Hey Hero, congrats on making it out of the military and into the PMC world. You are about to embark on the greatest monetary adventure of your life, but before you do we wanted to offer a few pieces of advice.
1. Kit- Before deploying buy as much gear as possible. This is essential and your coolness with be calculated by your ability to buy the most up to date gear. Don’t have a use for that piece of gear? No problem. As long as the gear has MOLLE on it you are set.
2. Tattoos- Get some, actually get a lot of them. A couple of true crowd pleasers are flames, skulls, spiderwebs, 8 balls, inspiring quotes about how you will never give up and anything tribal. The more menacing the better and make sure they put somewhere on your body where everyone can see them.
3. Look like you are going on a safari- This is quite possibly the most important of all. Go to your local tactical dealer and buy one of everything…. Actually scratch that buy 10 of everything in every color. Don’t worry you can afford it, you are a baller contractor now. Also be sure to put on all of your gear BEFORE leaving the US, it’s paramount that you let everyone know in the DC, Atlanta or Dubai airport that you are bad ass and mean business. Added points for having your ID holders with all of your information out for all to see. If you are curious what to wear as an undershirt “who’s your bagdaddy,” “dirka dirkastan”, and something about you being an infidel are all perfect options.
4. House- Buy one, a big one with lots of extras like a pool, 5 car garage and an insanely large TV. You will need somewhere for your wife and her boyfriend to live while you are away so make sure it’s nice. Not sure what you can afford? A good rule of thumb when buying a house is to take your yearly average income and multiply it by 3 and that is what you can safely afford. Since you are a rich contractor and will never be fired or let go due to a change of work go ahead and take what you make in a year and multiply it by 20. This way you are guaranteed to match your newly acquired baller rich lifestyle.
5. Car- What am I thinking? Truck. The bigger the better and make sure to get a good lift kit, loud exhaust, bumper stickers that contain your entire DD-214 and flamed decals. Remember anything under a super charged V-8 is for pussies and you don’t want to be a pussy now that you are a snake eating contractor do you?
6. Harley- Notice I didn’t write Honda, BMW, Kawasaki or anything else lame like that. Get something big with a loud exhaust. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to ride one either, chances are your wife’s boyfriend does and he will be able to keep it running for you while you’re gone.
7. Watch- Go to your nearest Rolex retailer and buy a submariner, make sure it’s brand new and really expensive. Everyone needs to know you make a lot of money and that is the best way to prove it. If it’s not a Rolex then make sure it’s big, bright and easily identifiable as something that a rich person would wear by anyone not accustomed to your gangster ass lifestyle.
8. Savings- Don’t do it, you will just be wasting your time since you are getting more money next month and lots of it. If you are confused on ways to spend it I recommend going to Vegas, Thailand or the Philippines and throwing it at strippers and other minions who don’t make as much you.
9. Tap Out Shirts- Can’t fight? No problem!! You don’t need to train for years… remember that Jiu Jitsu class that you took 3 years ago but were too tired to finish? That is all you need to start wearing a bunch of fight clothes… maybe everyone will think you’re actually sponsored!!
10. Buy lots of supplements- Anything that sounds like ‘Jacked-Up Fuck Monster’, ‘Energy Fist’, ‘Stronger, Deeper, and Definitely not-Gay’, and ‘Mega Mass Monster Bench Press’ will do. It is irrelevant if it actually works, just buy it, and have it sitting out on your night stand… much respect (besides, you’ll be doing steroids anyway). And remember, if its herbal, cleansing, vitamins, or overall health and wellness related you will look like a giant pussy.
