Saturday, July 04, 2009

Know This

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Usually I write a post and sit on it for at least a week. That has seemed to work out well for me in the past. It allows me to refine it and not be such a slave to the moment. Sometimes they get trashed as a result of that week. This time however, I have ignored my usually prudent methods and am just sending this one straight out.

Someone will be offended.

So in my adventure here with the armed forces of the as yet un-named European country I have become friends with an ex-pat from a different un-named European country. It is a somewhat strange thing to me to get to a point, as this guy did, where your country stops being what it once was, what you want it to be, and you feel the need to move on.

As he put it the politicians took his once great (mostly economically) country and ran it into the ground with leftist policies. His country once was productive and prosperous. Now it is a welfare state where the government controls nearly all aspects of society and the entire country is in steep decline. It is possessed by this attitude that the greater good should be the primary focus of all ventures, public or private. It is absorbed in the mentality that to seek a profit or to be successful is an evil venture that causes the unwashed masses to remain extensively downtrodden and oppressed.

As I am knee deep in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged I see that the country I used to know as America is headed that way. My dad brought up the same sentiment a few months ago at the beginning of all this and I somewhat dismissed the thought as premature and over-reactionary. I'm beginning to agree with him though.

I love America. I have spent the last 15 years of my life in servitude to her and would give my life should she require it. Having said that I see our country on the brink of the point of no return. I fear that this current wave of government expansion as one way, a ratchet type effect so to speak. In other words the wheel can turn to the left but the only hope the right has is to stop the turning for a short time.

I don't mean to sound doom and gloomy but that's how I see it right now. Maybe my perspective is skewed because we are in the midst of it and it's really not all that bad. I can't help but feeling that's not the case.

So I wonder, in five years when it's time to retire will I still see America as beyond hope or will things change? I tell you what, if things keep up like this I could see myself in the same position as my friend here who found himself and his ideals deserted by his own country.

It pains me to face that reality. I hope that it does not come to that. I hope that our country wakes up and elects politicians who believe in the free market and individual responsibility and not ones who's sole measure of experience lies in their ability to give a good speech. As it stands now I could easily see myself moving on and living abroad.

But were would I go? It seems to me that America is the last bastion of conservative principles, and that is rapidly slipping away. Our most liberal politicians would be considered pretty right wing by European standards. Someone once told me that Australia is a pretty conservative place. I haven't looked into it but I know their immigration policies are pretty stringent. A friend told me once that New Zealand, although a haven of social programs, is far enough out of the way and small enough that it's not such a big deal. Not too sure about that one though.

Oh well, the way I see it is America has about 5 years to straighten up and fly right. Otherwise my options are to fight the changes I see or just give up on her altogether. I'd rather not have to make that choice.

Your thoughts?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Ho Hum

As promised folks,

This post by SFC B got me thinking about this tonight. There is so much wrong with this site it's not even funny. I've become somewhat of a connoisseur of the anti-war/recruiting movement's websites since I got into this business. You almost have to. If you pay enough attention to them you will find that the negative (read - call me a baby killer) things people say about you will almost always be right out of the anti-war/recruiting talking points on these websites. For instance watch the news or read a story on RECRUITING and you will almost always hear them refer to it as RECRUITMENT. Maybe it's just me but that word has a much more negative ring to it than "Recruiting."

But anyway what I was getting to was that almost all of their arguments are selfish. You may die. You might not get the college money they promised you. You might not get the job they said you would. etc. etc. etc. Me. Me. Me. Isn't the most important thing about service just that. SERVICE. In my experience as a recruiter most of the people that join do so mainly for that reason. Sure they like the idea of the college money or the skill training but those almost seem like justifications to their parents or even to themselves to go ahead and serve. You other recruiters out there. How many people who actually joined and shipped joined just to get a cash bonus. It seems to me that the college fund and the bonuses more often than not just get someone to either sign a longer contract or pick a job they might otherwise not have or pick the Army over another service (the last one very rarely.)

There is a reason for all of that. All of the top sales people in America will tell you that very few people buy for logical reasons. The vast majority of people buy for emotional reasons. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a salesman nor do I think recruiters should be. The point is they make this big life decision to serve based off of emotional reasons. Which is also why the anti-war crowd choose not to serve and why they base their decision on such flimsy arguments as this.

Sometimes I just wish there was a way to get to these people and explain why their arguments are just plain wrong and sometimes based completely on outright lies. Like if I could just bust through the wall of their organization like The Incredible Hulk or something and re-educate them and then hijack their servers that publish this crap. But then I remember that logic means so little when it comes to this issue. I think it's almost like the last presidential election. The media kept telling us there were all of these "undecided" people out there. I don't know about you but I couldn't find one person who intended to vote yet didn't know who they were going to vote for. I think this issue is such a polarizing one that for me to even try to convince someone that there opinion might be wrong would be a futile waste of oxygen. Just like it would be for them to try and convince me that I'm wrong.

So where does that leave me? In the same place I started when I began this thought. I guess I just have to chalk it up that there are a whole lot of selfish people out there who have no qualms about being selfish and intend to pass that ideal off to their children. Then there are people like this who intend to pass it on to as many other peoples children as they can.

