This is the first Commentary for the website, written by former Bosque Republican Club President and U.S. Navy retired Captain
Ricky Richards. Ricky gave this presentation to our March Club meeting, which we decided needed to be shared on this website.
ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES
by Ricky Richards U. S. Navy retired
I am greatly concerned about the ongoing destruction of our military capability by the current administration and Congress’ inability or unwillingness to take the action necessary to maintain our Armed Forces at the level needed to protect our country. Our military men and women are the ones who have the most to lose when our foreign policy fails, but they are the ones with no real voice in politics. It is the duty of retired and honorably discharged veterans to be their voice and to speak up when things are going terribly wrong. Friends, things are going terribly wrong in this country, and I for one will not stand quietly by while Obama systematically dismantles and destroys our military. We know from history that what he is doing is the surest way to war, and the only way to stop him is through informed action on the part of the citizenry of this country.
By nature, our military vets are shy to talk openly about what they have done or seen, and that is our loss. If more people had their eyes opened to what is going on in the world beyond Starbucks and Wal-Mart, I believe things would not be as they are today. I encourage all my brothers and sisters in arms who have “been there, done that” to get involved and tell your neighbors your story. We have a perspective that others will never see, because God knows the news media has no intention of sharing the true story.
This is where I stand up to be heard. I am a retired US Navy Captain with 27 years of service, active and reserve. (For those who are unfamiliar with Navy ranks, a Captain is equal to a bird Colonel in the Army or Air Force.) I’ve been involved in operations across the Pacific, in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. There are those who have done and seen more than me, and those who have done less, but I hope that the stories and information I share will open some eyes and encourage the silent majority to stand up and take our country back.
I want to help you understand what Democrat Party leadership has done to our military in the past, how it has affected our current ability to take the fight to the enemy and what failure in the 2016 elections might mean, not just to our military but to all of us. In this discussion I want to walk you through just a few examples from my personal experience of the roller coaster that our military has endured under the past presidents I have served under. I began my career under Jimmy Carter and retired under Barrack Obama. Jimmy Carter- During Carter’s years our military forces were in abysmal condition. The Vietnam War was over, and most of America just didn’t give a damn. Carter epitomized that in his inability to make any improvements. Morale was low. Many of our destroyers were sold old and decrepit that the bottoms of the ships were actually rusted out. The bilges at the bottom of the ship were filled with concrete and oversized bilge pumps were installed so the water could be pumped out faster than it came in to keep the ship afloat.
Ronald Reagan – I could fill volumes with my praise for that man. Among many of his actions to restore America’s economic and military power was the 600 ship Navy. We never reached his goal. We reached 566 in 1988, but it was enough. The following is just one example of the difference between the new Reagan fleet and the rust bottom Carter fleet. This event was told to me by a friend who was on board one of the US ships. An aircraft carrier task force made up of our newer ships operating in the Indian Ocean wanted to lose the soviet eavesdropping ship that was shadowing them. The fleet was ordered to all ahead flank, and they simply steamed away from the Soviet who was struggling to keep up. Eventually they observed black smoke billowing from the stack of the Soviet ship and it went dead in the water. The next day a soviet ocean going tug was observed steaming towards the last known position of the crippled Soviet warship. This is just a small example of how Reagan used the industrial and military might of the US to simply run the Soviets into the ground.
George H. W. Bush – Bush continued building on the Reagan legacy. Bush drove Sadam Hussein out of Kuwait and decimated one of the world’s largest armies in a war that lasted 100 days with minimal casualties. Nuf said! After Reagan and Bush, no one on the planet wanted to mess with the US. Period! That would not last long.
