“Build WALL through M!” – TTG


"(20 July 2012) By RUSTY DENNEN – THE FREE LANCE-STAR   Civil War soldiers in Union blue transformed the Stafford County landscape nearly 150 years ago during their yearlong stay—cutting trees and roads and setting up vast camps, a harbor and fortifications.

This week, troops in Army green were at work at a 41-acre site where some of their Civil War counterparts once stayed. Due largely to those efforts, the area’s newest Civil War park could open as early as this fall on the rolling swath of woodland off Mount Hope Church Road. About 80 soldiers with the Powhatan-based 180th Engineer Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 91st Troop Command are clearing trees and brush and building roads in a two-week project that began Sunday. The Guard and a local nonprofit, Friends of Stafford County Civil War Sites, which is overseeing the project, on Thursday showed progress at the tract to county officials and Bill Howell, speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates.

Much of the effort was focused on Howard Avenue, one of the park’s new internal roads. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard commanded the mostly German troops who served here. His 11th Corps soldiers were among 135,000 Union troops who regrouped in Stafford after the December 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg.

“We’re combat construction, anything to do with roads, clearing brush, ditching,” said Capt. Jesse Kopczynski of the 180th Engineer Company. “The main focus is to train our guys for their combat mission.” The troops get valuable experience on heavy equipment in a real-world setting, “and we’re doing something for the community,” he said. The National Guard is doing the work—at no cost to the county or FSCWS—under its Innovative Readiness Training program. IRT allows soldiers to work on worthy civilian projects approved by the National Guard Bureau.

The 203rd Red Horse Squadron of the Virginia Air National Guard, based in Virginia Beach, will pave the roads and shoulders once the engineers finish work later this month." Read the rest of the article here.


I resurrected this old story about how our Stafford Civil War park was constructed to show how Trump’s “Build WALL through M!” could be implemented. This goes beyond the idea of just letting the Corps of Engineers oversee the project. He could run with the idea that securing our southern border is a matter of national defense and go beyond a massive Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) program for the National Guard and Reserve engineering units. Imagine a well resourced III Corps with the manpower of several combat brigades and engineering brigades (if those even exist) managing a nationwide IRT program. In our military’s past, soldiers often constructed roads and forts as a normal part of their mission. It would require a modification in the MTOE of the combat brigades, but that’s done all the time. It would also require a change in today’s attitude from warrior back to soldier, a change I think is long overdue. And I’d rather see our troops spending our wealth (or debt) here that spending it on overseas military adventures. 


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49 Responses to “Build WALL through M!” – TTG

  1. Fred says:

    He can add on to that by a call for “volunteers” just like Lincoln did. He should start in the inner city and call it a ACC style summer job’s program for underprivileged youth. It’s a great way to double down on the left.

  2. blue peacock says:

    I’d rather see our troops spending our wealth (or debt) here that spending it on overseas military adventures.

    Bravo! Very good idea.
    Overseas military adventures have not done us any good in recent decades. Maybe time to give it a break.

  3. Amir says:

    Caveat: I have zero military experience
    Do you think, in similarity with the Anti-gun Children’s Crusade, we need a program to push for a national citizen’s army first?
    I presume that a professional army, whose linen and mess hall (to name two examples from KBR experience in Iraq) and now intelligence (at least part of it, via Betsy Devos’ brother Eric Prince) is taken care of by private contractors, is not economically efficient for infrastructure work.

  4. Amir,
    A national citizen’s army is just a universal draft. I doubt we’ll ever go back to that, although I like the idea of some kind of universal service. If I had my way, the military would get away from the employment of contractors except when absolutely necessary. Bring back company mess teams and motor pools. That’s where being a soldier is far different from being a warrior. I despise that cheese-assed designation.

