Monday, November 30, 2009

Welcome to Mos Eisley Spaceport

Hello to all back in the states -

I'm sitting at a computer in the hotel at 1:25 AM Tuesday Kuwait time because I've napped and I'm unable to force myself to sleep anymore....still dealing with the effects of jet lag and a body clock that won't get off East Coast time....

My wayward bag finally made it to my hotel this evening - quite a bit of luck and persistence on my part made it get here - the bag went with me to Wash DC but was then shipped back to DFW - United Airlines then had to ship it BACK to WASH DC & then on to me in Kuwait. This bag has all my extra gear (gloves, hat, extra sox, etc.) Losing this bag would have started things off on a bad foot....I would have been an unhappy camper to say the least.

We will head out to our destination Tuesday AM. A 5 hour plane ride and then some more hurry up & wait likely....nothing gets done easy on this side of the world....

I have spoken with a number of the managers who i will be working with and the job will be a challenge - lots of work and not much else to do but worries as I have been sitting on the bench for the past 5 months so working long hours will even things out.....

The landscape where I will be somehow invites comparison to Tatoonie in Star Wars ( I apologize in advance to all non-Star Wars Geeks for this portion of the message)

Take a read of this description of Tatooine & substitute "Afghanistan" instead

Tatooine rests in the distant Outer Rim, beyond the reaches of Republic and Imperial law. Even the Trade Federation lacked a presence on the desert planet. Poor, with very little industry to boast, Tatooine is a mixture of hard-working locals attempting to extract a living from the unforgiving environment and transients visiting the world for illegal ventures. Tatooine is controlled by the Hutts, and their shady operations bring many spacers, bounty hunters, thieves and other malcontents to the planet's few port cities.

Tatooine has a seemingly endless desert environment cooked by the intense energy of twin yellow suns. Rocky mesas, canyons and arroyos break up the monotony of kilometers of shifting dunes. The days are hot and the nights are frigid. The air is dry and the soil is parched. Yet life persists on Tatooine, in varied, hardy forms.

Not too far off eh? I think I will place a small sign near my work area that says " Welcome to Mos Eisley Spaceport " and see how many make the connection.

Hope all is well back there - seems the media is fixated on Tiger Woods & the Dubai Mess....meanwhile American Soldiers, Marines, Sailors & Airmen (and some civilian contractors) are attempting to make an effort on the far side of the world to assist the Afghan people.....President JAFO will make a speech Tuesday evening.....Looks like he took the "Go Heavy" advice & tweaked it....we will see where that leads....I am glad to see that there will be more military in my neck of the woods complaints from me - I LIKE having them around.....Like the AMEX Card, don't leave home without them.....

All for now from "Middleboro Jones"....Thanks for reading....send me a note - You can't imagine how cool it is to read about the regular things going on back really makes my day

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lost Bag Blues

I want to tell you a story about the " Lost Baggage Blues"...My sea bag got lost on the way overseas.

I have been trying to locate the lost sea bag which is like telling someone you are looking for a lost needle in a stack of needles......arrrrrrggghhhh. The airline takes the report and you get a lot of "we're sorry" but NO info on when the bag will be returned.....

The bag had all my extra gear in it - extra boots, poly pros, extra sox & underwear, goretex jacket, three extra pairs of jeans, towels, pillow, gloves, winter hat, sheets, etc - All the extras that will make life liveable...I still have the bag that I was living out of but the extras were there to make life in the sandbox livable...

I will have to wait to see what the "Lost Luggage" Gods decide and see if I ever see my sea bag again....

All I can say is "AAAAAARRGGGH"......somehow saying that makes me feel a little better.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Half way there.....Kuwait City

Took a flight and got half way there. Landed in Kuwait only to find out one of my bags was left behind in Washington D.C. - UGH! I guess it is better than not knowing where it is but that means I need to stay in Kuwait for a few days....Bag has most of my "incountry gear" - extra socks, towels , etc. Better to have that one delayed than the one with all my toiletries & regular stuff.

Got a decent meal, learned the exchange rate ( $3.25 US = 1 Kuwait Dinar) and had some time to kill as I will be here for a few days until my bag catches up with me. Then, I get to get on the last leg of the journey in country. I guess I shouldn't complain as that means a few more days of good hotel living before I get to camp out for a YEAR.....

Hope all had a good holiday and enjoyed Thanksgiving day dinner with family. I will look forward to next year's celebration. Had the chance to speak with some folks from texas before leaving DFW about being from SE Mass and living close by to Plymouth Plantation, etc. They thought it was very interesting and would like to visit up our way.

