Assumption of Command

30 April 2005

SPC Gavin J. Colburn, a view from an outsider.

I have been having a very long debate with myself about making this post. A big part of me doesn't like to discuss things like this. I am a light hearted guy that likes to talk about fun and silly things most of the time. I also don't like to make my family worry any more than they already do. (Sorry mom) But that is being overridden by a need to relate this experience. So bear with me, as this is not my forte, but I think is the right thing to do.

(I also want to make sure everyone knows that I waited until I knew for certain that US Army officially released SPC Colburn's name before I posted, in an effort to protect the privacy of the family.)

-------------------------------------

Part of the job of being a company commander is representing your unit at different events. I feel it is important to show support for other units and the things they may or may not be going through. This week I attended the Memorial Ceremony of a true American Hero: SPC Gavin J. Colburn.

For a little background on SPC Colburn and what happened read these news reports:
Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio reservist killed by missile (M23's note: It wasn't a missile)
WCPO.com: Ohio Soldier Killed By Roadside Bomb In Iraq

I have never met SPC Colburn. He was one of the many faces here at my FOB. But, by attending this service, I learned a lot about who he is. Not by what was said by his battle buddies, leaders and Friends, but also by the other things.

Just like all Memorial Services, it was a very somber place. The place was full of Soldiers there to pay their respects to the fallen. At the front of the theatre were the American Flag and the unit Guidon, below it was the traditional boots, rifle and helmet. On the screen there was a rotating slide show of pictures of SPC Colburn. To me, he looked like a very proud soldier.

Waiting for the service to begin, I had plenty of time to read the program. It contains a collage of the same pictures that were rotation on the big screen, a short biography and two poems. These poems are very good and very timely to the service. I have found these poems online:

Silent Tears by Kaitlin Marquart
No Hero by Ryan Wemmer

I read these a couple times, I really like them.

During the service, I got to know what kind of person SPC Colburn was. He was a man of honor, courage and loyalty. This was evident from listening to his friend and battle buddy or over 5 years. She (I will leave her nameless) said SPC Colburn always cared for others. He would always be there to help people learn new tasks, even if he didn't like them. He would be the first to volunteer for anything that needed to get done. She made some really nice comments that she could not finish without breaking down and crying, along with many people in the seats. She has been truly strong through this whole ordeal.

This was a real soldier, a real man, a real friend and a valuable member of his unit.

After all of the leader and soldier tributes and a wonderful strong version of Amazing Grace, the unit's First Sergeant called the roll. He starts by calling for a couple troopers who were in attendance and they would respond by saying "Here First Sergeant." Then he calls SPC Colburn. With no answer, he called again and then again. If you have not personally witnessed this, you cannot imagine how hard it is to hear the silence. After hearing all of these people say how wonderful SPC Colburn is, not hearing him answer when he is called really makes your mind put it all together that he is gone.

Now that everyone is filled with grief by the roll call, it is immediately followed by the "Firing of Volleys" and Taps. I really hate that song. Every time I hear it, I know that someone who has served his or her community or country has died. I really F***ing hate that song. I have recently heard it for a WWII vet friend of the family and a police officer friend of mine. Now I have heard it for a soldier Killed in Action. That song brings a lot of emotion out of me.

As the ceremony ends, the Officers and Soldiers pay their final respects to SPC Colburn, led by the Commanding General. Two by two, soldiers approach the boots, rifle and helmet and render a salute. This can be a long process when there are a lot of people in attendance. While I was waiting I looked across the aisle and looked at his company. I have had the opportunity to meet and talk with a few of the enlisted troops from his company while waiting on a flight. They impressed me as fun, down to earth professionals that I wanted on my side. You could read their faces and body language. They had lost a good man. Above anything else this told me how much that company of professionals is going to miss SPC Colburn.

SPC Gavin J. Colburn, May you rest in peace.

Update: Fallen Heroes Memorial has a page to leave messages, memories, or condolences for SPC Colburn's friends and family.

Something that bothers me.

Every time I hear people bash the war or bash the military. The same comments come up. They always make remarks about Abu Ghraib. Granted, the things that went on there were unbecoming of the military and I support criminal actions against the offenders. Don't get me wrong I am not supporting what went on there, but I don't think everybody knows the facts of the situation.

One of the biggest things I like to point out is this. The military started the investigation (as ordered by the Secretary of Defense) long before any of this mess made it into the media. The Higher ups knew that there was bad stuff going on over there and wanted to get it resolved. They did not need the media to figure that out. I also do not fault the media for reporting it.

What I do fault, is people who think that is what is going on everywhere over here. Abu Ghraib was a very isolated offense. There are so many honorable Soldiers here. To paint all of us with the Abu Ghraib brush is not right. The good and honorable soldiers here despise what was done to those detainees. The actions of the few places a taint on all of us. In this case the bad apple does not ruin the bunch.

Earlier in the year Greyhawk posted a quiz about the facts of Abu Ghraib. It is very interesting. He has reposted it now for good reason:

Torture Test:
If you're looking for further discussion on that political topic move on. The remainder of this post is not for you. But you will miss a chance to look a little deeper into the ugly mirror that is Abu Ghraib, perhaps to clear a bit of fog from it's surface, and discover if you know all you think you do on that topic.

Take this simple 10 question quiz. The answers follow (no fair peeking). There are no trick questions, and no opinion questions. Just the facts, ma'am, just the facts. But perhaps not those you'll find on the editorial pages of your local paper.
If you think you know all the facts go see if you are right. If you don't know the facts go find out.

Go now or I will make you do Push-ups! :)

Update: Greyhawk responds to Kevin's comments to this post

Just in case you haven't noticed...

The Royals are bad. They are on pace to break the record for the most losses in a season. They are 11 games back in freaking April. Somebody needs to be fired.

This guy knows who he wants to see vamanos:

Pena Watch:
Pena's four year tenure as Royals manager is earning him the distinction of being the least successful skipper.

He brought a 42% winning percentage into this season, and after yet another bad start his record his poised to fall under 40% by the All-Star break.

28 April 2005

MDG has a couple of great posts

MDG has been doing a lot of good work in the field and in his blog lately. But being the nice guy that he is he allowed one of the medics in his unit the opportunity to use his site to say some really nice things about one of the Iraqi citizens that she has met a few times. It is a really neat post.

Old Lady Time (a guest post):
My name is PFC Christy and I am a medic in the Scout Platoon. I have been in Iraq for some months. In the amount of time I have been here, I have come across some extrordinary people. I know you all have heard about some of the guys that work with us directly and the tremendous amount of efforts and help they have been. I know you have also heard of some of the heroic stories about the Iraqi Army and Police as well, doing what they can to make their city of Kirkuk a better place. Well, there is one woman's story that I felt was the most deserved of praise and recognition.
MDG also had the oportunity to talk to a Iraqi interpreter, named "Steve", that he has been working with:

The Straight Word....Straight from an Iraqi Citizen (PART 1)
"We cried when we saw the voting. My mother cried tears of joy when we saw the voting. We were so happy that the American forces were here to let us vote. We saw the soldiers and the helicopters keeping us safe. We were so grateful for the Coalition Forces."

27 April 2005

Friends like these... Part 2.

Read Part one First.

At the urging of RCBeep, Dr Dave (or Just Dave) piles on because while being roommates you can learn weird things about a person.

Dave says:
You people and your demands! Make a list about Mustang. Send Trogdor over to my house. Put on a purple thing and dance around. Well, I've had it!

No, wait. Come to think of it, I'd like to add a baker's dozen worth of items to RCBEEP's list:

1) Unless you have a death wish, don't even think about ending the National Anthem with anything other than "Home of the Brave."
2) Don't ask how construction on the newest roller coaster at Cedar Point is going unless you're willing to sit through a thirty minute presentation on its progress, complete with construction photos, artist's renderings, and CGI video.
3) If allowing Mustang to keep score during a card game, check his math.
4) If he offers to let you borrow "a really funny early Adam Sandler movie, featuring Billy Bob Thornton, Milton Berle, and the guy who played Paulie in the 'Rocky' movies!" ... by all means, take him up on the offer!
5) If he offers you any other object, beware, for it carries a terrible curse!
(But it comes with a free frogurt - that's good!)
(The frogurt is also cursed - that's bad!)
(But you get your choice of toppings - that's good!)
(The toppings contain potassium benzoate - that's bad. Hey, come back!)
6)Cotton candy vendors are best off keeping their distance from Mustang, as they make better doors than windows.
7) ... as do city buses.
8.) If security is being called to Guest Services at Kauffman Stadium, it's a good bet that Mustang can be found at Guest Services.
9) He wants doughnuts.
10) "Run to the hills! Run for your life!"
11) If you want to see him get defensive, ask him when he was last knocked out by a ten year old.
12) Don't tell him anything you wouldn't want to see broadcast in a mass e-mail!
13) Five words: "Hey Fatso, gimme some pretzels!"

