Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Flight 93

I'm not normally an A&E type guy, but I happened across an advertisment last night for a movie about the people/events around United Flight 93, the one that crashed after the passengers took over from the hijackers on 9/11.

I was a little hesitant. If I was a screenwriter I don't think I would touch the subject.

It was preceded by a documentary about the events of the day, and then the movie started...

Absolutely amazing.

I'd like to know (and hopefully the answer would be "none") how much they embellished or had to make up due to a lack of facts. I think it should be a mandatory requirement for Americans (in particular Cindy "Psycho" Sheehan) to watch some form of documentary about that day as a reminder once a year. Watch the people diving from the top floors of the WTC through the smoke. Watch movies like this one and listen to the conversations these people had with their husbands, wives, mothers and fathers when they figured out that they were probably all going to die. I think we'd have a few less protests going on.

When I first saw "Schindler's List" many years ago, I had a feeling similar to what I had last night. During a brutal scene in the middle of the movie about the Nazi's clearing out a ghetto, they show the soldier's shooting scared wives in their husband's arms point blank in the forehead because they weren't moving fast enough. I remember, at my younger and about-to-join-the-military age, thinking to myself how satisfied I felt that we had completely crushed the regime and people that were responsible for those acts. I felt the same way last night as I watched those freaks take over that plane.

As a pilot, that's one of the things you fear most--losing control of the plane you're in charge of. Losing control of the ability to keep safe those you're being paid to do protect. I'll write more on that later.

Slacker Parents

Trouble posted a great one today about what it's like being a parent these days. I really feel, sometimes, like other parents have it as their mission in life to make parents like me and the wife feel as if we're not doing enough. Part of me gets pissed, but part of me wonders why it is that other families get to lead normal, fun-loving, watch-adult-TV-go-on-date-night lives but we can't manage to because we're going 16 hours a day and still not done by the time we crash at night.

Check it out: self-portrait of a slacker mom

Monday, January 30, 2006


I saw this when I was in Qatar and almost burst my aorta I was laughing so hard. Not everyone seemed to get it, though...I think you have to have had a thing for Chuck at some point in your life. Or at least are perceptive enough to catch his "aura."

Getting There posted it on his website here.


A very good friend of mine sent this to me the other day. I think I've seen it before, but it's worth reading again....

Deep Thoughts, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97:

Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now...

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not
understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me,
in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you
can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really
looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside youat 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on.

Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern
California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Monster Playset

Item #3 on my list of things to do when I get back--build a monster playset--done.

It took about $300 more and 4 days longer than I had thought it would (or planned for) but when we were done "monster" was a bit of an understatement. If the Mexicans ever invade us this is where the family's going to hole up. I should have known it was going to be a bit more than I thought when I suggested to my Dad that we build one. Within hours we were tearing down the disaster that came with our house and buying lumber for the new one. The beauty is that my Dad made it up pretty much in his head, with requests from my kids pellting him like a hailstorm the entire time. In the end, Sarah got her bridge, Sammy got his rock wall, and they absolutely love the end result. Kinda shot my Dad's vacation in the foot, but we had a good time anyway.

My hiatus is over. Writing just wasn't on the agenda during my vacation, and even less so when my parents were in town. It may be a case of "too little, too late" as my counters have plummeted from upwards around a hundred hits a day to barely fifteen now. It's funny--as soon as I wrote my last post from the desert people stopped reading. Breaking into the milblog arena seems easy compared to any hopes that I have of breaking into "regular" blogs. I'm not sure if anyone's interested in reading about an officer who has the unbelieveably most boring job on the planet when he's at home. Hopefully that'll change soon.

Proved this morning that even when it's 30 degrees outside and I can't feel my fingers from the cold that Harley ride in the morning is the best 30 minutes of the day. I was bundled up like an eskimo going out--my gloves are just a little on the thin side.

Did a lot of thinking while I was taking a break about what I plan on doing here. The first thing is I definitely need a new look. At least a banner. I just don't know anywhere I can get one made...if anyone has a suggestion I'm all ears.

