Murphy was a Grunt

gruntshirt-1How do we know that Murphy was a grunt? It’s easy:

1. Friendly fire – isn’t.

2. You are not Superman; Rangers, Marines and pilots take note.

3. A sucking chest wound is nature’s way of telling you to slow down.

4. If it’s stupid but it works, it isn’t stupid.

5. Never forget that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.

6. If your attack is going really well, it’s an ambush.

7. The enemy invariably attacks on two occasions: 1) When they’re ready. 2) When you’re not.

8. No plan ever survives initial contact.

9. The easy way is always mined.

10. Teamwork is essential; it gives the enemy other people to shoot at.

11. No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection.

12. Anything you do can get you killed, including nothing.

13. Tracers work both ways.

14. Professional soldiers are predictable, but the world is full of amateurs.

15. When in doubt, empty your magazine.

16. If you are short of anything but the enemy, you’re in combat.

thank you

Breed the Sheepdogs



By Stephen Parks

Virtually every school teaches kids not to hit or fight back in the face of a threat. Bullying is the most popular example of this kind of situation. Standing up for yourself or your friends is openly discouraged. If you tell the “bully” to leave you alone, they are apparently supposed to comply. If not, informing the school staff provides them with the opportunity to proceed with doing nothing about the problem. Some even openly deny the existence of a problem in their school.

Parents who teach their kids to be assertive and fight back are not welcomed in a positive way. I know this from first-hand experience. Teaching people to stand up for themselves does not necessarily lead to violence. Violence, however, is at times the only option. Being assertive in itself is non-violent and effective. Not only is assertiveness the center of effective communication, the Mayo Clinic states that it is effective in “[controlling] stress and anger and improve[s] coping skills”.

Victims of bullying are “two to nine times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims”; according to a study done by Yale University. This study, conducted five years ago, still we have learned nothing. Why? Because the current process of socialization is extremely flawed. To save the “face” of a company or school, we apparently must sacrifice our children, our values and our instinct of self-preservation.

Individuals do not decide whether they become victims or not, but they do decide how they respond to it. The individual can take measures to ensure that they are not an easy target. Furthermore, if a person becomes a victim, they can and should choose to fight back.

sheepdogfrontBullies, criminals or any other type of perpetrator will typically choose the path of least resistance. Their goal is to take advantage of a person, not get into a physical altercation. A bully that meets resistance will likely move to a different target as their goal is looking tough through intimidation, not fighting. Even if a fight ensues, doing damage will prevent future harassment and decrease your chances of becoming a victim in the future. A hard target is less likely to become a victim.

Unfortunately, this is not the mantra of society. Presently, it is along the lines of, “Be passive and do not do anything to instigate or offend the perpetrator. However, if you choose violence, you will face legal charges and we will publicly humiliate you”. This leaves many individuals with only two options: get taken advantage of repeatedly, or committing suicide.

How many people end up taking their own lives because they are conditioned to repress their emotions and instincts? They are not only afraid to defend themselves; they think that it is wrong. How many people stand around while a person is beaten or picked on? Standing by, filming for instant upload while a person is dehumanized. This type of behavior is repulsive.

tapthat-2.gifWe need to get back to fighting back. Not be the wolf, but the sheepdog. The one that deters and overcomes the wolf when necessary. The one that keeps the wolf from the sheep and if it happens to get to the sheep, game on! If a person gets in your face, winning or losing is not the concern. Being assertive and standing up for yourself, your friends, your families and innocent strangers is what changes the tide. This behavior deters violent crime.

There will always be a victim, but it will not be me, or anyone else around me. Everyone seems to enjoy the cliché story of the small person rising up against all enemies and all odds, but does little to support that in reality. Of course preventing violent crime by stopping it before it happens is appealing. Until that becomes a reality, which is highly unlikely, people need to know that it is ok to protect themselves. They need to be encouraged to maintain the safety and security of themselves and those around them.

The sheepdog in everyone needs to be encouraged. Yes, there is a sheepdog in everyone. Each person must make the decision to nurture his or her instinct. Everyone wants to help, but only those that have made the decision to act will turn that instinct into action. Sheepdogs are protectors and defenders. Violence is not its first option but it is definitely an option.

Our kids are our future. Our future being systematically instructed to avoid confrontation, choose passive words to avoid offending and not taking a stance. “Being assertive means that you express yourself effectively and stand up for your point of view, while also respecting the rights and beliefs of others” (Mayo Clinic). It does not require not offending others as the act of taking offense is a personal decision. You cannot possibly be responsible for how another person responds emotionally.