FCC@V, consider yourself warned ...
First off, if you don't know about the website Homestarrunner.com you are missing out. It is a Flash animated Web Cartoon. It is really funny. Don't miss the Welcome Speech. On this website one of the characters, Strong Bad, answers questions e-mailed to him. (Sound familiar) and my favorite one is the Dave is quoting. Sibbie. Make sure to click on the words "purple thing". Anyhow that was just something funny for me. I guess you had to be there.

Now on to the piling on:

1. I don't know why or how it started but at KC Chiefs games, during the National Anthem, 70,000 people finish the song with Home of the "Chiefs". It is impressive to hear that many people yell the word chiefs at the same time, I find it disgusting to desecrate the Nation Anthem that way. I really wish the Chiefs would start playing "God Bless America" or "America the Beautiful" to keep this from happening. It really bothers me.

One time Dave and I went to a Royals game, we were running late, and by the time we got in the parking lot, they were playing the National Anthem. So we took of our hats and stood by the car while it played. A few cars down, someone who thought he was "clever dan" decided to sing "Home of the Chiefs." I was having a very bad day at the time, therefore my tolerance level was really low. after he got done, I immediately let loose with a very loud: “IT’S HOME OF THE BRAVE, A**H&^E!” Hilarity ensued!

2. That one is probably a good warning. I really don't have much to say about it right now because Cedar Point didn't build a new roller coaster this year. But there is a new one in NJ. Kinda Ka

3. My math is always good; it has never failed to help me win a game yet!

4. OH Man, that is one great Movie. Hey who still has that one.

5. Simple explanation: 2 singles guys, 1 refrigerator.

6-8. When a the Cotton Candy Guy cusses me out in front of my friends, because I politely asked them to move so I can see the game, I don't tend to like very much. Busses blocking ceremonies is a bad thing too. This leads to why I was in the Guest services in the first place. BTW: don't ever tell me that your terrible prior planning is "Just my Dumb Luck" That might really make me angry!

9. Doesn't everybody?

10. Iron Maiden doesn't need an explanation.

11. He was 12 and I didn't see him coming :)

12. Dave, So how is your Girlfriend doing? Do I need to warn her about anything :)

13. RCbeep's, youngest boy, A3, said this to me the first time I met him. I then made it my life's quest to scare the crap out of him on the Biggest Roller Coaster at World's of Fun. Since that didn't take very long, I am looking for a new life's quest.

I hope this helps!

Best Buy is having PR Problems

Best Buy has never really upset me to the point of never going back to one of their stores, But it seems a bunch of people around the blogosphere have had some bad experiences.

First I saw this story. A man was arrested because Best Buy did not know that a 2 dollar bill was legal tender:

Man arrested, cuffed after using $2 bills:
A man trying to pay a fee using $2 bills was arrested, handcuffed and taken to jail after clerks at a Best Buy store questioned the currency's legitimacy and called police.

According to an account in the Baltimore Sun, 57-year-old Mike Bolesta was shocked to find himself taken to the Baltimore County lockup in Cockeysville, Md., where he was handcuffed to a pole for three hours while the U.S. Secret Service was called to weigh in on the case.
(Via Dude, Where's The Beach? - My Hitchhikers Guide To The World)

I thought this was a bit funny. I like hearing about stupid things like that, but that I found out about this:

Musings of The GeekWithA.45 (Language Alert!)
For adamantly refusing to sell me a radio unless I gave them my name and address.
...
The manager/bouncer says nothing, and makes no move to unlock the register. He's waiting to see if I'm going to crack. I don't crack. I hand him the radio, saying, "I don't need this product from you."

A line has been crossed. BestBuy has lost a customer, the manager knows it, and doesn't care enough to try to do anything about it. He takes the radio and walks, without a word.
This kind of stuff really ticks me off. I stopped going to Radio Shack because of stunts like this. I don't need to give out my info for a simple purchase. The whole thing is funny.

This in turn led me to this from Lileks:
At the checkout counter the clerk asked for my phone number. “Why?” I said. I hate this new wrinkle. I just hate it. I hate the fact that I can’t buy a frickin’ candy bar without a procedure that rivals a mortgage application. I’m always interested in the rationale they give.

“We need the phone number before we can let the merchandise leave the store,” the clerk said. Practiced response, right out of the employee handbook. Fine. Let me say no, and let the burly boys tackle me as I try to leave with my paid merchandise. Sir! I need an area code sir! Then she said “This DVD player has a two or a four year extended warranty. Which one would you like today?”

This isn’t upselling; this is deceit. “Which one” doesn’t include the option of “neither,” of course. And then she offered me a free 8-week subscription to a magazine, so they could have my address as well as my phone number. Jaysus! Let me buy the fargin’ thing and let me go! You want a stool sample too? Here!
UGH!

A fellow Milblogger, who I read as often as I can because he knows how funny a pee bottle can be, SF Alpha Geek also has an experience to share:

And the worst retailer in the world is . . .
After we had finished reconciling the receipt with the purchases, the guy at the door said "Hey, it looks like one of the DVDs must not have gotten deactivated. You'll have to go back to the cashier and get her to run it through again." I looked back at the cashier, and at the line of three or four people waiting to check out, and told Mr. Assistant Security Manager guy , "Hey, we just went through all my stuff. Why do I need to have the things deactivated?" "I'm sorry sir", he told me,"It's Best Buy policy that all security devices have to be deactivated before you leave the store." "And you can't just do that here?" "No," he replied, "our policy is that security devices have to be deactivated by the cashier."


I am going to think long and hard about going to a Best Buy when I get home.

26 April 2005

Friends like these... Part 1.

If you haven't noticed, the comments to one of the "Ask Mustang 23!" segments has devolved into a let's warn Mustang 23's Girl (that they haven't met) of all the goofy, silly, insane, or just plain dumb thing that I have done. (that they know about) Before anybody starts wondering, I am laughing about this whole situation. I find it pretty easy to laugh at my self. There is just so much good material there. It is just too easy :)

RCBeep starts the whole thing off. RCBeep is a coworker of mine back home. He has also been my spade partner for all of that time. So giving each other a hard time is very normal. he say this:
Oh, please. I have met Mustang 23! I consider him a friend but there are some precautions:
1) do not start a land war in Asia
2) do not challenge a Sicilian when death is on the line
3) do not feed him after midnight
4) if you failed number 3, do not get him wet.
5) do not let him brings friends like me when food is involved. Life lesson: do not cut in front of a fat man in a buffet line
6) do not let him fall asleep. The snoring will break your decibel gauge.
7) if you fail at #6, tape two yardsticks together and prod him from around a corner if possible
8.) do not let him near fire, he is a closet pyro
9) do not throw things at him after a chili dinner
10) do not play cards, he makes up rules only to end up punishing himself and his partner
First of all, RCBeep is already married. Therefore I can't warn her off. She is stuck with him. Poor girl. :)

1-4. RCBeep is having Movie Fun. If I was to compare RCBeep to a movie Character, it would be from the Adam Sandler Movie "The Wedding Singer". He would be the bad Wedding singer played by Jon Lovitz. "He's losing his mind. And I'm reaping the benefits." RCBeep isn't that big or that annoying but it is a good comparison :)

5. RCbeep is making fun of himself. He is the one who utter those immortal words at a pot luck at work when the line was moving slow. So that is a warning about my friend not me. I am not the only one who makes fun of myself.

6. I really can't prove that I snore, I usually stop snoring before I wake up. I do know that I was in a hotel room with RCbeep, Walking Eagle, and Beef. Before you start to wonder, we went to Cincinnati to see the Chiefs play. It was the game when the Chiefs were 9-0 and lost to the stupid Bengals. In the middle of the night I woke of to what sounded like a diesel engine and all 3 of them were sawing some serious logs.

Mustang Mama added:
I agree with #6 RCBeep. HE is so loud especially if you are sleeping in a tent next to his.
Thanks mom, you are no help! :)

7. This is probably a good idea :)

8. Closet pyro would mean I am trying to hide the fact I like fires. I don't hide it. Camp fires are fun, especially with Coleman fluid!

