Assumption of Command

31 August 2005

Happy September!

It just seemed like a few days ago that I was saying Happy August.

Another one down. I can officially say I am on the home stretch now?

30 August 2005

Hurricane Relief

I'm finding it hard to fathom the sheer scale of what's happening in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Alabama. The toll exacted by Hurricane Katrina, in general human misery and loss of life & property, is staggering. For those interested in making a donation to the relief efforts, Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit has put together a list of some agencies that are and will be providing aid.

What the Foxtrot, Over!

I could not pass this up:

You can use the f-word in class (but only five times)
A secondary school is to allow pupils to swear at teachers - as long as they don't do so more than five times in a lesson. A running tally of how many times the f-word has been used will be kept on the board. If a class goes over the limit, they will be 'spoken' to at the end of the lesson.
The astonishing policy, which the school says will improve the behaviour of pupils, was condemned by parents' groups and MPs yesterday. They warned it would backfire.
You have got to be kidding me!
Parents called the rule 'wholly irresponsible and ludicrous'.

"This appears to be a misguided attempt to speak to kids on their own level," said the father of one pupil.

29 August 2005

The only thing OIF and Vietnam have in common

It seems that the only thing that Operation Iraqi freedom and Vietnam have in common is the treatment of war Veterans on College Campuses:

From BlackFive

Campus Rads vs. Our Vets
Just ask Marine sergeant Marco Martinez, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a full-time psychology major at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Calif.

“A woman on campus had apparently learned I might be a Marine. When I told her I was, she said, ‘You’re a disgusting human being, and I hope you rot in hell!’ ”
I thought we, as a society, had learned our lessons from Vietnam. This makes me very sad! Nobody needs to be treated like that. I hope this is not a trend.

(what’s next: spitting and baby killer blasts)

We put our Beer goggles on and had a great time

We also came up with some great captions. The winners are posted. As for the winner, even a blind squirrel finds a good caption every now and then.

Shame on whoever was trying to suggest that I was implying that one of those girls sounded good.

Thanks for all of the great entries. Make sure to stop back by this weekend for the next Captioning event.

28 August 2005

Warning: A caption contest gone wrong

Warning you cannot unsee this.

Click at your own risk!

27 August 2005

This explains a lot.

There are a few people, groups and organizations in the country that I do not want supporting me. For example:
  • terrorist supporter Lynne Stewart
  • wounded Soldier harassing Code Pink
  • Castro-loving United for Peace and Justice
  • former Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon David Duke
  • the neo-Nazis of Stormfront
Click here to see who this gaggle supports!

That says it all.

26 August 2005

This Caption Contest is a Handful


(One of these sounds pretty good right now!)
(Update: I was talking about the beer!)


Winner!
To **** with DoubleMint! From now on we're promoting this outfit.

MustangSarge

The Semi-regular "Ewwwwwww Gross" Awards
"Dang it, now where did I sent down those, Lance Armstrong drug test specimens."
Rodney Dill

The "Husband and Wife Marketing" awards
Well it look's like that "Got Milk" ad has got to work hard to capture this demographic.
Ric
These two took the challenge to heart when they were asked whether it "tastes great or is less filling"
Brenda

The "Because I am the Judge" Award
The Bush twins finally found some competition

Mustang 23

The "I don't Speak Swedish-- (Dave D. "It's German you dummy") or German" Award
Eins, Zwei, Drei, PROSIT !!!
Dave D

The "I need to see that" Award
Rare photo taken of FCC@V and roommate preparing for Mustang's arrival.
FCC@V


--------------------------
Part of the OTB Caption Jam

Dadmanly on OPSEC

First Sergeant Dadmanly is here in Iraq also. He has some great advice for MilBloggers concerning OPSEC. (Operational Security)

Blogging and OPSEC:
Operations Security (OPSEC) is a critical concept in warfare, and vital in our efforts against a well organized, patient, and secret enemy that can take maximum advantage of our transparency and press freedoms while easily denying us an equivalent advantage against them.

I have just received through multiple official channels a warning from the highest military officials, which should have received the widest dissemination possible. I would be virtually certain that any active duty, reserve or guard military member in a leadership position has received it as well.
Dadmanly is dead on here. OPSEC is very important. If I am posting something to this site or E-mailing it to my family, I think "Could the Enemy find this info valuable?" If the answer is yes, I have to either adjust what I say, or not say it at all. The old saying "loose lips, sinks ships" is still true in the information age.

Top, thanks for a great reminder!

25 August 2005

CENTCOM Online

Attention Fellow Bloggers (MilBloggers and Non-Milbloggers)

I received this message the other day:
Hey Mustang,

I am a Public Affairs Officer writing from US Central Command. I would like to inquire about the possibility of you posting a link to our web site. I see that you are covering a lot of different types of stories in a lot of countries. I would like to get some of the stories out that are happening in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa. This is the area of responsibility for CENTCOM. Due to the nature of your blog, and the wide variety of information you cover, your blog is ideal for news stories. Please let me know.

Thanks for your time.

Here's some graphics to assist.



US Central Command Website:

Brian M. Anderson
1LT, MS, USAR
CENTCOM Public Affairs Officer
How smart are these guys!

I am also sharing this E-mail with you for another reason. Just because you didn't get a message from the Good LT, doesn't mean you can't help him out. I am inviting all Bloggers to Link to the CENTCOM Site and also find an Article on their site you would like to share with your readers.

I will start:

Najaf Water Projects Focus On Supplying More Potable Water
The water projects, worth approximately $12 million, involve the installation of 14 compact water treatment units and piping, according to Darrell Flinn. These compact units require highly skilled labor to maintain them, and training the staff is part of the overall package. “These require a technical labor force that has been taught to use this equipment,” he said.
I guess this isn't the type of news that will get ratings. So if you want the real news visit CENTCOM.

They also have a nice Newsletter: Sign up for the CENTCOM/Coalition Newsletters

Now go and find some good news and report it on your site and make sure to send me a trackback.

If you don't I will make you do push-ups! :)

Simpsons Quote Friday

Offered without context or explanation.

Oh, hi. I'm Troy McClure. You might remember me from such self-help videos as 'Smoke Yourself Thin' and 'Get Confident, Stupid!'"
-- Troy McClure

24 August 2005

Big Blue Bullets

Find out why I earned a Big Blue Bullet at The Big Picture.

23 August 2005

Oh No.

Blue Star Mom and blogger Some Soldier's Mom's son has been injured.

Go over to her site and drop a line.

(Thanks Rachelle)

On Oil, Tulips, and Shark Attacks

$2.54.

That's how much regular unleaded gasoline costs (per gallon) at the Conoco on the corner. I don't enjoy paying that much. But I've always believed, generally speaking, that gas prices are rational. When others speak of vast oil-wing conspiracies that explain the rise in price around Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc., I counter with a supply and demand argument. I don't do so out of any great love for the oil industry (though it did indirectly pay for my graduate degree. Thanks Exxon!), but rather because it's a simpler explanation that better fits the data.

In this instance, however, I don't think there's a rational explanation for the rise in oil prices. Yes, demand is rising in India and China. Yes, there have been minor production disruptions at several American refineries (which wouldn't be an issue if a single formulation of gasoline could be used for the entire country). But these are not sufficient to explain the sharp rise in prices seen over the last several months.

Ultimately, I think a lot of the price increase is due to good, old fashioned hysteria. Hysteria that war & terrorism will stall production. Hysteria that China will buy U.S. oil companies and horde the output. Hysteria that the world is running out of oil.

But, slowly, economic opinion seems to be addressing some of these wilder perceptions. First, economist Steven Levitt likens the notion that we're running out of oil to the media-driven fear of shark attacks.

"Peak Oil:" Welcome to the media's new version of shark attacks

The idea behind 'peak oil' is that the world has been on a path of increasing oil production for many years, and now we are about to peak and go into a situation where there are dwindling reserves, leading to triple-digit prices for a barrel of oil, an unparalleled worldwide depression, and as one web page puts it, 'Civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon.'

One might think that doomsday proponents would be chastened by the long history of people of their ilk being wrong: Nostradamus, Malthus, Paul Ehrlich, etc. Clearly they are not.

[...]