Next thing I was thinking of doing is that I have a million stories in my head that I would love to get down. I've seen some blogs that have their posts organized into categories--I'll have to figure that one out. With not a lot to do over there we told quite a few stories of our experiences, so on the dry days like I've had recently I'm going to start getting some of those down before I lose them. Oh I'll still be political and bitchy on here too--even moreso since I'm back at work in uniform--but it should be nice to break it up. I have a feeling the one-two punch of Iran-Hamas is going to provide a plethora of material.

So anyway--to the very few who have continued reading--it's good to be back. Sorry for the break.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Happy Birthday Dad. He turned a whopping 55 today. To celebrate my parents are zipping down here to spend a week or so in the sunny Arizona desert. My Dad and I will golf a bit, maybe get to work on the monster playset the kids are going ga-ga over. All in all, it's a decent way to spend my last few days off before heading back into the workplace...

Happy birthday to Trouble, who turns a meager 40 today. Her website has a list of things she has learned over the last 40 years, and it's awesome. Check it out.

The kids are bouncing off the walls because GRammy and GRampy are coming to town...its been a while due to a minor hiatus taken during my deployment. Should be a good week.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Well, I have officially made it a week of being back from the desert. Most of my freinds from over there are probably home or on their way at this point too. A thought crossed my mind quite a bit during this week, whenever someone realized that I had just gotten back from Qatar.

"America Supports You."

I know this one is going to ruffle some feathers...

While I was there I recieved so much support from friends and family, and from a multitude of complete strangers via this blog that I was practically overwhelmed. Overhwelmed enough that I felt that I needed to return the favor to other milbloggers once I got home (I am). So, I was expecting (not demanding, wanting, or feeling it was required) the same amount fo support once I got on that plane and headed east.


Nada. Zilch. Zero.

The pilot of the plane that took us home said "Welcome to the United States" when we landed (to much appluase). The hotel staff in Norfolk, although not entirely rude, never said a word--even though they knew what the 140 of us with desert uniforms were there for. The taxi driver (little punk blasting rap music the whole way to the airport--more fodder to feed my "what's coming in the next generation" fire) specifically asked if I was with that group, and again said nothing. The airline folks had to have my situation explained to them 50 times while I tried to get on a standby flight to get home before midnight. Nothing. And since I've been home, unless they are directly related or are good friends of mine, I haven't heard a word. Even the commercials on TV (the ones that they show on AFN overseas 50 times a day) have stopped.

I'm not, in the least bit, complaining. I'm just surprised. I'm rapidly figuring out that all of those polls about "Do You Support the War?" should have a fourth answer in addition to "Yes," "No," and "Undecided." There should be an option to say "I really don't care either way." Because that's what, in the week I've been back, I've been seeing. There's not much of a defeatist regime here, but there's not much of a Victory regime either. There's a vast country of people that are so wrapped up in their daily lives that they seem to have forgotten completely that men and women are dying over there. Thank God in Heaven that's not the feeling that we get overseas. I expected to come back to a country split down the middle over this, and what I found was a whole lot of apathy. Or lack of understanding.

The people who come on here and read this stuff are awesome. Even the ones that don't support what's going on--because at least they have the juevos to stand for something and voice their opinion of it (flawed as it may be). It's the ones that don't, that sit there with their iPod's blaring as they walk down the street oblivious, that scare me the most.


When I was thirteen I had long hair and was overweight, and had little, if any, direction.

Then I saw "Top Gun."

Actually, it was "Iron Eagle" that started it, but Doug Masters was so hokey that I usually don't claim that and blame it on Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer...

I had always been interested in flying, but the military never crossed my mind. After seeing those movies, I joined the Massachusetts
Civil Air Patrol and never looked back. By the time I got to college, I wanted to go to the Air Force Academy and couldn't due to my grades, so I enrolled in The Citadel. Good call on my part. I think I would have been back home by the end of first semester had I been left to my own devices.

When I arrived at pilot training in the summer of 1994, I was an arrogant, self-involved idiot. Graduating from pilot training just re-emphasized that. I walked around anywhere like I owned the place, much like most young pilots do, even though I had very little to back it up. The instructors at the time also reinforced that, saying that it was a mandatory personality trait to be an aviator--to be a pompous, arrogant, ass.

