Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Today's Wx

Elmendorf AFB, Anchorage, Alaska 6:55 am
43 °F / 6 °C
Light Rain
Humidity: 98%
Dew Point: 43 °F / 6 °C
Wind: Calm
Baghdad, IQ 6:55 pm
93 °F / 34 °C
Humidity: 19%
Dew Point: 45 °F / 7 °C
Wind: 5 mph / 7 km/h / 2.1 m/s from the NW
Fredericksburg, VA 10:55 am
79 °F / 26 °C
Humidity: 57%
Dew Point: 63 °F / 17 °C
Wind: 4 mph / 6 km/h / 1.5 m/s from the South

Another Example - Sappers At Work

With a Kiowa Warrior providing air cover and engineers clearing roadside bombs from the area, a concerned citizen provides security for his community at a makeshift checkpoint in the Jurf As Sakhr region. (photo by Lt. Col. Edward Martin)
Spartan Sentinal Sept. 1, 2007 Vol. 4 No. 2

Monday, September 24, 2007

Lets' Go Mountaineers

With the influence of Sunni and Al Qaeda pressing down from the North and West and Shia and Jaish Al Mahdi rising from the South and East, the city of Iskandariyah straddles the fault line of sectarian violence. The epicenter of sectarian tremors in the area is the Hateen Apartment complex, a neighborhood consisting of more than 25,000 Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

SIGNS of western influence are beginning to pop up throughout the complex, replacing Al Qaeda and Jaish Al Mahdi propaganda. One of many indicators that the violence and oppression is coming to an end is having the freedom to display things like your favorite sports teams.
Spartan Sentinal Sept. 1, 2007 Vol. 4 No. 2

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New Olympus 7.1 Digital Camera

Saturday, September 15, 2007 12:43 PM

I got a care package from a Master Sergeant Tony Veloudas, it was fully of Harley Mags, Readers Digest, and Electronic Mags.

Missions are busy as usual.

I bought a sweet camera online, its the new Olympus 7.1 mega pixel indestructible waterproof/drop proof digital. My Nikon is crapping out, probably from the beating its taken over here. It could use a cleaning. I think the insides are fully of sand. It makes funny noises when the lens extends.

I still would like that Nikon D80 when I get home as a redeployment gift to myself, along with maybe a mountain bike, or hot tub, dunno, got plenty of time to decide. Gretchen wants to do this half Ironman triathlon in Hawaii in May. That would be a fun vacation. Run a half Ironman triathlon, then do some scuba diving. They even have volcanoes you can ski/snowboard down!!!

Anyway, internets acting weird now, better go, will be on Fob tomorrow.


To Close For Maggi

Sprinkler systems would have made a big difference, the Raleigh fire marshal says

...They all started on the outside, and none of the buildings had sprinkler systems in the attic. Sprinkler systems in the apartment and townhouse attics would have made a difference, Styons said...

...Sunday's fire at the Wildwoods of Lake Johnson apartment complex, 1201 Trillium Circle, was caused by faulty wiring in a storage area attached to a second-floor apartment. The fire displaced 21 residents.

..."Isn't this amazing? This is just very unusual," Sherry Mitchell, a Red Cross spokeswoman, said Monday. By late Monday afternoon, Red Cross disaster officials had provided food, clothing and hotel rooms for 18 people displaced by Sunday's fire at Wildwoods of Lake Johnson.

When firefighters arrived around 10:30 p.m., fire had engulfed half the structure. A sheet-rock fire wall helped keep the fire from spreading into the other half of the building, said Division Chief Rusty Styons of the Raleigh Fire Department. Firefighters were able to salvage some personal belongings in the damaged units, but were not able to safely enter every unit, he said.

No one was injured in the fire, but the blaze heavily damaged or destroyed six apartments. The other six units in the building had minor smoke damage, Rusty Styons said.

Will Howie, who graduated from N.C. State last year, said neighbors knocked on the door of his first floor apartment about 10:30 p.m., and he went out to try and stop the fire on the second floor with a fire extinguisher. He called 911 after he was unable to put the fire out.

"I knocked the flames back, but initially they were just too much. If I had had another extinguisher, maybe," Howie said.

Howie's apartment suffered water and smoke damage, but he made sure to save his "Labradoodle" dog, Jack, his computer and his N.C. State hat.

