Friday, August 29, 2008

Today’s News 29/8/08

I was at first shocked when I heard that former president Carter had reportedly said that John McCain is "milking every possible drop of advantage" from his 5 ½ years as a POW. Then it occurred to me, what would you expect from a man who left 52 of his countrymen as hostages in Iran for 444 days? If he could leave his Iranian embassy staff to face the daily threat of death for over a year then how could you expect him to think being a POW was much of a big deal?

Gov. Sarah Palin as VP? The Maverick hit a grand slam with this pick. He just wrapped up the Evangelical vote with her staunch pro life stand, the female vote with all those fence sitting Hillary voters, and the heterosexual male vote (although I do not suspect that demographic will drop Obama's poll numbers).

Update: Blackfive has a pic of her sitting on my bike. Well, take away that faring up front and it's mine. Do you think she will ride with us next Rolling Thunder? And, have you seen her husband? Not exactly Mr. Mom. Looks like he's fully capable of defending his family.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dog Days

I have not had a day off for over three weeks now with each morning starting before 6:00 AM. The work has been very demanding but equally rewarding. I have already given some indication about some of the training and will now take some time to elaborate further. Much of the training has been on activities I have performed a number of times in both Afghanistan and the Philippines. The advantage of this course was the additional time to update my knowledge to the latest combat proven tactics and techniques and become familiar with more of the fine details that define the difference between the amateurs and the professionals.

Driving was probably the highlight of the course. We started out in the back seat with a couple of demo laps by an instructor on a track with much more that just four left turns then quickly found ourselves in the driver's seat of a Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. We drove on a skid pad, on the fast dry track (until a downpour began), and even at night (a different, dryer night).

Now for my bragging questions: Who here has done some Tokyo drifting? …in a Suburban? …in a Suburban weighing 10,000 pounds due to level VII armor? My hand is still up and the grin is still on my face a week later.

The course climaxed with two and a half days of practical exercises with realistic scenarios taken from actual events in Afghanistan and Iraq. We used simmunition guns and had mannequins in the shoot house for the first half day. On the last two days we took our sim guns against live roll players with paintball guns; the maximum effective range of a sim gun is much less that the effective range of a paintball gun. Our weapons disadvantage required us to ensure our tactics were sound and applied properly.

My training is over now with only a half dozen paintball sized bruises and I'll be flying home in the morning with a delightful grin and fond memories.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Another update

It has been a while since my last posting; mostly because I have not been involved in the fields this blog normally covers. On the personal side, I've been waiting for a contract and moved into a new house.

I'll share one proud moment. About 10 years ago I built a bed for my son. It was a real sturdy one elevated like a bunk bed only with shelves and a desk instead of a bed below. After 10 years and several moves it was time to paint it again. Not only was the paint worn a bit but the red, yellow, and blue color scheme was a little too juvenile for a teenage boy. I asked him what colors he wanted and he said, "Red, white, and blue with all 50 stars on the desk." Yes, asking the question on the 4th of July likely influenced the answer some but it's still nice to have a son who appreciates this country so much.

Now the bed is dark blue with white walls/supports under it and red shelves and ladder that adds a red and white stripped effect. The desk top is also dark blue with the requested 50 white stars and I managed to get them right-side-up unlike the Clinton campaign organizers.

I have been in a training course for the past 2 weeks that has been quite enjoyable. A little shooting last week and some fast driving and intentional crashing of cars this week. I also hope to have a firm deployment schedule soon but I currently expect to be back in Baghdad within a month. You'll be hearing more from me once I get back down range.

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