Friday, August 26, 2011
Fun with 1st Battalion....
Sorry... been a long time. I made it to Afghanistan back in July of 2009, and assumed it would be yet another typical deployment. I was way wrong. Instead, I was attached to the US Army 1st Battalion out of Fort Bragg, and supported them as the only AF member of their team. I did some amazing and insane things I never thought I'd ever do, and those guys kept my ass alive. I gained more respect for the Army during my time with them, purposely rejecting a typical 'Joint' medal offered up so that I could get the Army Commendation instead. I'm more proud of that green ribbon on my uniform than anything else.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Yes, I'm in Afghanistan
And yes, it's been a long time since I've last posted, but what can I say... I've been busy. I'm currently deployed in Kabul, working for the US Army, and life couldn't be more crazy/intersting since my arrival last week. I'll be here for a while, so stay tuned for more posts.
Until then, the internet has been hard to access due to the elections taking place today. We're all keeping our fingers crossed that all goes well and that the Afghans are able to vote peacefully and safely.
So, wish them luck, us luck, and hope for the best for me. Being directly attached to the Army is going to be very interesting.
Either way, it's good to be back in the saddle on this blog.
(Yes, I recently promoted to Major, but El Capitan has always represented something other than my rank, so it stays for now.)
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wow, I Should Join!
Then again, after seeing those guys only make $5000 a year, I'd rather join this 'Daring, Highly Trained Special Mission Force.' They have cooler planes.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
A Toast to a Fallen Comrade
We toast our hearty comrades who have fallen from the skies, and were gently caught by God's own hands to be with him on high.
To dwell among the soaring clouds they've known so well before, from victory roll to tail chase at heavens very door.
And as we fly among them there we're sure to hear their plea, "Take care my friend, watch your six, and do one more roll for me."
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The Miracle That Is Obama
I heard he was the Messiah, but I didn't know why until now.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I Need Help With an Assignment.
Okay team, I need a hand with an assignment. I was assigned an 800 word essay with this topic: Despite the near universal condemnation of terrorist attacks against the US, Great Britain, Spain, and other Western nations, there have been incidences of disagreement between the Western powers on the prosecution of the Global War on Terror. In what ways might the US employ its cultural awareness to more effectively partner with Europe in this ongoing struggle?
The quick answer is that we can't do much on the cultural side to get Europe to fully participate. Yes, my word-smithing isn't the best in this essay, but I'm firm on my thesis and conclusion. My professor disagrees with the argument that a majority of our NATO allies (minus England and Canada) are not fully committed to the Global War on Terror. He disagrees so much, that he marked my paper down because he thinks that's a false premise. I stand by it.
What do you think? Am I wrong?
Although the Global War on Terror has touched nearly every part of the globe, it is still a US-centric, US-focused effort. Western nations have all been touched in some way by Al-Qaeda’s operations, yet Western Europe seems to remain psychologically unattached to actual war. Their limited military support in Afghanistan is a token offer to the United States, offered more out of an obligation for past assistance rather than to seriously fight a common enemy. The US would need to inspire the European Union by changing the prevailing culture of Europe to effectively bring them into the GWOT as an equal partner.
The GWOT has an unmistakable undertone of a religious warfare. The US never declared it to be a religious war, but they are fighting an enemy that sees this struggle as a spiritual conflict. “In recent years, trends in the United States and Europe as well as the emergence of new international terrorist threats claiming Islamic fundamentalist roots have combined to put new focus on religion as a dividing rather than a uniting factor across the Atlantic.” (Sloan, 2005, 1)
Because the US allowed Al-Qaeda to label this war as a religious struggle, it is seen through the eyes of Europeans as being rooted in the “uber-religious” American fundamentalism. Such fundamentalism goes against the increasing secularism of Europe, where religion and nationalism have taken a back seat to what Huntington describes as “Universal Civilization”, an idealism created by “a thin layer of technocrats and academics and businessmen who gather annually at that watering hole of the global elite in Switzerland.” (Ajami, 2008, 3)
The US and Europe are certainly tied together through political, financial, ideological, and cultural ties, but because the new European cultural components of Religion, Ethnicity and Nationalism cannot be drastically altered, their participation in the GWOT needs to be inspired by other means.
