My Army Life...and other things

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. -- John Stuart Mill

Saturday, September 11, 2010


"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free." -- Ronald Reagan


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Yeah, I guess I've had a pretty good run...

I was on Facebook and there's a DINFOS Alumni page. DINFOS, or Defense Information School at Fort Meade, Maryland, is where all the services send their Public Affairs people for training, officers, enlisted and civilians. So I add my name to the list and posted my 'PA bio.' I showed it to Dbie and said, "guess I've had a pretty good career..." Here's my post:

I graduated in Jul 2000 from the RC 46Q course. PA is the best job in the Army. I was part of the Nationwide Exercise in 2001. I went to JRTC in 2001. RSOI in Korea in 2002. I've had the privilege of being the PAO for the US military Pentathlon Team in 2002, 2004, 2005. I deployed to Bosnia in 2003. I deployed to Afghanistan in 2004/2005. I did a five-month tour at USARC headquarters in 2007. I was the print section sergeant and acting first sgt for the 204th MPAD; went to Bosnia with the 343rd MPAD; was in the 2125th and 3220th GSUs, I was the NCOIC at the Office of Military Cooperation - Afghanistan; First Sergeant for the 300th MPAD; and now the PA Ops Sgt for the 70th Training Division at Fort Knox.
I've been to Alaska, Korea, Germany, Bosnia, Hungary, France, Afghanistan, Qatar, Austria, Belgium, and all over the US. I've seen buffalo close enough spit on; I've driven through the Badlands of South Dakota; I ate dinner on the Danube River; I've stood at the base of the remnants of the Buddha statues the Taliban blew up in Bamian, Afghanistan; I visited the tomb of Mossoud, The Lion of the Panjshir; I stood in the mountains around Sarajevo and looked down on all the grave markers from the Bosnian War; I stood at the top of the Olympic Stadium in Sarajevo looking at the grave markers that filled one of the practice soccer fields; I celebrated ringing in 2005 in Kabul in a celebration I will never forget; I watched the sun set over St. Trope Bay in the South of France; I was in Afghanistan when theu elected President Karzai the first time; I watched Afghan children learn what Christmas is all about;
I was on Hooker Hill in Itewan in Seoul; I shot pool with a KGB agent is Seoul; I visited a Wild West town in Austria; I watched Russian Spetznatz give a martial arts display that left several of them bleeding; I got to see the most beautiful place in the world, the Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan. I went shopping for rugs in Mazar-E-Sharif, Afghanistan; I got to meet and work with some of the coolest people in the Army, and, unfortunately, some of the most fucked up ones. All of this, because of US Army Reserve Public Affairs, the BEST job in the Army...
Yeah, I've had a pretty good career, and it's far from over...


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Racism my ass...

Jimmy Carter, you just need to shut the fuck up. You weren't much of a president, but for years, I admired the things you did. But lately, every time you open your mouth, stupidity rolls out. And that goes for Kanye West, Eric Dyson and the rest of the idiots who think any criticism of Obama is racially driven. Just because we don't like his political views, doesn't mean it's racial. Just because we don't want socialized medicine, doesn't mean it's racial. Just because we don't want to pay more taxes to pay for those who won't work, doesn't mean it's racial. What IS racial is millions of you ghetto scum voting FOR Obama just because he's black. THAT is racial. Threatening white voters trying to get into vote, THAT is racial. Martin Luther King would roll over in his grave at that. In his 'I have a dream' speech, he talked about a society where a man is judged on his character, and not the color of his skin. Obama got elected BECAUSE of the color of his skin. THAT is racial. And if any of you idiots think I'm racist, remember, I supported Colin Powell. I supported Condileeza Rice. I'd vote for them in a heartbeat, and I'd have Powell/Rice bumper stickers on my pickup truck. So. Just, shut the fuck up.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I am still around....

I lot has happened over the last five months. I got married to a very beautiful, very sexy, very wonderful lady. I'm trying to make some moves in my military career, specifically, trying to find either a sergeant major or command sergeant major slot somewhere. I started writing my military experiences on Together We Served. So maybe this will go back to being a personal website. Hopefully, I'll have time to take care of it.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Straight to the point....

Some discrepancies were noted in the prior post that accompanied the poster above. Since I can't validate either way, I decided to delete it. I dislike the man, and will post OPINIONS that are negative toward him. But I won't post facts that may not be true.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why haven't we seen this on CNN or NBC...?

I ran across an article the other day that got me to thinking about what I wanted to do with this blog. I wanted a ‘Now and Then’ about my military career. To talk about what I’ve done, and what I’m doing. This follows that theme, sort of.
In November 2003, the initial game plan was submitted for the National Military Academy-Afghanistan, the Afghan version of the US Military Academy. West Point deans and administrators deployed for several months at a time, writing procedures, admin policies and curriculum. They worked with the Afghans, taking into consideration the differences in culture and standards.

Over 1,000 professors were winnowed down by a West Point group to the 30 that were hired for teaching everything from world history to physics to chemistry to psychology.
By the end of November, 353 cadet candidates had completed the competitive entrance exam. The defense ministry, in conjunction with the Office of Military Cooperation-Afghanistan staff, then conducted personal interviews and selected the top 120 young men to join the first class.
Cadets between the ages of 18 and 23, would earn $80 a month and will receive free books, supplies, housing and food in addition to their education.
The plan was for the Cadets to attend seven weeks of basic training then began their academic studies. In addition to their engineering curriculum, they would study military leadership, ethics and psychology, among other topics.
On February 3, 2005, the students started arriving for basic training.

I was there, taking pictures for OMC-A. It was cold, snow covering everything outside. That winter, Afghanistan had more snow than they had in the previous eight years combined.

Of the 120 selected, only about 106 showed up. I may not be remembering the exact number right, but it’s what I remembered.

