10 February 2015


It's 1996 and I'm working the phones like my life depends on it to get a chance at being a "real" war correspondent. The only thing going on at the time is the Bosnian/Serbian war, so that'll have to do.

I get Soldier of Fortune Magazine to give me an assignment, work through multiple layers of US Army PIO, and it's getting close to the day I'm supposed to go over. 

I get a call. 

Apparently, accredited journalists have to take a three-day mine/booby trap-recognition course before going into IFOR (Implementation Force) territory. What the fuck?

Back on the phones. I get to command level in Germany, and tell them my background. Finally get a three-star (who I assume was Ranger qualified and knew what a LRRP was) to sign off on me coming over, sans the class. Thank you whomever you were (if I could find my notes, which are in my attic, I could tell you). 

Lot's of really cool shit involved from that point, but I'm outside the wire at Tusla and I catch a cab to Lodgement Area Demi. "Lodgement Area?" Really?

Oh. I forgot... Hillary. 

So before I catch the cab, I'm at Ramstein where — ostensibly — Mrs. Clinton mis-remembers getting sniped at in Tusla.

I talk to a bunch of grunts at the NCO club. (Being an ex-E-5, I talked my way in) 

Let me tell you something. If you want military people to open up to you as a journalist with no holding back, prove you've an assignment from Soldier of Fortune Magazine. You're gold from there on.

"Shit, we were all confined to barracks when she came," said one guy. "There wasn't nothing but old lifers and O4s-and-above out at the plane," said another. "Snipers, shit. If they'd have let us out there, maybe there would have been snipers, but..." etc., etc., ad nauseam.

And that's the REAL story about Hillary getting sniped at. Not at Tusla (it never happened there either), nor at Ramstein (where it could have happened if they hadn't locked the base down).

What I do remember about Tusla was seeing one of those huge Russian transports disgorging an incredible amount of shit, and the surprisingly helpful guys in PIO (who probably got in the shit when I disappeared for 10 days. "Where the fuck have you been for two weeks? You were supposed to have an escort," said a captain when I was trying to get back out. Well, I was kinda escorted by an Armored Cav unit most of the time. When I wasn't in the taxi, anyway.)

And then there was that fucking taxi ride. And the Burger King. And the Domino's. And the beer. And the amazing fact that I couldn't speak Yugo, but never had any trouble communicating. Except with that one warlord who — I'll bet — is STILL wanted for atrocities, and who we almost re-started the war with ... but those are stories for another time.

Oh. And there was no war (I went to cover their election, figuring somebody would kill somebody. They'd been doing it for long enough, God knows), so there was no story. 

Unlike the mass media, Soldier of Fortune doesn't make shit up.

08 February 2015


For those of you who are unaware ...the story thus far ...Well here's the video if you don't want to read ...

Capt. Ed and I have been scalloping — along with a few of our buds popping in off and on — for 14 years. The last half dozen years-or-so we actually got it figured out and started making money — more or less — off scalloping.

The season in New York is the first Monday of November to March 31. We're out whenever we can get our boat out; i.e., ice-up thick enough for us not to break keeps us in port.

Anyway ... during one of our down days, Capt. Ed. brought up something we'd played with ruminated on while we were building Old School and re-decking Outlaw, our scallop/clam/party/work boats.

"We should build a sail scalloper like the old timers."

Never were 10 words uttered so off hand that would have such major repercussions.

So: the object is to build a fully-found, non-power-aboard, sail scalloper and dredge scallops the way they did before the invention of the outboard.

Journey forward to 2014, and Ed gets us a 27-foot sailboat. It was an American 27, circa late 60s early 70s. The hull was gorgeous for our intended purpose, it had a shallow draft keel — perfect for Peconic Bay — and ...

So, we gutted her to the hull and moved her to Capt. Ed's parents place, where the long-suffering Mr. and Mrs. D. have allowed us to use their garage/workshop to do both Old School and Outlaw, and started working on she-of-no-name yet.

HERE'S a video of where we are to date (February 7, 2015).

For those of you interested in the finer points of what we've done and what has worked (and what hasn't), you'll have to wait as we figure it out and I write it here or in my "Ask Capt. Gary" column in Long Island Boating World.

01 February 2015


Today, February 1, 2015, is the 46th anniversary of the reactivation of what would eventually become today’s 75th Ranger Regiment. 

