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September 17, 2005

Reporting out on Katrina

Just a little local update.

Dear Colleagues,

More than 800 families from the Gulf Coast registered at the Gregg Community Center in KCMO where agencies like American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities of Missouri and Kansas, FEMA, Concerned Clergy, Housing Authority, KCMO School District, City of Kansas City and others joined to provide services.

Many families in shelters in cities like Houston have not given up hope of returning to their homes.

Evacuees at the Gregg Center were very patient and very quiet. Most planned to stay in the Kansas City area.

Saturday, Sept. 17 is the last day for operations at the Gregg Center. Later arriving families will be directed to the American Red Cross at 211 W Armour, KCMO 64111 (816) 931 8400. They will be additionally referred to agencies like Catholic Charities.

Beyond the emotional toll, the "startup" costs for families are significant. Imagine getting off a bus in a new city with just an overnight bag.

Catholic Charities of MO and KS have organized a database and phone bank at (816) 221-4377 x 315 to manage:

1. Donations of housing,
2. Volunteers,
3. Churches and other organizations willing to "sponsor" families, and
4. Families who have unmet needs.

Landlords not willing to donate at least 90 days of free rent are asked NOT to call the above number but are invited to register their rental property on one of the many web sites such as socialserve.com/landlord.

The outpouring of generosity has been remarkable. The individual acts of kindness on behalf of New Kansas Citians have been extraordinary.

If you have suggestions and as you hear of the needs of families, please do not hesitate to call Catholic Charities in Missouri or Kansas.

Mark Henke
Catholic Charities, Catholic Community Services
2220 Central Ave
Kansas City KS 66102-4797

Saturday! And a post for Cricket...

...and I'm off to work. Damn prop. Of course, if we win it, I get to keep my job for another five years or so, and thus won't have *more* time to blog... thus keeping the general level of quality on the internet slightly higher.

Some people will do anything for traffic on a weekend... including me.

Patriot Voices has an interesting post... on decommissioning the Peacekeeper. Man, I remember the fight to *get* the Peacekeeper, now it goes away... and Minuteman stays. Ah, the vicissitudes of nuclear arms reduction. Mebbe some new silos will come open as candidates for the Castle's eventual re-location!

SWWBO's 57th Carnival of the Recipes is up at Trub's!

Damn, but the Germans can be annoying and tacky. Well, that's unfair. German politicians. Feh. Politicians.

The rest of this is for Cricket...

Field cookery.

Meet the Mess Kitchen Trailer.

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A rolling restaurant - as long as you don't mind take away. Interestingly enough, I couldn't find good pics of the devices inside an MKT that the cooks used to prepare meals in the field.

Then, I did. From WWII.

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The gear that went in the MKT look just like this. Hell, my Mess Truck looked like this. Of course, my mess truck was a 1962 Studebaker-built deuce-and-a-half still serving in 1985...

But the stuff inside was this stuff, if of more recent manufacture. And it fit into the MKT.

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This coulda been my mess trailer, too - except it was hard-topped and had pantry shelving in it, as well.

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In the 80's and 90's, we converted lots of cook spaces to infantry spaces, to build up the light infantry units. We justified it by introducing tray rations, T-rats, essentially platoon-sized tv dinners that just got dumped in hot water, then peeled open and served. Very little actual food prep involved. Makes you very dependent on your supply line for food, being unable to prepare any local foodstuffs, but that also protects you from food-borne pathogens, too. I think it was a net loss, the mess hall is a wondrous morale tool in the right hands.

Anyway - here is the current Assault Kitchen! Yes, Assault Kitchen. That's what they call it - at least according to Army PR types.

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Nonetheless, some things haven't changed...

Like the serving lines...

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and finding somewhere to eat. Whether in France, 1944...

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Or Kosovo, 1999...

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Update: Per the comments by Boqsuicio and Heartless Lib, here's a peek at the Containerized Kitchen (which *is* produced by Kärcher).

September 16, 2005

National POW/MIA Day, 2005

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Click here for more info.

Commentary: Remember `One of our Own' on POW/MIA Day By Col. Randy Pullen September 15, 2005


WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 15, 2005) – This year’s observance of National POW/MIA Recognition Day is Sept. 16 and it has a special poignancy to those with ties to the remembered.

