Thursday, July 23, 2020

Film experts, fans celebrate rediscovery of Appalachian story ‘Spring Night Summer Night’

By Steve Hammons

An independent film from the mid-1960s has been lovingly resurrected, restored and now, rediscovered by a new wave of fans. “Spring Night Summer Night” has been making the rounds at prestigious film festivals in recent years and is now available via a dual DVD/Blu-ray package from Flicker Alley.

Filming began in 1965, directed by Joseph L. “Joe” Anderson, then the head of a tiny film program at Ohio University, Athens, in the Appalachian southeast corner of the state. Ohio U. students were writers, cast and crew, and the film was completed in 1966 for $29,000.

The film tells a story of life in a small Appalachian town, and the transition into adulthood of the two main characters, Jessie (Jessica) and Carl. It was filmed in and around Athens, Athens County and neighboring villages, towns and counties.

“Spring Night Summer Night,” released in 1967, caught the eye of prominent filmmakers at the time. It premiered at Italy’s Pesaro Film Festival in 1967 was slated for viewing at the 1968 New York Film Festival.

However, it was bumped from the festival and replaced by the showing of John Cassavetes’ “Faces.” “Spring Night Summer Night” was finally shown at the festival in 2018.

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER


And on Jan. 10, 2020, “Spring Night Summer Night” was shown at UCLA’s Billy Wilder Theater, billed as the “West Coast Digital Restoration Premiere!” Film restorationists Peter Conheim and Ross Lipman, who were key in the film's rebirth, were present for the event.

The UCLA announcement of the showing noted, “Director J.L. Anderson’s remarkable first feature, Spring Night Summer Night has been claiming the attention of a growing number of critics as it has gradually emerged from a decades-long obscurity following screenings, in recent years, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, UCLA and the Rural Route Film Festival. This stunning new 4K restoration promises to bring the film an even wider audience.”

Now recognized as an outstanding independent film, the new DVD release includes extras such as alternate and behind-the scenes footage, interviews with the film’s participants, commentary by film experts and a “Bluegrass Trilogy” of three shorts filmed at Ohio University and set to Bluegrass tunes.


An Oct. 15, 2018, article about the film on the entertainment website IndieWire was titled, “‘Spring Night, Summer Night’: One Film’s Bizarre 50-Year Journey to Its Long-Delayed New York Film Festival Premiere.”

The IndieWire article explained that the film’s long road to the 2018 New York Film Festival screening involved many people over the years. These included Conheim, Lipman, and director Nicolas Winding Refn and his cinema preservation activities.

Cinematographer Ed Lachman was part of the team that filmed “Spring Night Summer Night” and a student of director Anderson. Lachman told IndieWire, “The film department only existed because of the football department, who owned a film processing machine and 16mm cameras we could use.”

Lachman explained, “It was this very open classroom where Joe exposed us to all these films we had never seen before – you really could feel that influence of European films of the time watching that film tonight. Joe made his films with his students.”

“He thought we should be out filming in areas around Athens, not unlike the Italians after the war. I worked on his next film after this one, ‘America First.’ It was one of the most exceptional experiences I had and really formulated my interest and approach to filmmaking,” Lachman said.


STORY IS RELEVANT NOW

In another article noting the film’s inclusion in the 2018 New York Film Festival, the local newspaper The Athens News featured a Nov. 20, 2018, piece under the headline, “A missed masterpiece – Film world rediscovers long-neglected feature shot in 1965 in rural Athens County and surrounding area.”

“The cast were first-time movie actors, with locals as bit players,” according to The Athens News. It recalled, “An article that appeared in the Ohio University student newspaper, The Post, on Nov. 29, 1966, reports on photography for ‘Spring Night Summer Night’ wrapping up. It quotes [script co-writer Franklin] Miller as noting that ‘of the 57 people connected with the film, everyone is, or was, a student at OU’.”


The Athens News quoted Miller as saying, “As we were writing, a two-year process, we drove all through the remote coal-mining hills of southeastern Ohio, scouting locations and, equally important, listening to speech patterns.”

The article also reported that UCLA film restorationist Lipman reviewed the film in 2012 and called it “a compelling and beautiful drama.” Lipman said UCLA had acquired the original negative and only remaining print. However, at the time, funding for restoration was not available.

