Monday, March 28, 2005

Happy Belated Easter Everyone and that big button at the top of my sidebar

Happy belated Easter everyone, I have left Iraq and now in a holding pattern at an Army base in Kuwait. Arrived safe and sound with all of my fingers and toes. This is the first time that I’ve been able to hook my laptop up to the internet in 2 months and as normal there have been huge patches let out by Microsoft, Norton and assorted other programs. Next time you stop by here, I could be blogging from the States. Imagine that! Thank you all for your comments and support!

I know this is totally off the subjects of Milblogs and my trip to Iraq but you might have noticed the Breast Cancer Awareness button I've added to the top of my links, Tricia of WoodNotWood asked me to check out Greg's blog, California Hammonds. It’s a journal of his relationship with his wife that begins back in 1988 when he first laid eyes on her. Covers the next few years lightly, living behind an elevator shaft prior to their marriage, buying their first house, getting married, having kids, just a story of a regular happy family until Cheryl gets diagnosed with breast cancer in 99. From then I'll let you read, if you’re up to it (click on Chronology button and start from there, warning, will make blubber like a baby). It's one of the saddest stories that I've ever read. Tells of their journey together through her fight with breast cancer. The hopes, dreams, possible cures and treatments, grasping at straws, then finally acceptance. Their day to day life living with this beast hanging over them till everything is washed away and all he is left with is his daughters and grief. After reading it, I felt like someone had ran over my dog very slowly, it took me a couple of days to stop being paranoid about the subject. Part of the reason it hit me so hard is because his wife was in her early 30's and if you haven't picked it up by now, I'm utterly infatuated with my future bride and being a paranoid medical guy, hit me fairly hard. Reading of his life, makes me very thankful of what I have. How would I handled a situation like that? I have this problem of putting myself in someone else's shoes, probably comes from reading too much. I don't ever want to imagine myself in Greg's shoes ever again (nothing personal Greag), I'd take back to back trips to Iraq any day then have to live his life. Thanks Tricia for making me weepy at work. His wife passed away April first last year and he’s doing a comment drive on the first of April this year. You don't have to give money, just stop by to say hi, he’s a nice guy that really bad things have happened to. Proceeds go towards The National Breast Cancer Foundation, if I'm around an internet connection I'll be stopping by.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

My short, sweet trip

My time here is drawing to a close and hopefully I won’t have to come back for quite a while. Overall this was a pleasant trip, not too long and I got a chance to see many old friends. I would have almost paid for a trip this nice, wish it was at a better place but like some trips to visit family it’s not the place, it’s the people you see. This journey was full of people that in some level, I wanted to see and catch up with. I’m still sort of an outsider in the new unit because I’ve only been out here for a couple of months, we’re getting along great, don’t take me wrong, but I haven’t been through the same trials that they have or have lost people close to me (which isn’t my story to tell so I’ll stay away that tale).

A question was asked of me a couple of weeks ago, why do you blog? Down to the essence of the matter, if I die tomorrow, who will people remember me? Without this blog, only my family and friends. I’ll be just another name, on a growing list of names and faces of the brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, who gave their lives for a cause. Even thought they gave the ultimate sacrifice, how many people are going to remember their story in a decade or a hundred years? Through this blog and my fotopages, I get that chance of not being forgotten. Once this little war that we’re fighting is done and over with, my words will still be out here floating in cyberspace and if I were to die tomorrow, I’m sure that I had left a footprint on someone’s life. For a minute, that stranger would have seen the world through my eyes and I would have lived again.

Not that I think I’m going to die just yet but you never know what fate will serve you tomorrow. Don’t worry, what ever life throws at me, I’ll be ducking.

Friday, March 18, 2005

A picture is worth a thousand words

The harriers didn't turn last night, peaceful bliss! The new crew is here and my stuff is all packed, there's 4 of them which caused quite a crowd in the office. So I did what any self respecting corpsman would do when there's too little work and too many people, I skated away and took a day off! The replacement corpsman for my old unit, Pat, came by and he offered a nice solid escape route by asking for help. Hah! We walked down to see the fella's from the Moonlighters, another good day of fellowship and unlike the day at the chow hall, I had my camera with me and took a bunch of pictures, check em out. Another awesome day in the Sand Box, unlike some people, it doesn't take much to make me happy and today I was.