  5. turcopolier says:

    TTG et al
    Unniversal national service has been a political idea all my life. Nobody ever took it seriously and they will not in the future. pl

  6. Fred says:

    The non-profit corporation that enabled the Parade of Democrats in D.C. is called the March for Our Lives Fund and is incorporated as a 501(c)(4). The March for Our Lives permit application was filed by Deena Katz, a co-executive director of the Women’s March Los Angeles Foundation. Ms. Katz is a producer in Hollywood. Who is providing PR? 42 West, a PR firm operating out of LA and NYC.
    How did 4 trauma surviving teenagers manage to coordinate all that organization? Not with help from KBR, Betsy Devos or Eric Prince. Not with help from anybody, actually, as they are just players on the stage. Mid-terms are coming and the left has to keep the base energized. You know who did coordinate it? The usual NYC/Chicago/Hollywood/DNC left.

  7. The civil construction companies and their lobbyists are not going to accept losing the lucrative government contracts for building the Wall.
    Universal National Service. “An extension of the family.” “You have a bigger family than you imagined”
    Why not?
    What we have now is not working.

  8. ambrit says:

    The local Guard built a plain sports fields complex for the Catholic Schools here recently. A lot of earth moving, grading, street building, etc. Even the Lobsterback Baptists hereabouts had nothing but good things to say about the project.
    Besides the obvious good will such a project bought the Guard, a second subtler point was driven home. The military can have a local, positive face. Quite a good counter argument to the antis. To appropriate an old phrase: “Your tax dollars at work.”
    It all reminds me of the old Roman Legionnaires. As they proceeded into the wilds, they built the roads upon which Civilization proceeded in their wake. Short version; if the ‘civilian’ enterprises don’t want to do something that improves the public weal, then let the Army do it. The Army is, after all, an arm of the government, which is supposed to be serving the nation.
    Thanks for your indulgence. Rant over.

  9. turcopolier says:

    wised up early CEO
    Ahem! The Army COE unis whether in the Regular Army or the reserve components have nothing like the construction capability to build anything like this It is one thing to build a park somewhere and quite another thing to undertake a massive construction job like this. The COE is the civil engineering agency of the US government. Its proper role in this would be to supervise and guide the project as part of their civil works program. In that program they built much of the US’s infrastructure, ports, roads, dams, etc, But whether Army engineer troops or COE run civil contracts were used this re-programming of funds and/or employment of troops would require congressional approval. pl

  10. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    TTG et al,
    The idea of restoring mess service, motor pools, and their ilk to a core competency of actual military personnel as opposed to “contractors” sounds like a idea whose usefulness never actually went away. Augmenting this with an expanded emphasis on engineering, construction, and civil engineering in general seems also to be a good idea. Hey, it was good enough for the Roman armies to build roads, and engage in civil engineering projects, and look how well that worked out for them. Now, the terms of enlistments for legionnaires were pretty long, but once they got out of the army, beside their strictly military training, they had become more purpose-useful citizens of Rome when it came to establishing new communities (or finding a role in existing communities) through their training in engineering, construction, and various no doubt associated trades. Why should today’s citizens wishing to learn such skills – in a real world context – not have this option available to them rather than just through for-profit, tuition-extracting “schools” (often in reality scams designed to harvest government scholarship monies while neglecting to equip their participants with usable skills that lead to a career)? Cut out the grifters between skill acquisition and social goods. Oh, and imparting the idea that there are other paths to careers than through “credentialing” via the SJW-indoctrination centers known as colleges and universities perhaps? Good idea to know by way of counterpoint, I’d submit.
    I would also support the re-invigoration of non-military organizations such as the WPA or the Conservation Corps who did such a great job in employing young men and women at loose ends, equipping them with skills, and perhaps most importantly of all, giving them the gift of focus, accountability for responsibility, self-discipline, and self-respect, all wrapped up in a sense of civic mindedness broadly defined. If that’s “Socialism”, I’d be willing to take a chance on it on grounds of cost-effectiveness alone.
    Spend money on the citizens while also paying those citizens: to do works of use to our communities; to instill a knowledge of the value and way toward actualizing all of the aforementioned social goods in the hearts and minds of those who do the work; to provide an example of what Making America Great Again actually means on an individual and a community level. Hint…it does not consist in the continuation of neoliberal concentration of resources and property into the hands of a vanishingly small group of trans-national “elites”. Just sayin’, in case Donald Trump is even listening anymore.
    Of course, you’d be sailing into the eye of a hurricane to bring this into being given the inevitable screeching and moaning of those deprived of their money-sucking scams if anything like this took form. But should there be a real economic collapse such as the Great Depression, maybe there would be found a way. Otherwise, revolution and anarchy may be unleashed.