All for now from Middleboro Jones.... further updates as they are available.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


The sign posted (lower left) at one of the gyms on FOB Ramrod in AFGANISTAN:


-Open to the public
-Open 24 hrs


-No posing
-No standing around chatting while real men lift
-No whining about lack of equipment, real men make do
-Profanity highly encouraged
-Grunting and gutteral sounds of pain highly encouraged

Sunday, November 22, 2009

For 'Chosen Few,' victory at Wanat came at a high price

From the Honolulu Advertiser....A tribute to the brave men who fought at the Battle of Wanat in Afghanistan

November 22, 2009

For 'Chosen Few,' victory at Wanat came at a high price

By William Cole Honolulu Advertiser Military Writer

On the morning of July 13, 2008, the men of Chosen Company hauled themselves up before dawn, preparing for another hot and sweaty day of labor constructing a new combat outpost in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan.

After more than a year of fighting a resurgent enemy, the American platoon was tantalizingly close to going home.

All that remained between them and a flight out was this last-minute mission in the tiny village of Wanat, home to 50 families and a handful of brick and mud structures.

Unknown to the 49 U.S. troops, a force of up to 200 well-armed and well-trained enemy fighters had encircled the American camp and was about to spring a deadly trap.

The Americans spotted the movement of five to 10 enemy fighters and prepared to fire a 120 mm mortar into the hills.

"We better kill these guys before we get hit," Sgt. Brian Hissong, one of the "Chosen Few," remembered saying. But the enemy beat the Americans to the punch.

At 4:20 a.m., a torrent of rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire cascaded down on the U.S. camp from the surrounding hills. The intensity of incoming RPGs was so great that the U.S. soldiers wondered how the insurgents could have stockpiled so many.

"Allahu Akbar!" (God is great), an enemy fighter shouted in a shaky video taken by the militants of the attack from higher ground.

First Lt. Jonathan Brostrom of 'Aiea, commander of Chosen Company's 2nd Platoon, was at a rudimentary "command post" the soldiers had built in the five days since they arrived in Wanat.
Hearing calls for help on the radio from soldiers being hit at "Topside," an observation post about 300 feet up a terraced hill, Brostrom left the cover between a Humvee and a wall, and along with one of his soldiers, Cpl. Jason Hovater, 24, made a dash for the lookout.

"We have to do something We have to reinforce them!" Brostrom had said. On the way up, Brostrom was hit by enemy fire but still made it to the lookout to back up the soldiers who were fending off a storm of RPG and machine-gun fire.

At Topside, Spc. Tyler Stafford, who had joined the Army just a couple of years before and was on his first deployment, had taken shrapnel in his stomach, legs, arms and face, and was fighting to stay alive.

Stafford couldn't see where Brostrom was but remembers hearing the desperate communication between Brostrom and another soldier, Cpl. Pruitt Rainey.

Rainey, from Haw River, N.C., was a big guy, a wrestler and mixed martial arts fighter. At one point, Rainey shouted that they needed air support.

Brostrom "was screaming at Rainey and I could hear them shouting back and forth together," Stafford recalled. "I don't remember who said it, but they said, 'They're inside the wire!' And then I heard a bunch of gunfire and Rainey screaming, 'He's right behind the f------ sandbag! He's right behind the f------ sandbag!' "

Soon after, Brostrom and Rainey were dead. Brostrom had been shot several times.
His father, David, who lives in 'Aiea, said his son could have saved himself by staying at the more protected command post near the village center. But that just wasn't his nature.

"When (Topside) called that, 'Hey, we're taking casualties,' nothing was going to stop my son from going up there," David Brostrom said. "He would not be able to live with himself today if he hadn't gone up there."

Rainey, nicknamed the "gentle giant," was dead from multiple gunshot wounds.
Hovater, who charged up the hill with Brostrom, was lying on his stomach at Topside, likely trying to load a new magazine into his rifle, when he was shot in the head, the bullet traveling through his body and killing him.

Brostrom and Rainey may have been killed while trying to operate an M-240 machine gun. They were likely taken by surprise from the side or rear by an enemy fighter who breached the Topside defenses, according to an Army report on the battle.

The three young Americans were killed in the first 30 minutes of the Battle of Wanat. By the time the major fighting was over in just two hours, six more Americans would be dead.

Brostrom, a University of Hawai'i graduate, was the platoon leader and a surfer who won the respect of his men while not losing his ability to joke around with them. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his bravery.