Link to Video Report

Raleigh News & Observer
Published: Sep 18, 2007 12:30 AM
Maggi and Dusti's apartment building was one street over from this 4 alarm fire.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Best Shirt They Have Ever Put On

From: Peltier, Chad 1LT USA HHC 3-509 INF (ABN) HHC XO
Date: Sunday, September 16, 2007 8:39 AM
Subject: Shirts (UNCLASSIFIED)

Mr. & Mrs. Chamberlain,

I got your email address from Sam. He and I are co-located here in Iraq. I wanted to thank you for your generosity by sending us all those Dri-Fire shirts. They are very nice to have here. Many of the soldiers who received them have told me that it is the best shirt they have ever put on. We are all impressed by it’s quality.

I have attached the recent Company newsletter in which I have included a special thanks to several of those who have supported us, including you.

Thanks again for all your support.

Chad A. Peltier
Executive Officer

My Prayers For You

Dear blessed and forgiving God, we pray this morning that we may turn to you and lay our sins at your feet. Help us not to run and hide and deny our sins but to open our hearts to you O Lord; to look deep inside ourselves and admit to the wrong motives, actions or hurting words that have pained others. In our confession we seek healing, reconciliation, and your uplifting grace knowing your love and spirit are with us despite who we are or what we have done.

Father, we humbly pray that you will continue to guide this church, its members and its Pastors as you have for the past 60 years. Thy will be done O Lord that we may be your servants of faith, a beacon in this community. Let us have an outward focus, leading by example to serve those most in need, while lending a helping hand to our friends of Christ Lutheran.

Almighty God, we thank you for your healing presence this past week as we prayed for all of the victims and families on 9/11. For all those brave and dedicated men and women serving this great country we say thank you for keeping us safe from our enemies, on our home shores and through out the world. We pray your blessings for a safe journey and return. For all, God speed.

Lord, how blessed we are to have you by our sides and in our lives. You are all mercy and justice, full of loving kindness and compassion. We pray this coming week that each one of us will walk a step close to you. That you will reveal yourself to us in some small way and that we might have the courage to share your story and loving ways with others.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007



Col. Michael Garrett

Your hard work has paid off in the past 11 months. We have seen many, drastic changes in our area. You should be proud. Many of our areas are safer for the common citizen and easier for the Government and Iraqi Security Forces to operate.

We now have less than 100 days to the transfer of authority of our Brigade Area of Operations. I am asking you to put this well into the back of your minds.

In the final months we have to take care of each other. The final months of deployments historically bring many negative trends. Watch each other and stick together. Historically, the rate of sexual assaults climbs by 75% in the last three months of deployment. The possibility of depression and combat stress should be at the forefront of our minds. As redeployment nears problems at home become more real and stress us out more than they have in the past. Leaders, must identify Paratroopers that may have problems and keep an eye on them, assist when necessary, be proactive as you care for your Paratroopers. Paratroopers must stick together and watch each other.

The patrol that you execute tomorrow is the same, if not more dangerous, than the first one you executed in October. The enemy has adjusted to many of our TTPs and is desperate to inflict damage on us. Don’t let your guard down, review the basics, remember the lessons we have learned so far, conduct pre-combat checks, and be vigilant.

Now is the time for leaders to get back to enforcing the basic standards. Our unit has higher standards than most, don’t let that fool you. The enemy will do what he does, we can only affect that so much. You have to be ready and make sure your Paratroopers are ready. Get back to your SOPs, make sure your vehicles are ready, check and clean your ammunition, and enforce
the uniform standards. Take care of your Paratroopers, laziness gets people killed.

Continue to be aggressive and take the fight to the enemy. I am very proud and you should be as well. Your performance has been sensational thus far and your efforts will be recorded into
the chronicles of history.


Unstoppable Sappers

Spartan Sentinal Volume 4, Number 2 - September 1, 2007
UNSTOPPABLE, or almost.