  11. scott s. says:

    I could maybe see deploying Engineer Brigade or SeaBee Regiment using “training” O&M funds, but it seems like a heavy lift to build anything like a wall without specific MILCON appropriations or a Congressional reprogramming action. Plus the private sector typically isn’t quiet about military doing civil works projects that normally would be contracted out by the USACE district engineer or a NAVFAC.
    Since the real or perceived failures of enlisting/mobilizing “volunteers” for service in the Spanish-American War, army organization went through massive changes initiated by SecWar Elihu Root and various officers, culminating in the National Defense Act of 1916 and the concept of the Army of the United States comprising all of the active, guard, and reserve components. AUS in practice appears to have been used for wartime units and troops drafted for them.

  12. catherine says:

    ”I’d rather see our troops spending our wealth (or debt) here that spending it on overseas military adventures”
    AGREE !
    I also think Universal national service is a good idea.

  13. Fellow Traveler says:

    A friend and I were trying to think of ways to pay for a wall. After much drinking, he had one idea I couldn’t debunk: just build a wall with Casinos in every major border town. Have slot machine odds set to award one green card a day. Big red, white and blue door, flashing white stars, bells, marching band once every night – it would make a great reality show for Trump’s retirement.

  14. Sasha S says:

    Since you are tlaking about Virginia local issues, I would want to ask the folks here, what is your input on “Dick” Black….I just saw an article by him on Syria, but went to find out some information about him and got with the impression of him being a “colourful” character…

  15. Sasha S,
    Dick Black is a colorful character. He served a full career as a Marine helicopter aviator and forward air controller and as an Army JAG officer. His views are strongly held and consistent. I certainly don’t agree with all his views, but I find his open appreciation for Assad in saving the Christian communities in Syria reasonable.

  16. Imagine says:

    I would like to see Puerto Rico rebuilt.

  17. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You did not do anything like that as a young woman, almost certainly spending your days playing with hormone-crazed young men, being a woman. Why do you want to foist this type of structured life on the young people?

  18. egl says:

    Mexico pays for the wall, and our soldiers get training. What’s not to like?

  19. Brendan Doran says:

    I support the Wall and hope the Military does build it.
    This statement “It would also require a change in today’s attitude from warrior back to soldier, a change I think is long overdue.”
    That is an odd statement if one respects warriors or soldiers.
    Then again you are a southern officer and graduate of VMI.
    One can only expect so much from a man.

  20. TonyL says:

    Col and TTG,
    I’d raise a glass to both of you for Unniversal National service.

  21. catherine says:

    ”You did not do anything like that as a young woman
    almost certainly spending your days playing with hormone-crazed young men, being a woman”
    Wow!..I didn’t spend ALL or even half my days with hormone crazed young men….lol. From college graduation to marriage 3 years later I had a regular job, got my pilots license at 22 (because my boy friend and future husband was also getting his license)and was a volunteer instructor at a equestrian camp for kids.
    I think 2 years in a service would be good for young people…teach them some self discipline and sense of responsibility.
    Women do have interest aside from men, just like men have interest in things besides women.

  22. Imagine,
    Amen to that. There is plenty of blame to go around as to why Puerto Rico is now in such a sorry state beyond the storms, but this is a good case for political reform, legislative and regulatory relief coupled with good old fashioned rebuilding of the infrastructure.

  23. egl,
    Vincente Fox has made it clear many times. “Mexico will not pay for the fucken wall.”

