Sunday, March 30, 2008

Real Heroes #1

The Army has given the first Silver Star to a female Soldier in Afghanistan. She is a 19 year old medic serving with the 82ND Airborne at FOB Salerno.

Return to Afghanistan

Just returned from a short trip to my next mission. Bagram, Camp Eggers and Phoenix have changed much since we have been away. Task Force Phoenix VIII here we come. Everything is up armored now, I did not have my pick up with the sand bags anymore. Wish you were with me again Major John.

Aw nuts

Looks like I am movin' on. I will be at a new location for a number of months. Allah willing and the wadi don't rise, this shan't be as weird an assignment as I think it could be...

As it is, uh, forward, so to speak, I do not know if I will have internet access. If I do - hopefully I have some interesting things to post. If not, I charge CSM Bones and the Inner Prop with keeping this thing up and running until I get back.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sweet ride, Dude.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, the Bushmaster. The Australian Army's sweetest ride....dude!

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Geometry Was All Wrong!

Intersecting Parallels? What non-Euclidian geometry informed the shape of this ancient structure?

What mad glyphs are these that remain inscribed in the bricks?
What Elder rites had been performed under the Moon that shone those centuries ago upon the great city along the life giving Euphrates River...

Ha. My apologies, but I happen to be a big fan of H.P. Lovecraft and the Running Dog had sent me a most well done e-mail in that idiom.

I wasn't going to blog anything about the Ziggurat at Ur (and so I told a fellow milblogger), as it has been done by other, earlier Milbloggers. And it is kind of like writing about the Eiffel Tower when you go to Paris - none too unique. But the place made quite an impression on me, perhaps with the BA and MA in History it was fated to do so.

Mighty Ur was one of the predominant cities of early civilization in Mesopotamia. For many years she held a place of power or wealth. The shifting course of the Euphrates, and the retreat of the Gulf coastline left her abandoned. Thousands of years later, here I am standing over her dust covered foundations. One mighty temple to her God of the Moon, was her one remaining, imposing edifice.

Of course, I did see signs of commerce returning to Ur...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Solemn Time

On March 12th our base was hit by rockets – the worst happened, and three Soldiers were killed. On Monday they were honored at a memorial ceremony given by their unit. Hundreds of American service members, civilian contractors, and Coalition soldiers all attended.

The Memorial Wall

Their friends and fellow Soldiers told us about them in their eulogies; they were husbands, fathers, and sons. And they were United States Army Soldiers all.

Their stories differed, to be sure, but they all came back in the end to the impact they made – the NCO who was a friend and mentor, the cheerful soldier who never left a comrade without a good word or thought, the soldier with the great desire to serve and to help. The final call of the roll, Taps being played…it hits home in a way that is hard to describe.

I hope all of you will spare a thought or a prayer for the families of the three latest to give their last and their all, and tus were added to the solemn roll; SSG Juantrea T. Bradley, SPC Tenzin L. Samten, and SPC Dustin C. Jackson. Though I know it unlikely, I hope to God they are the last names placed on the Memorial Wall here.

UPDATE: I have closed comments on this. Take the arguments elsewhere.

Monday, March 17, 2008

NGAI and Major John

The National Guard Association of Illinois (NGAI) is a lobbying group that supports the NG in IL (duh).

They put out a monthly newsletter / newspaper and what did I find in it when I flipped through today; the photo on the left here.

I believe this was the night fire portion of what they described as the .50 caliber machine gun. I can't tell from the photo if it is MJ's nemesis, Ma Deuce or some new fangled replacement. I never had the opportunity to fire the M2 so I'm not that familiar with it.

This went with a nice little article about the unit and their deployment. I'll be sending that to MJ by email.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

The pool is closed?!

Hey, I always heard this base was so nice it had a pool...Closed? What kind of place is this?!
Apparently one with a good sense of humor...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Woman's Day in Afghanistan

Afghanistan and CJTF 82 celebrated International Woman's Day at Bagram. The Afghan Army's Female Brigadier General was present.
Gen Khatul Myhammadzai

Afghan Women's Art Display

There was a Art show of Afghan Girl's work in Kabul. Progress is happening. No riots, demos, etc.

Good News.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A terrible day

Yesterday was a terrible day here. Not much else to say beyond that.

BTW - the AP calls it "Combat Outpost Adder" when it is really "Contingency Operating Base Adder" A small thing, perhaps - but indicative of a general lack of understading and attention to detail. Also note the needless inclusion of polling data in a "news" story. I should be used to that from the Associated Press...

Please spare a thought and a prayer for the families of the dead and wounded.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What do you see on your way to work?

I see the Ziggurat at Ur.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

I found a Legendary Vehicle...?

Seeing this vehicle reminded me of something (oh, I realize the photo is a bit blurred and dusty - but hey, I'm in Iraq).

OK, so it doesn't quite look the same. Try and work with me here, people. I've got limited material.
It is really a Rhino, an armored bus. Word is that they really work too...

Friday, March 07, 2008

A Thought for the Earlier Occupant

Just a thought I might offer,
to you that used this port-o-let earlier.
Did you need finish that cigarette in here?
As if an outhouse in Iraq
did not already smell bad enough.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

An Unfortunate Store Name

So I get to Tallil, Iraq at last. While looking about the base I see a store near the PX. Let us just say the name could probably be a better one...

At least it is not at a base in Afghanistan...
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