There was confusion. The new cadets weren’t getting much direction. The barracks and classrooms weren’t finished. As a matter of fact Lt. Col. Sue Meisner, my boss, and I were walking around with the guys doing the punchlist.

But, they were there. The cream of the crop, from all over Afghanistan. Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Aimak Turkmen, Baloch. Together, some for the first time meeting other ethnic groups.
Fast forward seven weeks to March 22. They finished basic training, and were now getting ready to start the academics.

It was a very big affair. Minister Wardak, and other Afghan dignitaries attended the festivities. The cadets passed in review.

Even the Turkish band played. Here’s the post I sent to the Castle back then.

Then last week, I read this. 84 of the original Cadets graduated in January. It’s been four years. Four hard years of studying and learning. Four years of living with other ethnic groups, and hopefully, learning that they are all Afghans first. I’m sure there were conflicts. You don’t put 100 young men together and there not be some conflicts. But you know what, 84 graduated.

84 of Afghanistan’s smartest. The next generation of Afghans. The NEW generation of Afghans. Maybe a generation that doesn’t need the Taliban. Maybe they won’t need the radical, militant side of Islam. Maybe they won’t need the backward, stifling mentality that still drags Afghanistan down. They say it takes a couple generations to change a nation. Maybe this generation will be the start. I wish I had been there to see them as they begin that change…

(Portions of this post were borrowed from an article written by Lt. Col. Susan Meisner, OMC-A PAO.)


Saturday, January 10, 2009

I've been tagged...

My lovely bride to be, AFSis, tagged me. Here are the rules of the 'tag'...
Da Rulz:
1. Link to the person that tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself
4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs
5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.
6. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.

My six things...

1. All my clothes hanging in the closet have to face the same direction, to the left with the hangar opening to the rear. Don't ask me why, I don't know....

2. It bugs the hell out of me when someone adds an 's' to the end of US Army Reserve. It's either the reserves, talking about all reserve components, or it's Army Reserve. No 's'. Got it?!?!?

3. I love roses, particularly Jackson-Perkins roses. Purple Tiger, Snowfire, Abe Lincoln are my favorites. If I ever retire and am not traveling so much, I'll have a ginormous rose garden.

4. I love border collies, especially the tri-colors, and grays. They are smart, very smart. Something else I'll have when I retire.

5. I listen to books on CD. I don't have time to sit and read, but I've listened to a BUNCH of books on CD while driving. The Kite Runner, 1776, Colin Powell's Autobiography, John Adams, Charlie Wilson's War, A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Afghan, The Long Road Home, House to House, etc, etc, etc...

6. I have really sensitive feet. It didn't used to be that way. As a kid, I never wore shoes during the summer. Now, little rocks, sticks, anything hurt like hell....

Now I have to tag six other unlucky people...

1. Barb She's been quiet

2. Beth Just because...

3. ArmyWifeToddlerMom just because she;s a cutie...

4. FreakChylde Because she likes guns...

5. SoLow Because he's a jarhead... (once a jarhead, always a jarhead..)

6. Army Girl my favorite female Soldier...

Okay. I'm done....


Friday, November 07, 2008

Explain this to me....

Why is going out and rounding up 7.9 million redneck white trash to register and vote against Obama because he's black is racist, but going out and rounding up 7.9 million ghetto welfare scum to register and vote for Obama because he's black is not racist?


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It's gonna be a long four years...

Obama/Biden: The reason stupid people shouldn't be allowed to vote...


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Election News...

Some fact checking on Biden...,2933,433314,00.html

On Obama and his terrorist friends...

On Biden and his favorite restaraunt....
Joe Biden & Katie's Restaurant that he spoke of during debate. This is the restaurant that Joe Biden bragged about talking to the "Common People" during the Biden-Palin debate last Thursday. He must have a time machine since Katie's has been closed for 15 years!!

He is not only a plagiarizer, he is a bald-faced liar. Come to think about it there's not much difference between the two.
'All you have to do is go down Union street with me in Wilmington or go to Katie's Restaurant or walk into Home Depot with me where I spend a lot of time and you ask anybody whether or not the economic and foreign policy of this administration has made them better off in the last eight years,' said Sen. Joe Biden in the vice presidential debate to bolster his assertion he's in touch with the concerns of the middle class.
It may come as a surprise to you that Joe Biden recently had a meal and talked with patrons at Katie's Restaurant on Union Street in Wilmington in an alternate universe, because the Katie's Restaurant in this universe closed several years ago. It was on Scott Street in Little Italy. The establishment is now a Wings to Go.

"Look, the people in my neighborhood, they get it. They get it." - Joe Biden
Biden apparently doesn't. This is a perfect example of that. It's a lot of fun calling Home Depot locations in the Wilmington area and asking whether or not they've seen Biden (they haven't), but the fact that Katie's has been closed for 15 years and Biden didn't know it shows that Biden has no clue about "his neighborhood" or what people go through there.


Friday, October 03, 2008

You have got to be shitting me....


The following are some of the top tax sweeteners in the Senate passed Bailout Bill. Not all the provisions are per se outrageous, but collectively are intended to help Congressional leadership get final passage of the 2008 Emergency Economic Stabilization

Act. 1. Sec. 503. Exemption from excise tax for certain wooden arrows designed for use by children WHAT???
2. Sec. 317. Seven-year cost recovery period for motorsports racing track facility
3. Sec. 308. Increase in limit on cover over of rum excise tax to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (to the tune of 170 billion fucking dollars!! WTF????)
4. Sec. 301. Extension and modification of research credit
5. Sec. 504. Income averaging for amounts received in connection with the Exxon Valdez litigation THE VALDEZ WAS 20 YEARS AGO!!
6. Sec. 601. Secure rural schools and community self-determination program.
7. Sec. 201. Deduction for state and local sales taxes
8. Sec 502. Provisions related to film and television productions
9. Sec. 325. Extension and modification of duty suspension on wool products; wool research fund; wool duty refunds
10. Sec. 309. Extension of economic development credit for American Samoa

And Congress wonders why they have such a low satisfaction rating.....
Can you tell I'm pissed....?


