Saturday, September 13, 2008

Iraq, when I left, we were winning


Article by recently retired Ltc John Hagl.

Link here to the article

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

They fought and died for our freedom, but all we ended up with was free dumb.


1. The Tomb of the Unknown needs some replacement marble.
2. Man buys some replacement marble from the same quarry used to get original.
3. Man offers the piece of marble to the government.
4. Government says, "No thank-you, your price is way too low"
5. I make fun of government.

Anyway, read the article

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Big Noize


Tongiht we all here at FOB Falcon got a special treat. The band Big Noize (Joe Lynn Turner of Rainbow and Deep Purple, Carlos Cavaso of Quiet Riot, Phil Soussan of Ozzies band, and Simon Wright on drums on load from ACDC played for almost two hours in a free concert. Those old bastards can still pump out the rock! The youngest member of the band is 53 and the oldest is 63 now. I don't know what it says for me that I knew the words to all their songs....but hey. I got some great photos and video. I will post some of the video as soon as I can shrink it to a size that will upload in something less than three months, but to tide you over here is a pic of Carlos Cavaso in a true guitar hero pose!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

One Loyal reader has stepped up to the plate!


Hmmmm, that worked so well maybe I oughta try for the motorcycle next.......


Mark,



Your camera kit is on its way. I went with a 28-70 zoom to give you a bit more flexibility, but if you need the 50mm 1.7 for low light I can get one your way. I did not get a flash, but you are all set with everything else you need. I would have gotten you a nice Minolta like mine, but the eBay purchase and sending it out for cleaning and adjustment would have taken some time. Is there a film lab in Iraq? I photographer I know in Afghanistan brought his film gear and had to go digital as the none of the posts have a lab anymore. He is a Chaplain.



Same-o, same-o here. I did manage a day at Oshkosh this year. It was incredible. I have a shot of a F22, P38, and a P51 flying in formation. If I send you pics, how should I size them? Will under 300k file size work? My next major photo jaunt will be the WW2 days at the museum next month. I made some nice snaps earlier in the year and am planning on presenting them to the units when I attend. My friend Mike has me suckered into being a photographer at On the Waterfront next weekend, so that might be interesting. We just got back from New Orleans where we went for a Shaklee convention. The town would have been a blast if I was 15 years younger and single, but I cannot recommend it as a destination if you have kids along.



I do check your blog for updates. I hope you are doing well and give my best to your family.



Good luck with the camera!



Lance Eldridge

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Buy Me a Camera


You know, I have always liked taking pictures, and when I deployed here to Iraq I came with two cameras, a Jazz Elite HD digital cam-corder, and an Olympus 8808 8.1 MP point and shoot. I have taken literally hundreds of pictures since I came here and the only reason I do not post more here is the sadly slow bandwidth that I am forced to deal with (damn this war!). Anyway, I have been looking at FILM SLRs online and while they have radically dropped in price, i am trying to save my money for more important things, namely, a Motorcycle. So I have decided that YOU, the reader will have the honour (note the Brit spelling) of buying and sending me one! Click on the link below to purchase and send me a Vivitar 35mm manual SLR! My address is in a previous post, so go hunting for it. The person who ponies up and sends me one will receive an autographed picture guaranteed taken on the camera you send me! Make sure to give me your address!!!!!!

Link to Amazon

Is the Iraq War Winding Down


Gosh I sure hope so But not until I have saved for my Harley.

Time Magazine Article

Command And Staff


Here we go another attempt to keep my postings up. Today my Blog was linked to by.....another blog! Nice to know my readership is still up there! A couple more and I'll be able to retire off of the money google ads are making me. I have been doing this blog thing for a year now and made $6.55! Most of that in the last two months, Who'd have thought this Iraq thing could be so interesting? Please don't feel obligated to click on the ads at all, but I am saving up to buy a Harley when I redeploy (mid-life crisis thingy I guess).

Well on to WHAT I DID TODAY. Right now I am sitting on the back ramp of an MRAP (I told you to look it up) in the parking lot of a National Police Battalion headquarters somewhere in Baghdad. Our team chief, the Major is trying real hard to get the Iraqi battalion leadership to be as excited about his project, adviser wise, as he is. His idea is that they hold a "Command and Staff" meeting once a week. Now this is a grand tradition in our Army, because we have learned over two centuries of mostly kicking ass that the way to do it more effectively is by having a bunch of officers locked in a room together, trying hard not to look like the dumbest one in there. I, thank God, do not have to attend (a mix between there not being enough room and my flat-out refusing to). But I can imagine what is going on in there. Right now he is probably trying to teach them the way to have an effective meeting is to have an AGENDA. Agendas are to be followed strictly during a meeting because it allows participants the opportunity to track how close they are to getting the hell out of there. The Iraqis really don't have enough computers to be able to show them how to stream line the meetings using Power Point, but that is something we can work on with them later.

That is about all to tell about that, as I said before, I am not an attendee. I cannot imagine anything useful coming out of this first staff meeting, so don't expect me to write anything more to be written on this subject. All I can say that as this meeting is going on, the National Police are missing a valuable opportunity to be out patrolling their sectors, and collecting bribes at checkpoints.