High prices lead people to develop substitutes. Which is exactly why we don't need to panic over peak oil in the first place.So why do I compare peak oil to shark attacks? It is because shark attacks mostly stay about constant, but fear of them goes up sharply when the media decides to report on them. The same thing, I bet, will now happen with peak oil. I expect tons of copycat journalism stoking the fears of consumers about oil induced catastrophe, even though nothing fundamental has changed in the oil outlook in the last decade."
Meanwhile, Scott Cramer at Optionetics says the present situation is more like Holland's tulip mania.

The Black Bubble

Everyone from nobility to gardeners began to rationalize investing in the bulbs as a smart investment, and the continuously rising prices seemed to justify these as smart investments. Eventually things got so out of control with demand that a single bulb could command as much as $80,000 converted into today's U.S. Dollars. At the peak in January 1637 there was a twenty-fold increase in the price of bulbs.

Much like how people could rationalize taking equity out of their homes at 7% to invest in NASDAQ stocks in the late 1990s, many 17th century people in Holland sold their homes, thinking that a few bulbs would net them two homes in a few months’ time. Eventually the laws of gravity took affect and what was once a market with only buyers became a market with only sellers.

Realizing the potential catastrophic affect a crash would have on an economy focused on one product, the Dutch government stepped in made a public statement declaring that there was no reason why the price of tulips should fall. Not surprisingly, government reassurances didn't work as hoped, so the government stepped in and guaranteed the price of tulip bulbs at 10% of the high price. Not long after that tulips fell through the government's floor price, which nearly bankrupted Holland's government.

[...]

One reason why bubbles form is that many good arguments can be made for 'why this time things are different.' Generally speaking, as a whole, the public is not crazy. The media sells people on the best or worst case scenarios. For the last 70+ years people have heard reports from so-called specialists about how there is only so much oil in the world, and eventually it has to run out. Yet if you look at the predictions the specialists have made about when the last drop of oil will be pumped out of the ground, you notice that every couple of years the date gets extended out a few more years."
Regardless, my next car will still be a hybrid!

The Local News is Worthless

CaliVallyGirl points us to a great Dilbert Strip making fun of the local news. Check it out.

But I have something even better.

Strong Badia Action Cool News 5 "We're Investiga-Awesome!"

BTW: At the end of the "News" click on the Arm in the upper left of the sign for "Strong Bad's Rhythm and Grammar"

(Via the Mudville Dawn Patrol)

Push Up Club!

Janie has sent some more pictures of the kids she watches every day:
Hey we know how to do push-ups!!

hugs to you!

How cool is this.


That's right... Do them Push-Ups!


Did you notice the Little "No Camels" Camel?
Hey, What's with the banana?

22 August 2005

What My Command Means to Me: Bad Times

This is Part 2 of 5 in a series of posts looking back at my Command during, and in preparation for, this deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III.

Previously:
1. Good Times

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

At the end of this long year, I would love to be able tell everyone that this deployment has been a cakewalk, but I am not a good liar. There are a lot of good things about being in command but there a plenty of things that are not so fun. As my favorite Battalion Commander, COL (at the time he was LTC) Kevin C. M. Benson said many times, “These are the conditions under which we live.” He would say this when he knew something was very unpleasant, but there was nothing we could do to change it. He was also telling us he was suffering with us.

Previously, we talked about how great promotion ceremonies are. But there is a flip side to them. Not everyone gets promoted when they think they should. There are a multitude of reasons: Not enough experience, not enough promotion points, the chain of command not giving a good recommendation.

For promotions to E-5 and E-6, I have to complete a worksheet assigning a point value to their performance and potential, along with a written narrative about the soldier, that goes into the promotion packet*. This worksheet can make the difference between a selection and a non-selection. As any good commander does, I consult with my First Sergeant on all of these worksheets, as he is my senior for all enlisted matters. He gives me a recommended point value and we privately discuss the trooper’s ability. I will then fill out the points and narrative.

But I also have another option; I can stop the packet from going forward in turn saying that the soldier is not ready. If I do this, I have to bring the soldier in to my office and tell them why I stopped their packet from going forward. Do you know how difficult it is to look at someone and tell them they do not deserve to be promoted right now? But it is necessary for two reasons. If a soldier is not ready to be promoted, I would be doing that soldier and the unit a disservice by putting him or her in a position that they are not ready for. Secondly, and just as important, that soldier needs to know what they can do to improve themselves so we don’t have to have this conversation again.

This is one of the tough decisions a Commander has to make. One of the true marks of a Commander is the ability to make the tough decision. There are many opportunities in the Army to choose the “simple wrong” over the “difficult right”. During training for this deployment, I would have loved to give my troops some more time with their families, but I would not have been doing the right thing. We had a lot of thing to do and we needed a certain level of confidence in our ability to soldier and to work as a team. The best thing I can do for the families of my troops is to prepare them to do their job and to do it safely.

Some times my conscience and my care for the long-term welfare of my troops has garnered criticism from the unit. When I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror while shaving, I see someone who made the right decision and didn’t give in to the “easy wrong”. As a Commander, everybody doesn’t have to like me. And if the troops don’t like a decision I have made for their welfare, so be it. They don’t have to like me now, they can like me when the mission is done and we are all safe at home.

Up until now all of these “Bad Times” have been part of decisions that I have to make, but there are many of “Bad Times” that I have no control over at all. There are times when things just suck and there is nothing you can do about it but be strong.

A lot of people think that, as reservists, we are putting our life on hold to come over here to serve our country. In some respects we are, but mostly our lives at home are rolling on without us. For example it is well documented that deployments will put a marriage to the test. My company is no different. But just talking about relationship problems, and other situations, like this takes the personal suffering out the conversation. So let’s put the personal side back in.

In both of my deployments, (Bosnia 1998-99, Iraq 2004-2005) I have had young men that work for me find out that the loves of their lives are not being the faithful loving wife that they deserved. This dreadful news never fails to absolutely crush an otherwise great trooper, and it breaks my heart. It hurts me to see these troopers suffering like this. I haven’t been through something like that, so I can’t imagine what is happening inside them, but I can sure see it how bad it is on the outside. Most of the time there is not much to do, except listen.

I can’t speak for other commanders, but when my Soldiers hurt, I hurt. I wish there was a way I could just wave a magic wand and make things better, but the PX doesn’t sell these magic wands.

One of the other duties of a Commander, is being one of the people who will deliver a Red Cross Message. The Red Cross provides a great service by collecting and getting important messages to soldiers no matter where in the world they are. But the news in that message is rarely good. That is why the First Sergeant and myself are the ones to deliver it. Through this deployment, I have had to be the bringer of some seriously bad news. I have had to tell someone their father died. I told someone else that their new born grandson died minutes after delivery. I had to tell a trooper that his wife was in the hospital due to a stroke. I dread receiving a Red Cross message, but I take the part of the job very seriously. Nothing my higher can do upsets me more than fouling up the delivery of these messages. We owe it to our Soldiers to give them the news in a timely, professional and compassionate manner. But it still hurts.

Telling one of my troopers that one of their loved one has died is the second worst event that can happen to me over here. I am very thankful that the first hasn’t happened. Of course, I am talking about the loss or critical injury of a Soldier. I don’t know how or if I would cope with this if it happens. There are so many emotions that come from the loss of a Soldier. Some feel sad. Others feel anger and thirst for revenge. No matter how you grieve, it has to be done. But until that happens, and I hope it doesn’t, I won’t know these “Bad Times”. Thank God!

Looking back, I can safely say that the “Good Times” as a Commander have outnumbered the bad times. But the “Bad Times” seem more intense. In the future, I hope that the memories of the “Bad Times” will fade away and that I can look back and say how good things were. Truth be told, I am not sure if that will be the case. Only time will tell.

* This is how we do promotions in my unit. I know that other units do them in other ways.

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

Coming Soon: Necessities

Tough Decision, it was almost a toss up.

The Caption Contest winners are posted.

It is about time Mustang Aunt decided to play. I wonder where she has been hiding?

It was another great caption contest. There were some real funny ones this time. Make sure to drop back by this weekend for the next contest.

21 August 2005

The Streak Is Over (Pt. 2)!

