Thank You, Internet!

Merry Christmas, and Bless All of you...

Slide1 Short, simple and sweet...

Merry Christmas to all of our readers out there- may you all have a fantastic family time this season.

We truly appreciate you all for your support of our Brothers and Sisters In Arms.

The song here isn't quite 'holiday-ish' but conveys the spirit I feel this year.  Enjoy.  And bonus points if you know from whence it came.



Hose1 video

Kathy Champion

I want ya'll to help this lady out.

After serving 27 years in the Army including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, surviving 7 IED's blasts, Lt Col Kathy Champion came home only to find she had contracted a virus in Iraq that took her eyesight. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, Kathy acquired a guide dog, Angel, from the Paws for Patriots Program of Southeastern Guide Dog School in Florida, and has made it her quest to raise 2 million dollars to help other soldiers either blinded or suffer from PTSD to acquire service dogs. 

All you have to do is vote her into the top place, and that charity gets ten thousand dollars.  Follow the link, vote for her.  Animals are wonderful for PTSD -- horses are the best, but dogs are good too.

Great Americans Interviews MG (R) Bargewell

The "Great Americans" project has an interview with retired Major General Eldon Bargewell.  During his career Bargewell served with MACV-SOG (Reconnaissance Team Viper) as an enlisted man, receiving the Distinguished Service Cross.  As an officer he served most notably with the 75th Rangers, as commander of the Delta Force, and as operations officer for MNF-I.

 The interview begins with the Vietnam days.  It's worth watching for Sergeant Major Billy Waugh's commentary alone.  Of course you all know who he is.

Happy Birthday, Marines

The Commandant's message remembers all Marines, but focuses special attention on the Marine who fought in Korea.  


You may also be interested in Hulu's new 'patriotism channel,' which includes the stories of Medal of Honor recipients.  The Marine Corps also has a website about life as a Marine, where you can read the stories of Marines and -- if you are or were a Marine -- submit stories to share with young men and women who may be considering the Corps.

If you think the story isn't the type the Corps would consider recruiting material, but it's still a good story?  That's what our comments are for.

Semper Fi, Marines.

A Horror Never Forgotten

I dread going over to certain websites that contain 'news'.  Daily, I scan and scour various sites around the 'net, looking for information and updates.  Some sites have become so politicized that I can't stand to go to them very often.  CNN has become such a site; but today, they brought this one out that MUST NOT be missed:

The diary arrived in a Red Cross package, along with a Sheaffer fountain pen. Acevedo mixed snow with the ink to help it go further; other times, he'd urinate in the ink container to make it last.

There were two journals in the pack. He gave the other to Pfc. Stephen James Schweitzer, POW #25802, on March 20, 1945. Schweitzer would also survive the war.

Acevedo wanted to make sure history was recorded. It was ingrained in him, as a medic and as a soldier who kept the war ethos: I will always place the mission first; I will never quit; I will never accept defeat, and I will never leave a fallen comrade.

This is the story of medic Tony Acevedo, 86, who survived the Berga slave labor camp with a diary of what he and his comrades had endured.  CNN covers his visit to the Holocaust museum in DC, and his donation of the journal he kept to their archives.  His is the first of an American citizen to the museum, and the only Mexican-American among the survivors listed there. 

Most of those captured with him were from the Battle of the Bulge.  To survive that period only to die in a hell-camp just adds insult to injury.  Worse, in my mind, is how the Army treated them after they were liberated:

He was liberated on April 23, 1945. Before returning home, Acevedo signed a document that still haunts him today. "You must give no account of your experience in books, newspapers, periodicals, or in broadcasts or in lectures," it said.

It ends with: "I understand that disclosure to anyone else will make me liable to disciplinary action."

The military tried to shove this under a rug- in order to appease Germany at the start of the Cold War, and to try to prevent further condemnation, the survivors were never recognized until 2009 when they were finally recognized for who they were- survivors of a death camp.  Even the commanders of Berga were spared; the military would not let Acevedo and others testify to the conditions that they endured at the camp- the death marches, the inhumane treatment.

Blackfive, like other mil-blogs and pro-vet sites on the internet, stand to prevent just this sort of cover-up from occurring.  None of us here would even consider hiding or covering up such an occurrance- no matter the circumstance.  To do such an injustice to our brothers-in-arms is beyond our collective comprehension.  In fact, to those that understand why B5 began this blog, bringing out the truth and the REAL stories of our bretheren is what we are all about.

To think that someone would try to hush something like this, and/or not work to bring it to light is reprehensible.  To me, the actions of leaders in the US are nearly as deplorable as the actions of the Nazis in this case.

Go read the article- watch the video.  It's a keeper.


Flying Boats? Ahssmadinejad say what?

Unreal.  Flying boats.  But, I'm not putting this in the 'its a joke' column just yet.