As Americans, we should pause to remember our fellow citizens who were prisoners of war in a World War II POW camp – like the heroes of Bataan and Corregidor held in the Cabanatuan POW camp that is the subject of the current film, “The Great Raid” -- or who are still missing from the Vietnam War.

It’s one thing, though, when that tie to those remembered is limited to the common bond of citizenship and to those you only know from history books or the movies.

It’s another thing entirely when that fellow American is a member of your family.

A member of our Army family is being remembered this National POW/MIA Recognition Day – Sgt. Keith “Matt” Maupin of the U.S. Army Reserve’s 724th Transportation Company from Bartonville, Ill.

On April 9, 2004, a convoy from the 724th, en route from Balad to Baghdad International Airport, was ambushed in one of the most massive such attacks of the Iraq war. In the ensueing action, the 43 Soldiers in the convoy killed or wounded some 200 insurgents. Two of their fellow Soldiers, Sgt. Elmer C. Krause and Spc. Gregory Goodrich, were killed, as were six civilians. One civilian contract employee, Thomas Hamill, was captured but escaped 24 days later.

One Soldier, then-Spc. Maupin, was captured. He remains a captive to this day.

Officially, the Army placed him in a “Whereabouts Unknown” duty status on the day of his capture. A week later, on April 16, 2004, his status was changed to “Missing-Captured.”

Despite claims by the insurgents and an inconclusive video of someone being killed by them, an Army board of inquiry that met April 6, 2005, to review his status decided to maintain Maupin, who was promoted to sergeant on April 1, 2005, in "Missing-Captured" status.

Neither the Army, the Army Reserve, his fellow Soldiers, nor his family have given up on finding Maupin and bringing him home.

At a Nov. 10, 2004, Pentagon ceremony unveiling the Warrior Ethos Display, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker articulated the Army’s commitment to upholding this pertinent tenet of the ethos: “I will never leave a fallen comrade.”

Speaking to the parents of Maupin, who were in attendance, Schoomaker said, “We will not rest until we come to closure, and recover, hopefully soon, your son; we are committed to that.”

“One of our own, Sgt. Matt Maupin of the 724th Transportation Company, remains captured after more than a year,” said Lt. Gen. James R. Helmly, chief of the Army Reserve, in an April 23 message to the men and women of the Army Reserve.

“His parents, Keith and Carolyn Maupin, have demonstrated exemplary courage and grace,” Helmly continued. “Despite the heartbreak of having a son in captivity, they have worked endlessly with the Yellow Ribbon Support Center they founded in Ohio to support Soldiers and their families. Their bravery and loyalty in the face of overwhelming circumstances is inspiring.”

The Army Reserve chief also mentioned Maupin and his parents at the unveiling of the 88th Regional Readiness Command’s Wall of Heroes Memorial at its headquarters in Fort Snelling, Minn., July 9, 2005. The 724th is an 88th RRC unit.

“He is ever on our minds and always in our hearts,” Helmly said. “I ask each of us spare a moment for his parents … so, too, should we keep them in our prayers.

“The Creed states, we will never leave a fallen comrade and for that reason, we stand by the Maupins for their son's return home.”

Maupin’s unit returned from its tour of duty in Iraq in February. Upon its return, one Soldier in the unit, Spc. Jeremy L. Church, was presented with the Silver Star, the Nation’s third-highest combat award, and the first one earned by an Army Reserve Soldier in the Global War on Terror. He received this decoration for his courageous actions during the convoy ambush.

As you’d expect, Church has many, many memories of that day of battle, of coming home and of the excitement surrounding the Silver Star presentation. One memory never far from his mind, however, is about Maupin.

“I can’t wait till Maupin gets back,” Church said. “It really helps out when people give him (their) prayers. I know his family is going through a really hard time right now, much harder then we are.”

Before the unit came home in February, Church re-enlisted for six more years in the Army Reserve. When asked why he chose to re-enlist, Church had this to say:

“I’m not through with the military. He’s [Maupin] still over there. Ribbons aren’t coming down until we get him back.”

Previous wars have been much more costly in terms of prisoners of war and missing in action. There are still 30,000 MIAs from World War II, more than 8,000 from the Korean War and, as of Aug. 9 there were 1,815 Americans still listed as MIA from the Vietnam War. Thousands more during these recent wars became POWs with the lucky ones coming home after the war ended; but very many others died in captivity, with the only saving grace being that their deaths were confirmed, thus giving their families closure.