11. Get on social media and tell everyone else how bad-ass you are- Now that you are a PMC you are pretty much the Delta Force DEVGRU ninja operator of the security world. Nobody knows more about tactics and operations than you now that you went through a 2 week WPPS course. It’s your duty to get on Facebook and Instagram and educate the rest of those low life scum that only make a month what you make in a week. Be sure to degrade others on the chat forums and talk about the time you were in the military and killed more people than ass cancer on your last deployment. On your profile be sure to list as many photos as possible of you jacking steel, shooting guns and all your testosterone infused trucks and motorbikes.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has changed the rules of engagement for those deployed in Afghanistan, no longer requiring that troops must be in contact with the enemy before opening fire. This is a welcome change within the Afghan theater, as troops will now have more opportunities to aggressively take the fight to the enemy. Part of this change will also include the dispersing of more U.S. and allied advisers to lower-level Afghan units.
The new changes were addressed during this week’s congressional hearing, where Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford stated the White House had given authorized the chance to revise the current rules of engagement, updating them to the necessary tempo needed for fighting the Taliban. While the rules of engagement are officially classified, those in country can now be expected to take faster action when combatting terrorist forces.
“We are no longer bound by the need for proximity to our forces,” Mattis state. “It used to be we have to basically be in contact with that enemy.”
Addressing the House Armed Services Committee, Mattis also clarified “If they are in an assembly area, a training camp, we know they are an enemy and they are going to threaten the Afghan government or our people, [Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan] has the wherewithal to make that decision.” He said that more units will now have advisors for obtaining air support, describing this change as “now being able to bring this fire support to bear where we could not [before], whether it be for proximity or [because] we were not with those units.”
Changes were expected, mainly because in recent years, senior Washington officials have pushed for less restrictive ROEs in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. President Donald Trump said he planned to ”lift restrictions and expand authorities” during last months Afghanistan strategy speech.
While the improvement opens new doors for combatting the enemy in Afghanistan, Mattis made clear that U.S. forces would continue to do everything “humanly possible” to avoid civilian casualties and collateral damage.
Sen. Marco Rubio demanded that West Point revoke the commission of 2nd. Lt. Spenser Rapone in response to photos that have surfaced showing Rapone wearing pro-communist attire and messages underneath his graduation uniform. Rapone initially posted the photos to his Twitter account @punkproletarian “Commie Bebop” using the hashtag #VeteransForKaepernick, following the recent NFL protests.
On October 3rd, the Florida Senator wrote a letter to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy that requested “the United States Army immediately nullify Rapone’s commission and pursue all available disciplinary options under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Rapone should be required to pay back in full the cost of his education, and the United States Military Academy should consider revoking his degree.”
Rapone is a former enlisted infantryman, having earned his 75th Ranger Regiment scroll in spring 2011 and deploying to Afghanistan with 1st Battalion that same year. Shortly after Rapone was “removed for standards” from the regiment, he was admitted to West Point where he graduated in 2016. He is currently serving as an infantry officer with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division out of Ft. Drum and is under investigation by his command following the incident.
In his letter, Sen. Rubio has demanded that the Army within 30 days release “all relevant information regarding West Point’s efforts to ensure cadets who actively support the destruction of our government do not waste more taxpayer funds or prevent a more worthy candidate from attending.”
“It is extremely concerning that someone who so often expressed such hostile views towards the United States’ system of government was able to obtain a commission,” expressed by Sen. Rubio. “(His) revolutionary ideas were harbored long before he was commissioned as an Army second lieutenant. Were West Point administrators or faculty aware of his views and behavior?”
West Point officials have stated Rapone’s actions “in no way reflect the values of the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Army.” Additionally, former Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA) who nominated Rapone for the academy stated “While I strongly support the rights of American citizens to express their opinions, the actions of 2nd Lieutenant Rapone are abhorrent and appear to be in clear violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, in addition to being inconsistent with the values of the United States Military Academy. I have no doubt that the U.S. Army will take appropriate action.”
Military regulations prohibit soldiers from making political statements while in uniform. Sen. Rubio wrote that “Posts on social media by Rapone broadcast his devotion to the communist cause and his plans to infiltrate and sabotage the military.” Additionally, “His conduct, writings, and sympathies for American adversaries predate his commission in the Army.”