9. I don't know why, but when ever the crew back home gets together, people start throwing things at each other. I think Dr. Dave is still trying to finding chips after poker night. One night after some good food, once again things were getting thrown around and someone decided to take a point blank shot at me with a 2 inch mini nerf football. At that late in the evening the pressure was building up and at the exact moment I was assaulted by the mini nerf, the pressure released. Not only did it release, it shook the foundations of the house. Dr. Dave had to bring in a structural engineer to verify the house was still safe to live if.

10. I originally responded with: "It is hard to deny any of these allegations except for number 10. yes sometime I do make up new rules but they are for good reason. But I think RCBeep is getting to old to remember that it was me carrying him in spades."

I thought everybody knew about the warning rule in spades. Don’t forget about the No blinds – No Nines Rule.

Update: Part two, is here!.

Sorry!

Whoops! Remember when I said this
I will respond to this later today
Well I was wrong. I have a pressing matter to deal with tonight. I will get it done tomorrow.

Hopefully.

La Shawn Barber

This is why La Shawn is on my daily reads list:

Voter ID Requirement Reminiscent of 1954, Says Black Politician

Quick hits

Other notes:

  • I will respond to this later today
  • Still working on "Steal Me Buttons". It should be done soon.
  • The Royals are terrible.
  • I am almost done with Clive Cussler's Sahara
  • pineapple nectar is good first thing in the morning.
  • Ramen noodles are cheap. Do they really need an even cheaper "Great Value" version?

25 April 2005

The NFL Draft

I don't know much about the NFL draft this year. I usually have a good Idea of what went on for my team. But due to circumstances beyond my control, I didn't have the time I normally do to look at it myself.

The only thing I know about this years Chiefs draft is that in the 4th round they picked a guy named...



Get ready for this...



CRAPhonso

You have got to be s**ting me. (no pun intended) who would name their kid that!

Cookie Dance!

Mustang Mama must have sent cookies to this guy too.

Cookie Dance!

Via Doc

Cookies so good you can eat them with a spoon!

I have mentioned in the past that the mail service here doesn't always treat packages with the utmost care. Yesterday I got a package that told me 2 things.

1. Mustang Mama's cookies are so good they practically fall apart.
2. The mail service helped them


Bring a Spoon!
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

They still taste good. :) maybe the layering method of packing them would work better. I know that means there is less room for cookies, but I will survive.

BTW Thanks for the Starburst, Skittles, and Chewies.

24 April 2005

I was just testing you.

There is an old saying in the Army: "Don't confuse your rank, with my authority." It is a very true saying. I had a perfect example of that happen to me today.

At the Dinning Facility (DFAC) everyone is required clear their weapons. Clearing your weapons is a process of making sure there are no live rounds in your weapon. For safety purposes, we don't want random bullets flying around the DFAC. That would make bad day if you were on the catching side of one.

Today, I am not feeling too swift. I am not feeling bad, just not feeling good either. I might be coming down with something. So as I was walking up to the DFAC I really wasn't paying attention and attempted to walk right past the security check point. I was stopped by a female Private, (E-2) that looked 16 years old, and told to clear my weapon before she would allow me to enter.

Being the smooth, suave, confident Captain that I am, I did what any other officer would do. I said, "good, I was just testing you." actually I wish I would have said that. I really just said "Whoops!" :) and went to clear my weapon. She tried to apologize. I told her there was no need, because she was doing her job and that is what is expected of her. I guess she was afraid that the big bad Captain was going to be upset. On the contrary, I was proud to see her doing her job as she had been instructed. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Good Job, Private.

Update: There is a very bad joke in the trackback. basil left the door to his blog unlocked this weekend and Phin (who snuck in) decided to be funny. :)

23 April 2005

Are we Winning?

DadManly has the answer

22 April 2005

Flat Stanley

I got this in the mail today from Mustang Sarge (My Dad):


Flat Stanley
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

With this note


Hey Folks--

My second-grade daughter, Sarah, has an assignment to take a guy named "Flat Stanley" on a trip someplace. We decided to do something a little different and make him digital, then send him across the Internet, across the US and even around the world. I've been asking some of the folks I know online to give us a hand with that.

She’s already written about his "journey" that began when she put him face-down in the scanner, and he traveled through the silver cable into the computer and entered the digital world. In the digital world he was able to undergo all kinds of transformations and even get colorized (he was black and white when he came home), and Sarah oversaw all of those.

Then she had me print them out so she could take them to school and show her class all of the changes he went through in the digital world. We even sent in a page of the code that describes him to the computer--only one of more than 5,000 pages of it for one little image.

So now he's attached to this message. If you want to forward him anywhere else—- specially far away or exotic places--please be my guest. Just ask anyone who receives him to send a note back to Sarah Fairfax--care of me, her daddy--about where he's gotten himself to and any adventures he might have there.

Then next week she’ll bring her class a list of all the places he went, and maybe a map showing where they are.

Thanks!
--
Mark (mluebker-at-comcast-dot-net)
this is the message I sent to Sarah:

Sarah,
Flat Stanley stopped by my office here in Iraq for a quick visit. I am a soldier in the United States Army. When he stopped by my office I asked him if he wanted to be on my website. He said yes and wanted me to let you know where you can find him.

He is at Assumption of Command. http://assumecommand.blogspot.com/

Sarah! I hope this helps.

Good luck with your project,
Mustang 23

If you have a blog or another website, I invite you to "steal" Flat Stanley and help him see a whole lot more places.

It sounds like a job for basil's blog Warriors!

Let me know where you put Flat Stanly so I can let others know where he is.

If you are having a bad day

It could be worse. You could be this guy.

21 April 2005

Dumb Headline!

Taking a page out of basil's playbook. I found this dumb headline:

KC Channel 41 KSHB
Do Stop Lights Cause Driver Frustration?
No, they make me feel really warm and special!

Good Grief!

Via Tony's Kansas City. BTW: Tony has some good stuff from around KC.

Mattie (Valerie and Zac)



Mattie, with some input from Valerie and Zac, writes:
Hey there,

How long will you be in Iraq? Would you say the economy is going up or down? You mentioned a pool, do you ever get to take a dip? Have you ever met the prime minister of Iraq or have seen him? Today we took pictures to send to you and it was a blast. Valerie and I did push ups in the silly picture. This week we have been taking the MAP test. We took the comm arts and science portions. Science was easy and comm arts was hard, but most of all boring.

Be safe and do push ups
Okay, this should be fun. I guess since I don't have any push up business outstanding we will go straight into the questions.
How long will you be in Iraq?
That is one of the best questions around, but it is also one of the most difficult to answers. I really don't know. I wish I could tell you. it will probably change 8 times before we actually get to go home anyhow. It is nice to think about being home, but I do not dwell on a particular date. I, as the cliché says, take it one day at a time.
Would you say the economy is going up or down?
I would say it is going up. All over the country they are building new stuff. That is one of the biggest signs of an economy improving. But what I think is more important is getting more jobs for the locals. In some areas there is still a jobless problem. But it is improving. Once the government starts putting people back to work it will get better.
You mentioned a pool, do you ever get to take a dip?
Not yet. It isn't quite open. It was supposed to have opened already, but the chemicals haven't arrived yet.
Have you ever met the prime minister of Iraq or have seen him?
Nope, he doesn't come around here. He tends to hang out in Baghdad. But we do get prime rib at the Chow Hall every now and then. Does that count?
Today we took pictures to send to you and it was a blast. Valerie and I did push ups in the silly picture.
Oh yeah! The Silly Picture!

Great! Push ups! Lets take a closer look:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


Hold on a second. Big Problem. What kind of push ups are those. Those aren't army push ups. We don't do push ups from our knees. Do I have to come over there and show you what real push ups look like!
This week we have been taking the MAP test. We took the comm arts and science portions. Science was easy and comm arts was hard, but most of all boring.
Yeah, I heard you guys were taking those tests. I wasn't very good at the comm arts stuff, but I did okay at the science stuff. It is important stuff, but yes it is boring. I found out the hard way that marking all of the circles with my number 2 pencil doesn't mean you will get a perfect score.
Be safe and do push ups
Thanks. But you need to work on your form!

I think it is time for more questions from me.
  • What was the last movie you saw in the theatre? If it was recent tell me about it, because I probably don't know anything about it.
  • Give me one interesting or fun, true fact about Missouri.
  • What date is the official Birthday of the US Army? What other important day shares the same date? How old will the Army be this year?

That should do it.

