Category Archives: Kit Bashing

“Shit’s bleak….” “I’m just getting out of this before I’m forced out!”: U.S. retail/banking/service sector collapse, July 2017

Incomplete list of U.S. retail/banking/service sector job loss announcements and shutdowns made or announced in July 2017:

Arkansas: Christian founded Bentonville based Walmart suddenly laid off an undisclosed number of HQ employees in the name of “creating efficiencies”.  In Keo, after 50 years Morris Antiques announced on Facebook they shutdown.

 California:  In Fresno, mini-golf joint Boomers shutdown because “We lost our lease”.  In Newport Beach, after seven decades Bay Arcade shutdown by new owners who’re spending millions to turn it into a donut shop.  San Francisco based Too Big to Jail Wells Fargo laying off 70 executives as part of a bigger plan to eliminate thousands of jobs across the U.S.  Too Big to Jail Bank of America shutting down its offices in Lakeport and Ukiah in November.  In San Ramon, Bank of the West eliminating 54 jobs by mid-September.  San Francisco based clothier Gymboree announced the shutdown of 350 stores across the U.S., thousands of jobs lost, click here to see the list.  Vernon based True Religion Apparel now chapter 11 bankrupt busted blaming crashing sales, at least 27 stores across the U.S. shutting down.  Clothier BCBG Max Azria issued a mass layoff WARN for its Vernon ops, 492 jobs gone by September (don’t blame the internet, they offer free shipping on their website)!    Interviewing Service of America issued a shutdown WARN for its Alhambra ops, 66 jobs gone by mid-September.  The Ritz-Carlton shutting down its location in Half Moon Bay by mid-September.  Build-A-Bear Workshop issued a shutdown WARN for its Anaheim location, 99 jobs gone by mid-September.   Ebisu Marketing-Hotei Marketing issued a shutdown WARN for its Los Angeles operations, 116 jobs gone by September!   Sports marketing company Competitor Group couldn’t compete and issued a shutdown WARN for its San Diego ops, 145 jobs gone in November!

Colorado: In Sterling, JCPenney shutdown its store in the High Plains Shopping Center.  Payless Shoesource also shutdown a store in Sterling, along with two other Payless stores across the state.

Connecticut: In Unionville, after 143 years (!) Parsons Paint & Hardware shutdown, the family owners blaming it on “hardware burnout”.  British empire based Too Big to Jail RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) issued yet another layoff WARN, this time 23 jobs gone in September.

Florida:   More than 80 years old formal wear retailer Alfred Angelo went chapter 11 bankrupt busted and shutdown all its stores across the U.S. without warning, pissing off thousands of customers waiting for paid orders to be filled!  In Daytona Beach, after 59 years the last local bowling alley Bellair Lanes shutdown.  PHH Mortgage Corporation eliminating 15 jobs in Jacksonville by October.  British empire based Too Big to Jail HSBC issued a shutdown WARN for its ops in Brandon, 197 people laid off on top of the 357 laid off in April!  Outdoors store Gander Mountain eliminating 119 jobs by the end of August!

Hawaii: In Pearl City, Pictures Plus Interiors shutting down in August.

No more "well loved by customers" pawn shop on Yellowstone Avenue, Pocatello, Idaho.

No more “well loved by customers” pawn shop on Yellowstone Avenue, Pocatello, Idaho.

Idaho: It was discovered that 50 years old, ‘well loved by customers’ (according to Facebook postings) Shamrock Rare Coins (aka Amy’s Shamrock Coins) pawn shop secretly shutdown, even the official website is offline.   Mitt Romney co-founded wunderkind Staples announced it will shutdown its Pocatello store in August, falsely blaming “customers” for shopping online.

