Monthly Archives: April 2013

Eric Greitens – Jewish Navy SEAL

Today’s Jewish Marksman is Navy SEAL Eric Greitens.  (Unlike Green Beret Lawrence “Super Jew” Freedman who was known for exceptional marksmanship, we’re just going to have to trust that as a special forces soldier, Eric can shoot well.  He does mention having extensive firearms training, as one would expect of a SEAL)  I just finished reading his auto-biography, “The Heart and the Fist.”

As a college kid, Eric boxed as a hobby and spent time on humanitarian aid missions to the Balkans, Africa and Central America.  A Rhodes scholar, he left the snobbish Ivy league world and signed up for the Navy, ultimately becoming an officer in the SEALs.  He served in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kenya.

Eric has received many awards for his work with veterans, encouraging them to continue to serve society after they leave the military.  Among those awards was the 2012 Charles Bronfman Prize:

Accepting the Prize, Greitens cited his Jewish upbringing, and lessons learned in Sunday school – in particular, meeting Holocaust survivors who taught him lessons about the strength of the human spirit.

“What sunk in was more than the idea of ‘Never Again,’” he said. “It was the idea that even in horrific situations, people can choose courage and dignity.  People can survive.  They can move through tragedy, possibly stronger, to live full lives.

“Had it not been for that lesson, I don’t think that I would have chosen to go to work with refugees.  And had I not done that, it’s unlikely that I would be standing here today.  It was my experience in Bosnia and Rwanda, where people told me that they were grateful for the aid they received, but that they needed to be protected, that convinced me that there had to be a way to live a life both compassionate and courageous, to be both good and strong.”

I thought the book was a good read, it is not really a “war story” book as much as a message about his views on humanitarianism, and how they developed in his life.  I think he wanted to get across the message to the academic left that good intentions are sometimes not enough, and to the hawkish right that bullets are sometimes not enough.  He also doesn’t hide his criticism for some of the mistakes the US is making in the fight against terror.  It seems to me that Greitens suggests that while it’s great to have the best direct action commando forces in the world, we might be losing our edge in the special forces role that American Jews like Sid Shachnow worked so hard to establish and nurture with the Green Berets, i.e. really embedding, training and working with local forces so that locals can handle it themselves.  To oversimplify the matter somewhat, I think both men would suggest we still need to be more like the heroes in the movie “The Magnificent Seven” (based on Kirosawa’s “Seven Samurai”) and less like the Lone Ranger.

Well in any case, be sure to examine Eric’s organization The Mission Continues and consider providing him assistance.

Jewish Marksman’s Rifle

In response to several reader requests, I finally got around to taking a picture of my rifle (click the picture to enlarge).  It is a Remington 700 action inside an Eliseo RTS tube stock.  If you click on the picture and enlarge, you can see the features of the stock.  The fore-end of the stock has a rail, where currently my hand stop is mounted, and I remove that and replace it with a wood block for off-hand shooting.  The grip takes any AR-15 grip, I currently have a wood target grip I go used.  The stock takes Accuracy International .308 magazines, I use 5 round mags for competition.  You can see that the butt stock is angled and offset at the position that fits me, and weights attach to a post at the bottom of the butt stock.  The top of the stock houses the rail where my rear sight sits, and the front sight is mounted on the front of the barrel that was turned down for the mount.  Most importantly, the bolt rides under the cheek rest so I don’t have to move my head in rapid firing stages.  

If you enlarge the second picture left, you might be able to make out the color scheme, which is the Miami Dolphins blue and orange on a black background.  The picture on the right is my rear sight.  
If you have any questions feel free to post them in the comments.

Sid Shachnow – US Army Major General and Jewish Marksman

I recently finished reading the biography of Major General Sid Shachnow, a Lithuanian Jew who survived the Holocaust as a young boy.  He eventually emigrated to America and joined the army, and became a decorated war hero and a played an important role in leading and developing the US military Special Forces.