To me, these things could actually be a threat to parts of a fleet.  Depending on what they they use to construct them, these things could fly under the radar, lost in the 'scatter' of the ocean, and actually 'kamikazee' into a ship; whether it be a warship or a tanker makes no difference.  And they'd be really hard to stop at first.

Apparently ,they've made a fleet of them, based on this video.  Were they to put an actual jet engine into one, we may be talking some issue here.  But, they can't keep their civilian aircraft flying well, let alone afford to put something that 'advanced' onto this.

I'd hate to pilot one into open ocean- lakes, sure, but 10-ft swells?  No thanks...

'Til then, I'd say this is the threat we're more likely to face...

Cruise missile














Thanks to Sniper- workin' overtime...

It's OVER! It's OVER! (The War to End All Wars, that is)

World-war-one-doughboy-sculpture Tomorrow, Sunday, ends the conflict that has come to define conflict over the last 100 years.  Technically, you could almost call this a 100-years War.  (Ok, that name has been taken.  School in session, see Grim-) But after Sunday, when Germany makes its final reparation payment of 59 1/2 million pounds, all the conditions laid out in the Treaty of Versailles will have been met.

The re-drawing of countries (and the elimination of a few), the debts imposed upon the Central Powers after the war, and the formation of the League of Nations, all led to more warfare later in the century; during the time of WWI, Russia was led into Communism, Ottoman Empire fell, and agencies and taxes begun in the US to run and pay for the war remain to this day.  This was really the rise of the Military Industrial Base. 

In my mind, the formation of the League of Nations (Later, the UN) will be the undoing of many nations in the coming generations.  This may be the most lasting legacy of WW I that we will see.

Go see the article, here, on the real 'end' of the war.  To me, WW I was the progenitor of all the troubles we face today.

My grandfather fought in the Great War, receiving injuries that would later get him the Purple Heart on the last day of the War. 



Time For A FRIEND-LY Update

Twenty-Four Years.

That's how long it has been since we've last communicated.

Twenty-Four Years.

For some people, that's a lifetime.  It's the lenght of some careers.  Certainly the timespan of many military careers. 

But, this is how long it has been since I'd last heard from Elizabeth.  And thanks to a few of you readers who contacted me after my last post, we are now back in touch.  I was kinda doubting it could happen, as I've tried, on and off, to find out about her over the years.  But I was never able to gain much info, at least not enough to find out how she was doing or even where she was located.

A little background:  Back in January 1986, I was a 'noobie' 2d LT joining the US Army Signal Corps.  Reporting in to Ft Gordon, GA for the second time in my life (first was basic training and AIT there- yeah, that old.)  Sitting in the small auditorium were a bunch of other newly-minted officers, all fresh out of either ROTC or OCS (no Acadamy grads- they wouldn't show up for a few more months).  Here we were, ready to conquer the Army and the world. 

'Beth' and I became friends in this class- best of friends at the time.  Inseperable.  She, a former NCO and Drill Instructor at Ft Jackson, was fresh out of OCS and all the worse for wear.  (Apparently, it was a tough OCS class as one person that helped me locate her also said so.)  Beth was one of the 'seniors' in the group- a bit older than the early twenty-somethings of the rest of us (except Mr Doty) and she had more military experience than most of the cadre we had.  Being a former DI, she knew regs frontwards, backwards, sideways and every other ways.  Carried herself that way too- a consumate soldier.  But she was nervous about the academics involved, and needed some help.  That is where I came in.

We started study groups, meetings, and anything else to get thru the two toughest parts of becoming a Signal Corps officer - math and electronics.  Even now, raising these two subjects runs a chill up my spine.  The EE/ME's in the group laughed it off- differential equations?  Bah, to them.  For those liberal arts majors?  FUGGHEDABOUDIT.  YOUGOTTABEKIDDINGRIGHT?  But, together, we slogged through it.

She, on the other hand, kicked my ass.  Handily.  She asked if I wanted to go running with her on the 2d day of class.  Me, fresh out of college and the PT scores to prove it, thought she was joking.  See, Beth was a machine.  Tough, strong (but extremely good looking and attractive) she was one of the top Army female runners- OVERALL.  Boston Marathon participant.  Could set a pace and keep it for weeks.  Sprinter?  Not a chance.  Do a Forrest Gump across the US?  Let's start now.  But, she promised to 'hold back' and help me train up.  That, she sure as hell did. 

By the end of the course, nearly 6 months later, I went from chump to champ as far as PT goes- my final run time was a 9:45 for the two miles- 100% of it due to her inspiration and friendship.  And she made it thru all of the tests and coursework- and graduated with the class on time.  It was tough for both of us, but damn, if we didnt' have the best time in the world. 

To this day, I've never forgotten anyone in that course.  My time with Beth was especially unforgettable.  Everyone should have a time in their lives like we had- it can end up defining you.  It certainly did me.