But before long, due to widespread appreciation of the film, support was forthcoming to professionally restore it.


“Spring Night Summer Night” might also be relevant in current national discussions about society, culture, history, economic opportunity and human behavior.

The Athens News piece points out that, “Watching it may bring to mind the debate now raging around J.D. Vance’s memoir ‘Hillbilly Elegy,’ which decries Appalachia’s supposedly dysfunctional culture, and Elizabeth Catte’s stinging rejoinder, ‘What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia,’ which reminds us that the region’s downtrodden status is more inflicted from without than bred from within – and has often sparked homegrown resistance.”

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For more information:


“Spring Night, Summer Night Blu-ray Review + Unboxing,” 
Flicker Alley, on YouTube

“Spring Night Summer Night (1967) – Trailer,”
Flicker Alley, on YouTube

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(Related articles "Navy Research Project on Intuition," "Human perception key in hard power, soft power, smart power" and “Storytelling affects human biology, beliefs, behavior” are posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Miami U. of Ohio changed name from ‘Redskins’ to ‘RedHawks’ in 1997

By Steve Hammons

Miami University of Ohio in Oxford, located in southwestern Ohio near the Indiana state line, changed its mascot name from "Redskins" to "RedHawks" in 1997 after the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma made a name-change request of the university.

The university's decision to change the name sparked debate, according Miami University’s Director of Miami Tribe Relations Kara Strass. 


In a July 13, 2020, article from ABC9 News in Cincinnati under the headline, “Miami University was decades ahead in dropping Redskins nickname,” Strass was quoted as saying, “I think this was a very controversial decision. I don’t think it was one that was made lightly."

She noted, “There was a lot of alumni pushback to people who saw Redskins as part of their Miami identity, part of their experience of going to school at Miami, and felt like I think something had been taken away from them. It’s been pretty controversial ever since then.”

Miami University was founded in 1809 – not long after many native people, including the Miami, Myaami or Myaamia of southwestern Ohio and Indiana, and the Shawnee of Ohio and Kentucky had been pushed out of the region by force, after much bloodshed and loss of their lands.

MYAAMIA CENTER

Miami U. is in an area that was an interface between the Miami people to the west and northwest, and the Shawnee tribe who lived to the east in central and southern Ohio and Kentucky, south of the Ohio River, or as it reportedly was called then, the “Ohi yo” or “Ohiyo.”

Today, Miami U. is home of the Myaamia Center, begun in 2001 as the Myaamia Project, with wide-ranging activities in partnership with the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. That tribe is the only U.S. government-recognized Miami tribe, though there is also a Miami tribal group in Indiana.

According to their webpages on the Miami U. website, “The Center focuses on conducting in-depth research to assist the Miami Tribe’s educational initiatives aimed at the preservation of language and culture.”

Additionally, “The Center also emphasizes exposing undergraduate and graduate students at Miami University to tribal efforts in language and cultural revitalization.”


Also on the Miami U. website, "The Myaamia Center is directly supported by both the Tribe and the University. Anyone committed to helping perpetuate Miami language and culture for future generations is welcome to participate."

The Myaamia Center describes its mission: “The Center, a Miami Tribe of Oklahoma initiative located within an academic setting, serves the needs of the Myaamia people, Miami University, and partner communities through research, education, and outreach that promote Myaamia language, culture, knowledge, and values.”

Relationships that have been established between Miami U. and the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. “Over the years, a thriving and mutually enriching relationship has developed between the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and Miami University.”

“Each activity, project, class, and visit is one piece of a much broader, continuously developing relationship,” the Myaamia Center webpages explain.

PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE

The center is involved in research and conferences. “The Myaamia Center's offices explore research on a breadth of topics, from language and education to cultural ecology.”

“We present our research regularly at events such as the Myaamiaki Conference. We also make our research available to members of the Miami Tribe community and the public, in many cases as free downloads.”

Also from the center’s webpages:

- 125 Myaamia students have enrolled at Miami University since 1996.

- 89% graduation rate for Myaamia students at Miami University as of 2017.

- In 2022, the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and Miami University will celebrate 50 years of relationship building.

According to Cincinnati’s ABC9 News article, “The Miami Tribe formally asked the university to change its nickname and mascot in 1996. A year later, it did – to RedHawks.”