And this time, I am talking about the Royals' losing streak. Nineteen games. They lost nineteen games in a row! But, for some reason, that doesn't sound anywhere near as bad as losing 20+ in a row. It's just nice to know I'm rooting for a team that is merely one of the worst in history, and not the worst.

Regardless, the streak is over, the bubbly was flowing in the Royals' clubhouse, and I no longer have to avoid Sportscenter. More importantly, my girlfriend no longer has to listen to me whine about how the Royals have lost every game since she moved out-of-state!

19 August 2005

Weekend Caption Contest


Winner!
"I think I forget something...oh, yeahhhhh, my paraaaa..sh********ttttt!!!"
Chevy Rose

Best Superhero Awards
Damn! I hate it when my wife washes my uniform. It's hard to make a grand entrance when she forgets to pack my cape!!!

Brenda
Everyone had always told Dave that his bid at Superman candidacy would end in tears.
brogonzo

The Best Politics Award
The Senate Confirmation for John Roberts went more smoothly after it was determined that he could leap over tall buildings in a single bound.
Rodney Dill

The "Hey! That ain't funny, but close to true" Award
"OK Hon, I know you're anxious to get back, but don't you think that this is a little drastic?"
Mustang Aunt




Part of the OTB Caption Jam!

18 August 2005

What My Command Means to Me: Good Times

This is Part 1 of 5 in a series of posts looking back at my Command during, and in preparation for, this deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III.

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

Through every endeavor in life, there are going to be many memorable moments and situations. Being in command is no different. First and foremost are the good times. Hopefully these are the memories that won’t go away as I am very proud of them.

There are ceremonies that make all Officers and Soldiers Proud. Of course I am talking about Promotion Ceremonies. This is when I can be proud of, not my accomplishments, but those of my troops. And better yet we can tell the whole world, how proud we are of them by pinning a new rank into their collar. Commanders must take these responsibilities seriously. I am the Promotion Authority for all ranks up to E-4. It is my signature that makes a Private First Class (PFC) a Specialist (SPC). It makes me very happy to pin that new rank on a soldier and then tell them to face the company and get a huge round of applause.

We had a neat little tradition at Ft. Hood. When a lower enlisted trooper was promoted, as the previous rank was taken off the collar, it would get unceremoniously chucked as far as it would go. I found out quickly that this wasn’t an army wide tradition. At our first promotion ceremony as I was promoting a young lady from PFC to SPC, I took the old rank and heaved it as far as I could. First Sergeant looked at me funny and I heard some smirks in the formation. So I said to the new Specialist, “You don’t need that do you?” With a big smile she very confidently said, “No Sir!” and First Sergeant Shrugged and said “Okay, but Sir you aren’t going to be throwing any chevrons (Sergeant Stripes) are you”.

Chevrons are much too valuable to just throw away. We started an even better tradition for promotions of Non-Commission Officers. At our first NCO promotion, we promoted a Staff Sergeant to Sergeant First Class. We handed the old E-6 rank to the brand new E-7 and told him to give it to the E-5 Sergeant that he thought deserves to be Staff Sergeant. This turned out to be a great way to provide recognition to other troops, increasing the esprit-de-corps of the company.

Teamwork is very important to me. You can judge units ability to get the mission accomplished, almost singularly, based on how well the unit works together. But teamwork, doesn’t just happen all by itself.

About this time last year, I was getting ready for a shock to my system; I was about to stand in front of my company for the first time. I had stood in front of company formations before, usually to give a safety briefing. But this time it was different. The First Sergeant was turning over the formation to the commander. I was nervous, but you couldn’t tell by looking, I knew what I want to say, and I said it. I was in an awkward position, I knew very few people in the company. To make matters more difficult, this was the day that all of the cross-leveled soldiers reported in as well. There were new faces everywhere, mine included. But the biggest thing I was focused on was bringing all of these new faces together into, borrowing a phrase, a “Company of One”. One team. In my view, that was the only way that we would be able to accomplish all of the multitude tasks ahead of us. The last thing, I wanted was a bunch of individuals trying to just take care of themselves. From that day forward I tried to set a tone of teamwork.

The best way to foster teamwork is to do things as a team. In the first few weeks we ate together, we PT’d together. We started the day and ended the together, with company formations. We did just about everything together.

We even laughed at the Commander together. As military customs tells us, when the American Flag is raised and lowered for the day, you are supposed to stop what you are doing, stand at attention in the direction of the flag pole and salute. One morning, I was in front of the formation when Reveille started playing. Instantly, decisively, and loudly gave the commands: “company attention, about face, ORDER arms!” I gave the command to put the salute down! I should have ordered “Present Arms” And worse I didn’t even know it because the whole company either didn’t notice, or was impressed with my command voice and humored me, rendered the salute. When we released the formation, I heard the good natured cat calls: “Hey sir! How can we order arms when we haven’t even presented them yet.” Having such a classic and cool style and demeanor, I came up with the perfect retort to this. I said, “Ahh %$*#, I did say that didn’t I!”, and proceeded to turn redder than a blank adapter. But it was all okay and fun for everybody, including myself.

There is a lot of little ways to increase the teamwork of a unit, but none of that will work unless the unit trains together. Training is the single most important, non-wartime activity. Units prepare for weeks to get ready for training. If you break it down to the lowest forms a unit does 4 different things in peace time: conduct training, prepare for training, recover from training, or support another units training. Training is a serious business.

Although training is serious, it can also be great fun. I have never met a soldier that loves to sit in an auditorium and listen to presenters drone on while the “death by PowerPoint” continues hour after hour. Soldier would rather be firing their weapon, leaning good convoy tactics. They want to learn the important hands on stuff, the stuff that will save their battle buddies life.

One of these hands on activities is the daunting Gas Chamber. This is where we test out our Nuclear Biological Chemical (NBC) protective masks. We are trying to find out 2 things. First, we need to know if the mask is functional and two does it fit properly. We accomplish this by putting the troops into a little building, (more like a large shed) in the middle of nowhere, filled with CS (tear gas). If the mask works, you have no problems rotating your head in all directions, nodding and shaking you head, or doing minor exercises. But if it isn’t working you get a face, nose, lungs, and eyes full of some rotten but harmless stuff. It is very important for soldier to know that their protective equipment works, but it is also fun watching the people making a hasty exit because their mask wasn’t quite sealed. It isn’t so fun for that person, but we like to make sure there is a camera to catch the snot filled, eyes burning faces. But after everybody laughs, there are plenty of people willing to give the poor soul a hand getting themselves rinsed off.

In preparation for deployment, this gas chamber was no different, except after everybody was done testing their masks, the NCOIC of the gas chamber proudly announced that the chamber was now ready for brave soldiers to make a maskless trip through the chamber to show off who was tough enough. I was sitting there thinking to myself “this could be a lot of fun watching all of these fools, I wonder who will go, am I a big enough fool?” To my dismay nobody wanted to go and that there was going to be no fun at all. Then one of my Specialists, with a huge “Cat that ate the Canary grin”, came up to me and said “Sir, if you go I’ll go too”. I was just challenged, It was on! So I started waking to the entrance, at the top of my lungs I said “Who’s going with me!” Now we had all kinds of commotion. I heard “If the Commander can do I can do it” and other things and we ended up having a dozen or so of us fools go back into the chamber and the rest of the unit was all making their way to the exit to see all of our pretty faces as we would soon be coughing and choking and gagging our way out. When we finally did exit, there were cheers and laughs and Hooahs all around. I think I used a whole 5 gallon jug of water to rinse my face but it was worth it. Everyone had a good time that day.

Funny side note to that story, I later came to find out the Specialist who challenged me into going, tried to hide and not go through with it. But the sneak got caught by one of the senior NCOs and went through with me after all.

Years from now, there will only be one thing that I will be proud of more than the team that we created here in my unit. When all is said and done, the best part will be knowing that we accomplished the mission that was assigned to us. There is no greater feeling in the Army than knowing that it was job well done. DONE being an important word. I am, and have been for a long time, looking forward to the day that I can look down at the ground and see American soil, then look up and see my troops and say:

Dismissed!

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

Part 2 is "Bad Times"

Linked to Smash's Liberty Call

No, It's Not A Disco Ball.

Finally! A year after it was approved by voters, Kansas City's Sprint Center has a design.