Being passive provides the impression that your thoughts, feelings and ideas are not important. Not only will the passive person not believe in their own abilities, cognitions and strengths, others will take notice and take advantage. This is dangerous! Not only is this behavior unproductive and inefficient, it can provide an easy and appealing target.

Stand up for yourself and others. Teach your kids to be confident and assertive. Teach them to believe in their ability to keep themselves safe. Most importantly, teach them that their safety is important and worth fighting for. Breed the sheepdog, encourage the sheepdog and be the sheepdog. It is the only way to keep the wolves from destroying our future.

Opinions expressed on The Rhino Den are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of Rhino Den or Ranger Up. Peanut butter cream pies do not receive the praise that they should.

Thanksgiving Army Style

Army Soldiers Celebrate Thanksgiving  Afghanistan

Army Soldiers Celebrate Thanksgiving Afghanistan

One of the things I truly miss about the military is how they celebrate the holiday season. It really didn’t matter if I was with my biological family or with my Army brothers and sisters; one way or another we were going to spend it as a family. I fondly look back at Thanksgiving in particular as some of the greatest family experiences and celebrations I have participated in.

As a child growing up and even into my own professional career, just about every Thanksgiving dinner was consumed in the chow hall. The normally dull and drab cafeteria was transformed into a glorious banquet hall, tastefully decorated in fall colors with beautiful displays of fruit, breads and deserts that were crafted with the careful precision of a high caliber restaurant. I can recollect the inviting smells of deliciousness swirling throughout the air and was actually given the opportunity to mull over my dinner options without someone yelling at me to hurry and make my mind up. This was only one of a few times in the year where I was not barked at by a Private for requesting more than one serving of meat and starch and was actually given the opportunity to load up my plate to my hearts content.

I vividly remember seeing the officers and senior NCOs in their Dress Blues, all of their ribbons and awards neatly aligned, wearing the unpopular, but fitting, bus-drivers hat, and having the confident appearance of a leader. Each one greeting every soldier and family member as if they were aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, with a handshake and a smile, for they knew, for most of the soldiers there, they were the only family they had to celebrate the holidays with. These leaders cherished this thought of our own pseudo-family as everyone slowly made their way down the serving line.

As my career in the Army progressed, I soon found myself in the same position as those NCOs I watched as a child. It was my turn to don my dress blues, ensure that every little detail was exact and to stand proud and greet everyone with a smile as they passed before me. As a leader, I could feel the gratitude of each soldier and family member as I looked and thanked them for coming while they enjoyed the multitude of deliciousness I had the humble opportunity to serve them. It was Thanksgiving that I set aside the my mantra of the hard-charging NCO who’s primary responsibility was to make sure my boys were ready to go to war, to the loving parent, making sure that they knew just how much I cared for them and wanted to make sure they had what they needed as far as emotional support.

Those days are long gone, but the memories are still there and very strong. For some reason, I still have my blues put together, hanging neatly in the closet, for what reason I don’t know, but they are. I miss the bond that we had as soldiers, quite frankly, it just cannot be replicated.

So instead of polishing brass and aligning ribbons this year as I have done many times in the past; I will instead close with a simple thank you to the men and women of this great country’s military, serving away from home. Even though you may not be with your “real” family, you are with a family nonetheless and you should embrace it.

It will not last forever.

Happy Thanksgiving


Holiday Safety Briefing

Holiday Safety Briefing

Holiday Safety Briefing

The long holiday weekend starts tonight after final formation and there will undoubtedly be a safety briefing prior to dismissal.  I have had the pleasure of hearing some dandy safety briefings during my time.   So what are your favorite quotes?  Let’s create our own safety briefing here.  Leave a comment below and I will throw a couple of shirts out to the funniest, most creative ones posted (make sure you leave a good email address, it won’t be shown publicly).

Have a great Thanksgiving  folks, be safe and please take a moment to remember those who have fallen.   Please take a moment to remember the typhoon stricken people of the Philippines and tornado ravaged Illinois this weekend and also the brave members of Team Rubicon who are continuing their service to this great country.  If you would like to donate to Team Rubicon and the mission in Washington, IL you can click here.

-RU Rob

Holiday for Heroes and last Christmas Cards

Remember our troops and don’t forget Dec. 6th is the last date for sending a soldier a Christmas card.  If you need the address again let me know…Holiday for Heroes /  PO Box 5456  /  Capital Heights , MD 20791-5456.

not everyone