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July 2004

Military News

I'm finally getting through the backlog of email from last week. Each of these could warrant a post in their own right. Thanks to all for sending these military stories, editorials and profiles our way.

First, Scott M. sends this great piece written by Col Shaw, USMC - Farewell to the Corps. It's both a critical and faithful look at the status of our military.

Frank D. at He That Shall Live That Day links to a great article about a ROTC Cadet's near meeting with Jesus at Airborne School.

Michael G. sends these posts in a new series in the New York Post - American Heroes.

Geeklethal from the Ministry of Minor Perfidy tells us about the NEA's effort to get returning combat veterans to share their stories - Operation Homecoming.

This great story was sent by Darla. Marine Lieutenant who was wounded in Iraq and recovering at Pendleton greets his unit - the men who saved his life - as they return home. The story of the heroism of the Marines that day was featured on Blackfive as Showdown - Part 3.

Tanker Schreiber sends this awesome story about a descendent of Wild Bill Hickock's family and the modern day Cavalry in Iraq. If you ain't Cav....

Tanker Schreiber also sends this interesting article in FrontPage - Of Afghan Girl Schools and American Allies

James at Right Face! posts about a Marine who made the ultimate sacrifice and looks into some other sacrifices the Marine made to be with his Marines.

Jeff Quinton at Backcountry Conservative has a post about Sailors On The Ground In Iraq.

Scott A. sends this excellent NY Times Op-Ed by Nathanile Fick, former Marine Officer - Don't Dumb Down The Military - about Military Personnel Strength issues around a draft or volunteer force.

How about some good news? While not purely military, Arthur Chrenkoff has Part 6 of his Good News From Iraq series and it's worth your time to read.


Voting With Your Wallet

While I haven't read Hugh Hewitt's book - "If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat" - I skimmed through a friend's copy. While I'm probably butchering Hugh's intent, I remember skimming a chapter about supporting people with values similar to yours by buying their products, services, etc. (books, too!) - it's about changing your behavior to reflect your beliefs and to make an impact.

Today on Hugh's blog, there was this great reminder:

Michael Moore has sent an "open letter" to the Aladdin Casino and Hotel. I am now a lifetime customer of the Aladdin. Stay at the Aladdin and send a message to Michael Moore. Now, if the hotel's president tells Moore to pound sand, I'll make a special trip over to salute the establishment.

America's Casino: The Aladdin!

I'll be in Las Vegas in January and I'm changing my team's reservations to the Aladdin.

See how easy that is.


Thundering Third - Marines Fight On Through Tragedy To Victory

This is a must read letter from Iraq.

I have been graced with the privilege to be included in the group that receives emails from the Thundering Third Commander, LtCol Willy Buhl. Over the next few months, we'll have a record from news reports and emails from the Marines about their experiences in Iraq. Previous Thundering Third Posts are here (June 24) and here (July 3).

Unfortunately, the Thundering Third was hit with a staggering loss. Even so, they continue to mount successful mission after successful mission. The Thundering Third Rocks!

It's a long letter. So sit down, grab a cup of coffee and read about what our Marines are doing in Iraq.

Continue reading "Thundering Third - Marines Fight On Through Tragedy To Victory" »


Soon To Win The Darwin Award - Thief Robs Home Of Marine KIA

John Donovan has the scoop on a thief that robbed a Marine KIA's house DURING THE FUNERAL.

I sincerely hope that he is walking around in the Marine's utilities and some Devil Dog catches up with him.


Home of Marine killed in Iraq robbed during funeral
Associated Press

BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — The apartment of a Marine reservist killed in Iraq was robbed this week while family members were preparing for his funeral, police said. Cpl. John Todd, 25, was killed last month when a roadside bomb exploded. Two other Marines were also killed in the attack.

Todd’s family was getting ready for his funeral on Wednesday when a thief, who apparently was aware of the funeral, broke into Todd’s apartment, ransacked it and stole his computer, police said.

Police in Bridgeport said the theft remained under investigation Thursday.

I hope some Pennsylvania Marines catch up with this guy before the police do...

Update: Joe Foo' The Marine comments that they already caught the guys. Too bad some Marines didn't get to them first...


