Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rough couple of weeks

The last two and a half weeks have been rough. The TF has suffered 6 KIA and a few injured. The mission continues as we train and fight alongside our Afghan brothers of the Afghan Army and Police. The 33rd is in the fight now. All of us. Keep these Soldiers, their Families, and their Comrades in your thoughts and prayers. We will Soldier on.
Golden Cross!!

CPT Brian Bunting 29, 24 Feb

SGT Scott Stream 39, 24 Feb

SGT Daniel Thompson 24, 24 Feb

SPC Schuler Patch 25, 24 Feb

1Lt Jared Southworth 26, 08 Feb

SSG Jason Burkholder 27, 08 Feb

SGT Stream's Family Published a letter he wrote a few months ago in the Chicago Tribune.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 9:30am

A strange thing...

When I think about what surrounds me, the institutional corruption, the random violence, the fear and desperation. I feel the reasons why I am here more and more sharply. As we grow in our soldiers skills, surviving by finding the hidden dangers, seeing the secret motives and the shifting politics... we grow a set of skills that is unique and powerful in this situation.We also see what you cannot see in the States, you are surrounded by the love of Christ and faith in freedom and humanity, like a fish you think water is 'a puff of air' because it is always there, you do not notice it... we who are out of the water look back and see the world we love surrounded by enemies, poison and envy that wants to fall on you like a storm of ruin.We who joined with vague notions of protecting our country see how desperate the peril, how hungry the enemy and how frail the security we have is. So the more I love you all the more I feel I must keep fighting for you. The more I love and long for home the more right I feel here on the front line standing between you and the seething madness that wants to suck the life and love out of our land.Does that mean I cannot go home? I hope not, because I want this just to be the postponement of the joy of life, not the sacrifice of mine. If it costs me my life to protect our land and people then that is a small thing, I just hope that fate lets me return to the promise land and remind people just how great our land is.War is a young mans game, and I am getting an old mans head... it is a strange thing. I just hope that I am not changed so that I cannot take joy in the land inside the wire when I make it home. I want to be with you all again and let my gun sit in the rack and float on my back in a tube down a lazy river...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Into the Twilight

Attaining the grade of lieutenant colonel is often considered to be the hallmark
of a successful career, although each officer defines success differently.

DA PAM 600-3 (11 December 2007)

Having recently attained the grade of lieutenant colonel, I am generally (no pun intended) in agreement with that statement. But the later part of it did catch my attention. Is the mere attainment of a certain rank enough to say "I had a successful career"? I don't think, in my case it is.

I came very late into what I would consider my full stride as an officer. Two years as an enlisted man had given me a decent and down to Earth experience before accepting a commission. But I was still no more than an average junior officer.

Something happened somewhere between Captain and Major to open my eyes, so to speak. War. To use a sports analogy, I guess that I was more of a game day player than a practice player. Somehow I had absorbed enough through the military education system and experience to be able to do the job when it counted. My luck had it that I served with terrific examples of leadership and steady professionalism all around me too. I would have to say that I would define success for myself as having twice gone to war, and been able to come home and honestly say that I was able to accomplish what I was sent to do - when nothing in the preceding 19 years had not strongly indicated anything other than the ability to muddle through.

"More men worship the rising than the setting sun"
attributed to G. Pompieus Magnus

My sun is not set just yet, but it is starting the slide toward the horizon. Twilight approaches. I will almost assuredly not make the next rank before I retire. My number of years in the service has reached 24 and I am not the future. However, I am still the present. As I enter the twilight of my military career, I think I will be able to call it a successful one when it is all said and done.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Photo From The "Front"

My dad just sent me a couple of photos and an email that came from Afghanistan and BG Huber, Commander of the 33d BCT and CSM Bones' boss.

I'd love to hear CSM Bones tell the story (assuming he was on the trip) since it was a trip the "Old Man" took to Herat.

The text of the email was a story about the trip that was sent to the Illinois National Guard PAO (Public Affairs Office) so I suspect it may be out there somewhere (if not waiting to show up on the latest issue of the NGAI newsletter).

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Life at its simplest

The past few years I have been twice sent to war, changed jobs and moved into a new home. So what has had the biggest impact on my life this week?

They finally fixed the coffee machine at work.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Birthday!

200 Years ago today two of the most infleuntial men in history were born. Happy Birthday Gentlemen. We are forever in your debt.

The images are of Mr. Lincoln in Chicago in 1858 and Mr. Darwin as he appeared while on the HMS Beagle. I'm sure they need no further introductions.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

First Drill since coming back

I had my first Guard drill weekend since I got back from Iraq. Some admin paperwork, a post-deployment health survey, turned in some kit and we had a very nice ceremony on Sunday.

It also happened to be my last drill with the unit with which I went to Iraq. In accord with my selection for Lieutenant Colonel, I have been moved to the State HQ. I am not sure how I feel about this yet. Right now I am leaning toward the not so good direction. But that would be normal, at least until I get to my new outfit.

I will have some deeper thoughts to come in the future.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Why on Earth did they pick this sales pitch?

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