What a crock.

I went to the commissary yesterday. It has been 13 months since I flew an aircraft, and I have just returned from the desert and watching what happens to popous, arrogant, asses. There were a few of them there, 2Lt's and 1Lt's, cruising through the building like it was built specifically for them. Part of me was actually angry, as they cut in line in front of my wife and kid--but mostly I just wanted to laugh.

After 3000 hours, I could literally fly circles around these punks and they wouldn't even know it. I guess it's a level of maturity that I have picked up at some point along the way. The Air Force community outside of flyers has a slight distaste for pilots that I never really understood. Its becoming much clearer now that I look at them from an outside perspective. I'm just glad I never taught my students to be like that, and I hope that none of them ever ended up that way.

Man, I'm getting old.


Keeping with my promises, we dumped bags and bags of stuff off at Goodwill today. Most of it has been easy sacrifice--stuff that I'm not sure I really wanted anyway. I think the hardest part has been getting rid of some of the kid's clothes that have worn out, and toys that have sat idle for way too long. The monkies haven't ever been real attached to any toys we've gotten them--Sarah had a security pacifier when she was a toddler that she lost and we didn't replace, but that's about it.

I've got some thoughts building up for a good post...haven't been too political lately except for the fact that the raving lunatics politicians are surprisingly quiet about the whole Iran thing. Man would that be out of control. Not only is that guy a psycho like Saddam, but he advertises it loud and clear every time he steps up to a mike.

More on this later...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Next step in my post-deployment re-creation--getting out more.

Yesterday we packed up and went to Tombstone--you know, the place where they had the shootout at the OK Corral (which, incidentally, they only show at 1400 each day--important detail). It would have been great had it not been 43 degrees all day. If you ever get the opportunity it's a great time. It appears they haven't changed anything since the 1800's or so.

What cracks me up, as always, is the imagination of kids. Put a cowboy hat on four-year-old and he is suddenly Wyatt Earp himself walking the streets looking for bad guys. I'm not sure if Marshall Earp had his pregnant mother walking behind him while he cruised the streets of Tombstone. Sammy apparently didn't mind. The only thing missing from his sidekick was the little fan being constantly waved with utterances of "my, my, what an uncivilized town" from his sister.

We I bought ourselves another trip since I was too lazy to check and see if they show the shootout at specific times, thus causing the Marshall to miss it. Should be worth the trip.

Another character flaw (I have many) is that I can't keep myself from drooling over toys. The latest toy was a second (Emily fiercely protects the first) camera so that I can regularly post on here. The only reason we bought her the original camera in the first place was because we had lost her very expensive Canon last summer. Of course the day after I buy the new camera, we find her old one. By this point I had fallen in love with my new toy, so now we have three. I wonder why I carry a credit card debt.

We told Sammy to look mean in this last picture. Man he cracks me up sometimes.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Some people come into our lives and quickly go.
Some people move our souls to dance.
They awaken us to understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom.
Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon.
They stay in our lives for awhile,
leave footprints on our hearts,
and we are never, ever the same.
- Author Unknown -

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Well, that was bound to happen. I think the reason I didn't have any problems with my blog was that since I couldn't access it much, I couldn't tinker around enough to screw it up.

Well, I screwed it up.

I'll fix it as soon as I can--sorry for the trouble (not you, Trouble :) ).

When Life Slows Down

You know, its amazing how little there is to write about once your normally exciting life comes to a screeching halt.

I have been desperately trying to move forward on my list of things to do and it's a lot more overhwhelming than I thought. Even more overhwelming is that blinking cursor I've looked at every day with nothing to type into this little box. Writer's block from hell. So, rather than have people think I've dropped off the face of the earth (much like the hits to my site--amazing how much interest drops off in the milblog arena once you're no longer actually in the war), I figured I'd at least check in.

The initial excitement has worn off and we've kind of dropped back into life as if I never left. Sammy still is constantly by my side, mcgdo's gone back to being a pain in the butt, and the list of required things to do is becoming longer and longer. Top that off with the fact that my parents are inbound (next Friday, I think) and stress starts to mount as well. It's funny--I had a lot more control over my life and myself when I was locked into a desert prison.

