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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,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.
I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.
Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.
We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.
You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!
-- "Tommy" Rudyard Kipling, 1892
"Senator Larry E. Craig of Idaho is" looking to the future. Another round of base closings is due, and he wants to pump up the purported importance of the bases in his state.
It's part of his job, but his tactics stink on ice.
I've sent this message to the Senator. I don't know if it will amount to anything, but doing to is a requirement of what I was taught was one of the responsibilities of a citizen
I can not adequately voice the disappointment I felt, and feel, regarding your position relative to the AF promotions you have been reported to be delaying. Aside from exceptionally inappropriate, it brings back some vivid memories of my time in the AF during the Carter years. They were indeed dark years - we in the services were barely tolerated, the pay and conditions were poor, and we lost many good service members. Being used as a football and a scapegoat hardly encourages retention.
I would assume you have more than 4 C-130s as a justification. The support staff and crews simply don't amount to enough to be of any real impact economically. I can't see any other reason for such actions. I'd really like to understand.
Holding careers hostage - and you are indeed doing such - does no honor. Anything "won" by such actions has little value, and likely will corrupt any gain. The service members who serve those aircraft will all know the price paid.
Frankly, I do not care what may have been said or promised. Realities change over years, and politics must indeed change with the years. As a Republican, it saddens me to see such actions - apparantly self-serving actions - from a person I would see as a colleague. From the Left, I would understand. This, I don't.
Frankly, I hope the AF does not cave, even though it will doubtless affect careers. My home state, NY, lost both Plattsburgh and Griffis to the pathologic base closing "peace dividend." We, meaning the country, lost much with these closings. Do you think a few more aircraft would forestall such an event in Idaho? Support of a strong and vital defense program might. Your present choice of actions will not, regardless of the markers you may hold. It's bad policy.
It should not be perpetrated by a Senator that places a strong military second behind constituant service.
Please reconsider your position, and do the harder right instead of the easier wrong.Posted by Mike Goblet at June 12, 2003 10:18 PM
Thanks Mike. Well said. And thanks for your uniformed service. It warms my heart to hear from American patriots, bless you sir.Posted by Greyhawk at June 14, 2003 01:33 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(3) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)