"Not the victory but the action. Not the goal but the game.
In the deed the glory."

Monday, June 26, 2006

Convoy Operations

Being a paralegal doesn't allow for many job related stories. The guys were joking with me the other day that I should take my camera along to my next Article 15 hearing. An Article 15 is a minor disciplinary procedure for when Joe gets in trouble. (Joe is the generic name we use for all of the soldiers, i.e. I wonder if Joe knows that he needs to turn in his travel vouchers or I bet Joe is really sweating out at the ECP today). They can be for relatively minor offenses as showing up late for work or talking back to an NCO or officer (in the Army you can lose pay for this) or more major offenses such as going AWOL for a day or two or getting into a fight (you can lose rank and pay for something like this). It is basically something that can be done quickly at the unit level and avoid the more time consuming process of doing a court-martial. So, the joke was that I would take some pictures of the Joe at his "hearing" and post it on my next blog. Maybe take an action shot or two. Obviously that wouldn't be appropriate, so I am again writing about the exciting things that others do.

Here are some pics of a recent excursion by some of the guys in our section. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that some of the soldiers in our S1 (personnel) section are not desk jockeys by trade. SPC Benes and SPC Burnham are 88M (truck driver) and SFC Kerchal has I think more different MOSs than I have owned crappy cars. The ones that I know of are Cav Scout, Truck Driver, Tanker, and his latest, Personnel SGT, which I think is deep down his favorite. By nature of their other talents they get tasked with some missions outside of the day to day excitement of sending emails, answering the phone, and typing memos. Recently, they dropped off 2 vehicles to get some work done on them, and last week they went to go pick them up. They were lucky enough to get 2 brand new FMTVs to drive, I think they said they only had 50 some miles on them. The Hammer and I took a little road trip out to see them off and get some pics for the blog.

SSG Grams, SPC Benes, and SFC Kerchal relaxing before the mission on the back of the empty flatbed. SSG Grams works in the S4 (logistics section) which is the office right next to ours. The S1 and the S4 are the 2 best staff sections, according to me.
The brand new FMTV. This thing has all of the bells and whistles. 6 CD Stereo Changer, GPS, HUD display, power seats, DVD player, cooler stocked with cold beer, and navigation system. Well not really but it did have AC. You will notice the cool effect on the pic that I like to call "Finger over the lens." I liked it so much on this shot that I used it again later. Blogger tip, you can click on the photos to enlarge them.
The gun trucks that would escort the convoy. These guys are awesome!
Civilian semis lined up waiting for a convoy. It is unbelievable how many trucks there are out here, they are lined up 10 across and I would guess 2-3 miles deep just waiting for an escort to take them where they need to go.
SFC Monte Kerchal getting ready to roll out. He is the Senior Personnel Sergeant for the Cav for this deployment which means he is charge of our section. He made me do pushups a few days ago (my first as a Sergeant and actually the first of this deployment somehow) for skipping a few levels of the chain of command. I am lucky to work in a session with a great bunch of guys, we all have a good time for the most part and get along really well.

SPC Benes at the wheel. Not quite as exciting as getting the mail, but he is still smiling. The trip went by without incident and the boys are back to fight another day in the high stakes world of Army admin.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Flying Squirrel

This is a recent picture of Mr. Benjamin. He is watching his favorite TV show, Clifford. He is spending the weekend with grandma Angie in Lincoln so I'm looking forward to some action shots from his exciting weekend.
So, for those of you that think that being an admin guy isn't dangerous, check out SGT Hanseling's shiner. Here is what happened. One of the unit First Sergeants got a little upset about how many R&R leave slots he was allocated for July. The Hammer had to break the bad news that his number was final, and sorry he couldn't have another one. So 1SG May (he is from New Jersey by the way) just hauls off and punches him in the face. Ouch. We all laughed, because, come on, what is funnier than seeing someone else get injured. Okay, that isn't what really happened. The real story is that the Hammer was walking back from the PX late at night. A group of soldiers from another unit surrounded him and tried to take his brand new DVD of Season 1 of Chaotic starring Brittney Spears and K-Fed. No way was the Hammer going to let that happen. There was five of them, well there were 8 but he had already killed 3 with his bare hands, when he got caught with a lucky punch to the eye. Luckily the Air Force MPs broke it up before the other 5 were hurt too badly. Well, maybe that isn't the truth either. Take a close look at the picture.