I did go and buy a small camera--which I haven't opened yet--so that I can start posting pictures on here on a regular basis. I am also VERY interested in giving the blog a new look--if anyone has any suggestions as to how to go about doing that, it would be nice. I've heard that there are web developers out there that do this for a small fee...

Ok..I'll start paying attention a little more since things to post about aren't exactly going to drop into my lap.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Well the trip was as expected, except for one thing.

I managed to keep myself awake for the most part for the last two days I was there. Slept three hours in the afternoon for the last two days, and then stayed up all night. My goal was to sleep on the way home, and to reset my internal clock so as not to be jetlagged when I got home. That part worked. But when I was in line to get on the plane I thought I was going to die. And then they pushed the flight back.

In the afternoon the day before I left, I had to turn in my badge and key, thus keeping me out of both the CAOC and my room. So when it's 40 degrees outside, at four AM, I was absolutely miserable just walking around the compound alone to keep warm. Eventually though, we got on the plane, and I was out before engine start. I vaguely remember the passnegers cheering as we took off, but that's about it for the first four hours.

Eight hours later we landed in Shannon, Ireland. The one little bar in the terminal was apparently used to rotators coming through, because they managed to serve 200 people in about 15 minutes. Got to have my Guiness and Bass Ale in Ireland, pretty much the only thing I wanted to do there besides golf on St. Andrew's with my Dad which wasn't happening on this trip. We mounted back up and eight hours later were, finally, back on US soil.

Unfortunately I had to spend the night in Norfolk, VA at a hotel. In addition to that the wonderful AEF Center that coordinates our travel had me flying out at 1730, which got me into Tucson at 2330. Not good if you have kids that want to see Daddy get off the plane. With a lot of phone calls and rolling of the dice I managed to go standby to get on earlier flights, and pull into home port at around 1915.

Emily (first time I've seen her prego in 5 years) and the kids were at the bottom of the ramp, with the kids holding a giant "Welcome Home Daddy" poster. When they saw me they dropped the poster and just ran up the ramp. MFEMF and I were crying, and Sammy was just laughing away. It was the happiest moment I've had in a year. Surprising, the unexpected part, was who else was there.

My two Colonel bosses, the head one's wife, and the Captain that runs our deployment issues were all waiting for me (just me, since I was the only one on the plane from my unit) with my family. I don't know if I mentioned it earlier, but they did, in fact, send a package to the enlisted girl who we thought went without one at Christmas. In one full swoop they managed to make up for all the bitching I've done over the past six months. That was very cool. I seriously doubt anyone else coming home had they're O-6 bosses go out of their way to actually meet them at the airport. On top of that he gave me the next day off, telling me not to come in until Friday to do my inprocessing stuff. That whole scene meant quite a bit to me.

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Farewell to the Desert

It's time.

God willing, in less than 24 hours the Qatari Peninsula will be in my rear-view mirror. I have to spend the night in Norfolk, VA, but I should be at my doorstep by Wednesday evening.

It's funny, that after all this time of dreaming of going home, that a part of me is actually sad to go. I've gotten pretty attached to this place over the last four months. There are definitely things that I will miss--the weather, the people, the opportunities to do things here that I normally wouldn't be able to do at home. Not so much that it diminishes my desire to get on that plane, but enough to make me a little sad to go.

I've changed over my time here. Positive changes? A better man? I don't know. I guess I'll have to wait until I "re-integrate" (that's what they call it here) to really find out. I've mentioned what I plan to do/change when I get home, it just remains to be seen whether or not I'll be able to pull that off. As of today I officially failed to meet any and every single personal goal I set during my time here. Every one. Even the easy ones. There are definitely things that I know I can become when I get home, but there's some big ones that I've always said I would do and before I left, I still hadn't.

One seriously positive change while I was here was this website. Not so much having a website, but managing (almost) every day to stop and write. Add on top of that a constant need for subject material and I became much more aware of my surroundings and the normally (very) mundane events that came along with working in the CAOC. I became much more emotionally involved in the war, in what they were saying on the news, and what some of the great bloggers out there were saying. Writing for me became one of the most therapeutic activities that I've ever done--an outlet that I didn't previously have in any other aspect of my life. It also, on here, became a model for me of not only the person I am, but the person I want to become. There's something about being able to think and review everything you say before you say it, about every possible impression you are going to give by describing your actions, that can make you sound like a really good person. I hope I can someday live up to it.