Illinois: What housing market recovery?  In Bridgeview, after 40 years Advantage Carpets Plus Colortile shutdown, the owner says he is only semi-retiring because his wife doesn’t want him to fully retire.  In Chicago, after more than ten years Permanent Records shutting down so the owners can focus on their newer operations in California.  Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino laid off 20 people due to crashing revenue.  In Hinsdale, after 53 years York Barber Shop shutdown, the owners complained “There’s too much competition. It used to be there were barbershops and beauty shops and that was it. There weren’t all these unisex places.”  

Iowa: In Waterloo, after 104 years (!) Robin’s Surplus shutting down in September: “….we’ve been gradually decreasing in business over the last 10 years. We’ve noticed the decline, based on internet sales. I even polled my kids and asked where the bought all the Christmas stuff and the bought it on the internet.”-Gary Ritter, co-owner

Kansas: In Parsons, after four decades Sullivan Furniture shutdown due to family health problems.  After only two years in the Wichita Mall clothing store Foggy Bottom shutdown, no reason given.

Louisiana: In Lafayette, after 15 years flower shop The Gardenaire shutdown, the owners will focus on wholesale saying “We just can’t compete….People don’t come in like they used to. It’s just changing times.” 

Maryland: Laurel based Rent-A-Wreck of America now chapter 11 bankrupt busted, blaming it on a never ending lawsuit with the company’s founder.  In Hagerstown, Bon-Ton shutting down when the lease expires, 55 jobs lost by February 2018.  After 32 years non-profit arts & crafts operation Baltimore Clayworks went chapter 7 bankrupt and shutdown after a deal to sell the financially struggling operation fell through. In Havre de Grace, Stirling Bridge Jewelry and Gifts shutting down, saying on Facebook “For a variety of reasons, foremost being the rapid decline of business in downtown Havre de Grace and the mass exit of numerous other businesses during this last year, Stirling Bridge Jewelry & Gifts will be relocating to Delaware….”  First Potomac Realty Trust issued WARNs for two locations, 72 jobs gone by October.

Massachusetts: Boston based Too Big to Jail Fidelity Investments continues killing jobs, this time hundreds of employees were suddenly laid off!  It was also reported that Fidelity Investments  bribed (buyouts) 1-thousand-5-hundred employees to quit! Boston based shoe and clothing retailer Nader-The Tannery now chapter 7 bankrupt busted.

Michigan: In Detroit, after 124 years (!) the country’s oldest hat retailer Henry the Hatter shutting down due to a greedy landlord.

Minnesota: In Red Wing, after 27 years Al’s Antique Mall shutdown, the owner saying “The whole customer has changed and it’s a new generation. What you once thought was rare is now on ebay.”  In Granite Falls, after 38 years Willie’s Corner Store shutting down in August because nobody wanted to buy it: “This was very disappointing to think that no one wants to continue what you have been doing for years to keep Willies alive.”-Penny Krogstad, co-owner

Montana: In Great Falls, after more than 25 years Hobby Land shutdown, the owner said she was ready to retire.

Nebraska: In Lincoln, Bishop Heights True Value hardware store shutting down, saying on Facebook the store “just (does) not have the sales we need to continue operating.” 

New Hampshire: In Dover, after only four years, and even moving to a newer location with cheaper rent/utilities, Spun Records shutting down in August due to lack of sales.  I guess all that main stream news media (fake news) hype about records making a comeback was just hype.

New Mexico: In Albuquerque, after 34 years Grandma’s Music and Sound shutdown, the owners told local news media the risks of retail now outweigh the rewards.

