Any Readers In France Or Going To Normandy?
If so, drop me a line as I would like to see what, if any, meet-ups can be arranged. Drop me a line at blake at blakepowers diespamerside net. Thanks!
The Legion Stands Forth
The American Legion has stepped forward in Oklahoma. The Legion is on the ground with Soldier's Wish in Moore right now, and has further allocated $1 million to help help veterans and their families affected by the tornado.
"The American Legion is committed to the welfare of all veterans and has been on the front lines with veterans and their families in times like these since 1919," said American Legion National Commander James E. Koutz.
Helping Our Heartland
NOTE: Updated link with direct fundraising page, apologies for the bad URL before.
Devastation (not decimation) has hit in the midwest, particularly in Oklahoma. Team Rubicon is on it. Please, share the word and spare what you can to help. Meantime, keep the people effected by it in your thoughts and prayers.
ADV: Travels to Al Qa’im and Beyond
I am pleased (and somewhat relieved) to announce that the second volume in the A Different View series is now out in trade paperback and on Kindle. This new volume showcases day-to-day life of Marines at Al Qa'im on the Syrian border while I was with them on the last part of my first embed. It then transitions to Germany and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, where I introduce readers to a very special ceremony for arriving wounded. I'm honored that MaryAnn Phillips of Soldiers' Angels Germany and Michael Z. Williamson agreed to write the foreword and introduction, respectively.
Here's a taste of what people who have seen it have to say:
“A Different View is a personal and vivid narrative of the author’s experience in a combat zone, showing not combat but the mundanity, humor, and boredom that make up ninety-nine percent of life ‘inside the wire.’ The author’s photos and narrative illustrate how service members cope and adapt to the surreal conditions, and how injury and death are still close by. This is a valuable book, and anyone who cares about America’s troops and the fight in the Middle East will find it worthwhile.”
Larry Bond, bestselling author of Shattered Trident
Carry The Load: Ruck March/Relay
Last week, I saw a post on Facebook that caught my attention. It was about a relay coming through the Atlanta area for an organization called Carry The Load. The word was going out for people to sign up and join in to help the charity, remind people of the meaning of Memorial Day, and get in some exercise. Well, that was my take on in when the president of Ranger Coffee (a former ranger) challenged everyone on a particular leg to bring a ruck and make it a ruck march. Liking the concept and needing some exercise, I agreed.
In Memory Bright, Black Knights
Quoting a friend, who was their LT:
Remembering Alex Varella, Travis Haslip, David Behrle, Joeseph Gilmore, Jean Paul Medlin, Christopher Moore, and "Caesar II" today.
KIA Ameriyah, Baghdad, Iraq
19 MAY 2007
1 PLT/A CO/1-5 CAV/1 CD
Six years ago today.
Long-time readers may well remember these fine men, and Lt. Hickey. For those that don't go learn more about them, and previous things that showed their character, at this post that was part of Operation Puppy Love.
Please join me in remembering and honoring them today.
Army South Best Warrior Competition
Bonus: Day two photos below the fold too.
U.S. Army South is holding it's Best Warrior Competition, hosted this year at Camp Bullis, Texas. U.S. Army South (ARSOUTH) has responsibility for 31 countries (and 15 areas of special sovreignity) covering the Carribean, Central, and South America. The Warrior Games(corrected) Best Warrior Competition is an Army-wide competition that tests basic skills and knowledge through simulations and drills, demonstrations of basic skills, board reviews, essays, and other activities relevant to modern operations. Here are some photos from day one of the competition, which wraps up tomorrow.
Carry The Load Relay
Tonight, the Carry the Load relay will be in the Atlanta/Marietta area. Anyone care to grab a ruck and join me for Leg 193 up into Smyrna proper? This is a chance to show support, get some exercise, and maybe help raise some money and awareness for a charity.
Free Ice Cream
My short story "A Bride to the Moon" is available for free download from Amazon starting today, for a limited time. Fair warning: If you are offended by war, werewolves, violence, or sex, please don't read it. If you would like to see a rough vignette of a world I hope to explore and share in more detail later, read on. It is rough, and was written as background simply for me -- a practice the late, great Roger Zelazny used and that I have found works well for me. In this case, I thought I would share.
NOTE: If you have a smartphone, a tablet, or a computer, there is a free app you can download so you can download and read books from Amazon/Kindle. You will also want to browse all the free books, book sets, and such. I've managed to snag Kipling and more for free that way.
A Taste Of Patron
Thanks to a fellow milblogger and a very generous person, my travel to and from France is now taken care of with what has been raised at Indigogo. Now, I need money to get from Paris to Normandy and back, and to cover travel related to two shorter embeds I have coming up.
Rotary Club of Vinings
Last Wednesday, I had the honor to make a short presentation to the Rotary Club of Vinings (GA) where I got to talk briefly about Iraq, Normandy, and Beyond. The group included a number of veterans, and there were several others who had a bit more knowledge of things military and current events than the norm.
I enjoyed it very much, and hope they did too. I brought some of my gear with me so people could learn a bit more about such, but after hefting the IBA, no one wanted to put it on for some strange reason...
I want to thank them for the opportunity to speak, and let them know how much I enjoyed it. That they also donated a teddy bear on my behalf to an organization that provides same to first responders who have to deal with small children. That is a wonderful idea, and I'm glad I know now about it and that my speaking helped that cause.
Meantime, remember that most of us here have done public speaking and are available for such. Any one of us can cover a variety of topics and can tailor to suit the group. Just ask.
Cakebread Cellars Tasting
Recently, I was invited to Marietta Wine Market for a tasting of Cakebread Cellars wines. Located just a block off the square in downtown Marietta, the Wine Market has a very nice selection of wines, along with local beers, a variety of cheeses, and more. They do wine tours, and in fact the owners had just gotten back from conducting a port tour in Portugal. Their tasting events are also built around having the participants make a donation to go to a local charity.
Creative Suggestions and Donations
I need some creative (real) suggestions to help me get to either Indianapolis or Lafayette on Thursday, earlier the better, then back down to Atlanta. A car rental is $600 (best deal so far) with more than half of that being insurance I have to have. If anyone knows of anyone travelling that way, or has other constructive or creative suggestion, would love to hear it.
Two, it appears that Normandy is a go, at least in terms of transport. Now, I need lodging, car, and some food would not be amiss either. Please donate to either the Indigogo fundraiser or at my site if you would. Anything helps!
Third, two short embeds in the southern hemisphere are in work. These will require some commercial travel, so again donations are very much appreciated.
Finally, if you are a company or organization that would like some targeted and productive advertising, please contact me here. I will be glad to share information on demographics and options with you.
Things are starting to move, and your help in making the most of them is very much appreciated.
A Reminder Of Why
They are often called "The Greatest Generation" was given to me on Wednesday. I had the honor of talking to the Vinings (GA) Rotary, during which I met a WWII veteran who is an active member with the organization. Our talk led to finding out that he did indeed see the elephant while being a forward artillery observer in Europe.
Rather, he half saw the elephant. When he turned 18 around 1943 and was accepted to Georgia Tech, he and other students went down and signed up. He had everything they were looking for except one thing: he was blind in one eye (since birth). They did not ask, and he did not tell. When the time came for his vision test, he very dutifully put his left hand over his left eye and read the chart. When the time came to test the left eye, he put his right hand over his left eye and read with the right eye again. He demonstrated to me what he did, and did it so well I can see how he got away with it then and two other times he had to take an eye exam.
They did indeed stand up to serve, and did not let little things like age, blindness, or other things that could be hidden stop them. Bless them all.