20 April 2005

Difference in language

A funny thing happened here on the FOB recently. One of other units here needed a building painted. Since their unit is very busy with missions they decided it would be best if the Local National work crew painted it. So the gave them instructions to paint the building red and white like a lot of the other buildings around here. So the local work crew mixed the red and the white paint together and painted the building PINK! :) It is pretty funny driving down the road and seeing a big pink building. I am just glad it isn't one of my unit's buildings.

I can think of some good names for that building, but I won't say them here!

Greyhawk Takes Exception

Blackfive posts a link to a CS Monitor article about Soldier Blogs. After reading I was thinking the exact same thing as Greyhawk:

Quick Question:

If you were going to write a newspaper article about blogs from soldiers in Iraq, don't you think it would be a good idea to mention one such blog in your article? I mean, just one? Brad Knickerbocker didn't.
If you really want your readers to know what is being written here in the sandbox, wouldn't you at least point out a few sites that might be of interest? Maybe Mr. Knickerbocker just didn't want to do the research or maybe he doesn't want anybody reading real soldier blogs. Greyhawk continues:

Brad neglected to tell us the site his unnamed "young wife of a Marine in Iraq" was reading - could it be because it was the one linked above? And is he trying to imply the source of the "capture and execution of 15 American troops" quote was a military blog? (For the record: my guess is the answer is "yes")
We really do not know what the intention of this article is.

I do know why I keep a blog:

- It is a cheap (ahem free) hobby. The time here can go very slowly. This is something I can do to pass a little of the free time that I have. Instead of just mopping around this deployment, I am putting my time into something fun and possibly useful. (the useful part is up for debate) It is also nice to have something that takes my mind from things around the office as well.

- It helps me keep up with my Family and Friends: It very difficult to maintain contact with everybody back home. My website now is a place where everyone can come and catch up a little on what's going on with me here. And they can drop comments or dimes in many cases, for me or others.

- It is helping my ability to write: I am in nature a techie. My civilian job back home has very little to do with the written English language

- It is just plain fun.

- I can also let people know of my feelings on different subjects.

- I get to answer questions: "Ask Mustang 23!"

Greyhawk also has a nice list of deployed bloggers. (Thanks!)

But if you want a more complete list look here.

19 April 2005

I need help!

I need some help. I would like to have some of those cool steal me buttons. You know the kind I am talking about. They look like these:


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Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

I also have some one my page on the right hand side near the bottom of the side bar.

I need some that are for this site, so people can use them to link here. They are 80x15 pixels. If possible I would like to have one with the no camels symbol as part of it. Could somebody smart with this stuff E-mail some to me. I will post all of them that I receive in a later post giving you credit.

The Big Day on...




3rd row: Lia, Kaylee, Mattie, JoMarie, Carson, Lauryn, Zac, Ms. R
2nd row: Jaycee, Adam, Val
1st row: Jackie, Anthony, Carlos

This is Ms. R's Class They decided to introduce themselves to me. How cool is this. They also sent me the answers to the questions I asked them a while back. Its nice to be on the other end of the stick. Let’s see what they have to say:

Since this is a Social Studies Class and your teacher says its advanced, Who is your Favorite President of all time and Why?

I would have to answer Harry S Truman, for a bunch of reasons. He is from Missouri, He wasn't afraid of making a big tough decision, He was a WWI veteran, and He taught the world what it means to be from the "Show-Me State". After he dropped the first bomb, the Japanese said "We don't think you have another one, 'Show-me'." So he did! That decision saved more lives than it cost and ended the war.

This is Ms. R's class said
The majority of our class chose Abraham Lincoln as their favorite president. Others liked Teddy Roosevelt and George Washington. Mattie's favorite is Calvin Coolage because her grandma dated him.
Well Mattie, if you have to have a reason to like somebody, that is as good as any. :)

How many of you are going to get the new Harry Potter book when it comes out?
6 people in our class will get the new Harry Potter book when it comes out, but 7 of us won't get it. Are you going to buy it?
Yes I am, but since they don't have a Border's here on this FOB or anywhere in Iraq for that mattter, I will have to either get it on the Internet or have somebody send it to me in the Mail. Either way I won't get it for a couple weeks after it comes out. Nobody better tell me what happens!

Is Worlds of Fun open yet? What is your Favorite ride?
Worlds of Fun is opening tomorrow and Lauryn and Jackie are going. Our favorite rides are: the Boomerang, the Bamoozler, the Thunder Hawk, Fury of the Nile, Finish Fling. and the Mamba!
Worlds of Fun is opening tomorrow and Lauryn and Jackie are going. Our favorite rides are: the Boomerang, the Bamoozler, the Thunder Hawk, Fury of the Nile, Finish Fling. and the Mamba!Lauryn, Jackie, Did you have a good time? What new stuff do they have? Going to Worlds of Fun is always cool. My favorite ride is the Mamba. I like big and fast Roller Coasters. My favorite Coaster of all time is the Millennium Force at Cedar Point.

That takes care of these questions. Here is another picture they sent.

D-R-O-P And G-I-V-E Me 20!
3rd row: Lia, Kaylee, Mattie, JoMarie
2nd row: Jaycee, Adam, Val, Carson, Lauryn
1st row: Jackie, Anthony, Carlos, Zac


What the What! Hey! Wait a second here! I am the one who is supposed to making people do push ups here. Who do you guys think you are! :)

Mattie (Valerie and Zac) are up next!

Update: Lauryn and Jackie Sent an update.(Wow That was Quick)
Review of Worlds Of Fun:

Okay, well Worlds of Fun was alright. There is nothing new this year but it was fun to be there on opening day. We rode ALL the rides and got soaking wet, it was freezing cold. Also we rode the Mamba about 20 times. The only bad part about Worlds of Fun is paying for the EXPENSIVE food. But over all it was a great experience.
How in the world do you go and ride all the water rides on the first weekend. And they call Soldiers brave. Good Grief! Yes the Food is expensive. The New stuff hasn't opened yet.

They also tell me why they chose the other presidents, before I made them do push-ups for forgetting. :)
Since we didn't really tell you why we chose our favorite presidents, we decided to give this a second try. First of all we like Abraham Lincoln because he abolished slavery during the Civil War. Also we like Teddy Roosevelt because the Teddy bear was named after him. Last, we like George Washington because he won the Revolutionary War and he is considered the father of our country.

I wasn't really going to argue with any of those selections. How can you argue with presidents on Mt. Rushmore. Theodore Roosevelt did a little bit more than just get a stuffed animal named after him. (Although that is important) :)

By request, they also send the names to match the faces. I have added them under the photos.

Thanks for the update!

18 April 2005

Maine's new licence plates

Maine has intrudced "Support the Troops" Licence plates:

'We Support Our Troops' specialty license plate unveiled:
“Buying a ‘We Support Our Troops’ plate will be a way to donate money to help the families of our troops with the confidence of knowing it will be distributed responsibly,” Pilon said. “By establishing a trust fund with the Guard, we can make sure the people who best know our families’ needs can help them most effectively.”
COOL!

My Second Biggest Fear

I ran across an article today, describing my second biggest fear as a commander of troops. My first biggest fear would be if I lost one of my troops. But this one is almost as bad.

Woman with husband in Iraq dies in fire:
MILL CREEK, Wash. (AP) — A woman whose husband is serving in Iraq died in a fire at her apartment Sunday morning in this suburban city.

The woman, whose name and age have not been released...
When a tragedy like this happens, the news comes through the Red Cross. It in turn comes down the chain of command to my desk. It seems all Red Cross messages come in the middle of the night. It is my job, along with the First Sergeant and probably in a case like this case the Chaplin, to officially notify the soldier that they have a "Red Cross Message" and that their loved one has passed. Soldiers know that a Red Cross message is never good. They know it isn't good news when I knock on their door at 0200. It sucks. But at that time they need told by someone who cares. I have seen big bad soldiers break and cry when they receive news. There is no way to sugar coat the news, but a compassionate tone helps. It is part of the job that is not fun. This is when the Chaplin earns his pay.

The one thing I do know is that everyone in the unit will be so supportive of him. They are trying to do anything they can to help him out. Although these efforts won't bring his wife back, it does help to know that your battle buddies and chain of command are there with you.

I can only imagine what this soldier going through. It will probably be 72-96 hours before he makes it home. That will be the longest 72-96 hours of his life. He will be put on the first flight out of everywhere he stops, but it still takes time. He will fly commercial from Kuwait. He might even get bumped up to first class if it is available.

I am very grateful to hear the names have not been released. The last thing this trooper needs is to be bombarded by the media in his private time of grief.

