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Showing posts from March, 2012

Survey of Veterans

Interesting survey of veterans reported by Jim Dao on the NY times "At War" blog.  Veterans care most about jobs and want to work for the government.  And he reports real joblessness among veterans is double the national average.

First Time I Missed a Drill Weekend

I am sick.  Right now I am getting better, but Friday morning I got a flu that came in stages.  Friday I was throwing up.  Saturday morning I felt OK.  I really felt good mid-day and went to drill.  Saturday evening I was bad again--at the other end.  All night I made a dozen trips to the bathroom and spent most of Sunday in bed.

This morning I ate a little and feel better.  At this point I have lost ten pounds in four days.  Like my other diets, I do not recommend it.

Ran NYC Half Marathon--Right Through Times Square

Twice a year Times Square gets closed to traffic:  on New Year's Eve for the ball drop and party and  on the Sunday nearest St. Patricks Day for the NYC Half Marathon.

I ran the race this year with 25,000 of my closest friends.  More entered but there was a lottery to get in.  The BEST part of the whole event was running out of Central Park straight down 7th Avenue through Times Square--it is really cool to run down the middle of 7th Ave. but not a good idea most of the time.

Here's what the Ave looks like with nothing but runners.  I am in the middle acting like I won, but there are 12000 people ahead of me and six miles to go!

Newsletter or Facebook Page

Last summer I started a Facebook page for my unit.  But last drill, a couple of people asked about when I was going to do another newsletter.  I wrote weekly newsletters in Iraq, monthly after we got back to America, and stopped once we had a Facebook page.

But new media does not quite replace old media--at least not for everybody.  That newsletter was a lot of work.  The Facebook page is easier because it can be done in little pieces.  Doing both is more than I could ever have time for.

Let me know if you think one is better than the other--assuming I could choose between the two.

And, of course, if you are on Facebook, please "Like" our page!

Liberal Advice from a Conservative

Yesterday I went to a lunch for consultants and industry executives in New York City.  One of the men at the lunch knows I am a soldier and was giving me advice--on how to get all the money I can from the government.
He is a very Conservative guy.  He does not like President Obama particularly for the way he spends tax money.  Having made his Conservative credentials clear, he then said he was really pissed at Obama   because "Obama makes us pay a $200 co-pay for [Army medical coverage]."  This man is a retired colonel, owns a successful business and is eligible for Medicare.  He has private medical insurance plus Tri-Care (Army) and Medicare.
Then he asked how much of a disability payment I was receiving.  
I said "None."
He was shocked.  "You should be getting disability payments.  You deserve it."  
I explained there is nothing wrong with me.  
He said, "It might take two or three physicals, but you should at least get 20 to 40 percent."  

Baby Killers

In December of 1973, I came home on leave shortly after being injured in a missile explosion in Utah.  I landed at Logan Airport wearing my Air Force uniform and bandages on my right hand and right eye.  I heard "Baby Killer" as I walked through the terminal.  The Mei Lai Massacre was how many people looked at soldiers at the end of Viet Nam War.

I went to dinner last night with a friend who is not military, but very pro military.  He brought up the Army sergeant who killed 16 Afghans.  He said it was a shame.  I said I was amazed it took ten years for it to happen--especially with Americans getting killed by the Afghans they are training.

Our soldiers, like our politicians are us.  Soldiers are not beamed in from a good planet and politicians from a bad one--which is how many people talk.  We have leaders whom we elect.  We have soldiers who go to our schools and live in our neighborhoods.  Politicians, soldiers, police, teachers and all of the rest of us who take respons…

200 Moms and Babies and Five Soldiers

In 1977, I flew home on leave from Germany on a long-body Douglas DC-8.  These planes were passing out commercial use, replaced by wide-body aircraft, but charter companies still flew these long, narrow planes with more than 40 rows of seats--no first class.

In the 70s when one million Americans lived in Germany (250,000 soldiers and airmen) the passengers on the cheap charters were Army wives and their kids.  In the 70s when our unit got a replacement soldier, I would assume he was 19, from the South and his 17-year-old wife was pregnant with their second child.  He needed a job with benefits.

