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December 25, 2006
Tending Distant Fires '06By Greyhawk
Tending Distant Fires
Far from hearth and home, watching
What tales we'll tell
When things grim
Some distant sunset, vision fading
Saluting fallen friends whose names
Our Christmas tradition continues. Milbloggers far from hearth and home this holiday season have time to check their blogs on Christmas day. Perhaps you have time to leave them tidings of comfort and joy in their comments sections...
Badgers Forward: A blog by an Engineer Company Commander on the front lines of the war against Islamofascism
Lightning From The Sky: The personal observations and opinions of an ANGLICO team leader supporting a Military Transition Team in Al Anbar Province.
SGT Dock's Holiday: Take a long trip in the sun with the Minnesota Army National Guard - Tales of boredom by a Medic at LSA Anaconda / Balad, Iraq
I was sitting in the sparrow’s nest at the gate with one of the designated marksmen toying with my new camera when the call came over the radio that I was needed up to the front. I ran down two flights of stairs and into my ambulance. As I was pulling up the lane to the front of our gate I could see two gun trucks escorting two pickup trucks. In the beds of the pickup trucks were probably 4-9 Iraqi townspeople standing around.free our fobbits: Fighting Army issues in general, Iraq in particular (let's all get in the war).
Citizen Soldier Sojack in OIF: Sojack is from Arkansas and is a transporation officer in the United States Army Reserve. She has 16 years of service in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve and is currently deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This blog is a journal of her experiences during her time serving overseas.
The Desert Periscope
The Iceblog: The Journal of a Polar Bear in Iraq: The journal of a Polar Bear serving with his National Guard unit in Iraq.
Acute Politics: Just another star among the growing constellation of milblogs that bring you reports of life in a warzone from the guys in the middle of it.
gwot dot us (Terror news that you can use, from SGT Brandon White, Afghanistan)
SigSpace The often bitter but occasionally insightful (and inciteful) weblog of a National Guard MI Soldier supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Making the Leap... An Untraditional Year Abroad: They asked for volunteers, so I volunteered. When it all comes down to it, a year overseas means a year in Paris, eventually. In the meantime, I belong to the Army. Sometimes it sucks, sometimes it doesn't.
Checking the packing list twice:
De Re Militari Written by an artillerymen in the Marine Corps soon to be serving in Iraq - "...an officer wrapping up training before heading to the fleet, where I will join a unit that is headed to Iraq in mid-January."
Andrew Olmsted: It seems that the situation in Iraq is worse than I thought. The Army has accepted my application to active duty and is sending me to Iraq as commander of a battalion MiTT team. That means I'll embed with an Iraqi battalion and I and my team will attempt to train and assist that battalion to be able to stand on their own and serve the Iraqi government.
From the Home Front:
Daddy is in a sandbox: A sporatic account of my husbands deployment to "The Sandbox" and how my life and our family is coping.
Rodeo With a Twist of Suspense: An aspiring author and mother of four coping with the deployment of her National Guard husband. Check in as I deal and try to break into the publishing world.
Just got home:
bandit.three.six: The personal blog of the pogey responsible for providing voice and data service to the International Zone in Baghdad
Just Another Thunderhorse Roughneck!: The blogsite is about the thoughts and adventures of a Arizona National Guard soldier deployed in Iraq.
Porphyrogenitus: Thoughts and opinions on the state of the world
Fun With Hand Grenades: The mindless ramblings and exploits of a US Army infantryman recently returned from Iraq
Other distant shores:
Kosovodad: Kosovodad is an active duty public affairs officer with 20 years of service in both the officer and enlisted ranks.
Sgt Hook: The life of a soldier, in war and in peace.
This list will grow - check back. And if you know of any bloggers that belong in the above categories, drop a note to greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com.
Posted by Greyhawk / December 25, 2006 5:04 AM | 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.
Furthermore, I will occasionally use satire or parody herein. The bottom line: it's my house.
I like having visitors to my house. I hope you are entertained. I fight for your right to free speech, and am thrilled when you exercise said rights here. Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1)the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2)the property of the Mudville Gazette, with free use granted thereto for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
Original content copyright © 2003 - 2011 by Greyhawk. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com