Saturday, March 31, 2007
Lt. S got a pre-fab desk for his little cubby hole so I put it together for him today. (The last thing he built crashed down on a Captain when someone threw a CD on it, no kidding).
It's been trying to rain all day and just started up a few minutes ago. Just like home. We have had a visitor here for the last couple of days, and I'll post about that tomorrow. Be safe and have a great day.
Friday, March 30, 2007
And a few other weapons they had out there.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
I was down at the interpreter shack this morning helping PO B get them ready for a medical assistance mission. Our two female interpreters had a rough week. Today, they decided to start a revolution. Knowing they were going on this mission, they decided to wear short sleeve shirts exposing their arms up to the elbows. This is certainly taboo for Afghan women, I noticed it as soon as I walked into their office, so for a westerner to take notice of something like that, I can imagine the reviews they received out in the middle of a village. Well, I'll find out tomorrow how things went, but we didn't have to send the cavalry out to rescue them.
We had another attack yesterday here in Kabul. This one was a suicide bomber looking to attack an intelligence official. The target wasn't hurt but reports show up to 4 civilians were killed. This was the second attack in the last week. Last week we saw a U.S. Embassy convoy hit with only one person having any serious injuries.
Be safe and have a great day.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
We heard the bridge is out, do you see a bridge?
One of the projects we as international partners are trying to fix here, the roads, or lack of.
This is much better.
This is Pol - e - Charki village.
One of many friendly faces we saw on our trip today.
This trip is also good if you need to tenderize some meat, I felt quite tender afterwards. Be safe and have a great day.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Today was a nice day. I spent the morning building a couple of cabinets for the interpreters to be able to lock some things up. We are still waiting on the buildings to be started as the old b-huts were bulldozed after the VBIED attack in January. Yes, there's that much red tape involved. To answer a question, yes, at times it has been much like babysitting. After two trips here, some are very dear friends to me. This afternoon we had a battle drill worked up to keep our security sharp. I got to play with grenade simulators, hehe, that's always fun. Make it go boom!
Really not much else to report, be safe and have a great day
Monday, March 26, 2007
Anyway, I did have a busy day, first ranting at my interpreters for writing very nasty things in a book belonging to one of my female interpreters. As I have mentioned before women working jobs means that a man isn't and sometimes, my interpreters go back to the instruction and customs they have had for the last 1,000 years and forget who they are working for. I believe we came to an understanding.
Now, for an update on Shawn Gralla and the Daily Oklahoman. I was informed this last Friday that responses were published in the paper. The Daily Oklahoma decided to publish three and here they are:
In response to Shawn Gralla (Your Views, March 14): Some people tend to think that when the governor is out shaking hands with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, he’s not working. I have to say that’s a far cry from the truth. When you’ve been away from home for a year, it’s nice to have someone from the real world come by and shake your hand and let you know that you’re still appreciated. I was one of the soldiers Gov. Henry shook hands with; he even pinned a medal on my chest for my actions here in Afghanistan, and I have to say that every tax dollar I pay to Oklahoma was a small price to pay to have such a unique experience. I’m grateful that the governor took time out of his busy schedule to go to Washington and fight for the National Guard soldiers and then come over here to brighten our morale. I was never prouder to be an Oklahoman than when our governor flew across the big pond to visit the “Thunderbirds.” SPC Benjamin E. Walcutt, Camp Phoenix, Afghanistan
Sunday, March 25, 2007
I Cross My Heart - George Strait
This is a song that brings me closer to Mrs. Dub, I have several that make me think of the time we have had and will have when I'm home again.
You Do Your Thing - Montgomery Gentry
Just the first of a list of songs that get my patriotic blood pumping through my veins.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
I've received many questions during the life of this blog and I thought I would answer some of them today.