Miami U.’s Strass is quoted as saying, “That is a first step, and that there is so much more work to be done, before people truly understand what it means to be a native person, to honor native communities.”

The article explained, “At Miami, Strass says without the name change a lot of what’s happening now, like the creation of the Myaamia Center and a program that’s bringing 30 tribal students to attend school there this fall, wouldn’t have been possible.”


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For more information, visit their website: 
Miami University’s Myaamia Center

(Related articles "Navy Research Project on Intuition," "Human perception key in hard power, soft power, smart power" and  “Storytelling affects human biology, beliefs, behavior” are posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.)
 

Friday, June 5, 2020

Analysis: Research company involved with UFOs opens up about activities

By Steve Hammons 

A couple of weeks ago, a small startup company involved in forward-leaning research held an online Q&A session to discuss their activities. The company, To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science (TTSA), gained recent attention for their involvement in research into U.S. Navy encounters with “unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP).”

One of the company’s advisers, Christopher Mellon, took questions from participants on Twitter. Mellon previously held the position of U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence. 
Of the total questions and answers, 25 were later published on TTSA’s website. 

For some people, both the questions and answers probably trigger increased curiosity, a closer look and a deeper thoughtfulness about what could be involved.

Further analysis of some of the questions and answers might improve our perspectives. And analyzing some points a bit more could also provide some helpful acclimation and orientation, and possible insight.

Below are seven of the verbatim Qs and As, or sections of them, with a brief analysis of some aspects that seem relevant.

TELLING THE STORY

Q #7: Reporter George Knapp [award-winning investigative journalist, KLAS-TV News, CBS8, Las Vegas] has speculated there are other, better funded UAP programs that should come to light. Word is about 4 of them in existence for many decades. Do you feel confident we will learn about more programs in the near future?

A: I’m not sure what programs he is referring to but I see no evidence DoD is about to release info about new, undisclosed, classified programs on this topic. We applaud DoD’s recent openness regarding the videos however we would like to see greater transparency going forward. All of us at TTSA would like to see greater government transparency.

Analysis: According to many credible reports, during World War II and in the post-war late-1940s and 1950s, the U.S. defense community became aware of seemingly very unusual aerial phenomena. So, there appear to have most likely been seven decades of research into the situation.

Many researchers looking into this overall topic claim that there is significant evidence, as well as notable circumstantial indications, pointing to robust U.S. activities in this area.

Q #9: How would the team respond to criticism of a small group claiming TTSA is positioning #UAP as a potential threat to create a "defense" narrative around the topic? This seems simply a way to engage those who only respond to something if they think it’s a POTENTIAL threat.

A: We were motivated by the lack of support for pilots concerned about threats to (them) from these aircraft, from mid-air collisions, or possibly worse.

Analysis: The framing of a narrative (which is basically a story) can be very important. What actually is the true story? Or, are there many sides, elements and perspectives to the story or multiple stories? Narratives and storytelling can be used in various ways, with various degrees of accuracy and completeness.

On this particular topic, maybe we still don’t know, understand or comprehend various aspects of the story. Yet, maybe there is enough information somewhere to indicate that the situation is related to a defense threat of some kind.

Q #11: Thanks for getting credible mainstream outlets to cover this (NYT, CNN, WaPo, etc.)! My question is does appearing on disinformation programs like Glenn Beck/Hannity do more hurt than good?

A: I don’t regard the UAP issue as a partisan topic, and Lue [Luis Elizondo, TTSA director of government services and programs] and I do interviews for all manner of press. I have independently written about my concerns and distaste for excessive partisanship and the problems it poses

Analysis: The American free press includes credible and professional news organizations as well as media outlets with lesser credibility. In recent decades the media landscape and ecosystem have changed due to the emergence of the internet, new online media, as well as developments in TV and movies.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word “disinformation” as the following: “false information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumors) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth.”

INTERNATIONAL, GLOBAL SITUATION

Q #12: Has there been any tangible progress on the international stage? What kind of progress, do you believe, has been achieved by other countries in tracking, investigating, and replicating these phenomena? And, lastly, are you seeing positive momentum?