Downtown Arena Design Team Unveils Sprint Center

'The taut glass skin wrapping the seating bowl and concourses will be an ever-changing tapestry as light plays across the surface,' said designer Brad Clark. 'The image will vary hour by hour as the color, intensity and quality of light change. At night the building will become a beacon, marking its place in our new downtown.'"







I like it. Now to settle the real question: Who begins play in 2008 -- the NBA's Kansas City Magic or the NHL's Kansas City Hurricanes?

Simpsons Quote Friday

Offered without context or explanation.
Me fail English? That's unpossible!"
-- Ralph Wiggum

Coming Soon!

My time here in Iraq is, depending on how I am feeling at the time, slowly and quickly coming to an end. Right now we are using terms like Advanced party, Relief in Place (RIP), Transfer of Authority (TOA), Left Seat Ride, Right Seat Ride. We are packing foot lockers and connexes, coordinating customs inspections. We are getting ready to move out of the Containerized Housing Units (CHU) to move to a temporary location so our replacements can move right into their new home. These are all good signs that this “Extended Desert Vacation Getaway” will be coming to and end soon. (although soon is never soon enough)

When coming to the end of something important journey, one tends to look back and reflect on the trip. I am no different. Over the next week or so I will be posting a 5 part series on what command has meant to me and what I have learned.
  1. Good times
  2. Bad Times
  3. Necessities
  4. Trust
  5. The effects of deployment on me.
So Sit back, relax, grab you favorite beverage and enjoy. “Good Times” will be posted soon has been posted.

17 August 2005

This is so wrong!

It is so wrong, that it just might be right.

Wazzadem is just funny!

Dennys: A Hotbed of Political Scandals

16 August 2005

Keep Tribal Names; Ban "Golden Gophers" Instead

The story so far: On August 5, the NCAA decreed that the use of certain American Indian team names and mascots would be banned during post-season tournaments. At least 18 schools had names and/or mascots that were deemed "hostile" and "abusive", including, most famously, the Seminoles of Florida State and the University of Illinois Illini.

Not content to be dictated to by the NCAA, the universities in question have begun to push back. Among the more notable responses is the open letter from Charles E. Kupchella, president of the University of North Dakota (home of the Fighting Sioux):

An Open Letter to the NCAA

Is it the use of the names of tribes that you find hostile and abusive?

Not long ago I took a trip to make a proposal to establish an epidemiological program to support American Indian health throughout the Upper Great Plains. On this trip I left a state called North Dakota. (Dakota is one of the names the indigenous people of this region actually call themselves.) I flew over South Dakota, crossing the Sioux River several times, and finally landed in Sioux City, Iowa, just south of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The airplane in which I traveled that day was called a Cheyenne."
Read the whole thing.

For Sale: One Thrill Ride, Slightly Used

Hey Mustang, I hope you've been saving up your combat pay!

Cedar Point Puts Thrill Ride Up For Sale
Cedar Point amusement park is putting a 22-year-old free-fall ride up for sale.

[...]

A park spokesman said selling the ride will make room for new projects. If no buyers come forward, the park will keep the ride.

Cedar Point did not reveal the asking price."

Wow! you have to check this out!

On a whim tonight, I hit the random button on the Milblogs ring. Click to give it a try yourself. It is amazing what you will find sometimes. Tonight I found something completely new, well at least new to me.

Patrick Anderson has a Soldier Tribute song that he wrote. (and added pictures to it)

Soldier, Soldier
CHORUS
Soldier, soldier save the day
Wish there was another way
Stand your ground and face the foe
You’re what makes the freedom flow.
he also say if you like what he has written,
PLEASE READ: If you’d like to repay a portion of your debt to our fallen heroes, please make a contribution to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. 100% goes to the grieving families of American and Allied soldiers who have given their lives to preserve our freedom. No administrative fees are deducted. To contribute online or by check, please visit the web link below:

Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund

THEN, PLEASE COPY AND FORWARD this to other thankful supporters of freedom wherever they may be.
Go check out the whole thing.

Project Valor IT

I group I highly respect, Soldiers Angels, has started a fund raising project for wounded troops. The want to provide voice activated Laptops for solders who cannot type so these soldiers can keep in contact with their families. It is called Project Valor IT



Go help out!

Note to Bloggers: Fusileer 6 at Castle Argghhh! has details to be part of this blog burst.

New Milblogger "Pebble Pie"

Once again, it is time to welcome a new member of the Milblogs ring.

Pebble Pie is a "Blue Star Mom". That means she has a child in the military. she has a list of her favorite quotes:
"and this too shall pass"
" Life is ten percent how we make it; ninety percent how we take it"
"Happiness is the best cosmetic"
"Success is sweet, but it's secret is sweat"
She has some good posts on her main page right now.

Adopt a Jihadi (this is funny)
How You Can Help

In accordance with the guidelines of this new program we have decided to place one terrorist under your personal care. Your detainee has been selected and scheduled for transportation to your residence next Monday. Ali Mohammed Ahmed bin Mahmud is to be cared for pursuant to the standards you personally demanded in your letter of admonishment. We will conduct weekly inspections to ensure that your standards of care for Ahmed are commensurate with those you so strongly recommended in your letter.
Better Then It Looks In Iraq
Progress cannot be measured by the number of deaths or bombs. DESPITE what you may have read, the military situation in Iraq today is positive - far better than it ever was when we were fighting guerillas in Vietnam, or when the Soviets were fighting the Afghan mujahideen, or in almost any other major insurgency of the 20th century. With few exceptions, the insurgents in Iraq are not able to undertake militarily meaningful attacks on US troops.
Also check out Pebble Pie's post about her daughter.

Go Check out her site and welcome her to the Milblogs ring.

15 August 2005

Where do you guys come up with this stuff!

That was another great Caption Contest. Check out the winners. (or scroll down if you are on the main page) I really enjoy reading what everybody comes up with.

Make sure to tune in this weekend for the next installment of Assumption of Command's Weekly Caption Contest. I would give you a hint, but the selection is still "Up in the Air" ;)

The Streak Is Over!

The streak of rainouts, that is. The Royals' losing streak, however, is still going strong. I feel privileged to have witnessed numbers 14 and 15, which established a new record of futility for the franchise. I've been a fan of this team for my entire life. As a small child, I said I wanted to be George Brett when I grew up -- not third baseman for the Royals (that would come later), but George Brett. I was at Royals Stadium when the team clinched the A.L. West Division crown in 1985, and didn't realize how spoiled I was by their success. I spent my childhood and adolescence rooting for a model franchise that was always competitive, and have spent my adult years pulling for an increasingly dismal also-ran. During that time, I have always remained positive about the team and its future, even through last place finishes and 100 loss seasons.

But now, for the first time, I've lost faith. With the exception of David DeJesus and a couple of arms in the bullpen, the vaunted "youth movement" appears to be a bust. Outside of Billy Butler, Justin Huber, and the as-yet unsigned Alex Gordon, the minor league system is bereft of talent. The general manager says all the right things, but his actions don't back up the talk. The owner is clearly more interested in finances than performance.

None of that looks like it's going to change anytime soon.

I spent the last three days at Kauffman Stadium, where I celebrated (or at least attempted to celebrate, when the weather permitted) the 20th anniversary of the most successful Royals team ever -- the 1985 World Champions. It's a shame that those three days also had to be spent mourning the loss of hope in this franchise.

14 August 2005

Ask the Cats

I am not sure if everyone has seen this fairly new feature at Laurence Simon's place, This blog is Full of Crap. Laurence will take a current topic and post it as a question to his cats Nardo, Frisky and Piper. He will then post a picture of the cats with their answer to the question. He then invites people to send in their own Cat's picture and answer.

The most recent "Ask the Cats" is about Cindy Sheehan:

Lets ask the cats about Cindy Sheehan
Who cares what I think about Cindy Sheehan? It's time for a new feature of TBIFOC called Ask The Cats!

What do you think about Cindy Sheehan?

[pic of Piper on TBIFOC]
Piper: You know, she was happy to have met Bush the first time. But since then, she's been drawn into Michael Moore's gravitational pull and her fragile mind has been warped by the tidal forces in his gut.
Make sure to check the "Ask the Cats" Archives.