The History of the Wall Street bail out.....

Wow. Imagine that...

Fannie Mae is a GSE (Govt. Sponsored Entity) regulated by Congress.
Fannie Mae buys mortgages from other companies.
It is backed by the taxpayers for all losses, but keeps all profits.
President Clinton loosens Home Loan Requirements.

Banks begin making thousands of bad loans,0 down, no documentation, for 120%! (1998 – 2008).
Executives at Fannie receive huge bonuses if loan targets are met.
Franklin Raines and Jamie Garelick from the Clinton Administration are appointed to run Fannie Mae.

President Bush proposes a new oversight committee to clean up Fannie Mae, but Democrats derail the effort.
Rep. Melvyn Watt, (D-NC) Committee on Financial Institutions & Consumer Credit. stated, “I don’t see much other than weakening the bargaining power poorer families to get affordable housing.”

Raines earns $100 million in bonuses. Garelick earns $75 million in bonuses. In 2004, Enron collapses, congress investigates, Executives Skilling & Lay go to jail, for fraudulent bookkeeping. Congress responds with the Sorbanes-Oxley Act, more heavy regulation of corporations.

An OMB investigation finds massive fraudulent bookkeeping at Fannie Mae.
False numbers triggered executive bonuses every year.
Congress holds no hearings, no one goes to jail, or is punished.

Fannie Mae gives millions to Democratic causes, examples: Jesse Jackson & ACORN.
Fannie Mae pays millions to 354 congressmen and senators, from both parties.
Who got the most money?

#1 Sen. Christopher Dodd, (D-CT) Chairman of the Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs Committee
#2 Sen. Barack Obama, (D-IL) Federal Financial Management Committee
#3 Sen. Chuck Schumer, (D-NY) Chairman of the Finance Committee
#4 Rep. Barney Frank, (D-MA) Chairman of the House Financial Services Committe

Franklin Raines & top execs are forced to resign from Fannie Mae.
They do not go to jail.
There is no media “perp. walk.”
They keeps all of their bonuses
They finally pay $31.4 million in civil fines.

The Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act is sponsored by:
#325 Sen. John McCain, (R-AZ) Armed Services, & Commerce, Science, & Transportation
“If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.”
None of the top 4 recipients support the legislation.
The reform act is blocked by Democrats, never even making it out of committee.
None of the politicians return any of the money, tainted by fraud.

Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac go bankrupt and the govt. takes them over completely.
Lehman Brothers, goes bankrupt from investing in bad mortgages.
AIG gets $85 million in loan guarantees, after insuring bad loans & projects.
Taxpayers will ultimately pay BILLIONS.
Franklin Raines is now an advisor to the Obama Campaign which wants the govt. to take over more of the economy.
Did government involvement in the mortgage market work out?
How will even MORE government involvement make it better? Do you want to be Sweden?
McCain favors revising regulations & loan standards, selling off Fannie & Freddie.

Congressional Record, 5/25/06
“Hannity & Colmes,” Fox News, 9/16-9/17/08
Herald Tribune, 4/18/08
New York Times, 9/13/03www., 9/17/08


Thursday, September 25, 2008

George W.'s War Legacy...

No one likes war. War is a horrific affair, bloody and expensive. Sending our men and women into battle to perhaps die or be maimed is an unconscionable thought.
Yet some wars need to be waged, and someone needs to lead. The citizenry and Congress are often ambivalent or largely opposed to any given war. It's up to our leader to convince them. That's why we call the leader 'Commander in Chief.'
George W.'s war was no different. There was lots of resistance to it. Many in Congress were vehemently against the idea. The Commander in Chief had to lobby for legislative approval.
Along with supporters, George W. used the force of his convictions, the power of his title and every ounce of moral suasion he could muster to rally support. He had to assure Congress and the public that the war was morally justified, winnable and affordable. Congress eventually came around and voted overwhelmingly to wage war.
George W. then lobbied foreign governments for support. But in the end, only one European nation helped us. The rest of the world sat on its hands and watched.
After a few quick victories, things started to go bad. There were many dark days when all the news was discouraging. Casualties began to mount. It became obvious that our forces were too small. Congress began to drag its feet about funding the effort.
Many who had voted to support the war just a few years earlier were beginning to speak against it and accuse the Commander in Chief of misleading them. Many critics began to call hi! m incompetent, an idiot and even a liar. Journalists joined the negative chorus with a vengeance.
As the war entered its fourth year, the public began to grow weary of the conflict and the casualties. George W.'s popularity plummeted. Yet through it all, he stood firm, supporting the troops and endorsing the struggle.
Without his unwavering support, the war would have surely ended, then and there, in overwhelming and total defeat.
At this darkest of times, he began to make some changes. More troops were added and trained. Some advisers were shuffled, and new generals installed.
Then, unexpectedly and gradually, things began to improve. Now it was the enemy that appeared to be growing weary of the lengthy conflict and losing support. Victories began to come, and hope returned.
Many critics in Congress and the press said the improvements were just George W.'s good luck. The progress, they said, would be temporary. He knew, however, that in warfare good fortune counts.
Then, in the unlikeliest of circumstances and perhaps the most historic example of military luck, the enemy blundered and was resoundingly defeated. After six long years of war, the Commander in Chief basked in a most hard-fought victory.
So on that historic day, Oct. 19, 1781, in a place called Yorktown, a satisfied George Washington sat upon his beautiful white horse and accepted the surrender of Lord Cornwallis, effectively ending the Revolutionary War.
What? Were you thinking of someone else?