Why don't I carry a side arm? Well, the Army for the most part issues just one weapon per soldier, depending on what their job is. The majority of Army personnel carry the M4 or M16A2. The M16A2 is the old style of long rifle used for some time. The M4 is the latest version that has a collapsible stock and shorter barrel, allowing it to be used in close quarters combat, buildings and such. Special detail or combat mission soldiers will also carry a Mossberg 500 12ga shotgun or a Beretta M9 pistol. Being a police officer I am comfortable with any of the above weapons, but only carry the M4. This one is mine.
What is your mission there? Task Force Phoenix's mission statement is to train the Afghanistan National Army. This is done in several stages, starting with basic training, NCO and Officer courses, then they move to the Embedded Training Teams. This is where Camp Phoenix comes in with putting training teams with graduating Kandaks or companies. These teams go down range to FOBs (Forward Operating Bases) and continue mentoring the Afghan Army while they conduct missions ranging from humanitarian assistance missions to cordon and searches for Taliban and Al-Qaeda. My particular job here at Camp Phoenix is part of the SECFOR (Security Forces) that provide security for the Camp and American FOBs downrange. The mission of training the Aghan Army is vital to this country taking ownership and self-governing. Although the Afghans know fighting, but teaching them control, leadership and cooperation is what will make this country stand on it's own.
Well, I guess two will do it for today. If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask, otherwise, be safe and have a great day.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Being Friday, it's steak and seafood night at the DFAC, you know what that means, PIZZA for me! I'm going to finish this post, run over to the PX, get my pepperoni pizza, come back to my little connex room, eat, drink (Coca Cola), read blogs, and finish Casino Royale 007. Two days ago, Mrs. Dub asked me if I had nay new movies here to watch and I said no. Now, I have this new James Bond, Scoop, and the Holiday waiting in line. Miss Dub has had spring break all week and has been enjoying her time off. Her last two posts this week have been about her wanting to get some pygmy goats. Here is your assignment, I'm looking for some good recipes for cooking goat. Yep, look through those Rachael Ray and Martha Stewart cook books, maybe even Al Rocker's BBQ book and tell me your favorite ways to fix goat. I'm also entertaining goat jerky. Well, that's all for today, be safe and have a great day.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
1. It was another gorgeous day here, and you can't say that too much, the sky was clear, the sun was warm, a light breeze, so nice I made three LTs go eat lunch outside again with me. Our jobs keep us indoors almost always and a day like today just needed to be exploited a bit. I've mentioned before that Kabul sits in a basin and is completely surrounded by mountains, but the pollution here can be so bad that not a mountain can be seen on most days. Today was not like that at all.
2. Let's switch it around a little and do the rant next. Apparently at the "peace" "anti-war" protests this last weekend in Oregon, a third group evolved. You see, we already had the pro-military, pro-war supporters, the pro-military, anti-war supporters, and now, we have the anti-military anti-war hate America pot-smoking culture burning effigy's of American soldiers and burning American flags. I am currently serving with the Oregon National Guard, and I have the feeling they may be the first victims of being spit upon by this low life degenerate group posing as Americans. What's worse is that they blended with the regular anti-war protest and I haven't seen anybody from them objecting to it. In fact, the person being interviewed on the national news program was sidestepping the point blank question completely by going back to the old "President Bush lied" President Bush lied" So that's why you want to see American troops die? There is no other way to interpret this sign, you can't say, "well, things just got out of hand" You can't say that you brought an American Soldier mannequin, a can of lighter fluid and a box of matches by accident.
3. The Thinking Blogger Award. This is catching on so fast that it's hard to keep up with. It all originated with ilker yoldas at The Thinking Blog, who picked 5 blogs that made him think rather than just answer a simple meme about what his favorite color is. From there, each new Awardee is to pick 5 also, and so on. I read many blogs everyday that I can, and picking just 5 would be a daunting task indeed. I also know that ones that I would have picked either nominated me or selected ones I would choose too. So to share the wealth here is the list:
Michael at The Wonderful World of Nothing. Michael has a way of taking a news piece we might have overlooked and turn it into a brilliant take on how it should have been perceived.