Bill Clinton – With unrivalled shortsightedness (until the Obama regime) Bill Clinton, fueled by the greed of the masses, cashed in on the success of Reagan/Bush and literally destroyed the US Military to fund the “Peace Dividend”. I got the following statistics on force reduction from a Dallas Morning News article written after the US invaded Iraq in 2003 and before the media and Democrats decided to turn the war into political fodder. Bill Clinton destroyed more US warships than the US lost to combat in all previous wars combined. He destroyed more combat aircraft than we lost to combat in all previous wars combined. He eliminated more combat divisions than were lost in all previous wars combined. Bill Clinton also allowed the sale of highly classified missile guidance systems to the Chinese which allowed their ICBM program to leap forward by at least 10 years which now threatens stability in the entire Pacific region. Morale plunged under Clinton as we returned to the Carter era, and many left simply because they could not stomach calling him Commander in Chief. An example of the Clinton years: When an aircraft carrier deployed to patrol overseas, the aircraft squadrons brought with them the planes that would fly along with one extra plane that they would cannibalize for parts, because the Navy did not have spare parts for its planes. The squadrons that were not deployed kept the planes that would not fly. There were few if any flyable planes left for training of the squadrons that were not at sea.
George W. Bush – Bush inherited the Clinton mess and in less than 9 months we were in a shooting war. Bush rebuilt our military capability, while at war, with a population that suddenly wanted a strong military again but did not want to pay for it. The best example I have for this is the invasions of Iraq. When George H. W. Bush invaded Iraq in 1991 he had 18 combat divisions at his disposal. He used 11 for the invasion. When “W” invaded in 2003, there were only 12 combat divisions left in our entire Armed Forces. This information was from the same Dallas Morning News article noted previously. He could not just plow over the Iraqi’s like his father did. The military he had simply was not big enough. Thanks to the Clinton legacy, the second Iraq war took many years with many servicemen and women doing multiple tours of duty which as we know has taken its toll. Despite the challenges of the war, morale was high under Bush.
Barrack Obama – Now Barrack Obama wants to let our Navy drop to pre WWI levels in the midst of a shooting war. I have no words to describe how I feel about this. Just let me say that my Navy retirement certificate signed by Mr. Obama is still in its envelope collecting dust under a stack of stuff under an old desk in my office. Morale is as low or lower than under Clinton. Our fleet is aging, and our sailors are working tremendous hours to maintain the older ships. I have been told by some who have absolutely no understanding of military operations and war that we do not need such a big military anymore because our technology is so far advanced. Hogwash! If we have learned anything over the last 15 years, it is that to win a war we must occupy ground, especially when fighting a war against a terrorist army that has no problem operating out of caves. As the Russians and Chinese are busily rebuilding their Navies we continue a downward trend. Are we still the most powerful fleet on the planet? Yes for now, but will we be in 10 or 20 years? What happens if the Chinese and/or Russians eclipse us?
Let me close this portion of this report with some statistics that I have obtained from several professional military statistical sources that are readily accessible on line.
Size of US Navy
1916 – 245 Pre WWI
1940 – 385 Pre WWII build-up began
1945 – 6768 WWII peak
1970 – 847 Vietnam era
1980 – 538 Post Carter
1988 – 566 Reagan 600 ship Navy
1998 – 330 Post Clinton
2009 – 285 Post Bush*
2015 – 275 Obama**
* Bush did not completely stop the slide in the size of the fleet. In my opinion this was in part due to Sec of Defense Rumsfeld who was of the opinion that we could make up for size with technology and quality. This was only partially true, and a large percentage of the military force under Bush disagreed with Rumsfeld. Eventually Bush replaced Rumsfeld, but it was too late in the opinion of many. As with the Reagan fleet, we did however make significant strides in quality under “W” with a new emphasis on quality of life for the military and their families which had suffered dramatically under Clinton.
** The 275 number makes Obama look good compared to G. W. Bush, but here’s the rub. The 2009 quadrennial review which is a report produced by a group of military experts that is used to project the future needs of our Navy states that we need a fleet of 346 to meet the current and projected challenges for the U.S. The 2016 budget proposes a 30 year plan to reach 306 ships. That is 40 short, and the projection based on the rate of shipbuilding is that we will not reach 306 until near the end of that 30 years. For the first half of those 30 years, the fleet will continue to shrink because we are decommissioning ships faster than we are building them. Where we bottom out, we don’t know, but it will be notably less than 275. We can do better! 30 years to increase the fleet by 31 ships? Reagan increased it by 28 in 8 years. Let’s make it happen in 2016.