Hey, did I tell you that I'M GETTING MARRIED?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Brief rant

Damn friggin Harriers! GAAHHH! What are they thinking!?!? Turning up their jets at 2 in the stinking morning!!!! Outside my window!! I was thinking definite evil thoughts and after going over said thoughts this morning I think I’ll just keep them in my imagination and not on the blog. (heh)

Obviously, I started out the day fairly tired but other then that rude awakening, I had a great day. Went down to the phone center to call Tragic, which is always cheers me up. Then while waiting in line at the internet café, ran into some of the Marines from my old unit and we went out to lunch. At the chow hall, I ended up playing musical chairs, would be sitting at one table when another group of my guys would call me over. I can honestly say it was pure pleasure seeing them all. The food was crappy but it was the best lunch I've had out here.

Got back to my office and moved out the rest of our gear. Our job is almost done, whew! Now I can sit back and listen to some tunes and vegetate. My brain is dead from lack of sleep. Sorry about the short and totally uninteresting blog post. I’m hitting the sack. Take care everyone!

Another Cool Milblogger that I picked up from Grayhawk

Blog Machine City check out his post about the flood, funny and how true! He also does a great gear guild for the average REMF, lots of good reading here. He's been blogging as long as I have and this is the first I've heard of him. Linked!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Happy Birthday Mustang23's Mom and a few added Milbloggers

I've only had a brief glimpse into the life of Mustang23's Mom but anyone that would send her son Strawberry Shortcake Sheets is cool in my book. Today’s her birthday and we’re gathering up as many nice comments to pass her way as we can. So head on over and thank her for raising a fine son (and ask for more cookies too).

Sorry about the gap in posts. We're in the middle of a turn over with the new squadron. Know what that means? I'm going home really soon to be with my future bride! Sometime in the next few days I'll also be making a trip to see my old unit, making sure everyone is healthy and they're not beating up on my replacement, of course they (and their families) expect me to have my camera and post pictures.

Commenters from my OIF3 roundup have pointed out some other milblogs that I haven't included (or read) and I've stuck them in my side bar and included a brief write up for each:

A day in Iraq, Michael has a hilarious and somewhat true take of the blogsphere on his latest post. Worthy of anything you'll read today (hat tip AFSister, thanks!).

Sapper Sgt is getting ready to head this direction and his fiance who is out here right now Soldiergrrrl is probably going home. They're looking at tying the knot in the fall (thanks Gene).

Sunday, March 13, 2005

OIF 3 Milbloggers

That time has come again for many of us out in the Sandbox to rotate back to the states and for fresh troops to come and take our places. This trip was only a partial trip for me but that doesn't make me any less thankful about going home to be with my loved ones. As usual there is an entire new generation of milbloggers to check out. These are the guys that are seeing the action first hand and telling us their tales by comparison, my life is remarkably boring and dull (which is fine by me!). So without further adieu, I bring forth these blogs:

American Soldier runs a very high speed low drag blog and has always had a kind word to pass my way and I would consider him a blogging friend (not chopped liver!) His face has popped into the media spotlight after he was one of the milblogs that the Army Times did a feature on (mine only had a small slot there, likely due to me being a Squid). He's in the pipeline to come out this direction in the next month or so, go ahead and give him some love and wish him luck.

Hello From Hell who is at one of the Forward Operating Bases, he's out of a National Guard unit in Mississippi. Sounds like he picked up the blogging bug from his wife Shelle, has been blogging since last year. He has a sharp eye and you can tell by his writing and his title, he really misses his wife. Stay safe for her.

Danjel (aka Thunder6) of 365 And a Wake Up is an officer in the Army National Guard and another milbogger that I think is going places. There’s some quality writing going on here, glad I caught up to him early, he’s only been blogging since last month and I am already in awe of his writing. He has a good story to tell that could keep the dead interested.