New York: At JFK Airport, Command Security lost its contract with FedEx, 46 jobs gone by the end of August.   Also at JFK, DAL Global lost its contract with Virgin Airways, 49 jobs gone by the end of October.  Courtyard by Marriott LaGuardia Hotel shutting down, 144 jobs gone by October!  Commercial bank contractor Gannett National Shared Services eliminating 31 jobs by the end of October.  Conduent Business Services eliminating 59 jobs by the end of September.  In Brooklyn-NYC, after more than seven years hangout joint The Rock Shop shutdown, the manager saying “Rent’s too high, taxes are too high. Too much development happening on Fourth Avenue!”  In Rochester, after 29 years Lakeshore Record Exchange shutting down in September, the owner says more people listen to music than ever before, just not in the format he sells.  Sports venue Yard Sports Village-Warwick Yard now chapter 11 bankrupt busted.  In Buffalo, after 25 years clothier Urban Leisure and Luxury shutting down by the end of August because the owners want out of the retail industry.  In Pearl River, after more than 60 years Mel’s Army-Navy Center shutdown due to the owner not finding a buyer: “People don’t want to get into the retail industry anymore. The store was doing fine, but no one was really looking to take it over.”-Chris Frawley, owner

North Carolina: High Point based Dynamic International Airways now chapter 11 bankrupt busted due to lawsuits.  Non-profit animal rescue op Duke’s Animal Haven shutdown “Due to circumstances beyond our control…….effective immediately.”   In Chapel Hill, DSI Comedy Theater shutting down by the end of August, due to the owner being accused (but never charged) of sex crimes.  In Washington, after four years The Blue Crab Monograms and Gifts shutdown because the owner got a job as a high school teacher.

Ohio:  In Painesville, after 23 years Grande Designs Floral shutdown officially so the owner can retire, but local news media discovered the store, and inventory, is now “bank owned” and for sale.  In Kettering, after 39 years clothing store Elan shutdown due to family health problems.  In Fostoria, after 25 years Steinacker & Sons Ace Hardware shutdown, the owners lamenting “Unfortunately, we just couldn’t keep it going.”

Oregon: In Portland, after 15 years Newspace Center for Photography suddenly shutdown due to the discovery that the non-profit art gallery was broke!  After five years the Action/Adventure Theatre shutdown saying “It’s become increasingly difficult for small arts spaces like ours to survive in Portland and while we are heartbroken that this city has to lose yet another venue, we can no longer shoulder the financial burden of maintaining our theater.”  A writer for The Portland Mercury reacted to the sudden shutdowns of two art venues by saying “Shit’s bleak, you guys.” 

Pennsylvania: Stauffers of Kissel Hill shutdown its 53 years old shop in Oregon Pike saying it was too small to compete with big-box.  In Pittsburgh, baby furniture store Good Night Baby shutdown without warning, the owner told a local news TV channel that he was on vacation, however, a note taped to the door stated the store was closed due to “market conditions”.  Local news media reported dozens of customers were still waiting for orders that they already paid for.   In Philadelphia, after 52 years Snyderman-Works Galleries sold-off and shutting down so the owners can retire.  In Erie, after 55 years Fisher Jewelers shutting down when the inventory is gone.  Silver Creek County Club shutting down by September.

Texas:  Katy based Academy Sports & Outdoors suddenly laid off 1-hundred people, blaming it on “the changing needs of our customers”!  Stage Stores shutting down its 47 years old Bealls store in Corpus Christi, in September, because of the greedy landlord (Trademark Properties).  In Brownsville, after 110 years (!) R.H. Lackner’s Fine Jewelry & Gifts shutting down, the owners blaming declining customers from Mexico: “The Mexican business has been a factor. It used to represent about half our business. I don’t see it coming back.”-Bobby Lackner

Virginia: In Danville, after 71 years M&M Furniture shutdown so the owner could retire.  In Waynesboro, after 30 years Valley Framing Studio and Gallery shutdown, the owner saying “It’s about time to enjoy life…”   Nordstrom shutting down its 15 years old store in Dulles Town Center because “…we feel we can serve our customers better at our other area stores and online.”

Wisconsin:  In Wauwatosa, after 93 years Daly’s Pen Shop  shutdown with the owner warning other mom&pop retailers by saying “I’m just getting out of this before I’m forced out!”  In the same city Bartz’s party store suddenly shutdown as part of a corporate plan to shift to online sales only.






