Monday, November 28, 2005

A Letter from the Front

This was posted by SGT Hook...Thanks T-Bone!

I have watched brave souls give their all and lose thier lives and limbs for this cause. I will no longer stand silent and let the “deaf and blind” be the only voice shouting. Stonewall Jackson once said, “All that I have, all that I am is at the service of the country.” For these brave souls who gave the ultimate sacrifice, including your son Cindy Sheehan, I will shout till I can no longer. These men and women are heroes. Their spirit lives on in their military and they will never be forgotten. They did not die in vain but rather for a cause that is larger than all of us.

To read the rest go HERE!



A Soldier's Last E-Mail

This is from the blog Midnight Blue
Soldier's Last Email

This is the last e-mail sent to the family and friends of Jeffery Toczylowski. He died from injuries suffered from a fall from a helicopter in Anbar, Iraq on November 3, 2005. Jeff was a career soldier raised in Montgomery County, PA, and serving as a Special Forces detachment commander assigned to First Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group ~ Airborne in Iraq.


Dear friends and family,

If you are getting this email, it means that I have passed away. No, it's not a sick Toz joke, but a letter I wanted to write in case this happened. Please don't be sad for me. It was an honor to serve my country, and I wouldn't change a thing. It was just my time.

Don't ever think that you are defending me by slamming the Global War on Terrorism or the US goals in that war. As far as I am concerned, we can send guys like me to go after them or we can wait for them to come back to us again. I died doing something I believed in and have no regrets except that I couldn't do more.

To read the rest go HERE



Saturday, November 26, 2005

What Are You Doing?

Are you part of the solution or part of the problem?

If you sit around carping about bad pre-war intelligence and use phrases like, "Bush lied people died." you are part of the problem.

If you say things like, "I support the troops but not the war." not only are you part of the problem you are a liar as well.

If you've got a great idea on how to get the Iraqis to get together and more quickly form their government I would encourage you to call or write the State Department, because you could be part of the solution.

I find it interesting that most of the people who protest or complain only want to quit, they generally have no alternative plans or solutions. They want us to act like the little kid on the playground who can't cope when things go any way than other the way they want them to...just quit and run away mommy will make it all better. Well, there's nobody here to fix the mess...if we don't do it, who will?

The protesters have accomplished something however. Every time they go out they give our enemies reason to hold out another day, to kill a few more Americans to set off some more IEDs in the hopes that we will quit. Way to go jackass.

Off to War

I don't know how many of you have seen this show on the Discovery/NY Times Channel, I heard about it when I was home on R&R last year. I started watching because it was about a unit (the 39th BCT AR NG) that I served alongside at Camp Taji/ Camp Cooke, Iraq.

Last year I was able to watch the documentary that showed their call-up, train-up and eventual deployment to Iraq. The entire documentary is now showing over the Thanksgiving holiday and also on Saturday nights.

I can't believe that the Army or even the Arkansas National Guard was pleased with the results of this series that shows the story of a Combat Engineer Company. If one was to believe this film we would believe that almost every second of every day is consumed by these guys whining and bitching. We are bludgeoned about the head and shoulders every episode about how the families want their loved ones back, about how they (the soldiers) are missing this or that event in their loved ones lives. I wish I had a dime for every time I heard the line, "I didn't sign up to do this." It's interesting how these guys think they are especially grieved because they are missing this or that event, when there are plenty of soldiers who have missed plenty of events...yes, you did sign up for it, you make me sick.

I want to be sympathetic but seeing the constant pissing and moaning on display gets old fast. I understand that a lot of this has something to do with the way the filmmaker cut and edited the show. I know from having been a soldier for 18 plus years that soldiers do bitch, but it needs to be placed in context. I am embarrassed for that unit, the AR NG and the Army as a whole to see this presentation.

Something that I did notice, and I believe that the Army and chains of command need to to a better job of is giving their soldiers an understanding of the big picture. In this show I saw so much ignorance about the GWOT and OIF displayed by the soldiers that their dissatisfaction and confusion was understandable given their ignorance of mission goals and general TTPs.

In general, this was a pretty pathetic presentation...not consistent with my experience in Iraq. It could have very well been totally in-line with the feeling and experiences of that company in the 39th but it didn't represent most of what I saw. Additionally grating was the one note constant bitching by some of the families...yeah, I get it, you miss your matter how many times you cry or emote to the camera they aren't coming home any sooner. Additionally now that your son is home I'm sure it makes him proud to see your constant blubbering on the TV. A note to anyone in my family reading this...don't ever agree to go on TV when I'm deployed. Does no one have any shame anymore?

Whatever education value the general public could get out of this show is ruined by the need of the filmmaker to turn this show into a bitch-fest...I applaud the soldiers sacrifice but wish to hell they could keep their big mouths shut when the camera's rolling.

A better documentary would be: A Company of Soldiers. I was fortunate enough to see this documentary after my return. Available through the PBS website, if you get a chance to see it I recommend it highly.



Sorry About the Interruption...

Sorry about the lack of posts reciently...I've been TDY to Coronado, CA (tough duty but someone has to do it) and then I enjoyed Thanksgiving with my family (Turkey and Dressing rocks!).