Red2Alpha, runs a blog called This is Your War, if you like CB's blog My War, you'll like his place. Very good in your face blogging that make you almost think that you’re there. He just needs to be careful about making fun of people in his chain in case his name appears on some newspaper somewhere, funny stuff though! Check him out.

Mustang23 runs Assumption of Command, he's Company Commander of a US Army Reserve unit. He's a milblogger who writes more in the style of Lt Smash and Grayhawk. He quirky sense of humor and isn't afraid to laugh at himself (I like your sheets! Little things like Strawberry Shortcake as a gag gift take a lot of the pressures out of the seriousness of everyday life out here). He's a nice guy and gives us enlisted folk a good view about what's going on behind the skippers door.

Major K is another blogging officer that has a nice looking blog with pictures. Looks like he's getting a lot of time on the streets. If you're interested in what we're doing with the Iraqi people, he offers some good words from our side. He also has a new child on the way, head on over to congratulate him.

David Green of Reverse Retna from the Sandlot, writes some thought provoking essays. I like the viewpoints that he's giving. Show's that the grunt on the ground isn't some mindless war machine and worth the read.

Dave's Not Here isn't a new milblogger, nor is he even in the military, I had his old site linked from my fotopage since 2003, he had moved and I had somehow missed it. He's been out here since then as a contractor and but his archives only go back to June 2004. His blog has a plethora of pictures and info. Another good take from a different viewpoint out here. I go to his site when I'm feeling sorry about myself about being out here to long (which isn't that often).

Greg from Middle of Nowhere and Two Feet From Hell at the time I'm writing this is hating life and soaked from rain leaking onto his matress. His wife Sheryl is also a blogger (Letters to Iraq), you can almost feel how much they're missing each other. They both look like they're just getting into the blogging movement (basic blogger templates that haven't been tweaked at all). He tells it like it is, mail mishaps, living conditions, emotional stress and how much he misses his wife. One of his posts he talks about how the emotional stress is getting to him, I know the feeling (well I'm not feeling it right now, truthfully other then being here, I couldn't be happier.)

My old unit the Moonlighters has started up a fotopage of their own called Phrogs4Ever. Since I'm not around to take their pictures and post them on my fotopage, someone had to take over. Good luck guys and thanks for taking on the job George!

Quality writing on all the above blogs, the fotopage is mostly pictures geared toward family members and flying over the countryside in a CH-46. There's probably many more that I've missed but the Grayhawks Milblogs page can probably fill you in. Thanks Grayhawk and Sgt Striker for getting me over 150 thousand milestone, I remember when Sgt Hook was asking for a boost to get over his 50 thousand, those were the days! Sgt Hook if you're reading this, we still miss you!

Stay safe guys.

Saturday, March 12, 2005


Thanks Grayhawk for the launch! If your a regular follower of Milblogs, they you'll know that Grayhawk has the largest selection of the military bloggers out there and like Mom, he has a crystal ball that tells him what we're doing. Spooky! I'll be doing a post about the OIF 3 milbloggers in a couple of days.

My last few days have been spent redoing my fiance's blog template, I did this one but that was...well a year ago. I think I'm done for now or until she wants to add cool stuff that she sees on other peoples sites like sitemeters, music videos players or dancing monkeys. I'll figure it out. I still have no clue who came up with the original code for this clock thingee, the guy I borrowed it from had borrowed it from someone else and he in turn borrowed it from someone else before him. It's a mystery. Thanks mystery dude! My dad did a tweak (which by me reverse engineering his tweak) gave the knowledge to do it myself without it falling apart.