A: There is growing international interest. In 2018, for example, the Chinese government-funded an international UAP symposium focused on high tech issues. Lue recently returned from a visit to Latin America that will feature prominently in an upcoming episode of #UNIDENTIFIED [A&E History Channel docu-series “Unidentified: Inside America's UFO Investigation”].

Analysis: The global nature of the situation being researched seems significant. With the various international tensions and humanitarian challenges around the world, increased cooperation on this particular topic could be helpful.

In an Oct. 13, 2019, article on The Hill website, “3 reasons to investigate the US Navy UFO incidents,” former State Department analyst Marik von Rennenkampff wrote that, “Given the anti-democratic and authoritarian inclinations of some major world powers, it is imperative that such [advanced aerospace] capabilities fall into the ‘right’ (i.e., democratic) hands.”  He added, “In the event that such capability exists, mere knowledge thereof should prompt a fundamental shift away from humanity’s baser priorities in favor of loftier, nobler objectives.”

Q #13: If @TTSAcademy could only accomplish one goal (in my opinion you've already accomplished a great deal) - What would the most important thing that comes out of all this?

A: Great question! If the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life is established, it will prompt the biggest transformation in humanity’s outlook since Copernicus.

Analysis: The natural and logical implications of various research in this area do seem to point to very significant possible or probable developments. As Mellon notes, this would result in a transformation for humanity.

Our basic understanding of certain aspects of science, spirituality, Nature, the Universe and ourselves could change somewhat significantly.

Q #14: Can you address how the understanding/realization of the UAP being a real phenomenon has changed you and other members of TTSA at a personal level?

A: Wow, interesting question. I’m proud of what we have achieved in a short period of time but also keenly aware that the ramifications are immense and potentially very concerning. The more concrete the issue becomes the more weighty it becomes.

Analysis: Mellon notes that he and his TTSA colleagues are, “also keenly aware that the ramifications are immense and potentially very concerning. The more concrete the issue becomes the more weighty it becomes.”

This seemingly will increasingly also be the case for more and more Americans and people around the world.

Q #16: In May 2016, Leslie Kean [author, journalist, researcher] asked: "Are you certain there is no government cover-up?" You answered, "It’s impossible to prove the negative, so all I can say is that I never saw any evidence of official interest in UAPs."

A: Uncle Sam has a big basement and rummaging around there can turn up all manner of things. However, I think the central problem at the moment is the lack of government interest and effort to get to the bottom of the issue.

Analysis: (Same as analysis to question #7 above related to journalist George Knapp) According to many credible reports, during World War II and in the post-war late-1940s and 1950s, the U.S. defense community became aware of seemingly very unusual aerial phenomena. So, there appear to have most likely been seven decades of research into the situation.

Many researchers looking into this overall topic claim that there is significant evidence, as well as notable circumstantial indications, pointing to robust U.S. activities in this area.

To read the full 25-question Q&A, visit the TTSA site here.



(Related articles “Storytelling affects human biology, beliefs, behavior” and “Reagan’s 1987 UN speech on ‘alien threat’ resonates now” are posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.) 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

‘Black swan’ events that aren't: Coronavirus, climate emergency, unidentified aerial phenomena

By Steve Hammons

A “black swan event” is one that is almost totally unexpected, is high-profile and has very significant impacts. It is viewed in hindsight as if it could have been foreseen and prepared for, even if this is not completely accurate since some events might involve truly random elements.

The concept is based on an ancient Latin expression from the second century referring to something that was impossible, as they believed at the time that all swans were white. However, when black swans were discovered by Europeans in 1697, the term came to mean impossible events that turned out to be quite possible after all.

A more recent expression related to the black swan concept is the “gray rhino.” This refers to something that, like a black swan situation, has major effects, but is not an outlier and is something that should be expected.

The black swan theory is used in forecasting and preparedness of various kinds, including economic prediction, national security threats and global health.

Implicit in black swan scenarios is the fact that most situations are not black swans and can be predicted and prepared for with thoughtful forecasting analysis – and often, with common sense, average intelligence and responsible behavior.

GRAY RHINO CAN DO DAMAGE

In analyzing three current situations facing the human race on Earth, it seems helpful to determine if these are black swan or gray rhino scenarios:

1) Coronavirus pandemic

2) Climate emergency

3) Unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP)

And we can apply the same analysis to other developments that could occur, such as severe earthquakes on California's San Andreas fault or the Pacific Northwest's Cascadia Subduction Zone fault.