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Like Democrats??

I couldn't resist......


Tuesday, September 16, 2008


… is such an ugly word. One would think that after three years of trying to get it done, after years of wanting more in a relationship, that when it finally happens, you’d be happy. It doesn’t quite work that way. The day finally got here, and it wasn’t that happy of an occasion. I could hear the pain I caused at the other end of the phone. The pain I am sorry for causing.
Not just in my ex-wife, but also in my two daughters. Hearing the disappointment in their voices, and seeing it in their eyes, when the man they held up on a pedestal hurt them, was the hardest part. When I said that I had been unhappy for a long time, they took that to mean that I had been unhappy with all of my family life. Nothing could be further from the truth. There were happy times, a lot of them. Most involved family things. The birth of my daughters was indescribable. Watching Aimee get her first hit in a Little League game right after we got her new glasses. Watching Katie catch her first fly ball in left field at practice. Watching Aimee walk across the stage to get her high school diploma, her bachelor’s degree and her Master’s. Looking with surprise at Katie at her senior awards ceremony when she got an award for graduating with a 3.1 gpa. Saluting her as she marched by as she graduated from Air Force basic training, Getting to pin on her wings when she graduated from AWACS school. Walking both down the aisle so they could start their own journeys. Walking around the Smithsonian Museums. Throwing tennis balls at them as they rode their ATCs at my mom and dad’s. Watching them hammer countless nails in the hurricane straps on our house, or pulling cable through the walls. And I’m sure there are things I’m forgetting. I was never unhappy with them. I hope someday that they realize that.
Are there things I could have done to improve my married life? Probably. And I don’t put all the blame on my ex. I’m not the easiest person to live with. But I needed more. That’s why I thought finalizing it would be different. I was wrong. I am ready for the next stage in my life, but that’s the topic for another day. I think I need a beer…or three….


Thursday, September 11, 2008

One for the Jarheads...

Found this today on BlackFive. Hats off to the Marines. Thank you for a job well done.


Thursday, September 04, 2008

I'm still here....

What's up....
I know, it's been almost year since my last post. Some things have changed since my last post. I took an early retirement from my job at the power plant and now work with the Army Reserve at Fort Knox, Kentucky. My divorce is almost final. I'm no longer the first sergeant for my old unit in Atlanta. I'm still doing Public Affairs, but now as a PA Operations Sergeant at Fort Knox. Not as much fun as being 'Top' but I'm having fun. I have a couple articles that are supposed to be published shortly. Maybe I'll post them here.

Election 2008
I watched both conventions. I never planned on voting for Obama, but wasn't overly joyed at McCain. Obama. What can I say about Obama....? What a piece of shit. He's the most liberal candidate the Dems have ever nominated, and that says a lot. He's so far left, he'd fit in with Stalin and Trotsky. He has no experience. he hasn't even completed ONE term as a US senator. When he was a state legislator, he had 138 "Present" votes, meaning he couldn't make up his mind. He hates the military. He wants to retreat from Iraq. He socializes with known terrorists. He went to a racist church for 20 years and was friends with a racist preacher, married to a racist wife. He says he will never use a nuke, no matter what. I don't understand how anyone can vote for someone like him?
I watched Sarah Palin last night. I am now enthusiastic about the McCain/Palin ticket. I will be voting for them. Campaign for them. Support them however I can. More to come....


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The big Three-O

Looks like I'll be hitting 30,000 hits today or tomorrow. Wow... Even when I don't post, I get 40 or 50 hits a day. I'll never catch up with John, Beth, Fuzzy Beth, Ala, AFSis, Barb, or hundreds of others. All of the ones I listed are who got me started doing this. I just wish I had more time to post like my blog bretheran. Maybe some day. Anyway... Who's going to be number 30,000? Someone from one of the many countries that visit my site? Or, maybe, one of my blog buds. Tell you what. Whoever is number 30,000 can have an 8X10 of any of my photos from Afghanistan. Check out my Tour in afghanistan in the right hand column.Let me know....


Saturday, September 29, 2007

I need to know...

Someone sent this to me. It's pretty cool. It is how most of us in the military feel at times. Just watch it. Oh, the girl in the 'aunt' page is an Air Force public affairs officer I was in Afghanistan with.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

This is why I serve...

I posted this a couple weeks ago or so, but decided that it should stay up at the top for a while. If you want to see the words, go to It gives me chills every time I watch it. Good kind of chills.

Powerful. This Bad Ass Marine says what a lot of us feel. We ARE fighting for HER. For America. We are not an Army at war. We are a Nation at war. To finish, quoting Toby Keith at the end of his concert I attended recently: "To those who give you grief for being patriotic, FUCK 'EM!"


Sunday, September 09, 2007

A little fun on a Sunday afternoon...

Go watch this video. I tried to post it, but it made my right column go all wonky...


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Veteran's History Project

In case you haven't heard, The Library of Congress is collecting stories and memorabilia about war veterans. It's been going on a few years. With only a few World War I veterans left alive, and World War II veterans dieing at a rate of about 1800 a day, it won't be long before there won't be any left to tell their story. Ken Burns has put together a program about World War II, along the same lines as his Civil War series. Click on the link to check out "The War." If you have any family members, friends, neighbors who are war veterans of any war, look for someone recording stories. The Veteran's History Project website has a list of organizations participating. I'm trying to get my reserve unit involved. Since we are print and broadcast journalists, it will give them more experience doing their jobs, and let them hear about how war was fought the old fashioned way. And maybe we'll get a few more stories recorded before they aren't available anymore.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007


My daughter, son-in-law, and 2 year-old granddaughter were flying home to Oklahoma today and had a three-hour layover in Atlanta. I was able to get a pass to go down to the gate to meet them since I was in uniform.
I met them and we went to TGIF to get dinner. It was a 40-minute wait so we were standing there talking. I had Eleanor up on my shoulders like I used to do with my kids. This lady and little girl about 3 or 4 years old walk up. The lady says, "Her Soldier-daddy was just killed. She saw you and wanted to say hi." So I leaned over and said Hi, and she responded, "Hi, Soldier-daddy." We talked for a minute or so, and the lady said she had to go, and told the little girl to wish me good luck. The little girl said, "Good luck. Bye, Soldier-daddy." As the two were walking away, the little girl said to the lady, "He looks just like my Soldier-daddy."