Any of you fresh new bloggers out there (or old ones that pay others to do their templates. has quite a bit of stuff, I wouldn't use one of their skins directly but if I see something I like, I'll read over that code to find out how it's done (Skin writers have their own version of the english language, don't bother trying to understand what they're trying to say in their descriptions). Blogspot uses a code called CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), styles define how to display HTML elements, HTML is the computer language standard that tells your computer what to display when you go to a web address. I've been taking an online classes for free at W3Schools . This place gives you some of the basics to follow while making up your own blog and web design in general. There's demo's that you can play with code on one half of the screen and it shows you what it does on the other, very neato! I've learned a lot over the last few days and it actually is showing me how much I still don't know. Working on it though. If you plan on getting serious about this or like playing with your blog. It's a good reference tool to have. Well have a nice day or night where ever you are at, I'm counting the days till I get home!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Going over one hundred and fifty thousand hits in the next few days!

The click over the hundred thousand mark wasn't that big of a deal because that was artificially induced by the Associated Press story that had my blog included in. Seventy thousand hits over that weekend, my site meter showed at one moment there were 20 thousand people on at once. Probably lost most of those viewers due to a bit of code I had running on my side bar that showed the address of where everyone was coming from. Some of those newspaper addresses were so long that they blotted out my blog entries. That all took place during a week where I was on leave in Seligman Arizona without internet connection. By the time I did get to a computer, the damage was done, I’ve since removed that bit of code. The entire world saw my blog and for that week and it choked. Oh Well.

The last year and a month has been quite the adventure. Blogs of friends and fellow military folk have come and gone. I’ve gone on two tours to the sandbox, engaged to someone that I didn’t know existed at that time and have met people from all walks of life, in person and on the internet. This has definitely given me a much wider prospective of world events and opened my eyes to viewpoints that I wouldn't have dreamed of two years ago. Thank you all for taking interest in what we’re doing out here and all of your support!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

My Old Squadron

The unit I came out with last year has started arriving. The new squadron I'm assigned to is located a little less then a half mile from where I was last summer. Couple of days ago there was a spot of good weather (no wind, not too hot, cold or wet). I finished up the work I had at the office and took a stroll down to pass greetings to the advanced party folk and grab a few snapshots for my fotopage (I ran a fotoblog that kept my guys in contact with their families, made me sort of the unofficial photographer of the unit, there's a couple thousand pictures in the archives if anyone is interested).

The average greeting was "What in the hell are you doing here?" In a good way though! They hadn't heard that I was in the area and were happy to see me. It was a closest to feeling home that I've felt since coming out here. A good bunch of guys that were in many respects as close as family, I miss them but of course not enough to stay! Had a good visit and as soon as this rain clears up I'll make another run down there to say hi to the main body.

My day to day events consist mostly of getting our medical spaces up to speed (dusting, inventorying and packing) for the new medical crew and sick call type stuff, I did sew up the mail clerk that had a combat battle wound using his k-bar to open a box (yes he knows that I'm posting this and probably a picture later) So far that has been my only urgent injury. Everyone is doing fine which makes my job a nice place to be. I also did some work to the template of my fiance's blog, had to make much of the template up from scratch but I did copy and change a bit of the code I'm using. Still thinking of a unique way to put up her links and title. It'll come around. Looking forward to getting home to you hun, hey, We're getting Married!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Army Times does Milblogs

Thanks for the blogger bomb Blackfive, got a couple hundred hits you're your place over the last couple of days, you’re quite the heavy hitter. The reason for him pinging me is because there is a spread in the March 15th edition of the Army Times about Milbloggers, mostly Army guys but they do mention a some Navy, Air Force and Marine blogs, I just happen to be one of the Navy blogs mentioned.

Welcome to my world new readers, over on my sidebar there, I have listed some great milbloggers and blogs of friends of mine (warning, I don't agree with everything they say but they are still my friends, be nice). I'm a middle of the road blogger, trying to look at the word in a fairly unbiased way. Mostly telling stories of my life as they occur and an occasional news story if I think it's important and not covered enough by the MSM (Main Stream Media). Everything you see here is seen through the lens of my eye and doesn’t always reflect the views of the military (mostly though).

