People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Warrior, American Style

I'm occasionally reminded why I would have made a lousy soldier. And why others, like Army Pfc. Stephen Tschiderer, E Troop, 101st “Saber” Cavalry Division, attached to 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, 256th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, make up the finest military organization the world has ever known.

News form ArmyTimes.com:
Soldier survives attack; captures, medically treats sniper

During a routine patrol in Baghdad June 2, Army Pfc. Stephen Tschiderer, a medic, was shot in the chest by an enemy sniper, hiding in a van just 75 yards away.

Tschiderer ... was knocked to the ground from the impact, but he popped right back up, took cover and located the enemy’s position.

After tracking down the now-wounded sniper with a team from B Company, 4th Battalion, 1st Iraqi Army Brigade, Tschiderer secured the terrorist with a pair of handcuffs and gave medical aid to the terrorist who’d tried to kill him just minutes before. (link)

He stops to give aid to an enemy who had just tried to kill him. Stephen Tschiderer - an army of one. If one has earned a place in heaven ...

Hattip to Matt Drudge.

The Hunter Home From The Hill

Is there a degree of solace to be found in learning the fate of one's son after 36 years of not knowing? Or does the news just reopen old, deep, agonizingly painful wounds? Henry and Anice Bobe of Russell Springs, KY could answer that for us.

News from the Louisville Courier-Journal:

After 36 years, parents know soldier's fate
Byron Crawford

If anything is worse than losing a child, Henry and Anice Bobe of Russell Springs have endured it over the past 36 years while their son was missing in Vietnam.

Now that Pfc. Raymond Edward Bobe's remains have been recovered, recently identified through DNA analysis and returned to Russell Springs for burial tomorrow, the Bobes have chosen to suffer quietly and privately yet another sad chapter in a saga that began in March 1969.

Larry Greer, a spokesman for the Pentagon's POW-MIA office, said that Pfc. Bobe, who posthumously was promoted to sergeant first class, was one of five soldiers -- three passengers and two crewmen -- aboard the ill-fated U-21A, an eight- to 10-passenger military version of the Beech Queen aircraft that the Army used primarily for VIP and commuter flights.

Contact with the aircraft was lost as it neared its destination.

"The search-and-rescue guys searched for this plane for eight days and could not find them, and then they continued to monitor electronically for emergency signals for much longer than that," Greer said.

Bobe is to be given full military honors during a graveside service at the Lucenda Cemetery in Russell Springs at 10 a.m. CDT tomorrow.

His remains are among those of 756 former missing in action from the Vietnam War that the Pentagon says have been found, identified and returned to their families. An additional 1,827 MIAs are still unaccounted for in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. (

For all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: "It might have been."
John Greenleaf Whittier, "Maud Muller," 1854.

Fond Memories

I never met Kim Woo-choong. But I feel like I know him well. That's why this brings back a flood of memories.

Founder of Collapsed South Korean Conglomerate Daewoo Hospitalized
The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - The former chairman of collapsed South Korean conglomerate Daewoo Group was hospitalized with a life-threatening heart ailment Friday, casting a shadow over a multi-billion dollar fraud investigation.

Kim Woo-choong was admitted to Seoul's Severance Hospital in (sic) was in serious condition, said hospital spokeswoman Park Doo-hyuk. (link)
I had the good fortune of working side-by-side for a few years with executives at the now-defunct Daewoo Automotive Group (Daewoo U.S.), before the parent company collapsed under the weight of its staggering debt.

(Interestingly, this article throws out a debt figure of $70 billion. When I was travelling regularly to Compton, CA to meet with my Daewoo counterparts in 1998 and 1999, I remember reading, in the Wall Street Journal, articles that pegged Daewoo Group's debt at $20 billion. Then $30 billion. The last report I read estimated the company's debt at $50 billion. With the profligate spending that I was witness to, I knew the ever-accelerating race to insolvency was a fast-approaching matter of time.)

Despite the regret that I still feel for those who were thrown out of work by the company's collapse, I have nothing but fond memories of my Daewoo experience. And of those with whom I worked.

What was particularly interesting about Kim Woo-choong and the many executives that would show up in Compton for routine updates on the progress of their company's U.S. entry into the highly competitive sub-compact car market, was the extraordinary deference that was paid these people. I could use the word godlike (OK, apostlelike) in describing the way they were viewed by the employees and it would not be too much of an exaggeration.

When a corporate executive came near, everyone around me bowed (No. I didn't. I bow only to my wife.). There was only fleeting eye contact on the part of those I was with, especially if an executive chose to speak directly to one of them. It wasn't out of fear so much as a profound respect for the position that executive held within the company.

And the stories about Kim Woo-choong were legion. His work ethic. His wrath. His power. Many of the stories were recounted to me over dinner or mixed drinks in bars and restaurants in Torrance, Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes, and aboard the Queen Mary down in Long Beach Harbor. Stories related in hushed tones almost. With an occasional sideways glance that ensured the storyteller that Kim Woo-choong wouldn't find out that he was the topic of casual conversation.

I remember too that every Korean working at Daewoo smoked cigarettes. Every one. Non-stop. Which was understandable, considering the fact that employees there had no life. An 80 hour workweek was the norm (oddly, workers at their headquarters were expected to be there at all hours but it wasn't unusual to walk past someone's office and see the occupant sleeping).

I took all this in with a great deal of fascination. I had, at the time, a number of opportunities to fly to Seoul to inspect facilities there but I never set aside the time (and I hear they serve dog in restaurants there; the un-hot kind; I can't say for sure). In any case, I wish now I had taken that time.

So, I hope Mr. Kim gets well soon. I hope too that all those wonderful friends I got to know at Daewoo U.S. have prospered.

And have given up their god-awful Korean cigarettes.

Today's Wisdom

Decadence is defined not by a civilization's art or music but ultimately by its willingness to simply defend itself.

Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, July 15, 2005 (link)

They're Hopeless

While the American people are becoming ever more uneasy about the prospects of a terrorist walking across our porous southern border with a suitcased nuclear weapon, our elected representatives reject public opinion and refuse to act.

Here's today's aggravating news in the Washington Times:
Senate Shuns Attempt To Add Agents
By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times

The Senate voted yesterday against fulfilling its pledge from last year to hire 2,000 more Border Patrol agents and fund 8,000 new detention beds for illegal aliens in fiscal 2006, as some potential presidential candidates weighed in on border security and illegal immigration.

The intelligence overhaul bill that Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in December called for 2,000 new agents and 8,000 new detention beds every year for the next five years in order to meet a threat posed by illegal aliens.

Yesterday's votes were on amendments to the Department of Homeland Security spending bill, which funds only 1,000 more agents and 2,240 more detention beds in fiscal 2006. (link)
It appears that a number of Senators thought it sufficient to simply promise to add border agents, rather than to actually do something to stem the tide and to strengthen our borders.

These people are hopeless.

Throw the bums out.