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
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Posted by Mark at 01:45
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:
Posted by Mark at 00:15
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
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).
Posted by Mark at 18:25
This article is about a year old, and the event it describes happened in May of 2005. I was on the scene about 5 minutes after it happened. I was one of the Drill Sergeants the trainee was sent to get. Well, just read the article.
Master Sgt. Jose Rodriguez Ramos receives the Soldier's Medal from Fort Knox, Ky., Commander Maj. Gen. Robert Williams Jan. 5 for saving trainees from a vehicle mishap last May. Photo by Spc. Ian Boudrau
Posted by Mark at 17:59
1. A lieutenant Colonel gets in a gun fight. After having been shot three times.
2. His Sergeant Major comes to rescue him and gets in a fist fight with the insurgents.
3. A Journalist captures darn near the whole thing on film.
4. The two soldiers with the Colonel freeze up and don't help him.
5. The reporter picks up a rifle and joins in the fight.
6. The reporter manages to mention the book Gates of Fire in the article.
Posted by Mark at 12:55
Monday, January 28, 2008
I finished final out-processing today here at Fort Knox. It was not without pain, however, as at my final out processing appointment, the ladies there wanted a certain form (DA 4036-r if I remember correctly) that I have gotten last month when I SRP'd (don't even ask, just another bureaucratic process). So I went to that office to see about that form (thinking I had probably lost it, since they had signed "Okey-doke" for me to continue to clear) and found that they don't issue that form to people who are going to my particular type of assignment. So the gentlemen there called the final out-processing facility and squared them away (that I didn't need that form anyway). So I GO BACK to the out-process office and they are just REAL GLAD that they were proven wrong about their bureaucratic process. But at least it didn't stop me from signing out of Fort Knox. Just got a few snarky comments about the other office from this office not telling them about the change and blah blah whatever just sign my paper! Anyway, a bit ago I signed out on PCS leave with the Staff Duty NCO, Drill Sergeant Geah (there, you're immortalized!)
So that's it. I have succesfully completed my tour as a Drill Sergeant in the United States Army without going to jail (which, if you believe the news is pretty much what Drill Sergeants end up doing), got promoted to Sergeant First Class, and made a difference (I hope) in some young Soldier's lives.
Now I move on to Fort Riley to train up to be able to train Iraqi (probably), or Afghan (hopefully) Army forces to be able to take out the bad guys. This promises to be both the most interesting and challenging assignment of my career. All the fun of both being a Drill Sergeant (instructing) and doing it it in a combat zone AND not speaking any of the language (any of the Arabic and Pashtu I picked up is long gone). Wish me luck. and skill.
Posted by Mark at 22:55
I have owned three in a row. Currently an 07 KIA Sedona and before that two Dodge Caravans. They are the best vehicle for the money to get you and your family from point a to point b in reasonable comfort. I guess they are just not cool. I do love the looks I get when some one at a stoplight hears the speed-metal coming from my soccer-mom mobile though.
Posted by Mark at 21:23
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed on a member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself "…conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States…" Because of its nature, the medal is commonly awarded posthumously.
Posted by Mark at 21:25
THIS IS MY BROTHERS POST ON HIS BLOG: THOUGHT YOU'D LIKE IT
A link to his Blog
Whew! Lest you think that the life of a Navy fighter pilot is all glamour and “lighting your hair on fire”, let me try to describe what flying all the way from California to Japan in an F/A-18C is like:
It all started with six of us getting into our jets, starting up, and waiting to take off---only to have the fog season in Lemoore roll in. We had a 6.5 hour flight ahead of us to Hawaii, and we sat in our jets on deck for about an hour until I finally threw in the towel and suggested we get out and stretch and wait for the fog to lift. Finally, close to noon, we put all our flight gear back on, started up again, and were able to take off and head for Hawaii. I won’t go into details, but suffice to say, that while we had a smooth join-up with our tankers all planned out, they ended up not being where they were supposed to be at the right time. Four of us got joined up with each other, and then ATC proceeded to vector us 60 miles west of where we were supposed to rendezvous with our two USAF tankers. Now, right at the start, we’re below our scheduled fuel plan and still haven’t joined up with the tankers. We finally got joined up with one of our tankers west of the rendezvous point, but still needed to join with the other tanker and the other two Hornets (who were the only ones at the rendezvous point where they were supposed to be, and wondering where everyone else was!) Now the tanker we were joined on was more worried about joining with the other tanker than with us having enough fuel to get to Hawaii. We suggested we head west to the next tanking point, begin our tanking, and let the rest of the crew join us there. This seemed to make sense to us, but the tanker crew wanted to turn back to the East to join up with the other tanker, which just put us even further behind on gas.