This blog has become a world onto itself, there are links to and from all different points in the blogsphere, both left and right, foreign and domestic. Like most bloggers, if me, the author, likes what you say on your blog or how you put your argument, we’ll probably toss up a link (I'm a link whore and have tossed up links to all of my friends too). I like to view my place as a neutral ground. I've made many friends here that I will value for the rest of my life and most importantly, my future wife. I respect their points of view and in the same token, I use them as a springboard for my own crazy ideas. With such a mishmash of readers and commenters, my blog, like many others, offer a valuable way to get insight into the human condition. Why do we think this way? First time readers of blogs, there's a whole world out there to discover, enjoy your visit and come again.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Lawmaker questions military value of entitlements

I normally don't talk about politics unless it has something directly to do with the military but this story has been hanging over my head since I read it. I'm just surprised that the MSM have not picked it up (but was on the Marine Corps Times website), there are some law makers on the hill that are questioning the value of military entitlements. This lawmaker, who is a Naval Reservist, says that costs for dependent and retiree support provide "next to no defense benefit".

I would like to over a counter to that statement. Other then being wrong because it would break promises giving to veterans and military retirees, how could you expect to recruit new troops who are risking their lives if you take away the advantages of joining the military? By cutting the benefits to retirees, veterans and family members, you're would be hamstringing your most valuable assets, the loyalty of the people on the ground. With a higher OP-Tempo going on, who’s going to want to stay in and deal with the pressures of being away from their family if there isn't some form of compensation? Pull the plug on benefits to ex-military members, family or the VA, there's going to be an uproar unlike anything heard yet and try recruiting during that. The military is running a business, we want the best out there, if you take away the benefits, that’s not what you’re going to get.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Twilight of the Deployment (take two)

Once again I'm going through one of the most dangerous months in a unit's deployment, the final month out here where everyone is getting ready to transition back to the real world. Shar did a post (thank you) about the write up I did on the Warrior Brief I attended and the suicide prevention portion. Last year late in my deployment I did another post I titled Twilight of the Deployment about stressors that come with this month (my last unit, we all made it back home safe and sound).

What is bringing this to the forefront once more is the 29 percent rise in suicides that took place last year in the Marine Corps. Our Commandant, General Hagee, made some remarks about this subject at a news conference a couple of weeks ago. A small quote from his speech "The increased operational tempo that our Corps is experiencing may be affecting the ability our Marines to deal with the perceived overwhelming stresses associated with relationship, financial, and disciplinary problems."

The numbers show that 70% of the Marine suicides over the past 4 years have been caused by problems in personal relationships. One of the sayings we've always heard in the military is your family isn't issued to you. Yet I’ve also noticed a rise in the family readiness programs offered and supported by the Commandant (someone up there is listening). They’re trying to keep the families back home in the loop. Even with all of these, as military personal we're living in a different world then the one before 9/11. When Marines go out on deployment, there a definite chance that that he or she could die a violent death. Plus the frequency of the deployments leads to an unnatural sense loneliness when the source of much of your happiness goes away.

The world isn't the nice place to live in anymore and as the world premier fighting force, we're cocked guns, always ready to go forth and save the day in some foreign land. Of course this viewpoint doesn't help us at home with our families and eventually they’ll take a toll on our combat effectiveness. It's not easy starting or keeping a family when you're gone half the time. It takes a fairly strong case of love to stick with someone that gets torn out of your life every so often, sometimes at random, for 6 months to a year. Those military spouses out there are the people we should be thanking (one stubborn ones that stick around), they didn’t sign up for the job but they’re expected to support us through all of our trials.

This last twilight month is usually the worst for a unit because this is when the problems arise usually. Our significant others that are keeping the home fires burning, decide at about this time (if there are problems in the relationship.) to find answers to these questions: What am I doing with my life? Why did I marry this guy that I'm never going to see? When will I get to make up my own life and not have to move every couple of years and drop everything? He calls once a month, has written twice and hardly ever emails me. Doesn't he care about me anymore? Every time I talk to him he gets stranger and stranger on the phone, who is this guy I married? Maybe it's time to tell him before he comes back and I have to tell him in person.

There are relationships that are doomed to failure (NOT MINE!) Not every love out there can handle what we put it through.

