Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Too Funny!

Taco (a Marine serving in Iraq) from SandGram has a hilarious post on Military lingo. I have heard most of them but this is just so funny. Not for the faint of heart, so be warned. It is also some Navy terminology which I am familiar with. I am having to get used to the Army lingo. A bathroom in the Navy or Mairnes is a Head, yeah just picture a female having to ask..."where's the head??" However in the Army it is a latrine. (Thank GOD). LOL. Go read it and have fun.


Talked to my 1SG.
Definition of 1SG:

First Sergeant (1SG) - Principal NCO and life blood of the company: the provider, disciplinarian and wise counselor. Instructs other Sergeants,
advises the Commander and help train all enlisted Soldiers. Assists Officers at the company level (62 to 190 Soldiers).

That would be my 1SG! He was FABULOUS. He happens to know the 1SG of the unit I want to join. He is going to arrange a day I can go and meet him and talk about the unit. He also gave me some very practical advice about HRO and personnel types. He *also* informed me that whenever I am ready to go to Iraq, he will arrange it. He was dead serious. I guess that is what a leader is... he is great. I wish I could stay under his command.

I want to also explain here why I feel that staying in the unit I am assigned to is not a choice for me. This is a brand new unit. We currently have around 50 people. We have no equipment to train with. We have no weapons, so weapons training and qualification is out of the question. The unit is filling up slowly so it looks like it will be 2 years before we will even be ready to look at a deployment. Not that is necessarily a bad thing; however I have 12 years left to make 1SG or CSM. If I can't train and qualify and deploy...guess what? No advancement.

SO I can see that I will be doing something useful soon and that has made feel very optimistic.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Quote of the Day

After picking up my son from school today I casually ask him what would he say if I told him I was deploying to Iraq? He deadpans;
"Give me a gun, let me shoot you, and I'll save you the trouble of going."

I laughed, he chuckled and I told him I was not going to Iraq anytime soon... that I knew of... but I wanted to know what he would say. Crazy kid, where do they think of these things??

We had a very loooong talk about the dangers of deploying, but that different jobs mean different dangers. His Uncle Jimmy is a MP and would be in considerable more danger than "moi", a communications tech. Not to say I wouldn't be in any danger...but... you know what I mean.

He still thinks his mom is a loon.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Story of Uncle Bob

The teacher gave her fifth grade class an assignment: get their parents to tell them a story with a moral at the end of it. The next day the kids came back and one by one began to tell their stories.

Kathy said, "My father's a farmer and we have a lot of egg-laying hens. One time we were taking our eggs to market in a basket on the front seat of the pickup when we hit a bump in the road and all the eggs went flying and broke and made a mess."

"And what's the moral of the story?" asked the teacher.

"Don't put all your eggs in one basket!"

"Very good," said the teacher. "Now, Lucy?"

"Our family are farmers too. But we raise chickens for the meat market. We had a dozen eggs one time, but when they hatched we only got ten live chicks. And the moral to this story is, don't count your chickens until they're hatched."

"That was a fine story Lucy. Johnny do you have a story to share?"

"Yes, ma'am, my daddy told me this story about my uncle Bob. Uncle Bob was a Green Beret in Vietnam and his helicopter got hit. He had to crash land in enemy territory and all he had was a bottle of whiskey, a machine gun and a machete. He drank the whiskey on the way down so it wouldn't break and then he landed right in the middle of 100 enemy troops. He killed seventy of them with the machine gun until he ran out of bullets, then he killed twenty more with the machete till the blade broke and then he killed the last ten with his bare hands."

"Good heavens," said the horrified teacher, "What kind of moral did your daddy tell you from that horrible story?"

"Don't mess with Uncle Bob when he's been drinking."

Saturday, January 28, 2006

If I Wasn't a Lady....

The things I’d say. I went yesterday got my final piece of paperwork to submit for application to the 4th WMD/CST. I then drove to HRO to turn it in. I was able to talk to a personnel type and was told that I may not know about my application for some time. In fact applications are not submitted to the NBC team until they request them. Sigh.

I did some research on the team and here is a website that explains what they do. It was really interesting. The team I want to join is the 4th WMD/CST. I then checked out this link and this on their gear. That’s when I began to drool. Check out the communications gear. We’re talking James Bond!! Lord, I’d love a chance at that position.