I hope everyone out there had a great holiday!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Care Package Guide for the Lazy

When I was in the sand box, I was asked by friends what I wanted or needed. At the time the stuff I really wanted I couldn't have, and I somehow had a great deal of difficulty sitting down and devoting a few minutes to itemize the things I wanted or needed. So now for all you folks putting together goody boxes for your friends loved ones or folks you found out about on places like is my list of things that soldiers dig...

Expensive Stuff
For all you big spenders out there...this is the good stuff I would like getting if I was still there.
When you buy DVDs the thing to remember is TV series. The show "24" was popular along with "CSI", "The Simpsons", and "Family Guy". The great thing about series is you get more bang for the buck. For instance with the show "24" you get 24 one hour episodes for around 55 bucks at your favorite on-line store. Compare that to a popular movie, say "Happy Gilmore" which clocks in at 12-13 bucks, or a just released movie that comes in around 20 smackers. Of course if they don't like the series then you've got 24 hours of crap.

It's been my experience that if you go with comedy you won't go wrong. The more silly and juvenile the better in most cases. I sat in my trailer in Taji and watched the entire first season of "The Andy Griffith Show" and laughed my ass off.

Even if the person you are sending the stuff to doesn't like the movie or show chances are someone in his/her unit will enjoy don't hurt yourself thinking about it.

Gadgets and Gear

I wouldn't send too much of this stuff unless you know the person and they specifically asked for it. Good stuff might be Flashlights (Surefire, 1 EA), Laser sights etc...but I would say ask the person you are sending it to.

The Moderate/Cheep Stuff
For everyone else here's some more good stuff...

Batteries, Batteries, Batteries. All types and kinds feel free to toss in a card of Double A's in your next care package.

I personally enjoyed receiving salty snacks; peanuts, chips and my desert fav...Shoestring Potatoes

Any magazine that you've finished reading (sorry no Playboy or Penthouse please...there's that damned General Order #1 again) throw it in the box.

Kool Aid all flavors...I like Cherry!

In the cooler months (NOV-MAR) feel free to send Chocolate (Mounds Bars)and other candy it won't melt.

I needed White Cotton Athletic type socks, yeah it doesn't comply with AR-670-1 but the difference was unbelievable. White socks rule! CSMs everywhere are having heart attacks right now.

I made the mistake while deployed of mentioning to a friend that I really missed getting a Dr. Pepper when I wanted so in a few days I received a shipment of DP that had to be the most expensive 12 pack ever...believe me it was greatly appreciated, and it made me feel guilty that someone would go to such lengths to give a guy a favorite soft this a great country or what?

Any suggestions?



Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Worst Episode Ever!

As promised here is my list of the most abysmal, crappy insulting military themed movies compiled by ME!

1. FIREBIRDS! This Top Gun wannabe staring Nic Cage and Tommy Lee Jones is so bad that the name of this film is forbidden to be spoken in some AH-64 units in the Army. I now know the pain that F-14 pilots feel when they watch Top Gun.

2. Navy SEALs Charlie Sheen is a Navy SEAL...need I say any more?

3. Any RAMBO movie

4. Three Kings Yeah, the Gulf War happened just like that.

5. In the Army Now or what ever that movie with Paulie Shore was called...PAULIE SHORE??!!??!! WTF! I'd rather watch Ernest Joins the Army.

6. There is a piece of shat movie that Danny Devito was in where he taught poor ignorant kids in basic training, basic english...sad to say I actually took a date to that movie. She didn't care too much for me giving a running commentary about the abysmal nature of this'd think I'd remember what it was called...whatever it's given name is, it should be changed to THE BASIC TRAINING MOVIE THAT SUCKED.

7. Courage Under Fire...Nice try, but there are a million stories out there that are worthy of being committed to film and they choose to produce this contrived piece of crap. The bombing of a tank with an aux fuel tank from a UH-1 is the craptacular highlight of this film for me. Meg Ryan as a whiny martyred can't beat that.

8. BAT-21 I don't like this movie simply because I've read several books on this event and the movie doesn't even begin to do this thing justice. I guess this movie really wasn't that was just a great disappointment to me, it could have been so much better.

9. Over There...yeah I know it WAS a TV show. Thank the maker it was gives crappy TV a bad name.

Movies I loved when I was a kid, but now I wonder WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING?
Where Eagles Dare, A Bridge Too Far, The Guns of Navarone and The Final Countdown.

I admit that a lot of these movies are just cheesy and not necessarily suck-ass...what are your nominations?

UPDATE: Apparently I should have included "Jarhead" in there...for a review of said film go to Froggy Ruminations and save yourself a few bucks if you were thinking about going to see it.



Sunday, November 06, 2005


Thanks to Matt at BLACKFIVE for getting me up to speed on this one...

Project Valour-IT
(Voice-Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops)
In memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss

Project Valour-IT, in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss, provides voice-controlled software and laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand and arm injuries or amputations at major military medical centers. Operating laptops by speaking into a microphone, our wounded heroes are able to send and receive messages from friends and loved ones, surf the 'Net, and communicate with buddies still in the field without having to press a key or move a mouse. The experience of CPT Charles "Chuck" Ziegenfuss, a partner in the project who suffered hand wounds while serving in Iraq, illustrates how important this voice-controlled software can be to a wounded servicemember's recovery...for the rest of the article go HERE!

Give early, give often!