In the coronavirus situation, as we know, there have been centuries of human experience with epidemics and pandemics. As a result, in more modern times we have developed medications, treatments, and specific medical and public health prevention measures and interventions.

Humans have also developed and deployed biological warfare, using disease as a weapon. This tactic was reportedly used against Native Americans during early Indian wars in North America. And, intentional or not, European diseases killed tens of thousands of Native American children, women and men.

Emerging disease epidemics or pandemics have happened multiple times in recent decades. Entire U.S. government agencies and numerous professionals are tasked with preparing for and responding to such situations – situations that are basically expected. 


In fact, in recent years pandemic disease has routinely been on the list of national security threats facing the U.S. So, the coronavirus is seemingly a gray rhino, not a black swan.

Applying some of these same approaches to climate change, we know that many scientific experts have clearly identified scientific data about the causes, trajectory and probable or certain outcomes of climate change.

These outcomes have been repeatedly identified as fitting one of the criteria of a black swan situation – major impacts. And, climate change has been identified as a threat to U.S. national security.

But, obviously, these outcomes are not unexpected at all. So, when major, catastrophic, environmental tipping points are reached, possibly in the near future, it will not be accurate to say it was a black swan. It will be a huge, dangerous, gray rhino charging right at us, doing serious damage.

EXPECT THE EXPECTED

A third type of black swan or gray rhino is related to that “tic-tac” UFO or UAP in the news that was encountered by U.S. Navy pilots off the coast of San Diego. Other similar incidents have occurred in recent years involving Navy aviators.

A robust number of well-researched news reports, articles, scientific papers, books, documentary films, some Hollywood movies and a few credible TV shows clearly seem to indicate that UAP are real. Recent official statements by the Navy note the same thing.


Additionally, the UAP appear to be of different types, and have been encountered in many locations, time frames and situations around the world by credible people.

It might be worth keeping in mind that a black swan or gray rhino might not always have to be a harmful situation, though the terms are usually referenced in this context. Something along the lines of a black swan or gray rhino could just denote significant changes, something highly unusual or even even positive developments.

For example, in the mid-evening hours on March 13, 1997, a large number of witnesses reported a somewhat huge, boomerang-shaped or V-shaped object with large lights underneath cruise over Phoenix, Arizona. It’s a famous case of course, and there are many others.

In the so-called “Phoenix lights” incident, the large object reportedly glided slowly and silently at a fairly low altitude right through the middle of the metro Phoenix area. Lots of people outdoors on that pleasant evening saw it. The then-governor of Arizona, Fife Symington, went outside and saw it.

So, it seems that a significant UAP incident or development would be considered a gray rhino, not a black swan. Yet, whether a certain scenario is a black swan or a gray rhino, unexpected or expected, their key common denominator is that they both have major impacts.

It’s wise to “expect the unexpected.” And, it’s not a bad idea to “expect the expected.”



(Related articles "Navy Research Project on Intuition," "Human perception key in hard power, soft power, smart power" and “Storytelling affects human biology, beliefs, behavior” are posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.)

Monday, March 2, 2020

National security expert says recent UFOs are ‘threat unmet’

By Steve Hammons
 
In a Feb. 18, 2020, article titled “A Threat Unmet” in the magazine of the American Legion military veterans organization, a former U. S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence wrote about “unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP)” in close proximity to U.S. Navy aircraft carrier strike groups at sea and related factors.
 
Christopher Mellon updated readers of American Legion Magazine about specifics of the encounters between Navy pilots and what appeared to be unusual objects performing incredible gravity-transcending maneuvers at fantastic speeds.
 
He began his article reviewing the groundbreaking Dec. 16, 2017, news report in the New York Times about encounters between Navy jet pilots and very odd objects. Mellon also covered the subsequent development when the spokesman for the deputy chief of naval operations publicly stated that the objects are unidentified aerial phenomena – that is, they are not U.S. craft.
 
Mellon noted that this statement by the Navy was a step toward more openness about the situation – especially compared to the U.S. Air Force’s Project Sign (1948), Project Grudge (beginning in 1949) and Project Blue Book (1952-1970).
 
