31 Years and time remains the same.

Last week two events happened that tended to affect veterans. 31 years ago the United States began the ground phase of Desert Storm that saw a victory within 100 hours. It also saw a reemergence of a cold war rival with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And once again we realize how limited the American memory and psyche are. With people stating how Putin had the “right” to march into Ukraine. But then again the Wall that was an Iron Curtain has now officially been down longer than it was up. And that collective memory is gone. Like many veterans of the Cold War, I remember being stationed in Germany waiting for the Soviet Union to roll through the Fulda Gap. Our enemies are fighting the long war and how blind we have become to this. Remember our veterans and their sacrifices.

Sometimes a crack ain’t so bad.

1977 a boy asks his dad to take him to a cub scout recruit meeting. Well, of course the old man doesn’t show up. Just another brick in the wall for that boy. Obviously, by now you know I’m that boy. Now a tale that I had always been ashamed of telling. I am originally from Georgia, a really poor part of Georgia. Made even bleaker by a father who went through wives like water and squandered his money on chasing those pursuits. I know what it’s like to go to bed hungry in a dark electric less trailer. My biological mother passed away when i was 10. The woman he married after her death tried her best to make it a home, but hey we know where it went. They divorced and i couldn’t deal with the latest shack up so i stayed with the ex-stepmother. Hey it was a roof over my head and it being my last year of High School it was all good. Well, she ran off with an ex-convict LOL, reminds ya of that Hee Haw song about if there was no bad luck I’d have no luck at all. Well, I had no place to go so i had to quit school and had that same father sign for me to join the Army. The only thing and likely the best thing that he ever did for me. Fast forward three decades later, multiple wars, two graduate degrees, a roof over my head and always capable of caring for my family. Thos experiences hardened me almost to the point of stone.

Yesterday, that same old man who was my father breathed his last breath on this planet. I am preparing to close that open wound from so long ago. What he did still hurts but i have become older, wiser, and hopefully a better person.

Bottom line i spent almost my entire life in service to this country. The Army is/was my family. It gave me three hots and a cot and the desire to be all i can be. All of you veterans, whether male or female or whatever color you will ALWAYS be my family of Brothers and SIsters. Never be ashamed of where we came from. We are what made this nation great. Remember i am always here if you need an ear to hear or just want to shoot the shit. One Nation One Family.

Strength and Honor/ Domino Mother Fxxxxx!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A funny for today….

Only a veteran will understand this funny pic. I stole it from a fellow vet I worked with.

Interesting article from a blog “The Chaplains Report”

Guest Post: 6 Valuable Ways to Support Veterans In Your Community

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Guest Writer: Rhonda Underhill

Military veterans made an honorable choice when they joined the service, and sometimes readjusting to civilian life after serving can be difficult. Whether you have a veteran close to you or want to honor veterans in your community, there are plenty of ways to help someone who needs it. From small but impactful gestures like assisting them in reconnecting with loved ones to bigger ones like helping them find a home, The Chaplain’s Report shares six valuable ways to support a veteran in your community.

1: Find Medical Care
The U.S. Department of Affairs provides medical care options for veterans, but they may need help applying for benefits. You can take some of the work out of it for them by researching benefits and technicalities like priority groups and also seeing if their family qualifies for care. If they aren’t satisfied with government-sponsored care, you can help them look into private care. Veterans may also be eligible for the Veterans Choice Program, which will allow them to see civilian doctors.

2: Encourage Pet Adoption
Dogs can reduce depression and other mental health symptoms that a veteran may be facing after serving. Oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone,” gets released when petting and otherwise bonding with pets and is beneficial to the brain. For these reasons, among others, owning a pet can help veterans cope with PTSD. You can help them adopt by offering transportation to adoption centers and paying for supplies and adoption fees.

3: Support Their Business Goals
Many veterans may dream of owning a business but are not sure where to start. If you have business experience, offering them your expertise could be beneficial. No matter where they are in the process, from coming up with an idea to writing a business plan, there are ways you can help. One excellent option is searching for a grant specifically for veterans who are starting a business.

4: Shop for a Home
Many veterans need help finding a permanent home after serving. If you have homeownership experience or know someone who does, you can offer valuable information and assistance to them. There are veterans’ loans available that offer mortgages for $0 down, and they may not need mortgage insurance, helping them get on their feet more quickly.

5: Build a Social Network
Those leaving the military often need aid building up their social network, and not just the kind on the internet. Encouraging a veteran to reach out to family and friends for support, as well as helping them meet new people and form a community, can be invaluable. Studies have shown that a solid social network can help protect veterans from rage issues and declining mental health.

6: Help With Food Insecurity
No matter what a former military member is experiencing, a home-cooked hot meal is always appreciated. From baking cookies to providing regular meal assistance, food is a way to help veterans’ health while making them feel cared for and appreciated. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could reach out to a local church or community center to start a food program.

There are many ways to help veterans get back on their feet and live their most fulfilling life. If you’re unsure where to begin, start small. After you begin helping and connecting with veterans in your area, you can find more ways to impact their lives for the better.

Rhonda is a classic example of a health scare leading to a complete lifestyle change. She hopes her site, Getwellderly.com, can encourage adults approaching their golden years to get serious about their physical health now rather than later.

