HOW ABOUT SOME INSPIRATION TO START THE DAY

 

Dog Company

Rangers. That is what is for breakfast this morning. Actually,  I realized this morning, it has been a while since I have posted something. I also realized I am sick and tired of reading and hearing negative BS 24/7. Everyone is so overcome by hate and discontent. People are pissed about President Trump, the border issue, who eats in their restaurant, why they didn’t get a trophy for finishing last, or which of the now 63 genders they want to be called today. Call me old school, but I thought their were two. Let’s not over complicate things.

Below is article I read this morning and I thought it was well worth posting. It is a story of heroism, unmatched bravery and determination. How about something positive for a change. Long forgotten is a time when our country pulled together for a common cause. Apparently, now is a time of ‘me, myself and I’ even at the risk of bettering our Nation.

So, here is something uplifting, amazing, patriotic and inspiring. Hope you all can take a few minutes to read it and remember The Greatest Generation.

A new television series, Hitler’s Last Stand, on the National Geographic Channel captures one of the great unknown battles of WWII, the epic stand of the 2nd Ranger Battalion at Hill 400.

“Fix bayonets!” barked a hulking Ranger officer.

In a scene reminiscent of a World War I battle, Germans and Americans stared at each other across a vast no man’s land. Lt. Leonard Lomell and his fellow Rangers gazed across the icy, flat expanse. They realized it made an ideal killing field and wondered if they would live long enough to cross the field and make it up the hill. The Rangers were huddled behind an embankment. In bunkers and foxholes on the other side of the field, Germans held their fingers poised on the triggers of their machine guns, which boasted a rate of fire of up to 1,500 rounds per minute. The gunners stood ready to tear the Rangers’ bodies to pieces.

At that moment, a newbie Ranger officer barked out a ridiculous order: “Send out a scout!”

“F*** you!” several veteran Rangers yelled back.

But the officer persisted until one of the privates obediently stood and started walking across the field. In stunned silence, the men watched the private collapse, taking a rifle shot to the belly after no more than four steps. “This was the fuse that ignited the explosion of the Ranger charge.”

The full story is captured in my best-selling book Dog Company: The Boys of Pointe du Hoc–the Rangers Who Accomplished D-Day’s Toughest Mission and Led the Way across Europe. It follows the Rangers of D Company from their training through D-Day and throughout the war.

Along the Ranger line, the men could hear the deafening sound of heavy artillery.

Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!

Like a tightly wound coiled spring, tension within the Rangers’ ranks reached a breaking point. A creeping artillery barrage and mortars slowly closed in on the 2nd Ranger’s Dog Company.

Suddenly, a Ranger stood up, raised his tommy gun above his head, and screamed: “Let’s go get the bastards!”

The Rangers fired a tremendous volley into the German positions facing them. In unison, they stood and let loose a blood-curdling Rebel yell as they charged across the open field.

“Wa-woo-woohoo! Wa-woo-woohoo! Wa-woo-woohoo!”

“We stood up just like in a movie,” one Ranger later remembered. “It was like seeing a wave at the football field. … We went over the field as one. With bayonets shining, hip-firing, and yelling a battle cry that probably goes back into the eons of time, we charged into the jaws of death.”

The Rangers shot, blasted and bayoneted their way up the hill. Sustaining massive casualties, Dog (or D) Company of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, along with its sister unit, Fox Company, seized Hill 400.

But the Battle of Hill 400 was far from the first time Dog Company had an impact on war.

D-Day

Six months earlier, on June 6, 1944, the men of Dog Company and other elements of the Second Ranger Battalion took on what was arguably D-Day’s toughest mission. They scaled the 90-foot cliffs of Pointe du Hoc under direct machine-gun and artillery fire while German soldiers threw grenades down upon them. Using ropes and their bare hands, the men of Dog Company scaled the precipice.

One of those Rangers was Leonard Lomell, Dog Company’s inspiring first sergeant, who continued to climb, even after being wounded in the side by a bullet from a machine gun.

Patrick K. O’Donnell and Len Lomell
Source: Author photo

Once on top, Dog Company fought its way through a Guns of Navarone–like labyrinth of bunkers, tunnels, machine-gun nests, and tens of thousands of mines. Somehow, Lomell and his close friend Jack Kuhn found the guns that hundreds of Allied bombers and thousands of Naval shells failed to destroy. Because the big guns could reach Omaha Beach, Utah Beach, and the Allied armada in the English Channel, taking them out was a top priority. They had to be neutralized at all costs. Lomell disabled the guns with thermite grenades.

For two days, Lomell and the rest of Dog Company sustained tremendous casualties, endured relentless German counterattacks, and — somehow — held the line against overwhelming numbers.

The Rangers’ accomplishments at Pointe du Hoc were nothing short of awe-inspiring. Yet somewhat surprisingly, the soldiers involved didn’t consider it their most difficult battle. I interviewed all the survivors in the 1990s, and to a man, the Rangers of Dog Company all said one thing to me: “Patrick, our longest day was not D-day but Hill 400, in the Hürtgen Forest.”

The Ranger’s Longest Day

In the first week of December 1944, the Allies made one of their deepest penetrations into the Third Reich at Bergstein, Germany. Looming behind the town of Bergstein was one of the most important hills in the Hürtgen Forest, the scene of one of the U.S. Army’s longest and most costly battles in Europe. On a clear day, one could see from Hill 400, as the Allies called it, into one of Germany’s greatest secrets of the war — the preparations for the Battle of the Bulge.