To each family of a POW or a MIA, regardless of how many have been captured or are missing in a conflict, the fate of their loved one brings with it worry, anxiety and pain. Each family prays that their loved one is being treated well if captured and will be released soon to return to a grateful nation and a joyous family. For those missing, the family hopes the loved one makes his or her way back to friendly forces or has the status changed to one of more certainty, as an acknowledged POW or as an identified killed in action.

On POW/MIA Recognition Day, we remember the courage of our fellow Soldiers and servicemen and women as they endured captivity. We also remember the equal courage of their family members as they also endured their loved one’s captivity or the agonies of not knowing their fate. We remember and we hope for a conclusion to those trials.

That is what we in the Army family are remembering and hoping this Sept. 16 when we think of Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin, our only captured/missing Soldier of the current war.

As a pointless aside - Colonel Pullen and I were Lieutenants together...

by John on Sep 16, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» Stop The ACLU links with: National POW/MIA Recognition Day
» NIF links with: Constitution Day!
» My Side of the Puddle links with: POW/MIA Day

September 15, 2005

Big Gun Pr0n

The Arsenal at Argghhh! is more than small arms. We have grenades, mines, maces for trench raiding, comfort items... etc. We also have a relatively decent assortment of artillery ammunition (it *is* after all, the ammunition that is the true weapon).

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We even know where we can get one of these:

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The dummy training projectile for the Iowa-class battleships. They're in Idaho, and at around 1800 pounds each, they'd be a tad expensive to ship.

More importantly, perhaps, we don't have the proper gear in the Arsenal to schlep 'em around, either (including the surly sailor!).

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But someday... someday, when the dream tower on the bluff overlooking the river is built... I'll get *two* to flank the driveway!

Oh, and I should caveat, all of this is in compliance with the Standard Disclaimers®.

And for all these reasons and more... the nomination of Judge Roberts is important to both sides of the debate. Why? Because things like the New Orleans rather arbitrary confiscation of firearms are going to end up before the court.

by John on Sep 15, 2005 | Ammunition | Gun Pr0n - A Naughty Expose' of the fiddly bits | Gun Rights | Politics
» Alphecca links with: Hey, Big Boy...
» Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Democrats shift focus in court fight
» NIF links with: Another Today
» Don Surber links with: The First Katrina Lawsuit
» PatriotVoices links with: Farewell to most powerful ICBM

Thursday Olio

Coupla things that struck me today.

First up - Tom DeLay and his comments about "Winning the War on Fat in the Federal Budget."

Some of us are not amused.

While I am not a fan of Rush Limbaugh's show (I do generally like his monologues, but once the callers start in, I'm outta there, I can only take so much group-think before my mind wanders), I'll say that Limbaugh's explanation is *also* plausible. In fact... I *hope* he's correct, otherwise I have to conclude that Mr. DeLay was hung-over or otherwise incapacitated. Y'all can decide as you wish.

The whole thing revolves around paying for Katrina. There's this little bit from the Wall Street Journal:

Some public-spirited folks in Bozeman, Montana, have come up with a wonderful idea to help Uncle Sam offset some of the $62 billion federal cost of Hurricane Katrina relief. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that Montanans from both sides of the political aisle have petitioned the city council to give the feds back a $4 million earmark to pay for a parking garage in the just-passed $286 billion highway bill. As one of these citizens, Jane Shaw, told us: "We figure New Orleans needs the money right now a lot more than we need extra downtown parking space."

Which got us thinking: Why not cancel all of the special-project pork in the highway bill and dedicate the $25 billion in savings to emergency relief on the Gulf Coast? Is it asking too much for Richmond, Indiana, to give up $3 million for its hiking trail, or Newark, New Jersey, to put a hold on its $2 million bike path?

The whole article is here, if you are a subscriber.

Now *there* is an idea that even lefties should be able to get behind. Take some of the 'nice to haves' out of the current budget and apply them to the 'need to haves' from the month's/year's disasters so far... Lefties are willing to tell me that I should skimp nice to haves at home and fork over the dough to government for need to haves like bike paths... why can't we divert that money for what is obviously *not* a crying and compelling need, to one that is? It's not like we can't reallocate the funds next year.