  24. Brendan Doran,
    Those are my words, the twisted genius AKA TTG. Colonel Lang speaks for himself. I never liked the push to refer to soldiers, sailors, marines or airmen as warriors. It paints us all as a bunch of preening prima donnas who can no longer dig our own latrines, clean our own mess kits or repair our own engines. Unless you’re facing your foe eye to eye with edged weapons on a regular basis, you’re not a warrior.

  25. Green Zone Café says:

    Good idea. No reasons these units could not do it, and it’s beneficial training.
    Just as an aside, one segment of concrete “T (for Texas)-wall” supplied by KBR subcontractors in Iraq was $1100.

  26. JW says:

    As a former Soldier I also think the change is long overdue, and do not regard it as an odd statement. I have always slightly cringed at the word ‘warrior’.
    I never went into battle riding a horse, swinging a sword and wearing chain mail shorts, and I believe that the use of the word came from some very neatly attired public relations guru.
    Perhaps it would put your mind at ease if you read more of the archival material on this site.

  27. Illegal southern border crossings have been declining in number for almost 20 years.
    A “big beautiful” wall is fear-based politics, not a necessity.
    Wait until Trump’s NAFTA shenanigans prompt Mexico to join the Chinese trade pact. Then after that, the Mexicans will get faster and cheaper internet & cable than there is in the US.
    Then, Mexico will build the wall and pay for it, to keep the northern gringoes OUT.

  28. Sasha S says:

    blockquote><"....but I find his open appreciation for Assad in saving the Christian communities in Syria reasonable..." Indeed, that was the only thing I found reasonable from him, although I wonder whether his support for Assad comes only out of the latter´s effort in protecting Christians, amongst a largest effort in protecting the whole Syrian mosaic of confessions…. For instance, I found his ideas on raping quite weird, for not to say questionable, be it at the army, be it at a married couple´s home….

  29. Eric Newhill says:

    Lee A Arnold,
    The economic cost of 9/11 is estimated at over $3 trillion. That includes the resulting wars, but hey, when some group(s) attacks your homeland and kill 3,000 citizens and destroys some big highly symbolic buildings and attempts to wipe out your government in a single blow, you kind of need to do some kind of major response.
    All sorts of foreign nationals, from far away as Pakistan, come across the southern border. It’s not just Mexicans and MS 13 types from Central America. Some of the governments down there are now partnered with terrorist groups in the MENA in the drug trade. It’s not so difficult to imagine them assisting terrorists to come up into the US.
    There are other significant costs – tangible, intangible and shadow – associated with illegal immigrants. The cost of the wall is nothing compared to the cost/risk of not having one.
    Just about every other country in the world has a wall and the walls are usually under the purview of the military because the walls are, correctly, deemed to be an important aspect of national defense and security.
    By all means, order the military to build the wall. They’re on Uncle Sam’s payroll already and they work cheap; probably as cheap or less so than even illegal immigrants.

  30. Eric Newhill says:

    Vicente Fox’s macho posturing aside, Mexico is paying for the wall one way or another. Even if that means reduced illegals in the US sending American $s back to Mexico – about $23 billion/yr.
    Mexico very much relies on that infusion of US greenbacks into their crumby economy.

  31. Bill H says:

    Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. I know you know it. Only those who had completed a tour of national service entitled to vote. The professor asks why the system is used and answers himself, “Because it works.” He then mocks the insanity of “an earlier age” when everyone alive was entitled to vote. “Can you imaging anything so silly?”
    I don’t know about his point, but the system we are currently using certainly does not seem to be working all that well.

  32. Bill H says:

    and wisedupearly CEO
    Maybe the Navy CB’s (SeaBees). Are they still around?

