file under "things that need to be said..."
As you may have noticed, Grim is home from Iraq. Be sure to welcome home the smartest guy in the Blackfive Wardroom. We have two authors there now.
I took my last final exams (ever) today. For those who don't know, I have been in the Executive MBA program of the University of Illinois for the last 20 months. I never thought that I would have one masters degree, let alone two. The program is excellent and I have really gotten a lot out of it already. If you are a Illinois vet, you should seriously consider applying to the program.
My project/study team has been the best part of it. After the first four months, we were working on a case study paper and one member of our group (an Active Duty LTC - aviator) remarked that when he used to fly his Kiowa over Zahku years and years ago, there was a Lieutenant who would walk out of the OPS tent and flip the aviators the bird (The lieutenant, apparently, was resentful that the aviators never threw a coke down to him. He muttered his rationale, "you could at least drop a bag of @#$%ing gummi bears..."). He asked if it was me.
Monday will be a tough day for both of us...(stay tuned)...
I've stated before that we (military people) are all connected by about 2 degrees of separation. Via Blackfive, I wrote a story about another member of our team two years previously and had never met him until we both applied to the program. My six man study team has five honest-to-goodness heroes on it and I was lucky to have those guys to lean on over the last two years (The Blog of War was launched the same day that we all began the program).
Yes, Jawn Carry is a complete douchebag for, among other things, suggesting that you join the military when you run out of options. We are the poster children to counter his argument.
Illinois has some of the best veteran benefits of any state. Particularly, the $75,000 program that I am in has been paid for simply because I left Illinois to serve my country and I returned to Illinois after my service. No GI Bill was used. If you want to know more on how this all came about, John Ruberry has been reporting about how vets are treated by the University. If it wasn't for Robert Van der Hooning, I never would have had this amazing opportunity.
Also, I need to mention that our Lieutenant Governor, Pat Quinn, is one of the strongest supporters of veterans I have ever heard of. He is legendary among the active, guard, reserve and retired military in this state for his unwavering support . BTW, he's a Democrat.
Last, I will be out for a few weeks with not much internet access. Not going anywhere very dangerous, but it's not exactly a place known for it's openness and freedom of speech. I have some things to take care of...
"Okay, I get the picture! White Tigers, Lords of Death, guys in funny suits throwing plastic explosives while poison arrows fall from the sky and the pillars of heaven shake, huh? Sure, okay, I see Charlie Chan, Fu Manchu and a hundred howlin' monkey temples, and that's just for starters, right? Fine! I'm back! I'm ready, goddammit, let me at 'em!"