Further - and I've sent this to my delegation... lets put a checkbox on the federal tax form that allows me to allocate funds to disaster relief... a self-selected surcharge. I can either do it as an "add" to my tax bill or as a debit from my refund. States do it all the time. Why not the Feds?

I'd tick it off if I knew where it was going... and yes, I understand money is fungible, spare me that discussion.

Here is another interesting observation. Where I work, there are some pretty left-leaning people, who work for my firm, the government, and other firms. I've been out shaking the charity tree and just talking to people about who and what they have for giving habits. Not inquisitorial, just in context. Given where I work and who with, the lefties are a decided minority, and pretty muted, though there are at least three who are pretty aggressive, one even pugnacious, in their politics. But all in a collegial way, lest anyone think we have rollicking and brawling politics in the office. We don't, and there is plenty of group-think around here, too. [Get to the point, Donovan, sheesh!] The point is... every right-winger I've spoken to has given money, some substantial amounts, to Katrina relief, and been keeping up with their other giving. With two exceptions, the left-leaners have not, or have given token sums. What's more interesting is the underlier - we all make, broadly speaking, about the same amount of money. I suspect both groups give similar amounts of money, too. Since I'm not really digging into it, and it *is* self-reported, this is not good data... but the lefties give it to groups with direct political agendas, whether parties or organizations like NARAL, NOW, ACLU, etc. Righties tend to give it more to United Way, CFC, Red Cross, and faith-based organizations that are more service-oriented than policy oriented.

Just an observation.

Moving on... Today is a big day in history for CAPT Heinrichs, Mostly Cajun, Neffi... their branch debuted!

1916 First use of tanks in war, by the British in the Battle of the Somme.

1938 Br PM Neville Chamberlain visits Hitler at Berchtesgaden. Thus ltidying up the groundwork for WWII in the aftermath of WWI. So obvious in hindsight, but a lot of people thought it was a good idea at the time. Does any of this sound vaguely familiar... echoes of the 90's? Does anyone doubt that if French Prime Minister Daladier had ordered the French Army into the Rhineland, to enforce the provisions of Treaty of Versailles (Arts. 42, 43) he would have been reviled as much as President Bush has been... by generally the same group of people?

1944 Marines land on Peleliu, 450 miles east of Mindanao in the Philippines. Sadly, the place is more famous now as the setting for Survivor, Palau. (I *detest* the Survivor shows... which makes me a distinct minority amongst my compadres).

You want to read about surviving in Palau, I recommend this: Marine At War. by Russell Davis (I read it in 5th Grade - the first of many, many, many war-related books to follow.)


1950 Inchon Landing: UN troops attack behind North Korean lines. MacArthur's last great stroke of genius.


by John on Sep 15, 2005 | Historical Stuff | Hurricane Katrina
» Mostly Cajun, All American and Opinionated links with: Happy birthday, tankers!

Reporting out on Katrina

Here in my little corner of middle-America, we've taken in 20-some families and a total of 70-or-so people displaced by Hurricane Katrina. We've got extended families, couples, and singles, including a gentleman who was evac'd by plane to Houston, told there was no room, flown to Phoenix, told there was no room, flown to Kansas City, told there was no room, and sent on to Leavenworth in a van. He is 78 years old. A veteran of the Merchant Marine, he allowed as he had never traveled so far in 48 hours in his life. And that he wouldn't mind if he never did so again. Nonetheless, he's got a great attitude, and immediately settled in and started trying to find his family, scattered throughout the country.

We have a father who has children on the east and west coasts, neither of whome are with his ex-wife (their mother)... and no one knows why. Fortunately, both children ended up with relatives, and Mom will home on one, and Dad on another. No, I have no idea how that happened, except that obviously, these being among our first arrivals, the system was a little rough around the edges.

We were told we weren't going to receive any evacuees, and then of course, they showed up. The team of public and private agencies, allied with big-hearted people and churches just went into execute mode and got them all in housing, got them food, vouchers for clothing etc. The kids are in school, and four people already have jobs.

And most are chafing to get home. There's been some demand on our counseling services, and there are a surprising number of families that got broken up, but that's being remedied fairly quickly.

A lot of our pantry stocks have been depleted and people and businesses have been stepping in to restock and in some cases, take on sponsorship. We've got churches stepping in to sponsor whole families, for months.