So what can we do? There are organizations like the Joe Foss Institute that try to encourage young people to serve their country. We can support them. If you know someone of military age then you can let them know that it is a noble and worthy profession. Aside from that I think I am doing all that I can.

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more" Henry V - Shakespeare

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Not Sure

if I'm going to keep this blogging thing going or not. My first blogging period was a very enjoyable, stress relieving experience. This time around though it's draining. Plus a certain someone has been using what I say on here against me. I'll let you guess as to who that is.

So anyway I feel like I'm kind of in a probationary period here. Your thoughts on that are welcome. So with that in mind I am going to bring back a little bit of "Classic SC." For the foreseeable future I will be reviving posts from my first blogging venture. Starting with my second post which was brought on by a few disgruntled students of a local university after I sent a mass recruiting email to them.


The names have been amended to protect the ignorant (Which is part of my job description as a soldier anyway)

Here is my first email:

As your local Army Recruiter, I’d like to tell you about the many opportunities the Army has to offer students like yourself. Whether you know the path you want to take after college or are still deciding, the Army has many opportunities to suit your needs.

Army Reserve
As a Soldier in the Army Reserve, you can train near home and be ready to serve full time when needed. As a Soldier in the Army Reserve, you may qualify for:

* An enlistment bonus of up to $20,000
* More than $23,000 in education benefits through the Montgomery GI Bill with the Army Reserve “Kicker”
* Up to $20,000 to pay off your federally insured student loans through the Army Loan Repayment Program
* An extra paycheck every month

Active Duty
If you’re close to graduating or are simply thinking about giving college a break, you may want to consider serving full time on Active Duty. As a Soldier in the U.S. Army, you may qualify for:

* An enlistment bonus of up to $40,000
* An option to enlist for as little as 15 months plus training time
* Up to $71,424 in college education benefits through The Army College Fund and Montgomery GI Bill
* Up to $65,000 to pay off federally insured student loans through the Army Loan Repayment Program
* Up to 100% tuition assistance for classes taken while serving
* Officer and Warrant Officer Flight programs

As an active duty Soldier, you will be entitled to 30 days paid vacation a year, medical and dental coverage, access to superb recreation facilities, and low-cost shopping in post stores. You may also have an opportunity to request a specific duty assignment.

Of course, the benefits of joining the U.S. Army go beyond just the monetary. In addition to becoming a stronger individual as you gain new training and experiences, you’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment, experience true camaraderie and teamwork, and develop discipline and leadership skills that today’s employers value.

If you do not wish to receive email about new Army offers and information, please respond back to this email with the word “Remove” in the Subject line and I will remove your name from my mailing list.

If you’d like to learn more about opportunities the U.S. Army and Army Reserve offer, contact me:

The response I recieved:

I find your email laughable and rather ironic.
The army doesn't have a place for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender persons, now does it?

Amused by ineptitude,

(At this point I was oblivious to the debate that was going on)

(Debate begins)

In truth, the military does allow LBGT people. The rule is “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” While this may not be exactly what you were going for, your statement is actually false.
Hope that clears things up, I wouldn’t want there to be any confusion.

Amused by just about everything,


While it is true that the army and all U.S. military have a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” rule, it does not make the military a safe or respecting place for gay people. Between 1994 and the end of 2001, more than 7,800 service members were forced out of the military because of the homophobia implied in the policy. Since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the rate of discharge of gay and lesbian service people has dropped a bit (as has always happened in war time), but as Eric E. said gay people are actively pursued and discharged. Most people would have problems hiding their personal lives completely especially in a war situation where support from home is so important. Certainly there are gay and lesbian people who are willing to put their lives on hold to be in the service just as there are heterosexual people who postpone marriage when duty calls. But to ask a person to deny their loved ones, to lie or make up stories about what they did on leave, to pretend they are alone in the world, or to pretend that they have a heterosexual significant other when it is really a same-sex partner of many years, is just not acceptable. We are asking them to
reject values that have been with them since they were children…honesty, integrity, fidelity.

Also, as you may know, a recent Supreme Court decision that colleges cannot ban military recruitment on their campus because the college believes the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is discriminatory, and therefore, breaks the non-discrimination clause in the student or college bylaws. Once again the courts have legalized discrimination against gays and lesbians. So while in theory, the military “allows” gays, it really doesn’t. It allows people who keep their mouths shut and pretend they are not gay. If it is known or even suspected that they are gay, they are discharged. Even after they retire, they have to be very careful because they will lose their retirement if they are found out. I have a friend who retired after 22 years in the reserves. She was scared to death that I’d meet someone in one of my
classes who was also in the reserves, and I would out her, and she’d lose her years in and be thrown out! She’d say, “Just pretend you don’t know me.” Fear has kept gay people in their “place” for eons. Eric was brave to make the statements he did. That we all could be so.


First off, E. , I was in the military. So your hearsay and second-hand information does nothing to phase me in the slightest. Been there, done that, MYSELF, and I’m much more likely to believe what I’ve seen and done than what you say “your friend” has seen and done. Sorry, but you’re wrong.

S – The reason the courts decided that is because the schools accept federal aid. And don’t try to tell me about state-sponsored schools, the ones in the lawsuit were private schools whose students accept federal aid. As such, they are not allowed to tell government, including military, recruiters they are not allowed on campus. If you’re going to quote facts and other such, make sure you include ALL the facts, not just what suits you and/or your argument.

