Monday, June 24, 2013

Back from Summer Camp--Best Pictures

For those of you, like my lovely wife, who are not on Facebook, here are some of the best pictures from Summer Camp 2013:

More soon!!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Latrine Queen--So Out of Date Sarge

In 1972 when I first enlisted in the Air Force, on my father's advice I volunteered for latrine duty. Back then, the guy with that job was called the Latrine Queen.

Yesterday was my day for barracks cleaning duty along with one of the medics.  I cleaned the latrine, he swept the barracks and took out the trash.  I told one of my 20-year-old roommates that I was Latrine Queen for a day.  He said Latrine Queen was so out of date.  No one says that anymore.

The job is the same.  And he did not seem to know what replaced the royal title, but he knew that the old title was as gone as the Army Jeep.

My informant must be current on language.  He occasionally drives his squad leader nuts by answering in the affirmative with a sound he said is "Yerrrrp."  The foster son who lived with us last summer made a similar sound when he wanted to say yes and piss his mother off at the same moment.  When he left, our other two boys fell under the strictest instructions never to make that sound/answer again.

Life does have a way of circling back.

My New Home

Here is a quick look at Home, Sweet, Home for the next week.  My bunk is on the right out of the frame.  There are two open bays, one for our company, one for Fox company.  In the middle are the latrines.  There are four showers, with doors!!!  It's very odd to have any kind of built-in privacy in a barracks.  This morning after breakfast all four stalls in the latrine were taken.  That led to jokes about warm seats and people wishing aloud they had a gas mask.

Because the officers and senior enlisted are in another barracks, we have lots of room.  Everyone has a lower bunk, for example.  

The food is pretty good too.  We have a real dining facility to eat in and for the cooks to use, not a field kitchen.  Over the weekend we have a 48-hour training exercise, so we will get very tired, then drive home.

Later today will be a Humvee driving obstacle course.  That should be serious fun!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Chinook Pilot Qualifies for All Guard Marathon Team

CW2 Amanda Nesbitt and her son Dathan
Photo by Beth Cardwell Photography

CW2 Amanda Nesbitt

The Chinook is the fastest helicopter in service in the United States Army. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Amanda Nesbitt, a Chinook pilot with Bravo Company, 2-104th General Support Aviation Battalion, recently showed she is among the fastest soldiers on the ground also.

Nesbitt qualified for the All Guard Marathon Team at the Lincoln Nebraska Marathon held May 5, 2013.

“The top 15 women and the top 40 men qualified for the team,” said Nesbitt. “There was no qualifying time. The fastest runners made the team.”

Nesbitt ran the marathon in three hours and 43 minutes. She was 14th among the 15 women who qualified for the team.

“I just made it,” she said.

A feat she accomplished in with just six months of training that began less than a year after the birth of her son, Dathan.

Nesbitt is 29 years old and has been in the Army for 12 years. She enlisted in high school, first serving in a communications unit in Allentown. She earned a bachelor's degree from East Stroudsburg University in 2008. Nesbitt ran in college but did not run marathons.

After college came a succession of big events. She went to flight school in 2009 and became a Chinook pilot in November 2010. Just over a year later in February of 2012, her son was born.

“I had a baby last year so I knew it was not going to be easy to make the team,” Nesbitt said. “Sometimes I ran alone at night with my pepper spray, 18 miles around and around our neighborhood, but I was determined to make it. And the team was rooting for me.”

Her husband, Drew, also an avid runner, supported Amanda’s marathon ambition.

“Drew made it possible for me to put in the time to train,” Nesbitt said. “He supported me the whole way.”

“I tried to make the (marathon) team five years ago, but Pennsylvania did not have the running base it does now,” Nesbitt said.

Her first marathon humbled her.

“At mile 18 I was hurting,” she said.

She finished with a 4-hour, 17-minute time and put away her marathon goals until late 2012.

She signed up for the event even before she knew if Pennsylvania could take her.

“I figured I would go by myself if I had to,” Nesbitt said.

The All Guard Team includes the Army and Air Guard and represents all 50 states plus Guam, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

Nesbitt said the top overall female qualifier was Senior Airman Emily Shertzer of Pennsylvania who ran the 26.2-mile distance in three hours and one minute.

“Emily has been to the Olympic Trials,” Nesbitt said.

Three of the 15 women and four of the 40 men who qualified for the All Guard Marathon Team are from Pennsylvania. With seven of the 55 runners from the Keystone State, Pennsylvania has the largest team of all the states.

“Pennsylvania was also the first place team at the qualifying race,” she said.

“I went into the race wanting a 3:40 (time),” she said. “I knew it would not be easy 'post baby.' I ran a 3:43 this time. I'm OK with that. Next year I want to run in the 3:20s.”

Now that she is on the team, Nesbitt will be able to choose races she will compete in during the coming year.

“The Army Ten-Miler and Boston are on the list,” she said.

Nesbitt last competed in the Army Ten-Miler in 2011 when she was six-months pregnant.

“I was not that fast, but my time was good enough to help the Pennsylvania team win the National Guard category,” she said. “It was cool to get the trophy from a general.”

The All Guard Marathon Team goes to marathons and half-marathons around the country and represents the National Guard Recruiting Command.

“I have heard we also march in parades and run relays,” she said. “And we go to the Expos before events.”

“We have red and white running uniforms and bright yellow warm-up outfits. No one is going to miss us,” Nesbitt said.

Bravo Company, 2-104th GSAB, is currently deployed to Afghanistan. Nesbitt is a reserve pilot serving on rear detachment. She could be activated and join her unit at any time, and she is ready for that marathon, if she is called.

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Eight-Hour Drive Then Eight Days of Luxury!

Today is the 2nd official day of Army Summer Camp.  Yesterday we packed for the drive from Central Pa. to Fort A.P. Hill just north of Richmond, Va.  At Army Convoy speeds, the 250-mile trip was just over seven hours.  I was in the back seat of a Humvee, very much feeling my advanced age in my screaming knees.  I was stretching every way I could on the way down--much to the amusement of the three lieutenants who were the rest of the Humvee crew.

We made it despite my knees and were quickly unloaded into our barracks.

Yes barracks.  For the eight days we are at A.P. Hill we will be in open bay barracks, not tents.  That's luxury already, but these are cinderblock barracks, not wooden ones as old as I am.  Even better they have AIR CONDITIONING!!

I don't have air conditioning at home!!  My frugal wife opens and closes doors and windows and manages our whole-house fan so we don't incinerate.  But I still like AC.  Ahhhhh!  Army luxury.

But wait, there's more.  I stuffed my bike in the Humvee, so I will be able to ride when we are not training.  We are doing PT (physical training) every morning at 0600.  So ZI should be able to ride after we are done.  I rode tonight and got caught in a thunderstorm.  I got back just as the lightning started, so no damage.

Military Pilots Really Have "The Right Stuff"

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