I wrote this a while back ...but figured it bears repeating.
The first provisional long-range patrol (LRP) units were formed in 1965 and 1966 at the divisional level, but it was in 1967 that the LRRP organizations flourished and became formally established. The acronyms LRP (long range patrol) and LRRP (long-range reconnaissance patrols) soon were interchangeable, though most orders of battle refer to the units as LRPs. Every integral Army group in-country, whether brigade or division level, had its own LRRP unit.

On January 1, 1969, General Westmoreland brought the 13 different LRRP units under the umbrella of the 75th Infantry Rangers (Airborne), linking them to the 75th Infantry of 1954 and the 475th Infantry of 1944 and that unit’s 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) – Merrill’s Marauders — whose regimental patch the Rangers would wear. The LRP/LRRP companies would be designated from then on as companies C through I and K through P, 75th Infantry Rangers. The reactivation became official on February 1, 1969.

The units operated in a silent netherworld of dark green shadows where error could mean death and where the extraordinary was commonplace. Traveling in small groups — some companies used three or four man, some eight and more — far from friendly forces, we strove to look, smell, move and act as much as possible like the enemy we sought in the depths of the jungle. We were hunters and trackers, and our elusive prey was the NVA and VC. 

We were adept at the art of ambush, the quiet kill, unseen movement and survival, wafting through the jungle like a solitary breeze, briefly felt, quickly gone. We were the eyes and ears of our parent units. 

We were a small, unheralded, elite force of specialists in guerrilla warfare, an all-volunteer group of soldiers with a minimum of formal training in the skills of covert counterinsurgency operations. Nevertheless, we had an effect on the overall military operations in Vietnam that was completely out of proportion to our number. 

Major General William R. Peers, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, noted in 1967: “Every major battle the 4th Infantry Division got itself into was initiated by the action of a Long Range Patrol; every single one of them. That included the Battle of Dak To, for the Long Range Patrols completely uncovered the enemy movement. We knew exactly where he was coming from through our Long Range Patrol action.” 

Lieutenant General John H. Hays, Jr., who commanded the 1st Infantry Division from February 1967 to March 1968 and went on to become the deputy commanding general of II Field Force, serving until August 1968, said that the LRRPs were “generally considered to have the most uncomfortable and dangerous job in Vietnam,” but also noted that “the way in which the long range patrols were used was one of the most significant innovations of the war.” 

I remain proud to have been a member of E Company, 58th Infantry LRRP and Company K, 75th Infantry Rangers (Airborne) in Viet Nam (attached to the 4th Infantry Division). 

So here’s to all the LRPs, LRRPs and Rangers out there from yesterday, today and tomorrow.

27 December 2014


If you renewed your permits for 2015, you noticed an additional sheet (full permit and Addendum at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/fish_marine_pdf/bmrdiggerres.pdf).

For scallopers, there's a logbook requirement in 2015 as well as all the usual.

If you need some waterproof notebooks, here’s a place to get them. And their delivery is super fast (I ordered mine on December 22 and had them by December 24).

WaterproofPaper.com. Phone is 724-438-3940. I ordered the 4x5-1/2 inch notebooks; $4.95 a piece. I also ordered one of the vaunted “Waterproof Space Pens,” to write with (and a refill  $8.95+$4.45).

For those of you non-Seinfeld viewers …watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODO0zQBPI2k. It's the Space Pen routine.

See ya’ on the water.

12 December 2014


 I have this stuff and swear by all of it.

I’m gonna’ start off with the most expensive thing on the list at $299 (cheaper on Amazon by a bit). It’s called the RoboReel. Now if you have a DIYer on your list who has all the gadgets and gizmos, I guarantee he doesn’t have this, and I also guarantee he’ll (sorry if you’re a lady and live in your garage, as I do) come up to you and make you come in the garage and see how it works. It’s an overhead 50-foot extension cord reel (12 gauge), but it’s a tad more sophisticated than that. First off it’s portable, so you can take it to a job site. It retracts automatically (duh) but the retract button is on the head of the cord; via a microprocessor that learns how far and fast you want it to retract. There’re also three sockets on the head and lights that tell you when power is coming down the line. Cut the line and it automatically kills the power, shuts down automatically in an overheat situation, it won’t retract when feeding a tool, and it’s the end of tangled cords and having to hand gather them. Video is here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=wICglE7kkkU; www.roboreel.com is their Website. This gets four-out-of-four stars for utility, three for price and four for adaptability (it can be mounted literally anywhere).