At the same time, Mellon states that from his viewpoint, U.S. government national security agencies and Congress don’t seem to be doing enough to investigate and respond to this highly-unusual situation. As to what might have been going on behind the scenes over the decades regarding UFOs, he seems to refrain from commenting on that possible element of U.S. government-related activities.
 
NATIONAL SECURITY RESPONSE
 
Mellon recalled some of the views of J. Allen Hynek, PhD, the Ohio State University astronomy professor who worked on the Air Force’s Project Blue Book at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Hynek seemed to believe that the Air Force’s public statements about UFOs didn’t completely line up with his investigations and observations, Mellon reminded us.
 
And as to the more recent Navy UFO encounters, Mellon appeared concerned when he writes that, “No major investigations have been launched. There is no indication the DoD or intelligence community leadership is engaged.”
 
He added, “And there is still no process for collecting and integrating pertinent information about UFO/UAPs from the myriad agencies and departments that possess it (NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office, the FBI, the National Security Agency, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the armed forces and others).”
 
 “This paralysis is occurring at a time when the scientific community increasingly recognizes the possibility of humanity encountering probes from spacefaring civilizations,” Mellon said.
 
Importantly, he also pointed out to readers that, “Though Navy pilots have sounded the alarm – their testimony has appeared in print, online and on national television – there is still no sign that our massive DoD and intelligence bureaucracies, or our Congress, are seeking answers to the UFO/UAP mystery on behalf of military personnel who are potentially at risk from midair collisions if nothing else (one near miss by a Navy fighter has already been reported).”
 
“Pearl Harbor and 9/11 are tragic examples of intelligence failures that could have been avoided,” Mellon wrote. “Our continuing inability to identify the radical aerospace vehicles violating our airspace is an ongoing intelligence failure, one that arguably requires written notification to the House and Senate intelligence committees pursuant to Section 502 of the National Security Act of 1947.”
 
Has Mellon given up on an intelligent and reasonable response from Congress and the U.S. government?
 
He certainly seems somewhat discouraged when he writes, “While Congress has not received a formal notification regarding this failure, and perhaps never will, it is certainly aware that DoD is unable to identify these aircraft or prevent them from violating U.S. airspace. The question now is whether our leaders will remain passive out of concern for outdated stigmas or act on behalf of our servicemembers and our nation.”
 
To assist Congress and national security leaders on this topic, Mellon makes several suggestions about how to use our defense and intelligence assets to investigate, monitor, analyze, understand and make preparations regarding the apparent situation at hand.
 
TAIL WAGS DOG?
 
As a former federal government national security official, Mellon appears to naturally focus on Congress and formal U.S. defense activities. Like other interested people, he seems to want our elected U.S. representatives, senators and other federal officials to show insight, appropriate concern and effective response about a possible dire threat to our country.
 
Is Mellon likely to be disappointed? He appears hopeful that those individuals currently elected or appointed to the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, and others in the federal government will demonstrate intelligent and responsible behavior when it comes to these unusual developments.

Could Mellon be expecting too much from Washington, D.C.? He seems to be advocating for an intelligent and appropriate response to what appears to be a possible significant threat, or at least a highly-unusual development to be concerned about.
 
Since he is a former U.S. government official, Mellon’s federal government-centric viewpoint is understandable, relevant and important. 
  

He also seems to be reaching out to a broad scope of American citizens and those in our armed forces and national security services, encouraging us to learn more and become more aware and engaged about these unidentified phenomena that Navy pilots are reporting.
 
And, of course, it has not just been Navy pilots. Over the years, military pilots from other services, other military personnel, civilian pilots, public safety peace officers and reliable witnesses from all walks of life have reported UFO/UAP incidents in the U.S. and around the world. 

In this article and others he’s penned, Mellon is informing us about these significant circumstances worth paying attention to. He’s trying to inform former and retired military members, and their families, friends and associates. He’s talking to all of us – grassroots active duty and reserve component military personnel, public safety first responders, students, and Americans and people around the world.
 
Maybe we would be wise to listen to him.


(Related article “Reagan’s 1987 UN speech on ‘alien threat’ resonates now” is posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.) 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

My military draft lottery number was #165 during final Vietnam War years

By Steve Hammons

(Related article “Storytelling affects human biology, beliefs, behavior” is posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.)