Thank you, kittycats.
I Posted a new favorite quote in the side bar:

Mustang 23's Favorite Quote
“If a tie is like kissing your sister, losing is like kissing you grandmother with her teeth out.”
George Brett

13 August 2005

Russ Vaughn Sends

This is Russ Vaughn's newest work. This is biting commentary on the dishonor Cindy Sheehan is doing to her son's memory and service.
A Useful Death


A mother's anguish turns to ire,
Her liquid tears to spears of fire,
A useful fool for the liberal Left,
All hatred now, no more bereft.
The honor which her son embraced,
Is now dishonored, now disgraced,
As his mother stands atop his grave,
From there to shriek, from there to rave.


Yes, some are maddened in their grief,
And grief can surely change belief;
But this woman's views, her family say,
Have long been held, long fore today,
Enabling Leftists to use her grieving,
For Moore deception, Moore deceiving.
I see this mother as a willing fool,
A useful Moorish Code Pinko tool.

As one who fought in another place,
I sorrow for this boy's disgrace,
By a zealot mother grafting grief
Stealing his brave deeds, an honor thief,
Usurping his valor to claim her share,
Five minutes of fame in Media's glare.
Her platform one you don't see often:
A dishonored, flag-draped, soldier's coffin.

I can hear Michael Moore muttering under his breath,
"Yeah, this was really a useful death."



Russ Vaughn

And Internet Bloggers Possess Wit, Charm, and Good Looks.

I always knew this blog had an ineffable something going for it; now I know what it is!

Internet Blogs Attract Young, Wealthy Readers
Good news for Web log publishers with aspirations of making money off their sites--compared to the average Internet user, visitors to Web logs, or blogs, tend to be younger and to belong to a wealthier household, a study has found."

So, the truth comes out. No more cries of poverty from you people out there! When can Mustang and I expect you to start sharing your good fortune?

12 August 2005

Message to Ms. Sheehan from an Iraqi Blogger

You don't have to look far in the Blogosphere to find people talking about Ms. Sheehan. I have even posted about her once already. And there are other Deployed Bloggers share my opinions. Phil, of Phil and Becky's blog writes:

In case anyone was wondering
To all of my friends and family, please do not even think of doing anything like that if I happen to meet some untimely demise here. It is not a good idea, it does not represent my wishes, and if it happens I will ask the Lord very politely if He will allow me to temporarily return to earth (preferably in some frightening visage) and haunt whoever does it. And I will do my best to be very very scary.

Just in case anyone was wondering. :)
So with all the coverage of this situation, the story has made its way to Iraq. Iraq the Model is a great blog written in Iraq by Iraqis. They know more suffering than I could imagine and they have "A message to Cindy Sheehan"
We live in pain and grief everyday, every hour, every minute; all the horrors of the powers of darkness have been directed at us and I don't know exactly when am I going to feel safe again, maybe in a year, maybe two or even ten; I frankly don't know but I don't want to lose hope and faith.

We are in need for every hand that can offer some help. Please pray for us, I know that God listens to mothers' prayers and I call all the women on earth to pray with you for peace in this world.

Your son sacrificed his life for a very noble cause…No, he sacrificed himself for the most precious value in this existence; that is freedom.

His blood didn't go in vain; your son and our brethren are drawing a great example of selflessness. God bless his free soul and God bless the souls of his comrades who are fighting evil. God bless the souls of Iraqis who suffered and died for the sake of freedom. God bless all the freedom lovers on earth.
This is just amazing stuff. If reading this doesn't help you understand why we are here, you are either dimwitted or too wrapped up in Bush-Hating to care. Read it all.

(Via Mudville & BlackFive)

Take your best shot at this Caption Contest


Winner!
"Life's funny. One day I'm singing 'She Bangs' on national tv, the next I'm the goalie on the rifle team."
Buckley F. Williams

The "William Tell" Awards
I know that story, but William Tell used a cross-bow, not a shotgun.
MustangSarge
"What's that you say, William?? You want me to lower the target some more so that the red apple is on my head??"
Robin in Ohio

The "Because I like the Blue Collar Comedy Tour" Award
Bill Engvall: So you joined the army. Your job is at the firing range, as a Target specialist. Here's your sign!
Ric

The "Rodney is the Bottom of the Barrel" Award
The Army eventually decided not to locate Drill Practice beside the target range as they started to lose to many target holders when the Drill Instructors yelled. "ATTEN-SHUN"
Rodney Dill



Part of the OTB Caption Jam

Carnival of Recipes #52

The Carnival of Recipes #52 has been posted over at Blonde Sagacity. ALa has put out a good menu this week. And she didn't even warn the unsuspecting people of what Dave's (stolen from me) recipe would be. (insert evil laugh here)

Go visit the Carnival for better recipes that were not made by bachelors.

Make Love, Not War

Well that is what General Kevin Byrnes will be doing from now on. Check that! That is what he was Allegedly doing while he was the Commander of the US Army's Training and Doctrine Command. (TRADOC)

General's lawyer says alleged affair involved a female civilian
WASHINGTON The four-star Army general relieved of command at Fort Monroe this week is alleged to have had an extramarital affair with a female civilian.

The general's lawyer says the woman does not work for the military or the federal government.

General Kevin Byrnes was canned as commander of the Army's Training and Doctrine Command at the Hampton base, and the Army has not ruled out taking additional disciplinary action against him.

Army officials declined to discuss any details of the accusations, except to say they involved sexual misconduct.

Byrnes' attorney, Lieutenant Colonel David Robertson, says Byrnes and his wife separated in May 2004 and they remained separated until their divorce became final on Monday -- the same day Byrnes was removed from command.

Robertson referred to the Army's allegation against Byrnes but he neither confirmed nor denied an affair.

The military rarely prosecutes adultery cases and handles them instead through administrative actions.

Byrnes, who's 55 is a Vietnam veteran who ranked third in seniority among the Army's eleven four-star generals.
General Byrnes was my commanding General while I was in the First Cavalry Division, and while I was deployed to Bosnia. As a young officer I had the unique position of being have the Division Commander visiting me on a fairly regular basis. I have always, and will continue to have a good impression of him. He even gave me his Commanders Coin near the end of the deployment. (Woot!)

As I knew him, in the Cav, he didn't demand respect, he earned it. But if these allegations are true, which they seem to be, I cannot fault the Army for relieving him. His actions were wrong and I know for a fact that those actions get enlisted troops into UCMJ Problems as well. Therefore, as the Officer in Charge of all of the training in the US Army, and as an Officer who is supposed to be beyond reproach, action must be taken. If we punish our enlisted soldiers for these violations, we cannot let Officers go unpunished either.

I hate to see this happen to a good Officer, but it is probably what needs to be done. With that said, this is a scar on the Military and people are already trying to use it for political gain:

ST. Pete Times Editorial
The contrast with the misconduct surrounding the Abu Ghraib prison is impossible to ignore. Although investigations revealed that the prisoner abuses and violations of the Geneva Conventions were the product of policies emanating from the highest levels of the military, only Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski was ever punished. The roles of other high-ranking officers received barely a notice.

Consider Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, who was the senior commander in Iraq while the Abu Ghraib abuses took place. In a September 2003 memo, he wrote to approve interrogations that used dogs as a means to "exploit Arab fear of dogs." Yet Sanchez is reportedly being considered for a promotion - to four-star general. Byrnes, on the other hand, has lost his command and could lose more.

Morally speaking, this is obscene.
Sigh. Everything has to go back to Abu Grhaib. LTG Sanchez did not tell soldiers to make naked pyramids and he didn't order the Code Red. So get over it.

-----------------
Rusty asked for links, with good stuff to read, to this post celebrating 2 Million Visits. I get a Fatwa in Return.

11 August 2005

"Army of One" Means being a Jerk?

Jack Army Pointed me to this post by Gordon about recent Recruiting Commercials.

DTMan.Com
(Language Alert)
These new army recruiting commercials are on about 50 times a day on Spike TV.

I've seen two: in one, this young veteran is joining some sort of helicopter mechanic outfit. The boss in about to introduce him to his crew, and they're making their introductions and whatnot, and one asks, "Have you ever worked on anything this fast, before?" Then the young guy has some sort of Post-Traumatic flashback of Army Apache helicopters, he focuses back to reality, and deadpans, "Yeah, I have." No smile, no attempt to be congenial.
I haven't been able to see these commercials. They don't put to many recruiting commercials on TV here.