As for your friend that retired from the reserves, read my first paragraph. Been there, done that, got the tattoos.

Finally, I didn’t say the situation with allowing LBGT in the military was ideal, nor something everyone agrees with. I simply said his statement was false, which it is. Period. No need to read anything else into it. I didn’t say the policy was right. I didn’t say it was something to believe in. Nor did I say the policy was wrong or something to not believe in. I said it exists, no more, no less.


So if a LBGT puts that down as his sexual orientation on the recruitment form, or tells the recruiter their LGBT orientation will that person be allowed into the army or not? Because they are people too right with US citizenships, they should be. But, if they put down that they are LGBT from what I have understood they will not be allowed to die for their country. The ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy supports this, why would they have a policy like that if they had a recognized place in the military. As it is now, as the policy states, LGBT are still discriminated against, not allowed in, and not allowed to stay if discovered. So in essence, according to the policy, you’re wrong; they do not have a place in the Military. That’s cool that you were in the army, too bad that you always had to follow orders, and were never really allowed to think for yourself about anything you experienced. Keep on with that policy that the Government can’t be wrong and you’ll go far.

Thanks and have a great day!!!
Hope those super cool tattoos don’t stretch and fade with age

(That was the one that compelled me to get involved)

(My response)

Wow. Who would have thought a canned email would have stirred this up.

The world is full of bias and I think servicemen and women are subjected to far more of it than most people think. Mr. E implied that I bear ill will towards LBGT people simply based on the fact that I am an Army Recruiter. Mr. S assumes that because we choose to serve that we have "always had to follow orders, and were never really allowed to think for yourself about anything you experienced." I suppose Mr. S doesn't do his homework when a professor instructs him to. Who has made assumptions about who? Who has judged a book by its cover?

People forget that we all make choices in life and choices have consequences. I have chosen to 1, be in the Army, and 2, be a recruiter (and yes I made those choices without being lied to.) Those choices have consequences. #1 comes with the consequence that people think bad things about me and what I do. #2 comes with the consequence that people actually say what they think instead of just thinking it. I made my choices and accept those consequences. However those choices I did not make lightly. Few people who are able to actually make choice number 1. Even fewer make number 2. There is a reason for that. They are not easy jobs. I believe that both are so important that I was willing to deal with the consequences. If I new certain things were going to happen and accepted that when I made those choices why would I be offended when they actually happen? I see it as a blessing when I have personal bias projected towards me, especially when people say it to my face. It just reinforces to me the fact that I truly believe in my choices and am successful at what I do. As long a a civilian can come up to a soldier and say negative things (the things said by Mr. S pale in comparison to some of the things I've heard) then you know we live in a free society. That is due to the blood that was spilled by my brethren two hundred and thirty or so years ago and the men and women who served in every conflict since.
I would encourage the people who were offended that I sent them an email to consider a few things.

1. No one can offend you without your permission.
2. If you believe in your choices then see it as a badge of honor if you are persecuted for them. It proves that they are important to you and demonstrates your personal courage.
3. If you subscribe to the concept of tolerance then apply it universally to include choice of occupation.
4. When you see a soldier don't see a mindless minion of the government. See a real person who has a family, ideas, beliefs, dreams, independent political
thought, and above all an opinion that was not issued to him or her. I have served with some extremely liberal people, some extremely conservative people, and
everything in between. I have served with straight people and gay people. I have served with people of every imaginable mixture of race, color, creed, and
background. I was proud to stand next to every one of them.
5. If you have completely read my email it states that if you ask me to I will remove you from my list. About 15 people asked me to do so. Those people will
never hear from me again.

The beauty of our military is that the protection of freedom is an unconditional gift that doesn't rely on your beliefs, color, creed, religion, political affiliation or sexual orientation. All that is needed is to live in this country to receive it. I assure everyone that I do not bear ill will towards LBGT people. Regardless of any ill will born towards me I will continue to provide this country and every citizen in it with my VOLUNTARY service.

My first email was canned, this one is not.

Next one up - "Results of a Springboard"

Saturday, March 21, 2009

All About The Ice Cream

During the election I got this email.

The most eye-opening civics lesson I ever had was while teaching third grade this year. The presidential election was heating up and some of the children showed an interest. I decided we would have an election for a class president. We would choose our nominees. They would make a campaign speech and the class would vote.

To simplify the process, candidates were nominated by other class members.

We discussed what kinds of characteristics these students should have. We got many nominations and from those, Jamie and Olivia were picked to run for the top spot.

The class had done a great job in their selections. Both candidates were good kids. I thought Jamie might have an advantage because he got lots of parental support. I had never seen Olivia's mother. The day arrived when they were to make their speeches.

Jamie went first. He had specific ideas about how to make our class a better place. He ended by promising to do his very best. Everyone applauded.

He sat down and Olivia came to the podium.

Her speech was concise. She said, "If you will vote for me, I will give you ice cream." She sat down.

The class went wild. "Yes! Yes! We want ice cream."

She surely would say more. She did not have to. A discussion followed. How did she plan to pay for the ice cream? She wasn't sure. Would her parents buy it or would the class pay for it? She didn't know. The class really didn't care. All they were thinking about was ICE CREAM!