END OF POST QUIZ

1. Have you ever attended a Command and Staff meeting? How long was it? Did it only seem like forever?

2. What do you get by briefing from a Power Point slide that couldn't be more effective by briefing from a handful of 3 by 5 cards?

3. Of all the evil Bill Gates has loosed upon the world, is Power Point the worst? Or is it Outlook?

4. Have you clicked through any ads yet? Why not? My Harley costs $13,000! Do you think I am posting to this blog as a hobby?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What I Did Today


Yesterday one of the Shurta in one of the companies we advise killed his friend in the same company. He fired four rounds point blank. One round was stopped by his armor vest, and another was stopped by his helmet. The other two were stopped by his, well, between his vest and helmet. It speaks very well for the armor capabilities of the vest and helmet he was wearing, unfortunately, no armor on the face.

That much is the truth.

The rest of the story is kind of sketchy. The shurta who shot the guy panicked and ran away. Apparently (depending on which Iraqi you talk to), he made a telephone call to his unit to say he would turn himself in today. Which, reliable reports say he did do just that.

Also depending on which Iraqi officer you talk to (and believe me, I try not to), you will get two different stories leading up to the shooting. One version is that they were arguing about something and one of them opened fire. The second is that they were two friends talking and the one shurta had an "accident" with his rifle.

Well, that's all I know about that. Truthfully it is all anyone is likely to know. At least us Americans. I got the sense the Iraqi officers were embarrased by the whole thing, especially having to explain it to us.

QUIZ ON TODAY'S POST

1. Have you ever been shot in the face with an AK-47? How did it make you feel? Discuss.

2. Has anything ever exploded near you when you were posting to your Blog? well it just did here and it scared the shit out of me. Discuss.

3. Did you forget what shurta means?

4. If you are a policeman who shoots another policeman accidentally, who do you turn yourself into? ANSWER (a different unit)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Never type in an MRAP

I am writing this in the back of a bouncing MRAP (look it up, lazy) on the way to the front gate of FOB somewhere in Bagdad. So get off my ass if there aresome spelling, grammatical, or explosive errors in this text. I haven't posted any blog entry in quite a while, and before myreadership driftsinto thenegative numbers, I figure I had betterslap something together and release it into the wild web.

My purpose with thispost,and I suppose I must have , is to let all three of you know a little bit about what goes on in my tiny corner of the war.I am on a NationalPolice Transition Team. An advisor, if you will. My team is 11 US Army (from various job descriptiions) and three interpreters, all Patriotic Iraqi citizens who are trying to make their country a better place. Just kidding, they make 1400 bucks a month (a fortune here) and are counting the days until they get the US resident Visas approved so they can move to the heartland and steal our jobs. Just kidding, they're really a bunch of swell guys (but they are allapplying to live in the US).

OK, this is getting just a little too bouncy, I'll have to get back to you (stop reading for half an hour to simulate the wait). Ok, here we are. How was your break?

Like I said, we are a National Police Transition Team (advisors, remember? Just a check to see if you are paying attention). We are in Bagdad, but aside from that I am not going to be any more specific. Bagdad, for those of you who have not listened to or watched the news since about oh, 1990 or so is the capital city of the country of Iraq. It is considered to be one of the hottest cities on the planet, temerature wise, which makes you wonder just exactly why people thousands of years ago stopped here and said, “what a great place! Let's settle here, it's much nicer than the place we just came from which was..........”,hell the sun or Mercury I guess.

Anyway, the National Police. Sounds like a police force, doesn't it? Well, it isn't. Not like Americans understand a police force. Picture an Infantry unit that wears blue tinted camoflage and you've got it. They carry rifles and machine guns, but their pickup trucks have police painted on the side, so who am I to judge? Many of their Shurta (Arabic for Police man, remember that, I am not going to repeat it again), are uneducated, poorly trained, and some are on drugs a great amount of the time (I get this from one of our interpreters). Many can't read or write their language. Their weapons are cruddy, rusty, dirty AK-47s (which of course, the AK being the AK, function just fine). Their officers are fabulously corrupt (more on this later), an in fact, you can BUY a position in the National Police as an officer. They are consistently short of all manner of supplies (gas, ammo, etc.).

But.......they're effective. Or at least something is. Bagdad is at it's lowest level of violence in years, shops are open, kids go to school, there are political posters up and down the streets advertising for the upcoming elections this fall. Yes, there is still violence, sectarian and otherwise. People are still getting blown up. But not as many as before. And it's declining. AQI is considered kind of a joke.

What do we do as advisors? Our team is broker into sections and each one has a counterpart in the Iraqi battalion. For instance our team commander meets with and advises the Iraqi commander. Our intelligence officer meets with and advises the Iraqi intelligence officer. I meet with and advise the NCO's who run the Command Post. A lot of our duties involve data collection. We have many reports to send up to “headquarters” (in the mount olympus kind of sense). How many patrols did your unit run in their sector this week? How many of them were jointly ran with the US battalion in the area? Were there any “significant activities” (what you civilians would call “crimes” like you know anything)? Combine this with other pieces of data, such as how many gallons of gasoline the unit was supplied with, how many shurta are on duty versus how many are on leave or AWOL, write it all up and email it on up to Mount Olympus and it dissapears into a “file” until it gets "briefed" in a "presentation" to a "VIP".

