Thursday, January 28, 2010

Watch This!

Every so often I have an Andy Rooney-like moment. Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to replace the batteries in watches? Jewelry stores don't do it anymore. If you try replacing 'em yourself, the watch usually has some kind of short circuit. I have about 6 decent watches here in my dresser drawer with dead batteries, and one dead watch which I apparently fried when replacing the battery. (I keep that one as a reminder not to try and replace any more batteries.) It must be a conspiracy by the watch manufacturers, so that we have to buy a new watch each time, instead of just keeping our old ones. 

Monday, January 18, 2010

Gray Eagles

This is a very special film. I dedicate it to SSG Donald E. Hall, USAAC, (B-24 gunner) and to my late friend, TSgt Steve Bisson, USAF.

Monday, January 11, 2010

What Does a Redundant Pirate Say?

Arrrrrrrrr and Arrrrrrrrrr! That's right, friends, Your Fighting Leprechaun has finally reached that magic date for some time stateside. Don't expect any blog entries until next month. In the meantime, see if you can find me in the drawing above. Cheers!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

This is My Bunker!

This bunker may look pretty ordinary to the uninitiated, but when it comes to a structure that's the only thing between me and a mortar shell or rocket, there are some key features which make this particular bunker a cut above the rest. Take note of the TRIPLE layers of sandbags on the top and front, which add a substantial enhancement to its protective capability. This bunker also is bigger than the others, so instead of saying we were "cowering in a bunker", now we're just enjoying a "Personal Protective Party" with 15 of our closest Battle Buddies! Finally, many of the other "no frills" bunkers lack the walls at the entrances, but not this beauty! These entrance walls also provide a measure of privacy. (See previous post, "Bunker Boinkery" for why some find that important...but not for me, man!)
I was not expecting an opportunity anytime soon to try this baby out under "real" conditions, but the opposition must've known I was looking forward to a test drive, as they delivered a rather abrupt wake-up call this morning. I definitely didn't require any coffee afterward. By the way, it is possible to sprint at full speed while wearing "Crocs" shower shoes...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cavalry Combat Creativity

As a former cavalryman, I have enjoyed supporting the First Cavalry Division, also known as the Multi-National Division, Baghdad. They just can't help bringing a bit of dash and elan' everywhere they go. One of their chaplains rewrote an old folk tune which the 1st Cav Public Affairs folks turned into a music video...No, it's not "Iraq and Roll" music, but I think it pretty well sums up what life here is like. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Farewell, Aunt Barbara

I've been lucky to have some pretty great aunts...(not meaning Great Aunts who were pretty, though the only Great Aunts I dimly recall meeting as a little kid may or may not have been pretty...but that's all irrelevant.)...and one of them recently left us. Aunt Barbara was one of our "fun relatives", with a perpetual twinkle in her eye, a gravel voice thanks to countless cigarettes, and a great sense of family. Her home was always filled with warmth and love, and a small measure of barely-controlled exuberance at all times. There's laughter in Heaven tonight...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

In Memoriam: Deputy Kent Mundell

Right now in Tacoma, Washington, a brave sheriff's deputy, and by all accounts a very good man, is being honored by his colleagues and his community. Even as far away as I am from the ceremony, there are echoes of October, 1995 in my heart. To my Honor Guard compatriots still serving, I'm rendering the slow salute along with you tonight. R.I.P. Deputy Mundell.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Not Your Typical New Year's Eve

Back home, the usual SOP for celebrating New Year's Eve has been to go out for an early dinner with long-time friends, then crawling into bed no later than one minute after midnight. Yep, my spousal unit and I are pretty much the definition of "Party Animals". So, after a long, full day of work, I was prepared to happily retire to my CHU with a slice of North End pizza and a cold bottle of O' Doul's, and call it an early night. I was running out of gas real fast, and I was finishing up with my Facebook page when WHAMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!, there was a great explosion outside, the concussion toppling the paperback books I had stacked on my desk. Like a startled prairie dog, I popped open my door, seeing everyone else down the row doing the same thing. Then the "Big Giant Voice" loudspeaker broadcast the indirect fire warning (Better late than never, eh?), "BWAH! BWAH! BWAH!...INCOMING! INCOMING! INCOMING!" Knowing that these "Special Holiday Gifts" from our adversaries usually come in multiples, we all sprinted for the nearest bunkers. Once esconced inside, there was the usual joking that comes from being under enemy fire...anything to take our minds off the situation. In my bunker, we had an easy conversation starter...commenting on the variety of pajamas which folks were wearing. There were soldiers wearing Mickey Mouse PJs, Philadelphia Eagles PJs (ironically, worn by a guy named "PJ", who isn't from anywhere near Pennsylvania), "Barbie" PJs...(I didn't ask the dude where he got those, or why he chose to wear 'em, as he was much bigger than me.), and my boss was clad in PJs with one of the 7 Dwarfs, "Grumpy", gamboling about the fabric. You can bet I'm saving up that fact for use later...

There were three more salvos of projectiles before the Giant Voice rasped, "All Clear!" (I believe the Army hired Ernest Borgnine to record these announcements.) We all wandered back to our respective CHUs...I confess in my case it wasn't for a good night's sleep, as the combination of adrenaline and plain old scaredy-cat nerves kept me up until dawn. Fortunately, New Year's Day was pretty quiet, with no investigations requiring me to be anything approaching fully alert.

The good news was two-fold: Nobody on our base got hurt, nothing vital was damaged...and the Other Team was sacked for a big loss of yardage on the play, and will be "out" for the rest of the season. (A football analogy is much more likely to pass the censor's review...but you get my drift!)
One postscript: A few days later, I was leaving my CHU, headed to work, when a giant tractor-trailer rig pulled up just outside our housing block. A sergeant wearing a combat engineer unit patch hopped out of the cab and motioned to me. "Say, d'ya have any idea where this new bunker is s'posed to be located?", he asked. I glanced up at the nice, extra thick preformed reinforced concrete bunker and huge stack of filled sandbags on the trailer, pretended to consult my pocket notebook, then pointed to a vacant spot about 20 feet from my door. "Why, right there, sergeant!" I replied with what I hoped was a straight face. "Thanks, sir!" the sergeant shouted, and I briskly strode away. By the time I got back from the office 14 hours later, there was the Taj Mahal of bunkers...minus a cot and carton of condoms, of course...just a few steps from our unit's billets. I'm still half-expecting to get a call from the MPs, asking us to investigate the theft of the Commanding General's bunker, but so far, so good! Now, all that remains is to see if I can stretch my TV cable all the way out there...just in case we get attacked during the Texas-Alabama game, or even worse, the Super Bowl.