On the flip side, we're encouraging people to get hooked into the community, get integrated, and not sit isolated and brooding in their apartments, motels, and homes - it's important that these people become as self-supporting as they can - for them, not just to ease the strain on supporting services.

Our local agencies are spending funds with little to no expectation of getting reimbursed by the Big Guys, like the Red Cross, etc, who have been the focus of fund-raising efforts. Not because we're being stiffed - but because, in the end, they will end up with the long term bills, and because they are going to get hit with the costs of maintaining any long-term facilities that get established for the true hard-luck cases. My point here is to remind you that it is *important* that if you are a charitable giving type - to not neglect your local charities who have probably already punched large holes in their budgets.

Thus far, we've done well, and had no incidents, which is frankly unusual, considering we are getting a traumatized population, some of whom's lives have literally been changed forever by the hurricane.

Which brings me to my third point. #1 was you've probably got people in your community and may not know it. #2 was your local agencies have been handling expenses above what was budgeted... keep that in mind, and help if you can. Volunteering time is helping, btw... #3 - We know that in the evacuee population there are, essentially, escaped prisoners and other predators.

We're putting these people (we've so far been able to limit "in-home" adoption to families) in people's homes, who have volunteered their homes in this time of crisis.

And the ACLU, which I don't detest *quite* as much as Jay does... is all about grumbling that if you are going to accept people into your home - that the people you are letting in don't have to answer any potentially embarrassing questions.

But, perhaps, if the ACLU really thinks the government should be doing this exclusively, they are being fully consistent.

The ACLU would be better served asking why local and state government was so unprepared to help the helpless.

by John on Sep 15, 2005 | Hurricane Katrina
» dave's not here | David Earney links with: Link Blast

September 14, 2005

Since Blake mentioned Gun Pr0n...

Let's have some! Blow off a little of the dust here (whoooof!)...

Let's get down and get Suomi!

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by John on Sep 14, 2005 | Sub-machine Guns
» NIF links with: Homecoming

Getting to the fight...

...a continuing intermittent series of no-juicy-stuff-because-of-OPSEC emails from Blake, helping the 101st Get To The Fight.

From "Somewhere in the Middle East..."


Greetings from about half-a-mile past the back of the Beyond,

I made my own memorial to 9-11 by getting on an airplane at Fort Campbell about 0500 that morning and flying to Kuwait with the quartering party for the brigade of the 101st Abn Div that I support. At least, “quartering party” is what the manuals had been calling it for several hundred years when I was a serving soldier. I guess that that phrase didn’t sound manly enough, or something, as these days the phrase used is “torch party.” Go figure.

I’m not giving anything away by saying this, as our local PAO had already issued a press release indicating that passenger flow for several of the infantry brigades in the 101st would be starting this week.

CENTCOM has made a specific OPSEC issue out of writing home about ongoing logistics operations, so I’m not going to be able to talk much about the specifics of the reasons why I’m here. Basically, this 50-year old retired sergeant is here to expedite the movement of my brigade’s equipment off the ships we put it on a few weeks ago, move it from the port to our staging base, and then to arrange for its transport north to the brigade’s assigned operating area in Iraq. Once I get that done, I should be able to go back to the US and help handle sustainment flow.

So I guess I’ll have to write about other stuff. Like the flight, which was way, way, too long. Precisely 24 hours elapsed between the time when I had to report to the passenger marshalling area (a gymnasium at Fort Campbell,) and the moment when they opened the door of the airplane in Kuwait. The plane had seats for 173 passengers, but because of weight and fuel limits on the 737-800, we only loaded 90. I was lucky and got one of the 3-person seat-sets to myself. But when you are over 6 feet tall and weigh 240 lb, even having that much space it’s still hard to be comfortable, especially when you are trying to sleep.

In transit, we stopped at Bangor, Maine; Keflavik, Iceland; and Bucharest, Romania. Enroute to Bangor we flew directly over Bucksport, Maine, and I was able to get an aerial photo of Fort Knox State Historic Site, just south of Bucksport on the Penobscot River. It’s a multilevel granite casemated fort with extensive water batteries, set into the side of a bluff overlooking the river. While it was never fully completed, Maine’s Fort Knox is still very well preserved, and it was never modified to house later period weapons, as so many of the larger Third Period casemated forts were during the Endicott Period.