The story we are being sold is that he was doing his signature move off the high tower, the "Flying squirrel." Some of you may know this as the watermelon. Anyway, something went horribly wrong on impact and the scenario is that somehow his knee hit him in the eye. Now, I've seen him do this before with no issues, so I'm thinking that there may be more to the story. An alternate theory is that there was indeed a flying squirrel involved, however the black eye came from some gal that he somehow offended. I think I'll leave it at that. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Beat Your Face!

It has been a busy week so I haven't had any time to update the blog. I can't really go into details but I had a pretty significant legal proceeding this week that just wrapped up today. It has taken most of my free time and unfortunately the old blog was the first thing to go. Now that this is behind me it should hopefully get things back to somewhat normal. Normal as in busy enough to always have 2 or 3 things going on but still able to have some free time to hit the gym and watch movies.

After a lot of hard work by Chief Regan, SFC Kerchal, and SSG Johnson, my promotion came through this week. I am now a member of the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) corps, also known as a Sergeant. There are many benefits to being an NCO. More money (not a ton but a little), a little more respect, and you can make the junior enlisted do pushups (look out Benes, Burnham, and Fleck!). Unfortunately, there are also more responsibilities. I have a weekly meeting I have to go to now, and I can't use the excuse anymore that I'm just a Specialist, which was one of my favorites when I wanted to get out of doing something. All in all it is a good thing and I'm excited.
Our First Sergeant, the senior NCO for the HQ Troop, is big on doing promotions in front of the whole unit. This is me reporting to the Troop Commander, CPT Lorenz. SFC Kerchal, the NCOIC of my section is in the background. In the far background you can see SGT Hanseling, but can't tell that he has a blackeye due to the Oakleys he is wearing. More on that to follow later.
My last salute (hopefully!) as a Spec 4.
It is official! The Commander does the easy rank on the chest, which is velcro. SFC Kerchal did the one on the patrol cap which is a little but tougher. This is SSG Johnson's old rank, there is no E5 rank to be found anywhere on post. He had to make the chevron on my hat from an E6 rank by cutting off the "rocker" which is what separates the E5 and E6. Score one for Army ingenuity.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


We are always looking for something fun and interesting to pass the time over here when we aren't working. One of those "hobbies" is throwing tomahawks. The first Cav scouts were American Indians, so they are part of the history of the Cavalry. Major Teegerstrom (aka Tigerstroke), the Squadron Executive Officer, is the ringleader of the tomahawk posse. I finally broke down and put an order in for one and have joined the group. Saturday night was originally slated for Cigar and Stetson night (more on that later), but has grown to include a tomahawk challenge as well. The group gathers together and plays a game of HORSE. There are a variety of different trick shots, however, the winners usually are the guys that consistently put a tomahawk on the target from the standard line. I didn't fare so well in the first week. After much practice during the week, I unfortunately cracked under the pressure and went 0 for 5 for a quick exit. There was much heckling and trash talking from the more experienced tomahawk throwers and I folded like a cheap suit. The only positive was that Mr. Regan (aka Big Chief) didn't take home the gold. For those of you that know Big Chief, he tends to get a little bit excited when he is the champ, and everyone gets to hear about it all week. MAJ Tigerstroke narrowly defeated MSG Arner (aka The Fairbury Flash) in a match that was fought to the bitter end. Here is the range:

Me in action.
A nice toss!

SGT Hanseling also posted some good pics of the range. You can check out his post here. You will notice that great minds think alike!