Hovater, known as Hovy, was a deeply religious man who had married just six weeks before going to Afghanistan. He was "one of the best people I have ever met," recalled Stafford, now a sergeant and an Army recruiter in Colorado. He was "one of those people that you just look up to because of their kindness and genuineness."

Hovater was a nutritionist and a fitness trainer who gave the other soldiers weightlifting advice. Hovy could crack up his fellow soldiers with his imitation of comedian Will Ferrell and the battalion leader, Lt. Col. William Ostlund.

Rainey, who had hoped to become a teacher, had collected about $15,000 in winnings playing poker on the deployment. The 22-year-old was on the same basketball team in Italy with Stafford, and Rainey once racked up nine consecutive three-point shots to bring the team back from a 30-point deficit.

Withering fire

Once the quiet was broken on the morning of July 13, 2008, the enemy swiftly executed a plan to overwhelm the 49 Americans and 24 Afghan National Army soldiers at Wanat. They targeted a Humvee mounted with a missile launcher in the main encampment, slamming three rocket-propelled grenades into the vehicle and setting it on fire with three soldiers inside.
The soldiers escaped the Humvee and took cover at the command post.

When their Humvee exploded, two burning TOW missiles were lobbed into the air. They came down amid a group of Americans hunkered in the sandbagged command post. One rocket, whose motor was hissing as if ready to fire, landed in a soldier's lap. Another of the Chosen soldiers used a burlap sack to grab the heated rocket and toss it away.

A Chosen soldier manning a .50-caliber machine gun on top of one of the Humvees was ankle deep in spent shell casings; he had fired his way through 10 ammo cans, each holding 100 rounds.
Enemy forces fired from a bazaar, a hotel and a mosque in the village, and from the hills surrounding the Americans. The soldiers' rifle barrels turned red hot, weapons jammed and ammo ran low.

Several Humvees and a 120 mm mortar pit were hit by RPGs. U.S. positions and vehicles were on fire.

Staff Sgt. Erich Phillips was pouring out fire and went through three rifles until each jammed, according to a 248-page Army Combat Studies Institute report on the battle.

An exploding RPG hit Spc. Sergio S. Abad, 21, in the shoulder and legs as he manned the mortar pit. Another soldier helping the incapacitated Abad to the command post was shot through both legs and also went down. Soon after, Abad died, leaving a pregnant fiancee back home.

At the Topside observation post, soldiers were being battered and bloodied by RPGs that arrived in volleys of up to three at once. Eight of nine fatalities that day occurred at the observation post.
A tree directly above the post was being shredded by incoming fire. Branches, leaves and chunks of wood rained down on the Americans.

As the RPGs and machine-gun fire continued to tear their defenses apart, more and more men were getting hit and screaming for help.

Stafford, the soldier who had heard Brostrom's desperate warnings of an insurgent right behind the sandbags, started to respond to the incoming fire. He swung his machine gun up toward a house to the east, "and that's about all I got done," he recalled.

RPGs hit at least every three seconds for the first five minutes, he said.

"I got hit in the first volley, and then right after, no more than four to five seconds after the first one, I got hit again, and then I got thrown down into the lower terrace," Stafford said. "My helmet got knocked off. I put my helmet back on and I looked up and saw (Cpl. Matthew) Phillips get hit by an RPG."

Phillips, 27, suffered a perforating wound from shrapnel that went in one side of his chest and exited another. He died slumped over with his chest on his knees. Stafford had watched helplessly, screaming, "Phillips! Phillips!"

"It really freaked me out, scared me a lot," Stafford said. "Then, after about 10 seconds of me freaking out, I snapped out of it, and I was like, s---, if you don't do something, you are going to die, too."

Stafford's hands were "just mush," and he had shrapnel wounds in his stomach, legs, arms and face.

Even with injuries and death all around them, the Topside soldiers never wavered in the fight.
"(Cpl. Jonathan) Ayers was just going perfect, and Rainey was trying to control his rate of fire," Stafford said. "We were just trying to get suppression down on them, because that's the whole point in the first part of the battle — win fire superiority."

Stafford, now 25, remembers the concussive effect of the RPGs, whose Poof! and Shooo! noises as they were fired meant more deadly explosions coming his way.