We do accompany the shurtas on some of their missions, which are mostly what are termed "cordon and search". What this is, a unit will block off a section of city (a block or two) and systematically (or as systematically as Iraqis do anything) search every house, or at least the ones that look like they have something cold to drink inside. The two I have gone on were mostly to inform citizens of the new privately owned weapons ban in effect in the city. In the past each household was allowed to have one rifle (usually an AK-47) in their house for protection against bad guys. But now they are not. So the police go around and gather them up (noone is arrested for still having one, the guns are merely confiscated). Also the police will check the registration of cars sitting in driveways (car theft and false registration is a booming business). Also, they'll confiscate cold water and other drinks from the refrigerator of anyone lucky enough to have working electrcity. They will do this right in front of you without a second thought.

Other than that, we are a small team, so everyone has to or three other jobs that must be accomplishedin any military unit. For instance, I am the "calendar manager" I create and manage our short and long range schedules so that we operate like a well oiled machine. Just kidding, we usually do many things at the last minute, based on our Team Leader getting a cellphone call from his Iraqi counterpart. But our schedule still must be maintained, and that's my job. I'm getting very familiar with Microsoft Outlook (even though I always feel dirty after using Windows. This was written on a machine using Debian, in case you were wondering).

Ok, that's about all that I am going to writefor now. You are just goig to have to take another break at this point, because I have to save this to a memory stick, and then wait until I get back to my laptop that has internet access and transfer it to the web. I don't know how long this will take, so get yourself some lunch or a cold drink or something.

Stay tuned for my next post, which will talk about the "Sons of Iraq".

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

1. How long has it been since my last post? Do you care?

2. What is a Shurta?

3. Did you look up MRAP? Why not?

4. What are your feelings about Microsoft?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

just a short one

I have a few hours downtime here so a short post seems in order. Working with the Iraqi security forces certainly is a challenge. I am working on a longer post that will detail more, you all will just have to wait. Suffice to say, policeman are not allowed to charge "tolls" at checkpoints, especially when they charge only those who are a different sect of Islam. Anyway.......

For anyone interested here is my physical address here:
SFC Mark A. Buus
1-7-2 NPTT
Unit 2508
APO AE 09361

you all have a good 'un

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A NEW post, finally

Well, here I am, in Baghdad again. I haven't posted in a while, so here's the (brief) story of the journey here.

We left Kansas on the 21st of June (my Anniversary!!) and flew to Germany on an airline I had never heard of before (North American Air? Where does the Army find these?) and then on to Kuwait city. Busses met us at the airport and we were driven out to a place in the middle of the Kuwaiti wilderness called Camp Buehring. Really in the middle of nowhere. Of course it's like two in the morning, and for some reason we have to be given two hours of briefs before we go to bed. Mostly stuff like, don't get caught outside without your hat on.....and make sure you always have your ID card with you. Oh, and don't make scorpions and camel spiders fight, or you will be charged under article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, cruelty to animals. Then we were allowed some sleep.
The week and a half or so of time at Buehring were spent with classes and training, most of which was a repeat of stuff we did in Kansas. We even had a test on Arabic, although you didn't put your name on the test, so I am not sure what that was all about. Mostly we just got used to the heat of the Arabian summer. Oh, and I ran into Steve Zahn, who was there showing that actors who play goofy sidekicks care about the troops.
After a week and a half of this crap, we were bussed (at night again) to an airfield about an hour away and loaded onto a C-17 and flown to Baghdad International Airport. There we got some breakfast and were bussed to some giant tents where we lived for the next two days, waiting for flights to our next destination. Loaded up on CH-47s (at 3 in the blessed AM!) and flew to a base north of Baghdad called Tajji. There we were put in barracks and started a whole new round of classes, all of which were repeats of stuff we had before, again. General Petraeus did come and talk with us, that was rather interesting.....skinny little guy.
After 8 days of THAT, we were flown BACK to Baghdad, to a place called FOB Falcon, where we finally met the team we are replacing. More on that in the next post.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

George Takei to marry His Long Time Partner, Brad

Watch this YouTube clip from the original series and tell me no one saw this coming.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Purple Heart

I am going to be blunt: No blood, no heart.
Anyone who says otherwise,
please write to me.

The Five WORST ways to get drunk


Well, click on this link for the article, but I can add more to the list:

1. Three words: Jordanian Spiced Whiskey. Especially when you buy it from some "shopkeeper" in Mahmudiya, Iraq. Super especially when he offers to sell you AK-47's at 60 bucks a pop and wants you to come alone with him to his shop. Thinking back on it, I should have shot the guy. At the time, I just gave him the ten bucks for the bottle and mixed it with Gatorade. Two days later, I bought a six-pack of Egyptian beer from him.

2. Two Words: Egyptian beer.

3. Another tip from Uncle Mark's Drink tips and Other War Stories: Never EVER, EVER, EVER buy vodka from Romanian soldiers in Afghanistan. And especially don't do it three or four times. But if you DO, mix it with gatorade. Sense a pattern here?