Christopher at The Conservative Cowboy. Christopher is a cowboy in Ohio, yes, Ohio, seems a little too north but he's there. He introduced me to The Cowboy Code and all things just and fair as well as supporting our hero's.
Teflon Don at Acute Politics. TD is serving with his unit in Iraq and besides giving us the news of what's happening in the war, he's a poet and thinker, quite a plate full for such a young man.
Dariana at Charmed and Dangerous. Take away her being a lawyer (I'm kidding) and she's a good egg. Dari is against the war in Iraq but does support the military. One reason I can be sure of this is because both of her sons are in the military and she boasts her motherly pride about both of them. We exchange comments back and forth, her last comment was I sounded like her son, even though we aren't that far apart in age ourselves.
This is where I should include Mrs. Dub, but she doesn't make me think, she tells me what to think, and that didn't fit the criteria.
Flag Gazer at Gazing at the Flag. Flag gazer started her site to support the military troops fighting today. Her site captures the triumphs and tragedy's of the war. With my rant today, Flag gazer lives in Oregon and although she isn't alone there, she certainly stands out in a crowd.
Congratulations, you won a
Should you choose to participate, please make sure you pass this list of rules to the blogs you are tagging. I thought it would be appropriate to include them with the meme.The participation rules are simple:
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote.
Well I hope you managed to get to the end of the post, be safe and have a great day.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
In other news, we had a thunderstorm last night. This was indeed exciting. You have heard me say it has rained, and rained, but that's all we get. Last night, we had lightening, thunder, crackling, and booming, it was refreshing and enjoyable. Today was clear and absolutely beautiful. In was so nice in fact that LT R and I went over to Subway and picked up lunch, then ate it on the outside deck there. We are office rats and don't' get to enjoy much sunshine. No offense Mimi.
I have been selected by two individuals, Mimi and Sarge Charlie to receive the Thinking Blogger Award. This was indeed an honor and I appreciate that so many come here. I will be addressing this more fully tomorrow and make my selection of those who get me to thinking.
I slept so well last night that I refused to get out of bed to go to the gym, so I will definitely have to go there tomorrow morning. Somebody make sure and place a wake up call to me.
Be safe and have a great day.
Monday, March 19, 2007
World War I We entered the war late but the number of deaths for American soldiers was 116,708 with 205,690 wounded.
World War II. The total American loss for the five years of conflict we withstood was 407,300 dead.
Korean War. 36,516 dead, 103,000 wounded, 8,142 MIA
Vietnam War. 58, 209 of our finest dead, 153,303 wounded.
Now some information for a couple of years in which the War on Terrorism has been unfolding in our lives. These statistics were gathered from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. I shall only include the age brackets of 21-44 as this covers the average age bracket of our military sector, the 18-21 group also included 16-18 so I did not want to use those numbers.
Motor Vehicle Accidents 17,767
Accidental Poisoning 10,886
Heart Disease 17,483
Malignant Neoplasms 20,045
Chronic Liver Disease 3,020
The total American lives lost in these 10 ten causes is 105,401. In all ages motor vehicles killed 43,340 in the United States.
In 2004, 4,008 people died riding motorcycles in the United States, just a part of the 38,253 deaths on American roads and highways, while in 2005 4,315 were killed in motorcycle accidents.
The economic cost of traffic crashes per year since 2000 was estimated at 230.6 billion dollars. For the four years of the war that cost us $922.4 billion dollars, because Americans want to speed, run traffic control devices, and drive while being impaired.
Alcohol realted fatalities in 2004 was 16,694 and 2005 was 16,972.
Pedestrian deaths for 2004 and 2005 are 4,641 and 4,674.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta stated that 55 % of passenger vehicle occupants who died in2005 were not wearing their seat belts. That equate to 15,000 people a year. Were was the March on state and national capitals this weekend for the use of seat belts? Were is the outcry against tanning? The outreach for those who committed suicide?