U.S. government shenanigans, July 2017: “THEY GAVE ME NO REASON FOR CLOSING IT”

U.S. food crisis, July 2017: “WE ARE CLOSING……WE HAVE NO CHOICE”




Smoke ’em if you got ’em!: Pocatello Airport Fire Bombers are Back!

06 AUG 2017 (03:39 UTC-07 Tango 06)  15 Mordad 1396/13 Dhu l-Qa’da 1438/15 Wu-Shen 4715

The sky around eastern Idaho is socked in with smoke as the 2017-18 wildfire season roars up (I don’t think I’ve ever seen it so smokey around here, and I’ve been here 20 years).  The water bombing aircraft based at Pocatello Airport were busy during daylight; non-stop landings, reloading, take-offs, for hours on-end until dark.

Click pics to make bigger:


At the end of  2016 U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Defense warning: WILDFIRE SEASON 2018 GOING TO BE A HOT ONE!












“…greed, arrogance and just pure deceitfulness.”: U.S. Retail/Banking/Service sector collapse, April 2017

Incomplete list of U.S. retail/banking/service sector job loss announcements and shutdowns made or announced in April 2017:

British empire Canada based elitist Kit and Ace shutting down all its outrageously overpriced athletic clothing stores in the United States, as well as stores in Australia and United Kingdom, to focus on internet selling and its Canadian storefronts.

British empire United Kingdom based female underwear seller Agent Provocateur is now bankrupt busted in the United States.

Alabama: Law firm Bradley suddenly laid off 28 people saying “The legal industry and our firm continue to adapt to the efficiencies that technology brings to our attorneys and their client matters, as well as generational differences….”  In Mobile, Crescent Theater announced it will shutdown by May.

Arkansas: Bentonville based Walmart laid off hundreds more corporate employees, including 3-hundred Information System Division employees!

 California: Temp agency Randstad General Partner issued a shutdown WARN for its San Jose office, 60 jobs lost by June.  MUFG Union Bank eliminating 61 Monterey Park jobs in June. Brisbane based bankrupt female clothier bebe says it will shutdown all 175 stores (don’t blame the internet, they also sold online).  Irvine based (but owned by a company in Minnesota) old women’s clothier Draper’s and Damon’s shutting down all brick-n-mortar stores, but apparently still sells on  The 87 years old Palo Alto Sport Shop & Toy World shutdown blaming crashing sales, don’t you blame the internet because they even partnered with Google Express to sell online.  In Walnut Creek, Consignments Plus suddenly went bankrupt and shutdown, without paying thousands of dollars owed to customers.   In San Diego, after 60 years bowling alley Vista Entertainment Center shutting down to be replaced by an unnecessary Honda dealer.   After more than ten years Venice Beach Freakshow shutting down due to the property being secretly sold-off six months prior: “This is a classic example of where art, freedom, culture and creativity meets greed, arrogance and just pure deceitfulness.”-Todd Ray, founder of Freakshow

Colorado:  In Denver, 36 years old clothier Molly’s shutdown blaming ‘big box’ competition.

Connecticut: Bankrupt Bob’s Stores shutting down in Danbury, Fairfield and Milford.  British empire based RBS (Royal bank of Scotland) continues killing jobs, this time 22 Stamford jobs gone by mid-June.

Florida:  Estero based rental car company Hertz announced it laid off 24 corporate level employees, yet at the same time claims it’s hiring.  The second oldest retailer in Palm Beach, elitist Cartier, suddenly and unexplainedly announced it would shutdown.  PHH Mortgage issued another layoff WARN for Jacksonville, 20 jobs gone by the end of June.  Dollar Express issued shutdown WARNs for 17 stores, about 125 jobs lost by the end of June!

Idaho:  In Nampa,  after 44 years the Yesteryear Shoppe shutdown due to eviction after the lease was canceled.  The owner of the shop blamed his crashing revenues on radically changing trends.