4. I don't want to get a certain Special Forces medic in trouble, but..........did you know that Jim Beam comes in cans? Neither did I. Although, it DOES help you forget the sight and sound of a chest tube going into someone. By the way the sound is "crucnhhbhhhhhhhh"


5. OK......many of my six or seven readers are not going to believe this......BUT. Hand Sanitizer. When I was a Drill Sergeant, I knew another Drill who had found two privates obviously drunk. Upon further investigation, he determined that they had mixed Purell Hand Sanitizer with.......wait for it.......gatorade. One of them blew a .19

6. SOJU

7. GRAPPA

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Barack Obama's ancestors owned slaves


Ok, I can't believe after such a lull in posting I am posting TWO articles about Barack Obama, and especially another one that will get my seven readers into a fight over who can accuse me of being a rascist first. Let's not even get into what side the Democratic party was on before the Civil War.

Anywhooo-here's the article!

Barack Obama is Not a Black Candidate


Letter to the editor that I did not write, but makes some valid points.......comments calling me a rascist start in 5...4...3...2...

The Letter

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bill Gate's Dad gives a comencment address


Pretty good for a guy who's son never finished college. Wait.........I didn't either. Son of a bitch. Anyway here is a link to the article:

Here's the link!!!!!!!!

How the world sees me

My Chaplain

Chaplain Dan Knight conducted the ceremony at my marriage and gave one of the best prayers I have ever heard. We were about to go on a "cordon and search" in Fallujah in '03 and he was asked to give a prayer before we rolled out........

"Lord, there are bad people out there tonight. Help us kill 'em. Amen"

Of course there was a Time magazine reporter in the crowd and that quote made it into the magazine. His superiors (chaplain - wise) did not find the prayer too...........whatever.

Anyway, here is a little article about him.

I have known some really great Chaplains in my day in the military. Chaplains in the Airborne and Special Operations always seemed to be more into their jobs than others...I once had a Green Beret Chaplain who always motivated the troops and put smiles on their faces, called cadence in unit runs, and was the most proud member of the unit. I wasn't very religious and didn't see the Chaplain for religious support, but it was very comforting to know that he was there, ready to listen, ready to be a medic for my heart and soul.

Here is someone you should know about - Captain Dan Knight - a former Green Beret A-Team Commander, Gulf War vet, HALO and Scuba qualified...Chaplain. I don't know Captain Knight personally, but I think he was an 18E in the 5th SF Group in the early 1990's. Some of you might have known him.

This via the Detroit News/Washington Post:

VOLTURNO BASE, Iraq — By day, this military camp is a self-contained American bubble in a bizarre setting. Off-duty soldiers listen to country music, watch big-screen basketball, eat grilled steaks, read e-mail from home and jog around an artificial lake, built on a landscaped former resort for Saddam Hussein’s cronies.

By night, the base becomes a launching pad for forays into another world that is equally surreal but far more dangerous. Lightless convoys rumble into the nearby city of Fallujah, where troops hop out and creep through deserted streets, searching houses for enemies and weapons. Then they rapidly withdraw, listening for the crack of gunfire and praying they will make it back to the base without a bomb exploding in their path.

On most missions, the raiders of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment are accompanied by Dan Knight, a strapping captain with a shaved head, an aw-shucks drawl and an awesome resume: 12-year Green Beret, Persian Gulf War combat veteran, Special Forces company commander, demolitions expert, high-altitude jumper and deep-sea scuba diver.

Knight carries no weapon, though he mightily wishes he could. Instead, tucked in his rucksack is a book covered in camouflage canvas that says “Army of the Lord.”

...Out in the field, though, the soldiers’ appreciation for his presence is clear. When the commando chaplain jumps into an armored Humvee bound for Fallujah, the nervous jokes stop and a sense of calm seems to pervade the soldiers gripping their rifles in the back of the vulnerable, open vehicle.


By the way, another interesting fact about him. He and his wife are high school friends with Faith Hill. After we got back from Iraq he invited her to come and do a free concert at Fort Bragg. And she did.

Memorial Day


Next monday is Memorial day. For those of you who think its just for BBQs and enjoying a free day off, here is an article about the holiday and why we observe it.

that is observed on the last Monday of May (observed in 2008 on May 26). It was formerly known as Decoration Day. This holiday commemorates U.S. men and women who have died in military service to their country. It began first to honor Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War. After World War I, it was expanded to include those who died in any war or military action. One of the longest standing traditions is the running of the Indianapolis 500, which has been held in conjunction with Memorial Day since 1911. It is also traditionally viewed as the beginning of summer by many, since many schools are dismissed around Memorial Day.
----Courtesy Wikipedia


Some of you may know personally someone who has died in the service of their country. For those of you who do not, here are three I personally knew. One was a colleague, one a friend, and one a Private I helped train while I was a Drill Sergeant.

Staff Sergeant Paul J. Johnson
Specialist Jeffery Wershow
Private Junior Sanchez

Keep these people, and all people who died far away from home, scared, hurt, and missing their families. They died for you.

A haiku

The Day is Dragging
Tomorrow I fly to Knox
and hug my two boys

Saturday, May 10, 2008

War Dead Cremated at Facility for Pets

Haven't these people ever read Steven King?