He said it was like the scene from "Saving Private Ryan" where Tom Hanks lands on the beach in Normandy and is stunned into momentary deafness and disorientation by exploding shells.
Machine-gun fire poured in from several sides, and enemy fighters climbed trees to fire at the Americans over sandbags and dirt-filled barriers. The fighting was so close in, hand grenades were being hurled by both sides. At one point, enemy fighters tossed rocks at the Americans, hoping they would be mistaken for grenades in a bid to draw the soldiers out of their semi-protected positions.

The Chosen soldiers kept their positions from being overrun. But the odds were stacked against them.

Near the beginning of the Topside battle, Ayers and Spc. Christopher McKaig would pop up in unison from behind sandbags to fire at the insurgents.

Ayers' helmet stopped one glancing round. On another volley of return fire over the sandbags, he wasn't as lucky, and the 24-year-old was killed instantly.

McKaig found that in the moment, time did strange things.

"Ayers got killed next to me," McKaig said. "When he got shot, I was staring at him and it seemed like an eternity, but I know it was only like 30 seconds."

Now a 35-year-old sergeant, McKaig thought he would have to use his knife to fight back. He thought he, too, was going to die.

"There was no doubt in my mind they were doing everything they could to overrun us," said McKaig, who is still with the 173rd Brigade in Vicenza, Italy. The unit is preparing for a return to Afghanistan.
"They just would not break off. We shot everything we possibly could at them, and they just kept coming," McKaig said.

As Topside continued to endure a withering enemy fire, another attempt was made to reinforce the tiny lookout.

Sgt. Israel "Ira" Garcia, 24, was in a second group of soldiers fighting their way into Topside. Garcia made it to the lookout, where he was punched through the gut below his body armor by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Garcia, who had grown up in Long Beach, Calif., and was an avid soccer player, was on his third deployment and was a very savvy sergeant, Stafford said.

"He had the most infectious laugh but was all business when the bullets started flying," Stafford recalled.

Garcia was mortally wounded by the RPG but didn't die right away.
Sgt. Ryan Pitts, a 6-foot-4 soldier described as the "ultimate badass" of the unit, crawled over to Garcia and held his hand until he died.

Pitts, who found himself momentarily alone at Topside with the enemy so close he could hear them talking, fired his M-203 grenade launcher straight up in the air so the explosives would land just yards away. Although wounded, he survived.

The 24 Afghan soldiers fighting with the Americans stayed in their positions in the middle of the outpost and to the south of a traffic control point — out of the direct RPG fire — and four were wounded.

Some of the Chosen soldiers questioned the defensive support provided by the allied Afghan soldiers, but there is no evidence they turned on the Americans.

Chosen Company began to receive artillery support from Camp Blessing, about five miles away, almost immediately after the attack began, and a total of 96 155 mm shells were fired, some landing "danger close" to U.S. troops.

But the Chosen soldiers began to regain control only when Apache gunship helicopters started to arrive. The first two copters to reach Wanat started gun runs at 5:23 a.m. — just more than an hour after the attack began — and a four-Humvee "quick reaction force" arrived at 6:01 a.m. from Camp Blessing, the Army's Combat Studies Institute report said.

The worst of the fighting was over in two hours, but skirmishes continued for two days. An Army timeline shows just how quickly things went bad:
• Within five minutes of the attack, Abad was wounded.
• Within eight minutes, the TOW missile Humvee was destroyed.
• Within 10 minutes, the Topside observation post had reported four casualties.
• Twenty-five minutes after the attack, Brostrom and Hovater attempted to reinforce the observation post.

Military historian Douglas Cubbison, who wrote the Combat Studies Institute report on Wanat, said not a single Chosen Company soldier faltered. The Army estimated that 21 to 52 enemy fighters were killed, and at least 45 were wounded.

"The individual exploits of bravery are too numerous to document," Cubbison said.
"I don't know if they (the enemy) didn't think we were going to be that stubborn, or if they didn't think we'd put up that good of a fight," McKaig said. "But thank God we did."

Cubbison said the American higher command in Afghanistan, Combined Joint Task Force-101, "transformed this tactical victory into an operational and strategic defeat" by abandoning Wanat and the Waigal Valley two days after the fight.

The U.S. has not occupied the valley since.

Additional Facts

The Wanat Study

The Battle of Wanat is the subject of a 248-page study — still in draft form — by Douglas Cubbison, a military historian with the Army's Combat Studies Institute, a military history "think tank" based at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Leaving Texas - next stop, Sandbox !