Friday, June 09, 2006

He Who Controls the Mail, Controls Information

My normal job is pretty boring. While it has some perks, the day to day work is not all that exciting. A few times a week I get roped into helping out with the mail operations. Our section is responsible for getting all of the mail for the Squadron picked up, sorted, and delivered. It may not seem like a big task, but with the amount of soldiers that we have it takes a good chunk of time. SPC Benes and SPC Burnham are the primary mail orderlies, it is their job to make sure everything is running smoothly. They are both great guys and go about this sometime thankless job with a good attitude. For some reason, everyone seems to think that if they let the mail clerk know they have a package coming it will get here faster. The conversation usually goes like this:

Joe Soldier: Hey, beans (Benes nickname), have you seen a a package for me yet?
Beans: Umm, no, if it was here you have it by now, we pass out everything every day.
Joe Soldier: But my wife/girlfriend/mom/aunt/etc mailed it 5 days a go, it should be here by now. Are you sure?
Beans: Yes.
Joe Soldier: Well, it was sent in a white box about yea big (soldier describes the standard rate box that we get about 100 of every day). Will you keep an eye out for it?
Beans: Sure, I would love to.

Of course there really is no looking out for any packages, but it is always good to keep the joes happy.

Here is the JMMT. Not sure what that stands for, but I'm pretty sure the J is for Joint and one of the Ms is for Mail. Other than that you are on your own.

A Blackhawk in the process of taking off.

This is our mail truck. It is an up-armored LMTV (Light Medium Tactical Vehicle). It seats 3 comfortably with room for a .50 cal on the turret.

Another shot of the truck. Benes and Burnham are both 88Mikes (truck drivers) in the Guard so they have no problem driving this bad boy around. Burnham and Benes are both college students when back at home in Lincoln.

Empty back end of the truck. We took out the seats to open up some more room. The fork lift drivers aren't always the best so the extra room helps.

Our mail on the loading dock. They load it with a fork lift. The normal day we pick up around 4 pallets full. The forklift gives me bad memories of my "sentence" at Fleming foods.

Okay, I skipped a few steps. The forklift puts it on the back of the LMTV. We then haul it back to our building, with a stop on the way to drop off/pick up our laundry at KBR. Another thankless job that the mail guys do without complaining. At least they don't complain in front of anyone. Once we get back to our building we then pull it off by hand and carry it to the mail room. We also have a forklift to unload it, but it is currently not working so we just haul it by hand. It gets a little mundane, but we try to recruit help so it goes fast. The worst job is being in the truck, you end up bending over picking up every package for 30 minutes, not so good on the back. Usually we let SPC Burnham stay in the truck, he is only about 5'6" so it isn't quite so bad on him.

Here are the stars of the show, Birdman (l) and Beans (r) in the mailroom. Another successful mission complete in the S1 world.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Iraq is Hot so I Reenlisted

The heat must be getting to my brain, because I voluntarily extended my enlistment in the Nebraska National Guard on Saturday. This is a picture of my commander, CPT Lorenz, sweating, oops I mean swearing, me in. The oath is as follows: I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the State of Nebraska against all enemies foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegience to the same, and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the Govenor of Nebrask and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to law and regulations. So help me God. I've said the oath before, but it definitely carries more meaning when I am actually doing my part to defend our great country.

Benjamin got his first semi-black eye. I guess there was some sort of an accident with some tupperware. If he is anything like his dad he will have lots more cuts and bruises where that came from. Here is a recent picture of him playing with a block. The report I got was that he carried this block around all day in his mouth.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Husker Flag is Flying Again

We are back in business! We will not be intimidated by common thugs and thieves that stole the original flag. This flag is courtesy of my brother, it is again flying proudly over LSA Anaconda. Instead of posting snipers, we are taking it down every night before we leave. We don't think anyone will try to take it in the daytime.

In the front right you can see a relic from the Iraqi Army. There is an anti-aircraft gun that has been restored. It is really in good shape.