I was never a fan of the Army of One Slogan. (but I do like the Black and Gold Star emblem) One of the first commercials I saw with the Army of One had a guy in Full Battle Rattle running by himself in the middle of the desert. (most likely NTC at FT. Irwin) In the background you see combat vehicles GOING THE OTHER WAY! So this guy is running from the battle being a coward. The Army seriously needs a ditch their advertising firm! (and take the stupid berets with them)

Has anybody else seen these new commercials? What do you think of them?

Simpsons Quote Friday

Offered without context or explanation.

Hey, yutz! Guns aren't toys. They're for family protection, hunting dangerous or delicious animals, and keeping the King of England out of your face."
-- Krusty the Klown

Bachelor Recipe Day

(Wherein I provide a recipe for a meal that I, as a bachelor, do not consider overly difficult to prepare or consume. It could be a multi-course Italian feast, it could be half a jar of peanut butter -- the only rule is that it must be something I've actually eaten as a meal.)

On the menu today ...

Mustang Mama's Hummus

What you'll need:

  • a couple cans of garbanzo beans (or, if you prefer, chick peas)
  • bulk cloves of garlic from Costco
  • a resealable plastic container, such as Tupperware or Gladware
  • a car

Preparation:

  1. Combine GARLIC, TUPPERWARE, and GARBANZO BEANS in CAR.
  2. Drive CAR at 45 mph (speed and drive times may vary) to the home of Mustang Sarge and Mustang Mama.
  3. Give GARLIC to Mustang Sarge and Mustang Mama as "gift."
  4. Casually mention a real craving for hummus. Describe difficulty encountered while trying to prepare it. Look dolefully at cans of GARBANZO BEANS.
  5. Act surprised when Mustang Mama offers to make hummus. Protest that it is unnecessary for approximately two seconds.
  6. Place finished hummus in TUPPERWARE. Thank Mustang Mama and MustangSarge profusely. Eat hummus for the next week.

Possible side dishes: Falafel dinner (if invited to stay).

10 August 2005

While we're at it, can we get the Gateway Arch off the Missouri quarter?

A confession: I'm a coin geek. And I don't mean that I simply set aside one of each state quarter; I'm the type that pumps quarters into a vending machine and keeps pushing "Coin Return" until it gives me the ones I want. I pay attention to mint marks, and try to find "P" and "D" examples of each coin (meaning coins produced at the Philadelphia and Denver mints, respectively). I purchase proof coins produced at the San Francisco mint, and bullion coins from the West Point mint. I know that there IS a West Point mint. I make people let me look at their change. I'll probably have a series of posts that are nothing more than pictures of my favorite coins, and explanations of why I like them.

It's a sickness, really.


Anyway, you get the idea. I offer the above only as explanation for why I find the following so amusing:

Ford City man wants quarter tossed

Tom Brubaker would like a little change -- a Pennsylvania quarter to be exact.

The Ford City man is on a personal mission to convince the state Legislature to change the engraving on the state's contribution to the U.S. Mint's '50 State Quarters' program.

Brubaker believes the Pennsylvania quarter is not in keeping with other state quarters.

...

'A mistake was made,' Brubaker said. 'The one on our quarter was poorly chosen. Correct the mistake.'"

There's only one problem with Mr. Brubaker's crusade to change the Pennsylvania quarter:

'They're not making any more,' (state representative Jeff) Pyle said."
Okay, I thought it was funny.


09 August 2005

I wonder if it was one of those vanity plates ...

This may be my favorite headline in recent memory:

Cheerleaders Use Chant to Help Police

"I knew I was going to not remember it because there was too much going on," coach Patricia Clark said Monday on NBC's "Today." "So, when I ran down the street and got the plate number, I yelled to the girls: 'Remember this!'"

The cheerleaders put their skills to work, chanting the license number.

Does anyone else think this could be turned into a really bad syndicated television series?

Dave is Famous

But he is not the Famous Dave BBQ guy.

Dr. Dave's post, here at AoC, introducing himself (while trying to encourage bribery) has made the big time. It was picked up on today's Dawn Patrol by Mrs Greyhawk at The Mudville Gazette.

I have mentioned it before, The Dawn Patrol is the place to get all kinds of cool articles and posts from around the Milblogs and Media. And Mrs G is even encouraging you to find stuff in the Dawn Patrol and post it on your blog.

If you find something you like, just link back to the Dawn Patrol and send a trackback and your very own post will be on the Front Page of the Mudville Gazzette. (Also helping your Ranking at the TTLB Ecosystem, and Mudville's for that matter)

So Today I found this post by Jack Army about our old friend Fred "Asshat" Phelps:

Phelps Planned Protest at Arlington Funeral of Fallen SF Soldier
It has been reported to me that Jim Phelps, the loser conducting shenanigans like this, planned to protest at the funeral for fallen Special Forces Sergeant Jason Palmerton.

There has been a call put out for anyone affiliated with the Special Forces community in the area of Arlington/Washington DC to "counterprotest" (my word, not theirs). Hopefully, everything ends peacefully and out of sight of the grieving family and friends.

08 August 2005

Mother of a Fallen Soldier

Michelle Malkin has an interesting piece about the Mother of a Fallen Soldier who in her grief has come out against the war and her visit with President Bush.

THE FRIENDS OF CINDY SHEEHAN
The Bush-bashing mother of a soldier who died in Iraq last year has garnered quite a bit of buzz from the MSM for her anti-war vigil outside of Crawford, Texas. Drudge highlights her rather drastic change of heart:
[...]
The woman is clearly anguished about her son's death, as any parent would be. But in her grief, she has lost sight of the fact that her 24-year-old son, Casey, proudly and willingly served. Sheehan's father told the press in April 2004 that his son had re-enlisted the previous August, planned to make a career in the military, and "loved the Army because it gave him a chance to serve his country."

Update: Confederate Yankee has a Straight Forward Monster Rant about Ms. Sheehan

And Now For Something We Hope You'll Really Like!

Here's the thing: I’m not a soldier. I have never served in the Army, be it the U.S. Army, the Salvation Army, or the KISS Army. I have not served in the Air Force, the Marines, or the Navy (though I did turn down a Navy ROTC scholarship). My only connections to the armed forces are that I was born in an army hospital (because my mother was in the Navy), conducted scams… er, "research" for the Army while in graduate school, and have auto and homeowners insurance through USAA (thanks Mom!). Otherwise, I simply bask in the safety and security provided by our brave servicemen and women.

The point is, I can't provide valuable insights into what life is like for our soldiers. I can't describe what it’s like "on the ground" in Iraq, or offer first-hand accounts of the progress of our mission in that country. If you visit this blog for Mustang’s commentary on such matters, then I'm afraid I may be a disappointment.

You see, I'm far more familiar with the Midwest than I am with the Middle East. With the exception of four years in San Antonio and five in Minneapolis, I've spent my entire life in the Kansas City area. I'm a computer programmer who has dabbled in high explosives and poisonous gases, and until he began his unplanned desert vacation, I worked and shared a house with Mustang. I consider him a friend, and, as a friend, he asked me to guest blog for him while he does … well, whatever it is he does. It's supposed to get him home sooner, so I said "yes."

I know Mustang by another name, of course. Several, actually, but most of them shouldn't be repeated. I'm well-acquainted with several of the comment section regulars: I've attended family functions with Mustang Sarge, Mustang Mama, Mustang Aunt, and Mustang Sis … um, make that KCNK. I've socialized with A Souldier's Prayer and Walking Eagle. I can decode the meaning of the name FCC@V. I know where RCBEEP lives. I've sampled the sugar cookies for which Mustang Mama is famous, and I'm familiar with who first suggested sending Strawberry Shortcake sheets to our favorite company commander. I'm privy to information. I know things. And if you're under the impression that I'm going to tell you those things, then you're absolutely right. But it'll cost you.

