Friday, December 30, 2005


Deadly attacks prompt safer combat vehicles

Our latest page-one story in The Washington Times, yesterday.
The Mine-protected Utility Vehicle/Rapid Deployable is designed to resist roadside bombs.
Could Force Protection's MUV-R replace the up-armored Humvee?


Thursday, December 29, 2005


Man savagely beaten in downtown Columbia

So, this morning I'm driving with my 17-year-old nephew in downtown Columbia when we pass through the intersection of Assembly and Hampton, and watch in horror as a tall, muscular, well-dressed man jumps out of his car and proceeds to savagely beat a much smaller, homeless man.
Of course, I slam on the brakes.
We (my nephew and I) jump out of my car. But just as we do, the attacker jumps in his car and races away.
The poor homeless man is lying in the street, covered in blood, pouring blood out of his mouth and nose... and he is crying like a baby.
I give him a sweatshirt from my car. Call 911. And stay there and talk to him. Some other people walk up. Some are expressing outrage. A few are crying. It is all so pitiful.
The police and the ambulance finally come. They put the homeless man on a stretcher and carry him away.
I give the police a description of the man, his car, and tag number.
I am so angry right now and at the same time hurt that I really don't know what to say.


Saturday, December 24, 2005


Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone!
Don't forget that Christmas is far more than gifts and parties. The Rev. Billy Graham reminds us to keep Christ at the center.
Also, here are some thoughts and memories of Christmases past and present from those who make it possible for us to freely worship Christ and celebrate Christmas: My latest at
And finally, Happy Hanukkah to all of my Jewish friends.
Holiday cheer, prayers for peace, good will, and best wishes to all!

Thursday, December 22, 2005


A MUST READ from Fallujah

This has to be one of the most eloquent, obviously heartfelt, emotionally moving emails I've received in a long time (FYI: National Review Online has just posted it on The Corner).
It is from one of our Marines in Iraq, Major Neil F. "Murph" Murphy Jr. with Multi-National Force West in Fallujah.
So, Murph says to me:

"When you are deployed you’ve got to have the right mindset and find little things to be happy for and celebrate the simple things, Like hot coffee with some cocoa in it or a treat in the mail and being around friends (old and new). All kinds of people back home have sent stockings and trinkets for us to hand up around the camp and their thoughts let us know we’re appreciated.
My family is lucky enough to be mixed faith – I was raised Catholic and my wife and children are Jewish. So, even though I’m not Jewish, I will still gather with my Jewish friends here and help light a Menorah and enjoy the holiday with old and new friends. It also makes me feel closer to my own family. (Little note: Two years ago, my son lit the White House Menorah and we all hung out with The President and Mrs. Bush – It was after I returned from my first tour in Iraq – little different this year.)
For Christmas, while we miss our own families and would rather be home, we know our jobs are here right now and we know that we have each other here – a “family” in its own right. Of course, we will call home and talk to our loved ones and we will share a nice meal together and celebrate in our own way together and enjoy this moment that we share. Someday, I know I’ll look back fondly on it just as I do Christmases past. There really is something special about knowing that you are missing Christmas with your own family for something bigger than yourself and being there for each other.
One odd thing that I plan to do is gather some fellow Marines and watch “A Christmas story” on a videotape that my sister sent to me – a classic! Good for a few laughs.
I hope you have a great Christmas and don’t worry about us – we’re good to go. Like the Red Sox use to say – There’s always next year.
Semper Fi, brother!"

God knows, I love these people.
Semper Fi,


Three days until Christmas!

Just three more days. Wow! This season has rocketed past.
Great Christmas party last night at my Aunt Sandy and Bob Rollings' beautiful home in Irmo, S.C. (just up the road from me in Columbia). Lots of great food, drink, and fun with my favorite cousins, their kids, etc. Wish we all had more time to spend together... Oh well, perhaps in the new year.
Beyond that, Force Protection Inc., the manufacturer of two armored vehicles currently in service with U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, has published a press release about our article in yesterday's National Review Online.
They're a great company - committed to saving lives in the global war on terror.
Also, World Defense Review writers Abigail Esman and Dr. Walid Phares have new articles published this week at WDR:
See Abigail's piece here. See Walid's here.
Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


A Humvee replacement in the works?