Well I am not taking no for an answer. I am going to contact the team and see if there is anything I can do on my end. I plan on becoming the squeaky wheel. I just feel this would be the best place to use my skills. We shall see.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Test your skill...fun stuff

A friend sent me this game online. It is called Escapa. Click and hold the red square. Now, move it so that you neither touch the walls nor get hit by any of the blue blocks. If you make it to 18 seconds, you are doing brilliantly! I am told that Navy fighter pilots are tasked to successfully play the game for more than 2 minutes. Maybe an urban myth but, try and make it for more than 15 seconds.

Day to Day...

My new hobby is going smoothly. I have my loaner radio and have been logging in some time on the local ham radio nets. I am studying for the General license so I can sign up for the emergency HF frequency net or ARES. I also have plans on doing MARS. There is a Hamfest in February and I plan on testing for the General license then. After that I just need to pass Morse Code. I wonder if I can take my radio with me to Iraq???

I have one piece of paperwork missing from my application to the NBC team, so as soon as I get it I will be driving down to Atlanta to turn it in. I MAY see about visiting the unit just to pop in and say hi. This is just SO weird to me!!! It is just so very different from the active duty military where you call a detailer to try and arrange orders. He tells you what is out there, you pick and viola, you have orders and GO.

My husband is attending a local Chiropractic seminar today. His office is normally closed on Thursdays so it was rather convenient for him to attend. He HATES driving to Atlanta so he wasn't looking forward to it. Yet he needs time to hone his skills so it is a good thing.

I am still working out and will pass the APFT when we have it again. My unit has put off the retest due to weather. That just gives me more time to whip this body into shape. My biggest struggle at this point is DIET. I log onto fitday to keep a food journal. It is free and is a pretty good program. I don't eat much, but what I do it is 60% FAT. I am a meat and potatoes kinda girl plus I love fried food. So I need to really start to watch my food choices. Sigh. The kicker? I have 140 cholesterol and 90/58 blood pressure. Healthy as a horse. I have a friend who is a health NUT, she runs a 7 minute mile, runs on a tread mill for an hour every morning. Her cholesterol is 250!!! Yikes! She about had a fit when she heard what mine is. Life is NOT fair! :-) Nice when it is to my advantage though!

Not much else going on except the day to day drama, and I am not much for drama. I prefer action. This is killing me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


I submitted my packet to join the NBC team. Now the wait.

Friday, January 20, 2006

NO JOKE, blogger aids in CAPTURE of Terrorist!

Read all about it here. Hat tip to Mudville Gazette for the link to the story. WHOO HOO!! Great story.

Truce?? How about a surrender.

Major Dad offers this observation about the proposed Osama Truce:
If it isn't plain enough to those of you that question the administration's response, Al Qaeda and this band of Islamic-Fascist thugs cannot be bargained with. Note that Bin Laden offers a truce, not a surrender. Many things can be done under the "white flag" of a truce...including recruiting, planning and re-arming. While I'm sure our forces would welcome a "breather" too, they know all too well that this adversary cannot be trusted.

I whole heartedly agree.

I don't usually just ramble on...

But I need a place to write down all my thoughts. I am having conflicting feelings. I feel pulled from two sides.

I REALLY want to deploy. I really want to go and help in OIF. I read the stories, see the film footage, hear the reports and I feel left behind. I find myself surfing the net for prices on Satellite phone service(the rates are not too bad!) and looking up local weapons training. I think about what it would be like to be in the Middle East.

I think the reason deploying is so attractive to me is...I am a wanderer at heart. When we were kids we would pick up and move at a moment's notice. My father was from South America. I am half Colombian. He came to the States with his family when he was 14. He and my mom married at age 16 and proceeded to have five children one after the other. Good Catholics they were! I had made four plane trips by the time I was three years old and lived in 3 different places. My dad was working for NCR by the time I was 6 and was selected to train to become a computer programmer. We moved to southern California where I spent all of my grammar school years. We moved twice while in California. My parents divorced when I was 12 and my mom married an Army Officer. More moving. I attended 3 different elementary schools, 3 different middle schools and 4 different High Schools (2 in my senior year). I have lived in 10 different states sometime repeating a state 3 or 4 times! I have lived overseas in Germany and traveled Europe extensively. I loved it.