I’ve attached the photo. It’s not as good as I’d hoped, but it’s not bad for having been taken out the window of an airliner when I had only a few seconds to realize that the possibility of even taking any such photo existed.

Changing the subject a little, I want to say some nice things about the people of Bangor, Maine and the surrounding communities. When they realized that a lot of aircraft carrying US military personnel to and from the CENTCOM AOR would be landing in Bangor to refuel, these people took it upon themselves to meet every plane as the troops offloaded, to applaud the troops and to try to attend to their needs. These days, the Maine Military Greeters gave taken over an unused retail space in the airport concourse, where they offer free coffee and snacks, free telephone calls, and free reading material to their military guests, including free gun pron, (or so I classify the periodical “Small Arms Review.”)

I have to admit that, as a civilian who is not expecting to go in harm’s way on this trip, I was a bit embarrassed to be receiving part of this attention. (I’m still getting over being told by a WW2 veteran that he is grateful for MY service. By all rights I should have been thanking him…) But several of the greeters told me that what I was doing is, in its own way, just as important as what the soldiers are doing, and that that meant that THEY thought I was entitled, so I decided not to argue. I did try to give them a donation to help cover their costs, and was told that as long as I was a passenger inbound from, or outbound to theater, my money wasn’t any good in Bangor. So I’ll send them a check when I get back…

I’m told that Iceland has beautiful green farms set amid some of the most spectacular scenery in the Northern Hemisphere. Naturally, Naval Air Station Keflavik isn’t near any of those parts of Iceland. Instead, it sits near the end of a peninsula that is, geologically-speaking, a relatively recent addition to the island. Which means that the peninsula consists mostly of dense igneous rocks with a coating of lichen, and there isn’t much of anything to block the wind coming off the Atlantic. Which it was. The ambient air temp when we arrived was about 45 degrees F and the wind was doing 15 knots or so when we stepped off the plane. Just another autumn Sunday evening in Iceland, while we’re all dressed for the desert. The walk from the airplane stairs to the terminal entrance was short but, er… …ahh,… …uhh,… … invigorating!.

Because it was Sunday evening when we set down, pretty much everything at the Keflavik military passenger terminal was closed. (The big airfield at Keflavik is now also the principal international airport for Iceland as a nation, but the new civilian terminal at Keflavik is completely separate from the NAS facilities.) But they did have the USO and gift shop open for us. If I’d been on my way back to the US I’d have bought souvenirs. Instead, I settled for an enameled pin in the shape of Iceland for my “I was there” hat. Heck, I’ll probably loose the silly thing before I get home.

We arrived in Bucharest, Romania, at about 0200 local. We weren’t allowed to deplane in Bucharest. At 0200, when viewed from the terminal apron, every airport in the world looks just like every other airport in the world.

Which brings me to Kuwait. One would think, based on looking at a map of the region, that pretty much all of Kuwait is occupied. Au contraire. Maps lie. Kuwait has lots and lots and lots of not-really-anywhere-at-all, and the Army picked one of these spots to build the transit camp where I am now situated. It’s basically a big rectangle, several miles on a side, with a big sand berm around it to tell people where the edge of the camp is. As someone else once observed, “It’s not really at the end of the earth, but you can see it from here.” And in this place the US military has contrived to place all of the comforts of home, as long as your idea of comforts includes sleeping 60-plus to a room, having to walk a couple hundred meters to get a shower, and water that has to be brought in in tanker trucks. Still, the mess hall serves 4 meals a day, and if that palls, we have Burger King, Subway, Taco Bell, a pizza joint open 24/7, a place that sells decent Chinese, and a Kuwaiti-run donut shop that sells pretty decent pastries and really good coffee. But scenic it ain’t. See the other attached photo.

That’s it for the moment. Gotta go back to work, about which I aintasposeatalkabaout.

Regards,

Blake
Deployment Specialist, GS-9
3rd BCT, 101st Abn Div (AASLT)

P.S. No attachments this time. Interface doesn't want to load them. I'm working at a peak usage hour and I suspect the upload would require too much bandwidth.

Ya wanna see what Blake saw, except in black and white... click here.

PAR-TAY!!

“When in the course of hy’umun events…” Wha-a-a? Scout! Get yer scruple paws off that teleprompter!