Wikipedia was used as the source for the war numbers and NHTSA was used for the rest.
Despite all this, I still want you to be safe and have a great day.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Saturday, I was browsing my favorite blogs and stopped by David's site at Out in the Parking Lot. David is another Canadian I like checking on and enjoy reading his reviews for movies, his adventures and chili recipes when he posts them. Well, David did a Blog-rolling review of me to which I was very flattered. And in the middle of it he suggests a write in campaign to have me elected President in 2008.
For a while now I've been wanting to do more with this site but being a procrastinator doesn't help me any. I decided that I would start today, and I did, but Blogger ate the whole post and now I'm starting over. Darn you Blogger!! Here is my new edition.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Yesterday we had a treat here at Camp Phoenix. The national sport of Afghanistan is Buzkashi. Buzkashi is a very old game that when translated means "goat grabbing". It is played on horse back. If you watched Rambo III, you saw him join in the game with the Mujehadeen fighters. The idea of the game is to take a dead goat or calf, after the head has been severed off, and take it from a starting circle to around a pole and back to your team's circle.
Each round or session ends with a scoring. The rider who scored comes to the gallery and receives the prize. The prize differs as each session is sponsored by the gallery. Money and fine clothes are the best gifts.
It is a very violent game with players hitting each other, horses turning over or charging at you. It had been arranged that the Kabul International team would come to camp and play on our field. The hats are made of wolf's fur as the hunter seeking the prey. The horses are some of the best looking animals in Afghanistan because they get fed well and treated probably better than the women here. In fact, women aren't even allowed to watch the sport at all. You ask about our female soldiers. Well, they are the exception because they aren't considered women by the local population. However, there were two local women that work as interpreters for me that got to go to the event and also actually got to ride some of the horses off to the side. This was indeed a treat for them, and they were very excited about being able to attend. It was fun watching a part of the culture of this country and the interaction we had with each other. Be safe and have a great day.
Friday, March 16, 2007
It seems some person took offense to Governor Henry visiting troops in Iraq and Afghanistan last week and wrote a letter to the editor of the Oklahoman. Here are his remarks:
"Get back to work, governor . . . how much did Gov. Henry's trip to Iraq cost? How much did Oklahoma taxpayers pay for this trip? How many Oklahoman soldiers did the governor shake hands with? What was the dollar cost per handshake? Henry was elected and is paid to guide the state of Oklahoma. He wasn't elected and isn't paid by Oklahoma taxpayers to press the flesh and politic in international affairs in a worn-torn country. Oklahoma taxpayers deserve more effect and results from the governor for their tax dollar here in Oklahoma. Henry should pay his own way and use his own time to visit Iraq. Get back to work, governor!" Shawn Gralla, Norman
Now, you really have to make an impression on me to start bad-mouthing you, and Shawn, congratulations, you made the list. Shawn, I'm not sure what they taught you in school, but you see, Governor Henry is the Governor of the state of Oklahoma. As such, Governor Henry is also the Commander in Chief of the Oklahoma National Guard, Army and Air Force. As citizen soldiers, we are tax-payers in Oklahoma, registered voters in Oklahoma, live and have families in Oklahoma. You see Shawn, we are Oklahomans. Shawn, you have the right and freedom to write nonsense without repercussions because we are here fighting, as so many other Americans have done in the past to keep freedom alive in the good ole U.S. of A. I sit here at my keyboard and I ponder quite a bit about what I am writing. Shawn, did you bother to think at all? No, I didn't think so. No, I believe you just went off spouting such dribble that you thought would make you feel better. Heck, maybe you didn't think you would actually get published. Well, you did. Now what are you going to do? Good luck in the future Shawn, as I am sure you need it.
Now, for everyone out there, I wasn't harsh at all in my response to the editors at the Oklahoman. I didn't call Shawn out as I did here. Why? Because as you might be able to tell from his letter, he isn't a very happy person, and anyone who knew him is hopefully already giving him grief over such a letter.