After we were all grown I joined the Navy to wander some more. I was stationed in Orlando (boot), Memphis, Chicago (brrr), California, and Hawaii. I spent time in Austrailia and visiting other vacation spots. I asked my sisters who planted themselves FIRMLY where they gradualted highschool if they missed the travel. One answer from my younger sister stunned me. She said "I wish the people I knew now and went to college with were the people I went to kindergarten with." Wow. Really?? That just blows my mind. Not that the people I attended school with are not worthy of such devotion, but I find it stiffling. I just don't get it.

Fast forward to now. I came back to Georgia after my 8 years in the Navy. Georgia is the longest place I lived growing up. I like Georgia. I am also the daughter of a Southerner so I really enjoy the familiar feeling. I have been here now 15 years, 21 years of my life altogether, that's a long time. I married a man who has deep roots in this area. In fact I SWEAR he has red Georgia clay running through his veins. When we were dating he was in Chiropractic college. We day-dreamed of moving to Montana (yes!) or Wyoming or maybe even ALASKA!! One day I say "hey lets do it! You can open your practice anywhere and I can do my job anywhere....let's do it!" It must have really frightened him, he said "Are you CRAZY?? You *are* serious!" um,...yeah? Why not? He says "I will never move away from my family". Rude awakening for me! LOL. My dear darling wonderful husband is a true blue mama's boy. Well I shouldn't put it that way...he is just VERY loyal. He believes in family, putting down roots. I have been learning some very valuable lessons these past years!

I believe in family too. I love my family, I love my extended family. Since I come from a family of gypsies on all sides it has been very interesting to be married into this family. I mean these people are FAMILY. No one gets left behind. No one does without. Everyone is loved and cared for. Yeah we have our spats, and our fights, but that strong loyality is never pushed aside. It really has been something to witness and be a part of. I am stronger for it.

So, I feel rather like a traitor for wanting to leave even if only for a short time. They all think I am nuts to even join the National Guard. My MIL said "well no woman in our family has ever done anything like this!!" to which I quietly replied "Not in mine either." I can't even begin to imagine the fallout when I say "I am deploying"; MUCH LESS say "oh and I volunteered".

I can't just sit by and watch like a spectator. This latest bombing in a Pakistani village to kill four known terrorists just makes me want to go that much more. The fight is NOT over. Osama's taped message is clear...it ain't over.

There is this feeling I have deep inside of me. It is calling me to go, to serve. When I think of just staying back and watching this all unfold...well I feel awful. I try and rationalize to myself...you're a mom, your children are very young, you have a home and family to take care of. Then I see a video of a soldier coming home to his babies and I think...he is a father to very young children...he has a home and family too.

I am going to take my packet down to HRO on Tuesday. I hope I am selected. If not there are many other options, but I would prefer not having to relocate. Their is a Stryker group (only one in the National Guard) out of Pennsylvania that is looking for a commo NCO. Females accepted. I could also go Regular Army, but I am not sure if I can swing that or not. Anyway I feel like this is the direction I am to take.

Then there is this little nagging fear... once I am out in the desert sleeping in a big tent that I might say "Geez-o-Pete Lori, what possessed you??!!" :-) But knowing me, I'll be eating it up like candy.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bravo Zulu PO1 Larry Cummins!

Our heroes at work here and abroad. A Teen makes a 911 call from a submerged car.
A man who risked his own life to save a girl in a submerged car said he was surprised that no one else jumped in to help. The driver of the car drowned.Larry Cummins is in the Navy and owns two boats. His heroism Saturday night went way beyond any training or experience he'd ever had, he said. What perplexes him now was why so many people just stood by and watched, he said.
Well PO1 Cummins, thats because it takes an extra something to serve your country and fellowman. You got that something extra. Not everyone can react quickly in an emergency. You can go read the story and listen to the 911 calls. Hooah or should I say BZ (Bravo Zulu) to Petty Officer 1st Class Cummins for rising (diving) to the occassion. If you look closely at the picture you can see the submerged car.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Kilo India Four Kinky Mean Queen

My call sign is KI4KMQ, and spoken in Milspeak should be Kilo India Four Kilo Mike Quebec but someone tagged me with Kinky Mean Queen for KMQ and it has never left my brain. It does make it rather easy to remember my call sign but it is going to be rather embarassing the first time I sign on the radio saying "This is KI4KMQ; Kilo India Four Kinky Mean Queen this is Lori. " So far I have only been on the Ham radio frequency net ONCE and I avoided saying it wrong, although I had to REALLY concentrate!