If it seems like I’m giving my USAF brethren a hard time on this I mean no ill-will. I guess when you’ve got enough gas to fly to Hawaii, and then some, they don’t think too much about us who barely have enough gas to make it to LA.
(Alissa just popped up online, so I’ll have to finish this later with the rest of the story.)
OK, the Internet in my room is AWFUL! I know, I know....wha, wha. I’m sure all you who have experienced a carrier deployment don’t have much sympathy for me. (Not that anyone who has experienced a deployment is necessarily reading any of my dribble. I do appreciate all who do check out this site.) But I digress.....the fact that I have a rather large room (living room, full kitchen, my own bathroom, and a bedroom) is a huge step up from my stateroom on the ship. When I landed in Iwakuni, I was greeted by several Marine pilots (who were mostly glad we were there so they could go home!), handed a beer, went to check into my room, get a phone hooked up, a cell phone, given a bike to get around base on, and then went to the club for pizza and beer. Trust me....this has NEVER happened when I’ve landed on the carrier for the first day of deployment! Maybe this happens on British and French carriers, but not ours.
I must confess---I am a little out-of-sorts if you can believe it. I’m so used to how things work on the boat that I’m having to adjust a little bit to this deployment. It’s pretty tough, let me tell ya. I’ve been out for sushi twice already, and we went to an Indian restaurant last night that was delicious. The only tough part of this is that Alissa and Bogey are not with me. But we do get to talk on the phone regularly and, if I can ever get my Internet working well, maybe we’ll do some video-chatting.
Well, I guess I got a little sidetracked talking about life here in Iwakuni. I will write about the other two legs of my trip across the Pacific in later posts, as I’d like to get this one online since it’s been a while since I’ve written anything.
Posted by Mark at 04:34
Thursday, January 24, 2008
1. cost of approximately 4 kilograms of semtex--------20 bucks
2. blasting cap............50 cents
3. detonator.....2 dollars
4. Falling down the stairs on your way out the door to blow up a Mosque with your suicide vest and blowing yourself into pink mist......priceless.
Posted by Mark at 08:14
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Tens of thousands of Palestinians poured from the Gaza Strip into Egypt Wednesday after masked gunmen with explosives destroyed most of the seven-mile wall dividing the border town of Rafah.
The Gazans crossed on foot, in cars or riding donkey carts to buy supplies made scarce by an Israeli blockade of their impoverished territory. Police from the militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza, directed the traffic. Egyptian border guards took no action.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said Israel has no forces on the Gaza-Egypt border and, "therefore it is the responsibility of Egypt to ensure that the border operates properly, according to the signed agreements."
"We expect the Egyptians to solve the problem," Mekel said. "Obviously we are worried about the situation. It could potentially allow anybody to enter."
(Editor's note- Don't buy any egyptian beer while you are there. I tried it in Iraq and it is not good. Try some good imports or brew your own.)
Posted by Mark at 23:04
Friday, January 18, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Quoting internal Army e-mails and a Fort Carson soldier, the newspaper said that more than 50 troops were deployed to Kuwait en route to Iraq while they were still getting medical treatment for various conditions. At least two have been sent home.
My unit had a guy who was about to be kicked out of the Army for being overweight, until our unit needed to be deployed. Then he was OK to stay in. No kidding, this happened twice. Thanks to whoever that he did go with us, his nickname was "quick-trigger Tony" and the man was strong as an Ox. As long as you just kept him up on top of the Hummvee with the .50 cal, he was awesome. The man could rack the bolt on an M2 with his pinkie finger (I am not making this up). Just don't ask him to run anywhere..........
Posted by Mark at 23:32
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Many people (soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, etc.) have made music videos of their experiences in Iraq. This is one of the best of them, even if it does feature mostly Marines. The editing and sound are superb! Love the tune it was set too (TOOL), also, and that doesn't hurt. Watch this video while you can, as I believe that there are some "secret" units filmed in this (just by their looks, try to pick them out!)......
