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September 07, 2006

The Armorer's Messkit...

Yesterday was my Rotary Club's annual picnic. Which is occasion to break out Arsenal stocks - not weapons, this time - but rather the Castle's 1952-vintage Officer's Armorer's Mess Kit.

The Armorer's Mess kit and infrequent Castle Commenter Mike L.

Held every year at the Hunt Lodge on Fort Leavenworth, it's a time to play horseshoes, give out some awards, and eat grilled steak with a table full of potluck sides.

The Hunt Lodge is a beautiful location, and a beautiful building. Originally built by DB inmates as a parole barracks and mess hall, it was taken over in the 1920's by the Officer's Club and was used as an annex. Now it's a special events location, for parties, wedding receptions, unit Organization Days, etc. It's an Armorer-friendly environment because it's just over the hill from the skeet range, so there is a soothing background noise of shotguns firing and, if you move just into the woods, the gentle roar of spent birdshot rattling down the leaves...

The other purpose of this post (other than to put the shiny pate on the web) is to highlight this Rotary activity, hosted by the Rotary Club in Lacey, Washington, as forwarded to us by the Heartless Libertarian:

Military support march grows. Event planned for Saturday 9 SEP 06

LACEY - Thousands of residents are expected to show up Saturday for the fourth annual march to benefit military families. The event steadily has grown since the Rotary Club of Hawks Prairie created it in 2003. A local business owner at the time had lamented about the plight of his niece, a member of the Army Reserves whose four-month deployment caused emotional and financial strain. In its first three years, the march raised more than $100,000 for programs that assist military families. The Rotary Club has set a goal of $50,000 this year; as of Friday, it had raised $45,000. The number of corporate sponsors and marchers also has increased, said Andrew Oczkewicz, one of the event organizers. "Now we have people calling us who want to be involved, not the other way around," he said. He expects 5,000 marchers on Saturday; last year, 2,500 marchers participated. This year's march promises to be the biggest in other ways as well. The prelude to the parade will feature music, speeches, a helicopter rappelling display and two, perhaps three, aircraft flyovers. And Fort Lewis' official color guard will lead the 2-mile march for the first time. The march will feature five honorary grand marshals, including Norma Melo, school liaison officer at Fort Lewis, whose husband was killed in Iraq during a suicide attack on a mess tent in December 2004. Another honoree, Lance Cpl. Shawn Seeley, is a Marine from Kent who was injured while serving in Iraq but remained in the corps and has become an instructor. Fort Lewis is appreciative that there are people in the surrounding communities that support the families regardless of the political divisiveness of the conflict, Melo said during a telephone interview Monday. She said the average American has sacrificed little during this war - except, perhaps, to have to pay a little more at the gasoline pump - while military families have seen spouses and loved ones killed, injured and emotionally traumatized by their experiences in the war zone. “I don't think Americans have felt that pinch," she said. "Military families have felt it." Marines will raise an American flag sent to the Rotary Club by a commander who was serving overseas. The rear detachment commander of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, will read a letter from Col. Stephen Townsend, the commander of the unit that is now serving its second yearlong deployment in Iraq. Gov. Christine Gregoire will attend the event, accompanied by her husband, Mike, a Vietnam veteran. U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., also will participate.

If you go

The fourth annual Military Family Support March will begin assembling at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
The first event on the stage will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the march will start about 10:20 a.m. and last about 40 minutes.

Where: Wal-Mart parking lot, 1401 Galaxy Drive N.E. The two-mile parade route will take marchers down Galaxy Drive and west on Martin Way before returning.

Photo offer: Free portraits of military families will be offered when they present a valid military identification during the event.

For kids: This year's event will feature an expanded kids zone with inflatable play areas, free coloring books and snacks, face-painting, clowns and appearances by several local and national mascots.

Donations: Contributions in any amount are welcome but not required.
Individual or team participants also can register for the march by sending an e-mail to

More information:

Good on ya, guys!

by John on Sep 07, 2006

June 11, 2006

Okay - new whazzis?

This'll be a pain.

1. It's an object from the Arsenal.

2. It's about the width of a pencil.

Lessee - if I were to give you a hint, I would look principally to a Frenchman for inspiration, although the object itself is not French.

Update - obviously, some more hints are in order:

Oh, and BCR - flexible - in terms of being all wiggly or something, no.

In terms of multiple uses - not by intent, though soldiers are certainly an inventive group and I could think of alternate purposes to which it could be put... including, in fact, one that *I* put it to... some decades after it ceased to be an artifact in general use.