The Germans wanted to retain control of Hill 400 at all costs.

The Americans sent nearly an entire tank regiment to seize Bergstein and Hill 400. The Germans viciously counterattacked, nearly destroying the unit.

Hand-to-hand fighting raged in Bergstein. The scene resembled a miniature Stalingrad: The fighting was house-to-house, and dozens of Sherman tanks were destroyed by German grenadiers and anti-tank guns.

After two days of intense fighting, the GIs in Bergstein barely hung on. One remembered: “Had daylight arrived 15 minutes later, we would never have been able to hold Bergstein.”

That’s when the men of the Second Ranger Battalion received orders to reinforce the town and seize Hill 400.

The Rangers’ arrival immediately changed the course of the operation. One GI recalled that several Ranger officers appeared near the German hamlet. “They asked for the enemy positions and the road to take. They said that they were ready to go.”

The officers then turned to the other Rangers in their group and said, “Let’s go, men.”

“We heard the tommy guns click,” the GI remembered. “Without saying a word, the Rangers moved out. Our morale went up in a hurry.”

The Rangers passed by dozens of burning or burned-out Sherman tanks. Gored in its attempt to take Bergstein and Hill 400, the doomed regiment had been reduced to the equivalent of a company. “It was a haunting feeling,” recalled one Ranger. “We saw hulks of destroyed American tanks … The sight of GIs whose bodies were charred and blackened in the tanks … the smell of blood.”

Armed only with their tommy guns and assorted small arms, the men of the Second Ranger Battalion embarked on a suicide mission, just as they had on Pointe du Hoc, and waged a frontal assault to clear the town of Bergstein and capture the hill.

After the daring bayonet charge across the ice-covered field, which took the lives of many Rangers, small groups of men from Dog and Fox Companies seized the hill, taking out scores of German positions along the way.

Within an hour, the Germans counterattacked with hundreds of troops, outnumbering the Rangers many times over.

The hill shook as 18 battalions of German artillery initially allocated for the Battle of the Bulge plastered 400. Len Lomell recalled the scene: “The artillery fell like rain. Have you ever been in a torrential rainstorm? Now picture yourself trying to hide from those raindrops. Instead of rain, it’s falling shrapnel, deadly shrapnel rain.”

The shells kept coming down as if they were “belt-fed” — like machine-gun fire. With only a couple dozen men, the Rangers held off hundreds of enemy troops. Moving their tiny forces from one position on the hill to another, they stopped each German counterattack.

Sergeant Edward Secor from D Company single-handedly halted one attack. As hundreds of elite German paratroopers rushed his foxhole, his Browning automatic rifle was hit by a bullet, rendering it useless. In a scene reminiscent of Where Eagles Dare, Secor picked up two MP-40 machine pistols from dead German soldiers whose bodies lay only feet in front of his foxhole, and madly charged into the oncoming counterattack. “With a captured machine pistol under each arm, he stood up to turn twin streams of demoralizing fire on the close-in enemy.”

The Rangers continually requested reinforcements to support their dwindling numbers. None were available. They were told flatly, “Hold the hill at all costs.” As the fighting continued, dead and wounded Rangers piled up inside the troop shelter atop 400.

By this time, the Rangers were down to fewer than 20 men, and many of the survivors were wounded — some several times over. But even the severely wounded manned fighting positions. One of Lomell’s fingers was dangling from a tendon, “half dropping off.” A fellow Ranger recalled Lomell’s presence on the hill: “I can still see Len walking on the top of that hill, his blood coming from his hand, and carrying his tommy gun. A leader like that we would do anything for.”

The Germans desperately wanted to retake Hill 400. They sent an elite parachute battalion against the Rangers and even offered German soldiers the Iron Cross and two weeks of furlough if they recaptured the hill. The Reich wanted the hill because it provided high ground for artillery. What is more important, they wanted it because it provided observation into the assembly areas in which they were assembling for the Battle of the Bulge, an operation cloaked in secrecy. The capture of the hill could have unraveled Hitler’s last great counteroffensive.

Miraculously, the men of Dog Company and Fox Company continued to fend off German attacks and held the hill until December 8, when an infantry unit finally arrived.

The GIs who relieved the Rangers later reported a “considerable moving of troops in the enemy’s rear.” But no one in the chain of command connected the dots. On December 16, the Battle of the Bulge began in a furious assault on Allied lines, with the sort of total surprise the Americans had not experienced since Pearl Harbor.

Patrick K. O’Donnell is the main expert participant in Episode 3 of “Hitler’s Last Stand: Forest of Death,” which tells the dramatic story of the Rangers on Hill 400 and is drawn from his book Dog Company. The program premiers Monday, June 25 at 10 p.m. ET on The National Geographic Channel.

O’Donnell is a bestselling, critically acclaimed military historian and an expert on elite units. He is the main expert participant in Episode 3 of “Hitler’s Last Stand: Forest of Death,” which is drawn from his book Dog Company and premiers Monday, June 25 at 10 p.m. ET on The National Geographic Channel. He is the author of eleven books. The Unknowns: The Untold Story of America’s Unknown Soldier and WWI’s Most Decorated Heroes Who Brought Him Home is his newest, and it is featured in Barnes & Noble stores. O’Donnell served as a combat historian in a Marine rifle platoon during the Battle of Fallujah and speaks often on espionage, special operations, and counterinsurgency. He has provided historical consulting for DreamWorks’ award-winning miniseries Band of Brothers and for documentaries produced by the BBC, the History Channel, and National Geographic. @combathistorian

Kopis Mobile Supports USBTA Exercise

USBTA Logo

The United States Bomb Technician Association (USBTA) was formed by current and former Public Safety and Military Bomb Technicians who strongly believe that training with and learning from each other is vital in today’s world where the use of Improvised Explosive Devices are being used to cause harm and destroy property.