20 Years, to some a lifetime.

A day we must never forget. 9/11, all who gave and some who gave it all you will never be forgotten. Strength and Honor, Domino Mother F*****, Till Valhalla.

Remember to perform thorough buddy checks today. Crush 22 a day.

Idle Thoughts and Musings

It’s Tuesday September 7, 2021. As we get closer to 9/11 memories flood my brain. Shadows that whisper memories of times past. In 2015 I was enrolled in Saint Leo University to complete my MBA. The Student Veterans Association sponsored an essay contest of an experience from your military career. My wife goaded me into writing one, she said it would help get some things out. And to an extent she was right. That said i still deal with the anguish and guilt I felt and carry to this day of not being able to do more. The point of the story is this ” We all struggle with our demons and sometimes it helps to put them to paper if we can’t talk to someone about them”. That said I always encourage my fellow veterans to seek out each other or appropriate counseling to get you that extra mile. Strength and Honor/ Domino Mother F*****.

Core Values Composition Competition

No One Left Behind

Even today over 12, years have passed and this day continues to be seared into my memory. On March 23, 2003, a convoy of the United States Army’s 507th Maintenance Company and the 3rd Combat Support Battalion elements, made a wrong turn and were ambushed near Nasiriya. The convoy was supposed to detour around the town and instead turned directly into it, eventually running into an ambush. The convoy came under attack by heavy enemy fire.  Of 33 soldiers assigned to the convoy 11 paid the ultimate price that day while 7 of their fellow soldiers became prisoners of war.

At that same time a Military Intelligence Detachment of the 5th Special Forces Group was monitoring communications traffic and noted raw footage being aired via Al-Jazeera. One of my fellow analysts noted that one of the soldiers was from Texas and his wife was somewhere in a convoy in country and from Texas. Our hearts sank and we began to pull together analysis and intelligence products. The video footage was sickening; it showed deceased soldiers in a white room. Some with multiple bullet wounds to the torso and head. One of the Iraqis playing to the cameras of Al-Jazeera put his foot over the head of one of the corpses; he maintained a big grin for the camera. I nicknamed him smiley.

Prior to the invasion, we had prepared multiple intelligence packages for our assigned ODAs’, noting historical and current enemy data. From our analysis, the only place for them to take the POWs to was a location that had been used by Sadaam Hussain’s cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid irreverently known as “Chemical Ali”.

Communication had been quick in coming from Marines and our ODAs’ that were collocated with them near Nasiriya. There were reports of an Iraqi claiming that an American was being treated at the hospital in Nasiriya. Our analysis continued feverishly scraping together anything and everything we could to hand off for a possible rescue. We believed in an ethos that no one would be left behind. We briefed our Commander who briefed higher elements regarding our intelligence. Our story returns to the Iraqi who claimed to have seen the POW. Located with our unit were strategic intelligence assets. Those assets were able to piece together a gym bag with camera to gather bona fides regarding the presence of the American soldier. The bag was passed to the Iraqi, who diligently went through the hospital noting doors and exits and visual identification of the American POW PFC Jessica Lynch. We continue our analysis of the area as we prepare a Target Intelligence Packet to hand off to operators for a possible rescue. The hospital in Nasiriya like 7 other hospitals in Iraq had been built by a German construction firm and where all cookie cutter designed. It consisted of a main clinic building and an adjoining bed tower. Later imagery would be provided by UAV assets showing the hospital and behind it buried just beneath the earth were 11 mounds one for each of the deceased soldiers.

The rest we can call history, early in the morning of April 1, 2003 PFC Jessica Lynch was rescued by a Special Operations Task Force from Nasiriya Hospital. Seven days later her fellow soldiers along with two Apache pilots escaped from Iraqi custody during the rout on Baghdad.

The Iraqi was described as a 32-year-old lawyer, initially described only as “Mohammed” and later identified as Mohammed Odeh al Rehaief. In light of Mohammed’s role in Lynch’s rescue, he and his family were granted refugee status by the United States.

Thinking back on that moment in time makes me think of excellence in how we worked as professionals to locate a fellow soldier, respect for the sanctity of human life, and integrity, as we refused to leave anyone behind.   

Thoughts of times gone by.

Eight days till the event that changed most of the current veterans lives. Where were you when the towers were hit? It was a muggy Tuesday i had just showered and had my uniform on sitting in the living room chair putting on my boots. Like every morning I had the news on( what intelligence professional doesn’t have some form of open source news on). I watched in horror as the first then the second plane hit. I didn’t know it yet but Ft Campbell had already gone into a lockdown, I lived in on-post housing. I finished lacing up my boots and hauled ass to the office. I was the first in and started by starting all of our computers. Guys came in with haste. To say the day was a blur would be an understatement. It was a very long day at work.

Anyway todays picture kind of sums up what I think about the whole “thank you for your service” remark. After multiple combat deployments to both Afghanistan and Iraq I had become bitter and remorse. These wars were fought by a select few. Unlike World War II and the greatest generation there was no shared sacrifice. I know, I know just get to the point. BLUF all of you Veterans are a special few who will always share a Brotherhood and Sisterhood with each other. You know what another veteran feels and thinks, YOU have had the same. Remember to reach out to your fellow veterans in the next few weeks, stay engaged. I know the past month has been a shit storm and rough on us all. We all got this!!!!!!!

Strength and Honor, Domino M***** F*****