Jets were taking off as I was on my way over to write this. It gave me a surreal feeling of the perpetuity of war. I truly hope that some day all of this is unnecessary, but for right now even with me and my friends gone this war will go on. The Army is in the middle of their rotation uprange, and when all those who have gone through 12 months of hell are gone, the war will still go on. Chances are I'll be coming back here in a year or so. I'm sure the conflict will be in a completely different phase by then, but I'm sure the war will still be going on.

Another change is how I am as an officer. I have a better understanding of what we are doing as an Air Force, what our place is in this (or any, for that matter) war, and what I need to do when I get home. I've gotten word that my job may be changing--and I fully intend to have a completely different attitude at that place. If I manage to write a lot down about it, you'll come to understand.

Goodbyes should be easy--the military has a funny way of making farewells pretty easy to do. Usually people are in a rush, no one wants to get all sentimental in front of anyone, so its normally a quick handshake and a "seeya around." I like it that way. I've gotten pretty attached to a lot of the people here.

So that's it--my deployment in a 71-post nutshell. It's been a hell of a ride, but the rollercoaster's back at the station, and it's time to get off. I'll try to take notes about the trip home, but don't count on much. Forgive me if this time I'm more focused on the destination than the journey.

I've got kids to play with.

Seavy vs. Murtha/Moran

Just read this excerpt from a town hall meeting in which Rep. Murtha and Moran fielded questions regarding their desires to pull from Iraq. MoveOn.org sent emails to veterans everywhere that are opposed to the war to have them attend. One, however, Army Sgt. Mark Seavey, was not on that email list from MoveOn. He slam dunks the guys and they don’t even have the respect to respond to him. Read about it here.

How do these guys get elected???

Saturday, January 7, 2006

A Thank You to My Family

I have an amazing family.

Without the support of my family and friends this would have been exponentially more difficult, if not impossible. To them I offer these heartfelt thanks:

To the most important of them all, my wife Emily. The amazing woman who, through no request, desire, or fault of her own, was thrust into the role of being sole provider and caregiver to our two wonderful children, Sarah and Sammy. While doing this she managed to take care of the house, work as a registered nurse in the VA hospital, pay the bills, fix the car, mow the lawn, and still have time to start my motorcycle once a week. Oh, and she has been pregnant the entire time. I could not have dreamed of having a more supportive wife of not only this deployment but the reasons we are over here, nor a better mother to our almost three children.

My mother and father, who had their hands full with life’s situations of their own, managed to send emails of support, cards, and care packages to me while I was over here, and served as a constant check-up of my family while I was gone. They also helped cry with me when the Red Sox lost in the playoffs and then traded Johnny Damon to the Yankees (damn owners).

My sister, who is expecting her own son at around the same time we are expecting ours, gave me support in the form of communication and filling me in on the background of “Alias” so I wouldn’t be clueless watching it for the first time. In the last 10 years I have not communicated this much with my sister and it was very important to me.

My grandmother, who never missed a holiday card the whole time I was here, and my Aunt Mary who supported me with words of support over the past four months.

My aunt Sherry and her family, who I have not spoken to in many years, sent me a care package out of the blue that I couldn’t believe.

The teachers and brownie troop leaders from Vail Elementary school in my hometown sent me more Christmas cards than I could ever respond to. The kids from schools all over the country and at military bases worldwide (hello Aviano!) brightened this place up at just the right time.

To all these people and the many I’m sure I forgot, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Get Back In Line

I was reading an article on BlackFive today regarding comments that CJCS Gen Pace made regarding Rep. Murtha’s assessment of the suitability of military service today:

“In an ABC News interview aired on Monday, Murtha was asked whether he would join the military today. “No,” replied Murtha, who in November called for a pullout of U.S. Forces from Iraq. “And I think you’re saying the average guy out there who’s considering recruitment is justified in saying ‘I don’t want to serve,’” The interviewer said. “Exactly right,” Murtha replied.