I don't know who we should be praying for but we should be doing it anyhow.

17 April 2005

Are you from Missouri?

Most of this is correct as far as I am concerned. The biggest one I disagree with is the way Missouri is pronounced. I hate it (REALLY HATE IT) when I hear Misour-ah! Ohh that bothers me. Unless you are running against Claire McCaskil, I usually won't vote for a politician that says Missour-ah.

The first one is perfect.





You Know You're From Missouri When...


Everyone in your family has been on a "Float trip."

"Vacation" means driving to Silver Dollar City, Worlds of Fun or Six Flags.

Down south to you means Arkansas.

The phrase, "I'm going to the Lake this weekend," can mean only one thing.

You know what "Party Cove" is. (If you know where, you are a boating party animal)

You think Missouri is pronounced with an "ah" at the end.

You know in your heart that Mizzou can beat Nebraska in football.

You think I-44 is spelled "foarty-foar." (St. Louis Only)

You'll pay for your kids to go to college unless they want to go to KU.

You know that Concordia is halfway between Kansas City and Columbia, and Columbia is halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City, and Warrenton outlet mall is halfway between Columbia and St. Louis.

You can't think of anything better than sitting on the porch in the middle of the summer during a thunderstorm.

You know that Harry S. Truman, Walt Disney and Mark Twain are all from Missouri.

You know what "cow tipping" or "Possum Kicking" is.

You think "frog gigging" should be an Olympic sport.

You think Imo's is larger than Pizza Hut.

You can tell the difference between a horse and a cow from a distance.

You don't put too much effort into hairstyles due to wind and weather.

There's a tornado warning and the whole town is outside watching for it.

The local gas station sells live bait.

Little smokies are something you serve on special occasions.

All your radio preset buttons are country.

You know enough to get your driving done early on Sundays before the Sunday drivers come out.

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from Missouri.




Early Morning isn't just for Soldiers

Huntress reminds us what we are missing early in the morning:

In This Moment:
I'm an early riser, even on the weekends when most people take advantage of the opportunity to sleep in, I'm up at 5:00 am watching the sun rise. I love the colours that Mother Nature paints the sky with, pale shades of pink, blue, orange, purple, all blending into one another.

Not an up beat day

There is a disease here in Iraq. It comes and goes. All service members get it from time to time. There is no immunity to it. It can be terribly distracting. It is called "I want to go home-itis" (that one is straight from the Mustang 23ese Dictionary)

This effects everyone, but as a leader of soldiers I shouldn't let it effect my work or my attitude. Do you know how incredibly difficult that is. I am one of those people that doesn't hide feelings very well. Everybody knows when I am having a bad day. Most of the time they know it before I do.

But there is good news. In the past few days, we went over our 6 month boot on the ground date. What is nice is that we are stating to get contact with the unit replacing us. Knowing people are planning to take my place is a comforting thought. But it is not making the "I want to go home-itis" go away today.

Maybe tomorrow

Update: Tomorrow is here. Thanks to FCC@V, things are starting to get better.

15 April 2005

The New Army Helmets

The Army has started using new helmet. I say started, because not everybody has them quite yet. They have rightfully given priority to the guys kicking down doors, not the people in the offices. (who would that be?) Jack Army found a neat article about the how good the new helmets work:

Helmet works! Now wear it!

Now Read it! That is an Order! :)

Lia's Turn



Hmmmm. I don't have any push up business to take care of today. I guess everybody has been minding their Ps and Qs. But be careful. Push ups could happen without warning.

Ms. R reports that the class has been working on the questions I gave them. Good, I can't wait to see their answers. Plenty of push up opportunities. :)

On to the question. Lia writes:
Is it really true that no country with a Mc Donalds has attacked another country with a Mc Donalds? What exactly is a PT uniform? Have there been any bombings or other threats in your area? If so how many? Have you comunicated with any of the Iraqi people, i mean i know that you are in the middle of no where but there is a possible chance that there are other people there too? How is the tanning there? The other girls in the class said that it looked like you had a tan and they wanted me to ask you. from, lia and class

Okay lets get started
Is it really true that no country with a Mc Donalds has attacked another country with a Mc Donalds?
What! Do you doubt me. Do you think I would tell you something that is not true. Yes its true. Nobody wants to mess with the Hamburgler. He isn't a nice guy when he is angry.
What exactly is a PT uniform?
If you look back at the picture of me doing push ups. (Don't rub it in) That is the Army PT uniform. PT stands for Physical Training. It is what we wear when we work out. It more than black shorts and Grey T-shirts. There is also a cold weather pt Jacket and pants. While in PTs you are supposed to wear running shoes and white socks.
Have there been any bombings or other threats in your area? If so how many?
We haven't had any bombings where I am at, but we did have a rocket or two sent our way. But we got those guys and they haven't been doing that anymore. The funny thing about the bad guys, is that they are really bad at firing rockets and mortars. One of the rockets we had here was a dud and didn't explode and the other one didn't land anywhere near anybody. It was real loud, but it did no harm. The Bad guys don't have too much time to try and aim, if they even have the device to aim it with. Sometime they don't even have a clue where they are firing something, kind of like a bottle rocket, but much bigger.
Have you comunicated with any of the Iraqi people, i mean i know that you are in the middle of no where but there is a possible chance that there are other people there too?
Yes I have. I got to meat an Iraqi Army General. He invited some of us from unit to have dinner with his unit. It was really neat. The General is a very proud man. He hates what went on in his country when Saddom was here. He also made sure to tell us that most of the Bad guys here in Iraq are not from Iraq. They tend to come from other places. He also looks to the future of Iraq as a strong nation that is safe for tourist to come back. There is a lot of historical places here. The people here are really good people. The Food was good too!
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We had whole roasted halves of chicken, flat bread with tomatoes, onions and cucumbers. I want to visit the general again. :)
How is the tanning there? The other girls in the class said that it looked like you had a tan and they wanted me to ask you.
Oh Good Grief! So you are blaming the other girls in class for "Forcing" you to ask that question. Maybe you should... Do Push Ups! Just kidding. I don't go tanning here. Actually I do not go tanning ever. But when I do go out, I tan quite easily. We do have a pool here but it isn't open. I bet you could get a tan or a bad burn here really quick. We make sure soldiers have sun screen (SPF 4823387859038 x Pi) the sun can beat down here real bad. If a soldier gets burned real bad and wasn't wearing his sunscreen, he has to do more than push ups. He will be in real trouble, besides hurting real bad.

That is all for this episode, Stay tuned for more "Ask Mustang 23"

14 April 2005

Tet Fantasy (again)

Recently I wrote about the comparison of what is going on here in Iraq with the 1968 Tet offensive. I stated the fact, not a personally drawn conclusion, that Tet was the tuning point in the war, even though the US crush the VC. It turned the war because the media portrayed the VC as a determined enemy instead of a enemy had made an unsuccessful desperate attack. This in turn caused a huge lack of support on the home front which later brought the war to an end.

Some people didn't like the facts. (I was called a partisan hack. But that is beside the point) Yesterday I ran into this article by Austin Bay:

Al Qaeda Remains Trapped in a Vietnam Fantasy:

US Navy Capt. Hal Pittman, CENTCOM's senior spokesman, told me Tuesday that the terrorists seek media coverage of these attacks "to empower their cause, break the momentum of representational government (in Iraq) and dissuade the coalition to continue its support."

Zarqawi's gang "used a fire truck at Husaybah as a car bomb. That's theatrics if you've ever seen theatrics," Pittman said. "They're trying to create a spectacular event, overrun a patrol or border outpost somewhere, an event with huge media value that would promote their cause and make them seem more powerful than they are."

At Abu Ghraib and Husaybah, Zarqawi failed militarily. He didn't get his scare headlines, either. Short of detonating a nuclear weapon in Baghdad, a ground attack on the Green Zone that succeeds in cracking the US embassy and taking hostages is the only "Tet" card Zarqawi has. The Green Zone, however, is Iraq's hardest target.
The US Military is saying that Zarqawi is trying to turn the media just the way Tet did in 1968. But this time it is failing. The Bad guys want the media on their side because they know just how powerful they can be in influencing public opinion back home.

Obviously, my original post is right on point.

Update: I give credit where credit is due. Kevin, in the trackback, makes a good point:
However, my observation is that this is kind of a "no kidding" policy isn't it? I mean we have an entire group at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars doing exactly the same thing right? We have "embedded" reporters who are getting filtered information (for the most part), we have a huge PSYOPS group who do nothing but put out propaganda and we set up radio and TV stations.

