Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tale of Two Cities

It has been a bloody fall here in Chicago land. I buried another student a few weeks ago. Two women were found a few blocks from my Armory in Washington Park, strangled and burning in dumpsters. A University of Chicago Student was gunned down a few blocks away also. Missing young woman from UIC area found dead. People of Color across the city are getting killed and few get any media coverage. But if you happen to be blond, young and attractive and are missing it seems you deserve the full media blowout 24/7. Aircraft, State police, FBI, search teams from across the country. I know we have only so many assets to use, but give me a break. I know you have a better chance of dying in a violent way if you are a member of a minority group. But, I think violence toward women in general has gone completely out of control. Why do we wring our hands so over casualties we receive within a combat zone when we lose literally thousands in violent ways in and around our own major cities? I look forward to going back to Afghanistan next year so I can carry my weapon again, hanguns are banned in Chicago. We are so much safer.....not.

Illini6 Turns 3000!

No, not 3000 years old, 3000 visitors.

Illini6 reached 3000 visitors late last week. The site has been around since January '06. I'm very happy that we are adding new visitors.

3000 is small potatoes you say? It's entry level, say you, exiguous, immaterial, inadequate, inconsequent, insignificant, measly, minor, negligible, no biggie, paltry, petty, picayune, puny, scanty, shoestring, small-time, trifling, trivial, two bit, unimportant, worthless?

WELL, come over to Illini6 and say that to my FACE!

And while you're there read the stories, leave a comment, vote on the poll and let me know where you are.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Australia is to Iowa as...

Well, Australia is out.

The Labor party, led by Kevin Rudd won a big victory in Australia today. John Howard is out as Australia's Prime Minister and Mr. Rudd has pledged to immediately pull Australian troops out of Iraq and to sign the Kyoto Agreement.

Australia has 550 troops in Iraq right now. There are 950 in Afghanistan as of mid-2007. Will they stay or go? It may not seem like a big thing, but is a a foreshadowing of things to come?

BTW, this photo is of Peter Garrett, former lead singer of Midnight Oil and current Labor Party member of Parliament.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I am Thankful

For an 11 1/2 hour van ride from Fort Riley back home on a 4 day pass. This meant I could wake up today and have breakfast with my kids (and then have my son beat me in a game of Pokemon). I am thankful for my family, my home and all the support I have received from co-workers, friends and even strangers.

Everything I see around me - family, neighbors, community - is worthy of thanks and praise.

As odd as it may sound, I am thankful that I get to be part of defending this - despite the separation, labor and danger it may entail.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Shots, High Tech Gear and other fun

OK, I only had two shots, a PPD test and a flu mist up the nose. But I did get three duffel bags full of incredible equipment. When I enlisted in 1985, I was issued Viet Nam era leftovers (steel pot helmet, an AR-15/M-16 with a very low serial number - heh). The past two days, I have received things that would have seemingly come from a Robert Heinlein novel. The equipment and clothing is lighter, modular, and higher quality - the first aid kit was a revelation (we even got the new clotting agent bandages).

All told, I feel much better equipped than last time I deployed.

I will be back on a four day pass for Thanksgiving, so my mood is better than last time too. Heh.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New Look, Same Great Taste - Guaranteed!

Illini 6 has a great new look. I have recently discovered fun new features from Blogger and I have revamped the look and some of the content of my blog.

I put in a poll (no not the kind you can dance around)! There is one there now about the content YOU want to see on my blog. I intend to put up a new poll each week also.

There are a lot more links and I'm going to add lists of stuff too. I'm doing some research on blogging and I intend to make it a great place to be a part of.

Go there and vote on the poll. Leave a comment, read the stuff. Go now, go often.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Off to Fort Riley!

I am off to Fort Riley to start drawing equipment and get the first in a series of endless classes and briefings. If I am able, I'll update from there - if not, I'll be home, briefly, for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Self Serving Update I

I guess I am not going to be the Executive Officer of my RSU...but the Deputy Commander, instead. Wheee!

Actually, this will be quite a change, as command entails more responsibility.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

400 days of OEF

I start active duty today. 400 day orders. First, I will be doing some training here in the US. Then I will be off to help train the Iraqi Army.

I knew I had something coming up, some months ago - but I had expected to go back to Afghanistan. I shall now be a fully rounded out Soldier when I get home - I will have supported operations in Bosnia (1997), Afghanistan (2004-2005) and Iraq.

I hope to keep everyone updated, as I am able, on our progress and what I see and experience. I will also be sharing my story with some other blogs (this was how I handled my Afghan tour).

Oh, time for me to start a new "Miserable Donut"

Monday, November 05, 2007

New Prop Avatar

I've decided to change my avatar on blogger.

With my old unit (along with Major John) leaving soon for the Mobilization Station I feel like Fatty Bolger, the hobbit they left behind at Crickhollow when Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippen left to take the ring to Rivendell.

I'll stay home and try to keep things as normal seeming as possible.

I seriously doubt that a black rider will come to my door in the next year though.
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