So place your bids in the comments section. (The winner will also receive a copy of my best-selling dissertation, "Ammonia Oxidation Catalysis: Hydrogen, Hydrogen Cyanide, and Nitric Oxide".) In the meantime, I'll keep posting. There will still be commentary on the news of the day, and caption contests will always have a place here. But there will also be discussions of history, and art, and science, and Simpsons! They'll be the best blog posts ever written. Well, they'll be okay. Probably not the worst. I'm thinking middle. High middle. So buckle up and stay tuned for more of that patented Dave "high-middle" excitement. It's on its way.

Tony's Kansas City

Get the latest Kansas city Commentary with plenty of Common Sense and "Take no Crapness". Tony is a Wise Cracker (Not a Cracka, but a Jokester) and very funny.

Check out this one:

Feeling hot, hot, hot
Anyway, the recent story of a pale Johnson County woman suspected of a tanning salon robbery spree is nearly enough to debunk any myths regarding racial superiority.
Make sure to see the rest of his stuff: Tony's Kansas City

Hooah Wife

I am introducing another new member of the Milblogs ring. This time it is a bit different. She has been around a while but just now joined up and I have even linked her before.

Without further ado, let me introduce you to Hooah Wife! I linked her back in my Hooah! post. She describes herself this way:
Married for 11 years - 3 children 9, 7, 4 - 4 cats, 1 obnoxious dog. I am Jewish, married into Southern Baptist, Catholic & Protestant Grandparents, Aunt that is a Nun and a Hispanic adopted child that was in foster care prior to adoption. Full-time Hooah mom with a Masters degree. Hometown anywhere the Army sends us.
Did everyone score that correctly? :)

Like me she has been distracted by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:

Too Busy to Post
I am in the middle of Harry Potter. No cooking, cleaning, posting or tending to business until I finish. Of course I jest.
She also discusses a NY Times Article that has been making the rounds in the Milblogosphere:

Where Are the War Heroes?
I feel that the American youth of today are denied of knowing the respect and pedestals that the soldiers of yesterday received. What is wrong with this left wing, media crazy, anti-American sentiment that seems to be in vogue? Why has it become so acceptable to have a yellow ribbon on your car just to look good in the office parking lot? What happened to the patriotism after 9/11 when we realized that all AMERICANS ARE IN THIS TOGETHER? Everyone had a flag on their car and seemed so proud of it.


Go say Hi to the Hooah Wife.

Winners are posted

The Caption Contest stretched me to my limits this week, but it was fun anyhow. The winners have been posted.

Thanks for playing.

You better get some practice for next week, because that one will be right on target!

06 August 2005

FCC@V's influence seems to be spreading

My Girlfriend, FCC@V, is growing in popularity:

Randomosity: Okay another thing to add
I want to take the time now to properly thank FCC@V, mustang 23's girlfriend. This woman is amazing. I was trying to find Dark Chocolate M&M's to send to michelle.
And growing

Today was wonderful
I mean, she just has such a compassionate heart. I can see why Mustang 23 is with her. He better be dang lucky that he is with this girl.
Darn Right I am!

Tips for Soldiers Preparing to Deploy

COL (Ret) Austin Bay made a visit to Iraq recently (as a civilian) and was asked by an NCO what kind of stuff to bring.

Advice For A Troop Deploying To Iraq

He has some good advice let's go through them Point by Point and at the end I will add a few things of my own.
(1) Buy a very good pair of tactical gloves– I bought a pair at Bull Tactical Supply in Austin. GT Distributors (which handles police gear) should have some as well.
This is good advice. Gloves are always good to have. But I would wait to buy gloves until after you get the issued set from the Army. If at that point you don't like them, then buy the ones you want. Most of the year it is awful hot for gloves but there are some times and situations where they might be handy (no pun intended)
(2) Have a dust mask for convoys. A scarf helps but a “dickey” type mask is better.
Dust is freaking everywhere here. If you are on a convoy in a guntruck with open windows and hatches, these would be helpful.
(3) Arrive in good shape –make that very good shape.
This is a must. The heat here is ridiculous and it is best to be in good shape for these conditions. you will need all of the energy you can get.
(4) I took doxycycline.
The Army will provide this if you need it don't bother with trying to pay for your own.
You might also take some extra vitamin B (folic acid). Glucosamine sulfate helps some folks with their joints, and wearing kevlar armor takes a toll on “older” joints.
Since my joints don't qualify as “older”, I can't speak on that, but I do take Mega Men's from GNC it has a whole bunch of stuff and I think it works well.
(5) Have a good pair of goggles
As COL Bay notes, the Army will issue a great set of goggles, and if you wear glasses they even have a great on that goes over your glasses from ESS. So again I would wait to see what you get before buying something.
(6) I prefer the UnderArmour t-shirts and shorts. They wick sweat quickly, they can easily washed by hand, and the compression shorts provide support. [ED: Kevlar “over-armor” seems to ride better on UnderArmour-type fabrics. Cotton t-shirts– even when sopping wet with sweat– seem to bunch up. There were a couple of days I wore cotton t-shirts and wished I hadn’t.]
AMEN! UnderArmour is great! I wish I owned stock in those guy. they are making a killing over here. I have both the T-Shirts and the Boxer Briefs (I know TMI) and I very happy I made that investment. By the way they are a few bucks cheaper at the PX.
(7) I was not impressed with the KBR laundry operation– Their operation runs on these principles: “if it can shrink it will, if it can fade it will, if it can fray, it will.” For DCUs and sheets, etc., it’s okay. For UnderArmour garments, it isn’t.
These guys are killing my socks too. They have one heat setting one their dryers: Chernobyl.
(8) Have a camelbak canteen and use it.
Again the Army issued mine to me, but I really don't use it so much. Check and see what you get from the Army first.

Here are a couple of my tips that I would like to add.

1. Bring a Flashlight: It gets Flipping Dark here. I recommend one that can be easily stashed in your pocket at all times. I carry a 2xAAA Mini-Mag that has worked great. But I also have the most D Cell one too. :)

2. Bring a Laptop of a Mini-DVD player: you will need something for entertainment. Nothing says boredom like Hurry-up and Wait! There are DVDs galore around this place.

3. Bring a sense of humor and your patience: it will be a long year and you will need both of these.

I hope this helps.

I know there are some other Deployed/Returned troops that could add to this list. Feel free to send me an E-mail, or leave a comment, blog about it at your site and send me a trackback.

(Via The Mudville Dawn Patrol)


Update1: LT Currie sends this tip via E-Mail:
Mustang23,

Other than don't go, I'd have to say this, pick up everything you can get your hands on by T.E. Lawrence and study! Understanding the culture and the history of the region is probably the most important thing for anyone coming here. The thought occurred to me, "We aren't in Kansas anymore." This culture is so opposite of ours. We aren't going to change them, but if we can understand them, then we can work with them, and that is worth its weight in gold here. Understanding.

Russ
Well Said! We aren't here to change anyone, we are here to help them get on their feet. The more we understand the better we can do our jobs.

BTW: Visit his site. Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum


Update2: Dadmanly has some great advice as well

Tips for Deployment to Iraq
Bring a digital camera, one with an automatic lens cover, maglite, and as one of the commenters on COL Bay's blog said, get a couple of carabiners for your IBA to hold helmet or whatever else when your hands are occupied -- our trainers advised putting some 5/50 cord on the bottom of magazines, and as you empty them, you can hook them on the carabiner.

Update3: Pandy has some some good tips for female troops in the comments.

Visit her site as well, What Panda?

05 August 2005

Smile for the Caption Contest

I have no idea who these guys are but I figure we could make fun of them anyhow!

Winner!
"CNN is reporting on the Army's stretched forces, this is one."
Chevy Rose

Honorable Mention
I flunked out of astronaut training, these things kept flapping in that centifuge thing. So I'm in the army now!
Ric



Part of the OTB Caption Jam

Couple of Admin Notes

I have official changed my E-mail address. I am starting to get sick of my 2MB limit at hotmail so I know I have a Gmail account with 2.5 GB of space!!!! I will still be checking the old account, but I want to try to move away from it.

My new address is Mustang23-dot-Assume@gmail-dot-com
(change the -dot- to real dots)

I also have plenty of invites if you want a Gmail account of your own. I highly recommend it.

As you might have seen, my time is going to start getting a little shorter in the next few weeks, and I am already having trouble answering all of the e-mail I get I do read them. (BTW: Neighbor Angie... Black and Gold!)