Essay by Garrison Keillor



As our story continues, we find Sen. John McCain resting in his tent, plotting his fall campaign, as the Democrats continue the longest primary in human history, which has left the pundit club and the blogoswamp with nothing new to say whatsoever. You might as well write about your sock drawer. Hillary Clinton is a great woman and a leaden campaigner who makes even loyal supporters want to crawl behind the couch, and Barack Obama has lost his charisma—it wore off him like tread off a tire. I love him like a brother, and my brothers have no charisma either.


Nor do I. What I have is self-consciousness, far from the same thing. I sometimes (realizing that someone is looking at me, say, in the library or at a cafe or even on the train) purse my lips and furrow my brow to make myself appear to be thinking about something important such as Canada rather than trying to remember the first verse of "Ghost Riders in the Sky."


When I go in a store, I almost never look at price tags for fear the sales clerks will consider me cheap, and so I have once or twice paid phenomenal sums for a T-shirt or pair of socks. Like 30 bucks. When I pose for a snapshot, I never smile because what I had thought was a smile turned out, on film, to look like a pained grimace, as if I'd just taken a shot to the kidneys.


The cure for self-consciousness is to get engrossed in something of consequence, which is why so many people work so hard: They like it, and they like not thinking so much about their hair.


Garrison Keillor Garrison Keillor Bio | Recent columns


A couple weeks ago I was feeling trapped at a party of perfectly nice people and their self-conscious blither-blather and fake concern and gushiness of the sort that drove poor Holden Caulfield out of town, and I snuck into the kitchen and there stood a man and a woman in their early 30s gazing out the window and comparing the back yard with one they'd had in Utah. They were friendly, straight-talking, no-nonsense people, nothing whimsical or sardonic or attitudinous about them. Unlike everyone else, they weren't working to make a big impression. And it didn't surprise me at all when they turned out to be professional military, husband and wife, full-time National Guard. Good people.


So we talked about Iraq, where they'd done two tours of duty, which they considered a big mess. But they talked about it in more measured terms than those of us would who managed to not be there. It was a mess, but it was their job. They were loyal to the mission, though honest about its failure.


What is mysterious to us civilians about the military is the Semper Fidelis part, the discipline to march into extreme danger to carry out wholeheartedly a mission about which you yourself are deeply skeptical. "Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die," as the poet Tennyson wrote of the Light Brigade that rode into the valley of death on the orders of an arrogant idiot, and men have been riding off to death in behalf of many arrogant idiots ever since, including the ones who are in the White House at the moment. This is a heroism that is not expected of you or me, and it's the expectation of heroism that gives the two in the kitchen the gravity that was so appealing to me.


Many men have been carried to the cemetery with honor guards and rifle salutes who, if the truth be known, knew their missions were not worth the price but went anyway. Many, many of our honored dead were dissenters.


What makes no sense at all is when the arrogant idiot expects us civilians to support his unprincipled policy as a way of "supporting our troops." The troops are not mercenaries, they are American soldiers in a long, proud tradition going back to Gen. Washington's Continental Army at Valley Forge, and what gives their mission dignity and meaning is that it comes from a constitutional government in which war is not a point of personal privilege but a matter to be openly debated, opposed, protested, reported. For the troops to fall into line is a noble thing; for civilians to fall into line is shameful.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

spiders everywhere


Robobugs. Need I say more?

By the way, the picture is of the "camel spider" or "wind scorpion" which is technically not a spider or scorpion. My theory is that they are aliens.

Link to wikipedia article about these freaky things.

Friday, May 2, 2008

A Reporters request

Hi,

I'm a reporter with The Associated Press in Louisville. I'm assisting a
reporter with a piece about the conditions of barracks at various
military posts around the country and I ran across your blog and noticed
you stationed at Fort Knox. Would you speak to me or email me about the
living conditions at the Fort Knox barracks?

I've spoken with public affairs officer Ryan Brus at the post, but would
also like a soldier's perspective on the living quarters.

I can be reached at this email or at the number listed below.

Thanks,

Brett

Brett Barrouquere
Newsman
The Associated Press
Louisville, Ky.
502-583-7718
bbarrouquere@ap.org

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Want to see Hilary Run? Throw Rocks at Her


I ain't a big fan of the Senator myself, but Jeez some of these people are complete assholes. Including, and led by, Rush Limbaugh.

Writer raises a Ruckus with anti-military speech


And the military is defended by.......wait for it.......you'll never guess........Californians.

THE COMBAT LIFESAVER

The Purpose of the Combat Lifesaver:
The combat lifesaver is a bridge between the self-aid/buddy aid (first aid ) training given all soldiers during basic training and the medical training given to the combat medic. The combat lifesaver is a non-medical soldier who provides lifesaving measures as a secondary mission as his primary (combat) mission allows. The combat lifesaver may also assist the combat medic in providing care and preparing casualties for evacuation when the combat lifesaver has no combat duties to perform.

Normally, one member of each squad, team, crew, or equivalent-sized unit will be trained as a combat lifesaver. (auth. note-every man on my 11 man team is a trained combat lifesaver already and we are going through the training again).

A major advantage of the combat lifesaver is that he will probably be nearby if a member of his squad or crew is injured. It may take a combat medic several minutes or longer to reach the casualty, especially if there are several other casualties and/or the medic is at another location. The combat lifesaver is trained to provide immediate care that can save a casualties life, such as stopping severe bleeding, administering intravenous fluids to control shock, and performing needle chest decompression for a casualty with tension pneumothorax.