I tested for my license in August this past year. Long before I knew for certain I would join the Guard. I wanted to do something that would help me keep my skills. I decided Ham radio would be a good way to do it. So I took some online practice tests and using a free online study guide I went to a local Ham Fest and took the test. I passed on my first try. I was rather relieved as I had our son with me and would have been totally EMBARASSED to come out of the testing center to announce to my 10 year old that his MOM had FAILED her test! LOL. I passed and a few weeks later got my official call sign.

I haven't been on the radio because I haven't purchased a radio. Ham radio is not for the faint of wallet. I found out quickly that it *is* an expensive hobby. So I decided I would have to wait for available funds.

Last month one of my husband's patients found out I had joined the Guard. He is in a all volunteer state emergency unit. It is Army, but it is not part of the Army. I am not sure of all the details but I will find out. He is prior service Marine Corp but too old to volunteer for the National Guard or other services. He tried. He still tries! He writes letters to Washington and is working hard on trying to make changes. In the meantime he volunteers with this all volunteer unit. We also found out we share a common interest in Ham radio.

Bill invited me to a Ham Radio club meeting and I went this past Tuesday night. It was a lot of fun. Everyone was very friendly and I met a lot of vets. They said to say thank you to any and all of the troops so if you are in the Military that means you! Bill also produced a small radio that I am borrowing until I can buy the radio I have been eyeballing. This is my dream radio but hey it's $10K ... guess I WILL have to settle for less. :-)

So if you are a ham radio enthusiast, shout at me (KI4KMQ) one day on 146.940 -( 88.5)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Gonna do it

Well, I STILL have not heard anything about my board. It has been about a month. I know things move slowly in the Guard... but I feel that if I had been selected I would have heard something by now.

So with my husband's permission I am going to submit my packet to join an NBC unit near here. NBC stands for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical. These are the units that go in and clean up. I belong to a Chemical unit now, but this would be fulltime or AGR (Active Guard reserve). I will go have my DA photo redone and sumbit a packet in person to HRO by the end of this month.

No more sitting on the sidelines. HOOAH! Wish me luck.
Here are comments left on my blog from a previous post about my angst on not deploying:

I am regular Army and am trying to get my third tour in the box. Don't be in such a hurry. Everyday you put on that uniform you are serving. You are no less a soldier for not deploying. We all serve in our own way. The fact that you want to deploy and are willing to deploy says alot about what kind of soldier you are. Best thing that you can do is prepare yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. Read as many blogs, AARs, CALL newletters, etc. Shoot your weapon or any weapons as often as you can. Learn first aid, learn how to talk to helicopters and artillery, develop "Battlemind"- be polite, be professional, be prepared to kill everyone in the room, learn to view everything as a potential threat, always scan for possible shooting positions, never look for defensive positions- be on the look out for battle positions to engage the enemy, etc. These are all things you can do before you deploy. And always, always shoot them in the face. So the last thing they see is the American female who arranged their meeting with Allah.

That way if you get the opportunity to deploy, you will survive it and bring home your troops. You don't have to deploy to know what will help your soldiers survive. You can do your part and help them return with honor.

See ya in the Sandbox. When you need gunship support, think 4/227th ARB and our AH64Ds.

Matthew Silverman
BN Combat Plans Officer

Friday, January 13, 2006

Just gotta say something

You know...I am a deeply religious person. I love God, read my Bible and attend religious services whenever I can. We serve in our church and do some community service, so I am not approaching this topic as an outsider.

About 15 years ago, my nephew died of brain cancer. He was 6 years old. He was the cutest, sweetest, most wonderful little boy. When we found out he had cancer (age 3) it hit us all like a ton of bricks. I prayed and I prayed. When he died it came as a shock to me, because I really believed he would be healed. I learned something about death, dieing, and life. I learned about hope, having your hopes dashed and I learned about real faith.

Recently I was reading a blog that is one of my favorites. The woman who writes this blog lost her husband in Iraq. She has started this blog for her son and to help her work through some of her grief. I have tissue handy when I read her blog. It is gut wrenchingly real. She is not melodramatic. She is honest. My heart goes out to her.

