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November 2007

Marines Help Deliver Aid To Bangladeshis


Bangladeshi military personnel take charge of a shipment of bottled water delivered by U.S. Marine helicopter crews from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, embarked with the USS Kearsarge, in Parisol, Bangladesh, Nov. 23, 2007. Photo by Cpl. Peter R. Miller, USMC.


Bangladeshi citizens receive aid in hard to reach areas of southern Bangladesh. The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge and elements of Amphibious Squadron 8 and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived off the coast of Bangladesh Nov. 23 to support ongoing disaster relief operations following Cyclone Sidr.    U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ezekiel R. Kitandwe.


Out Of The Darkness


While, as Michael Yon notes, there is a need for caution, much of Iraq appears to be coming out of the darkness of more than 17 years of pretty much continual warfare. The enemy helmets that make up monuments and speed bumps at the main Baghdad parade ground didn't get there via E-Bay...

This photo, to me, captures a lot of what I saw while in West Rasheed. A group of people working together to make something new and better out of what was. In this case, a new joint patrol/police station with discussions on what it would take, what would be where, and how it would all get done. I hope the subtle shading shows up here for you. There is more coming, for the tale of West Rasheed is one that needs to be told as it was an integral part of the progress in Baghdad -- and still is. It is also a barometer, IMO, for how things are going. More soon, but meantime, enjoy the photo.


SPC Christopher Hoyt - Someone You Should Know

    "He said he wasn’t finished. He said, ‘I still have a job to do.’ I’ve never seen the like.”  - Lt. Col. Mark Landes talking about Spc. Christopher Hoyt, an infantryman with 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.


Soldier Re-enlists Hours After IED Injury
Story and Photo by Staff Sgt. Russell Bassett

A U.S. Soldier re-enlisted in the Army just hours after being seriously wounded in an improvised explosive attack near Zaganiyah, Iraq, Nov. 13.

Spc. Christopher Hoyt, an infantryman with 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division from Fort Lewis, Wash., suffered severe laceration to his legs and torso when an IED went off near him while conducting a dismounted patrol. Two of his fellow Soldiers were killed in the attack.

Hoyt was rushed to the emergency room at Logistical Support Area Anaconda, where he decided to re-enlist for four more years in the Army.

“He said he wasn’t finished,” said Hoyt’s battalion commander Lt. Col. Mark Landes, who re-enlisted the Soldier. “He said, ‘I still have a job to do.’ I’ve never seen the like.”

Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell, the brigade’s top non-commissioned officer, was also on hand for Hoyt’s re-enlistment.

“It takes a person of very strong character to go through an incident where another Soldier five feet away was killed and he was severally wounded and still say ‘I believe in what we are doing and I want to stay on the team. I want to support the United States Army and my country.’

“Spc. Hoyt is the epitome of what a Soldier should be,” Troxell continued. “He is a model for what all men and women should be, and that is very patriotic and very selfless.”

Hoyt, whose hometown is Clemente, Calif., is currently recovering in an Army hospital in Germany.

The NFL Gods love the Midwest

UPDATE: Game Bears in OT, woo hoo for Matty O'. Oh and remember the mantra, "Don't kick to Devin Hester".

Matty wondered why no Favre and Packers glory on Thursday, well I was with Ma and Pa and family and we were just happy to get out of a dome alive. 10-1, yeah I'm OK with that.

But what about today, the Vikes ruled, the Bears are proving me right "Never kick to Devin Hester" and other than the Lions needing to be a victim, the Norris division represented. I pick Favre over Romo for Thursday in a shocka.


Yuletide & Gift-giving

Several years ago now, then-Drill Sergeant Rob (now deployed, I believe) posted a piece called "Christmas Ideas for Deployed Soldiers."  I've been reposting a link to it every year for some time at my own blog, because it's a great list.  He divides gifts for soldiers into three price ranges, and then into four categories:  1. Time Savers, 2. Time Wasters, 3. Functional, and 4. Pointy. 

The last category gets special attention:  weapons are always the most honorable of gifts.  No warrior anywhere would be sorry to get a fine fighting knife as a gift.  My favorite custom knifemaker is STEK knives, who seem to sell only on eBay; you can get their selection here.  If you've got other favorites (aside from the ones Sgt. Rob mentioned), feel free to post them.  Myself, I think this entry in 'San Mai III' steel looks good, and can be had on eBay at about the upper range of Rob's category II prices.

For civilians, I had some ideas at my own place; but let's focus on soldiers here.  If you have suggestions, post away.

Holiday Pics- The odd lot

Not the usual turkey and cranberry pics, your best of Madison holiday oddness.

1st we have a very nattily dressed brother carrying a beach umbrella to keep the rain off his duds. I had a chat with him and he was quite friendly and I awarded him, my coolest thing I saw on State St. award which he happily accepted. The pantaloons were tailored camo, the boots ostritch, the hat lambs wool, the vest sueded leather, and the sweater merino wool. Sweet.

Next we have the night before Thanksgiving and the pic is not out of focus, it's really snowing that hard. Our first White Thanksgiving in a while. Hope everyone's family and friends are well, mine are.


General Petraeus Addresses Soldiers At 3rd ID 90th Birthday

    "We're making progress across Iraq.  You see it everyday.  You feel it everyday.  And you know it's true...'cause you're the one that's making the difference." - Major General Rick Lynch, Commanding General of the 3rd Infantry Division, addressing 281 Soldiers re-enlisting on the 3rd ID's 90th Birthday.

I grew up in the 82nd, but I became a leader in the 3d Infantry Division.  Happy Birthday, 3rd ID!  Rock of the Marne!!!


The Dog Face Soldier Song

[(Sing it, CJ!) Ohhhhh....]

I Wouldn't Give A Bean
To Be A Fancy Pants Marine
I'd Rather Be A
Dog Face Soldier Like I Am

I Wouldn't Trade My Old OD's
For All The Navy's Dungarees
For I'm The Walking Pride
Of Uncle Sam

On Army Posters That I Read
It Says "Be All That You Can"
So They're Tearing Me Down
To Build Me Over Again

I'm Just A Dog Face Soldier
With A Rifle On My Shoulder
And I Eat Raw Meat
For Breakfast E'V'RY Day

So Feed Me Ammunition
Keep Me In Third Division
Your Dog Face Soldier's A-Okay

[Information about the term and the song "Dog Face Soldier" click here...]

Thank You, John Howard

A friend when we needed one, John Howard, loses the election in Australia.  Jules Crittenden gets the nod here:

...My take on what it all means?  Nothing good. Howard’s decision to stand with his nation’s allies against undeniable evil ultimately cost him, as Blair’s similar decision cost him. Howard apparently was further hurt by his refusal to set his nation’s interest aside in furtherance of half-baked scientific speculation and worse politics. Then, there was a credit crunch, and the simple fact of being around for 11 years.

All three men, Howard, Blair and Bush, made me proud of my American, Australian and British heritage and relieved that in time of war, we can still produce unselfish, clear-minded leaders of this caliber...

Read the whole post.


On December 1st, 2007, the Cadets of West Point will meet the Midshipmen of Annapolis at M&T Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, for the annual Army-Navy Football Game.

US Army Public Affairs put this clip together of Soldiers around Afghanistan playing catch...

At the end of the day, we're on the same team (just not during the game...).