Posted by Mark at 22:37
Yet again it is time for me to "clear post" and move to another spot in the Army. Clearing is one of the more "Army specific things" of the Army (compared to civilian jobs), in my opinion. Not that I have ever really held a civilian job, for the most part, but I cannot imagine any other occupation that makes you do so much just to move positions. To "clear post" in the Army, you have to darn near go to every building on the darn installation and have them sign a piece of paper (called a "clearance record")
saying that you have either been there, don't owe them any money, and so forth. One of the places I have to go is the "club", which is a place I have never been, and have no intention of going (except to "clear"). The good part of this is that, in reality, it only takes about three (business) days to do this process, and the Army, by regulation, gives you ten business days. You figure it out. Especially if you don't go in to work when you are not clearing, like I am he he.
Course, one of the reasons it is going to be so easy for me to clear is that I am going to Ft. Riley by myself. I will be there for about two months, and then deploy to either Iraq or Afghanistan (I've been to both). Not moving the family makes it both easier, and much harder.
Posted by Mark at 20:23
I have been told that when I was a yung'un that we actually LANDED............. PEOPLE on the moon. Back about '69-'72. Sit here kids and I'll tell you all about how we can travel back in time to 1964. Or you could just ask NASA.
Can anyone tell me who the hell the half nekkid guy with the bow is to the left?
Posted by Mark at 09:53
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Saturday, January 12, 2008
All in one year the Army promoted me to Sergeant First Class and now I am going to recieve the Meritorious Service Medal. What Did Mark Twain say? "I would not belong to any club that would have me as a member"? Something like that.
Well, I must have done something good, or at least I didn't get caught doing too many wrong things.
Posted by Mark at 13:51
Thursday, January 10, 2008
KABUL, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Afghanistan gave a welcome on Thursday to U.S. plans to send an extra 3,000 troops to fight the Taliban insurgency, but Washington's move highlights divisions between Western allies over how much to commit to the country.
See! This guy wants to give them a giant pancake!
Posted by Mark at 07:38
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Posted by Mark at 17:29
Soldier lauded, put fast action over fast food
Posted : Tuesday Jan 8, 2008 5:44:50 EST
All Spc. Gerry DeNardi wanted was a Whopper.
But when he went to a Burger King stand at Forward Operating Base Taji in Iraq on Aug. 15, he spent his lunch break bandaging Army and Air Force Exchange Service employees injured in a mortar attack smack in the middle of the outdoor food court.
DeNardi had just ordered his burger when “me and all of Burger King went flying,” he said. He ran for a shelter, but when he heard a cry for help, he returned to the food court. There, he tended AAFES civilian workers, using his own shirt as a bandage and applying a tourniquet to blast wounds.
Brig. Gen. Keith Thurgood, AAFES commander, said his employees face the same dangers as the troops when they deploy.
“I take a particular interest in anything that impacts their health and safety,” he said. “When I read in the Army Times how this soldier put his own safety aside in the middle of a mortar attack to rush to the aid of some of my folks, I felt he needed to hear from me personally about how much I appreciated his heroic actions,” Thurgood said.
While DeNardi was home on leave in Connecticut, Thurgood and James Weiderkehr, senior food services business chief for AAFES Pacific, took DeNardi out for a steak dinner at a New Haven restaurant.
“It was the restaurant that serves $50 steaks,” DeNardi said, laughing about the surreal situation. “It was a good time — a good meal.”
DeNardi received a plaque honoring his willingness to leave the safety of the bunker and act as a first responder.
DeNardi said Thurgood wanted to know what was going through his head when he started administering IVs, using his own shirt as a bandage and applying a tourniquet to blast wounds.
“I wanted a Whopper,” DeNardi replied. “I was just hungry.”
The day after the attack, DeNardi went back to Burger King with the receipt for the hamburger he never received, but “they wouldn’t give me my burger,” DeNardi said.
At their dinner, Thurgood told DeNardi his first thought when he found out about that was: “Tell me we did not do this to one of our soldiers.”
DeNardi said Weiderkehr gave him “like a hundred free Burger King coupons.”
“Rubbing shoulders with these American heroes is humbling and inspiring, and to serve them is an honor,” Thurgood said. “Specialist DeNardi represents what’s best about America and our Army. You can count on [him] and a thousand others like him to do the right thing, even when it’s hard.
“I just hope next time, we give him his burger.”
Posted by Mark at 15:27
Friday, January 4, 2008
The U.S. effort to train Iraqi forces -- and bring our troops home -- is mired in bureaucratic mismanagement, inept recruits and astonishing shortages of equipment.
Bureaucratic mismanagement, inept recruits and astonishing shortages of equipment? Sounds like standard operating procedures to me.
1. Bypass the bureaucracy.
2. Make the recruits better (LEAD!)
3. Make do, fix the supply problem, or steal.
Posted by Mark at 18:51