Illinois: United Rentals issued a shutdown WARN for its Chicago ops, 45 jobs lost by June, no reason given.  In Chicago, anti-Trump World’s of Music shutdown claiming they were being harassed by Trump fans.   In Evanston, after ten years clothing shop 2nd Time Around shutdown.  In Naperville, Russel’s Dry Cleaning shutting down some time during Summer due to business “rapidly” crashing over the past eight years.  After 60 years Erickson’s Auto Service shutting down in May: “I’m almost legally blind and I’ve been struggling to work on cars. The right opportunity came up; somebody wanted to buy the property, so we pulled the trigger.”-Rick Erickson

Indiana: After 62 years Indianapolis based electronics retailer hhgregg suddenly died, all 220 stores and 14 distribution centers shutting down and hundreds of jobs lost by the end of May!  Ashley Furniture Hometown shutdown its 12 years old Schererville store, local news media blame recent skyrocketing openings of mattress stores, eight now within 4km (2.5 miles) of each other!

Kansas: That which cannot be named powerless to stop ‘its’ Topeka based Jewish founded (in 1956) cheap-o shoe seller Payless almost ‘died’ after filing for bankruptcy.  4-hundred U.S. stores forced to shutdown immediately!  The thousands of remaining stores around the world will undergo ‘managed’ shutdowns!   Feldkamp’s Furniture shutting down its Topeka store, no reason given.

Louisiana: After only two years GLO Airlines already bankrupt busted, it’s blamed on a contractor who manages GLO’s flights. However, the contractor says GLO has failed to pay them for services rendered.  In Metairie, after 46 years Rudman’s Card and Party Shop shutdown due to decreasing sales plus increasing competition and costs of operations.

Maine: In Bangor, ten years old Hands of Hope Thrift Store suddenly shutdown due to a 70% crash in sales!  The property is already sold.

Maryland:  Barns & Noble shutting down its 20 years old three-level bookstore in Bethesda, when the lease expires.

Massachusetts: MassMutual Financial Group laid off an undisclosed number of people.

Michigan: After almost 1-hundred years (started towards the end of the First World War) Busy Bee Hardware shutdown due to the current owners’ health problems, and radically changing market conditions.

Minnesota: Barnes & Noble shutdown its 23 years old Nicollet Mall store, as part of its plan to shutdown numerous stores this year.  In Duluth, the Lake Superior Bottle Shop shutting down in May due to the property being sold for a major partially taxpayer funded re-development project.  Despite TV and internet sales, Donald Trump supporter My Pillow suddenly laid off 140 people in Chaska, due to the loss of its Better Business Bureau accreditation over complaints of false advertising!  In Saint Cloud, after 67 years Schepers Jewelers shutdown, apparently it was causing more stress than it was worth.  Pawn America now chapter 11 bankrupt busted.

Mississippi:  In Pearl, god powerless to stop the shutdown of ‘his’ British empire based Salvation Army Family Thrift Store.

New Hampshire: In Portsmouth, after 40 years the last shoe repair shop in town, Ye Old Cobbler, shutting down in May so the owner can be closer to his grandchildren.

New Jersey: Dollar Express issued shutdown WARNs for 17 stores, about 125 jobs gone by the end of June!  God powerless to stop the shutdown of ‘his’ 24 years old Saint Michael Shop: “Over the past eight years, business has been gravely declining and we have no choice but to close.”-Charlie Gordon, co-owner of the christian store

New Mexico: Shidoni Foundry and Galleries shutting down its bronze foundry, 12 jobs lost due to crashing sales.