Jamie was forgotten.

Olivia won by a land slide.

Here is the ice cream.

Now who's going to pay for it.
So I found this today. Quite an interesting concept. One thing buried in the middle of it was this fascinating statistic about malaria
It is particularly prevalent in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world and kills an African child every 30 seconds, according to the World Health Organization.

There are an estimated 300 million acute cases of malaria each year globally, resulting in more than one million deaths, the WHO reports.

So malaria kills an African child every 30 seconds and there are a total of 1 million malaria deaths a year. 60 minutes in an hour. 24 hours in a day. 365 days in a year. So: 60 times 24= 1440 (1440 minutes in a day.) 1440 times 365= 525600 (525600 minutes in a year.) 525600 times 2 = 1,051,200 30 second blocks in a year. I guess all million of those malaria deaths lived in Africa and they were all kids.

Not that any of that was important or anything I just found it interesting. Plus I like to maintain my title as Supreme Guardian of Truth in the Media.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I don't think I need to say anything about this. I'm pretty sure you all can figure out what I'm thinking.


For your enjoyment, a bit of Victor Wooten from Bela Fleck & the Flecktones. Probably the greatest bass player alive today. This piece makes me want to quit music because this level of playing is so unachievable.

If you're not familiar with Bela Fleck & the Flecktones check them out. They are about as good as it gets in my book. I saw them in concert once from the third row and it was truly amazing.

Foreshadowing Hypocrisy

Rep. Barney Frank charged Monday that a decision by financially strapped insurance giant AIG to pay millions in executive bonuses amounts to "rewarding incompetence."

Folks, remember this when Barney Frank gets re-elected in 2010.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


So a friend of mine sent this to me today.

"By the way-- something you might be able to help me with: I'm going to talk to an Air Force recruiter maybe next week. A family friend who was in it back in the dark ages thought it might be worth me looking in to. I've never thought of myself as that kind of person (whatever that kind of person is) but what the heck! I'm not doing anything else and am suffering from a severe lack of a direction.

Any thoughts?

It's funny how I get all these questions still even though it's been a while since I was recruiting. I figured I would share my response here since maybe somebody else can find it useful.

"I didn't intend to go on and on like this but it just kind of happened. I feel it needs a Table of Contents.

"Any thoughts?" Understatement of the year.

Well first off understand that I am biased being in the Army and all and I was a recruiter for four years. Second, that being said I learned a lot about both services during those four years. Third, I assume you are talking about seeing a recruiter under the premise of becoming an officer as apposed to an enlisted person since you have a degree.

On the down side, from what I have heard from AF recruiters the Air Force is very degree specific when it comes to the officers. If you're going to be an engineer officer they want you to have a degree in engineering, contracting officer a degree in contracting, etc. Now all that could have changed in the last couple of years since I got out of recruiting. On the up side, CERTAIN officer career fields are about the only area in which the AF can actually guarantee anything. Most people who join the AF, either as an officer or an enlisted person, sign their contract not knowing what they will be doing or when they will be leaving. With some very specific career fields that's not the case.

To go in as an officer in the AF you take a special test in addition to the ASVAB (the test everyone takes to join anything.) That is something to keep in mind because a dubious recruiter could be trying to get you to join as an enlisted person while telling you the officer thing comes later (I've seen it happen). One thing to keep in mind is that your average recruiter will not lie to you but will also not tell you something unless you specifically ask about it. Picture it as if you were buying a car. The dealer is not going to tell you something like maintenance costs but if you asked would probably be fairly honest about it. AF recruiters are not under the same kind of pressure that us Army recruiters are. Some are under quotas but a lot are not. A dubious one would more likely be looking for kudos as apposed to trying to scrape by.

One thing about the AF is that since they don't have much in the way of quotas means that they will not turn a blind eye to the tiniest little disqualification. I offer a couple of anecdotes to explain; I ran into a kid pushing grocery carts at WalMart and started talking to him. Over the course of the conversation I learned that he had been disqualified by the AF. He told the AF recruiter that he had a bought of Bronchitis when he was 7 or 8 and the doc gave him an inhaler that he used for about a week. The AF recruiter turned in those med documents to MEPS (the processing station that all services use.) I worked with that kid for around two years and was never able to get him in the Army because of that one week of inhaler use for Bronchitis.

Another guy I had wanted to join and again had been disqualified by the AF. His mom was kind of a vicarious hypochondriac. Every time he coughed or fell down as a kid she rushed him off to the ER. There was the craziest stuff in his med records. Once his mom thought he had a seizure because she caught him day dreaming. Once she thought he had a brain tumor because she thought his head was too big. His med records were three inches thick. The AF recruiter turned every page of that into MEPS. He didn't have a quota so there was no reason for him to filter through it or take the chance that years later that kid brings it up to try and get kicked out or something. The recruiter knew full well that MEPS would take one look at it and disqualify the guy and once MEPS has it it's there FOREVER. I eventually got that kid in but it took many doctor visits, which he paid for, to get each and every one of those issues in his med records resolved. It was a nightmare.

The point in all this is that an AF recruiter's number 1 priority is to cover his own rear end while at the same time making it look like he's working. While an AF recruiter may not have a quota he will get beat up if he's not processing anyone. So he sends someone down to MEPS fully knowing that he will be disqualified but since he processed someone the monkey is off of his back. If you walked in with a wooden leg he would submit those med docs knowing full well you would be disqualified and once you are disqualified it never ever goes away without mountains of other medical documents.