I talk about it here at National Review Online.

The story is also included in Rush Limbaugh's daily "Stack of Stuff," and at
It's in important story - if I may say so myself - because it addresses the question of why it is seemingly taking so long to replace the up-armored Humvee in Iraq and Afghanistan.
There is an answer, as you will see. And despite what the naysayers would have you believe, NEITHER the White House NOR the U.S. Defense Department are at fault.
Stay tuned for much more.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Highly ticked in South Carolina

This New York City transit strike burns me up! Those birds are already overpaid, get guaranteed pay raises, a nice pension, you name it (things MOST Americans would be eternally grateful for)!
Now, they walk off the job and to hell with everyone else.
Ninety percent of the people I need to talk with today - and this week - can't get to work. Not to mention the fact that the strikers are literally endangering peoples lives by shutting down a huge transportation system that millions depend on. What about security issues caused by road traffic gridlock? I know, I know... there are certain streets the emergency vehicles can freely move on. But that's not enough.
I think the unions have outlived their frigging usefulness!
Yes, I'm pissed. They are potentially costing me money. It's for damn sure causing me to reschedule the rest of this week AND I LIVE OVER 700 MILES SOUTH OF THE CITY!
Highly ticked in South Carolina.

Monday, December 19, 2005


Hi everybody (how's that for an original subject heading?)

It's my favorite time of year, but also beyond hectic. Fortunately, ALL of my Christmas shopping is done. I only have one or two more parties at which my attendance is somewhat mandatory, and I just have one more shift as a Salvation Army bell-ringer (though that's one of my favorite holiday traditions), before the big day... Oh, and you all should see my fantabulous Christmas lights!
OK, to business:
Big - strike that - HUGE election day in Iraq on Thursday. I write about it here at National Review Online.
I talked about with Michael Graham on Boston's WTKK. And it was discussed over at Michelle Malkin's, Rush Limbaugh's, Jeff Quinton's, Betsy's Place, Instapundit, and many, many others (those of you I've failed to mention, please drop me a line at wthomassmithjr - at -
Also, check out our review of Peggy Noonan's new book at (great book by the way... Read the review and you'll see why I say so), and our latest on standing up the new Iraqi Army at World Defense Review.
Oh, almost forgot... posted the following at The Corner a few hours ago (Check out my weird title):
[W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
Less than four days after successful national elections in Iraq, The International Herald Tribune reports:
"Afghanistan today inaugurated its first democratically-elected parliament in decades, in an emotional ceremony that reduced Hamid Karzai, the nation’s president, to tears.

Dick Cheney, the US Vice President, and his wife, Lynne, were among the guests as the assembly opened amid tight security. He said it was 'a privilege to be present' for the historic event."
Read more here.

Friday, December 09, 2005


C.S. Lewis, Michael Reagan, and Michael Fowler

In light of all the recent ado over "The Chronicles of Narnia," I'd like to invite everyone to read C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity." It is, in my opinion, a literary pleasure, a treat for the intellectual senses, of which no one - believer, skeptic, or unbeliever - should be denied.
OK, moving right along...
Thanks to talk radio's Michael Reagan (son of the late great commander-in-chief) who recently touted my Pearl Harbor piece.
And, many thanks to my friends yesterday - sorry guys, don't want to show all my cards just yet - who arranged for me to take a test ride in the protoype vehicle that may well be the replacement vehicle for the up-armored Humvee in Iraq. I am the first journalist in the world to do so, and I even got to bring my nephew, Michael Fowler, along for the ride.
Details to follow in a few publications, so stay tuned.
Semper Fi,

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Gov. Campbell has died

Commenting on Gov. Campbell's passing earlier at
National Review Online's THE CORNER

RE: R.I.P.
[W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
Just got off the phone with General Paul X. Kelley, former Commandant of the Marine Corps, who was a very good friend of Gov. Carroll Campbell. He told me: "Carroll and I had many long conversations about law enforcement, and I don't know that anyone ever, ever had the same grasp of law enforcement and how to implement it that he did. In South Carolina, he effectively brought all law enforcement agencies together for a common purpose. He was a consensus builder in the purest sense, and I don't know of too many other leaders who possessed those same skills in that regard."