The primary focus is to give manufacturers the opportunity, in a training environment, to display/demo current and future technologies in  task oriented exercises for Public Safety and Military Bomb Technicians.

Improvised Explosive Devices in the U.S. are more prevalent than one may think. According to a 2016 report from the U.S. Bomb Data Center, from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016, the Bomb Arson Tracking System (BATS) captured a total of 15,943 explosives related incidents. Of the reported incidents, there were 699 explosions of which 439 were bombings, with California and Florida having the highest numbers. There were a total of 6,879 recoveries reported in 2016, with the majority being explosives (non-improvised explosive devices (IEDs)). There were a total of 6,061 suspicious/unattended package incidents, which is up by 27 percent.

Following previous years’ reporting, there has continued to be a slight decrease in the overall numbers of bomb threats reported. There were 1,693 bomb threats reported in 2014, 1,670 in 2015, and 1,537 in 2016. Education and office/business properties remain the most commonly reported targets of bomb threats; however, the overall numbers of bomb threats to both have decreased since 2015.

As you can guess, bomb technicians are pretty important folks. Two weeks ago, Kopis Mobile supported the USBTA’s Operation Inland Empire in Temecula, CA.

This was far better than most trade shows we have attended in the past because it wasn’t in a typical trade show environment. There was no standing inside of a convention center all day, eating crappy convention center food, talking to people who really don’t care about your products. All they really want is whatever you are handing out for free. It doesn’t matter if it is candy, pens, stickers or 50 cent key chain flash lights, if it is free, they will take it.

First of all, the entire event was outside and the weather was perfect. Second, the attending bomb technicians were divided into groups then rotated through stations. Each station had a different vendor’s equipment for the techs to try in a semi-realistic scenario.

USBTA NTtv Support

We had several NTtv systems set up around the area to provide real time video of the equipment being used. The techs could also try out robots, drones, bomb suits, and different x-ray devices. One of the interesting things we discovered, NTtv was not effected by the radios that were associated with the robots.

Without getting too technical, the radios were pumping out 15 watts of power. That was enough to disrupt the communications of every other product anywhere near the robot’s antennae except for ours. This was a great data point for us and proved the reliability of the system in that type of radio environment.

All in all, the USBTA coordinators put on a great event. This was only the second time they have done something like it. The next one will be in Orlando this coming December. Kopis will be there to support those that keep us safe!

Video Does Not Lie But It Does Improve Performance

SHOT Show 2018
SHOT Show – New Product Section

We recently wrapped up the 40th anniversary of the SHOT Show in Las Vegas. It was probably won of our best trade shows to date since we have been in business. Our focus product for the show was NTtv and how video greatly improves performance.

I spoke to many people during the week who either conduct training or own a firearms facility of some type. I was blown away by the fact almost none of them utilize video as a way to improve the performance of their students. Let’s dig into this training subject a little deeper.

Subjective: “reality as perceived – rather than as independent of mind.”

What does this really mean? When something like an observation of an event is viewed in a subjective way, it is based inside of an individual’s brain.  Things like life experiences, memories, personal biases and prejudices all command the subjective view.

To get even more crazy scientific on you, when a person looks at something in a subjective way, they see it as perceived reality instead of reality itself. The bottom line is a subjective observation can change wildly from person to person.

Now, let’s look at the opposite of subjective.

Objective: “the realm of sensible experience independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers.”

The real meaning of this is pretty simple. This type of observation starts and happens outside the mind of any specific person. In this instance, the action is observable by any other individual looking at the same situation. In order for this to happen, all subjective biases have to be removed.

I am sure you are wondering what point I am trying to make. If you are reading this blog, you have probably done some type of structure clearance. It could have been a few rooms, a small house or an entire abandoned mental hospital (they are pretty creepy, by the way).

I am willing to bet many of you have had a lane grader, training cell or whatever your particular service calls them, tell you at the end of the run, “You went left instead of right in that room, on the fourth floor, at the end of the hallway, two rooms deep with the chair in it.”

Oh, and you aren’t the only one they have comments about. It makes you think there is no way in Hell they know what every single person in the stack did on a ten-minute run.

I actually knew some guys in training cell that could remember just about every single thing a guy did on a run, but I can guarantee you that it isn’t the norm.

The reason I bring all of this up is to prove the point that subjective evaluation lends itself to rely on memory and what an individual thought they saw. Objective evaluation is concrete, unbiased, and based on what really happened. The best example of an objective review tool is video. We all know pictures and video don’t lie.

Video review is a very useful tool. If it is used in a targeted manner at the right times, it allows a person to build a mental model of the correct skill. Watching video is a proven way to enhance the skill learning process.

Unfortunately, the video analysis of a training event doesn’t happen until the end of the day or even the following day. Immediate review can provide a person with the opportunity to improve a skill or technique by the very next training iteration – in a matter of minutes.

Video is saved for anytime use or evaluation to review the progress of individual skills. Video recordings reveal improvements or losses in one’s performance over time. It also is an invaluable tool in the diagnosis of a unit’s overall training program. Finally, it  shows new members of a unit the performance of veteran, top performers by providing them a solid baseline in which to begin training.