He goes on further to once again blather about how this war is unwinnable, and how we’re not making progress. After the daily briefing I attended the other day, I searched through news articles regarding the suicide bombing in Ramadi the other day to find one detail that I wasn’t sure if it was classified or not. It took me an hour of searching throughout the day and about 20 news articles (funny how again, the MSM fails to mention critical details) to finally find what I was looking for on DefenseLink.

These freaks of nature detonated a bomb at a line outside a police recruitment station, instantly killing 30 people (mostly recruits) and injuring scores of others. So what happened afterwards? And not the next day, not the next month, but immediately afterwards? The remaining potential Iraqi cops picked up the body parts, cleaned the debris, and got back in line.

I got chills down my spine when I heard that. These guys are unarmed, and standing in line to hopefully support the war raging in their country. We are winning this war. Support for the bad guys is rapidly collapsing. How can we possibly tell our own recruits that it is a bad idea to join the military now, when you see things like what happened in Ramadi?

Even with the comments he made earlier I still held a lot of respect for Rep. Murtha due to his respectable military service. But it appears to me now that he has let politics and the wave he has created recently twist his views of “support” to the U.S. Military. I wish I could have a moment to talk to the man so I could tell him this story. At the end of it I would suggest he do the same thing the Iraqi heroes did—the same thing I would do if my military commitment ended today.

Get back in line.

Friday, January 6, 2006

A Thank You to Cyberspace

Finally, my odyssey is drawing to a close. Or at least this portion of it. I still have a feeling that the next leg of this odyssey lies before me—seeing what effect being here has had on my life at home. In the last few days that I will be posting from the desert there are several things I want to cover—things that I feel are important to be said and that I need to send out before the next chapter of this journey begins. So—plan on a blogging frenzy over the next few days as I try to get these out.

One of the surprising, if not the most surprising, benefits of doing this was the unbelievable support that I was given by scores of people that I never knew before September 9th, 2005: the online community. Once people started reading these posts emails began to pour in from far and wide with incredible words of support and encouragement. It was one of the high points of my day to look at the world map on SiteMeter and see hits from literally all corners of the globe, and to see that someone had linked themselves to my website. People may not realize it, but whatever the reasons were to connect to my world, you can’t imagine how good it made me feel to have that level of support from people I didn’t know.

I can’t possibly name all of them here, but there were a number of individuals who went above and beyond to give whatever help they could, whether in the form of emails, comments, care packages, or linking to posts in my website. Among them: Richmond from One for the Road, Trouble in Shangri-La from Dubious Wonder, Smash from The Military Outpost, Mrs. Greyhawk from The Mudville Gazette’s Dawn Patrol, Wonder Woman from North American Patriot, MarcGuyver, NZ from The Truth Laid Bear, John Little from Blogs of War, Milblogging.com, and SPC Phil Van Treuren from Camp Katrina. Without the support of these people I don’t think more than a handful of people would have even known that Desert Odyssey existed.

I drew from several sources, including the ones mentioned above for inspiration to keep me going both personally and on here. Among them: Heather from Dooce, Joe from The Opinionator, Lex from Neptunus Lex, Soldier’s Angel Holly Aho, Michelle Malkin, Kevin Sites from In The Hot Zone, Bill Roggio from ThreatsWatch, Matt from BlackFive, Jonah’s Military Guys from Argghhh!!, Michael Yon, and the one that motivated me to do this in the first place, Sgt. Missick from A Line in the Sand.

Obviously there are many more here that I haven’t mentioned that I am indebted to. You are all incredible writers and thinkers and are changing the face of journalism and the media in the world. I hope to continue my odyssey at home, and hope to be able to return the support you have given me over the last four months. God Bless all of you.


Thursday, January 5, 2006

Mass Chaos

I guess it’s surprising some people that the replacements for the CAOC are showing up tonight.