The modernization of the world has been a Western-led effort over the last 150 years. It has culminated into today’s technologically advanced societies, high-tech industries, and it paved the way to the Globalization we are experiencing today. Still, there are many cultures and nations around the world that are resisting this modernization, including the opposing forces of the GWOT. Al-Qaeda’s Shiria-based Islamic faction, as well as some powerful Muslim nation-states, are resisting modernization and Globalization, and they are basing this resistance on their religious principles. To the religious (and sometimes elected) leaders of those nations, modernization and Globalization are evil because they originated in the Christian-centric Western nations, and anything Western must be resisted at all cost.
It would be logical for the US to further influence and inspire Western Europe to increase their role in the GWOT by convincing them that the ultimate goal of this War is to lift up the populations of those nations ‘ravaged’ by 3rd World consequences by opening up their access to education, commerce, and the benefits of the Global economy and Western goods and services. This argument might actually work with a few Eastern European nations, but it would almost certainly fail to change the views of the elites who would see the pushing of Globalization onto the oppressed equal to pushing Christianity onto Muslims. No matter what the benefits would be to those living in 19th Century-based societies, most of Europe would be more concerned with stepping on the toes of other cultures than by improving the health and well-being of those people.
One can certainly understand the sensitivity Europeans may have towards upsetting the balance of cultures. They learned what happens when you conquer, partition, and ultimately abuse culturally diverse regions of the world. Asia, the Americas, Africa, and nearly every other place on earth was changed in some way by the failed policies of Western colonization during the last 500 years. It might be entirely possible that the guilt of colonization is the root cause of European antipathy towards the US-led GWOT.
The only way Geography could influence the West’s participation in the GWOT would be if Western Europe were facing total catastrophe due to invasion or other large-scale threats. Western Europe has never rallied together more than they did during World War I, World War II, and ultimately the Cold War. When faced with the common Soviet threat, Western Europe (deeply influenced by the US) built up a strong economic and military resistance to contain the spread of Communism. There was still a lot of disagreement amongst the Western Governments (i.e. France vs. NATO), but those weaknesses never gained enough influence thanks to the backing of the US military and economy.
It seems that only threat of total warfare is capable of influencing the Europe into participating in any large-scale military action. Because of influence of US religion, nationalism, and Globalization on diverse cultures, Europe is hesitant to take a stronger role in the GWOT. Europe will not be influenced by cultural-based arguments made by the US to bring them into the struggle. Instead, it will take a war of survival to inspire them to fight as one against a common, powerful enemy. The enemy will need to be something more deadly than a state-less, tyrannical religious-based organization. With Iran rapidly developing its nuclear program, the use of such weapons may just be the catalyst for total participation. Sadly, like their delayed reaction to Nazi Germany’s spread across the continent, action by Western Europe after the enemy has fully committed its forces will make resistance much more difficult and deadly.
Ajami, Fouad, “The Clash,” New York Times, 6 January 2008
Sloan, Stanley, “How Does Religion Affect Relations between America and Europe?” Atlantic Community Initiative website, Winter 2005
Monday, February 09, 2009
Live Blogging a Volcano
(Play 'Jaws' music now)
New Member of the Family
In December I did something I never thought I would ever do. I exercised my 2nd Amendment rights and purchased a 'Household Protection Device'. Her name is Helga. She's German, and she's as accurate as she is sexy.
Growing up in California, hand guns and any types of weapons were always frowned upon. I never imagined I'd ever want or need to buy one, but after three deployments in countries where societies had broken down, evil in its worst form had taken over, and the only way people could protect themselves and their families was to own a weapon. I can't imagine life ever getting that bad here in the US, but the idea of not being able to protect my family against the most simple threats haunted me for a long time.