Rapone has since made his social media accounts private. His military awards include a Good Conduct Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, an Army Achievement Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one campaign star and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
On January 10th a Taliban insurgent wearing a Suicide Vest (SVEST) and a Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) detonated near the Afghan Parliamentary Building in Kabul, killing 31 and injuring over 80 people. The attack began with the SVEST detonation near a van followed with a VBIED detonation after Afghan police arrived on scene.
An Afghan Police spokesman said the attackers targeted Afghan Intelligence Officials. Officials believe both Afghan Intelligence personnel and civilians are among the dead.
This is the bloodiest attack in Kabul in recent months.
The U.S. Military announced that they will be sending a 300 man Marine TF back to Southern Afghanistan this spring to help fight again the Taliban’s annual spring offensive. The Task Force will primarily operate in Helmand Province and is expected to undergo a 9 month deployment. The military anticipates this to be an ongoing rotation.
USMC Lt. Gen Beyler stated, “Afghanistan remains a dangerous and dynamic environment, and our aim, training and advising the Afghan forces, is to preserve and build upon the gains they’ve made. Marines will face risk in this new assignment.”
According to the official release “Task Force South West, made up of Marines from II Marine Expeditionary Force and led by Brig. Gen. Roger Turner, Jr., will train and advise key leaders within the Afghan National Army 215th Corps and the 505th Zone National Police.”
While the Marines haven’t been to Helmand since 2014 it is a well fought area for the corps. It’s unclear as to how much their position will include actual field operation, however it’s likely they will see some of the tougher fighting this year.
We all like discounts and free shit so we set out to find some solid companies out there who offer some solid discounts to active duty and or veteran personnel. Please note that some of the discounts may change from the time this blog is written so be sure to check with the company for further details. If you are out shopping don’t be afraid to ask if the store offers any military related discounts, you might be surprised who actually does.
If you know of any other discounts please be sure to add it in the comments below so we can help grow the list!
1: RE Factor Tactical- We offer 15% off to Active Duty Military Personnel, Law Enforcement Personnel and Emergency Services. To qualify, please create an account using your official government email address. Once complete email email@example.com and we will adjust your account to receive the discount.
2: National Park Service- Offers free entry with a valid Active Duty ID.
3: Banana Republic- Offers 20% off to all Active Duty and Veteran personnel.
4: Verizon- Offers 15% off to Active Duty Service Members
5: Chick-fil-A- Offers 10% off to Active Duty Service Members (varies by franchise)
6: Lonestar Stakehouse- Offers 20% off every Monday and 10% off every other day to Active Duty and Veteran Personnel.
7: Hard Rock Cafe- Offers 15% off to Active Duty Personnel.
8: Cabelas- Offers 5% off to Active Duty, Reserve, Retired and VA Personnel.
9: Footlocker- Offers 20% off to Active Duty and Veteran Personnel.
10: Lowes- Offers 10% off to Active Duty and Veteran Personnel.
11: Nike- Offers 10% off to Active Duty and Veteran Personnel.
12: Dick’s Sporting Goods- Offers 10% off to Active Duty and Veteran Personnel.
13: Bed Bath and Beyond- Offers 10% off to Active Duty and Veteran Personnel.
14: Apple- Offers varied discounts to Active Duty and Government Personnel. Ask for their federal program.
15: AT&T- Offers 15% off to Veterans and Active Duty Service Members.
16: Home Depot- Offers 10% off to Active Duty and Veteran Personnel.
17: Proof Research Barrels- 25% off to all Active Duty and LE personnel.
18: Brass Flags- 7% off to all Active Duty Military, Fire, EMS and LE personnel.
19: Manta Defense- 20% off to all current or former Military, LE, FED and EMS personnel.
20: RMJ Tactical- $65 off all axes and tomahawks for LE, EMS and Active Duty Personnel. $35 off for Veterans personnel.
21: Sarge’s Shooting Bags- 25% off to all Active Duty Military, Veterans, EMS, Fire and LE Personnel.
22: Lantac USA- Offers 10% off to all LE personnel.
