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June 10, 2003
VICTORY CAMP, Iraq ? Army Sgt. Maj. Thomas Clark didn?t know whether to laugh or cry when he saw his graduating daughter?s image flash on a makeshift screen on a palace wall at V Corps? headquarters just outside Baghdad.
So he did both.
While his daughter, Crystal, graduated Saturday from H.H. Arnold High School thousands of miles away in Wiesbaden, Germany, Clark sat in one of Saddam Hussein?s palaces surrounded by an enormous man-made lake.
The ambiance mattered not, he said.
?I?m disappointed I can?t be there because I?m so proud of her,? said Clark, assigned to the 440th Signal Battalion out of Darmstadt, Germany. ?She?s the finest young lady you?ll ever meet.?
Check the link and you'll see a picture of the ol Sar'major choking back a couple tears. I know I would be. There's a part of military life most folks are aware of, but really don't fully grasp. These are people who can't run home to see the kid they've raised graduate. The kid they helped with homework, science fair, scouts, mean kids, mean teachers, spelling tests, real and pretend sickness, first dates, drivers' ed, and on and on, for twelve years or so, graduating from High School.
These people brought their families to a foreign land, and then had to leave those families there while they went even further "down range." Some are single parents, which means they left the kids with friends to help them through their last few months of High School while dad or mom put it on the line. No stress there, eh?
And they probably feel privileged to be able to see it on TV. I would. Because most folks stationed over there won't even get that opportunity. And of course, to put even that in perspective, 18 years from now there will be kids graduating without mom or dad there because of this war. Think about it.
Senator Blocks 850 Air Force Promotions
WASHINGTON, June 8 ? Senator Larry E. Craig of Idaho is blocking the promotions of more than 850 Air Force officers, including young pilots who fought in Iraq and the general nominated to bail out the scandal-plagued United States Air Force Academy, in a rare clash between the Pentagon and a senior Republican lawmaker.
Mr. Craig's price to free the frozen promotions now awaiting final Senate approval? Four C-130 cargo planes for the Idaho Air National Guard.
White House arbitrates dispute between Craig, Air Force
The White House sent representatives Tuesday to meet with Idaho Sen. Larry Craig and the secretary of the Air Force and try to resolve an impasse that has stalled nominations of nearly 400 Air Force officers.
The Republican senator has blocked Senate approval of the nominations until the Air Force honors a commitment he said was made seven years ago to add four C-130 transport planes to complete a squadron at Gowen Air National Guard Base in Boise, Idaho.
Craig remained unwilling to budge, but his spokesman, Will Hart, saw some hope for movement after the meeting between Air Force Secretary James Roche and the Bush administration representatives.
"As talks progress, if we're able to make some progress with the Air Force, I think Sen. Craig would be willing to look at releasing at least some of these folks," said Hart, "but he refuses to get the same brick wall that he got before."
Is he that sure of his re-election? Or not running again? I see no excuse for this. I will hope the people of Idaho (or all of America) will do the right thing here.
I have no idea what this guy is thinking. But if you, like me, want to ask him real nicely to please let the people who helped secure his freedom have their well deserved promotions so they can get on with the business of the nation's defense his e-mail is here. See the title of this post? Now you get to fire.
Free the hostages, Senator Craig.
His phone is (202) 224-2752
I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
-- "Tommy" Rudyard Kipling, 1892
Posted by Greyhawk / June 10, 2003 9:22 PM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
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