-Navy I could have gotten, a Carcano just in case I need to shoot a politician, some K-98s, some BM-59s (the Italian M-14, supposed to be a real good shooter.)

      Ya know, all the stupid decisions…

  6. ** SCOTUS Scam:
    Ongoing reason to remain cynical. Age 18 I was already a cynic. My advice to the 18 year old? Don’t trust until you have verified. After verification, stand fast with those you trust.

  7. SCOTUS- Just another corrupt branch of what is Constitutionally to be a small Federal government tasked with taking care of national security and sovereignty. Now it’s nothing but grifter-central, 90% of them are thieves and cheats who think they are better than anyone else simply by location.

    Hunter, clearly not dads favorite son so forced him into a life of laundering dads treasonous activity of which he tried to assuage by going off the rails in every manner. But this statement – in writing no less – from his lawyers tortured word salad: “That’s not Hunter’s laptop but we want it back from the repair shop who stole it from him.” Talk about rich on steroids.

    @18? Easy peasy…I’d better follow my father’s advice to, “spend a third, invest a third, and save a third.” And due to my nature I’d have much sooner heed another of his admonitions to not be so trusting or naive. But none of us who long enough are free from having regrets…that’s not exactly living to the full. But learning from our mistakes is critical. As dad also said, “Just don’t repeat them.”

  8. A Yorkshire man’s advice to his son:
    “See all, hear all, say now’t … Eat all, sup all, pay now’t … And if ever tha does owt for now’t, allus do it for thisen.”


    My Old Man wasn’t much of a talker. He imparted wisdom and skills by example.
    The fragments of his advice I recall are more significant in aggregate than singly.

    I treasure his memory and miss him more every day.

      1. x3. I should have asked more questions, should have paid more attention. If there are any young ones hereabouts, now is the time to ask those questions and pay that attention.

      2. My dad was given 6 months to live. I spent every saturday with him.
        For the next 6 years (God answers prayer).
        I do not miss him.
        I know every story he’d tell, every piece of advice he’d give.
        I hear his voice when I sing, and I carry him with me.
        He shall not come to me, but I will go to him.

  9. Well, it is Roberts, but, yeah, a hit piece. Considering Roberts as a conservative is quite the reach…

    As to the sails. “LATEEN” is what you correctly label the triangular sails found on Caravels and such. Triangular sail hanging from a yardarm. Provides excellent steering and allows the boat/ship to cut closer to the wind and thus tack and maneuver far better and avoid getting ‘caught in irons’ where the sails run out of gas because they are too angled against the flow of the wind.

    A big achievement of the Caravels and Naos was getting away from a lighter Mediterranean build and making them heavier and stronger and thus able to resist long-distance sailing better than equivalent construction designed to handle the far less turbulent Med.

    And what fueled all this naval advancement? Spices. Worth more than gold and gems, a small ship like a caravel could carry enough spice to screw up a region’s or nation’s economy for years. Think about that the next time you pass the discount rack at the supermarket and see spices on sale for half off. You might consider stocking up. And ignore those snobs who say spices are only good for a few years. Most spices made it to Europe after at least 2 years of travel back in the Roman and Medieval and (Italian) Renaissance periods. Won’t be a bad investment for the coming troubled times.

  10. When the bar girls in Pattaya find out that Cobra Gold is coming, they go absolutely apeshit. Back in the 1990’s, Pattaya was still a relatively quiet beach town but it’s since gone crazy with over commercialization, crime, drugs, trannies and the Russians taking over from Americans and Aussies. Pity.

      1. That’s about all we have, brother….foggy memories of good times gone by. At least we survived relatively intact and our livers haven’t shut down completely. Carry on, brave scribbler.

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