23: AZ Guns- Offers a variety of price breaks to Active Duty Military, LE and Federal Employees.
24: Fox Group Tennessee- Offers 20% off to all Active Duty Military, Veterans, LE, Fire and EMS Personnel.
25: California Emergency Prep- 10% off to all EMS, Fire, Active Duty Military and LE Personnel.
26: Madison Fight Science Gym- Offers free 20 hours of training to all Active Duty Military and LE personnel.
27: Strip Gun Club, Las Vegas- Offers 10% off to all Active Duty Military and LE Personnel.
NOTE: It is against DoD policy to scan, copy or send your CAC Card for any reason other than official government business. If a company asks for a copy of your CAC Card you should ask for confirmation via other means. If you copy your DD214 don’t forget to black out your Social Security Number.
This is my second paper for the Naval War College in which I attempt to analyze the American War for Independence through the three phases of revolutionary warfare theorized by Mao Tse-Tung in his book On Guerrilla Warfare. While I do not adhere to Mao’s political views in any way, shape, form, or fashion, his insight into guerrilla warfare is invaluable, as USMC Capt. Samuel B. Griffith II said in his forward to the translation: “it remained for Mao Tse-Tung to produce the first systematic study of the subject…. His study…will continue to have a decisive effect in societies ready for a change.” Any opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Coast Guard, the Naval War College, or the US Government.
Beginning in 1764, protest spread across thirteen British colonies in America. These colonies, seemingly the beneficiaries of British protection and largesse, despised the taxes that Parliament levied on them. Specifically, they questioned the legality of a legislative body – in which they had no say – imposing those taxes. Protests grew into riots, riots grew into rebellion, and rebellion grew into a Declaration of Independence.
The likelihood that the American colonies could win their struggle against Great Britain was limited in 1776. A primary factor contributing to this limited likelihood was a lack of a cohesive military organization. At the outset the colonies relied entirely upon the militia system, and on Mao’s continuum, the colonies were better prepared for a guerilla war than the conventional war they fought. However, the colonies understood their need for recognition as an independent nation, and sought recognition and an alliance with the French. To demonstrate to the French that an alliance would be beneficial to them, the colonies needed to be able to show conventional military victories.
Even with this valid need, the colonies should not have rushed into conventional warfare. The French were longtime enemies of the British, and their support would more than likely have still been available later. This long-standing enmity could have allowed the colonies to spend more time in the guerilla stage before proceeding to conventional war.
For the purposes of this paper, the terms guerilla or unconventional war will refer to warfare conducted outside the standard of seizing and holding territory or attempting to do so. The term conventional war will refer to siege warfare or other warfare intended to seize or hold territory.
Mao, Revolution, and the Colonies
Many years after the American Revolution, a Chinese Communist named Mao Tse-Tung theorized on the idea of revolutionary warfare. According to Samuel Griffith in his introduction to Mao’s On Guerilla Warfare, Mao organized revolutions into three fluid phases. Phase I is the organizing phase, where “volunteers are trained and indoctrinated, and from here, agitators and propagandists set forth, individually or in groups of two or three, to ‘persuade’ and ‘convince’ the inhabitants of the surrounding countryside and to enlist their support.” (Griffith II, 1961) Phase II, the “progressive expansion” phase, sees “Acts of sabotage and terrorism multiply; collaborationists and ‘reactionary elements’ are liquidated…The primary purpose of these operations is to procure arms, ammunition, and other essential material….” (Griffith II, 1961) Finally comes Phase III: “It is during this period that a significant percentage of the active guerilla force completes its transformation into an orthodox establishment capable of engaging the enemy in conventional battle.” (Griffith II, 1961)
In the case of the American Revolution, Phases I & II occurred intermittently from approximately 1764 to 1775. During this period, various Parliamentary acts, such as the Stamp Act, Declaratory Act, and Coercive Acts inflamed colonial sentiment, and violence flared. Colonists and British authority clashed in places such as the “Boston Massacre,” the “Boston Tea Party,” Lexington, Concord, and Fort Ticonderoga. July 3, 1775 marked the beginning of Phase III, when General George Washington road to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to assume command of the newly formed Continental Army. (Allison, 2011)