A late night call was answered and I was informed that I will be leaving Texas today. It is interesting as Nov. 19th is my oldest son's Birthday (he is turning 27) and the anniversary of my wife Karen's & my first date when she came to James' 6th birthday party, 21 years ago at my dinky apartment in Brockton....times have changed. Karen & I knew we were good for each other on that day and it has been love, laughter & some interesting times.

I didn't expect to be put on the "A1 ready-to-go- list" quite so soon, but in all respects, this is what I was coming here for, to get ready to go. I will be OK and I will go out to do my part in support of the troops as that is the primary mission of my company. We support the Warriors, plain & simple. While the company is making a profit, and some question the arrangement, civilian contractors have been supporting the armed forces for years. The origin of the Seabees was having civilian contractors do the construction at the start of WW2. They eventually brought them into the Navy, but they were civilians when they started up. Many of the jobs we do have no military counterpart, and the expertise needed is not available in the military.

My thanks for all the support, kind words and prayers. All are gratefully & humbly accepted.

Wednesday, Paratrooper Ben Sherman was brought home to Plymouth, and the town showed their support for this splendid warrior. His wish was that if anything happened, he wanted his funeral at our church and to be laid to rest there in the Manomet Cemetery. The wake will be today and the funeral on Friday at the 2nd Church of Plymouth. I hope to help support his brothers and mine, because as a Veteran, he and all others in uniform are my brothers (and sisters).

I do not read the Bible as much as I should but I have a few favorite psalms, and I wanted to share this one with you. I will be back and will look forward to seeing my friends & family when I get back for next Thanksgiving. I'll keep in touch and I'll probably have some more silly stories to share about the dusty side of the world.

All my best and I'll be in touch.


Psalm 63

1 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
3 Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
9 But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
10 They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ben Sherman comes home to Manomet

Ben Sherman is coming home to Manomet today. He will be brought home by his family and honored by the community & friends who salute his service to our nation. It is true that the tree of liberty must be regularly watered with the blood of patriots, as this has kept our nation safe for 200+ years.

His Mother, Denise Sherman made a powerful statement last week regarding her son and the course of our wars overseas:

“I am requesting,” she said, “because we are one nation under God, that you ask our nation to come together in prayer, to pray for all those who are missing to persevere, to pray for his comrade’s family (for him) to be found safe and returned home, for those who have gone before us and have made the sacrifice (for) this country, and for those who serve our great nation to be guided and protected…I pray for the leaders every day that they are guided to make good decisions.

“This is to the President of the United States: It is time. It is time to make a decision. "

“I think it is time that a decision is made that this country comes together and supports our troops or whatever (President Obama) decides. God will guide him. But it is time. It is time,” she said.

Earlier in my blog, I ran a copy of a column from another blogger, Neptunus Lex, who wrote about this same subject. It said:

" The time for half measures and dithering is over. It’s time to go heavy, or go home.
There is no middle path." -

Ben Sherman was the tip of the spear.

As George Orwell said: People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

We as a nation owe a debt of gratitude to Ben Sherman and others like him who stand on the wall, and make sure nothing will harm you as you go about your life at home.

Rest in Peace, Ben Sherman. Patriot, Paratrooper, Son, Father-to-be, Brother & Leader.

Monday, November 16, 2009


An observation made by an anonymous posting I read on the web....from a New Yorker.....

Just something that occurred to me today while trying to cross Fifth Ave in Manhattan during the Veteran’s Day Parade:

The towers fell in New York on 9/11/01, Kabul fell to American led forces on 11/14/01. That’s 65 days.

President Obama’s hand-picked replacement commander in Afghanistan, GEN McChrystal, delivered his Afghanistan war plans to President Obama on 8/30/09, and President Obama hasn’t acted on his General’s recommendations as of today, 11/11/09. That’s 73 days, and waiting.

Damn...I hate to admit that I agree with a New least about one thing.

Red Sox / Yankees, Patriots / Jets, etc..... I bet him and I would likely have words.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Dallas/Ft. Worth - arrival went well and the weather here is nice...had a thundershower which was something I would not see at home.

Nice accommodations and the preparations seem well organized....

Going to meet with some people this evening and then watch the Patriots / Colts game.

Take The PATS as this is their game to win (or lose)....

Friday, November 13, 2009

And the count down begins.....

Like many things in life, events start to take on a progression.....Having deployed before, I know how the days/hours/minutes start ticking away and soon you are feeling the time is coming to make the big jump.

I can hear the voice of the launch control official in his basic tone saying " We are at T-minus 48 hours and counting, all systems are nominal and the count down is proceding as planned...."

