Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Good news!

News this good has to be shared!

I am taking courses from University of Phoenix Online and my current class is Human Nutrition. I know, I'm breaking the Jon Carrie stereotype. Either that or I'm trying to get unstuck. So, back to class. This little bit of info shows up from WebMD.

Apparently, dark chocolate (not all that wimpy, waxy stuff most of us eat but the real dark, rich in flavor stuff that I love) has these flavoniods that help reduce the effects that cause heart disease. If your familiar with other report about winos having really healthy arteries from drinking so much red wine, this is the same stuff, only dark chocolate has a higher concentration.

Don't take my word for it. Go read the article at WebMD.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

I need your help

I need some help. I have spent most of my life living in the desert southwest where the weather is dry. Now that I am on a tropical island where it rains almost every day, everything rots. Around here, if it is made of metal it has rust on it, if not metal it grows mold. The rust I can handle. Proper maintenance and liberal oil can solve that but the mold is another issue.

If any of you have any suggestions about how to inhibit mold on leather, please let me know.

Update: Someone brought to my attention that I was lacking a few important details. First, I do not have a problem with my boots. The frequently rotated layers of mud keeps them from molding. The worst items for mold are holsters and the leather slingfor my rifle. Cloth items also grow mold.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

News from the front

I have been completely out of contact with the rest of the world, both real and virtual, for the past week; a week that ended with some significant success in the Global War on Terrorism. Yesterday, I called home and my wife read me this article from the AP.

MANILA, Jan. 17 -- A militant leader tied to al-Qaeda and accused of masterminding one of Southeast Asia's worst terror attacks has been killed, the Philippine military said Wednesday.

I had a good chuckle hearing what the news had to say about operations here while thinking of the behind the scenes info I know. I can verify that the identity is correct and Jainal Antel Sali, room temperature at a savings of $5 Million for the U.S. taxpayers because the hunting tag was applied by government employees who are not entitled to reward money.

Wikipedia, has already posted an update but attributes the kill to U.S. Special Forces when the credit belongs to the Philippine Special Forces. Our role here is just to assist and advise.

Update: It seems this terrorist has something in common with bears. He was, quit literally, caught with his pants down. I'm fairly certain he forgot to wipe; his mother would have been so disappointed in him.


Monday, January 08, 2007


Counter Insurgency (COIN) operations are all about winning the hearts and minds of the local population. This can be difficult when we are perceived as the foreigners imposing legislation on a population that wants political autonomy and where the insurgents are often family members who claim to be fighting for autonomy. Our best efforts are focused on helping the locals achieve peace and prosperity while the insurgents are busy with their death and extortion. One of our tools is the MedCap.

We were up before the sun to finish loading supplies and gear into our vehicles and convoyed over muddy and often deeply rutted roads to a remote village where the people lived in huts little different from Gilligan’s Island. We stopped in a small clearing with the two best structures in the town used as the village school. They had cinderblock walls, wooden slats instead of glass for windows so the air could blow through freely and tin roofs. The wood in the building showed that termites were the primary residents.

We quickly set up a temporary clinic and began assessing patients. We saw quite a wide variety of medical issues. One complained that his stomach hurt when he ate too much; I wanted to tell him, “so does mine.” A mother complained that her 8-year-old boy had a loss of appetite; I wanted to tell here, “We call that being a fussy eater.” Others came to have cists removed or teeth pulled and a few boys and young men came for circumcisions. We provided some form of medical care for more than 100 patients that day but the day was not over.

We brought a projector and screen with us and by the time the sun went down, we had a field expedient movie theater set up. I can say from experience that laughter is a universal language that can tear down some thick cultural barriers. Even when the locals do not understand the English spoken in the movie, they always laugh up a storm during Ice Age.

After spending a night under the stars, with the dew so thick that it appeared to have rained, we again awoke before the sun, packed our wet sleeping bags, cots and hammocks and convoyed back to camp leaving behind another village who now know who the good guys are.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

More good news out of the islands…

A composite team of government forces killed two Abu Sayyaf leaders and five of their men following a firefight off the waters of Panglima Sugala town in Tawi-tawi on Saturday afternoon, a military spokesman reported.

Keep reading. You will see that they captured two other high value targets the day before.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

News from the front

One notable fact about serving in the Philippines is that it does not take long for information to appear in the news.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- Remains believed to be from the chief of the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, who was a target of a monthslong U.S.-backed manhunt, have been found in the southern Philippines, the military said.

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from