>>hzzzz. bigfoot touchy today.

Hey, today’s AFSister’s birthday--if I don’t do this right, I’m toast.

>>hzzzz. bigfoot crusty, stale and always in a jam. name scout think already fit definition of toast.

Thanks a heap, furbucket. Go find Jake and Muffy and see what’s up with the cake.

>>hzzzz. name muffy and name jake bake cake? ooog—name scout bet ranch cake be chok’lit with squirrel frosting. name scout think maybe go strine beer-food-beer pless for dins.

Fine. Bring me back a couple of lagers. But go find Jake and Muffy, first.

*scamper-skitter-galumph*

Geez. Where was I? Oh…

*smiling winsomely into castlecam®*

Dbie the AFSister gave me a splendiferous present a couple of weeks ago and I got roped--ummmm--am absolutely delighted with the chance to return the favor. After all, turnabout is fair play and

*bgvzzzzt* GRRAAGHH! SNAP!

OW! PG, you tin-plated, ankle-biting idiot construct, I said FAIR play!

Ruh-roh... *cringe*

Rats--my Columbian Exposition souvenir sox, too…ya got 'em right in Grover Cleveland's autograph. Go do something useful, like gnawing all that pink enamel off the Iowa at Midshipman Mudpuppy’s place!

*skitter-clank-yink-skitter*

Anyway. The e-mail story actually started with

John to Bill: What do you know about AFSister?
Bill to John: Thirtysomething, married with kids, pretty good sense of humor--seems like a nice kid. Why?
John to Bill: *snerk*

Next thing I know, I get an e-mail from AFSister and learned why she’s AFSister. And a couple of e-ms later, I realized she’s not just a mommy, she’s a damfine one and what I’d thought was a good sense of humor was a wild, rollicking laugh-out-loud boundless appetite for fun. I learned about her Red Cross volunteer work, her involvement with the Spirit of America campaign, and her cats. And (eventually) I even learned how you’re s’posed to pronounce “Dbie”...

Errr--speaking of cats, I have to plead guilty to tagging her with the “Middle-American Were-Kitten” moniker. It’s a long story, but since it was her rescue mission, I’ll let her do the honors on her blog. Heh. An AFSis TINS!

And why not (he asked rhetorically)? She was the first of the Castle Commenters to achieve blogspawn status and now my multi-faceted, multi-talented, multi-tasking blogbud shares her thoughts and frustrations and adventures and laughter with the rest of the online world.

And today’s the Cute Chick©’s birthday! And Were-Kitty’s and MAWK’s and Zoomie-Sib’s and

*scamper-skitter-scarper* *d-r-a-g*

>>hzz. pg-17c-thing say scrup’l come quick. qué pasa?

Muffy, have you numbskulls been cadging chow over at Boq’s again? And what’s with the--oh, geez! Who decorated that cake, Madonna? Quick, get it into the Jungle Room before somebody sees it and thinks this is the Midwest branch of Plato’s Retreat!

>>hzz. perfect pless. pretty lady what sometimes be cat-thing-hy’umun feel right at home when pop out of cake.

Huh? *dangerously* Wanna tell me why the guest of honor is inside her own cake?!?

>>hzzz. not be easy. many chok’lit-chip ‘n’ squirrel cookie involve in transaction.

Waitaminnit--you gave

>>hzz. name jake not give lady cookie, lady give name jake cookie. think this shindig surprise visit from vin diesel. lady big fan.

>>hzzz. also climb into cake with big fan. vinnie have eclectic admirers, even if only multiple-feline-personality lady involved.

*sigh* Well, help her out and

>>hzz. not ethical. name muffy see name jake already eat cookie. name muffy suspect lady not want cookie back in its present condition. or later, 'specially.

>>hzzz. suspect name muffy *urp* correct. suspect also lady use stale squirrel in cookie.

Okay, okay--*gritting teeth*--wheel it into the screening room and crank up Pitch Black on the hi-def so’s she won’t be too torqued when she pops out. Waitaminnit--what’s that skritching sound coming from the inside of the cake?

*cautiously lifts top layer of cake to reveal--*

PG-17A.

Clad only in a thin layer of chocolate and a large fan…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

*grin* Hey, kiddo, didn’t think I was gonna stick ya in the cake and leave ya there while the party cranked up, didja?