Sports coaches are utilizing immediate video evaluation more and more to critique the performance of athletes at every level. Traditionally, the feedback process has been based upon a coach’s subjective observation of performance, which can be influenced by bias, emotion and previous experiences (Hughes and Bartlett, 2008).

For example, a football coach’s subjective observation process is known to be unreliable and inaccurate, since even experienced coaches have been shown to be able to recall just 59.2% of the critical events occurring during 45 minutes of football performance (Laird and Waters, 2008).

This lack of accurate recall ability can lead to ‘highlighting’, where a coach’s perception of performance becomes distorted by those events that they can remember (Hughes and Bartlett, 2008). Ultimately, this results in inaccurate coaching feedback and decision-making, which can be improved with the use of objective, unbiased and comprehensive information performance analysis that video is capable of providing (James, 2006; Hughes and Bartlett, 2008).

A few years ago, we participated in a military exercise and had the opportunity to interview some special operators. They told our engineers they were using action cameras on operations and had no way of sharing what they were seeing with other squad members. The operators already had the cameras and were issued some type of smart device, but they couldn’t understand why there wasn’t an easy way for the two talk to each other.

We iterated extensively with these and other operators to develop a solution to greatly improve overall situational awareness. This solution is called Networked Tactical Television or NTtv.

Networked Tactical Television or NTtv
NTtv System

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The system provides the on scene commander real time video of operations. This results in far better situation awareness than just describing what is going on over a radio. NTtv is an invaluable training tool that allows trainers to set the system up in any location to capture the actions of trainees.

NTtv now also includes a multiple video DVR (mvDVR) feature that adds the ability to instantly review multiple synchronized camera views of the same action without having to go through hours of recorded video to find what you are really looking for. This vastly speeds up the after-action review process and provides immediate feedback using video angles that matter for each training evolution.

mvDVR
mvDVR

There is a very good reason why video is used to improve performance. That’s because it works and it is almost immediate. You can’t correct what you can’t see.

Never Take Your Foot Off Of The Gas Pedal

The Bezos Empire
The Bezos Empire

We hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year. After taking some time off from writing during the holidays, I wanted to start the year off with short article about an incredible entrepreneur.

Jeff Bezos has managed to build a huge, diverse empire in a relatively short period of time. He just surpassed Bill Gates as the wealthiest person in the world. That doesn’t come from sitting on your hands and hoping opportunities fall into your lap.

Even at a young age Jeff Bezos was a driven entrepreneur. He consistently took risks and did things others thought was a dumb idea. More importantly, he has never ‘taken his foot off the gas pedal’. That means never settling for what you have or you think you have.

With $105 billion in his pocket, he obviously never needs to work another day his life. That is not what he chooses to do however. He never slows down or stops looking for other opportunities. He doesn’t settle for what he has already built.

As a young company, we certainly know the value of never slowing down. We have a long way to go before we can match even one of Bezos’s companies. That is good goal to have though. And, there is so much to be gained from following what has made others successful.

Not everyone can be a Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerburg. I do however, think anyone can be an entrepreneur. It takes a lot of commitment, drive and tons of hard work. A lot of failures and mistakes will happen along the way. We have made several of each over the last five years, but we have learned from them. The goal is trying not to repeat them.

Recently, we were fortunate to tell our Kopis Mobile story via a podcast hosted by Thor Conklin. Parts one and two, out of the three segment block are now up on his site. Hopefully, some folks can learn a little from us, like we have learned from others. The next Jeff Bezos is out there.

The Best America Has To Offer

Army Navy Pregame

I had the distinct honor of attending the Army Navy football game last weekend. It was one of those bucket list type deals for me. The history of the game is one of things that make it such an unique event. The very first football game was played in 1890 at West Point.

The ceremony preceding the game is absolutely amazing. It really makes one proud to be an American, at least it should. With so much negative news and bad things going on around the planet, the game made things a little brighter for everyone in attendance.

If you didn’t see the game, there is one thing you should take a look at. It was the singing of the National Anthem by a combined group of West Point Cadets and Navy Midshipman. Click on the National Anthem link to watch it.

Those kneeling NFL players need to see it. The game served as a perfect representation of how our country should be. All walks of life coming together for a single purpose.

There were no protests, no fights (that I saw), and no disrespect to be found. I am not saying there wasn’t plenty of animated smack talking between services, but it was all in good fun.

Many like me have had far too many friends come home with our flag draped over their coffins. How does anyone in their right mind, especially those who make millions of dollars playing a sport, think it is a good idea to disrespect anyone who has served this country, the flag or the country in general?

I have a recommendation for all of them. You should use all of those millions you make and put into a positive cause. Have at least enough respect to stand during the National Anthem and honor all of those that have ever supported and defended this amazing country.

Ok, enough ranting. Even if you don’t like football, I highly recommend every American to watch it at least once. If you don’t watch the entire game, then watch all of the ceremony leading up to kick off. It will make you proud, stand up a little straighter, stick your chest out a little farther, and be very thankful you live in the greatest country on Earth.

 

Situational Awareness..Just How Aware Are We??

Stock Photo Situational Awareness
Situational Awareness-Stock Photo

Situational awareness, the buzz phrase that took 2017 by storm. But what does it really mean? Simply, it means be aware of your surroundings. We learned this fundamental rule when we were children.

Walking, riding a bike or rollerskating in the street, our parents told us to watch out for cars. Walking in the woods or by a body of water, we were always told to watch out for snakes. Check under your bed for scary clowns like Pennywise from IT. 