Stronghold Haywire Klamper
The Stronghold Haywire Klamper is a simple little tool designed to, well, join anything that needs to be joined that requires a clamp-like fixture to do so. Got a hose that let go? It’ll fix it. Shaft split on a wood maul? Ditto. Need to make a spear a la Rambo when he jumps on the boar? Ditto. It’s utility is only limited by your imagination. Made in Libby, Montana, this is a must-buy for any outdoorsman, boater, camper, hunter, fisherman, etc. The starter kit costs $24.95 and it comes with the heavy-duty but smack-in-the-head-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that tool, wire and instructions. All you need is a wire cutter. After you buy one, you’re going to want to buy a few more. Clever as hell and it works badass. Web is www.haywireklamper.com; go there and check out what you can do with it. Phone is 406-291-1453; e-mail: wes@haywireklamper.com. Four-stars for utility.

I raved about these back in July when I bought my first set from these folks, and I’ve ordered another set since. I’ve yet to find any bed linen to beat their custom sheets — and certainly not at their price or quality. And they’re American made. My original write-up was here lrrpsworld.blogspot.com/2014/07/out-of-my-comfort-zone-adventures-in.html. From Cozytown Linens, www.cozytownlinens.com, of Pelzer, South Carolina. Toll-free number is 864-236-4968. Prices for a custom queen-size set and four pillowcases run around $180. Four stars for comfort and price, all the way.

Snap Stick
I swear by this stuff … and it’s the perfect stocking stuffer for anyone who uses anything that has metal or plastic zippers or snaps. Works like Chapstick. I use it for my foul weather gear snaps, wet and drysuit zips, boat canvas snaps and zips, etc. If it has to snap on and off or close smoothly, and it can get rusty or sun-dried, this is what you put on it. MSRP is $6.48 a tube, which is the size of a kid’s glue stick. AT marine and camping stores or from Shurhold, www.shurhold.com.

29 October 2014


I have owned a Mac since 1987. I have three in my house in 2014 and — unfortunately — upgraded a MacBook Pro-Retina 13 and a 27-inch desktop (go see how much all THAT cost) to Yosemite 10.10.

What a fucking disaster.

DO NOT UPGRADE YOUR FUCKING MAC TO YOSEMITE .... unless you like spending endless hours trying to fix stupid shit little bugs that Mac left in when they rushed this OS out.

I thought I hated DOS 8  ... (still do...the most ridiculous "upgrade" ever conceived).

But when you've been a "Mac guy" for as long as I have you expect Mac-smooth transitions.

If you have Maverick ...keep it, because you ain;t getting anything "smooth" out of Yosemite.


Now, I gotta spend hours trying to backgrade to Maverick ... and I'm going to attempt to have the Mac Help people walk me through it. (yeah, lot's a luck!)

I am soo beyond pissed.

How fucking un-Mac-very-DOS can an "upgrade" be? Try Yosemite and find out. Something incredibly simple will be soon fucked up, you won't believe it. And I did this on two units that are two-months new.

I knew I shoulda' stayed with Mavericks.

26 October 2014


Monday week (November 3) is opening day of scallop season. We've had a chance to check some things out and there's a possibility this may be a good season.

While we won't actually know until we start dredging, we're offering un-shucked scallops at $75 a bushel (regardless of market). You should get between 5-7 pounds out of our bushels. If you order, and I can fulfill the order, I'll deliver a bushel — locally — as fresh as it gets on Monday, November 3 sometime in the late afternoon/early evening.

If you're after shucked scallop, figure around $18 to $20+ a pound depending on where the market sets the price. Contact Capt. Ed for shucked scallop. He may be able to help you.

I won't be able to provide shucked product because I hit the road on November 4 and won't return for a week, so I ain't spending all night cleaning fucking scallops so you can enjoy the shit out of them.

But half the fun is shucking them yourself! (Yeah, right).

Anyway ... if you want them by the bushel get me here, at my regular e-mail or at gpjoyce-at-gmail - dot-com.

Need Capt. Ed, try baydreamer24-at-aol-dot-com.