Happy birthday, Dbie!

Ummmm--whoever you are today...

by CW4BillT on Sep 14, 2005 | Birthday

September 12, 2005

Yeah, I'm busy...

So I'll offer up these two reading experiences...

RINO sightings.

Then there is this.

TINS: noun. Acronym, This Is No Shit - meaning war story, tale, suitably embellished. Typically used in a military context.

We do TINS 'round here. So do other people.

Then there's the Bubblehead over at Discomfort of Thought. Who has a Sea Story (a naval war story...)

Continuing today's nautical theme... well, lets the the PigBoatSailor tell his TINRS. You'll understand the change when you read, "Oh Carp, What a duty day!"

USS IOWA - Think Pink!

To understand this post, you need to click here... and read that post (and the links in it). Of course, if you're a longtime reader you've done that... so you'll already understand.

USS IOWA, Haze Pink and in the Drink!

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If ya really like it - hi-res here. More options coming soon.

by John on Sep 12, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» CDR Salamander links with: Some things are just plain wrong

September 11, 2005

9/11

Take a moment, ponder the event and the impact it's had on our lives - 9/11 echoes in the response to Katrina.

Remember the Day...

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and that while we fight...

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We also build - and in some cases, fight so we *can* build.

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Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, build playground equipment at a local school yard in northern Baghdad.

Sometimes, we build simply because we can, and someone needs the help.

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Spc. Elizabeth Ferguson, from the 244th Engineer Battalion, 651st Area Support Group, helps to build a school in Los Higos, Panama, during a humanitarian mission.


Now, get back to the work at hand.

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U.S. Army Guardsmen from the 890th Engineering Battalion A-Company Picayune, Miss., clear debris from the beach while in Biloxi, Miss., during humanitarian relief efforts in support of Joint Task Force Katrina, Sept. 4, 2005. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. James M. Bowman)

If you want to do something 9/11-related... from the left or the right, up or down on the issue... offer input on the Flight 93 Memorial plan, and/or the WTC Memorial.


Lastly, I'll listen to anybody who wants to talk about improving the structuring of response to disasters of this magnitude. What I won't do, however, is listen to such advice delivered sneeringly from some European lips when they wouldn't even take a break from vacation as tens of thousands died in the very slow-rolling disaster of their heat wave...

Denizens:

Righty in a Lefty State
The Middle Ground
Snarkatron
Random Fate
Sergeant B.
Fuzzilicious Thinking
GenX@40
My Army Life
AFSis

Special Buds:

Neptunus Lex
Blonde Sagacity

The Best of the Rest: Others blogging 9/11 today if you haven't had enough already... this list was shamlessly stolen from Sister Toldjah - who you should visit before any of these other guys.

Captain Ed

Winds of Change

The Political Teen

Brian at Iowa Voice

BlogsForBush

Jim at bRight and Early

Instapundit

Beth at My VRWC

Jay at Stop the ACLU

Cao’s Blog

Patrick Ruffini

Blackfive

Lorie Byrd

Michele Catalano

Across the Atlantic

Ace

California Yankee

James Joyner

Bill Quick

Cox and Forkum

Varifrank

J Rob

Gay Patriot

Neddy Kerfuffles

Rick Moran

Romeocat

Atlas

Alan L. Nelson

My Pet Jawa

IMAO

Mister Snitch

Rob at Say Anything

The Patriette

Southern Appeal

Jon Schaff at South Dakota Politics

Hugh Hewitt

Sparks From The Anvil

Ann Althouse

Ankle Biting Pundits

CavalierX

Publius Rendezvous

(Hey, I did at least remember to edit myself out of it)

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by John on Sep 11, 2005 | Something for the Soul
» Sister Toldjah links with: Remembering 9-11-01
» Stop The ACLU links with: September 11th Remembered
» CatHouse Chat links with: Four years ago - never forget
» The Gun Line links with: Remembrance...
» Righty in a Lefty State links with: Remembering 9/11
» Fuzzilicious Thinking links with: Thoughts on 9-11
» Donkey Stomp links with: Remember September 11, 2001
» Speed of Thought links with: Remembering...
» Mudville Gazette links with: Dawn Patrol
» Mudville Gazette links with: Dawn Patrol
» Mudville Gazette links with: Dawn Patrol