If you had said you were seeing an Army recruiter I would say tell him/her absolutely everything and let him/her decide what goes to MEPS and what doesn't. Because an Army recruiter's main goal above all else is to get you in and he/she will take risks to do that. Being that it's AF I would say be very careful what you tell an AF recruiter. It all sounds somewhat devious but the standards (especially medical) are so insanely strict that the tiniest minuscule thing can keep you from joining. If I had gone my entire tour of recruiting and never told anyone to shut up about something stupid like being stung by a bee once and itching a little I would have put about three people in the Army in the whole four years. An AF recruiter can get away with that as long as he keeps sending people down to MEPS to get disqualified. Once you tell the recruiter you can't un-tell him.

The thing to remember is that all of my experience is a couple of years old so it's only current and accurate as of then. Things can change quickly. For all I know the AF could have some great program that will let you go from high school dropout to brain surgeon in three weeks. Who knows. The only way to really find out is to talk to a recruiter. There are a couple of things to keep in mind though.

1. The military is not a jobs program. The purpose of the military is to fight wars. It doesn't matter what branch of the service, it doesn't matter your rank, it doesn't matter what your job is, it doesn't matter if you're active or reserve, it doesn't matter what your recruiter says, these days anybody in the military stands a very good chance of going to war and it's not always hanging out on a secure base. I have had Marines, Sailors and Airmen out here on patrols with me. Also, regardless of what your actual job title is you can be doing just about anything regardless of service, rank etc. We had a Navy officer who by training is a radar technician and here is doing building engineer work. Go figure.

2. Any vet you talk to can only tell you about their experience. If he was an underwater basket weaver back in '72 then that's what he can be considered an expert on. Nothing else. If he says "you should join as a ditch digging supervisor in the Coast Guard Auxiliary and don't let that recruiter tell you otherwise" don't listen to him. He doesn't know beans about what you can or can't do in any branch of the military. He only knows what being an underwater basket weaver was like back in '72. One of the things that used to drive me nuts was when some kid said his old 'Nam era uncle says he should get a bonus or he's not joining. It was next to impossible to convince that kid that he didn't qualify for a bonus and no amount of threatening to "walk off the lot" was ever going to change that. Old vet relatives rarely know what they are talking about. The one exception is recruiters. We make a living off of knowing all about the competition's programs. That knowledge has a shelf life though. The longer it's been since recruiting the less accurate the info will be. I've been out of it for 1 1/2 years or so. So take it all with a grain of salt.

3. Every recruiter has a priority and your best interest, while they may be a factor, are never it. His number one priority will always either be to get you in or to look like he's trying to get you in. Every action he takes will be towards those ends. That doesn't mean you won't benefit from them as well. For instance, at the end of an appointment a recruiter will almost always try to get you to take the ASVAB. He will tell you that by taking it you will be able to see what you can qualify for and that by agreeing to take the ASVAB you are not committing to anything. All of that is true but his reason for trying to get you to take the test is so that his bosses see that he is moving someone through the process and they will stay off of his back. He may even be quite pushy. The point in all this is if you see a benefit to yourself in something incremental like taking the test then go ahead and do it. Otherwise don't let them pressure you into something.

4. The AF has all the people they want. They have the freedom to pick and choose. They could very well tell you to piss off for no reason at all. If they do take you it will most definitely be on their terms ie, when they want you doing what they want you to do. Any effort they are willing to put into you such as running a waiver or putting up with any indecisiveness will be minimal. It may not sound fair but that's just the way it is. They too are not in it to be a jobs program. Like any other business it's about supply and demand and right now supply is high (you) and demand is low (them). The Coast Guard is in that same boat (no pun intended). The Coast Guard had one recruiter for the whole state I recruited in. I met the guy once and he wouldn't even sit down and talk to someone unless they signed something for him saying that if they were found to be qualified then they would join. He wouldn't even tell them about the Coast Guard unless they agreed to join ahead of time.

5. There is no harm in checking out the other services. The AF has a stigma of being the smartest and the best taken care of and I can tell you that 99% of that is crap. Their minimum ASVAB score fluctuates just like the Army's but it's usually only a couple of points higher than ours. Most people (in my experience) join the AF not because they're smarter but because they're scared of the stigma the Army or Marines have of being harder. Making decisions because you're scared is rarely a good thing. Making decisions because of the facts and by comparing risk vs reward is almost always a good thing. There are almost a million and a half people in the Army right now and about 200,000 in the Marines. If that many people can do it it can't be that hard. When I joined I went to a strip mall that had every service in it. I started at the AF one and worked my way down to the Navy office. They all tried to get me to commit to joining right then and there but I didn't let them. I continued to talk to each one of them until I had enough info to make a decision. Some were more pushy than others. When I told the Marine recruiter that I was joining the Army he said he didn't think I had what it took to join the Marines anyway. I came to find out later that that's called the challenge close and it's the staple of Marine recruiting. It's just as much BS as the AF's "were smarter than everyone else" line. Take it all with a whole shaker of salt.

