Sunday, July 10, 2011


Well today was somewhat busy, but in an army sorta way. A popular joke amongst soldiers is that we're real good at "hurry up and wait," which is an allusion to the fact that we often rush to get things done only to wait around to do the next thing- this happens either sure to poor leadership or because of the MASSIVE amount of coordination (and difficulty that comes with it) that goes into an organization like this (our situation.) So today had a good bit of "hurry up and wait."

One of the big things that did get done was the distribution of 'miles gear' which is essentially little lasers and sensors that go over our regular gear. This, combined with blank rounds, makes our operations like laser tag with a bang- every time a weapon fires (a blank round) it shoots a laser, and if that laser his someone wearing the sensors it records as a hit. Its actually a good bit of fun when its not plagued with bugs and malfunctions.

So, getting that done amongst 70 our so people can take some time, so we ended up doing some basic lessons on driving and stuff. I got my m249 (in the picture) yesterday, and decided that I should learn the ins and outs of it. I spent several hours breaking it down and building it up again- now it can be done in under a minute.

After evening chow there ws some paperwork to do, namely a crm and prt plan, then went for a mile run, and now its time for hygiene.
All in all it was a great day. Tomorrow i'm conducting platoon level prt, and then we've got some rock drills and who knows what next. I've been thinking of some more introspective things to write about, namely the unsung struggles of the soldier; everyone always talks about the ' ultimate sacrifice' as being the big thing... But really its the very real fear that you'll come home to a cheating spouse, or that youll get the 'dear john' letter and realise you have no home to go to... I've seen it happen, I've seen lives end while I've been away, people realise theyve lost their families or been left behind by the ones they love...

Sometimes death isn't your biggest worry..
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One of the hardest, if not THE hardest problems for soldiers is people at home- and I dont mean missing them. Most civilians dont understand how when a soldier is away, their life is their new duty. Problems will come from home, and what that does is force the soldier to have two complete lives, not just one separated from another by a uniform.
Problems from home make life difficult for several reasons. More often than not there is nothing that can be done to resolve the issue, at least not immediately. A soldier constantly works- even when we aren't doing something we are waiting and preparing to do something- taking time to do bills or something else can only be done on ones personal time-about two hours every night. So, waking up at 5am and working constantly until 1900, is it really fair to take those previous hours and full then with more stress, especially unnecessary stress?
More later, duty calls!
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Morning wake up at 0530, just in time to catch the sin coming up. We've settled into the barracks for a couple days, just to get situated so we can then move out to the field. Apologies on advance for pictures that are sideways, most of these posts are from a mobile device.

Opsec dictates that I leave out specific elements and details of what we do so that information isn't compromised; this makes giving full stories difficult... I'll try though. As for now, its chow time!
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Saturday, July 9, 2011


After several hours of waiting we're now loading up on the buses to head for our flight. Early morning, people are tired after little or no sleep- but keeping ourselves enthusiastic is part of the job. Time ti take our plane and start a long day of training...
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Friday, July 8, 2011


Getting ready for a month of combat training in the desert known as wisconsin. I'd like to start making this blog more personal and impersonal in nature (i know, a conundrum) but we'll just have to see how it goes. Check in daily for images and stories of military life in the US.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Back to Reality

Linked Here is a NYTimes Lens article about a photo album from the early forties, chronicling a few events that were happening at the time. Its one of those things that makes you feel real~ because you know what happened after that photo was taken, how things would end... Those are real pictures from a time before PhotoShop, before a time where I CAN create a convincing photo of my son as an astronaut~ the only thing that separates us from that moment of time is the camera, and that feeling of being so close to the tragedy and importance of the people in those photos is addictive.. I recommend it to anyone who has a minute.

Monday, June 20, 2011

How Do They Do It?

New pictures of Centaurus A from Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 have given us an incredible view of another galaxy~ I can't help but wonder how those people who think the actions of any one person have a cosmic importance to the 'creator' of the universe can keep thinking that when seeing these pictures...

The answer is easy, really; they DON'T see the pictures. They don't understand the scale of these things, of how truly microscopic our existence really is, and how powerful this human imagination and lust for information and discovery really is. I don't think they want to.

When one begins to understand what 'cosmic' really means, how vast our universe is, and how small we are in relation, the real question for the religious should be "why would it care?" Do we take notice of that individual grain of sand somewhere in the beach? That individual grain is everything we've ever known, every human who's ever lived, every dream that's ever been dreamt.. Our entire existence is that single grain, a single drop in a cosmic ocean, and truly we never take heed to such an insignificant thing.

"but god DOES care!" they will say~ but why? What justification is there to care? Surely when you paint, you must focus on a single pigment, right? It's arrogance, not faith, that drives this notion of self importance~ It's fear, not love, that perpetuates this ignorance.

Accept the truth. Accept that we are only significant to ourselves, and not to the cosmos. Understand that when one stands at the level they prescribe to their god, that we aren't even noticeable~ we blend invisibly into the larger picture, and even that is an understatement. We toil and spend our lives doing things confined to this rock, things that will NEVER have consequence (at least for the foreseeable future) on a level as small as our solar system, let alone our galaxy~ or the hundreds of billions of galaxies outside of it. The door to our human imagination is only open once we discard these trappings of self importance, once we discontinue the inane act of observing ourselves in relation to our superstition, and begin to focus on the world around us, and the reality in which we exist~ there is so much there that I suspect there is no room for the supernatural...

When confronted with pictures of other galaxies, images of something so mind-numbingly large that we have no physical way of truly comprehending it, believing in a self-importance that extends beyond those things is truly the height of arrogance~ an arrogance disguised as pious humility.