Sunday Morning I will be getting on a plane and starting a year overseas to take on my new job. This will be a tough year for me and for those I leave behind.

Like many things, you have to take the good with the bad. I'll do my best to make things work and I know my family will do so too. It is a process and you just have to get on with it. the sooner you do so the sooner you get to come back and finish.

Final preparations are under way....."The Astronuats enjoyed a good breakfast including Tang...mission control will be briefing the media later on as the countdown procedes"

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step......Yeah.....right......

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sage Words from a Brother-in-arms....

From Neptunuslex, a great military blog -

I couldn't had said it better -

Veterans Day

At 1100 on the 11th day of the 11th month, the guns finally fell silent, but not before 10 million young men fell, never to rise again, with another 20 million maimed, and nearly 8 million missing, forever. The world got its first look at modern, industrial warfare on a massive scale and turned away revolted. Promised those left behind that this would be it, the war to end all wars.
It was a promise that went sadly

On Memorial Day we lay flowers on the graves of those that fell. Today we give humble thanks to those that served, and returned again with honor to take up the plow, hammer or pen. Or to those who fell back into the ranks vowing to keep the sword bright and sharp for the next time, grimly aware that there will always be a next time, that only the dead have seen the last of war. Having seen for themselves the real nature of man, knowing as they do that weakness is provocative to savagery and that the surest path to peace is to be prepared for war.

Some march in parades, and see the battle pennants streaming from the colors. For them these are not mere gaudy flashes, for they have a memory of the time before they were in place, remember the streamers fresh and new, remember what it cost in human terms to tie them to the flagstaff.

Others will gather in taverns and VFW halls, hoist refreshments in memory of their youth, offer toasts to those forever young, and wonder how they will ever be able to explain any of it to anyone who wasn’t there, while knowing that for those who were, no explanation will ever be necessary.
Some will wake up in the middle of the night seized with nightmares or private guilt, some few will try to self-medicate, fall down a deep tunnel and end up wandering the streets muttering dark and unintelligible dirges of innocence lost and the human connections that cannot be restored once one has seen the whole world turn violently mad.

Military service is hard, even in peace time. People are asked to surrender a portion of their freedoms to better ensure the freedoms of the rest of us. Discipline is enforced; great exertions are called for, there are separations and privations. They are taught to run towards the sound of the guns, to stand in the hatch and fight the fire, to shove the throttles up and fly into the maelstrom. In short, they are conditioned to willingly go towards things from which every fiber screams to flee. They are taught, and most of them eventually come to believe, that there is something more important than themselves. That some things really might worth dying for, whether those be noble principles, those they left at home, or those on their left and right.

These are hard teachings, but they have the
example of heroes to testify to the truth of them.
In this land we are graced with a vibrant political culture, but it was Washington’s guns and musketeers who gave it to us. We enjoy the remote fastness of our island home, but it was Decatur, Farragut and Porter who scoured the seas to defend our ocean ramparts. We have human freedom and increasing dignity here at home, but not before three million boys in blue and butternut contended the terms of that freedom. We have liberal democracies here and abroad, but not before millions more marched forth asking for nothing but a patch of earth to be buried in, should it come to that.

There are many blessings in this land, but although we tend to treat them as birthrights, transferable to our heirs in perpetuity, the reality is that all of them have been fought over. Perhaps the greatest blessing of all is that in each generation there have been those who answered their country’s call when it came and said, “I’ll go. I’ll do it. Pick me.”

They are the veterans, and this is our day to thank them.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Fairer and Fiercer Warriors - Women in Uniform

As many might know by now, the Ft, Hood shooter was stopped by Police Sergeant Munley, a brave and valiant female police officer. I can tell you that she is a hero along with all her sisters in uniform, police & military.

When I was in Fallujah, you knew you could count on the Female Marines because they HAD to be twice as good to get recognition. As a Supply type, I had a counterpart on the USMC side who was ALL MARINE, and happened to be of the fairer sex. She was a good shipmate and she liked that as a Older Seabee, she could talk to me like a Father figure as many of the younger types would look to hit on her.

Follow this link to an article from Glamour Magazine (not that I read it regularly) called ” The war’s deadliest day for U.S. women ”

Three Female Marines killed and 11 wounded, all while outside Fallujah doing the duty they dedicated thier lives to -Read the article and be in awe of these splendid Warriors – SEMPER FI !!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Some great pictures of Old Warbirds - Bernard Zee is an awesome photographer -
View his website and see some great photography !