Anyway I was reading her blog and I happened across a comment that was left anonymously (of course). I will spare you the link. In a nut shell it was all about how she had to accept this, it was God's will etc., etc. It made me sick to my stomach. I wanted to write a scathing reply but thought "Why leave a message like that on this blog. Why add insult to injury?"

So I thought perhaps I might broach the subject on my blog. I have had a chance to calm down. I have had a chance to think about it logically and with less emotion than I had yesterday.

Can I say I think it is the height of rudeness to leave a message anonymously? If you don't have the cojones to leave your name...then keep your comments to yourself. If you fear retribution over your comments because they might be insensitive...they probably are.

Can I say that more harm is done by seemingly "religious" comments that are said with an air of superiority or an air of "here is a lesson you need to learn" than is warranted. I don't have an issue with a "May God be with you" or "I am praying for you". I DO have an issue with "what you need to understand..." attitudes. A spouse who has lost their beloved doesn't NEED to understand anything!

Can I say we all need to be able to grieve without someone standing in judgment?? Don't we deserve to be able to let our emotions flow? My God, this woman lost her husband, the father of her infant son! I think she has earned the right to pour her heart out without fear of chicken sh*t leaving an anonymous post about how she is suppose to grieve.

But let me tell you how I really feel! LOL. Just kidding I am not going to let it fly here.

Back to my dear nephew. It took me 6 years before I could speak of him without crying. Even now...I still have tender feelings for that baby. When he passed away I said one thing to my sister. I told her that I wasn't going to tell her some stupid things like "I know how you feel" or "Its' God's will". I said that I couldn't possibly know how she felt and God doesn't want anyone to perish. I had no idea what to say so I wasn't going to say anything other than I was thinking of her and if I could do anything; just ask. Period. No lectures, no Bible thumping, no chastisements.

Real faith has nothing to do with using God as a magic genie. Real faith knows it has to go through the storm and not find a magic formula to go around the storm. Real faith reaches out to others who are going through the storm. Real faith doesn't throw stones at others who are being taken through a storm. Don't believe me? Read the book of Job.

So, I feel better. I got that off my chest. Comments?

SGT Seavey gives a much needed dressing down

Michelle Malkin has this story on her blog about a sergeant confronting Congressmen Murtha and Moran at a Town Hall meeting. He dressed them down in an oh so polite way. SGT Seavey states what I suspected...the representatives have NO clue about the men and women in the Military. There is a video clip of the event, go watch it, well worth your time. A quote from her site:
My favorite moments were the look on Rep. Jim "Bad Boy" Moran's face when Sgt. Seavey challenged the Dems' "demoralized troops" meme and noted that Moran didn't bother to send a single word of praise or attend a homecoming event when 200 of his Moran's constituents returned from duty in Afghanistan...
Maybe a letter needs to be written to these fine examples of our liberal politicians. And while you're at it...why not a letter to your media asking why they didn't cover this part of the story??

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Old News, But...

Dang!! this story is WILD!! I never heard it on the MSM (what else is new?).
During a routine patrol in Baghdad June 2, Army Pfc. Stephen Tschiderer, a medic, was shot in the chest by an enemy sniper, hiding in a van just 75 yards away. The incident was filmed by the insurgents.

The medic then goes on to treat the insurgent after he is shot!! Watch the video, chilling to say the least!! Thanks to Blackfive for the link.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Iraqi Sunnis condemn mosque raid

I hate it for you. Aljazeera carried this story about a raid on a Mosque carried out by American and Iraqi forces after a tip indicating that activities relating to the kidnapping of CSM Journalist Jill Carroll were being carried out in the Mosque.

In a statement, AMS also accused US soldiers of desecrating the mosque and carrying away files containing the names of members.

"We call on the occupiers to withdraw from Iraq because they are the reason for every crime and the death of every innocent in Iraq," Harith al-Aubaidi, a member of AMS said in his sermon at the prayers ahead of the protest.

Well, quit harboring terrorists and you won't be a target.

Ashraf Qazi, the UN special representative in Iraq, also deplored the raid.
"This again underlines the importance of all parties respecting the sanctity of holy sites and places of worship," he said in a statement.

Again, you aid and comfort the enemy (terrorists) then you become a target. In your OWN words... ALL parties should respect the sanctity of a holy site and place of worship. Your own terrorists do NOT respect the holy sites, why should we??