-from the Combat Lifesaver Course: Student Self Study (except for authors note)

Medical training for the next four days. Among other things, I was allowed to be one of three people who inserted a nasal-pharyngeal airway on a real person. The video is below. You may remember the "patient" as Captain Bryan Taylor who has become a frequent guest star on this blog. He recently co-starred as the pilot of the Cessna a few posts ago.
video

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Barack Obama takes a stand on not taking a stand


Barack gets interviewed reference the big spurt of murders in Chicago. His solutions, which seem to contradict each other:

1. Get more cops on the streets (solution to gun violence in this case is more guys on the streets....with guns)
2. He is against concealed carry laws, because.......wait for it..........the solution to gun violence is NOT more guys on the streets with guns. And that there is no evidence that concealed carry laws have caused any drop in crime (Which is NOT True, even FBI studies have shown a drop in crime where concealed carry laws are enacted).
3. And then the last line in the interview, and I quote (this is referencing the recent controversy about the personally owned gun ban in Washington DC), "I don't like to take a stand on pending cases". OK, I am going to translate-"I will form my opinion about this when the issue has already been decided."

What a twit.

Anyway, here's the article

Friday, April 25, 2008

C-130 landing on the deck of the USS Forrestal


I had heard and read that the Navy had tested the C-130 as a carrier resupply plane, but had never seen any video. Well, here's the proof. Note that the C-130 has no tail hook, but was able to land and stop on the deck all by itself. Of course the deck had to be clean (no planes parked on it, they would have to have been down in the hangar deck) so I am sure that was one of the reasons that the Navy decided not to use this option for their resupply needs.

Link to video on Fark.com here

God's Laws



Dear President Bush,
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from you and try to understand why you would propose and support a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. As you said 'in the eyes of God marriage is based between a man a woman.' I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that you say in Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination... End of debate...I think?
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?
7. Lev.21:20 states that I may ! not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle- room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

War between Canada and the US over Fresh water supplies


Experts say that the Us and Canada will war over fresh water supplies in the great lakes. OK, Canada, but just keep this in mind: Our Army units have nicknames like the "All Americans", the "Screaming Eagles", and "Rangers". You have the Princess Patricia Light Infantry. Get away from our lakes.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Those of us who know history are doomed to realize that it DOES repeat itself


Obama's Secret Plan

Can't believe I never posted this before


Letter to the editor from my Dad

April 25, 2007

Editor, The Journal Standard

It has been and is very proper to honor the dignitaries, victims of disasters and tragedies and their families by lowering the United States flag to half-staff for a period of time. I support this tradition and will continue to honor them and their families in this public display.

Recently nine paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division (our son served with them in Iraq and Afghanistan) were killed by a suicide truck bomb! Other servicemen and women are wounded or killed almost daily. I propose that we fly the United States flag at half-staff to honor those killed, wounded and their families until thirty days after the last to serve is home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

If we honor civilian victims in this public display, how much more fitting is it to honor those who have promised to defend you and me from all enemies?

Sincerely,

Allen Buus

4145 Business 20 West

Freeport, Il. 61032

Biggest oil field discovery in 30 years in Brazil


Could end Us dependence on oil from the Persian Gulf regions, allowing us to leave and let those bastards all blow themselves clean to hell. Be ready for the liberation of Brazil.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pre-Flight

Captain Bryan Taylor Pre-flighting the Cessna 172

Combat Pose


Waiting in line to qualify with the M203 Grenade launcher (not pictured)

A little recreation during training

Yesterday after training, I and another of my teammates, Captain Bryan Taylor, who is a private pilot, rented a Cessna 172 from the Manhattan airport and went on a little flying tour of the Manhattan, Kansas area. We flew around for about an hour and then did a few touch and goes before turning the aircraft back in. A lot of fun, but I had forgotten how much those little birds bounce around in the wind! Our final landing was a full right crosswind at about 15 knots. Interesting to say the least, especially if you are not a pilot. Here is a video clip of one of our landings.
video

Saturday, April 19, 2008

My job, and other things

Training, such as it is, has commenced with a resounding crash here at Fort Riley. My team is starting to gel real good. A great bunch of guys with a ton of experience in the Army, but noone is getting hung up on rank.

As my faithful readers may know, I am an Enlisted Infantryman with 18 years of time spent on active duty. I have been deployed to combat pretty much at every level of the rank structure to date, as an Infantryman. And my job on the team is going to be.......wait for it.........NCOIC of the intelligence section. Time to start OJT'ing like a mad man! My OIC, though is an experienced intel guy. He is a Captain who will probably be promoted to Major next fall, so he is taking me under his wing and teaching me what I need to know.

Training today: We sighted in our personal weapons and fired the qualification course. Tonight we Execute night fire qual with our night vision systems.

To my six loyal readers (one came on board last weekend) drop me a line and let me know how things are going!