When it comes to deadly roadside bombs, the Sappers of the 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion are experts at finding and destroying them. Even when nothing else is on the road, the engineers are out clearing the roadways and making them safe for everyone. With all of their expertise and machinery they are nearly unstoppable. However, they recently met their match, a ten year old boy, his two brothers and their flock of sheep. Just when the engineers thought it was safe, along came another young boy and his cattle. In the large agricultural region of the Euprhates River Valley south of Baghdad, sights like this are a common occurrence.
Spartan Sentinal Sept. 1, 2007 Vol. 4 No. 2

Wx Here, Wx There

Observed at: Elmendorf AFB, Alaska

50 °F / 10 °C
Light Rain, Humidity: 100%
Dew Point: 50 °F / 10 °C
Wind: Calm
Pressure: 29.90 in / 1012 hPa (Steady)
Visibility: 10.0 miles / 16.1 kilometers
Observed at: Baghdad, IQ

95 °F / 35 °C
Clear, Humidity: 15%
Dew Point: 41 °F / 5 °C
Wind: 5 mph / 7 km/h / 2.1 m/s from the NW
Observed at: Fort Drum, New York

66 °F / 19 °C
Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 49%
Dew Point: 46 °F / 8 °C
Wind: 9 mph / 15 km/h / 4.1 m/s from the West
Observed at: Fredericksburg, Virginia

82 °F / 28 °C
Humidity: 37%
Dew Point: 54 °F / 12 °C
Wind: Calm
Pressure: 30.03 in / 1017 hPa (Steady)
Heat Index: 81 °F / 28 °C

Matt Gregor in Kuwait

Hello from Kuwait!
I'm fine, got here a few days ago, with a few more days here before we head north.
The flight was fine, only 2 hours layover in Germany (no sightseeing, awww), and then south to Kuwait.
Our acclimation period here is get up early, PT, a few classes and a bunch of sitting around.
It's been about 105+ degrees here since we got here, with 2 of those days of constant wind and sand blowing.
The base here is huge, with a lot of amenities to soak up our hard-earned deployment money. I try not to be
I just wanted to give you all an update. I don't think I'll be online much the next week or two; hopefully we
get better access to the internet where we are going, but I won't hold my breathe.
Matt is my nephew (sister Lisa's son). He is a recently commissioned 2nd LT, artillery officer in the 10th Mountain Div, 1-87 IN Battalion out of Fort Drum, NY. He will be deployed to Task Force Summit, FOB Warrior near Kirkuk, north of Baghdad.

Sappers Rule


(click on any image to enlarge)

After Didn't there used to be a bridge here?

Sappers Rule, legs drool

Friends and Family,

I had the Sapper mission every combat engineer officer and non-commissioned officer dreams, drools, and begs to get,. DESTROY A BRIDGE WITH DEMOLITIONS (1300 lbs. of C4) DEEP IN ENEMY TERRITORY. With only a few photographs and Intel beforehand we decided what charges to use prior to setting out on mission. With aircraft circling over head, and possible IED's laid in our path we drove cross country to this bridge site being used by the enemy to move across country and attack several Iraqi Army and Coalition patrol bases. After several hours on site prepping the bridge and placing the charges we pulled the M81 initiator and watched the bridge disintegrated.



Tuesday, September 11, 2007

FBI Director Mueller's 9/11 Comments

It will no doubt always be very difficult to look back on the events of September 11, 2001. No one of us will ever forget the tremendous losses suffered that fateful day -- of life, peace, and security.

In marking the sixth anniversary of 9/11, we honor those whose lives were taken from us and those who gave their lives so others might live. In remembering them, we also can discover renewed purpose and resolve in our primary mission of protecting the security of this great nation from terrorism.

In the words of Franklin Roosevelt, "...with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph."

With great appreciation for all that each of you contributes to that effort,

Robert S. Mueller

Babylon "Field Trip"

Sam with Babylon ruins and palace in background
My truck (BAE RG-11) parked in front of the palace
Babylonian lion squashing an invader
Friends and Family,

Attached are photos from my 3 September "field trip" to Babylon in the Babel province, near the city of Al Hillah. The ancient ruins are still relatively intact considering they are 3000 years old, there is a gorgeous palace built in 1890 overlooking the ruins. I even had a first class tour from an Iraqi archeologist who has spent his career studying, excavating, and rebuilding the Babylon ruins.


Monday, September 10, 2007

New Rations Coming To Army

The First Strike Ration reduces weight and cube by 50 percent when compared to the Meal, Ready-to-Eat.
Story, photos by Soldier Systems Center - Natick Army News Service

NATICK, Mass. — A new compact, eat-on-the-move assault ration is well on its way to warfighters’ hands.