As for his being a Jewish Marksman, Shachnow’s biography reports that he earned both a rifle and pistol Expert Marksmanship Badge, and was a marksmanship instructor at Fort Dix.  Later, at Officer Candidate School he impressed his superiors by taking over a marksmanship class on the spot when the regular instructor suddenly took ill.

The first half of the book is a riveting account of his boyhood life in Lithuania, surviving the Holocaust and hustling to get by in Europe before making it to America.  The second half of the book covers his life in the Army, including joining the nascent Special Forces and serving in Viet Nam.  Shachnow was one of the first group of Green Berets, and eventually rose to play a key role in developing the Special Forces.  Overall, the book was a good read and I am glad I learned about a great Jewish American with a fascinating life story.

Saul Alinsky – Political Strategist and Jewish Marksman

Saul Alinsky was a controversial political figure, to say the least.  However, few would disagree that he was a genius at what we now call “grass roots” political organizing.  Through the magic of Google I found an interesting story about his Chicago upbringing, as well as his experience as a Jewish marksman:

PLAYBOY: Did you encounter much antisemitism as a child?
ALINSKY: Not personally, but I was aware of it. It was all around us in those days. But it was so pervasive you didn’t really even think about it; you just accepted it as a fact of life. The worst hostility was the Poles, and back in 1918 and 1919, when I was growing up, it amounted to a regular war. We had territorial boundaries between our neighborhoods, and if a Jewish girl strayed across the border, she’d be raped right on the street. Every once in a while, it would explode into full-scale rioting, and I remember when hundreds of Poles would come storming into our neighborhood and we’d get up on the roofs with piles of bricks and pans of boiling water and slingshots, just like a medieval siege. I had an air rifle myself. There’d be a bloody battle for blocks around and some people on both sides had real guns, so sometimes there’d be fatalities. It wasn’t called an urban crisis then; it was just two groups of people trying to kill each other. Finally the cops would come on horses and in their clanging paddy wagons and break it up. They were all Irish and they hated both sides, so they’d crack Polish and Jewish heads equally. The melting pot in action. You don’t have that hostility in Chicago anymore; now Italians, Poles, Jews and Irish have all joined up and buried the hatchet — in the blacks. But in those days, every ethnic group was at each other’s throat.

I remember once, I must have been ten or eleven, one of my friends was beaten up by Poles, so a bunch of us crossed over into Polish turf and we were beating the shit out of some Polish kids when the cops pulled us in. They took us to the station house and told our mothers, and boy, did they blow their tops. My mother came and took me away, screaming that I’d brought disgrace on the family. Who ever heard of a good Jewish boy being arrested, she moaned to the cops, and she promised the sergeant I’d be taken care of severely when I got home. When we left, my mother took me right to the rabbi and the rabbi lectured me on how wrong I was. But I stood up for myself. I said, “They beat us up and it’s the American way to fight back, just like in the Old Testament, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. So we beat the hell out of them. That’s what everybody does.” The rabbi just looked at me for a minute and then said very quietly, “You think you’re a man because you do what everybody does. But I want to tell you something the great Rabbi Hillel said: ‘Where there are no men, be thou a man.’ I want you to remember it.” I’ve never forgotten it. 

I think Alinsky was an interesting character, and suggest reading the entire interview as well as his “Rules for Radicals.”

Jeff Spiegelman – Delaware State Representative and Jewish Marksman

I learned about Delaware’s 11th District Representative Jeff Spiegelman from a JPFO newsletter, wherein he wrote:

As a Jewish man who lives in a rural area, I am often at odds with my urban and suburban Jewish friends and family who often see their world as representative of the country as a whole. They often believe that the gun restrictions that have been placed on some of America’s biggest (and, ironically, most dangerous) cities must be applied universally. These places have police and fire protection that is, in comparison, nearly instantaneous. These friends and family often say that I am pro-gun because I simply cannot understand their “plight” when it comes to firearms in the inner-cities. I think it is the opposite. I think they cannot see the need for my rights in my rural home.

According to his web site, Jeff is a NRA life member.  Yet more proof that Jews are indeed at the forefront of the gun rights movement.  If you live in Delaware, please consider supporting him!