Monday, April 14, 2008

bitching gets you attention

Three hours after I put up my gripy post, I get a comment from a new reader! All right! Moan moan moan moan moan moan. Anyone else?

why i dont post

Nothing is going on here. We have a four-day weekend and I haven't been able to get farther than 100 meters from the barracks. Can't afford a taxi and you are forbidden to walk on the only road that leaves the damn base. Other than that everything is just peachy. I heard two owls hooting at each other outside just a few minutes ago, and about half an hour ago I heard coyotes yipping at each other. My phone doesn't get reception in the barracks, so everyone thinks I am ignoring them. I paid for internet access (wifi) that only works some of the time, not that anyone ever responds to my emails anyway (kind of have to send nasty ones out to get any response). I get lots of trash emails from Amazon and FTD, though, have to stop buying things from them I guess. That's about it. Nice to know that the "main effort" in the war in Iraq is so important, that as soon as you show up, they give you time off. This is after they tell you that you are going to be so busy that you shouldn't bring a car.

Now of course, blogger is telling me that I have no internet access, so I won't be able to post this. Maybe that's for the best.

The mess hall is serving only two meals a day for this weekend, the manager says that is because everyone has left for the four-day weekend and they can't afford to run three meals a day, although "brunch" runs long, you are still only allowed to eat twice a day. I'd call my congressman...............

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Still Alive by God

I haven't posted in awhile, but I am still around.  I am at Fort Riley, waiting for my team to start training for our mission as advisers to the Iraqi Army.  Training (well, in-processing anyway) starts next monday and my team should be all here by then.  I still haven't met any of them in person, but have talked to one on the phone and corresponded with the team leader ( a Major) by email.  I am looking forward to meeting these guys and getting started so our team can gel together in time for the deployment.  I even know now where I will be going in Iraq, but I am not going to post that here, at least not now.  I have to wait and talk to our intel guy about what can and cannot get posted (operations security).  But I hope all five of my faithful readers still around and checking this blog!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Time to Totally Geek Out


OK, just to show everyone how much of a geek I am, I must post this information. I am not sure how long it has been up, but CBS is posting the ENTIRE original series of Star Trek online for us to watch for free (well, a few commercials, like regular TV). I just watched the Doomsday Machine, which is a second season episode, and darn good Sci-Fi action, even if the acting is, well, Shatnerish, and the special effects aren't that great. Well, for 10 grand an episode and it being 1968, they are not too bad. Here is a link to go watch the episodes.......TO BOLDLY GO............

I admit, some of the original episodes are pretty stupid, but a handful are really good sci-fi. The doomsday machine, Requiem for Methusala (sp?), and of course the City on the Edge of Forever.

Now that we are on the Star Trek gig here, There is a teaser trailer for the latest Star Trek movie online here. I hope they do it justice.

Just in time for Indiana Jones part four!


A Lead on the Ark of the Covenant

Friday, February 22, 2008

ASUS eee PC


DVD CASE ON TOP OF CLOSED LAPTOP

I am writing this post on my new ASUS eee pc laptop. It is a "sub-notebook", and by sub notebook, I mean it is barely bigger than a DVD case. well, about twice as thick. It has a 4 gig solid-state hard drive (flash memory, no moving parts), a 900 mhz celeron processor and 512 mb of RAM (upgradeable to 1 gig, which I'll probably do). It weighs in at right around two pounds (.92 kilograms). The operating system is a version of Linux developed by ASUS based on the Debian distribution (I prefer Ubuntu, but hey). It IS capable of running windows XP, which i will probably have to load, because this is going to be my deployment computer and the Army still runs on windows (even though Linux is FREE) and there is some software that i will need that runs only on windows.

The lack of storage seems like a handicap, but you can easily add an external hard drive (3 USB ports!!! or put an SD (secure digital card, like in your digital camera).

I thought the tiny keyboard would be a problem, and that I would have to take a USB keyboard that I own, but I am typing this with NO problem, and about as fast as I can type on a normal size computer.

All in all, a great computer ( so far ) for a traveler, child, or older person who needs a simple, small appliance to do email and websurfing.

talking to Arabs


This is a post from the SANDBOX, the Milblog started by Garry Trudeau, the author of Doonesbury. This interview illustrates the vastly different view of reality that arabs can have (I am not making this up, research it).




I found this posted in the area and had to put it up because it's true of going out and talking to the Iraqi people. Some of it I think is that maybe our conversations get lost in translation between the Iraqi and the Interpreter, but it happens so often; like after an RPG was fired at our COP, no one in the area had heard the rocket launched.

This is a no bullshit conversation between a Platoon Leader (PL) from one of our sister platoons, and a Local National (LN):


PL: Good afternoon.

LN: Hello hello.

PL: Do you mind if I ask you some questions about the mosque?

LN: Yes, yes there are a lot of people who go there to pray.

PL: Thanks, does this mosque broadcast a message to the area on Fridays?

LN: Yes it does, it is Shiia mosque so every Friday around 12:15.

PL: It's 12:30, did it broadcast a message today?

LN: Umm no, but it should soon.

PL: Ok, thanks, so last week it gave a message?

LN: No, I don't think this mosque gives messages.

PL: But I thought you just told me it should broadcast a message soon?

LN: What? NO. What mosque I don't know of any mosque around here.

PL: (Pointing to the mosque 100ft away) That mosque right there.

LN: I don't see a mosque.