Murtha, take a hint

Maybe Congressman John Murtha needs to take a hint from former President Clinton.

Former President Bill Clinton surprised U.S. troops arriving from Iraq when his refueling stop at the Bangor International Airport coincided with the arrival of two flights carrying soldiers......“Thank you for your service,” Clinton said as he shook hands and hugged many of the soldiers. He autographed hats, cards and other items.
You can read the whole story here. Hoohah President Clinton!
(gee, I never thought I'd say that!)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Die Terrorist Die

You probably already know about this website...but it is new to me so I am passing on the link to you. We had an Anti-terrorism training today. Not much has changed on 20 years as most of the training is what I learned in the Navy in 1983- 1985. However the Master Sergeant made the training VERY interesting by showing 3 videos from this website. AWESOME!!

Here is what Grouchy says about his site:
GrouchyMedia.com is the place to find those pump-you-up-to-kill-the-bad-guys videos everyone has been talking about. This entire site is focused on providing a morale boost to our U.S. and allied troops around the world. The videos you'll find here are about them, for them, and couldn't have been made without them!
Hooah, Grouchy!!
My apologies in advance to those of you with more tender sensitivities and haters of rap/goth/heavy metal music. For those of you who enjoy a HIGH ENERGY video with lots of military action set to some really butt kicking music... enjoy!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Cousins'

My husband comes from a large family. His grandfather was one of 12 children and his grandmother was one of 11. SO we have a HUGE number of cousins. It really is incredible. We are literally related by blood or marriage to half the county. I joke with my husband it is a good thing he married an "outsider" as the gene pool was getting pretty shallow! He, unfortunately, doesn't find that humorous.

Every year cousin Doris has a Christmas party called The Cousins'. I am not sure if it is a
"country" tradition all over the Nation but it is really popular around here. It is a party and all the kin folk are invited. In our family that makes for a rather large party. It is a "covered dish" affair (pot luck for you yankees) and we all show up with different dishes. I usually bring Sweet Potato Souffle, or Sweet Potato Pie. I have killer recipes and if you are interested simply email me at lkfields at bellsouth dot net. My MIL brings dressing and gravy. YUMMY! And then there is ham, deviled eggs, and all sorts of desserts.

After we eat we play a gift giving game. Each person brings a Christmas gift of no more than $10 value. Each person draws a number and according to number we take turns choosing a gift and opening it. The trick is if you see a gift you like, you can steal it from someone in lieu of choosing a wrapped gift. So having the last number is of great benefit!

This year the Cousins' took place during a drill weekend. I LOVE this party so I came straight from drill to attend. I wasn't able to make my desserts but... oh well, maybe next year. My MIL had brought the children and I met them there. Payson (my husband) was at a Chiropractic conference that day so he met us there as well. I was SO tired. I had gotten up at 5am that morning and then had the APFT test plus drilling all day.

I hesitated showing up in my uniform. Cousin Doris' son died in the Veitnam Conflict. He was in the Army and I didn't want to upset her. She was not upset and was very proud. She even thanked me for coming and told me I looked nice in uniform. There was a sadness to her eyes, but she was greatful I made the time to come to the party. She is a very sweet person. I am glad I made the time too.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

What Price fitness?

I have another chance at passing the APFT this weekend. IF the weather holds up. It is an absolutely GORGEOUS Georgia day outside. 70 degrees on January 4th! However, typical of Georgia winters, we are due to get a really ugly storm come Friday. Freezing temps, possible snow/ice. So they may cancel the PT. oh well.

I have been working out, running on an eliptical, doing push-ups, and sit-ups to no end. An eliptical is this exercise device based on ancient torture rituals. It is kind of like a treadmill, except that you can vary the resistance of the pedals for a more intense (torturous) workout. I run on one of these for about 30 minutes with the resistance varying from level 1 (sloshing through mud feeling) to level 2 (mashing grapes feeling) and a final level 3 (sloshing through mud, mashing grapes while a devil hangs onto your ankles feeling).

I have been doing push ups all day in sets of 10. I still can't top 15 at one time, but I will really push it Saturday.

