01 May 2009

Good Work

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America is exactly what it sounds like - an organization dedicated to the folks who've participated in the wars we're fighting now. Far be it from me to pass judgement on any of the veterans' organizations out there, but I do think each conflict is different enough that perhaps an organization dedicated to veterans of one particular period of conflict might be valuable.

Anyway - these folks have been putting out some public service announcements, and they've got a new good one now.

Recognizing that many of our war veterans now are Guardsmen and Reservists, or Active Duty folks who might leave the military, I think it's particularly important to educate friends and family members about our care and feeding. The only harder thing, I'd say, than coming home and trying to readjust, can be coming home without your support network of comrades in arms.

There's a ton of good information there not only for vets, but for people who love vets. Worth a visit if you're in that position.

30 April 2009


A severe case of the Iraq has set in among the team here. For no apparent reason, we've all got a case of the OIF grumpies. We've likened it to a combination of athlete's foot, poorly-fitted underwear and a toothache.

So let's talk about something else, shall we? Look at what Mom found while I was in Michigan on leave:

Yeah - that's a chocolate bacon bar. It's a chocolate bar, but with little pieces of bacon in it.

I ate it, of course. But I'm still reserving judgement. Chocolate = fabulous, and bacon = awesome, but chocolate + bacon = kinda weird.

29 April 2009

Arts and Crafts

This place is like the summer camp from Hell, really. Less singing, and no canoes, but other than that...

To kill time as things have slowed down, we've started to make things with our own little grubby paws. It started when we ordered some pewter skull beads just for kicks, and it's gone downhill from there.

Because, of course, if you start with pewter skull beads, then you start to wonder what other skull beads might be out there.

Then, after you string some beads, you start to feel mighty crafty. You notice you have some 550 cord, and that there are other, cooler colors available. If you're shockingly uninclined to figure out how to do arts and crafts on your own, there are websites out there to help you. And eventually you end up having days that produce this:

I'm learning. The watchband was strictly an academic exercise, but I'm thinking of making a new pistol belt based on the concept...

The Bossman came over yesterday and discovered his NCOs sitting around playing with 550 cord and debating color combinations. He looked for a second like he might make fun of us, then gathered his courage and asked, instead, "you think I might get some of that bright cord, if you've got some extra? I could make my daughters some bracelets..."

It's probably fortunate none of us knows how to quilt. Then again, I bet there are instructions for that on the internet as well...

28 April 2009

Home, such as it is

I finally escaped Big Base and made it back here. The trip was the usual goatrope of oh-you-needed-to-go-to-FOB-McLazy-you-should-have-told-us-we-went-there-yesterday that always happens when you're trying to get somewhere around here.

I hitched a ride in the last free seat on a convoy, and it was only marginally free. I ended up riding with a significant amount of "Class 1 Supplies" (that is, snacks and drinks). My view for the ride looked something like this:

They'd used almost every bit of webbing, rope and bungee cord in Iraq, but had run out at the top of the heap. If the world had ended on my ride home, I may have met Saint Peter covered in blue Gatorade and grapes. Everyone's gotta go some way or another, I suppose.

But that wasn't the only thing aboard. There were some boxes... We had time to kill, so we opened them up. And what had the Tax Dollar Fairy brought for the grubby little Soldiers?

Tricked-out M14s! Your tax dollars at work, folks.

The platoon sergeant and I spent the entire ride back debating how to work the hand receipts so that the gaining unit got six M14s, he got one, and the Civil Affairs team sergeant signed for the other...