6. Do not rule out the enlisted side. People say that as an officer you get treated better and the pay is better but in my own experience you couldn't pay me enough money to be an officer. As an officer the vast majority of your career will be spent working staff positions regardless of what your actual career field is. An officer generally only spends a total of about three to four years out of a 20 year career actually commanding soldiers, the rest is spent in staff. As an enlisted person it's about the opposite. The whole staff thing suits some people but it definitely isn't for me. My job now is kind of half staffish and that half drives me up a wall. You can go from enlisted to officer fairly easily if you already have a degree. It's near impossible to go from officer to enlisted. Also for enlisted people (at least in the Army) you get to choose your job before you sign as opposed to officers who just request a career field but ultimately get what the Army needs instead. For the AF enlisted people request jobs but they're not guaranteed.

7. Regardless of what anyone says until you put pen to paper and raise your right hand at MEPS in front of a bunch of flags then you have not joined anything. Some recruiters (in my experience usually Marines) have been know to do a little ceremony thing in their office to make a kid think he has joined before he actually has. Also, no matter what anyone says even after you have done the real swearing in ceremony you can still back out and nothing bad will happen to you. You do two swearing in ceremonies. The first one is at MEPS after your physical. The second one is on the day you leave for training. At any time before that second one you can back out. You won't go to jail, you won't be banned from joining you won't be unable to get student loans, the only negative thing that can happen is that some services (usually the AF) will be less likely to deal with you again if you backed out once. Especially if they had to but some work into you the first time around (waivers, indecisiveness, etc)."

Well folks that was my two bits. I'm sure somebody somewhere will be offended by my take on the Air Force and the Marines but it's the truth as I saw it so I don't really care if you're offended.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Death Becomes Us All

It is dark and traffic moves on the street as usual. Slowly soldiers begin to congregate near the road. As the crowd begins to grow something strange happens. Without any noticeable cue the soldiers line the road.

Up one side and down the other is a wide variety. There are Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. There are Americans, French, Italians, Poles, Brits, Hungarians, Germans, New Zealanders and Australians. There are Whites, Blacks, Asians, Native Americans, Maori, Aborigine and all manner of Europeans. They all line the road in all variations of military uniforms.

For now they just stand there. Some chat amongst themselves, one group is quite boisterous. Others just stand there in silence, hands in front or behind. Birds in the trees nearby chirp loudly, there are thousands of them. As more and more soldiers gather the birds get louder and louder. The soldiers stretch across the road preventing traffic from passing. In the distance are flashing blue lights.

Gradually the soldiers start to quiet down. There is still some chatter and the birds continue their cacophony of song. As the lights get closer the soldiers all become silent. The birds, almost as if commanded by God, become silent. The vehicle with the blue lights passes and the soldiers all come to the position of attention. Behind the blue lights is a single HMMWV. The soldiers all render the hand salute of their nation. Those of British colonies with the palm facing out, the rest with the palm facing down.

In the HMMWV is a shiny steal box covered in an American flag. On either side are four soldiers. They are the friends of the one in the box. Behind the HMMWV a pickup truck follows. On the back of the truck a soldier stands with a video camera. This is the only camera of any kind allowed.

The tape will follow the soldier as he goes home for the last time. Regardless of anything else that soldier's family will know that as their son headed home he was surrounded by his other family that shared everything with him up until the very last. They will know that hundred of servicemen from many different countries turned out in the middle of the night because they appreciated his sacrifice. They will know that because that was the only camera allowed that they will share that with the soldiers present and no one else. No one will ever be able to show their family a picture of that evening. It is something special shared only between them.

As the HMMWV passes something passes through the mind of each and every soldier standing there. Most will think of how that could have easily been them in that box, that all it would take is one random mortar round or rocket. Some will think of the pain or agony that person could have gone through.

There are a few though who have seen death up close and personal and realize that dying is the easy part. The hard part is staying behind. The hard part is holding someone as they die and lying to them, telling them it will be ok. In the end it always is. The hard part is getting a knock on the door and being told that your son or husband or father is dead. The hard part is not knowing what happened but knowing that you don't want to know.

The soldiers in that line who know death think about that as that HMMWV passes. They feel not for the guy in the box, instead their heart hurts for the guys on either side of him in the HMMWV. They feel for the mother who, probably only hours ago, got the news that no mother should ever have to receive. Most of all they feel for the children who will be left behind, some too young to know what their life will miss out on because of what was happening while they were eating their Cheerios. If only it were possible to ever give them back that ignorance.

Those who pondered their own existence were the ones chatting as they waited. Because to chat with the guy next to you, what some might consider irreverent, is to not dwell on what's coming. Those who pondered the ones left behind are those who stood silent as they waited. To stand silent is to live in the moment knowing what it really is.

The vehicles pass, the soldiers drop their salutes and everyone begins to move off to whatever they were doing before that, again some in silence and some chatting and again for the same reasons. However, whether or not they have ever lost someone, whether or not they have ever gotten that news and whether or not they have ever lied to a friend and told him it would be ok, they have all now experienced death.

Not a one of them will ever be the same.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


As I have mentioned before I work directly with members of the armed forces of an unspecified European county. One of the cultural things I was not used to was curry. I had had curry before coming here but I probably could have counted on one hand how many times.