My 18th birthday was in the spring of 1970 when I was a senior in high school in southwestern Ohio, where I was born and raised. Shortly after, I received a Vietnam-era “draft card” from the U.S. Selective Service System. 
My draft status was listed as 1-H, meaning not immediately eligible for draft into the Army.

At the time, as a high school kid, I did not fully understand that by the date I received my draft card, tens of thousands of American troops had been killed and severely wounded in the Vietnam War. And more were being killed and wounded daily.

That summer, the second year of the draft lottery system was conducted. Like the state gambling lotteries of today, numbers were placed in a large bin and randomly drawn – one number for each of the 365 days in the year that a male baby was born in the year 1952 who turned 18 in 1970.

Those babies, now 18-year-old American males, would be available for the military draft for the Vietnam War. My birthday was picked as #165. I was fairly clueless as to what that meant.

Those draftees were sent directly to Army basic training, then to advanced infantry training and other preparation, and then often to Vietnam and combat.

YOUNG AND DUMB

As it turned out, the “Vietnamization” process of the war had started in 1969 
– the U.S. pulling out and handing responsibility to the South Vietnamese government and military.

The draft was winding down. The Selective Service System never did reach #165 of the 1970 batch of bodies to draft, though many 1970 18-year-olds with lower lottery numbers were drafted and went to Vietnam. The Selective Service System drafted up to #125 for that age group.

Americans would be fighting, killing and dying in the Vietnam War for a few years to come before the final withdrawal of combat troops in 1973 (the U.S. embassy was evacuated in 1975 in a chaotic, final pullout.)


The final death toll for American military personnel came to more than 58,000. The vast majority were in their twenties. 


There were also significant numbers of American prisoners of war (POWs), more than 1,600 missing in action (MIA) and more than 150,000 injuries.

Vietnam veterans also later suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), other behavioral health issues, alcohol and drug abuse, family problems, homelessness, war-related medical issues (war injuries, exposure to Agent Orange herbicide), incarceration and other problems related to their experiences.

But in the spring 1970 in my senior year of high school, I did not know about all of these factors in motion.

The teenager life of high school, learning to drive, playing football and dating was about to change for me as it had for many before me and after me. 
I and my peers across the country had now turned 18 and received our draft cards. (And we could now legally buy and drink 3.2 percent "low" beer in Ohio from stores, restaurants and bars.)

But there apparently was a very serious war going on – which we were learning was not totally supported and was seemingly believed by many to be a very bad idea overall 
– even a war crime.

We were learning that there had been protests, “disturbances” and riots happening on college campuses for the previous few years because of opposition to the Vietnam War.

And that spring, something happened at Kent State University, one of the several medium-size state universities in Ohio. Combat came home when Ohio National Guard troops opened fire on Kent State students protesting the Vietnam War.

As student riots spread, the Ohio governor closed every state university early, sending students home and deploying more National Guard as needed to college campuses to accomplish this. No college graduation ceremony for the Class of 1970.

VIETNAM WAR AND DRAFT END

By this time I had informed my “draft board” (local committees who made decisions on who to draft) that I was registered for college the following September at Ohio University in Athens, located in the far southeastern Ohio Applachian region near West Virginia. My draft status was then changed from 1-H to 2-S (student). My draft lottery number of #165 remained the same.

This was the context in which I had contact with Army Special Forces Reserve personnel in southwestern Ohio in the spring of 1970, still a high school senior, due to somewhat puzzling circumstances.

The next fall I participated in Army Reserve Officers Training Corps in my first year at Ohio University in 1970-71. I also experienced two two-week summer Special Forces Reserve training exercises on either side of that freshman year, summer of ’70 and summer of ’71.

There were robust protests against the war at Ohio University. The storage area under the football stadium bleachers used by the ROTC program had been firebombed.

Opponents of the Vietnam War were saying that old men in Washington, DC, were sending young men off to war in some kind of sick ritual.

People were also saying that lots and lots of money was being made from the Vietnam War and from the blood of our troops and others.

Although I don’t remember the more-recent term “chicken hawk” being used, the idea was the same: Many men (and women) who are very brave about sending other people to kill, die and be severely injured, seemingly don’t want to go themselves or send their own sons and daughters. They wave the flag and beat the drums while other young Americans kill, bleed and die.

In June 1971 the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War were published. In June 1972 the Watergate break-in burglars were arrested.