Irregardless of what the left-wing nut jobs think, no one in the military likes war. We train for it, prepare for it, try to succeed at winning it. Let's get the job done. Let's teach the Iraqi and Afghan military and police how to be good at their jobs, to defend and protect their country. Then let's bring everyone home. We don't need any more little girls growing up without their Soldier-daddies.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

the big 20,000...

This all started almost 19 months ago. Weddings, Queen Eleanor, CIOR, Boy Scout Jamboree, Bosnia, Dusters, MilBlog Conference, Afghanistan and assorted other topics. There too many sites to name, but my favorites are The Castle, Ala's, Blackfive, Maggie's, AFSis, Barb, etc, etc. I wish I had more time to write, but shit, and life, happens. This is a short post, but I do appreciate all the visitors. From all over the world. England, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Australia, France, Kuwait, Brazil, and numerous others. Tonight I hit 20,000 visits. The 20,000 visitor was from Chester, Pennsylvania. Someone doing a google search. Welcome to my world....


Friday, December 29, 2006

Decisions that boggle the mind

Hey everybody. Nope I haven’t fallen off the edge of the world. With serious knee surgery, powerful drugs, painful physical therapy, a pending divorce, and the holidays, I just haven’t had the time or inclination to do much posting. But I found out something the other day that pisses me off.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I was the PAO for the US Joint Forces Military Skills Training Center. I did that in 2002, 2004, and 2005.
The Center originally was the training camp for Reserve and Guard officers of all five services to compete for slots on the US team to compete at the NATO Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers (CIOR) Military Skills Competition held every year since 1948. It’s a pentathlon consisting of rifle marksmanship, pistol marksmanship, 500-meter land obstacle course, 50-meter water obstacle course, and a 10 to 15-kilometer land nav course. The competition moves from NATO country to NATO country every year. What’s interesting is that for the rifle and pistol competitions, the shooters used the weapons of the host country. No race guns. Just off the shelf, out of the armory weapons. 200 meters for the rifle; 25 meters for the pistol. The water obstacle course is swam wearing the host country duty uniforms. The US has always done well at the competitions. Sometimes, very well.
A few years ago, right before Sep 11, a smart team captain came up with the idea of opening up the Center. They had the best marksmanship instructors in the military there teaching how to shoot. Almost all of the instructors wore the President’s One Hundred tab awarded to the top 100 military shooters at the National Matches held each year at Camp Perry, Ohio. They had the top land nav experts teaching advanced land navigation skills. They taught International Laws of War, nutrition, task visualization, combat first aid. So U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Col. Bob Thompson started advertising what the center had to offer. There was a little interest in what the Center had to offer.
Then Sep 11 happened. We were now at war. The Global War on Terrorism. Interest in what the Center had to offer took off. Instead of one three-week training camp each summer, the Center started conducting training courses for anyone who asked. A platoon leader from the 344th MI battalion brought several of his platoon and squad sergeants to learn how to be better shooters. They wrote a short time after leaving and said when they went to the range to qualify, his company had a 100% pass rate, the highest in the battalion, and the battalion commander wanted to know what they did to get their scores up. The 108th Training Division, now in Iraq training part of the Iraqi Army, sent their marksmanship instructors to a four-day training course so they could be better marksmanship instructors for the Iraqis. The head land nav instructor at the Center, A Naval Reserve SEAL, was chosen by the commander of SEAL Team 2 to re-teach advanced land nav to the active duty SEAL’s. Cadre at the Center received emails and letters from former attendees at some of the training camps that said the land nav and marksmanship training they had received had saved their asses in Afghanistan and Iraq. Navy marksmanship instructors from the Great Lakes Naval Training Center came to learn from the Center’s instructors. Facility Engineer Team 19, deploying to Iraq, stop first at the Center for a 3-day team building course. Officers who completed the three week training camps said it was some of the best training they had ever completed, including Rangers, Special Forces, West Point grads.
So it seems that Lt. Col. Thompson was right. The Center could and did provide valuable war fighting instruction to those who need and wanted it. Until this year.
The Center is congressionally mandated to be funded by the US Army Reserve Command. The upper leadership of USARC has for years hated the Center. So much so that when awards were written for cadre and officers, they were turned down. Lt Col. Thompson was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal by an Admiral from the Joint Forces Command because the powers that be at USARC refused to okay the Army award. USARC has tried several times to cut all funding. This year, they finally succeeded. Some pencil pushing geek, who probably couldn’t make the team one year, cut the funding because “if it’s not related to fighting the Global War on Terrorism, it goes.” Back in the 70’s and 80’s, the Center had the reputation of being the “San Antone Jog and Supper Club” as Lt. Col Thompson called it.
That was then, this is now. The Center’s budget was cut in 2006 so that NO training camp was conducted, and just to show a face, funded two 3-man teams to go to the NATO competition. No training, no adjustment for jet lag. Just fly in. Compete. Go home. And I found out last week, there’s NO funding for 2007.
So we can spend millions of dollars to fund a NASCAR car to get some bubbas to enlist, or a dragster, or Army Athlete program, or a high school all-star football game. But a facility that trains Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen to be better warfighters gets cut. Good bonehead decision, asswipes.
At least the website is still up.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Veteran's Day