The colonists spent significant amounts of time organizing themselves politically. Starting with Boston’s Committee of Correspondence in 1772, the colonies gradually formed a network to keep each other informed of events. By 1774, every colony participated, and British actions in one colony rapidly traveled through the network to unaffected colonies. These committees served to keep the flame of indignation alive and well from Rhode Island to Georgia. (Allison, 2011) Other citizens’ groups, such as the famous Sons of Liberty in Boston, stirred civil unrest and attacked tax collectors and other symbols of authority, but typically did not engage in battles with British troops. The Continental Congress met and adjourned multiple times between 1774 and 1776. (Allison, 2011)
The Continental Army at its Inception
The colonies also organized militarily, relying on the traditional militia system. Each state raised at least one militia, some raised many. These militias tended to represent a town or region. Their officers were typically elected, and had various backgrounds ranging from sea captains to wealthy merchants to farmers. (Fischer, 2004) Militias were not professional military organizations for the most part; they formed to address a specific threat, then disbanded once the threat had passed. Despite the recent conflicts in the colonies, the majority of colonial militia leaders (including George Washington, who served as the Colonel of the Virginia militia) possessed little to no experience in the large-scale employment of professional soldiers. (Ferling, 2010) No one would question their determination and valor (except perhaps the British), but they simply did not possess the experience of their British counterparts. Many viewed militia as unreliable and undisciplined, including General Washington. (Fischer, 2004) The prevailing opinions on both sides gave the colonists little chance in a pitched battle against British regulars. A British parliamentarian is reported to have said that the colonists “were neither soldiers, nor could be made so; being naturally of a pusillanimous disposition, and utterly incapable of any sort of order or discipline.” (O’Shaughnessy, 2013)
Despite the fact that Congress named Washington the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army in 1775, it retained much control until December 27, 1776. At the urging of General Nathanael Greene, who implored that “Time will not admit nor Circumstance allow of a reference to Congress. The Fate of War is so uncertain, dependant on so many Contingencies…that it would be folly to wait for Relief from the deliberative Councils of Legislative Bodies,” Congress granted Washington full powers of management of the war effort for six months. (Fischer, 2004) The reliance on the militia system, the micromanagement of the army, and the relative inexperience of the army’s commanders combine to portray a steep learning curve for the Continental Army.
Allison, R. J. (2011). The American Revolution: A Concise History. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Clausewitz, C. v. (1976). On War. (M. Howard, P. Paret, Eds., M. Howard, & P. Paret, Trans.) Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Ferling, J. (2010, January). Myths of the American Revolution. Retrieved October 22, 2016, from Smithsonian.com: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/myths-of-the-american-revolution-10941835/?no-ist
Fischer, D. H. (2004). Washington’s Crossing. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Griffith II, S. B. (1961). Strategy, Tactics, and Logistics in Revolutionary War. In M. Tse-Tung, On Guerrilla Warfare (S. B. Griffith II, Trans., pp. 20-26). Champaign, IL: University of Chicago Press.
O’Shaughnessy, A. J. (2013). The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the British Empire. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Pritchard, J. (1994, Autumn). French Strategy and the American Revolution: A Reappraisal. Naval War College Review, 83-108.
State Department. (n.d.). French Alliance, French Assistance, and European Diplomacy during the American Revolution, 1778–1782. Retrieved October 22, 2016, from Department of State, Office of the Historian: https://history.state.gov/milestones/1776-1783/french-alliance
Tse-Tung, M. (1961). On Guerilla Warfare. (S. B. Griffith II, Trans.) Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.
Tzu, S. (1963). The Art of War. (S. B. Griffith II, Trans.) New York, New York: Oxford University Press.