The Privilege Of Being An American Dad

Tonight, I was giving my three year old monster, Little Blackfive, his bath. The routine is the same. He puts in the bubble bath (Cookie Monster Watermelon) and tests the temperature.

"Okay, Daddy."

Then, he hops in. Between bubble fights, ship wrecks, and ear washing, we talk about his day at pre-school. He went to Lincoln Park Zoo today and declared the Monkeys to be his favorite (Sorry Frank - last time it was the Lions, I swear).

When we're through, he stands up. I hold out my arms to pick him up. Instead of letting me pick him up out of the tub, he gets a glint in his eyes. He jumps up and puts his arms around my neck...completely soaking me.

We both laugh like crazy as I towel off his head. Then, I stop. Little Blackfive pats my arm to make sure everything is okay.

I couldn't stop thinking how lucky I was to have men and women fighting for this country all over the world so that I could be there getting soaked by my three year old comedian.

One soldier in particular was in my thoughts tonight...Thank you, Sgt. Hook. You and your family are in our prayers.


Aide To Whom?

Sandy Berger - who does he work for?

Today, the headlines read Clinton Aide Investigated on Terror Memos or Clinton Adivsor Probed.

But, I ask you, isn't Sandy Berger a former advisor to Bill Clinton?

And, isn't Sandy Berger Senator Kerry's foreign policy advisor now?

I know it's just a verb-tense issue, but the media is really showing it's hand here. Those headlines should have read:

Kerry Advisor Probed

Foreign Outsourcing As A Stock Indicator

I was one of the very first AOL customers, and I left them 11 months ago because of the horrible service I received from their call center in India. Basically, they claimed that I signed up for a new service (which I didn't), and, then, in a nasty tone, told me that my wife or kids must have signed up for the service. And they wouldn't reverse the charges or credit me more than 10% of the cost. I wasn't the only one who jumped ship over this issue.

My Technology Department is not outsourced. My view is that, if you don't believe in or activley support your organization's mission, then you ought to be outsourced (I'm talking about an EDS or Accenture). But outsourcing overseas is a bit different. The hidden costs will end up burying the conversion. For instance, the CFO might love the idea as a cost-saving measure, but, if they really knew about the internal costs and risk factors - like customers, time, labor, and PR - they might think otherwise.

I am getting ready to fire several companies that outsource support to India. Computer Associates and Veritas are the two that have outsourced their tech support to India. Today, my Disaster Recovery Manager told me about a late night call to India where he was berated and cursed at for calling about a Veritas problem. This is not the first time that this has happened. It's going to be the last.

I'm not giving these companies another chance. I'm not a customer tyrant, but, to me, good customer service is absolutely not up for negotiation. My company paid for support. I'm looking at other options.

I think that outsourcing code development might work if you tightly control the project (set and measure goals, communication protocols, etc.), but that might make it a lot less cost effective - especially, in gearing up the partnership.

I'm at the point now where, if I read about another company that is outsourcing a significant part of it's core business, I just might SHORT a lot of it's stock.

What's riskier - me betting on a bad outsourcing move or companies risking their customer base?


Help Solve A Murder

Melissa sent me an email to alert me to a special call out to the Blogosphere. Blogger Mark O'Brien's son, Burke, was murdered a year ago. The murder remains unsolved.

Mark started a blog to bring attention to the crime, to gain help in finding the killer(s), and to increase the reward.

The New York Post recently featured an article about Burke and Mark's quest to find the killer(s).

Here's where you can help. NYPD 24/7 is featuring the story TONIGHT - go here for times and channels (ABC).

Please spread the word and get as many people as you can to watch it. The more people who know about this case, the more eyes and ears Mark will have to help bring the killers to justice. As Melissa wrote to me, "The only real hope of solving this case is someone coming forward with new information. And you just never know where it will come from."

Melissa also pointed a link to Michele at A Small Victory who has a post about it.

Update: The toughest part of watching this show, for me, was the detective talking to Mark about how the identifcation of Burke's remains will occur. Not only was it tough for Mark, but it obviously affected the detective as well. I sure hope they catch the killer.