Veteran's Day is a few weeks off. It's a day to honor veterans and their contributions to keeping us free. A lot of blood, sweat, tears, and lives have been spent for a little over a couple hundred years preserving what the Minutemen won for us. I remember standing and watching the 'old guys' marching by during numerous parades. I remember thinking, "I wonder what their stories are? What did they do to earn the medals they are wearing?"
Fast forward to now. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are producing combat-experienced veterans. More and more everyday. But something I didn't think about until today, is that there are LOTS of veteran's out there. Gulf War, Grenada, Panama, Vietnam, Korea, WWII, and of course, the Cold War. What am I rambling about? I got this in my email today.

VA: Wear Medals on Veterans Day
R. James Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and leaders of
major veterans organizations have called on America's veterans to
help kindle a new spark of patriotism on Veterans Day by wearing
the medals they earned during military service. "We expect Americans
will see our decorated heroes unite in spirit at ceremonies, in
parades and elsewhere as a compelling symbol of courage and
sacrifice on Veterans Day, the day we set aside to thank those who
served and safeguarded our national security," said Nicholson. The
campaign follows a tradition whereby Australia and New Zealand honor
veterans of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) on
April 25. On ANZAC Day, veterans wear their military decorations
whatever they are doing. Nicholson said he hopes a U. S. tradition
will ensue to emulate this pride in being a veteran and in honoring
our veterans. Visit

I think it's a good idea. Wear what you earned. Not to show off, but to take pride in being a vet. Order some minatures, or just the ribbons. Or maybe just your biggies. Take pride in what you did. What do you say, Vets? I'm game if you are.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

New Army Campaign

On 9 October, the US Army rolled out it's new campaign, Army Strong. It comes with a VERY cool video. Gave me goose bumps..... Here's the official release:
The U.S. Army announced Oct. 9 the start of its communication and education efforts to assist the Army family to communicate to the Nation about Soldier’s skills, leadership, teamwork, and selfless service prior to the launch of a new Army advertising campaign. Army Secretary Dr. Francis J. Harvey unveiled the Army Strong campaign, a key component of the Army’s recruiting and advertising efforts, at the 2006 Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
“This morning we will launch our internal communications and education phase lasting several weeks until we formally launch the new advertising campaign on Nov 9,” Harvey said. “It is vitally important that the internal Army family understand and embrace this new campaign. I believe this campaign speaks to an essential truth of being a Soldier”.
The Army Strong campaign builds on the foundation of the previous recruiting campaigns by highlighting the transformative power of the U.S. Army. Army Strong captures the defining experience of U.S. Army Soldiers.
“Army Strong is a strength personified by every U.S. Army Soldier -Active Duty, Army Reserve, National Guard, Cadet and Retired,” said Lt Gen. Robert Van Antwerp Jr., commander US Army Accessions Command. “This campaign will show Americans that there is strong, then there’s Army Strong. I am both inspired and confident that the campaign will build on the positive momentum within our recruiting program.”
Army Strong was developed to specifically address the interests and motivations of those considering a career in the U.S. military. The campaign also speaks to those who understand and support the decision of a family member, friend or employee to serve.
A national advertising campaign for the Army Strong message will launch Nov. 9 and will initially involve television, radio and online spots as well as an updated Web site. Print ads are scheduled to begin running in January 2007. The ads will be directed to media that appeals to young adults.
Army Strong is the creation of the McCann Worldgroup, the U.S. Army’s marketing communications agency. McCann Worldgroup was retained Dec. 7, 2005, after a competitive review of potential agency partners. To develop the campaign, McCann conducted extensive research among prospective soldiers and their influencers, and interacted directly with hundreds of Soldiers. “This is a campaign informed by research, and inspired by Soldiers,” said Eric Keshin, McCann Worldgroup’s worldwide Chief Operating Officer and Regional Director-North America.


Monday, September 11, 2006

Why we fight... Why it's Real...

Never forget...


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Just another Soldier.....

I got this yesterday from one of my DOD email lists. Another example of the type of Soldiers we have in the US Army. I'm sure there's just as many Airman, Marines, Sailors and Coasties that are of the same character Spec. Davis is. I've read over the last few years, and had several conversations with people, about the military. One idiot in particular from California (imagine that....) commented on FBL's site about how the bad the military is, that the ones who re-enlisted were forced to, and other left-wing dribble. The thing is, no matter what is written about Soldiers like Spec. Davis, the left-wingers just attribute it to military propaganda. If it comes from CNN, or The LA Times, or The Washington Post, then it must be true. If it comes from the American Forces Press Service, it has to be propaganda.
One friend of mine, VERY left wing, asked that if so many good things are happening in Iraq and Afghanistan, why don't hear about it. He couldn't believe that there is a left-wing, anti-Bush slant in the MSM. He thought CNN presented a very fair, unbiased account of the news. At that point, I figured there wasn't any use in trying to convince him otherwise.
Anyway, I'm getting off subject. Enjoy the read. One point that I noticed, it looks like someone has filled in for the loss of Fran O'Brien's.

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2006 - Army Spec. Crystal Davis proved her steely grit the night the up-armored wrecker she was driving in Iraq hit an improvised explosive devise.

Trapped in the destroyed vehicle with her right foot nearly severed, she told her cohorts she'd hoist herself out rather than risk having them come in.

"I think about it every day," Davis told country music singer-songwriter Rockie Lynne Aug. 18, at a dinner for wounded servicemembers and their families. "Every moment that goes by a part will flash back. I tell it differently every time because I remember different things as time goes by."