  33. Eric Newhill,
    If you want to prevent attacks like 9/11 from foreigners, you must shut down all air and sea ports of entry. We would have to implement our own form of Sakoku policy and make America for Americans only. Become a closed country. I think most Americans would tire of that very quickly.
    The big, beautiful border wall serves as a symbol for controlling our borders, including our air and sea ports of entry. A wall on the envisioned scale is wasteful and mostly ineffective, but it is a powerful and tangible symbol. A more effective way of controlling illegal immigration including visa overstays is to prosecute employers who employ illegal workers and shut down their businesses. If that enforcement policy was fully implemented, I think most Americans would also tire of that very quickly.
    Shutting down those industries would also deprive the illegals of money to send back to their families. It’s a pure cut off your nose to spite your face move, but it would give the deplorables a warm feeling in their hearts… until they go to the grocery store.

  34. You think a wall can prevent another 9/11? If you erect a wall, wouldn’t terrorists find another way in?Did any of the 9/11 attackers come over the southern border? What are the other significant costs – tangible, intangible and shadow – associated with illegal immigrants? Presidents Bush & Obama beefed-up border security and sought a citizenship deal for the illegals already here. Why not just make the ones who are here legal, so they can pay taxes when they work hard, they are not afraid of their own status when they want to notify police of MS 13 activity? Republicans in Congress do not want a border-security-for-path-to-citizenship deal, because they want the campaign issue. They want fear of terrorism and anger at job-loss to whoop up their voters. This is a big waste of time and money.

  35. All,
    A big, beautiful, 30 foot tall wall from sea to shining sea is an impractical and wasteful idea. However, I do think using the military to improve the barrier system along that border is a good idea. This system can take into account the realities of the terrain and ecological factors such as animal migrations. Another point to remember is that any barrier or obstacle needs to be kept under observation to be effective. An unwatched wall, no matter how big and beautiful it is, will not be effective. And Bill H, of course the SeaBees should be involved in this.

  36. Eric Newhill says:

    TTG and Lee Arnold,
    Sorry, but I find some of your arguments to be spurious. Just because the 9/11 jihadis didn’t come across the Southern border doesn’t mean that next time they won’t. I say again that foreign nationals from all over the world are being picked up crossing the border.
    Visa overstays are a problem. We can stop that and have a wall. At least with the visa problem we have some idea who is in the country. With the illegal border crossings, we have no idea.
    I am one of the few people offering commentary on the problem at the Southern border that has actually witnessed and lived the situation. I have seen all kinds of people sneaking across – some within 100 yards of official crossing, through big holes in the broken cheap fence. I have found the packs of drugs, found the dead bodies in varying states of decomposition, been shot at by narco-trafficantes.
    I recall when surveillance blimps were put up over the AZ/Mexico border – saw them myself) and the narcos shot them down within a few weeks (rumored with assistance from the Mexican govt).
    Are people aware that there are large swaths of land – federal land/our country – where civilians are not allowed to go because it’s too dangerous due to illegal crossings? Think about that for a minute.
    I guess for some SJW sitting in Boston or somewhere similar, this all just an abstraction.
    Obviously “the wall” is a symbol. Build an actual wall – using the military – along those sectors where crossings are viable. I’m sure the military has all kinds of surveillance gizmos that will help monitor activity. Other sectors don’t need a wall because the terrain and climate will kill anyone trying to get across, but some military surveillance along likely exit routes from those sectors should be established.

  37. Fred says:

    Another anti-American rant. If it is such a cess-pit of evil “White culture” why are all those immigrants coming here rather than staying home? The socialist paradise of Venezuala isn’t attracting too many immigrants these days, can’t be the “White culture”. I wonder what it might be? BTW how are things in the land of open borders and equal opportunity: Taiwan?

  38. Eric Newhill says:

    I actually think the correct solution, involving the military, is to invade Mexico, kill all the narcos (no ROIs) and replace the government (a bit of redundancy). Make Mexico a US protectorate, but rule it like Romans.