Later on, they told us to park in well lit parking lots, carry the  keys a certain way, and stay out of certain areas. One of the biggest rules, know your exits out of a building in case of an emergency. The biggest threat back then was probably fire, but now it is likely an active shooter.

An active shooter situation is likely the most terrifying thing most of us may encounter in our life time. Nothing can stop us in our tracks faster and make our blood run colder, than hearing of an active shooter.

https://www.cnn.com/2017/06/14/us/san-francisco-shooting/index.html?no-st=1512586290
CNN File San Francisco UPS

How would you react? Even more so, how do you survive? Well it all comes back to situational awareness. You HAVE to be aware of your surroundings and always prepare for the worst. Having a “This won’t happen to me” mentality may just make you a statistic unless you have your *hit together. Just like walking through the woods and encountering that Cottonmouth, you have to know what to do, how to get away or how to treat a bite if bitten.

How do you do that? Do your homework. The Department of Homeland Security has a whole webpage dedicated to Active Shooter Preparedness.  Although it has been critiqued, the Run.Hide.Fight video has some very enlightening ideas.

Take a seminar. Many police agencies are offering half day seminars on what to do in an active shooter situation. I’ve taken one and it was not only informative but entertaining enough to keep everyone’s attention.

The most important thing you can do is to put that cell phone down, look around and use common sense. As you walk into a building, search out the exits. For example, when you walk into a restaurant, look for the kitchen.  When was the last time you were eating and saw someone take the trash out through the front door.

Be prepared and aware. It empowers you. Learn what you can learn, use common sense and constantly practice situational awareness.

 

Coming Soon. Smart Device For Every Soldier

Smart device for every soldier

The following Army Times article reveals how far and how quickly the ideology of technology and soldier usage has come. When we started Kopis Mobile four and half years ago, there were very few early advocates let alone adopters of a smart device in the hands of every soldier.

In fact, if you were to ask someone in the Department of Defense  at that time if smart devices would ever become prevalent;  80% said “No”,  10%  said “they are in use to a certain degree” and the final 10% said, “The use of mobile devices and mobile apps within DoD is happening and will only grow.” We gambled and started the company on that final 10%.

Fast-forward four and a half years and our gamble is no longer a “gamble” per say, but more a confirmation of what we knew to be true back then.  Below is an excerpt from an article in the Army Times.

Meghann Myers is a senior reporter at Army Times

Between the hours soldiers have to spend online for professional military education and the possibilities a handheld, touchscreen device could hold downrange, the Army is taking a step toward developing a standard-issue device for every soldier.

The team at PEO Soldier has come up with a prototype that they recently presented to the Army’s top enlisted soldier, Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey said Tuesday.

“I’m an advocate of, every soldier has a device,” Dailey said.

 The prototype is a large tablet-like device, he added.
 

“Operationally, they can use it while they’re on the battlefield,” Dailey said. “It could have a number of apps that would assist them in their capabilities with land navigation, communication, [and] … I asked for the capability to extend that resource to be able to use it for institutional reasons as well.”

That would include being able to do professional military education courses and tests on the device with a Common Access Card reader.

“That’s how civilian education works,” Command Sgt. Maj. Dave Davenport, the senior enlisted soldier at Training and Doctrine Command, added. “These young people are all on smart phones and tablets.”

Details on if and when to issue a device will have to be hammered out, but Davenport said that some pilots have already taken place, with soldiers bringing in their own hardware.

Keeping a small business running is always tough. Coupled with the government space we are in and dealing with those who had the 80% mind set, it is even tougher. All of that aside, we are super proud to be ranked 384 on this year’s Inc. 5000 list.

We achieved this honor by listening to soldier and first responder problems. We then quickly acknowledged and devised solutions to those problems with simple to use, mobile solutions. So here’s to many more years of Kopis Mobile’s listening, forward thinking and more than a touch of tenacity.

 

 

Battle Of Mogadishu: 03 October 1993

Memorial for those lost
Memorial for those lost

Long before we started Kopis Mobile, on 03 October 1993, I was out in the California desert participating in land warfare training. Back in the those days, training cell still consisted of Vietnam vets. I remember being on a lunch break when we turned on the news and saw what was going on in a little country called Somalia.

I frankly had never really heard of the place. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. Crashed helicopters, dead American bodies, locals dragging bodies through the streets, and word of an American pilot being held hostage.

So many lessons learned came out of the battle and the acts of heroism were numerous. Never let the Battle of Mogadishu be forgotten nor the men who lost their lives there.

Below is credited to a National Geographic article.

In October 1993, a contingent of 160 U.S. Army Rangers and Delta Force operators—some of America’s most elite, highly-trained and skilled military forces—ventured in helicopters and armed vehicles into the heart of Mogadishu, Somalia, on a mission to capture warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid and other leaders of his militia. But the raid went disastrously wrong.

Two U.S. helicopters were shot down, and a lengthy urban battle ensued in which in which 18 Americans were killed and 73 wounded, and helicopter pilot Michael Durant was seized by an angry mob. Hundreds of Somalis lost their lives as well.

It’s not easy to make sense of the Battle of Mogadishu, and not just because of the fog of war. Here’s some historical background that will help you to understand the complex combination of factors that made Somalia into such a violent, dangerous place on that fateful day.

Somalia, a Texas-sized nation of 10.6 million along the eastern horn of Africa, for a long time has been one of the world’s most impoverished, chaotic, and violent places.