Davis was one of about 20 severely injured servicemembers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center here and the National Naval Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md., who dined on the rooftop of The Exchange restaurant here. Lynne was among the 40 or so family members, veterans and other guests who joined the troops at the dinner hosted and sponsored by Jim Nicopoulos, owner of The Exchange.

"What an inspirational story -- she's amazing," said Lynne, a former Army infantryman, after listening to Davis describe her experience and profess her determination to stay in the Army.

"This is such an example of how today's battlefield is so vastly different than even the Gulf War, because now there are no frontlines. There are no support units in the rear," he said. "In today's military, there is clear and present danger for every single person who joins."

Davis, 22, a native of Camden, S.C., joined the Army in January 2004 to become a track mechanic and also trained as a vehicle recovery specialist. As she put it, her job was to "pick up blown up, broke down or stuck vehicles."

Assigned to the 54th Engineer Battalion in Bamburg, Germany, she deployed to Iraq in November 2005. At first, she said, she didn't feel threatened being there. "I just felt like it was another day at work," she said. "I would go outside the wire three, four, five times a week, doing different missions."

On Jan. 21, 2006, a two-hour firefight ensued outside the wire. Her team chief remarked that he hated to go outside into a bunch of irate Iraqis.

"I just kind of laughed at him and brushed it off," Davis recalled. "He asked if I wanted him to drive that night. I said no, I'd drive. He said we'd be taking the same route we always took so it would be all right -- but it just wasn't all right."

Davis was driving the second to last vehicle in a convoy doing route clearance. As she straightened out of a left turn onto the road, Iraqi insurgents detonated a remote-controlled IED.

"It was about 2 in the morning," she recalled. "I had just taken off my eye protection because I'd been up all day and I wanted to stretch and scratch my eyes and kind of wake up a little bit. I had one hand on the wheel, and as I went to grab for the glasses I saw a red flash and heard a boom. I put my hands on the wheel and hit the gas to get out of the danger zone."

The next thing she knew, she awoke to find the vehicle stopped. She was facing the driver's door, but the door had been was blown off. She had glass fragments in her eyes.

"I turned and saw my weapon was still there but my seat belt had been blown off of me," she said. "My right leg was bent backward on top of the steering wheel and my foot was hanging off - it was still connected, but I guess you could say it wasn't there.

"I couldn't see my left leg. I didn't know where it was. All of a sudden my team chief said, 'Hey Ms. Davis, are you all right? Talk to me; talk to me.' All of a sudden the pain just hit me at once, and I said, 'My legs hurt. I don't know why. My legs hurt.'"

Within what seemed like seconds to the injured soldier, Sgt. Jessie Venable, Davis' best friend and the unit's medic, was there. "She looked at me, and I could see the tears in her eyes, but she kept everything professional and she did her job.

"She took off my helmet and my flak vest and turned to the people who were going to help her and said, 'I don't know how we're going to get her out.' She didn't know I heard her.

Trapped in a vehicle the size of an 18-wheeler with 4-foot-tall tires, Davis told Venable, "'Hold on a minute, let me see if I can get myself out. If I can't then you can try.'

"I'd rather hurt myself worse than have her climb in there and hurt herself and hurt me," she said.

Davis found her left leg crushed underneath the seat. Knowing her right foot was already lost, she put pressure on that leg to lift herself up. She grabbed her other leg and set it on the doorjamb.

"I grabbed my left leg and gently pulled it over, and as I went to go set it down somebody grabbed my foot, so I set my leg on top of my foot where it was disconnected," She said.

Venable told Davis to fall forward and she did. Davis said she believes she fought off death shortly after she was put on an air evacuation plane. "I don't know what happened, but I felt the medic's lips on mine and I felt her pushing on my chest, but at the same time I was looking down at her. It was like someone was telling me, 'You can give up now peacefully, or you can fight.'

"I've never quit," Davis told Lynne. "I've never given up a fight. I'll be the first one in the middle of a brawl."

Davis said some people say she's crazy because she wants to stay in the military. "But, there's a reason to my madness," she said with a slight smile. "I'm doing everything I can to push myself to the limit and past it to get there. They're going to have to put up with me for the next 18 years."

Her original goal was a long-term Army career. "When I signed up, I signed up for four years," she said. "But in my mind and in my heart, I signed up for the whole 20 years.

"I joined to get a change of life, to do something better with my life than what I was doing," she said. "My life was heading down the wrong street at the wrong time, and I wanted to live."

Every bone in Davis's left leg was broken. Her heel, ankle and nerves were crushed. Today, she said she has partial feeling in her foot. She cannot wiggle her toes. She can move her foot up and down a little and side to side. She said it looks like the doctors took a handful of screws and put them in her foot. She has a plate holding her heel together. She also got a prosthetic right leg she's been walking on since mid-March.

Despite such trauma, this young soldier said she has no regrets.

"I wouldn't take back a thing," Davis said. "I believe that even if I wasn't in the military that this would have happened to me some way or another somewhere down the line. I'm glad I was in the military because they can pay for it.

"It's a miracle that I'm here, and I thank God every day," she concluded.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Queen's First Birthday

I am in Oklahoma celebrating my granddaughter's 1st birthday. It's hard to believe she's a year old already. Seems like yesterday I was holding this tiny little thing two weeks old. Now she's one. Next thing you know, she'll be graduating college or getting married or something like that. But for now, she's still my cute little E. She's really a happy little kid. She was up late the night before her birthday because Daddy and Grandma Gordon were heading to San Antonio to watch Daddy's sister graduate from basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, but that's the subject of another post. She had cake, and lots of presents, and cake, and some books from her Papa (that's me...), and...cake... Great Aunt Louise sent her one of those 'Killer Clowns'. She does have a way of winning one's heart. I'm gonna miss the little munchin when I go home. A lot.