But Sgt Dub, how can you say Shawn isn't a happy person? Well, because typically people write editors of newspapers when they are mad. Shawn was. Now, it takes something to be mad about. Do you really think this is the only thing that upset Shawn and he just had to fix it to make his world perfect, me neither. Shawn has had many disappointments in his life and felt this was the only thing he could lash out at. Poor Shawn.
Now, because Shawn had to make me rant on a Happy Dance Friday, I have to postpone my Happy Dance Friday post till Saturday. We had some fun here on Camp today, I know Shawn, I shouldn't have fun while in a war zone, why don't you come visit me on your own dime and we can discuss it. So stop by tomorrow to see what was happening. Be safe and have a great day.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
I'm going to ab lab tonight and will try to get some cardio in first. Not much else to report today. Be safe and have a great day.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
At 0645 this morning, there was a large explosion downtown Kabul. Of course, everyone immediately jumps into action to try to find out what's going on. Reports start coming in from all over, it's the President's Palace, it's the ISAF Headquarters, it's....it's..... finally we start getting reports that it's a group of shops that sell gunpowder and weapons. Several of them linked together, had an accident which killed and injured locals in the vicinity. I find it amazing the amount of different and sometimes precise reports that come in. One was that it was a VBIED (vehicle borne ied) with the color and make of the vehicle, how many were injured and killed, but they couldn't give us a location. You can tell me all that but you don't know where????? Anyway, all of us are fine and were at no time in danger from the unfortunate accident.
From that point I had to install a lock on our office door to help keep the amount of traffic that try to enter our office anytime something goes bump, then several paperwork jobs fly in that needed done right then. It seems several of us were working on shorter fuses than normal. More than once I heard the phrases, "I'm not in the mood for this" or "this isn't the day to trifle with me", and sometimes they were coming from someone besides me. (disclaimer: I don't actually use the word "trifle" but I think someone did)
On a brighter note, some have asked if they could send me pictures for Major M. The answer is yes, the poor man can use all the pep he can get. The idea behind the window frame was to give him something to look at that could pull him into a happier place. Don't make them small or of lesser pixels, I blow them up to 19 x 25 inches and am looking for clearer resolutions at that size. As I change out the pictures, I will post the new one up here so everyone can enjoy it. Thanks.
On another brighter note, I was asked a question about my answer to one of the Sunday meme questions. I believe the picture below will take care of that.
I believe that takes care of today's events. I am now going to try and catch up on everyone else's blogs that I have neglected for a couple of days. Be safe and have a great day.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Now, regardless to how good looking the two of us are, you can only take it for so long and I replaced it with a picture from Angel at The Life and Times of Angel Weed. Poor Major M has ordered some posters to put up, but alas they have never shown up, so it is my responsibility to get it freshened up. So here is Claire's picture framed.
With Governor Henry here last week a lot of Oklahoma soldiers got their pictures taken with him and since Cpl. Larkin at Task Force Phoenix 5 has a great camera, I am taking his pictures to post so you can know who I'm talking about when I mention names.
Here's Cpt C, he has been working hard at working out and has lost over 55 lbs to date in the last year. Now, I just need to work harder.
Lt M is my immediate boss, (that means he works for me but gets all the credit). We have been working together for almost 11 years and know each other pretty well. Lt S brought Flat Stanley to have his picture taken with the Governor. We have Texas, Oklahoma and Afghanistan represented in one picture. 1SG R is my NCO boss in the office. Between him and I we get most things done.CSM B is our battalion's highest NCO and takes care of the soldiers, here he is with Lieutenant General Blum of the National Guard Bureau.
LTC Y and Governor Henry looking out over the formation before presenting awards and promotions.
Here's Ben from Ben's Life and his sergeant SFC McD
I will have to post some pictures of me, maybe tomorrow. Be safe and have a great day.