One of the cooks here is a genius when it comes to curry. Every time he makes it it's different and every time it gets better.

I could eat curry for days. Last night I ate so much curry I could hardly move.

I'm paying for it today though.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

All Right Folks

... I've got a lot to talk about so grab a cup of coffee and have a seat, this could take a while.

First off let me preface all this with the following statement. I am an American soldier and I go wherever and do whatever the American president tells me to. My loyalty lies unconditionally with the President and the constitution. The party of the President or my agreement/disagreement with him or his party does not affect that loyalty.

Now having said that, I was pretty open minded about the "stimulus" bill until I saw this. At this website you can pick a state then a city and see what chunk they have of the "stimulus" package.

After looking through my state and the states of a couple of guys I work with I have been unable to find ANYTHING that I would call "stimulus." Now I am no economist but I work with one (who is a lefty BTW) and I consider myself to be of at least average intelligence. It looks to me that this "stimulus" is nothing more than a laundry list of projects that every town in America wants to get done. I was unable to find anything that "stimulates" the economy, unless you only care about the construction industry.

It reminds me of the stuff we are doing here in Afghanistan. The projects are largely of the same variety. I guess we must be trying to "stimulate" Afghanistan. It's no wonder there was such a sense of urgency to get it passed. I am sure that if the American people had this kind of information before it was passed the switchboard at the Capitol Building would have been lit up like a Christmas tree. Oh well, get ready for a lot of this from the most transparent Congress in history.

Ok, let's talk about NCOERs for a minute. This is mainly directed at people who know what I'm talking about. If this makes no sense to you then just move along.

For all of you officers out there let me explain something to you. Just because an NCO is not the perfect model of an NCO, you know the kind who even if your life depended on it you couldn't come up with a single thing he could do even the slightest bit better, that doesn't mean you 2 block him.

In a perfect world only the greatest of NCOs would get 1 & 1 but unfortunately the real world doesn't work that way. Here on planet earth you get 1 & 1 unless you're a dirtbag. Stop trying to change the world one NCOER at a time. You may think you are doing the right thing but in reality you are screwing a perfectly capable NCO just because you don't like how the system is. It's quite Quixotic. Unlike your OER system ours is not weighted against the raters other reports. Us NCOs really have very little use for you officers anyway so why make it worse?

That's ok. I don't need to ever get promoted again.

Ah, on to love! I have been a smoker for a combined total of about 15 years off and on. I am currently off and like every time before I am bound and determined to stay off. For those of you who have been smokers you know that it's like being an alcoholic. No matter how long it's been since your last drink you are still an alcoholic. No matter how long it's been since your last smoke you are still a smoker. You still have cravings. The longest I've ever quit was four years (then I met my first recruiting 1SG.) Even after four years I would still have cravings every now and then. Now I'm at 7 1/2 months without a cigarette and still going strong.

So how does love tie into all of this? Love is the same. I have been truly in love twice in my life and both times it ended with much heartache. When love ends it's a lot like quitting smoking or drinking. You start off with constant cravings and eventually they get less and less. The first time I was 17 and "quit" so to speak for four years. The longings got less and less but they never totally went away. I think I could even say that today. They are subtle and don't carry a lot of water but they are still there. This time around it's been almost two years and while they are still there I can at least think around them. They no longer define me. However, I have several more years of them being there.

I'm like a heroin addict who got clean and then started smoking crack. Now that I've quit smoking crack I have two addictions to battle. I don't think I need a third one to add on top of all that. The temptation is always there but in reality I just don't need it. I'm old enough now that my hormones are in check. Now, I love you ladies but the whole thing is just not worth what it costs. I think I'll just stay celibate for the near (and far for that matter) future. You women are just too much work.

My little Pavlov moment. I read an article about a pill that claims to erase bad memories. In the course of the article it talked about a study where they tried to create bad memories in people. They basically showed someone a picture of a spider and then gave them a small shock. After a while the people would associate spiders with shocks.

This is all nothing new. Pavlov figured out this basal response way back in 1890. So here's how this all relates to me. My 1SG when I first started recruiting duty (the same one who lead me to start smoking again) was the epitome of evil. I've never met a man I despised more (notice I said man.) Picture the worst person you have ever had to work for and then multiply that by... oh... about... a gazillion. From here on out we'll call him Satanus (latin for Satan.) Satanus would pull up in the station parking lot and you would get this sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. You know the one. When, as a child, you screwed something up majorly and your mom said "wait till your father gets home." You dreaded it all day and then you see the lights of your dad's car as it pulls in the driveway. That feeling you had then was the same one I would have about once a week when this guy would visit my station.

He would usually show up right around when you were supposed to start P1. This was the worst possible time because every phone call you made, whether or not anyone even answered, would be followed by about 30 minuted of him yelling and you not saying anything. He would have you report to the company HQ around 2000 and wouldn't finish yelling until midnight. One of the guys I worked with was a ring recruiter after only two years on the job. He was and still is the best recruiter I have ever met and the guy never once so much as thought about bending a rule. On about a weekly basis Satanus would call this guy every name in the book. I heard names come out of that guy's mouth that I'd never heard in my life before that. And this was to a guy who religiously wrote four a month. Imagine what I got called.