Seems to me that this is just "normal warfare" in the 21st century. I guess we cannot call it unfair when the enemy tries to fight us with our own tactics.
No, we can't.

Yes, The United States Military conducts operations to win the hearts and minds of the peace loving people of Iraq. That is a big part of our strategy now. We want them on our side. We train our soldiers to understand that their actions have repercussions in regards to public opinion both here and at home.

If I was in charge of the bad guys I would be trying to do things that get the US media's attention. From their prospective it is a smart move.

What I don't like is the major media's propensity to report only the bad and destructive things going on here. Don't get me wrong, they should report on the bad things. I don't think it would be right for them to ignore stuff. But, they should also report on the positives with just as much vigor. But I guess that won't get any ratings. So therefore, it isn't newsworthy. Sigh.

13 April 2005

Iraqi Blogger

I was looking in my referrer log the other day and I found an interesting site. It is called Neurotic Iraqi Wife. Apparently she thinks enough of AoC to put me in her blog roll. That's cool.

It just amazes me how people from all over the world can come together in one place. She has a couple neat posts. I really like this one about how she has "viewed" the war in her home country:

Alive In BAGHDAD.....
Iraq, the cradle of civilization. Who are YOU, to determine its future??? Yes things arent great, sure, how can it be??? Its not magic!!! A country that was abused, mentally, physically for 3 decades by a bloodless regime, wont be able to regain its strength in 2 years with a wand!!! Its not gonna change because of the forces there. It will change when the Iraqi people allow it to. The change will come from within. The change will come when Iraqis UNITE. Thats when the real change will happen. When there wont be these are Sunni's, Shia's,Kurds, Turkmen, Chaldeans. There will only be these are IRAQIS.....

WOW. The whole thing is great. She also has describes her dream for the future.

Go read it. That is an Order! :)

12 April 2005

The Cookies are here!

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Mustang Mama's package got Here. Remember how I said My First Sergeant has been asking for my Mom for cookies also. Check out the note.

(Note for Mustang Mama: See the book!)

These are the best cookies in the world. they are so good they feel like they melt in your mouth. they are so good that some of them don't make the entire journey in one piece. That is okay we eat them anyway.

My home front spy, Dr. Dave, reports that there are more cookies on the way. He know this because he had to drop some more 24 season 4 episodes off at my parents so they can be put on a DVD and sent over here. Dr. Dave says he made sure to show up hungry hoping to induce Mustang Mama into giving him some cookies.

I told you they were popular. :) The Problem is those cookies were supposed to be for me. So Mustang Mama writes:
Dave was over here last night and took some of your cookies and peanut brittle. You can pick a bone with him. He took some of the cookies that could have been sent to you. You can take them out of the 1st Sergeant’s share.
Top Isn't to thrilled about that, he said "Well, Thanks Mom" :)

These cookies won't last very long. Once word gets out people will start showing up to get a couple.

Actually I am so Happy about getting cookies I think I am going to dance. It is one of my favorite dances of all time. It goes like this:


Truffle Shuffle!

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Okay that isn't me. I am not that short or that Jiggily! :)

[+/-] Click here to see the Cookie Dance [+/-]

If you think this war is for Oil

If you think the United States invaded Iraq, you must read this post by an egyptian:

It wasn’t about the Oil, stupid!:
If this was for oil, and to make money off of it for the "imperialist good of America", then it is the dumbest economical plan in existence. It would’ve been cheaper and less controversial to get the Oil through the UN Oil for Food program, which in case you didn’t know, had US companies as the #1 purchaser of Iraqi Oil. So let’s say this again and see if you get it: The US didn’t have to invade Iraq to get its Oil, cause they already were getting it cheap and hell of a lot cheaper then it costs right now. Not to mention, the Iraq oil money, will be needed for the reconstruction of Iraq. You think the Iraqis would let you just steal their oil and be ok with it? Right! Cause they are such docile toothless puppies.
Nicely said. He has more reasoning as well.

(Via MVRC)

11 April 2005

I am not the only one.

If you haven't taken notice, (it would be very unlikely, but I will humor you) Kevin O'mera, with faithful sidekick IRR Soldier, has written a couple posts on his site, The Command TOC, about my posts. He has tried to lay a little smack down. And In my way, the only way I know how, have had fun with it.

Here is a quick round up of what has gone on to date:

1. I wrote a post about the American deserter that went to Canada: Canada did Something right

2. Kevin calls me names: Another Asinine Army Officer

3. I respond by saying that If he doesn't like me I must be doing something right: People who don't like me!

4. Later I write a post about Vietnam: Iraq comparison with Tet

5. Kevin thinks I am off my rocker because in the 60's there is no way only 3 TV networks could have that much control: The Media Caused North Vietnam to Win?

6. Irr Soldier, in comments to my post, calls me a Republican Hack presenting the facts: http://www.haloscan.com/comments/mustang23/111285612544422997/

7. In the same comments as #6 above, IRR Soldier doesn't respond to me when I replied that these were the facts taught by my Democrat College Professor. Silence is Golden.

8. In the same comments as #6 above, I, thinking Kevin is off his rocker for not know how much power the big 3 TV networks had in the 60's and 70's, say his argument will leave egg on his face. And I provided a link that gives you a chance to do just that: Net Disaster (BTW: that is still fun)

9. In the same comments as #6 above, With no other topical argument left, Kevin doubts my work ethic.

10. Sigh! Kevin, doubt my opinions all you want. I don't have a problem with that. I like differing opinions. I value them as an important part of our society.

BUT DON'T YOU EVER QUESTION MY LOYALITY TO MY MISSION, MY UNIT, MY TROOPS, OR MY INTEGRITY.

Toni, author of View from Tonka and regular reader and commenter here, points to another active duty Milblogger that has been recieving some of the same treatment from Kevin and IRR.
Jack Army (who I added to my blogroll) has a round up of his run in:

Warning: Kevin O'Meara = sneaky guy:
I'm not going to the point of banning Mr. O'Meara and deleting his comments, but I will no longer be goaded into a discussion with a blatant liar and I advise you to avoid it as well.
Oh My. If you read through it all, you will find that IRR Soldier questions Jack Army's Integrity and soldiering ability as well. Sigh Again! These guys just don't know Jack (sorry, couldn't help myself)

Jack you would always be welcome in my unit.

I am now a reader of Confederate Yankee

Confederate Yankee can make a good argument. Check out the comments on this post:

NathanNewman.org

Wow!

(Via Its a Pundit Indeed! heh. )

Carson's turn to...



But first things first, Push up business. When last we met, Lauryn fate was resting on the opinions of the commenters. Now, it looks like Lauryn was let off the hook by her teacher Ms. R and since I don't want to be sent to the principal's office, I won't make her do push ups. I am getting a little itchy since I haven't made anybody do push ups for a while. This next question better be good.


Carson writes:
Saving Private Ryan, Troy, and Band of Brothers are my favorite movies. Did you help with the security of the Iraqi people during the elections? Did you ever search for Saddam Hussein? The news says his old palaces are really cool, have you ever seen one of them. I think night vision goggles are extremely cool, are they part of your daily gear you have to have. Do you ever get scared and have to sit down and think and regain your composure?
Carson, thank you for answering one of my questions. I like Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan. I have not seen Troy yet, but there is a copy of it running around. I might have to borrow it. It looks like Carson is really in to History and war, either that or He likes Matt Damon and Brad Pitt a whole lot. :)
On to the questions:
Did you help with the security of the Iraqi people during the elections?
Not directly. My units job over here is to provide stuff that units need. For example: Beans, Blankets, Bullets and Bolts. We make sure they have the fuel that they need or the repair parts for their M1114s. So my unit did help the make the elections a success, but we were not out in the streets.
Did you ever search for Saddam Hussein?
Nope they captured him before I got here.
The news says his old palaces are really cool, have you ever seen one of them.
Some of them are really cool. I was able to see one of the big ones from the highway as I drove by. That was neat.