Posted at 12:17 PM

Also, comments from friends Jeff Quinton here and Michael Graham here. Michael says Gov. Campbell is "almost single-handedly responsible" for his [Michael's] "entire career as a politician and pundit."

Semper Fi,


Pearl Harbor Day and other things

Commenting last night at National Review Online's THE CORNER
[W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
Bob Beckel on Hannity & Colmes makes me want to pull my hair out!
He continues with the same tired, publicly manipulative argument about some American soldiers being sent to Iraq with less training than Iraqi soldiers... then he goes on with - and I paraphrase - "How long does it take to train a soldier? We've been training their soldiers for two years."
First, NO American soldier is being sent to Iraq with less training than an Iraqi soldier. Even if a soldier - in some isolated instance - was sent to Iraq straight out of boot camp, his boot camp experience would be nearly twice as long as the basic training an Iraqi soldier receives, in every instance. And Iraqis are often in combat during their basic training.
Second, IT IS NOT ABOUT TRAINING SOLDIERS at the individual level. That is only a part of the process.
It is about BUILDING AN ARMY, and THAT takes years.
Incidently, I zipped over to his website and found this lovely line: "Show me a Right Winger and I'll show you a gutless coward."

Posted at 10:00 PM

Also, let's not forget what happened 64-years-ago today. I talk about it here. And it's getting blogged all over the place, including over at Michelle Malkin's, BlackFive, and others.
Semper Fi,

Monday, December 05, 2005


"Precious soldiers"

... - that's what author and terrorism expert, Dr. Walid Phares, calls the men who serve in the new Iraqi Army.
See all of his comments in my latest piece at National Review Online.

Also, today would have been my dad's 76th birthday. He passed away in 1999.
If you can hear us from Heaven, we all love and miss you so much.

Semper Fi,

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Michener's "ablest flyer"

As I reported yesterday at
National Review Online


[W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
Vice Admiral William Porter Lawrence, 75, passed away yesterday.
To say he was a great man seems not enough: It's almost fair to say he was beyond legendary.... so much so that in his book, Space, author James Michener wrote that
Bill Lawrence was perhaps the ablest flyer, all things considered, that Pax River was to produce.
A 1951 “distinguished” Annapolis grad (where he played football), Lawrence flew 25 combat missions in Korea and 150 combat missions in Vietnam. Between wars, he graduated first in class at test pilot school and became the first aviator to fly twice the speed of sound in a Navy aircraft.
A heart murmur kept him from becoming one of America's first astronauts (His daughter Wendy would later become an astronaut).
In 1967, Lawrence was shot down over North Vietnam and held as a POW for six years. He was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his inspirational leadership of his fellow prisoners.
While a POW, Lawrence also wrote what would become the official state poem of Tennessee, a portion of which reads:
Beauty and hospitality
are the hallmarks of Tennessee;
and o'er the world as I may roam
no place exceeds my boyhood home.
And oh how much I long to see
my native land, my Tennessee."
Admiral Lawrence retired from the Navy in 1986, then held the Chair of Naval Leadership at Annapolis until 1991.
He was planning to attend the Army-Navy game today.

Posted at 07:05 PM

Friday, December 02, 2005


10 Marines killed on patrol near Fallujah

Reporting at National Review Online's THE CORNER

10 Marines were killed today, another 11 wounded by an IED while on a foot patrol near Fallujah.
I must tell you such news literally, physically makes me sick, brokenhearted, etc., as it I know does all of us. But their lives – and those of others lost – have not been lost for nothing.
There are many positive things happening in Iraq, some of which I will be reporting on NRO next week. And to put some of it in perspective, a U.S. general on the ground near Baghdad told me in a sat-phone conversation a few days ago, “The [Iraqi] people are getting fed up with the attacks, not just on their own people, but on us.”
And they’re doing something about it, as you will see.
Posted at 01:15 PM

Also, check out our latest at World Defense Review.
Semper Fi,

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