“The First Strike Ration is intended for the first-on-the-ground, first-to-fight warfighter,” said Barbara Daley, food technologist and FSR project officer. Usually when warfighters are issued two or more Meals, Ready-to-Eat they “field strip” them to lessen the bulk and weight they are carrying.

Personnel at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center found not only were warfighters tossing what they considered extra weight, such as the flameless ration heater and Tabasco sauce, but they were also tossing food items.

The FSR attempts to reduce this stripping by providing a lighter, smaller package with eat-on-the-go items that also enhance performance. These items are calorically dense and provide appropriate nutritional content and energy to warfighters for short durations of highly mobile, highly intense combat operations.

Items included in the FSR include pocket sandwiches, First Strike energy bars, Zapplesauce™ — a carbohydrate-enhanced applesauce, high-energy drinks, pouches of tuna and chunk chicken and caffeinated gum.

The FSR is designed to be about half the size of the three MREs it replaces and it provides, on average, 2,900 calories per day.

“It is not intended to sustain the warfighter for long periods of time,” Daley emphasized.

Because of its lower caloric content, the FSR is classified by the Office of the Surgeon General as a restricted ration. As such, it can only be used as a sole source of food for 10 days or less in accordance with Army Regulation 40-25.

The Combat Feeding Directorate conducted user evaluations on the FSR in Nevada and Germany in fiscal year 2004, and in Afghanistan and Iraq in fiscal year 2005. When compared with a field-stripped MRE in Iraq in 2005, more than 70 percent of Soldiers said the FSR was more convenient to carry and consume than the MRE.

“The best feedback we have received to date has been from warfighters participating in OIF/OEF in the mountains of Afghanistan and Iraq. They loved it,” Daley said.

In July 2006, CFD conducted an operational test at Fort Bragg, N.C. With more than 100 Soldiers participating from an airborne infantry battalion, one group consumed the FSR for three days while the other group consumed MREs for three days. Then the groups switched.

From monitoring what the Soldiers ate and what they threw out, CFD saw less waste and greater consumption with the groups eating the FSR.Two Soldiers look at the components of the First Strike Ration during a recent evaluation at Fort Bliss, Texas.

Team Effort Clears Roads in North Babil Province

Iraqi Police officers sit in the median of a road near Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq, Aug. 29 as part of the security force for Operation Cotentin, a mission focused on improving assured mobility of coalition forces and Iraqi Security Forces. (Photo: Iraqi Police officers sit in the median of a road near Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq, Aug. 29 as part of the security force for Operation Cotentin, a mission focused on improving assured mobility of coalition forces and Iraqi Security Forces.)

Alaska e-post online Sept. 7

Story, photo by Sgt. Marcus Butler4th BCT, 25th ID PAO

FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq — Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces came together Aug. 29 to help improve road conditions and make travel safer for citizens and Soldiers in North Babil.

Engineers from A Company, 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, along with personnel from 8th Iraqi Army Division and Babil police, conducted Operation Cotentin, a joint effort focused on improving the safety of the roadways near Iskandariyah and Haswah.

“Our mission for Operation Cotentin was to conduct route (sanitizing) in order to make the roads safer,” said 1st Lt. Samuel Chamberlain, a platoon leader with A Co. “Route (sanitizing) involves the clearing of trees, debris, or other thick vegetation that may be used to emplace roadside bombs targeted at the area’s security forces.”

The two-day operation covered more than eight miles of road.

During the operation, the engineers moved up the roads in mine-resistant vehicles, knocking down trees and cleaning up debris in their paths using armored graders, bulldozers and other earth moving equipment to make the area easier to view roadside bombs.

While roads were being cleared, Iraqi Security Forces managed traffic and shared security responsibilities with the engineers.

Clearing the roads makes it obvious for other security forces to see any threats that may have been placed to harm them,” Chamberlain said.

The operation went very smoothly,” said Sgt. 1st Class Beau Shaw, a platoon sergeant. “Our engineers knew what to do and executed proficiently.”

The engineers have been conducting route sanitation and route clearance since being deployed to the area in October 2006.

Since then, 3rd Platoon has an average of at least two IED strikes per Soldier, some with three or more.