I was on an eight-hour flight with maybe 230 wives and kids and five soldiers.  From boarding to landing this long, narrow plane echoed with 100+ kids taking crying--sometimes all at once, sometimes in a crescendo that moved from the back to the front of the plane, getting louder then growing softer as the kids got tired.

I was a pack-a-day smoker then.  Probably half the adults on the plane…

Wearing Uniform--First Class Idea

Today I am flying to Orlando, Florida, for three days for a scientific instruments conference.  Since I now know that in 400 days I will be a civilian again I decided to wear my uniform whenever I could.  Flying is always a good place to have a uniform.  Today I took the AirTran direct flight to Orlando from Harrisburg.  At check-in my bag was free.  The security line is so short at Harrisburg it was only quick to get through security anyway.  I had an aisle seat near the middle of the plane and AirTran boards by rows, so I waited until everyone was almost through the cold Jetway before I boarded.

As I got on the plane, the flight attendant put me in the last seat in First Class.  It's not too big of a deal, but I am writing this post with enough leg room to stretch my legs.  My wife and I ran six miles this morning so it's nice to stretch.

I fly back on Tuesday and go straight to NYC for a black tie dinner at the Waldorf.  I am wearing the Class A Dress uniform with the bow …

Marines New Ad Campaign--TRUTH from a Recruiter!!!

The phrase "My recruiter lied to me!" must go back at least to Sparta. Leonidas probably said, "We'll be home from Thermopolay next month."

But not the US Marines!!  Their new add campaign says the world is messed up and we'll be there!

THAT is truth in advertising.

Heres the story from Jim Dao at the NY Times:

Ad Campaign for Marines Cites Chaos as a Job Perk Saturday, March 10, 2012 By JAMES DAO, The New York Times The war in Iraq is over, the troop reduction in Afghanistan is under way and America's next war front is far from clear. If you are a military recruiter, how do market your product?
The Marine Corps thinks it has the answer: focus on something the world has in endless supply -- chaos.
On Saturday, the Marine Corps will open its latest marketing campaign, "Toward the Sound of Chaos," which will use social media, television commercials and print ads to underscore two points: That while no one knows where the next global hot spot will be,…

Aviation Ball

On Saturday night, I went to the annual Aviation Ball held at the Hershey Lodge.  It was a beautiful event.  My wife could not go (She would have missed Prairie Home Companion) and she made the right choice.  No one danced and the awards and speeches went on for an hour.  But if you don't like ceremonies, the Army is a bad place to be!!!

Besides the chicken dinner, the real reason I went to a dinner as maybe the only E5 there by choice was to talk to the CSMs in attendance about the status of my request for an extension of my enlistment and to hear what they thought of my chances for getting it.  
Unfortunately for me, it seems betting m=on my extension is like betting on Ron Paul for president--some people are strongly in favor, but the result does not look like Rep. Paul will be moving to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
But I remain hopeful.  The best admins in the brigade put the packet together and sent it to division.  And a warrant officer who knew about the packet thought it was …

Hitching a Ride with the Georgia National Guard

In 1973, I hitched a ride on a C-130 Hercules transport from Denver to Atlanta.  This prop plane cruises at 240mph.  The Georgia Air National Guard flight was scheduled for almost eight hours.  There were 60 high school ROTC cadets aboard in addition to cargo.  The crew gave me a headset so I could help with the high school kids—some of whom got sick, scared or both.  
It was a long, dull ride until about 70 miles outside Atlanta when the plane started to pivot right and then left, like it was rotating on a stick in the middle of the fuselage.  On the intercom I heard the pilots feather one right-wing prop then the next.  The fuel pumps for the right wing died and the plane was swerving like a crab in the sky.
I took the party line and told the kids there was turbulence.  As we descended the co-pilot said we would be going straight in because the remaining engines were overheating.  The pilot then said in a very calm voice.   “I landed one of these bitches in the Nam with just one en…