Much of this could be the military members fault, I know guys that have called their spouse 3 or 4 times while they are out here and never wrote home. Then they're surprised when they get the Dear John letter or the divorce papers and their spouse or girlfriend has cleaned out the bank account. Suddenly they have the taste of ash in their mouth when they think about the shambles of their lives that they’re returning to.

These are the people we have to watch out for, everything that they've built up over the last few years is gone. A huge investment of time, love and money has been taken away as if it never existed, all that's left in the anger and the depression to fill the hole. It seems like the ground has been washed out from under their feet and they're drowning. At work, their productivity goes to hell, from this the supervisor is yelling at them and life spirals out of control, they don't know up from down and no one seems to care.

Our job, like in regular medicine, is to stabilize these guys. Support them, counsel them, work up the chain and get them help before what is happening in the states affects destroys the sense of community that we have here. Remind them of the basics and that there are reasons to live, the sky isn't falling in, weather they believe it or not, it's not the end of the world. We're still getting 3 squares, there’s a roof over our heads, you have a guaranteed paycheck and it’s happened to other people and this is how they handled it. We care and we'll help you get by this. Not everyone falls apart either but you never know, better safe then sorry.

Preventive medicine for problems such as this (before it every happens) is ask them about their family, encourage them to write, make phone calls, keep the lines of communications open. Have an out in case she runs with your money and be emotionally prepared for anything but don't get paranoid about it. Be loving and show the spouse back home that you DO care and they're the most important thing in your life. Send flowers for birthdays, holidays or if they sound down when you’re on the phone with them. Whatever you do don't disappoint them, be their hero that they have built up in their minds and never ever yell at them at the phone center, not only because it’s rude and makes other patrons want to hog tie you with your phone cord but your only driving them away (unless you’re trying to do that).

This is sign of the human condition, we all like being with our loved ones. Deploying like this does suck and best we can do down here at the bottom of the military food chain is to attack the problem on a one on one basis.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Google Searches

I've found out that:
I'm number 1 for my real name (my other website, this one is 10)
number 1 for "Navy Blog"
number 2 for "Dumb Corpsman"
number 2 for "rat fell off a box picture"
number 3 for "Corpsman in Iraq"
number 10 for "pissed off nurses blogs"
number 18 for "navy corpsman"

Odd people come by here sometimes

Anne Rice moves to San Diego

A little bit of local news from back home (hat tip Becky, a recently retired from the Navy blogger)

Real combat stories

Combat Doc has been on my sidebar almost since day one. Over the last few weeks he has been posting his combat stories and pictures taken during his deployment (he waited till after the fact to post them, probably because of OPSEC which I totally understand). Amazing stuff that you will not find in many other places. He just got home, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and give him a warm welcome him back!


Tricia a fellow blogger from WoodNotWood did an awesome post about me! Thank you! I have one of the best support networks out of anybody I know and through blogging I've made some great friends and met my future wife, Heather, whom I love dearly. Blogging started out as a release and has since taken on a life of it's own. There are collage classes looking at the works of milbloggers and I'm honored that they've included mine among the list. I wouldn't trade the time I've spent blogging for anything (well except for my bride!)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Chilling navy story

First hand account of the USS San Francisco mishap (Hat tip to Chap)

Oh happy day, Doc and I are done with the PDHA's

Alright my last few posts have been sort of bitching posts about life in general, but in reality, I'm a happy camper and have no room to complain. I have many things to be thankful for, I'm engaged to one of the most wonderful people that I’ve ever met, she's beautiful and she's as crazy about me as I am for her. My new doc is a workaholic and we’re hitting it off well, I'm not afraid of hard work, get the job done and move on, he's good people. The medical space here is huge compared to what I got used to the last time I was out here and well stocked and taken care of. Yes I'm at work all the time but it's not too bad, have a nice sound system, TV, internet and a room to myself. I miss hanging out with my old battle buddy J but I'll get by. The room to myself is sort of default because I'm the only Corpsman here, well that’s not totally true, the advanced party corpsman is here but I don't have a bed to move into down the hill. It's nicer up here anyway. Now if only the water would come back on. Take care everyone!