Blackfive was started on June 18, 2003, with this post. Soon, things started ramping up and here we are two years later. Who would have thought I'd go to Harvard to talk about MilBlogs or be on MSNBC or interviewed by the media like USAToday or the Army Times, etc?
Made a lot of real friends this year too. Eric is still talking to me. That's something...And I was able to connect with Mike Tucker of Gunner Palace and some of the Gunners. Mike's a very sincere guy who really cares about our troops.
It's been a great year and many things are moving along...the Blackfive t-shirt sales for the month of May will provide for 30% of the cost for a Humvee kevlar blanket for our troops. That's the second month in a row...spend like a liberal and help protect the troops.
Below are some basic stats:
Second Year Blog Stats
Total Number of Posts: 2,147 (1,010 during the first year)
Total Number of Comments: 19, 091 (5,959 during the first year)
First Week in 2003: 150
First Month in 2003: 1,200 (avg. 40/day)
First Year Total Site Visits: 628,000
Total Site Visits Since June 18, 2003: 2,838,000
I have some "Thank You's" that need to be said...
First, thank you to my lovely wife. She still doesn't get the blogging thing (really, she doesn't), but she knows that I think it's important so she still lets me do it every night (mostly) without complaint. Who the heck would be that patient?
Thank you, again, to Greyhawk and Mrs. Greyhawk for managing and promoting the MilBloggers. Without you, Blackfive wouldn't have gotten very far.
Thanks to Michelle Malkin for linking to many posts.
Another that deserves my thanks - There's a nurse at a prominent military hospital that tells the wounded soldiers when I write about them and makes sure that they know that we care. If it wasn't for her, I don't know how many might know about MilBlogs. If it wasn't for her, many of them might think that everyone believes the negative spin of the MSM.
There have been a few highlights here on the blog, and I've gotten some really great emails and some pretty nasty hatemails.
My favorite posts over the last year were mainly Someone You Should Know posts and the After Action Review of Raven 42 where terrorists were trying to film an ambush of a convoy in Iraq and had their asses handed to them. And the Soldiers got the film too...heh!
I receive emails from troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. When you get a message from a soldier in Iraq thanking you for protecting them and their reputations back home...well, it's a bit overwhelming. I get a few of those per month. Those keep me going.
Unfortunately, the absolute greatest email of all time cannot be shared, but I will say that it was from a former POW who wrote an extensive email and thinks the world of the people that visit here. I'll probably have it framed when Blackfive shuts down someday.
And then I received an email from a friend of mine who was sitting around a conference table full of General Officers at the DOD just before a meeting and one asked the others if anyone knew "who the @#$% is that Blackfive?" That's funny and had me chuckling for a few days. I'm just a guy with a blog who knows how to use it.
I get a lot of emails asking about the reasons for naming this blog "Blackfive". I've written about the meaning behind Blackfive before. Chuck at TC OVERRIDE and Darth VOB have called me XO. Blackfive is the generic callsign for the Second in Command, the Executive Officer (XO). He's the guy (or gal) that makes sure everything works the way it should and keeps the unit running. Of course, the Commanding Officer usually gets most of the credit, and that's the way it should be...
Some think it's because I'm Greyhawk's XO. I probably am in some ways (and not that there's anything wrong with that - after all, when you're Greyhawk's age, you need all the help you can get), but Blackfive existed before I knew about Greyhawk's Mudville Gazette.
At first, Blackfive meant that I would work behind the scenes trying to put the spotlight on the people that deserve it - the men and women serving in the military. That changed a bit. I've become one of the conduits and the activists and the brokers for help and support- not behind the scenes so much anymore.
Without the help of Dan, JarheadDad, Willie, Rich, Joe, Susan, Al, Geby, DD, Dutch, Karen, Russ, John, Ruth-Ann, Ruth Margaret, Jay, David, Cheryl, Amy, Seamus, Janie, Patrick, Alice, William, Rick and many, many others readers, emailers, linkers, trackbackers, and commenters, including you, this blog would not have become what it is today.
You are Blackfive.