It is a hot, dry place with few natural resources except for pastureland, and for much of Somalia’s history, its people were mostly nomadic clans who raised cattle. But Somalia’s strategic location along the shipping lanes of the Indian Ocean was coveted by bigger, stronger countries such as France, Britain and Italy, and it was under foreign domination from the mid-1880s until finally gaining independence in 1960.

But nine years after that, a strongman named Muhammad Siad Barre took power in a coup, and his military regime nationalized much of Somalia’s meager economy in an effort to establish what he called “scientific socialism.” But that failed experiment—coupled with starvation caused by punishing droughts and an ill-conceived war with neighboring Ethiopia in the 1970s and 1980s—only made Somalia weaker and poorer.

In 1991, Barre finally was ousted. As clans led by warlords began to fight among themselves for control, Somalia collapsed into chaos. As journalist Mark Bowden described Mogadishu in his 1999 nonfiction bestseller “Black Hawk Down,” the Somali capital of Mogadishu was “the world capital of things-gone-completely-to-hell,” a place where streets were filled with mountains of trash and the rusted hulks of burned out vehicles, and starving refugees huddled in shanties built from rags and scavenged wood, and lit campfires inside abandoned government buildings.

U.S. troops were sent to Somalia in 1992 by then-President George H.W. Bush, as part of a United Nations humanitarian operation that also included 13,000 soldiers from other nations. The original purpose was restore enough order so that starving Somalis could be fed.

According to a 1995 Congressional investigation, however, the U.S. forces increasingly bore the brunt of taking on the violent warlords and their militias, who threatened the UN’s efforts. After Aidid’s militia ambushed Pakistani peacekeeping forces in June 1993, the UN representative in Somalia, Jonathan Howe, ordered Aidid’s arrest. The job of capturing Aidid and his key lieutenants fell to U.S. forces, and led to the ill-fated assault in October 1993.

When the U.S. forces arrived at their target, two of Aidid’s top lieutenants were captured. Just when the team thought the raid was wrapping up, a militiaman armed with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher managed to shoot down one of the U.S. force’s Black Hawk helicopters, a Black Hawk known as Super 6-1.

The pilot and co-pilot were killed, and five soldiers were injured, including a Delta sniper who later died from his wounds. A rescue force managed to help the survivors escape, but shortly afterward, a second Black Hawk was shot down as well. Three crew members were killed, but pilot Michael Durant, who suffered a broken back and leg, survived and was taken prisoner.

Two Delta Force operators, Sgt. Gary Gordon and Sgt. First Class Randall Shughart, who rushed into the fray in an effort to rescue Durant and were killed, were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1994.

Durant endured mistreatment from his captors, who eventually released him 11 days later, after negotiations led by U.S. diplomat Robert Oakley.

The disaster quickly had repercussions. Several days later, President Bill Clinton announced that all U.S. troops would leave Somalia within six months. In 1995, the UN mission in Somalia ended in failure.

As for the Somali warlord Aidid, any satisfaction that he got from vanquishing the Americans was short-lived. Less than three years later, he reportedly died of a heart attack after surgery for gunshot wounds.

Today, 24 years after the operation in Mogadishu, Somalia still is a troubled place. Though a new, internationally-backed government was installed in 2012, the impoverished nation faces a new threat from Al-Shabab, a terror group linked to Al-Qaeda.

America Will Persevere. We Always Do

George Patton

I have refrained, which hasn’t been easy, to keep current media events out of this blog. I won’t belabor on any of the junk we have blasted in our face on a 24/7 basis. America and the values it was built on are not going anywhere anytime soon regardless of what some try to do or say. You can try to erase this great country’s history. Hide your identity and throw rocks through a business window. Take a knee during our National Anthem. Use your status as a celebrity (by the way, the only person that thinks your famous is yourself) to push your views on others.

All of this is meaningless to those of us who have given everything to this country. The following is General George Patton’s speech to the Third Army. I figure we all could use some genuine American bad’assery about now. Turn off the news. Get off Facebook. Stop Tweeting. Go chug a beer. Spend time with your family and friends. Shoot a bunch of guns. Salute our flag. Say thanks to a veteran and first responder.

General Patton had a very “colorful” way of talking at times. This speech is one of those times. If you are easily offended and read out loud, cover your ears.

Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bullshit.

Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle.

You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else.

Third, you are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight.

When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards.

Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.

You are not all going to die. Only two percent of you right here today would die in a major battle. Death must not be feared. Death, in time, comes to all men. Yes, every man is scared in his first battle. If he says he’s not, he’s a liar. Some men are cowards but they fight the same as the brave men or they get the hell slammed out of them watching men fight who are just as scared as they are.

The real hero is the man who fights even though he is scared.

Some men get over their fright in a minute under fire. For some, it takes an hour. For some, it takes days. But a real man will never let his fear of death overpower his honor, his sense of duty to his country, and his innate manhood. Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base. Americans pride themselves on being He Men and they ARE He Men.

Remember that the enemy is just as frightened as you are, and probably more so. They are not supermen.

All through your Army careers, you men have bitched about what you call ‘chicken shit drilling’. That, like everything else in this Army, has a definite purpose. That purpose is alertness. Alertness must be bred into every soldier. I don’t give a fuck for a man who’s not always on his toes. You men are veterans or you wouldn’t be here. You are ready for what’s to come. A man must be alert at all times if he expects to stay alive. If you’re not alert, sometime, a German son-of-an-asshole-bitch is going to sneak up behind you and beat you to death with a sockful of shit!