Saturday, July 22, 2006

Above and Beyond....

Recently, a US Army Soldier was recommended for the Medal of Honor for his actions in Fallujah, Iraq. Notice I didn't say Congressional Medal of Honor. The MOH is awarded by the President on behalf of Congress, but the official title is the Medal of Honor. Staff Sgt. David Bellavia. Bellavia kicked some serious Iraq insurgent ass and saved a bunch of his guys. Click on the link and go read the citation, then come back so you have a reference for the rest of my post. When I was reading the recommendation, it reminded me of another MOH recipient, US Army Master Sgt. Roy P. Benavidez.
In July 2001, I had the privilege of traveling around the country as part of the Nationwide Exercise, covering US Army Reserve units at their Annual Training. I went to Atlanta for a few days for planning then went to Fort Bliss, Texas; Camp Guernsey, Wyoming; Custer National Park, South Dakota; Rosebud Souix Indian Reservation, South Dakota; Rapid City, South Dakota, then back to Atlanta.
While I was in Fort Bliss, a supply sergeant for one of the units I covered was an artist who painted a portrait of Master Sgt. Roy P. Benavidez to hang in the Reserve Center that was being renamed in honor of Benavidez. The ceremony was being held after I left El Paso. The recommendation for his MOH reads like something out of a Sgt. Rock comic book. Just unbelievable...
Master Sergeant, then Staff Sergeant, United States Army. Who distinguished himself by a series of daring and extremely glorious actions on 2 May 1968 while assigned to Detachment B-56, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). 1st Special Forces, Republic of Vietnam. On the morning of 2 May 1968, a 12-man Special Forces Reconnaissance Team was inserted by helicopters in a dense jungle area west of Loc Ninh, Vietnam to gather intelligence information about confirmed large-scale enemy activity. This area was controlled and routinely patrolled by the North Vietnamese Army. After a short period of time on the ground, the team met heavy enemy resistance and requested emergency extraction. 3 helicopters attempted extraction, but were unable to land due to intense enemy small arms and anti-aircraft fire. Sergeant Benavidez was at the Forward Operating Base in Loc Ninh monitoring the operation by radio when these helicopters returned to off-load wounded crew members and to assess aircraft damage. Sergeant Benavidez voluntarily boarded a returning aircraft to assist in another extraction attempt. Realizing that all the team members were either dead or wounded and unable to move to the pickup zone, he directed the aircraft to a nearby clearing where he jumped from the hovering helicopter, and ran approximately 75 meters under withering small arms fire to the crippled team. Prior to reaching the team's position he was wounded in his right leg, face and head. Despite these painful injuries he took charge, repositioning the team members and directing their fire to facilitate the landing of an extraction aircraft, and the loading of wounded and dead team members. He then threw smoke canisters to direct the aircraft to the team's position. Despite his severe wounds and under intense enemy fire, he carried and dragged half of the wounded team members to the awaiting aircraft. He then provided protective fire by running alongside the aircraft as it moved to pick up the remaining team members. As the enemy's fire intensified, he hurried to recover the body and classified documents on the dead team leader. When he reached the leader's body, Sergeant Benavidez was severely wounded by small arms fire in the abdomen and grenade fragments in his back. At nearly the same moment, the aircraft pilot was mortally wounded, and his helicopter crashed. Although in extremely critical condition due to his multiple wounds, Sergeant Benavidez secured the classified documents and made his way back to the wreckage, where he aided the wounded out of the overturned aircraft, and gathered the stunned survivors into a defensive perimeter. Under increasing enemy automatic weapons and grenade fire, he moved around the perimeter distributing water and ammunition to his weary men, reinstilling in them a will to live and fight. Facing a buildup of enemy opposition with a beleaguered team, Sergeant Benavidez mustered his strength, began calling in tactical air strikes and directed the fire from supporting gun ships to suppress the enemy's fire and so permit another extraction attempt. He was wounded again in his thigh by small arms fire while administering first aid to a wounded team member just before another extraction helicopter was able to land. His indomitable spirit kept him going as he began to ferry his comrades to the craft. On his second trip with the wounded, he was clubbed with additional wounds to his head and arms before killing his adversary. He then continued under devastating fire to carry the wounded to the helicopter. Upon reaching the aircraft, he spotted and killed 2 enemy soldiers who were rushing the craft from an angle that prevented the aircraft door gunner from firing upon them. With little strength remaining, he made one last trip to the perimeter to ensure that all classified material had been collected or destroyed, and to bring in the remaining wounded. Only then, in extremely serious condition from numerous wounds and loss of blood, did he allow himself to be pulled into the extraction aircraft. Sergeant Benavidez' gallant choice to voluntarily join his comrades who were in critical straits, to expose himself constantly to withering enemy fire, and his refusal to be stopped despite numerous severe wounds, saved the lives of at least 8 men. His fearless personal leadership, tenacious devotion to duty, and extremely valorous actions in the face of overwhelming odds were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflect the utmost credit on him and the United States Army.

It is amazing to me what these guys did. What makes Benavidez do what he did, injured like he was, while others with lesser wounds could do nothing? I'm willing to bet he didn't feel like he was a hero. You have to wonder what was going through his head at the time, or Bellavia's, or Sgt 1st Class Paul Smith's, or Sgt. 1st Class Randy Shughart's or Master Sgt. Gary Gordon's, or... or...

True heroes. Not sports stars, or actors, or singers who are wrongly considered heroes. But truely heroes. The kind that a lot of American families are glad stepped up so that their Soldiers were able to come home, alive. And because of the actions of these MOH recipients and others, a lot of guys did come home alive. And I haven't seen one single article about Staff Sgt. Bellavia in the MSM. Imagine that...