New York: Bankrupt Eastern Mountain Sports shutting down its store in Niskayuna.  Gander Mountain shutting down  its store in New Hartford, 32 jobs lost in August.  In Buffalo, Littman Jewelers shutdown its Boulevard Mall store.  Also in Buffalo, god powerless to stop ‘his’ Catholic Charities from shutting down its Fidelis Parenting/Fatherhood Program due to lack of funding.  The last FYE music store in Bronx-NYC shutdown.  In Rochester, after 19 years Antiques-All That Jazz (aka All That Jazz Antique Mall) being replaced with yet another ‘craft’ brewery.  Elitist Ralph Lauren shutdown its flagship Fifth Avenue store killing 125 jobs, but don’t blame the internet, Ralph Lauren also killing 72 e-commerce jobs as well!   In Staten Island-NYC, after almost 50 years Doody’s Home Center shutting down by the end of May “Due to an unfortunate turn of events”.  In NYC, Morgans Hotel issued a shutdown WARN, 57 jobs lost in July.  NH Jolly MadisonTowers Hotel shutting down as well, 81 jobs lost by the end of June, supposedly temporarily.  PHH Mortgage shutting down its ops in Williamsville in July.  JCPenney shutting down its West Nyack store, 89 jobs lost by the end of July.

North Carolina: Dollar General’s sudden takeover and shutdown of Dollar Express (not to be confused with car rental company Dollar EXPRESS) will kill 2-thousand-7-hundred jobs! That’s according to news media in the state of North Carolina, where Dollar Express is headquartered.   After 37 years shoe seller Phidipidies shutdown its Carolina Mall location due to crashing sales, but Keith Alley, the franchise owner of the store, told local news media “The shoe companies don’t give you as much support. NIKE used to be very supportive but now NIKE and others concentrate their efforts with the big boxes like Academy Sports and Dick’s.” 

Ohio:  Beachwood based retail property owner DDR suddenly laid off 65 people in an attempt to save money.  Curry’s Video Plus shutdown after 27 years. 

Pennsylvania:  Warrendale based rue21 issued a massive 4-hundred store shutdown list.  Unnamed sources inside rue21 told main stream news media that the ‘teen’ clothing retailer is about to go bankrupt, and has hired counselors who specialize in shutting down and/or selling off brick-n-mortar stores.  Don’t blame the internet, or hi-tech, rue21 has a website and uses the latest retail tech platform called Aptos.  The use of hi-tech resulted in rue21 winning the Gold Award for Customer Engagement, just last year!  In Bryn Mawr, after more than 90 years Suburban Hardware shutdown, partly due to competition from ‘big box’ stores.  After 33 years J&C Hobbies shutdown so the owners could take a “proper vacation”.

Tennessee:  ‘Wealth managers’ Avondale Partners eliminating 25 stock-market buying & selling jobs warning “It’s shrinking for us, and it’s shrinking nationwide. There are a myriad of factors causing it….”

Texas:  In Galveston, barber shop The Razor’s Edge shutdown.  Workout joint Houston City Club shutting down, 128 jobs lost to a competitor by mid-June!  What construction industry recovery?  Pool builder Clearwater Pools & More now bankrupt busted.  The company actually halted pool construction leaving many customers with literally holes in their backyards!  Local news media say many customers had paid upfront, and didn’t find out about the bankruptcy until a local TV station’s news report.

Vermont: Bankrupt Eastern Mountain Sports shutting down all three of its Green Mountain State stores, at least 60 jobs lost.  In Saint Johnsbury, after 45 years Sunshine Boutique jewelry store shutdown, so the owners could focus on their other store.

Virginia:  In Orange, after more than 80 years the owners of Faulconer Hardware warned they were shutting down in May.  in Arlington, 61 years old Casual Adventure shutting down because they “received a reasonable offer for the sale of our building”.   In Shockoe Bottom, after ten years Frame Nation shutdown because the owner couldn’t afford to sign a new lease.

Washington:  Furney’s Nursery halting all retail and wholesale ops in May, supposedly not willingly.  God powerless to stop the shutdown of ‘his’ Lakewood Christian Gift Center & Bookstore, no reason given.  In Tacoma, after 21 years Learning Sprout Toys shutdown with former manager Angel Calvin saying “…you can’t do something forever when it doesn’t have the means to support itself…”

Wisconsin: Pier 1 Imports shutting down its Wauwakosa store by the end of May, possible due to continued crashing sales.  Family Dollar shutting down six stores.