But I want to keep this blog going even if I can't post all the time, so I have enlisted (wait till he hears he has to go to basic training) the help of Dr. Dave. He is "Dr." because he has a PhD in things no one else on the planet ever seems to understand. But he also doesn't really like bragging going by that title, but we tend to call him that anyway. He has told me some of his ideas and they keep making me chuckle. So this could be interesting.

Don't worry I am not going anywhere, but I just figure a little help would be good right now.

04 August 2005

basil's blogging tip

basil has a new blogging tip up. Well maybe it isn't a exactly a blogging tip, it is more like a web design tip. It is good none the less.

It is about avoiding spam in your inbox:

Reducing Spam:
I hate spam. No, I'm not talking about Hormel's fine pork product. I'll fry some SPAM® up and eat it on a bun! No, I'm talking about the evil spam. The kind that shows up uninvited in your inbox. And that's what this Blog Tip is all about: reducing spam.

If you've had a computer and an e-mail address for any length of time, you've received spam. And you've probably taken steps to reduce it. Maybe you even bought some products to filter it out of your inbox.


It has some real good stuff. Take a read.

Now I am getting Pictures

Janie, in Washington State, sent me this picture of one of the kids she watchs during the day:
Here's a young lady to brighten your day. Mary-Katheryn (did you notice her tattoo's???) Someday in the future, some young man is gonna fall hard for those big baby blues!!!!

Thinking of you and you are kept in our prayers.

hugs,
Janie

And the hits keep on rolling :)

03 August 2005

The Top 5 Terrorist Perfumes

5. Jihad Me at Hello

4. Eau de Humanity

3. Chanel No. C4

2. Bill Blast

1. Ka'al bin Klein Eternity in Hell, You Infidels!


UGH!

Blogging on Blogging

If you look over to the right of the screen, you will see that I am a member of the Milbolgs Community. That means that I am a member of a group that discusses current military issues or relate personal experiences about the military that I have had.

It just so happens that I am in the Military (I know, Shocking Revelation) and have some things to share. But tell you the truth sometimes I just don't feel like talking about it.

Let me explain. I received an email from an Air Force Butter Bar Lieutenant:
Hello Sir!
I love your site, it is very similar to Black Five and Castle Aarggh in being both informative and entertaining. If you could I am sure your readership would love to know more of the day to day happenings in the company. Also, your thoughts on what is going on with the ISF, the IP, the Constitution and what the future looks like. It is hard to get the truth back here in DC without reading the blogs and hearing from our boots on the ground.


Be safe!

Jarred A. Fishman
2nd Lieutenant, USAF (Res.)
Air Force Pundit
Jarred, I appreciate the kind words. You know what, I do like to post stuff about the Iraqi Security Forces, Iraqi Army, and Iraqi Police. I feel they are making great moves toward self sufficiency. (I am out of the loop on their Constitutional progress)

BTW: Visit Jarred's Site

But there are times, Like now, that I really am not in a mood to talk about things going on over here. It is hard to explain this, but I will try.

Here is a widely known truth in modern day deployments: "It much easier deploying than it is Redeploying". When you deploy you have all the assets in the world pushing you out of you deployment station. There were literally hundreds of people who were assisting us in making sure we (and the umpteen other units) deployed properly, had all the needed stuff, checked all the blocks, got all the paperwork squared away and were trained properly. Although it is a pain in the backside, these deployment stations are getting this process down pat and units are able to deploy with less and less gnashing of teeth.

Fast Forward to the now. My company is doing the mission, getting the real work done and the clock is winding down on this deployment (YEA!) but things are getting really stupid around here. The hoop jumping is becoming very wearisome. Not only are there more hoops showing up every day they are getting harder and harder to jump through when I still have the mission going on.

This frustration has been hitting me pretty hard, but I am also starting to "smell the barn". I know I am getting close to going home and my mind is starting to think about things back home more and more. This is causing my "Give a Crap Factor" to go down. My mission is getting done, but it is taking more and more time to get out of bed in the morning to face that mission.

With all of that said, I am finding that I am using this blog and other web sites and cool stuff on the internet as a pseudo-getaway from the things that are frustrating. I am stating to get tired of talking about the Military, even though I still love the Army. The different things going on around here and some of the internal conflicts that are going on are dragging my motivation down. I am trying to keep that motivation/"Give a Crap Factor" up as much as I can but when the day is over and it is time for me to relax, I just don't want to talk about the things (ie this deployment and the military) that are annoying me as much as they are. That is why you get posts like this, or this, or this, or this, from time to time.

I have met some very neat people through this blog (basil too) and have had some good times chatting with my friends back home about stuff. I am very glad I started it doing this. I have even improved my speellinng. And by no means do I plan on stopping this blog, but it is my blog and I will be posting about whatever comes to mind at the time. I will not stop doing military stuff, but as you can tell, that isn't all I will talk about.

So after all of this, what is the point?

Let me sum up: If you arrive at Assumption of Command and I don't have something new about Iraq or the Army or Air Force Butter Bars Lieutenants, please understand that there will be more later as today I just didn't feel like it or I didn't have anything new to report. And yes I am still very behind on E-mails; I know I haven't responded to all of them. I have even forgotten to reply to some of my Mustang Mama's e-mails. But I am reading them all.

So just bear with me. And thanks for reading!

BTW: also as things get busier around here, which they will, don't be surprised if this guy does some guest posting when I won't be able to. And it will be good for Dave since he doesn't have a blog of his own yet. (and he is the one who introduced me to blogs in the first place. Sheesh!)

-----------------
Linked to Mudville's Open Post
Linked to Smash's Morning Quarters

02 August 2005

Beat This!

McDonald's of the World

Harvey found photo blog featuring pictures of McDonald's in different places.

McDonald's of the World
What this blog is all about is Posting pictures of McDonald's restaurants from around the world. This is NOT a anti McDonald's blog I happen to love eating the stuff.

Harvey posted pictures of China Town.

I just so happened to have a picture of a Mickey D's in Qutar so I sent in a Photo.

Go check it out. And if you have any photo, make sure to send them in!

Get a Laugh here

Smash Presents:

What have they done for us?
USAMA: Yeah. All right, Mushin. Don't labor the point. And what have they ever given us in return?!

ABDULLAH: The Internet?

USAMA: What?

ABDULLAH: The Internet.

USAMA: Oh. Yeah, yeah. They did give us that. Uh, that's true. Yeah.
Just read it yourself.

01 August 2005

Thanks to Everyone who played

and thanks to RCbeep for allowing us to poke fun at A3 and providing the picture to do so. This was another great contest. The Winners have been Posted.

I got a deal for you... How about we do it agian this weekend!

New Milblogger Time

I am going to start consistently posting about new members of the Milbloggers Ring. I think it is a good way to give them a little pub and to find out what others are talking about.

Disgrunteled Grunt, (hehe cool name!) describes him self like this:
A former US Army Infantry NCO having spent 6 years on Active Duty and 3 years in the National Guard. I am now sidelined with an injury which prevents me from being able to re-enlist and serve my country in uniform. Instead I have decided to serve by making sure I am supporting our fighting men and women any way I can.
Sounds good to me!

He has a couple of good posts that I would like to recommend.

First he talks about the Recruiters Vs Parents ongoing situation:

Protecting your children from the big bad boogey man?
If you do not want your child to enlist then don't sign the papers for them. However remember that at 18 years old they no longer need your signature so if they are interested in joining then be part of the solution. Sit with the recruiters, here them out and ask questions. Actually ask a lot of questions but remember that the recruiters can only give you information. I hate it, nay, CANNOT STAND IT when I hear people whine about how recruiters lie. No, they gave you just enough to hang yourself which is why I said ask a lot of questions. But know this, your child's enlistment options do not end with the recruiter it is when they meet with the career counselor at MEPS and you will not be allowed to be there for that part of it.
He also posts this on a soldier who purposely missed movement:

Soldier who refused to serve to face Court Martial
I hope they toss his a** in d-cell for some time. I am sure a lot of the men and women who are serving in Iraq would prefer to be somewhere else but they understood the importance of the mission and more importantly they remembered the oaths they swore and the buddies who they would be screwing over by refusing to do their jobs.
Amen!

Go Take a look at his site and welcome him to the world of Milblogs.