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January 31, 2006
Unless you have been living in a mountainside shack, cut off from the rest of civilization, you are certainly aware of the dreaded Mad Cow Disease and the potentially devastating effects it could have on human beings. We have been Read More
If there is a bigger waste of time in American political life than the State of Union Address, its hard to think of what it might be. The quadrennial political conventions come to mind, but since they only happen once every four years they are sl ...... Read More
First off, I'd like to say that I knew the military affords for lots of great stories for anyone in any branch of the service. I was not aware this was true even before entering. In fact, I didn't think that getting so many stories was possible in th... Read More
As I would write it: Ladies and gentlemen, America is at war! And we are winning! This war began decades ago, with hijackings and bombings and murders of Americans. It continues today, but the enemy, our enemy, has lost two of his most important hid... Read More
so prepare for the Apocalypse and for women being chained bare foot and pregnant to old stoves and ironing boards, and gather your children close, because they may be strip searched for chewing bubble gum in public. At least that appears to be the fu... Read More
... [Muhammed image] ... So, how many jihadis does it take to change a light bulb? (Leave your answers in the comments and I'll post the one I like best.) Read More
The MSM’s most favored whistle-blower, Coleen Rowley, has tooted the whistle once again, this time on Congressman John Kline, her GOP opponent in the upcoming Minnesota Congressional election. ... Read More
Guest Blogger Flowers Bloom Start of speech: Buzz word "Democracy." No mention of the new democracy of Hamas. 9:24 Oh yes, let's not forget the troops. No mention of Abu Grahib though. 9:29 Hamas, work for lasting peace. Heh. Yup they're reflect... Read More
To finish out tonight's round of posting, I came across an interesting couple of articles at af.mil, the Air Force's web portal. The first is a very good summary of why I've chosen to enter the military. Make no mistake about it, I'm not doing ROTC f... Read More
JERUSALEM - As predicted by many on the left, being forced into a position of authority has sent shock waves through the terrorist group Hamas. The fiery, violent political party, suddenly given the reins of power, has been forced to develop its vision... Read More
Well, the past few days have done wonders of the G.O.P., in my opinion. Kerredy, which is my short hand for the two oxygen thieves from Massachusetts, made complete asses of themselves during the hugely successful Alito confirmation hearings. Read More
on't like S.U.Vs? No worries, just go blow up a Hummer dealership. Tin foil not keeping the voices out of your head? Don't go for another layer, simply destroy a cell tower. Not skills that you currently posses? Don't worry -- I'm sure a "family" mem... Read More
Army's Rising Promotion Rate Called Ominous (use bugmenot.com if not registered) says the LA Times. According to the paper, if you stay out of jail and can chew gum you are going to be guaranteed promotion to at least Major. Oh! No wait!! The req ...... Read More
What a revelation! I'm am stunned, positively shocked! You mean to tell me that there are some people, our brave men and women in uniform at that, that are of the opinion that the journalists and other media types consider themselves to be of higher ... Read More
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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