Now let me explain about the sit-ups. When I was preparing for the PT prior to my first drill; I based doing PT on past Naval experience. We did "sit-ups" but they really were crunches. We crossed our arms across our chest, lowered our body till our low back touched the mat and then up to touch our knees with our elbows. Not the Army. The Army has you lower your back until your shoulder blades touch the mat and then raise your body up until your shoulders cross an invisable line over your hips ALL while having your hands behind your head. Not much of a difference? HA! When I explained to my personal trainer that I was shocked to find I could do 50 Navy crunches but only 16 Army sit-ups he smiled and nodded his head. He said his favorite trick to play on some of the body builders who do sit-ups while holding a 40 pound medicine ball on their chest was to trade the ball out for a 10 pound weight they had to hold behind their head. "They can't do it. It throws your weight off holding your hands behind your head and you have to work MUCH harder to do the sit-ups." Indeed.

I had considered making one of these Janda sit-up torture devices. But never got around to it.

So I can NOW do 50 Army sit-ups. And I will pass the APFT test. However I want to know when this belly paunch is going to go away??? Maybe one day >>

Tribute to a Fallen Marine

Very touching tribute to a Marine turned National Guard Soldier.
He gave all.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


This is an incredible story. However once I began to read the amazing story of a journalist turned MARINE it began to make sense. He covers China as a journalist for 7 years. He lives and breathes what it is like to live in a country where the people have no rights. He comes back to the States to freedom but he also discovers apathy. He says:
"I would come home, and you didn't feel coming home to the United States from abroad that we were a country at war," he said. "I was surprised by that … and that disturbed me. It gave me a sense that we were being a little bit too complacent."
Indeed. The story goes on to chronicle his journey to qualify for a commission in the Marine Corps. He states his reason for feeling compelled to join up. In fact he verbalizes precisely my feelings:
"I wanted to actually be participating in an incredibly important period in our history," he said, "as opposed to just observing and reporting events. … I didn't want to watch the movie and not have a part in it."
However this really caps it off :
An officer at the ceremony congratulated Pottinger by quipping, "It's an honor, you know, to get somebody from the dark side to come over to our side."
HOOAH! or should I say OORAH! Hat tip to "Confessions of a Military Recruiter" for the story. And just in case YOU might might decide to follow his lead... you can go here to find out about joining the MARINES!

Survivor Benefits

The Defense Authorization bill includes a measure that requires the Department of Defense to establish a comprehensive policy on casualty assistance to survivors when a member of the Armed Forces dies while in military service. The bill requires the DoD to establish an integrated website to inform servicemembers and their survivors of the benefits they are entitled to. Earlier this year the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs launched a similar website, located here. Might be wise to point this out to your dependants.

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Liberty Limited

The following article appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News on December 22, 2005. I verified it here on the Asso. of American Railroads website.

Here's a Yule Story That Ought to be a Movie
By Ronnie Polaneczky

AND NOW, in time for the holidays, I bring you the best Christmas story you never heard.

It started last Christmas, when Bennett and Vivian Levin were overwhelmed by sadness while listening to radio reports of injured American troops.

"We have to let them know we care," Vivian told Bennett.

So they organized a trip to bring soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital to the annual Army-Navy football game in Philly, on Dec. 3.

The cool part is, they created their own train line to do it.

Yes, there are people in this country who actually own real trains. Bennett Levin - native Philly guy, self-made millionaire and irascible former L&I commish - is one of them.

He has three luxury rail cars. Think mahogany paneling, plush seating and white-linen dining areas. He also has two locomotives, which he stores at his Juniata
Park train yard.

One car, the elegant Pennsylvania, carried John F. Kennedy to the Army-Navy game in 1961 and '62. Later, it carried his brother Bobby's body to D.C. for burial.

"That's a lot of history for one car," says Bennett.

He and Vivian wanted to revive a tradition that endured from 1936 to 1975, during which trains carried Army-Navy spectators from around the country directly to the stadium where the annual game is played.

The Levins could think of no better passengers to reinstate the ceremonial ride than the wounded men and women recovering at Walter Reed in D.C. and Bethesda, in Maryland.

"We wanted to give them a first-class experience," says Bennett. "Gourmet meals on board, private transportation from the train to the stadium, perfect seats - real hero treatment."

Through the Army War College Foundation, of which he is a trustee, Bennett met with Walter Reed's commanding general, who loved the idea.

But Bennett had some ground rules first, all designed to keep the focus on the troops alone:

No press on the trip, lest the soldiers' day of pampering devolve into a media circus.
No politicians either, because, says Bennett, "I didn't want some idiot making this trip into a campaign photo op."
And no Pentagon suits on-board, otherwise the soldiers would be too busy saluting superiors to relax.