U.S. Retail/Banking/Service sector March 2017:  “We just didn’t want to do it anymore.”



U.S. Mining/Industrial/Logistics layoffs, April 2017: “Due to a large loss of business….”

U.S. Hi-Tech/Communications breakdown, April 2017: “our digital revenue is not growing fast enough”

U.S. Food Crisis, April 2017: “This is usually the busiest time of the year. Usually we’re hiring extra help.” Not this year!

Dumbing Down the U.S. of A., April 2017: “…..we were done!”

ObamaCare Death Spiral, April 2017: “We are actively course correcting”

Sears Kmart Death Spiral, April 2017: “identify additional opportunities for….reduction”

Destroy U.S. Dollar: Japan recognizes Bitcoin as official money! Charities accept it for donations!

WARN=Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notification.

I found a 2010 AFL-CIO analysis (titled The Public Availability of WARN Notices: Lack of Accessibility and Disclosure…) which proves what I’ve been suspecting in my search of state WARN notices; most states are not complying with federal WARN regulations and are not publicizing or tracking mass layoffs.

Former employees who receive severance are not counted as unemployed!

Employees of religious non-profits might not qualify for unemployment assistance: “If the non-profit organization is a church, you may or may not be entitled to unemployment. It all depends upon state regulations for church employers. In many cases, churches are allowed to set their own rules regarding unemployment benefits, meaning the church can choose whether to offer benefits to former employees.”

The U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) no longer issues mass layoff reports: “On March 1, 2013, President Obama ordered into effect the across-the- board spending cuts (commonly referred to as sequestration) required by the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act, as amended. Under the order, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) must cut its current budget by more than $30 million, 5 percent of the current 2013 appropriation, by September 30, 2013. In order to help achieve these savings and protect core programs, the BLS will eliminate two programs, including Mass Layoff Statistics, and all ‘measuring green jobs’ products. This news release is the final publication of monthly mass layoff survey data.”

World’s largest C-141B Starlifter model?

In June 2016, members of the USAF’s 437th Maintenance Squadron sheet metal and corrosion shop at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, got a new project; restore an old C-141B model.

The giant model was originally built back in the day when the USAF used C-141 Starlifters.  It was built to represent a C-141 that crashed in 1982, killing its crew.

After only a few months the model was fully restored in August 2016.

Airman 1st Class Drew Maifeaphomsamouth, Technical SergeantAndrew Finley, Airman 1st Class Michael Mooney, Airman 1st Class Shawn Casey, Airman Riley Carter and Senior Airman William Treiber were proud to have restored what might be the world’s largest C-141 model.

Join Militia, Drive Truck


Virginia National Guard’s 329th Regional Support Group used M915 and M1088 tractors to haul trailers during their Annual Training (AT) in May of this year, proving they’re Ready to Roll:

Virginia Militia M1088 hauling boats for the U.S. Navy.

138 vehicles were involved in the ‘real world’ AT mission. They traveled nearly 204-thousand-387-kilometers (127-thousand miles) hauling nearly 216 U.S. tons.

The 329th Regional Support Group was deactivated in 1996, but was brought back to life ten years later, in 2006.

Italeri 1:720 Deutschland, Lutzow, Scheer & Graf Spee

Italeri recently re-issued its old but nice looking Deutschland class heavy cruisers (they are not battleships) in 1:720 scale.

These kits represent the class before the 1939-40 rebuilds (refit).  They were first issued in the late 1970s, and have excellent detail for the scale (which made some of the larger scale ship kits look even worse than they were; 1:600 Airfix, Aurora, 1:570 Revell, etc).  In the 1980s Testors issued them in the United States.  Italeri issued them again in the 1990s.

Deutschland: Parts distinct to the first ship and prior to the 1939 update and name change.  Deutschland originally had ‘exposed’ torpedo tubes, but the Italeri kit comes with the armored tubes.