  39. Eric Newhill says:

    meant to say “No ROEs”

  40. I’m not arguing for no security. There are lots of ways to increase border security that allows capture of foreign nationals, and which may allow exploitation of them for counter-terror purposes. This is better than not knowing about them behind a wall. The problem I see with Trump’s “big beautiful wall” is that there will always be more attacks anyway, so the wall is always going to get longer without 100% results. Anyone who’s been following the terrorist news since the late 1990’s knows that efforts and resources must be deployed much closer to the source of these problems. Retracting into ourselves until the rest of the world gets its act together will never, ever work. I don’t think that means invading another country. We can manage imperfect agreements like the JCPOA while keeping allies on board to deal with the inevitable breaches later. It’s a long and subtle and frustrating game and that’s why the likes of Trump can’t do it. His disgusting “Mexican rapists and murderers” rhetoric was as insulting as the wall. The Mexicans are a great and friendly people, we should be helping each other and creating a spirit of neighborliness. That will have security payoffs too.
    P.S. “Just because the 9/11 jihadis didn’t come across the Southern border doesn’t mean that next time they won’t,” is ITSELF a spurious argument.

  41. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Killing all narcos while doing nothing against North Americans’s voracious apetite for drugs is just plain nuts.

  42. Eric Newhill says:

    Lee Arnold, “The Mexicans are a great and friendly people, we should be helping each other and creating a spirit of neighborliness. That will have security payoffs too.”
    Yeah. Sure. Go spend a week in Jaurez. Come back and tell me how wonderful it is (if you’re still alive). For that matter, go hang out in Compton or South Tucson for a week. You’re indulging in a Pollyannaish construction of reality.
    You’re right. We should just throw up our hands and surrender to violent gangs that are committing atrocities at a rate, and with a grotesque creativity, that would make ISIS proud. Meanwhile, people in Colorado are getting high and there are no chopped heads with cartel neckties.

  43. steve says:

    So you would also advocate for a northern wall since you view this as a security issue? Walls on the coasts also?

  44. Eric Newhill says:

    You do the best you can. The Coast Guard and Customs watches entries from the sea. Canada is allegedly a more stable, less corrupt, country than Mexico.
    Some people here are in serious denial about what a s—hole Mexico really is.

  45. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I am suggesting that it is manly to admit one’s own responsibility before indulging in acts of violence against foreigners. It certainly did not work very well in Afghanistan, this killing of the Manichean bad actors, dit it now?

  46. I worked alongside lots of Mexicans in Los Angeles. A great people. I don’t even speak Spanish. I had the best burrito I’ve ever had in Compton.

  47. Valissa says:

    Eric @42
    In November of 2011 my husband and I went to Cabo San Lucas for 5 days as part of a company thank you to sales people and the technical engineers that supported them, such as my huband. I remember standing in a security line at the local airport and chatting with people. While talking with a young prosperous Mexican couple I mentioned that I had gone a road trip in Mexico in 1983 with my then boyfriend. We flew into Mexico City, rented a car and stayed there for a few days before driving through the countryside staying at various small charming cities. My favorite was Pátzcuaro in Michoacán but I also enjoyed Playa Azul.
    We ended our trip in Acapulco and it was on the stretch from Playa Azul to Acapulco that we had our only scary experience. There was a road block with many young soldiers with machine guns which pulled over the occasional car, our guess was looking for drugs. We were waived through.
    That young and friendly Mexican couple that I spoke with looked at me wide-eyed in a bit of shock and said “you can’t do that any more in our country.”
    Back when I subscribed to STARTFOR they had numerous article about how the gangs and warlords basically owned many large swaths of land outside the urban and developed areas (esp. in northern Mexico). The government was not able to do much about it, despite help from the US.
    While I am not in favor of a full length Hadrian’s Wall or Great Wall of China approach, I do see a role for drones and selective electrified fencing as well as walled or fenced areas where that makes the most sense. In other words, some type of hybrid approach to managing the border. Any porous border is dangerous in the times we live in today.

  48. Philippe T. says:

    Call it Maginot Line…

  49. Eric Newhill says:

    I spent some time here and there in Mexico back in the 80s. The country has changed very much for the worse in the past 30 years. And it’s getting worse.
    But I’m sure Lee Arnold could travel freely there, eating delicious burritos all the while and, according to Babak, it’s America’s fault because we’re all drug addicts. So we should just allow chaos to prevail all over the US.

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