The draft was ended in January 1973, mid-year of my junior year at Ohio U., related to the drawdown of U.S. troops in Vietnam and the significant opposition to the Vietnam War among Americans and internationally.

The final evacuation of the U.S. embassy in Saigon took place April 30, 1975.


Tuesday, January 7, 2020

‘Force protection’ for our troops is now the responsibility of all Americans

By Steve Hammons

(Related articles "Navy Research Project on Intuition" and "Human perception key in hard power, soft power, smart power" are posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.)

The concept of “force protection” for U.S. military personnel and U.S. assets involves a system of analyses, assessments and actions in response to ever-changing threats.

Multiple force protection levels can flex and fluctuate in response to conventional and unconventional dangers, and from various and changing directions and sources.

Readiness and ability to recognize new and emerging threats are key for force protection for our Army soldiers, Marines and other tip-of-the-spear warfighters from the Navy and Air Force.

On March 18, 2009, James Mattis, former Marine Corps general and former secretary of defense, addressed the House Armed Services Committee.

Mattis was then commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command. At the time, the Joint Forces Command was one of 10 combatant commands in the U.S. Department of Defense and oversaw a force of 1.16 million active duty, National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers, Air Force personnel, Navy personnel and Marines.

ADVANCED TRAINING

In his address, Mattis said “core competency” is needed in “irregular warfare (IW).” He also referenced "hybrid warfare" which can combine IW and more conventional methods.

Mattis said adversaries could use methods of a "hybrid nature that combine any available irregular or conventional mode of attack, using a blend of primitive, traditional and high-tech weapons and tactics."

He told committee members, "We must have balanced and versatile joint forces ready to accomplish missions across the full spectrum of military operations – from large-scale, conventional warfare to humanitarian assistance and other forms of 'soft' power."

Mattis’ guidance to lawmakers was not hypothetical.

Many thousands of American military personnel have been killed and tens of thousands severely injured during the 2003 invasion and subsequent multi-year occupation of Iraq, and in attempts to stabilize Afghanistan. (Civilian deaths from those conflicts are estimated in the high hundreds of thousands, at a minimum.) 

American military families have been traumatized by 
the deaths of and severe injuries to sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers and other loved ones serving in our armed forces.

In facing the sometimes confusing and changing threats around us, Mattis put forth a key question: "What capabilities are required?" An obvious answer: Education and training of joint personnel, he said. "A trained warrior may perform acceptably in a conventional operation, but irregular and hybrid wars demand highly-educated warriors to prevail," he told the committee.

He also told committee members, "Special emphasis must be placed on human, cultural, language, and cognitive skills. A 'cognitive' warrior knows how to acquire knowledge, process information from multiple sources, and make timely, accurate decisions in complex, ethically challenging and ever-changing environments."

"So, we must be prepared to think the 'unthinkable,' using our study and imagination to help us defeat the enemy," Mattis told committee members. "We must employ to our advantage the power of both inspiration and intimidation, each in the appropriate measure, to confound our enemies."

COMMON OPERATIONAL PICTURE

Now, in January 2020, we find ourselves in a situation when the subject of force protection of our military personnel – many in their 20s and 30s, with spouses, young children, parents, siblings and other loved ones – is haunting our souls.

Back in 2009, Mattis also told the House Armed Services Committee that he believed current and future national security challenges demand "whole-of-government" approaches. 


"Essential to a whole-of-government approach for applying all aspects of national and international power is the ability to share information and situational awareness among all partners," he said.

When information is appropriately shared, an "interagency common operational picture" is created, Mattis told the committee. Military personnel must communicate with civilian counterparts and create a synergy of effort, Mattis said.

As part of preparation for enhanced U.S. force protection, it could be helpful to revisit the concept of “transcendent warfare.” This term was put forth by a former Navy SEAL officer back in 2001 when he was completing graduate-level studies at the Marine Corps War College.

The idea of transcendent warfare was related to U.S. defense research in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s into human perception, awareness, consciousness and intuition. 

Now, expanding military training and civilian public awareness of transcendent warfare concepts could be helpful in our approaches to force protection for U.S. armed forces personnel.



(Related article “Reagan’s 1987 UN speech on ‘alien threat’ resonates now” is posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.)