There are four hundred neatly marked graves somewhere in Sicily, all because one man went to sleep on the job. But they are German graves, because we caught the bastard asleep before they did.

An Army is a team. It lives, sleeps, eats, and fights as a team. This individual heroic stuff is pure horse shit. The bilious bastards who write that kind of stuff for the Saturday Evening Post don’t know any more about real fighting under fire than they know about fucking! We have the finest food, the finest equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world. Why, by God, I actually pity those poor sons-of-bitches we’re going up against. By God, I do.

My men don’t surrender, and I don’t want to hear of any soldier under my command being captured unless he has been hit. Even if you are hit, you can still fight back That’s not just bull shit either. The kind of man that I want in my command is just like the lieutenant in Libya, who, with a Luger against his chest, jerked off his helmet, swept the gun aside with one hand, and busted the hell out of the Kraut with his helmet. Then he jumped on the gun and went out and killed another German before they knew what the hell was coming off. And, all of that time, this man had a bullet through a lung. There was a real man!

All of the real heroes are not storybook combat fighters, either. Every single man in this Army plays a vital role. Don’t ever let up. Don’t ever think that your job is unimportant. Every man has a job to do and he must do it. Every man is a vital link in the great chain.

What if every truck driver suddenly decided that he didn’t like the whine of those shells overhead, turned yellow, and jumped headlong into a ditch? The cowardly bastard could say, ‘Hell, they won’t miss me, just one man in thousands.’ But, what if every man thought that way? Where in the hell would we be now? What would our country, our loved ones, our homes, even the world, be like?

No, Goddamnit, Americans don’t think like that. Every man does his job. Every man serves the whole. Every department, every unit, is important in the vast scheme of this war.

The ordnance men are needed to supply the guns and machinery of war to keep us rolling. The Quartermaster is needed to bring up food and clothes because where we are going there isn’t a hell of a lot to steal. Every last man on K.P. has a job to do, even the one who heats our water to keep us from getting the ‘G.I. Shits’.

Each man must not think only of himself, but also of his buddy fighting beside him. We don’t want yellow cowards in this Army. They should be killed off like rats. If not, they will go home after this war and breed more cowards. The brave men will breed more brave men. Kill off the Goddamned cowards and we will have a nation of brave men.

One of the bravest men that I ever saw was a fellow on top of a telegraph pole in the midst of a furious fire fight in Tunisia. I stopped and asked what the hell he was doing up there at a time like that. He answered, ‘Fixing the wire, Sir.’ I asked, ‘Isn’t that a little unhealthy right about now?’ He answered, ‘Yes Sir, but the Goddamned wire has to be fixed.’ I asked, ‘Don’t those planes strafing the road bother you?’ And he answered, ‘No, Sir, but you sure as hell do!’ Now, there was a real man. A real soldier. There was a man who devoted all he had to his duty, no matter how seemingly insignificant his duty might appear at the time, no matter how great the odds.

And you should have seen those trucks on the rode to Tunisia. Those drivers were magnificent. All day and all night they rolled over those son-of-a-bitching roads, never stopping, never faltering from their course, with shells bursting all around them all of the time. We got through on good old American guts. Many of those men drove for over forty consecutive hours. These men weren’t combat men, but they were soldiers with a job to do. They did it, and in one hell of a way they did it. They were part of a team. Without team effort, without them, the fight would have been lost. All of the links in the chain pulled together and the chain became unbreakable.

Don’t forget, you men don’t know that I’m here. No mention of that fact is to be made in any letters. The world is not supposed to know what the hell happened to me. I’m not supposed to be commanding this Army. I’m not even supposed to be here in England. Let the first bastards to find out be the Goddamned Germans. Some day I want to see them raise up on their piss-soaked hind legs and howl, ‘Jesus Christ, it’s the Goddamned Third Army again and that son-of-a-fucking-bitch Patton’. We want to get the hell over there.’ The quicker we clean up this Goddamned mess, the quicker we can take a little jaunt against the purple pissing Japs and clean out their nest, too. Before the Goddamned Marines get all of the credit.

Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler. Just like I’d shoot a snake!

When a man is lying in a shell hole, if he just stays there all day, a German will get to him eventually. The hell with that idea. The hell with taking it. My men don’t dig foxholes. I don’t want them to. Foxholes only slow up an offensive. Keep moving. And don’t give the enemy time to dig one either. We’ll win this war, but we’ll win it only by fighting and by showing the Germans that we’ve got more guts than they have; or ever will have.

We’re not going to just shoot the sons-of-bitches, we’re going to rip out their living Goddamned guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We’re going to murder those lousy Hun cock suckers by the bushel-fucking-basket. War is a bloody, killing business. You’ve got to spill their blood, or they will spill yours. Rip them up the belly. Shoot them in the guts. When shells are hitting all around you and you wipe the dirt off your face and realize that instead of dirt it’s the blood and guts of what once was your best friend beside you, you’ll know what to do!

I don’t want to get any messages saying, ‘I am holding my position.’ We are not holding a Goddamned thing. Let the Germans do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy’s balls. We are going to twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose; like shit through a tin horn!

From time to time there will be some complaints that we are pushing our people too hard. I don’t give a good Goddamn about such complaints. I believe in the old and sound rule that an ounce of sweat will save a gallon of blood. The harder WE push, the more Germans we will kill. The more Germans we kill, the fewer of our men will be killed. Pushing means fewer casualties. I want you all to remember that.

