October 25, 2010

From the Front: 10/25/2010

Personal dispatches from the front and the home front. (New complete posts come in below)

A Little Pink in a World of Camo: What We'd Be Doing - I'm in a funk today. I've been in a funk for a few days, actually. I try to shake it off but it creeps up when it wants and there's nothing I can really do about it. I do my best to fight through it but there are days when it gets the best of me, like today. I can't help but feel utterly alone. I am constantly watching people just walk right out of my life. No warning, just gone. And that is where the insecurity comes from. Not whether or not I look good or am fun but when everyone will eventually leave. They all will, eventually. No one can be there forever, not even the ones who promise. I find myself thinking about what we'd be doing if you were here. It's Sunday. We'd be watching football. You'd be stoked to know that we get the Pats game today at 4. Would we be home for it? Would we have gone to Hooters or B Dubs to watch? It's fall, we would have our punkins already carved (punkins that I haven't even looked at this year... what's the point?) (READ MORE)

Afghani Dan, Part II: Social Studies - This entry started off as a short current events piece, which is virtually impossible to do when one wishes to give background and context to an Afghan update. So it got a bit longer, as tends to happen with wordy types who never even needed to kiss the Blarney Stone...and I remembered that only on social media did I post the photos from last month's UN International Day of Peace festival in Kabul, which I attended along with Maj. General Azimi and his aide. It was a fairly incredible day, to be commemorating the victims of war and expressing hope for world peace right in the heart of one of the world's most unstable regions. Here are a few of the unforgettable moments, before my lecturin' begins...(READ MORE)

Castra Praetoria: Iraqi Halloween - October in Iraq 2007. Considering the season of All Hallows Eve I am reminded of the horrors endured at OP Omar on my first deployment as a company 1stSgt. Going into the month of October the temperature had thankfully starting to drop. Which meant instead of it being 120 degrees Fahrenheit it is a mere 105. Cases of spontaneous combustion were less frequent and the weather kept to a reasonably low broil. Iraq being the kind of place it was we didn’t expect a comfortable transition into winter but instead theorized the temp would suddenly drop out the bottom and paralyze us where we stood. At least the cooler weather cut down on the various flesh devouring insects inhabiting our small slice of the Middle Evil. Some of you may be familiar with the humming bird sized mosquitoes found in the Carolinas or in the jungles of Southeast Asia. At OP Omar there thrived a colony of invasive little beasts composed entirely of wings and teeth. (READ MORE)

Free Range International: Inchon - Inchon is the call sign for the 1st Marine Regiment which is currently deployed in southern Helmand Province. They are operating out of a large FOB in the middle of nowhere, about 50 kilometers from the Provincial capitol of Lashka Gah, named Camp Dwyer. Unlike other FOB’s I have visited this massive base has lots of room but very few people. The Marines don’t like FOB’s much and having the leanest tooth to tail ratio (more trigger pullers than support personnel) in the American military; this is what one would expect to see. The 1st Marines are commanded by another close friend of mine, Colonel Dave Furness of Columbus, Ohio. Like my friends featured in previous posts, Col Paul Kennedy and LtCol Jeff Kenny, Dave was on the staff of the Marine Corps Infantry Officer course with me back in the early 90’s. The four of us also commanded recruiting stations in the late 90’s (the Marines take recruiting seriously) and as is often the case in the Corps... (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: East and West on WikiLeaks - So what was in those documents? Regarding the WikiLeaks release, the most interesting of what what revealed in the western press appears to be that Iran supplied Shiite militias with chemical weapons and that the U.S. looked the other way when prisoners were being tortured. In the Arabic media the reports are that "Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is accused of leading special forces strictly taking their orders from him and suppressing Sunni Muslims, and Al Jazeera says there was at least one more case of Blackwater firing at unarmed civilians that went unreported. Otherwise, local analysts said, "the documents published by the Wikileaks web site would have an impact on the security and political developments in Iraq, noting those papers did not bring about anything new." A few Iraqis were asked about their take on the released documents, and their replies did not disappoint. There were denials and conspiracy theories. You can watch them here answering in Arabic. (READ MORE)

Joan D'Arc: Swimming and military life - I went to the ocean with my family the other day. We have been there many times over the past few months since we now live in Hawaii (please don't hate me :) This visit to the ocean was a bit different than the past few... I got my hiney kicked all over the place by the waves and my whole body is sore (I will not be discussing the fact that I am very much out of shape... that's for another time :) As we were driving home I started to compare my experience in the ocean with my experience as a military spouse. I used to say that life was a series of speed bumps and roller coasters, but the ocean has changed that for me. Here's my take on my "ocean experience" the other day: Imagine the ocean water as "military life." You stand there watching the water and sometimes it looks beautiful, calm, serene, breathtaking, etc. The next thing you know, your legs are swept right out from under you. You lose complete control of your body and literally flip with the waves. (READ MORE)

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