But I did manage to visit a smaller one. Here are some pictures:
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I bet this one WAS pretty cool before the United States Air Force "remodeled" it. :) This was before I got the "No Camels" sticker. Sorry!
I think night vision goggles are extremely cool, are they part of your daily gear you have to have.
NVGs are really cool. We don't need them on a daily basis, but we have them if we need them. One of my favorite things to do is take the NVGs and look at the stars. You think there are lot now, put those on and look up. WOW!
Do you ever get scared and have to sit down and think and regain your composure?
I don't know if I would call it scared. Nervous, yes. Scared, no. It is very normal to get nervous, it keeps you more alert. I get the butterflies the most when I am about to go on convoy. A convoy is the most dangerous thing we do. The Bad guys are not hitting convoys as much as they used to, but they are still out there. Before we deployed to Iraq we trained REALLY HARD on proper convoy procedures so that if the bad guys want to mess with us, we will know what to do. I haven't been so frightened that I have had to regain my composure yet. But there was a time when someone took my last Pineapple Nectar out of the refrigerator that I got angry and had to cool down a little bit. But you don't need to know about that. :)

That is all for now. It looks like Adam did okay and I won't make him do push-ups. I am having "make people do push ups" withdrawals. That means Lia better have some good stuff in her e-mail or it might be bad for her.

10 April 2005

Quick Notes

My Sister sent me this cool dude named "hero" from Build a Bear:


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I also got a cool dart board. Thanks KCNK!

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Royals fans should like this. It makes fun of Chicago White Sox fans : North vs South

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Former Cy Young award winning pitcher with the Oakland A's, Barry Zito, has a cool way to support the troops. How could I pass this up. It has both support the troops and baseball combined :) : Strikeouts for troops

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Dr. Dave Reports my Favorite Hometown Fried Chicken restaurant (Not Get-Yo Chicken) Stroud's has a good deal for returning troops: "STROUD'S SUPPORTS OUR TROOPS Men and Women returning from Overseas dine on us. Thanks for keeping us safe!"

Cool! Can I make a reservation now? :)

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And if Anybody cares:

  • Jose Lima is not pitching like Lima time, It is more like Lima slime, but he will get better
  • Professional Bowling is on AFN right Now instead of the Master's?
  • Inventories make me grumpy
  • I missed the Famous Mongolian Nights at the Chow hall last night :(
  • I did 60 minutes on the elliptical trainer yesterday
  • right out side of today's Church Service at the MWR facility, one of the TVs was showing Boogey Nights.
  • Marking Fragile on a box mailed over here does no good. (but my stuff was fine anyhow)
  • Tax day is soon!
  • The phones here are still terrible, but that might change soon
  • Still no Cookies From Mustang Mama. Top is getting impatient
  • Kevin Still doesn't like me (But that is okay, check out these comments)
  • Sinus pills taken too late in the day will keep you awake
  • I am almost done with Cussler's Pacific Vortex and I will be moving on to Sahara. Yes I have that one here. I don't understand how a guy who writes Underwater adventures has a book called Sahara. I bet I will figure that out when I read it :)
  • I need more Skittles, Starburst, and Chewies (not Dave's old dog or Wookies)
  • I think that is enough for now
  • Maybe,
  • No,
  • wait,
  • The Jar Jar figurine, that Mustang Sarge, sent me ended its tragic life on my new dart board my sister sent me. MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

That is all. (I hope)

Update: The Masters is on Now! :) But there is now way I am staying up for the finish :(

CBS Terrorist Cameraman

Keith, a Brit (that's why he is called a Crumpet Muncher) who runs Sortapundit, explains the CBS Cameraman fiasco better than I can:

If You Lay Down With Dogs...
A few years ago I was taking the bus home from a lecture in Manchester when I was approached by a guy who wanted to sell me a Minidisc player. It was a decent model, and back then this was the height of technology. He told me it was mine for 25 quid. I asked him if it was stolen, to which he replied 'does it matter?'. Naturally my answer went along the lines of 'I will have no part in this. I bid you good day, sir'.

I think I'm right in thinking that you wouldn't buy a Minidisc player if you knew it was stolen. You definitely wouldn't buy it if you knew the owner was beaten up during the theft. Imagine what kind of person you would be if you bought it when you knew the owner was killed during the theft?"

I really can't say how much I despise so called journalists being paid because they know when terrorist attacks against schools and civilians are going to take place.

This is a list (from Sortapundit) of other blog resources.
Austin Bay
Random Probabilities
The Mudville Gazette
Sisyphean Musings
Blogs for Bush
Powerline
Say Anything
Dean's World

At least CBS didn't forge anything this time.

Thanks Keith, I wanted to put something on my site about this but I was having trouble figuring out what to say, you hit it right on the head.

Very Sad News*

I have just come across some very sad news. This news hits me very hard. I am very distraught and I don't know if I will ever be able to recover. I am still struggling to find the words to write at this time of grief. This story is being reported by the NY Post:


TOSSING HIS COOKIES:
SO it's come to this: The Cookie Monster's cutting back. On cookies.

The furry blue carb-cruncher of "Sesame Street" fame can now be seen on the show's Web site, waving ... a big green apple.

He's even changed his tune. Cookies - which used to be his only thing - are now "a sometime thing," thanks to the folks at Sesame Street Workshop, which kicked off the PBS show's 36th season on a health note.
What in the world is going on. I can't believe it. What now? "C is for Cauliflower" just doesn't sing.

It goes on:
"[But] when you look at the statistics coming out over the past five years, we're in a health crisis," she continues. "The incidence of preschoolers being overweight has been rising, with severe health consequences . . .

"We're not saying never eat cookies, because that's not realistic. But we're trying to make the distinction between foods you can eat all the time, and other foods you can eat sometimes."
This almost makes me want to cry.

The Story ends with a interview:
We weren't sure, so we asked Cookie Monster himself.

Post: What's your favorite cookie?

Cookie: Me never met a cookie me don't like.

Post: Why the big change?

Cookie: Me always eat healthy food, but cookie always at top of food pyramid for me. Sometimes me eat whole pyramid. Ha ha ha.
Let's all hove a moment of silence for the Cookie Monster.

*Tongue in Cheek

09 April 2005

"Where ewe from?"

I was reading basil's blog the other day and I ran in to this post about being a host family for his hometown minor league baseball team. Its a good story, but I found this funny:

Opening Day II

The Dodgers seem to have a large number of OCONUS (Outside the CONtinental United States) players. Many from Latin American countries, or from the Islands, or from Asia. Or from . Yeah, they talk English different in Pennsylvania, Missouri, and California. At least, different that what you hear around here.
Either basil is confused, (which wouldn't be the first time) or I misread what he said. (which wouldn't be a first time either) It sounds like he is saying Pennsylvania, Missouri, and California are OCONUS. basil is from Georgia. That explains a lot about his opinions of where people are from.

One of the neat parts about being on active duty with the military is being able to see parts of the country that you would not normally see. Okay, I am seeing parts of the world that I wouldn't normally see as well, but that is not what this post is about. During my active duty time I had the "privilege" of spending a few months in basil's home state of Georgia. It didn't take me long to for me (and everybody else) to figure out I was in an unfamiliar place.

Upon arrival in Georgia, after the 1000 mile road trip, I wanted to eat. The first place I found after I checked in to my hotel, was a Waffle House. I soon came to find out this is not a coincidence in Georgia as there is a Waffle house every half mile. When I sat at the bar and the lady with some missing teeth (I AM NOTE JOKING HERE. Seriously, she has a smile a hockey player would love.) took my order. Next was a 90 decibel verbal assault of "Qarter Plate! Scatterd, Smattered, Smuddered, Cubberd!" In actuality she was giving my order to the cook and I was the only one in the place that thought this was weird.

Then the lady proceeded to serve my drink. I asked for an Iced Tea. Before I go on I must explain something. Growing up I liked Iced tea, but I had to add a ton of sugar to it. (My dad, Mustang Sarge, still has to have it this way) but during college I managed to cut the sugar, but I increased the lemon. Back to the story. The server brings this glass of "Iced Tea" and sets it down. Every restaurant I had ever been, when you ask for Iced tea you have to add your own sugar if you want it.

Boy was I shocked. After the long day on the road, I took a huge gulp of what I thought was going to be a refreshing glass of Iced Tea. But instead I got this mixture that was so think of syrup and sugar that you probably had to use a paint mixer from Home depot to stir it up. I was very proud that I didn't give the lady a shower of "Sweet Tea" as it nearly came back out in projectile manner. Think of someone telling a good joke at the same time as you take a drink. Like I said I was proud this didn't happen. I nearly choked trying not to spit it all over. I think my eyes we about as big as Jumbo eggs at this point. I immediately looked at the server and said "What in world is this!" Without missing a beat she said, "Where ewe from?" At that exact moment I knew this place was way different than anywhere I had ever been.