The general agreed to the conditions, and Bennett realized he had a problem on his hands. "I had to actually make this thing happen," he laughs.

Over the next months, he recruited owners of 15 other sumptuous rail cars from around the country - these people tend to know each other - into lending their vehicles for the day. The name of their temporary train?

The Liberty Limited.

Amtrak volunteered to transport the cars to D.C. - where they'd be coupled together for the round-trip ride to Philly - then back to their owners later.

Conrail offered to service the Liberty while it was in Philly. And SEPTA drivers would bus the disabled soldiers 200 yards from the train to Lincoln Financial Field, for the game.

A benefactor from the War College ponied up 100 seats to the game - on the 50-yard line - and lunch in a hospitality suite. And corporate donors filled, for free and without asking for publicity, goodie bags for attendees:
From Woolrich, stadium blankets. From Wal-Mart, digital cameras. From Nikon, field glasses. From GEAR, down jackets.
There was booty not just for the soldiers, but for their guests, too, since each was allowed to bring a friend or family member.

The Marines, though, declined the offer. "They voted not to take guests with them, so they could take more Marines," says Levin, choking up at the memory.

Bennett's an emotional guy, so he was worried about how he'd react to meeting the 88 troops and guests at D.C.'s Union Station, where the trip originated. Some GIs were missing limbs. Others were wheelchair-bound or accompanied by medical personnel for the day.

"They made it easy to be with them," he says. "They were all smiles on the ride to Philly. Not an ounce of self-pity from any of them. They're so full of life and determination."

At the stadium, the troops reveled in the game, recalls Bennett. Not even Army's lopsided loss to Navy could deflate the group's rollicking mood.

Afterward, it was back to the train and yet another gourmet meal - heroes get hungry, says Levin - before returning to Walter Reed and Bethesda.

"The day was spectacular," says Levin. "It was all about these kids. It was awesome to be part of it."

The most poignant moment for the Levins was when 11 Marines hugged them goodbye, then sang them the Marine Hymn on the platform at Union Station.

"One of the guys was blind, but he said, 'I can't see you, but man, you must be f---ing beautiful!' " says Bennett. "I got a lump so big in my throat, I couldn't even answer him."

It's been three weeks, but the Levins and their guests are still feeling the day's love.

"My Christmas came early," says Levin, who is Jewish and who loves the Christmas season. "I can't describe the feeling in the air."

Maybe it was hope.

As one guest wrote in a thank-you note to Bennett and Vivian, "The fond memories generated last Saturday will sustain us all - whatever the future may bring."

God bless the Levins.
And bless the troops, every one.

Indeed. A big ole honkin' HOOAH to the Levins and everyone else who brought this about!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

OK, here are my New Years Resolutions. I never used to make resolutions, but I have found I am better off at least making a list. I tend to try and accomplish it and even if I fall short at least I did SOMETHING!

So, like most of the United States most of my resolutions have to do with fitness. I perused some of my favorite fitness sites and found this book as a recommendation. WOW. This guy is FORTY TWO??
Holy ripped abs, Batman! This guy is ...well... BUFF. I spent some time looking over his book, reading reveiws etc and I must say I am impressed. So I decided to set my goals a little higher than I would have normally.

Here are my goals and how close I am now:

1) 50 push-ups in 2 minutes (can do 15)
2) 100 sit-ups in 2 minutes (can do 40)
3) 2 mile run in 18 minutes (22 minutes now)
I have lost some weight and gained a lot of muscle. But my endurance sucks. I can do 200 push-ups all day but not more than 15 or 20 in one set. I know that will change but my goal is to get over a 100% on the APFT. SO I need to acomplish the above. My deadline is April 1st, 2006. I WILL DO IT.

The next goal will be 400 push-ups a day doing 50 reps per set. 500 sit-ups doing 100 reps per set. and running 2 miles 3 times a week, period. I want this by June. I TRULY think this is doable/achievable and that I CAN AND WILL do it!

Other non-fitness goals include:

1. Qualify on a weapon.
2. Attend WLC (PLDC)
3. MOS qualify.
4. Make E-6
5. Soldier of the Quarter
6. Attend BNOC

So what are your goals??