Scheer: Parts distinct to the second ship of the line, prior to its 1939-40 rebuild.

Graff Spee: Parts distinct to its final year of life, 1939, with one exception; the kit does not come with the ‘mattress/bed spring’ radar that should be mounted on the front of the tower range finder.  Note that prior to 1939 Graf Spee was fitted out similar to Scheer, so if you want to model an earlier Graf Spee just buy the Scheer kit.

Lützow: Parts distinct to the 1939 update to Deutschland (when its name was changed to Lützow), but prior to its 1940 rebuild.

Click the pic to make bigger:

For decades these ships were called battleships by the victors of World War Two, which is ridiculous since battleships ranged in the 30-thousand to 50-thousand tonnes standard displacement range.  It’s the result of official British empire government backed news media propaganda (today called Fake News) coming up with the Fake News term Pocket Battleship. It was an attempt by the British government to rile up their subjects to support war with Nazi Germany.  Nazi and Blitzkrieg were also Fake News terms made up by the British main stream news media, they were not German terms, although the Germans liked the term Blitzkrieg and used it themselves.  What should be noted is that the Deutschland class of ships were not constructed by the ‘Nazis’, but by the western imposed Weimar government in the early 1930s, before the NSDAP (National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei) was democratically elected to power. While these ships violated the Washington Treaty limiting warship sizes, the violation was initiated by the Weimar government, not the NSDAP.

Under the treaty cruisers were limited to 10-thousand tonnes (metric tons) standard displacement.  According to some sources we will never know the true displacement because Weimar bureaucrats altered the official data. Today it’s generally accepted that Deutschland was just over the 10-thousand tonnes limit, Scheer was closer to 13-thousand and Graf Spee closer to 14-thousand tonnes.

The differences in weight between the ‘sister’ ships is due to subtle alterations in the hulls of Scheer and Graf Spee to accommodate extra armor protection.  Official suspect data give the same length and width for all ships, but hull height for Scheer and Graf Spee is 0.2 meter shorter that Deutschland.  I would assume that with the extra armor the hull side thickness was greater than Deutschland’s (naval researcher H.T. Lenton says Spee/Scheer were about 1 meter [3 feet] wider than Deutschland-Lutzow).

Knowing that official data for the ships are suspect it’s no use getting knit-picky about accuracy.  The best thing is to use photographs of the ship you want to depict at the time period your interested in.

Graf Spee was the first to go, sunk by its own crew in South America in 1939, after being damaged by three Royal Navy cruisers.  During its South Atlantic adventure Graf Spee underwent attempts at deception, making itself look like a full fledged battleship with extra gun turret and exhaust funnel, and even painting the name Deutschland on the side of the hull.

Lützow and Scheer lived longer than anybody expected. Not only did the British want them sunk, but, at the protests of the Deutsche KriegsMarine (DKM), Adolph Hitler ordered them scrapped in 1943.

Scheer ended up being used as a training ship and artillery platform against Soviet ground forces.  Scheer was sunk in April 1945 by Royal Air Force bombers, a month before Germany surrendered.

Lützow was disabled and used as an artillery platform against the Soviets, supposedly destroyed by its crew as the Soviets overran the port. Western news sources reported that the Soviets had raised Lützow, for the purpose of scrapping it.  In 2000 it was discovered the Soviets used Lützow for target practice, sinking it in 1947.

The only disappointing thing I find about these Italeri kits is that no decals come with them.  It would be nice to have each ship’s bow shield/crest and the Coronel nameplate on the front of Graf Spee’s tower.

Vehicle I-D: Mississippi Militia shows-off mine detection vehicles

Mississippi Buffalo in California?

While on rotation at the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California, Mississippi National Guard’s 287th Engineer Company conducted anti-mine vehicle training on 04 JUN 2017:

Husky Mark-3 electromagnetic detection vehicle followed by Buffaloes with anti-mine rollers.