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Showing posts from October, 2016

Feeling More Jewish as the World Moves to the Right

In mid-August, while I was returning from a family vacation in Santa Fe and enjoying life, the world got darker.  A candidate for President of the United States appointed the leading promoter of White Supremacists to head his campaign.  Donald Trump appointed Steve Bannon, head of Breitbart News, as CEO of his campaign.  If Trump wins, the Ku Klux Klan will have an office in the White House.
When conservatives get power, they try to limit gay rights, minority voting rights, and abortion rights.But Bannon in the West Wing will mean women’s rights and even civil rights are in peril.Every genocide begins with the group in power taking human rights away from minorities.Next the party in power takes away minority citizenship, next those in the minority become refugees or die. It is a large and terrible sign that Trump began his campaign by saying illegal immigrants are not people like us.Trump’s use of “They” and “Them” is straight out of every dictator’s playbook. And Trump loves Vladimir …

Injections in Both Arms--So Army!

This week I went to my family doctor to get two injections.  One was a tetanus booster so the woman giving me the shot asked me to stand up and let my arm hang loose.  Usually at civilian doctors, I get shots or blood drawn sitting down.  Standing with my arm loose is just what they told me to do in basic training in 1972 when they used the air injectors like the one in the picture above.

As the line moved slowly between the medics with the injector guns, the drill sergeant told us to be sure and stand still because if we flinched the air gun would rip our arm open.  I never saw that happen, but we all believed it.  The real story of terror was the Square Needle in The Left Nut on the 10th Training Day.  That was scary.  I wrote about that shortly after re-enlisting.

Forty-four years later, the needles are thinner, the technicians are older and I had no ill effects in either arm, just the memory of waiting for the air gun.

Surprising Follow Up with a MEDEVAC Pilot

I do not have a photo of MEDEVAC Pilot Suzy Danielson But this poster covers her attitude towards life
Yesterday I posted a story on the DUSTOFF Facebook page I wrote about a MEDEVAC pilot I served with in Iraq.  The story is here.  She was a pilot in the Gulf War in 1991, left the Army in 1993 and forgot she was still a reserve officer.  In 2009, the Army reminded her with a FEDEX package telling her to report for duty.  She was 44 when she returned to active service and deployed to Iraq.  
After I posted the story, I sent Suzy an email, not knowing if she was still using that address.  At midnight, I got an email back from Suzy.  She is in Afghanistan!  Apparently she liked returning to the Blackhawk helicopter cockpit.  I asked her to follow up with me when she returns.

Cold War Draft Army: Best Army I Served In

Since my first enlistment in 1972, I served in three different armies.  I first enlisted during the draft near the end of the Vietnam War and the height of the Cold War. When I re-enlisted in 1975, I was in the new Volunteer Army, VOLAR was the acronym at the time.  After eleven years of active duty and reserve service ending in 1984, I re-enlisted in 2007 in the Post 9-11 Army National Guard.

When I climbed into my bunk in basic training in 1972, the other 39 soldiers sharing my room were men between 18 and 20 years old.  None of us were married.  We were from nearly 30 states, from both coasts, mostly from the American South and West, but "Jersey"and I were actually from the Northeast--very rare in the active military.

No one planned to make a career of the military.  We were all going to "do our time" and get out.  Half of us were planning to use the Vietnam War GI Bill to pay for college, although the reality then and now is fewer than one in ten actually wo…