The next few months I hung out with a guy from Virginia. He explained to me that sweet tea is just normal. Every chance we got, we would argue about it. We went out to eat many times and I had to frustratingly ask for unsweetened Tea. which just bother the living crud out of me, because if someone wants Sweet Tea they can just add sugar, but that is not how it went. So my buddy was making fun of me the whole time there. Later on we made a weekend trip to Atlanta. while there we saw some cool stuff and decided to eat at Planet Hollywood. As normal, my friend asked for Sweet Tea. The server replied, "Sorry sir, we only have REGULAR tea here." with a big smile on my face I said, "Thank God! We have finally found Civilization"

The moral of the story is: basil Likes Baseball as much as I do, but he is still weird. (But I still like him) :)

Update: basil responds by saying Atlanta is in some other Georgia. :)

08 April 2005

Mrs. Smash

I am a bit busy today. But, I wanted to let everybody know, if you haven't been checking, there is some good news from Citizen Smash concerning the health of his wife. It looks like she will be making a good recovery, but she won't be able risk going horesback riding again.

Smash has all the details.

07 April 2005

Make your own Hero!

I saw this at Blackfive.

Make your own hero.

Here is a nice tool to create your own Comic Book Super hero. I used it to make Assumption of Command's New Comment patrol.

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"Hyper Flame" and his trusty companion "Scratch" are dedicated to keeping Assumption of Command's comments free of spam, trolls and flamers.
[+/-] Click here to see the Comment Patrol

Iraq comparison with Tet

Greyhawk has made another great post. This time he has tried to make comparisons with what is currently going on in Iraq, with the infamous 1968 Tet Offensive.

Just in case you didn't know the Tet Offensive is considered the turning point in the Vietnam war. On what was supposed to be a quiet Vietnamese Holiday, it had been in the past, the Viet Cong made their biggest offensive. The US forces crushed the offensive. But what turned the war was the media coverage of the event. All of a sudden the Media was portraying The VC as an Hard and determined enemy, even though they had not won a major battle. But this media "perception" helped the Anti-war effort tremendously. and the bigger the Anti-war effort became, the bolder the enemy became, because they knew that they were making a difference back in America.

Greyhawk goes on to write about the recent Abu Graib Attack:

What if They had a Tet Offensive and Nobody Came?:
Early press reports had the number of American wounded at more than 40, but as noted above only seven were serious enough to require evacuation. And as was noted on the Boots in Baghdad blog, the attack was repelled without need for reinforcements. Still, it was an event of some significance - certainly a reminder that the war isn't over, and if looked at in light of other attacks throughout the country at the time perhaps cause for more concern.
Yes, it is a reminder that there still is a war going on. Yes, we still lose soldiers to enemy action. And yes I have my own reminders of war here on a semi-daily basis. But it has slowed down. But this is far from the hopeless situation that the media said it was after Tet.

Things here are positive. All you have to do is look and see that there is a Sunni as the Iraq Speaker of the House and a Kurd is the Interim President. That would have been unthinkable just 2 years ago. Yes these were symbolic appointments, but it shows the willingness of the Majority to recognize that minority rights are very important to the long term strength of Iraq. I think it is a great step in the right direction. There is no way that the media could "spin" this the wrong way.

We will accomplish the mission here in Iraq, not only because we want to, but the Iraqis want us too as well.

Update: Kevin and IRR Soldier are back. :) Check out the comments and the Trackback.

06 April 2005

Adam and Class


First things first: Push-up Business. In Jackie Answers, I reminded Lauryn that I forgot to answer a question of hers. I also told her that if she figures out what I forgot I would do push-ups. Today I got this e-mail from Lauryn:
I know what you didn't answer! That means i don't have to do push ups!! haha! you didn't tell me about the weather. so i guess that means you do push ups then?? You should get a picture of your mad push up skills, just so we know you really did them.
Since I do have mad push up skills:
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But I don't think Lauryn read my message close enough, it said to leave a comment in my answer to her questions? Hmmmm. I will let everybody decide if Lauryn should do push ups.

Everybody need to leave a comment telling me if Lauryn should or should not do push ups!

Now on to the Questions.


First I better do the weather before I have to do more push ups.
Is there weather nice there most of the time??
Yes! Next question. :) Oh okay I will do better than that. Weather here is dry. It is kind of like Texas. I haven't been here for summer yet, but I hear it gets in to the 120's. OUCH! I don't rain too much, usually in the winter time. Right now the it is getting close to 90 degrees, but there are place that it is already above 100. We are past the rainy season, so not it is getting really dusty around here. I am glad that I have AC.

Now Finally on to Adam's question. he writes:
How is the city life in Iraq? What type of tranportation do you use to get around in Iraq? What is the food like there, and there water supply? The weather here is nice, it is almost 75 degrees, what is the weather like there? We all hope you talk to you agian soon!!!
Okay. my arms are stretched from doing push ups, so here we go.
How is the city life in Iraq? What type of tranportation do you use to get around in Iraq?
Adam asks a tough question. So tough I can't answer it. I haven't been in a city too much. But I know someone that does. I asked another deployed soldier here in Iraq to help me out. His name is "Ma Deuce Gunner" and he has a blog like I do. He spend a lot more time in the off of the basecamp than I do. Now go over to his site and read his answer:

Ask Mustang 23, with a little help from MDG

Adam, Make sure to leave a comment, on his site, to thank MDG for his help so he know you read it. He did a great job answering that question.
What is the food like there,
Like I had said before, the food is pretty much the same, but I did take this cool picture of stuff that should look familiar but different:
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That is Tony G's Favorite food.
and there water supply?
There is 2 types of water here. We are only allowed to drink bottled water, as the local water tends to do bad things to Americans that aren't used to it. We also have bathroom water. We use it for the toilets, Showering, washing our hands, and brushing our teeth. This water is officially clean, but not clean enough to drink. does that make sense?
The weather here is nice, it is almost 75 degrees, what is the weather like there?
ASK LAURYN! My arms are tired. :)
We all hope you talk to you again soon!!!
Well keep the question coming and that won't be a problem.

That is all for now. Next up is Carson.
Update:In the comments, Ms. R says it was her fault. Now we need to figure out if the teacher should be doing push ups.

Pulitzer Puzzle

There are some people around the blogosphere who are very upset about the Pulitzer prize for photography. In response, GreyHawk @ The Mudville Gazette has stated: "I think milbloggers can out-do Pulitzers" and Provides us with a link to his round up:

Milblogger Prize?
Check my fellow deployed MilBloggers - I'll bet you can find some better pictures than the stuff the Pulitzer committee drools for. Pick your favorites and leave a comment directing us there, or link via trackback to your own post.


There are a lot of good pictures there and links to plenty more.

Go take a look. That is an Order! :)

SFC Smith: Member of the Hall of Heroes

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(Photo: Defense Link)

Yesterday, the first Medal of Honor recipient in the War on Terrorism, SFC Paul Smith, was inducted in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes. I was lucky enough to watch the ceremony live. There were a lot Pentagon Top Dogs there. We heard from the Army Chief of Staff, The Secretary of Army and The Secretary of Defense. It was really a dull ceremony until Mrs. Birget Smith, SFC Smith's wife, spoke.

Defense Link
Paul loved his country, he loved the Army, and he loved his soldiers. He loved being a sapper (Army engineer). He died doing what he loved,” she said.

She thanked the Army for giving her husband the opportunity “to fulfill his dream of serving his country.” She said she and her family “continue to be overwhelmed by the American people's appreciation of his service.

A native of Germany, Birgit Smith recalled how American soldiers liberated her country from tyranny 60 years ago in World War II. “Today another generation of American soldiers has given the Iraqi and the Afghan people a new birth of freedom,” she said.

This is an ideal that Paul truly believed in,” she said, adding, “I'm sure Paul would be proud to know that I have begun the process of becoming an American citizen.

Addressing Smith’s 3rd Infantry Division comrades, Birgit encouraged them to tell their stories so “the American people and the world will better understand the sacrifice of Paul and others like him.
This was a very difficult thing for Mrs. Smith to do. English is not her first language. But what is more difficult, and the transcript doesn't mention, is how emotionally drained the past few days, let alone the 2 years since SFC Smith valiantly died, have been. But she stood up, and in front of people and live TV Cameras said these wonderful things, while suppressing all the tears again. That is a brave and courageous act in itself.

At the end of her speech, with her prepared remarks complete, you could see she was relieved and, and not knowing what else to say, she said, with a slight smile on her face, the one word that says it all.
She ended her remarks with the universal Army cry of “Hooah!
And when she said it brought a smile to my face, as well as all the people at the ceremony.

Hooah! Mrs. Smith, Hooah!

For more information check out the Offical Army Website