There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again. You may be thankful that twenty years from now when you are sitting by the fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you WON’T have to cough, shift him to the other knee and say, ‘Well, your Granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana.’ No, Sir, you can look him straight in the eye and say, ‘Son, your Granddaddy rode with the Great Third Army and a Son-of-a-Goddamned-Bitch named Georgie Patton!'”

Life Is Tough. You Can’t Let It Get You Down

Life is tough

I am not in the habit of paying attention to too much I see on social media, but I thought the following was pretty poignant.  A lot of things in life are tough. Trying to make and keep Kopis Mobile successful is tough. Raising kids is tough. Making ends meet is tough. It goes on and on. Hopefully, this post helps put some things into perspective.

Life is tough, no doubt! It’s a twisting and winding roller coaster of ups and downs, and sometimes it seems like as soon as you get up, you’re knocked down again.

Life can be difficult sometimes and i’m sure that I am preaching to the choir when I say that. Everyone knows life is tough, but nobody ever realizes just how tough it can get. When things start to tumble down around you it can make you feel hopeless. While you shouldn’t ever try to control the things that happen around you – because you can’t – it doesn’t mean you just have to sit there and take a beating. Get back up on your feet and fight back. When things start to crumble we tend to just dig the hole deeper for ourselves.

The more you beat yourself down the harder it gets to keep going, trust me. However, once you accept these brutal truths, it’ll help you get your shit together. We get so caught up in the worldly complications we create for ourselves that we forget some of the most concrete things! You can’t keep waiting for things to get better; you have to do it yourself. Accepting these things will really open your eyes to the importance of it.

1. You’re Dying

No matter how much time and money you spend on making your life good, and perfecting it, it will always end no matter what.

2. Everybody You Know Will Die

You can’t constantly obsess over losing people and death, but you also can’t take anyone for granted. Eventually, everyone you know will die, and you might not be the last one to go either.

3. Wealth Isn’t Happiness

No matter what amount of money you have it will never cause you to be happy. Happiness is within, no matter the riches.

4. Searching for Happiness Makes You Lose It

Happiness is right under your nose. If you are constantly searching for something to make you happy, you’ll never suffice your hunger. In order to be happy you have to be happy with what you already have.

5. Spend Time Not Money

Many people have the belief that you can’t enjoy yourself without spending money, but this is false. You don’t have to go out to dinner, to see a movie, or go to an amusement park to have fun.

6. You Can’t Please Everyone

Trying to please everyone around you is exhausting. You just can’t do it, so stop trying.

7. Accept Your Feelings

Stop trying to deny yourself of emotions. You have feelings and you can’t get past them without admitting you have them to begin with.

8. When You’re Gone, You’re Gone

Don’t even worry about trying to leave a legacy because you probably won’t be able to. There are 7 billion of us, there’s just not enough you can do to make people remember you.

9. Be Responsible

Nobody is responsible for your actions except for you. Regardless of what influences you, you are the ultimate decider in your fate. Take responsibility for yourself and your actions.

10. Stop Trying to Be Perfect

None of us are perfect, and although we all try to be, we never will be. Perfection is an imaginary tale of fairies. Stop trying to live up to some non-existent standard and love yourself.

11. Don’t Waste Talent

If you have a talent put it to use! Don’t let a god given ability go to waste!

12. Live in the Now

As much as we try to plan out and control our lives, we ultimately don’t control anything. You can try to predict the future and prepare for it, but it’ll never work out the way you think it will. Stop trying to perfect the future and stop dwelling on the past and you will achieve happiness.

13. Nobody Cares How Hard Your life Is

Life is hard for everyone. It throws us all twists and turns, so stop thinking you’re the only one it happens to. Stop going on and on trying to make everyone believe your life is harder than theirs. It’s a never ending piss contest.

14. Share Your Knowledge

Learning things is useless unless you share it with the people around you! Knowledge is only of help if we share it with each other. If you learn something the hard way, help your neighbor out by warning them.

15. Invest in Yourself

If you don’t spend time on yourself life is pointless! You don’t get to live as anyone else, so take the time to really make yourself the best version there is.

16. When Things Suck, Don’t react

Life might always throw us curveballs, but it ultimately comes down to the way you react to it. If you believe it is the end of the world it will really feel like it. However, keep your chin up and remain positive and you’ll see that things aren’t half bad.

17. Quit Dreaming and Do the Work

Dreams are for the birds, you have to make your biggest wishes come true. There are no wish granting genies even though we all still hope one will show up for us. It’s time to stop expecting things to change and change them for yourself. Want to be an actor? Go be an actor. Stop wishing and do it

18. Time is More Valuable than Money

We are so obsessed with money that we forget about the real terms of currency in life; time. We literally exchange 40 hours of our lives per week in exchange for cash. You have to realize that time is much more valuable than money. You can do a bunch more with it too.

19. Be Grateful

No matter how bad you think you might have it, there is always someone who has it worse. Be happy and be grateful for the things you do have instead of wishing for the things you don’t! It takes the joy and value out of everything if you don’t appreciate it!

20. Donate Time

You should donate time to making your community better, not just money. The only way to get the ball moving on improving our society is by actually doing something about it. Step up and donate some time to the community!

21. Don’t Lose Yourself

It’s important to never lose your true sense of self throughout the journey of life. Always remember what is important to you and keep a sense of your priorities!

22. You Can’t Take Money with you When You Die

You might be a millionaire in this world, but you certainly can’t take it with you when you move on. We all die eventually, so don’t get too caught up in your own finances. There are more important things in life.