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December 17, 2005
Dawn Patrol - Special Election EditionBy Greyhawk
The forecast called for rain in Iraq on election day - it didn't happen.
A woman gave birth at her polling place after voting - literal new life to accompany the birth of a new democracy.
Amazing stories from the MilBloggers in Iraq. Today's Dawn Patrol is a salute to them. They respond to the elections there with a mixture of triumph and relief - and a fatalistic expectation that what they've helped make happen will be sneered at by the "some". Others speculate on the future of the emerging democracy they helped build - and they like what they see. In other words, optimistic on winning - but pessimistic on ever having that victory acknowledged.
And as should be obvious from this compilation, they are absolutely plugged in and aware of what's going on there and back home.
Many are about to come home, in fact - and this event makes a fine ending to a long effort. Others will "soldier on" - we can only hope with less opposition on many fronts.
Enough of me; they speak for themselves...
Trevor - The Will to Exist
Tsunamis wipe out everything in their path. It is my hope that by being here, I have played a small role in creating a tsunami that will scour Iraq, cleansing it of head choppers, bombers and dictators.
Matthew Loggins - Hints... Allegations
GIGotti78 - Ask the Soldiers
What surprised me was the amount of Sunni Arabs that decided to exercise their right to vote. Not only that, but their reaction to reporters asking how they felt about voting.
Sgt. Dan - J Barne's Coffee Shop
Kincy - My Days at Division
(Greyhawk notes: it rained the day after) But the weather guy wasn't the only pessimist:
BUCK SARGENT - AMERICAN CITIZEN SOLDIER
Sgt Ron Long - They Call us Doc (just got home from Iraq!)
CPT B - One Marine's View
From the insurgency view, America has not only won the fight in the street but now it has pretty much won the Iraqi people over as well. Insurgents can’t stand to see Iraq become independent and grow. The mere fact that men, women and Iraqi soldiers are voting means the insurgency is on its way out, it reinforces the beginning of their end for the insurgency. We see people coming freely to the voting sites, we see a different Iraqi, one who wants a change and is doing their part to make it happen.
TJ - Basic Training
Phil - Phil and Becky
We celebrated the end of the election by serving a feast in the chow hall. It was originally scheduled for Christmas Eve, but we moved it to today for some reason.
The Mobilized - a mobilized year
Phil P - A Soldier's Diary There will be negative people and ignorant idiots who will down play this day, but freedom is on the march! Mark my words, the next year here will be a complete turn around in Iraq. Our troops will slowly start to pull back and the Iraqi Army and Police will continue to be given more and more responsibility. This war is far from over, but this next year will be a year of progress that will show off the hard work and sacrifice of the past three.
Mike the Marine - From the Halls to the Shores
Because, you see, they can hate us or they can love us. But as long as they respect us, and love their kids more than they hate us… hell, I’ll call that a win.
I’d like to extend a personal thank you to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi for that one. When he and his al-Qaeda shmucks blew up those hotels in Jordan, it wasn’t just the Jordanians who noticed.
StrypGia - All Quiet on the Southwest Asian Front
Mustang 09 - Six more months
My Darling Wife, Pam.
This year has changed me. Pam and I have talked about those changes, and I know she fears them a little. Physically, my knees hurt more, my hearing is shot, and my hands get numb from the constant weight of body armor. My hair is greyer, the bags under my eyes darker. Emotionally, I have changed too. Don’t worry darling. I am returning home a different man, but I believe a better man. Certainly a man far more thankful for the blessings in my life.
Posted by Greyhawk / December 17, 2005 2:32 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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