When I first got there one of the guys told me never to just pull into the parking lot at the end of the day. Always, he said, pull around the side of the building and check to see if the 1SG was there first. That way you could either call the station and make some excuse for not coming back or failing that you could at least stretch out and get psyched up for the beat down. I followed that advise my whole time in recruiting.

The point of all this is that whenever I see that certain model of car (not a common one) driving down the road, for just a split second I want to swerve the other way. For a moment in time I want to go in the opposite direction for a long ways. I look for the nearest way out. And then the conscious part of my brain takes over and I am reminded that all of that was a long time ago. I haven't seen that guy in about four years and still I do that.

Music is a cruel mistress. I am so frustrated by my inability to let out the music that is inside of me. I get so much joy from music but it's is so frustrating when I can't express it the way I want to. Maybe one day I'll crack the code, but it won't be today. In the same vein I have about four half written books. I wish I could just finish one.

I really hate MPG syndrome. Never heard of it? It's My Personal Gym syndrome. It's where some yahoo has four sets of dumbbells, two benches, a bar and the squat rack all tied up so he can do his own little personal circuits. All this while there's about 30 people in the gym.

In closing take a look at this picture and remember how wonderful this world is, even the crappy parts of it.

Friday, January 30, 2009


The mantra of the left when it comes to the abortion issue is that a woman has the right to A: privacy (according to the Supreme Court,) B: do what she wants with her body and C: reproductive freedom.

So why is it that when a lady has octuplets the left calls her irresponsible, questions her motives for having so many children and calls for regulation of fertility efforts. What happened to all that privacy and reproductive freedom? What happened to her right to do what she wants with her body?

I seem to remember a few chants going something like "keep your laws off of my body" and "stay out of my uterus."

It's just more of the same moral flexibility that is the hallmark of the left. I really shouldn't be surprised anymore.


It is absolutely unbelievable that CNN can print these with a straight face. No lefty can argue against liberal media bias ever again.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Another NY Dem Clown Car Moment

I cant stop laughing after hearing the news that Caroline Kennedy no longer wants to be a senator. This is like amateur hour or something. They might as well have asked Paris Hilton if she wanted the job. They're both equally qualified and live off of their pedigrees. Paris Hilton might even be a bit more qualified what with her YouTube bits and all.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hope & Change-itis

I have caught it folks.

That's right, I, the die hard neocon, the bastion of conservative principles, the defender of classic liberalism, the mouthpiece of the Bushitler-Cheneyburton conspiracy machine, the orator of conservative ideals have caught Hope & Change-itis.

I can not wait until Tuesday. I squirm in my seat. I swoon at the mere sight of the Obamessiah. I am infatuated with all things Obama. I saw advertised on the internet (no commercials on AFN out here) a Barrack Obama commemorative coin set and it was all I could do not to order it. It gave me the vapors.

Why is this you ask. Have I sold out my ideals? Have I given up on a lifetime of conservatism? Have I forgotten that my first word was "Elephant?" Have I finally given in to the pressure to become a lefty? May it never be!

While there are times when I say to myself "Self! It is hard work being a conservative. It's hard to stand up to the droves of lefties who are incapable of thinking for themselves and only spout what the Pelosi-Reid-Clinbama machine tells them to. I'm tired of beating them off with a cricket bat like Simon Pegg in Shaun of the Dead. Plus I keep breaking the cricket bat on their hard lefty skulls. It's oh so tiring to pull conservative principles out from under the bus to which they have been thrown by their own party. My back hurts! I should just give in to it all, take the easy route and blame everything on Bushitler. It's so much easier to answer every problem with 'the government should do it.' It's a simple thing to look at the racial breakdown of the prison population and conclude that America is racist and the government should do something about that instead of looking deeper into the socio-economic issues that cause that and applying, you know, thought to the problem. I'll do that!"

Wait! I can't do that. I've spent my life taking the hard, right (correct) road. There's no way I can quit now.

So this brings me to my recent case of Hope & Change-itis. I am full of hope and looking forward to change for one reason. Come Tuesday it will be so much easier to be a conservative. Come Tuesday I won't have to answer any of the wild claims of my lefty friends. I can just sit back and smile. Oh how relaxing it will be! Honestly the lefties will probably pay me no mind. They'll be too busy lambasting Obama for not applying all his lefty ideals because like plans in general and liberal plans in specific they don't survive contact with reality. It's started already! Like Troothers when confronted with facts, lefties just don't want to talk about it. Come Tuesday the left is going to have to start facing the fact that they elected a man who's only accomplishment was to get elected. They will see that he's never managed anything in his life. The best part about it all is that I won't have to say a thing. I can just smirk and shrug my shoulders.

Oh sure the majority of them will still blame Bush for most of the failings of Obama. However, it will be a half-hearted blame. Deep down inside they'll know it's just an excuse and I'm ok with that. In reality the Democrats will have no excuse. They are in the drivers seat and they can't blame Bush and the right for driving like a retarded puppy when they're not even in the car.

It's always somewhat satisfying to see someone get what they want. Nothing like reality to make someone shut the !@#$ up.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Sorry folks but not a lot of posting lately. Been doing quite a bit of traveling around recently which means spotty internet access. Probably won't be back at it all for a while. It's cool though, keeps me busy.

Anyway, I've been trying out a few things with my camera lately, some quite abstract. Here are a couple of them.