Today, she and her husband live in the Ft. Hood area.  Many of you probably have passed her there.  She's spent time in Iraq, as a civvie, and continues to support troops to this day.  She still runs (even did a marathon in Kirkuk, of all places!) which shames me no end.  I ran my last marathon in 1987 and I'm not about to re-try that at this point.  I'm happy she took my call when her number was passed to me.  And with ONE word, she knew who it was even after all those years.  Good friends never, ever forget...  and I know I won't.

To Jan, Matt, and Jeff- thanks for your help!  Could not have done it without each of you.  You've helped re-connect with an old friend.  For that, you have my most heartfelt thanks.  Thank you!

And to 'Beth'- who I hope is reading this today- here's to never losing touch for 24 years- ever again.  And thank you for YOUR support of the troops. 

Bless you all!


p.s. - still working on locating the other two (Craig and Jeff).  Seems the phones are not the way to do it; and the emails listed are either not monitored, or getting thru.  So I'm still trying...




UPDATE 1! Help find some friends...

Solder flag helos

UPDATE 1:  It's incredible.  After 24 years, I've found one of the people mentioned below.  I'm not going to say WHICH one, just yet, but I wanted to let you know one has been 'found' and contact made.  AND WHAT A SURPRISE IT WAS.  Just. Incredible.  And it was joyous. 
I"ll go into details soon; I'm still trying to make contact with the other two- we're REALLY close. Keep the info coming- all of it helps.  AND TO THOSE WHO PROVIDED INFO- THANK YOU!

ORIGINAL POST: Well, I've been thinking about this post for some time.  Knowing the power of the internetsington, I need to post a small request.  I'm not gonna use Classmates or Find-A-Friend or any of that stuff, 'cause they just can't work right.

I need some help finding some old compatriots that have fallen off the map long ago.  I'm hoping some of you can at least point me in the right direction.  Or may have served with them.  There are 3 that I'm hoping to get locales on:

1.  Jeffery Bailes- this guy is hard to miss.  He's about 6-ft 3, probably close to 230lbs by now, was bald before bald was bad.  Medic type.  Went to ROTC and Airborne with me, but left ROTC before commissioning.  Went active duty before I was graduated. Not sure of his first assignment, but I believe it was Germany.  But could be wrong.  This would have been '85 til later time frame.  I would believe he was a lifer.  From Ohio

2.  Craig Reardon-  or Riordan.  Don't remember exact spelling.  Jungle Expert badge, wanted to go Public Affairs before even I knew what it was.  SoCal guy- and TOTALLY SoCal.  Skinny, but tough.  Went thru some 'training' in Ft Lewis with me.  

3.  Elizabeth Peto - last but not least.  OBC together- best of friends.  Signal, former DI, and top marathon runner.  Had a married name of Rickel at one point.  Went to Signal Bn in Germany, and lost touch after a year there.  Hungarian.  One tough chick.  She still owes me a pull-ring off my reserve parachute.  I'll tell that story someday.  Oh, her Hungarian name was Erzike.  Muffed ABN school due to heights issues.

If anyone has served, or heard of them, write me at at the gmail dot com address. 

Blog World Military Track Sneak Peek

Okay, a while back I announced that pre-registration for the free military track memberships to this year's Blog World and New Media Expo was underway.  I want to urge you to pre-register even if you are just thinking about it as we may have a surprise or two to announce, and space will be limited.  This offer is open to all current serving members of the armed forces and all veterans. 

The first thing I'm very happy to announce is that Greyhawk has agreed to be the host/MC for the military track.  Having a voice and face for radio, I am very glad to have him agree to do this.  We are very lucky to have someone of his experience do this.  

Second, here is a small sneak peak at some of what we have planned:

Panel 1: Surprise for now
Panel 2: Social Media: Force Multiplier for Spouses?
Panel 3: Media and the Military: Myth versus Reality
Panel 4: Ideal versus Field: Social and New Media In Less Than The Best Circumstances
Yeah, we are still working on that last title…

A quick hint for now, since BWE is all about reaching new audiences, we just confirmed a significant outside participant for Panel 4.  I will also hint that a very interesting science fiction writer has agreed to be on Panel 3.  

I'm pleased to announce the spouse panel put together by Cassy Fiano, who took on the job and had it done in less than a day. It has been a true pleasure to work with her on this. 

Social Media:  Force Multiplier for Spouses?
New and Social media have changed how spouses communicate with each other and share information within their companies and with other groups. It also is changing how spouses cope with the stresses of being separated and with having their other halves in harm's way.  Join spouse blogger and journalist Cassy Fiano, journalist and commentator Melissa Clothier, and spouse blogger Cassandra of Villanous Company as they explore how changes in media and technology are changing the world of spouse blogging.

There is more to come.  In fact, if some things work out, much more to come.  This is a great time and way to learn more about new and social media, meet new people, meet up with friends, and have a good time doing it.  We do hope to see you there!