I came into work today to find mass confusion taking over as to who was working what job, who was living where, and how we were getting them from the airport.  The good news is that they are, in fact, getting here tonight—so the final process of getting out of this place is underway.  It’s kind of cool, actually, although it tends to suck at the same time.  The Air Force way of doing business is that we swap out 80% of the personnel here every four months.  As I said in a previous post, it tends to get pretty chaotic here until the transition is complete.  Billeting jams up, everyone on the base gets a roommate, and every position is manned by two people rather than one.  The whole process takes roughly three weeks as people flow back and forth.  I am lucky enough that I was slated on one of the first ones out of here, so I should miss the majority of the mayhem.

This place has a strange ability to change people, myself included.  I am just eager to begin the journey back to my old life, my old self.    Spending four months away from everything that is important to you has a way of removing one’s identity, even though, in reality, it never goes anywhere—you do.  I need to get back to that—to my family, to my life.  To my 8-5 job, to my Harley, to making playsets again.

It’s time for me to go.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006


Sarah’s starting get excited.

I keep trying to convince her to wear matching earrings for when I come home. About six months before I left I accidentally popped one of her ladybug earrings out while giving her a bath. She absolutely wouldn’t allow us to put it back in. Eventually it closed up, and she had to get it re-pierced, with a different earring. Since then she’s had a stud in one ear, and a ladybug in the other, since she’s terrified to let Emily swap them out. She sounded brave on the phone and may actually try to match them up for Daddy.

At this point my biggest motivation in getting home is because Emily is getting very pregnant. Sammy was born roughly two months early when we were stationed in Tokyo. He had to spend several weeks in a Japanese NICU, most of which was behind glass in an incubator. It was the most difficult thing I have ever had to go through. Well, if Odie was born at the same time, he’s two weeks away from breathing air. As hard-headed as Emily is I can’t convince her to stop lifting heavy items and take it easy. Granted, a lot of things are unavoidable—but at this point I just want to get home to help out so she can finally rest.

5 days to go.



First off, my heart truly goes out to the families of those workers—the trial they have gone through in the past few days is unimaginable. But the last few hours they had to endure…that is unspeakable.

I have read many times stories from the MSM about the evils of blogs—how we are apparently mindless fake reporters who, for the most part, are destructive to journalism and dangerous. How we don’t need or have valid basis for a lot of our rants and that there is really no system of checks and balances, or anyone who holds the esteemed position of “fact-checker.”

After what I’ve seen, notably today, they are just as dangerous.

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Force Multipliers

Recieved this poem in my inbox from Russ Vaughn today...I'm sure it'll be on every Milblog by the end of the day (it should be)...

Force Multipliers
Wikipedia: force multiplier-a military term referring to a factor that dramatically increases (hence multiplies) the combat-effectiveness of a given military force.

In Iraq an IED explodes,
An American soldier dies,
But that blast will grow as the media blow
It up before our eyes.
And trumpet to the watching world,
These fifth column falsifiers,
Like sheep they bleat we face defeat,
Our foe’s force multipliers.

Osama and his minions know,
In combat they can’t beat us;
So they hope and pray will come a day,
Our own media will defeat us.
Ignoring all the good we’ve done,
Liberals focus on the gore,
On losses mounting and body counting,
To prove we’ve lost this war.

They disgraced us once in Vietnam,
So now these leftists feel,
That again they’ll win with media spin,
And make America kneel.
But defeatists aren’t the only ones,
Learned lessons from the past;
Back then we swore we’d lose no more,
This time we’re standing fast.

The Internet’s exposed them,
As elitist media liars;
They stand unclothed and widely loathed,
Our foe’s force multipliers.
Some day when all our troops return,
With Iraq on freedom’s path,
The liberal elite who sought defeat,
May face some Righteous wrath.

Russ Vaughn
2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division
Vietnam 65-66


My boss can occasionally be a grinch.

He sent an email out to all of the Combat Operations folks (the floor) that the holidays were over and it was time to take all the decorations down. Night shift came in, and complied begrudgingly with his orders. When I walked in the next morning the place looked like a ghost town—all dark again. Except for one little corner…

As I approached my desk I saw a tree where my boss normally sat. They had taken roughly half the decorations in the CAOC and covered his desk with them—fully decorated tree with lights and tinsel included. Candy canes lined his computer screen, tinsel wrapped around his chair, the works. Although I almost collapsed from laughter, he failed to see the humor in it.