It was innovative for it's day, but was only transitional to better designs and approaches - like the Gatling or Gardner guns (ignoring the renaissance enjoyed by the Gatling due to the application of electricity!).

And no, it is not related to either of the above.

by John on Jun 11, 2006

June 05, 2006

Heh. Since Bloodspite noted an absence...

...of gun pr0n in the post below...

Here you go, dude. From the Archives of Argghhh!

by John on Jun 05, 2006

January 13, 2006

The Armorers Domain

SWWBO, She Who Will Be Obeyed and who is also my wife, is a saint. She's not a neatnik, thank heaven!

She indulges me. In ways that make most of the male readers here green with envy.


Just as an example, lets take a look at the space just above my head in the Inner Sanctum of Castle Argghhh! The Server Room, wherein rests most of the computational power of the Castle, and from where most of the drivel currently inhabiting your screen in generated.

This is *just* the area above the cat perch which straddles the monitor. There are 8 shelves in this room...

Hosting provided by FotoTime

...and they all look like this, differing only in details.

No wonder she blogs from her laptop in the bedroom!

For a more detailed look, hit the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Jan 13, 2006

December 28, 2005

The militaria of Argghhh!

The Budget of Argghhh! currently not supporting acquisition of chemical-powered armaments, I have been indulging other tastes in adding to the Character of Castle Argghhh! - and with a Castle Blogmeet on the horizon, some thought to making that experience apropos to the place we have collectively built. Though, sadly, the Great Chandeliers of Argghhh! will have to remain a metaphysical construct, absent someone wanting to spend the dough to build an artifact in the Bailey that we could suspend a chandelier from... and then build the chandelier...

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Where was I? Oh, yeah - *stuff*. As long-time readers know from previous posts, I like to find the little things of a soldier's life, like this schnapps glass, or this helmet, for example. I sometimes take it to extremes, too - I like dolls (flesh and blood, or plastic).

Anyway, one of the things I remember from my days as the Fire Direction Officer of Bravo, 1/22 FA, was the joy of being the Supply Officer. That is said with tongue firmly in cheek, though being SO made life as a Battery Commander simpler - I already knew how to prevent/make-up shortages and account for it all without going to jail/writing a check - and when your Battery is the size of a small battalion (350+ peak strength in garrison, close to 600 in the field when all the attachments showed up) such skillz are needful if you don't want an ugly time at your change-of-command inventory. I was short two sheets, which I made good by saving the bacon of the Target Acquisition Battery commander... I left command with no Reports of Survey, no Cash Collection Vouchers.

One of the interesting bits of kit that company-sized units used to have was the Officer's Mess Kit, a holdover from a different time in the U.S. Army. A fascinating bit of kit - it held place settings for 8 - serving platters, coffee cups, dinner and salad plates, bowls, salt and pepper shakers, etc. All in a nice fitted box. In WWII they were enameled steel, starting around the Korean War they shifted to aluminum. Sometime in the late 80's, they disappeared off of the MTOEs (Modified Table of Organization and Equipment) that lay out a unit's mission, organization, and allowable property. They were intended for use when deployed units went into semi-permanent bivouac - when engaged in mobile ops *everybody* ate out of a mess kit or box, on top of the jeep hood, or wherever else you could find a flat, semi-level surface - unless you were wolfing it down before the rain washed it all away...

As the Supply Officer of a firing battery, it was just something else to inventory and try to keep people from stealing the flatware and coffee cups from. As a Battery Commander, I only used it for fun - whenever we were deployed, such as for REFORGER, the NTC, etc, I would use it whenever the Commanding General came to visit - set for him, the DIVARTY Commander, and the S3 (more if the visit called for it) in the D/A Commander's tent, set on a red tablecloth - with candles. Hey - we're the Artillery, dammit - we lend dignity to what is otherwise a vulgar brawl...

So - at the Castle Blogmeet - expect the Officer's Mess Kit vice paper plates.

by John on Dec 28, 2005

October 20, 2005

A Contest! Sorta...

In John's gleanings below, the captioneer calls the UH-60 a Blackhawk. In my comment, I refer to the critter as a Black Hawk.

*snicker* Who's correct and--specifically--why? Brag rights to the first one of you to get it right without just making a SWAG.

Okay, Barb, the meaning of the acronym is in Flash Traffic. You didn't think I'd just leave it lying around out here, did you?

*Update* The Scruples sent along a pic of Bill's Den.

**Update to the Update** Why John doesn't worry about his Jerry Pournelle collection disappearing from the Library...

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by CW4BillT on Oct 20, 2005