Of course, the top priority was to make sure I got the safest weapon I could find, and the easiest to use for my wife. More important was the need to keep it away from the kids. This little device is the greatest thing invented since sliced bread.
Once I was able to find exactly what I was looking for in terms of safety and security, I took the plunge. It was well worth the wait and the cost, and I'd recommend this model to anyone.
Thanks definitely go to my friend Tumbleweed and my brother in law 'Bam Bam' who gave a 2nd Amendment Virgin some excellent advice, and along the way helped me figure out the right way to go about this.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Happy Australia Day
I know I know... I failed to mention Thanksgiving even though I was very thankful to be here with the family this year. And when Christmas rolled around I didn't even give this site the time of day. So why Australia Day?
Our son Matt called from Australia tonight to wish us a Happy Australia Day. He's been down there for almost a year now, and he's taking the time to celebrate the annual Aussie summer ritual (in a hot 105F today). It's their version of a 4th of July holiday.
Australia Day, January 26, is the biggest day of celebration in the country and is observed as a public holiday in all states and territories. On Australia Day we come together as a nation celebrate what's great about Australia and being Australian. It's the day to reflect on what we have achieved and what we can be proud of in our great nation. It's the day for us to re-commit to making Australia an even better place for the future.
Most important is that my daughter Kalyssa is half Aussie, so we make sure to celebrate the day for her so she's aware of her roots. We usually have a cake and we give out gifts we bring back with us from our trips down there.
So, if you're looking for an excuse to party, today's the day for it. Call in sick, order up a cake in the shape of a Kangaroo or a Boomerang, go buy a case of any Australian beer other than Fosters, and enjoyr.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
The Apocalypse is Near
'I'm in Hell'
Why would I be in hell you ask? While the wife meets her favorite band I'm stuck out here awaiting an opening act so terrible, they would never expose Guantanamo prisoners to such treatment.
Yes, I'm talking about Jessica Simpson.
Just had my first beer in 92 days, but I had to do something to prepare for this torture my ears are about to endure.
Pray I don't stick a pen in each ear to stop the pain.
What we men do for our women.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
Friday, November 28, 2008
Sitting here in line at the store at 4am. Just finished waiting 2 hours just to get into this store. Am I here by choice? Hell no. I'm here for the wife.
I'm no fan of shopping like this, but she needed the help and she does save hundreds on Christmas shopping. She planned the morning out with 20 sale adds, maps, and lists of stores that price match. Overlay those stores on the map with ones offering gift cards, do some exotic formula, and presto. You get 20 DVDs for 4 bucks and a laptop for 50.
It's worth it, but it still sucks being out here this early.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Honestly, I can't really bag on the state too much. I've had some good times here in the past. I was last here Sept 07 with a contingent of Iraqi Air Force leaders, and coming straight from Iraq this place looked like paradise to all of us. I was definitely thankful for my time out here.
Still... I could use a few mountains and a coastline about now.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
Pray for India and its people in Mumbai, and for the victims and hostages. Pray that the Indian police and military forces take the fight beyond the streets and hotels, all the way to the leadership of these Islamic Extremist organizations.
There is a special place in hell for these people.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
Saturday, November 22, 2008
22 November 2008 - Victory in Iraq Day
The following are not my words, they're from the website I linked, but they hit the nail on the head.
Let us honor the sacrifice, dedication and sheer determination of American, coalition and Iraqi troops who have brought freedom to the nation and people of Iraq.
Although our governments have chosen to not name any official day marking the end of this war, we the people have taken it upon ourselves to commemorate November 22, 2008 as the day of victory over the forces of tyranny, oppression and terror in Iraq.
Join fellow bloggers and other members of the public in this virtual ticker-tape parade for our brave troops, to celebrate their success, to remember the fallen, and to declare, in the words of President John F. Kennedy (RIP):
"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay
any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any
foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Valour IT - Team Air Force
C'mon Air Force, we're getting our asses handed to us by the Army and Navy!
Who Can Resist Achmed....
'I Kill You!'
Friday, November 14, 2008
McCain vs Obama 2008
Do It Again In 2010!