Monday, May 28, 2007

In Memoriam

The other day I was paging through an old copy of the official U.S. Special Operations Command magazine and saw a list of USSOCOM soldiers who had been killed in action in the war on terrorism. I found the names of the two from my battalion during my first deployment to Afghanistan and one of a soldier I attended the Special Forces course with that recognized my brother in Bagdad just before he died. I was surprised by a couple names that I recognized from my past of men I had lost contact with. On this Memorial Day I honor each of them individually for their sacrifice while protecting us from the imposition of a distorted form of Shariah Law.

Like the BlackFive writers, I also suggest that we honor them on this day by enjoying life to its fullest. I plan to do so by riding my bike to meet my siblings and their families at my brother and father's grave sites and enjoy a picnic with them at a nearby park.

On this Memorial Day I am also reminded of the difference between giving one's life for a cause and dying for a cause. The latter only takes a moment and is usually unintentional while the former requires a lifetime of dedication. To best honor those who gave all in a moment, we should live the rest of our lives promoting the cause that they died for.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Out of the office

Or something like that.

I'm home. I'll post when I come up for air.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Military Spouses Day

In honor of Military Spouses Day on May 11th. I'm posting this story that I found a few days ago. The original is attributed to Erma Bombeck in the late '80s but it has been changed countless times to the point she no longer considered it exclusively hers. You are also hereby given prior tissue warning.

When God Created the Military Wife

When the Lord was creating a military wife He ran into His sixth day of overtime. An angel appeared and said, "You're having a lot of trouble with this one. What's wrong with the standard model?"

The Lord replied, "Have you seen the specs on this order? It has to be completely independent but must always be sponsored to get on a military installation. It must have the qualities of both mother and father during deployments, be a perfect host to 4 or 40, handle emergencies without an instruction manual, cope with flu and moves all around the world, have a kiss that cures anything from a child's bruised knee to a husband's weary days, have the patience of a saint when waiting for its mate to come home and, have six pairs of hands."

The angel shook her head slowly and said, "Six pairs of hands? No way." The Lord answered, "Don't worry; we will make other military wives to help. Besides, it's not the hands that are causing the problem, it's the heart. It must swell with pride, sustain the ache of numerous separations while remaining true, beat soundly even when it feels too tired to do so, be large enough to say 'I understand' when it doesn't, and say 'I love you', regardless.

"Lord," said the angel, gently touching His sleeve. "Go to bed. You can finish it tomorrow." "I can't," said the Lord. "I'm so close to creating something quite unique. Already it can heal itself when sick, on a moment's notice it will willingly embrace and feed total strangers who have been stranded during a PCS move and it can wave goodbye to its husband understanding why he had to leave."

The angel circled the model of the military wife very slowly. "It's too soft," she sighed.

"But tough," the Lord said excitedly. "You cannot imagine what this being can do or endure."

"Can it think?" asked the angel. "Can it think?! It can convert 1400 to 2 p.m.," replied the Lord.

Finally the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek. "There's a leak," she said. "I told you that you were trying to put too much into this model." It's not a leak," said the Lord. "It's a tear." "What's it for?" asked the angel. "It's for joy, sadness, pain, loneliness and pride." "You're a genius," said the angel.

Looking at her somberly, the Lord replied, "I didn't put it there."


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

So close yet so far…

I didn't get any sleep Saturday night. It was part of my sleep time adjustment plan. Then half way through the night someone let me know that the mil internet access was inadequately monitored so I identified the network settings and stole redirected some bandwidth just in time to catch the last few hours of the MilBlog Conference. I even managed an hour or two of video; well, broken audio with an occasional image.

Sunday morning was just a fight to stay awake until I could get on the plane. We were wheels up early afternoon and made a straight line back to McCord AFB with only two brief stops for refueling. After about 20 hours on the plane we landed in the middle of the afternoon Sunday, dropped our bags in our temporary home and found our way to a local fire baked pizza restaurant.

Monday was painful. Briefings all morning (not something a bunch of jet-lagged guys would have chosen) and long lines all afternoon to ensure we knew what benefits were available and our health and paperwork were all in order so we could be discharged from active duty. Monday's dinner was at a very good BBQ place.

My system is not used to the wide variety of rich foods I have been eating lately and I have been paying for it, but it's worth it eating meals without rice. All the anticipation for my return home has been quite anticlimactic. It almost feels like I never left; no excitement in the new freedoms and greatly improved lifestyle. Maybe I'm still emotionally numb from the transition or maybe I've done it so many times that I don't care anymore. Still, I've come a long way but I'm not home yet.


Saturday, May 05, 2007

What I will not miss here

1. Being wet all the time. If it’s not raining I’m sweating.
2. Spider webs across the face several times a day.
3. The constant, never ending, sound of a generator.
4. The fear that strikes me each time I don’t hear the generator. (Generator mechanic is an additional duty which I have not been trained for.)
5. Driving wide vehicles on narrow/crowded streets.
6. Rice and chicken… for every meal!!!
7. Interrupting a night’s sleep for an hour’s guard duty.
8. Traveling everywhere with 70 pounds of armor, weapons and ammo.
9. Mold on everything that’s not metal.
10. Rust on everything that is metal.
11. Internet access little faster than dial-up and extremely high latency shared by a dozen people
12. Having to walk outside to go to the bathroom and experience #2.
13. Cold showers.
14. Water restrictions.

More to come as I recall them.


Thursday, May 03, 2007


My travels started earlier than I originally expected but it still does not get me home any sooner. I just stole some online time to drop a note and tell you why I have not been around lately. Give me a few more weeks to travel and settle in at home then I'll be back in business.

Best wishes to the MilBlog Conference; I wish I could be there.

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