PL: Is this guy serious?

RTO: I don't know?

PL: Sir, do you see that building, it has a dome and two huge blue and purple towers right in front of you... That MOSQUE?

LN: Oh wow, I've never seen that before, it must be new.

PL: So....

LN: I mean I'm new to the area I don't know anybody.

PL: You just told me a lot of people go to that mosque.

LN: What mosque?

PL: Okay, thanks for the help, I'll see you later.


Senator Mccain and his son, Private Mccain, who is serving in Iraq


Senator McCain rarely speaks of his son serving in Iraq with the United States Marine Corps

Hoosiers death prompts Army upgrade to Warrior Transition Units


Another good article about the WTU's. This one focusing on Fort Knox, Ky

News about the Army's Wounded Warrior Program


A really great article about how the Army is trying to improve the long-term care for Soldier's wounded in combat.











"Well, I missed out on 'nam, so tell me, what's combat like?"

Sunday, February 17, 2008

My journey from Kansas back to Kentucky


When I flew out of Kansas, there was a herd of Bison across the street from the airport. I basically flew on a Beech King Air (19 seats), no cabin attendants and no door between the passengers and pilots. We got to watch the landing (if you crained your neck), from the pilots point of view which I haven't seen in a long time. The landings in KC, DCA, and Louisville were smooth as silk, and my boys were waiting for me at the last stop! Can't get better than that, can it?

I got to be a tour guide on the way in to DCA. The lady behind me was looking for DC sights and I am somewhat knowledgeable about the geography of the area and was able to point out the Washington monument, the capitol building, and the Potomac river (the big dark spot that went from left to right). She said, "you must live here"! I replied with, "Yeah, 14 years ago! And for only one year!". We also flew over Arlington on our approach, but it was night and you couldn't see it.

When we took off from National, We flew in a hard left turn right over the Pentagon, then Arlington. I could see Lee's house and the Tomb's of the Unknown, and then the barracks of the guys who guard the Tombs. Almost wish I had more time in that area. There's a lot of special spots!

When I got out of the plane in Louisville, and got in our van, I got such a great smile from my boy, Mark (who obviously doesnt know whats going on yet) that it was well worth the 500 dollars and day of travel.

Is there anything more valuable than that? If you can imagine something that is,..........well I wouldn't know what to think of you.

I have a new nephew!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


His name is Benjamin! Welcome him to the US!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Maybe we are winning, at least in one spot


Al-Qaeda in Iraq faces an “extraordinary crisis”. Last year's mass defection of ordinary Sunnis from al-Qaeda to the US military “created panic, fear and the unwillingness to fight”. The terrorist group's security structure suffered “total collapse”.

Fort Riley

Well I made it to Fort Riley last night. I haven't seen anything yet besides the hotel room, but that should change today. I flew Southwest and they were awesome as always. The landing at Midway was kind of hard, and the pilot actually apologized after it was over. "Sorry about that folks! But we're here!" was actually what he said. I told him when we disembarked that I thought we had been shot down. That made him laugh. More as things actually happen here.

Friday, February 8, 2008

No title, no picture. Could not the language of God be humor?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

the whole ninth symphony

If we could hear the voice of God, It might sound something like this:

More Beethoven and a great quote from my Dad




Go here to see Beethovens Seventh, second movement.



I think some music is the language of God.---My Dad

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Thank a Veteran

One Of the best moments in my life was when an elderly gentleman who said he had served in Korea walked up to to me (while I was in uniform) at a Walmart in North Carolina and wanted to shake my hand for my service. Thtat's all he did, walked up to me and said "I served in Korea, and thank you for what you do". and grabbed my hand and shook it.

America is worth fighting for, most importantly when she's wrong.

Religious Freedom alive in Afghanistan, as long as it's the right one

Afghan Student Sentenced to Death After Downloading Report


Whatever are we there for anyway?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

but then, yet, the best piece of music ever

Excerpt from the movie "Immortal Beloved" starring Gary Oldman as Beethoven. In this scene he is standing on stage, listening to his Ninth Symphony being conducted for the firs time. Supposedly, he could not conduct it correctly, as he he was stone cold deaf by the time he wrote it, so he stood next to the conductor. What is not shown in this clip is the conductor physically grabbing him at the end of the symphony, turning him around to see the standing ovation he was getting, which he never heard, just like his own, greatest work.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Can there possible be a better speech than Patton's? Check this one out


Infantryman's basic training graduation speech. Get's me all fired up to join again!

No, really, you need to hear this speech.

Here it is

More on Mastodon, more on the drummer

Earlier post I talked about (and posted a video of) a band called Mastodon. I also talked about how much I admired the drummer, Brann Dailor, for his skill. His drumming style always reminded me of someone. He's damn fast, and his drum kit is rather small (for a drummer in a rock band). Anyway, here is who he reminds me of:

Buddy Rich.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What a great day


1. First day of leave
2. Got to sleep in
3. Bought and installed another gig of RAM on my macbook pro
4. Getting Korean food for dinner
5. The commisary started selling gourmet mushrooms and I got two packages of dried porcinis. So tomorrow I get Porcini Risotto, which is something I haven't had in years (Not too much Italian gourmet food in north-central Kentucky).