All of our guys love what they do,” Shaw said. “They know they are helping not just their brigade, but every single person who travels the roads in our area of operation.”

Friday, September 7, 2007

In These Words

In these words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Sam comes to mind.
Heights by great men reached and kept
were not obtained by sudden flight but,
while their companions slept,
they were toiling upward in the night.
In this world a man must either be anvil or hammer.
Know how sublime a thing it is to suffer and be strong.
Man is always more than he can know of himself;
consequently, his accomplishments,
time and again,
will come as a surprise to him.
Simplicity in character,
in manners, in style;
in all things the supreme excellence is simplicity.
The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well, and doing well whatever you do without thought of fame. If it comes at all it will come because it is deserved, not because it is sought after.
Yes, we must ever be friends;
and of all who offer you friendship
let me be ever the first,
the truest, the nearest and dearest!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Another Adventure Planned

2006. Buckwheat Donahue checks in a runner who has seen the movie "This Is Spinal Tap" one too many times, and the second group of runners set their watches as they take off on the steep 8.8 miles of leg one.

Klondike Trail of '98 International Road Relay

Gretchen and a team of 5 women and one man (7) are leaving some time after work today (Thursday) for the 17 hour motor home drive to Skagway for the start of a 180 Km (111.6 mile) relay race. Team Flashdance Part 2 is running in the Open class and is bib 28. The race starts in Skagway, traverses the White Pass (1004 meters, 1,619 ft high) and ends in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Clean Can Be Funny

One day, a man came home and was greeted by his wife dressed in a very Sexy nightie. "Tie me up," she purred, "and you can do anything you want." So he tied her up and went Kayaking.


A woman came home, screeching her car into the driveway, and ran into the house. She slammed the door and shouted at the top of her lungs, "Honey, pack your bags. I won the lottery!"The husband said, "Oh my God! What should I pack, beach stuff or mountain stuff?" "Doesn't matter," she said. "Just get out."


Marriage is a relationship in which one person is always right, and the other is a husband.


A Polish immigrant went to the DMV to apply for a driver's license. First, of course, he had to take an eye sight test The optician showed him a card with the letters 'C Z W I X N O S T A C Z.' "Can you read this?" the optician asked. "Read it?" the Polish guy replied, "I know the guy."


Mother Superior called all the nuns together and said to them, "I must tell you all something. We have a case of gonorrhea in the convent." "Thank God," said an elderly nun at the back. "I'm so tired of chardonay."


A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband. Suddenly, her husband burst into the kitchen. "Careful," he said, "CAREFUL! Put in some more butter! Oh my GOD! You're cooking too many at once. TOO MANY! Turn them! TURNTHEM NOW! We need more butter. Oh my GOD! WHERE are we going to get MORE BUTTER? They're going to STICK! Careful. CAREFUL! I said be CAREFUL! You NEVER listen to me when you're cooking! Never! Turn them! Hurry up! Are you CRAZY? Have you LOST your mind? Don't forget to salt them. You know you always forget to salt them. Use the salt. USE THE SALT! THE SALT!" The wife stared at him. "What in the world is wrong with you? You think I don't know how to fry a couple of eggs?" The husband calmly replied, "I just wanted to show you what it feels like when I'm driving."


Fifty-one years ago, Herman James, a North Carolina mountain man, was drafted by the Army. On his first day in basic training, the Army issued him a comb. That afternoon the Army barber sheared off all his hair. On his second day, the Army issued Herman a toothbrush. That afternoon the Army dentist yanked seven of his teeth. On the third day, the Army issued him a jock strap. The Army has been looking for Herman for 51 years.

EOBC Buddy

"1st Lt. William Cromie , Alpha Company, Special Troops Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, watches Aug. 15 his Soldiers from an over watch position as they clear an ambush point previously used by Taliban extremists in Chowkay Valley, Afghanistan"

The attached photograph was from the front page of the AKO/Army website. They usually change up the image every couple days. This day it happened to be a buddy of mine from EOBC and Sapper Leader Course. His name is William Cromie, he's from New Jersey. Will is currently a sapper platoon leader in the 173rd, out of Vacenza, Italy. They are deployed to Afghanistan. From the picture the terrain looks completely different from Iraq. The caption above was with the image.