Thursday, April 30, 2009


I'm one very Lucky Leprechaun. Yesterday my colleagues put together a potluck farewell lunch, including some of the very best homemade BBQ this side of Texas... One of the toughest parts about deploying is leaving my colleagues behind for 14 months. They are great to work with, and several have become very close friends. (I am also blessed with the best boss possible, though he has seriously threatened to kick my ass should any mishaps befall me "over there".)

Anyway, thanks very much for your kind words and expressions of support. It means more to me than mere words can adequately convey.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Alter-Ego

One of my friends initially mis-read the blog name, and christened me "The Fighting Pelican". It becomes slightly less of a misnomer when you look at this recent photo of me taken during an airboat ride in the Florida Everglades...
Leprechaun or Pelican, we're both "Army Strong"!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

So, What's a "CID Agent" anyway?

When folks learn that I'm deploying, one of their first questions is, "What kind of job will you be doing over there?"  The answer, "CID Special Agent", usually produces a polite "Huh?" from the non-Army people. Since most people relate to TV shows, I ask if they watch "NCIS" (starring Mark Harmon, on the CBS television network!), and say that is kind of what I'll be doing, but without the gorgeous Israeli agent, tattooed goth forensics genius, or the truly annoying Agent DeNozo...which rhymes with "Bozo" for good reason.  Anyway, for those of you who don't watch the show, or prefer to know the reality-based answer, we are responsible for investigating felony-level crimes (i.e. death investigations, sexual assaults, major theft and fraud, drug sales)  alleged to have been committed by Army people, including soldiers and contractors. We support the forensics labs with evidence collection, and also can provide security for high-ranking Army and Pentagon officials. I've included a photo showing a deployed CID Special Agent. (you can tell by the "CID" patch on the left shoulder, and the "U.S." patch on the chest where there is normally a rank insignia...most of us don't wear insignia so that we can interview soldiers of higher and lower rank without that ol' hierarchy thing getting in the way.) Yes, the cool shades are issued, and he's undoubtedly humming, "Flight of the Valkyries"...

Friday, April 24, 2009

What Time Is The Noon Formation?

For those of you fellow geezer-warriors out there who may be wondering about what the Army of 2009 is like compared to the 1970s version:
1. Today's soldier seems to be generally more literate and aware of the world. (Internet, maybe?)
2. The same dumb stuff that happened on a regular basis still occurs, but less-frequently. (But those that have been deployed say, "Just wait 'til we get in-country!")
3. If I'd had one of those cool new hand-held GPS units back in 1977, I wouldn't have been known as the "most frequently-lost tank platoon leader in USAREUR". (US Army Europe)
4. NCOs still run the Army, and generally do it extremely well.
5. "HOOAH" is quite possibly the most ubiquitous exclamation the Army has ever had...but I feel a little guilty using it because it feels like it's stealing from the Rangers and the Marines. 
6. The proliferation of black berets makes me feel like I'm back at Fort Knox, circa 1976.
7. The biggest disadvantage to the new Army Combat Uniform (ACU) is its many different pockets. (There's eleven of 'em!) At my age, I have a hard time remembering where I put stuff.
8. Old guys telling war stories of Cold War or earlier vintage still causes younger troops' eyes to rapidly glaze over.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Long-Time Reader, First-Time Blogger

Greetings! This is the vehicle I plan to use to keep in touch with my friends, family, and colleagues while I'm deployed to Iraq. For security reasons, I won't be posting any personal identification information here, but that shouldn't detract from the story.
My "shakedown cruise" will be blogging from RTC-North while my unit undergoes the first stint of combat refresher training. Learning to operate armored Hummers, and engaging in hand-to-hand combat training without sustaining disabling injuries are two of the more challenging items on our itinerary.
Anyway, it should be a fun-filled 14 months, so please visit regularly, and feel free to make lots of comments!