About the author
Joel is a 12 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served at various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US. He is the owner of Hybrid Defensive Strategies, LLC in Chesapeake, VA, and can be contacted on Facebook and Instagram. Any opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Coast Guard or the US Government.
For those of you that have looked into Army Special Operations Forces, you’ve certainly noticed by now that the vast majority of them are Airborne. If you’ve ever tuned in to HBO, you’ve probably seen the series Band of Brothers, detailing the exploits of Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 101st Airborne Division. You may have even heard of the 82nd Airborne Division (I grew up at Fort Bragg, so I assumed for the longest time everyone knew who the 82nd was). But what is the Airborne, and where did the Airborne come from? And what maniac first decided it was a good idea?
Early parachute designs were sketched as far back as Leonardo Da Vinci, but the first successful parachute jump didn’t occur until 1797, when Andre Jacques Garnerin jumped from a balloon at a height of 3,200 feet. Parachuting was still considered an odd amusement for many years, although others made successful jumps, primarily from balloons with the parachutes packed in the balloon versus on the jumper. In 1911, a Russian named Gleb Kotelnikov invented the knapsack parachute, which was originally packed into a hard case until he perfected his soft case in 1924. The stage was now set for weaponizing the parachutist. And militaries didn’t take long to consider it. Only 6 years after Kotelnikov’s invention, no less a mind that Winston Churchill was proposing air-dropped infantry. Colonel Billy Mitchell, of the US Army Air Corps, likewise proposed a similar idea.
The first military parachutist drop, however, took place between 1930 and 1933 (sources vary on the year), back where the knapsack parachute began – Russia. The first drop was small – only 62 parachutists – but in 1936, Russia conducted an operation involving over 1,000 parachutists. Other armies took note, including Germany, France, Japan, and Italy. Germany would actually successfully drop paratroopers (fallschirmjagers) into combat for the first time in history in
1940 during the invasion of Denmark. Britain and the United States, though behind, now began developing airborne units, noting the success Germany had with airfield and bridge seizures during not only the Denmark invasion, but Norway, Holland, and Belgium as well. In the US, these first airborne unites were called the United States Army Airborne Test Platoon, then the US Parachute Troops. Japan also successfully deployed paratroopers as early as 1942, and used them with success in Indonesia, Timor, Sumatra, and the Philippines.
The Soviets were the first Allied force to deploy paratroopers in combat in 1942, followed by the British, and finally the United States, when the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion parachuted into Algeria on the 8th of November. Between 1942 and 1943, US paratroopers made multiple jumps into Africa and Italy, including the 509th, 505th, and 504th PIR (among others), and the 503rd PIR parachuted into New Guinea. However, the largest airborne combat jump in history took place on the 6th of June, 1944, when 20,000 troops of the US 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, as well as the British 6th Airborne Division were dropped into Normandy as part of Operation Overlord. While the Overlord drop is probably the most popularly known World War II jump, it was far from the last American combat jump. Ten other drops were made into France, Holland, New Guinea, Germany, and the Philippines all the way until 1945. After World War II, US Paratroopers made static-line jumps into Korea, South Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, and Afghanistan, with the last recorded US combat jump taking place on March 23, 2003.
Through 61 years of combat jumps, the US Army Airborne units have built a long and proud history of being the first to a fight, winning hard fought ground, and tenaciously defending it. They’ve been accused of being hot-headed, arrogant, and a number of other unsavory things along the way (labels they tend to wear somewhat proudly, at least if the 82nd is an indication). Their record speaks for themselves – they are the soldiers crazy enough to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, and they’ll do it in the middle of the night, en masse, take your toys, and they won’t give them back so long as they’re still standing.
Who are you?
All the way!
***Disclaimer: I know I haven’t gotten close to really detailing all the exploits of the Airborne throughout their existence, but this was only intended as a brief history of where they came from, not a comprehensive examination.***
Joel is an 12 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served at various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US. He is the owner of Hybrid Defensive Strategies, LLC in Chesapeake, VA, and can be contacted on Facebook and Instagram. Any opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Coast Guard or the US Government.