Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hurricane Katrina: Blog for Relief Day - September 1

American Red Cross
Online Donation Form has some other links to help you make a donations

N. Z. Bear has some good info at TTLB Hurricane Special Report

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Crap! I better fill up in the morning.


Tue Aug 2005 30 22:23:23 ET

Metro Atlanta drivers are facing the possibility of paying considerably more than $3 a gallon for gas by Labor Day -- if they can get it at all, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting Wednesday.

The two pipelines that bring gasoline and jet fuel to the region are down -- powerless to pump as Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on electrical infrastructure.

The metro Atlanta region generally has about a 10-day supply of gasoline in inventory, said BP spokesman Michael Kumpf. The pipelines have been down for two days.

Alpharetta, Ga.-based Colonial Pipeline Co., cut off from its suppliers on the Gulf Coast, is now pumping gas from huge storage tanks, many in Powder Springs, Ga. Whether electric power can be restored to the pipeline pumps before supplies run out is "the great uncertainty ... that hangs over all of us," said Daniel Moenter, a spokesman for Marathon Ashland Petroleum, a major supplier of metro Atlanta's fuel.


Ok.. it's BS, but what if...

Thanks to McGinley for the snope-esque reserch

Wednesday, August 17, 2005; Page C01

Why vote for the lesser of two evils when you can vote for someone who looks evil?

"Our great country is in a terrible downward spiral," says the message on, touting Christopher Walken for president. "It's time to be smart about our politics."

Can't you see it? Walken tearing apart Jeb and Hillary in the debates. Walken peering out from behind the voting booth curtain, or leering on "Larry King."

But the actor has "no intention of running," his rep says, and the Web site, registered in Los Angeles under the name Christopher Walken for President, is "100 percent false."

Still, imagine a State of the Union address delivered in syncopated Walkenese: "The state . . . of the union . . . is mahvelous . Just -- mahvelous." Pivot, glare. "I can't think of a better -- STATE -- for the union to be in ." Shoulder hunch, head twitch. Rapturous applause.

All seriousness aside, the only thing more disappointing than the campaign's fraudulence is its boring tag line, "It's time to get America back on track." Given the cache of great Walken lines, we stump for snappier slogans:

"When I win, everyone gets a glass of shhham-pan-ya."

"Like your father's gold watch, this country needs to be kept safe, secure and in a warm place." (See "Pulp Fiction.")

"Liberty is my weapon of choice." (Fat Boy Slim on the ticket?)

"Walken? I'm runnin'!"

"Catch me if you can."

"More cowbell."

-- Dan Zak

Monday, August 29, 2005

Walken for president????

Walken 2008 - Official Website

What in the Hell...

Thanks to Mike B from MRT for bringing this to my attention.

Lunchtime Posting... Food... OPSEC

Well, I'm here at the good old job at Technicon. I just ate a couple of delicious Ultra Lean Pockets. Man, it just doesn't get any better than this.

Recently, there has been some hub bub regarding OPSEC and milblogging. This is important stuff. I (and everyone else with a "" address) got this e-mail. Black Five posted it.
More OPSEC Guidance

Check out who looked at my blog last night.

Visitor Details
Date & Time: Aug/29 2:17:42 AM IP Address:
Nr. of visits: 1 (First time visitor) Language: Arabic (Iraq)
Country: Argentina Location:
Organisation: Coop. de aguas corrientes
Operating System: Windows XP Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0
Resolution: 1024x768 Colors: 32 bit true color
Entry page:

I don't know who this Arabic speaking person in Argentina is. I sure as hell don't think he's getting anything from my page, but he's surely looking at other blogs as well... And yes, because he speaks Arabic, I'm assuming he's a Tango. We definitely have to be careful. Even those browsing in English can still be the enemy. I just thought the Argentinean Arab was worth pointing out.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Another Way To Spot A Moron

I love this... H/T to Southern by Blog.

Another Way To Spot A Moron

Just a post...

I've been a little bummed out about the deployment thing. I haven't really felt like posting.

Friday, August 26, 2005

BLACKFIVE: Update - Code Pink Protest At Walter Reed

BLACKFIVE: Bust Their Chops

I should have known better...

Well, I’m back from NYC. I went to see my family before going to Iraq. It was a really nice visit.

So, I get a phone call, Tuesday morning, from my buddy telling me that the mobilization date is set. I get some e-mails with all the official information, etc from NGB an hour later. So, I’m all set. I had a firm date, I see the orders coming down from higher, etc… then my commander calls. He tells me that they have a platoon coming from another state to fill in where we needed people and they’ll be brining an LT with them... So, the unit will need to send one less LT. I tell him that I still want to go. By the time I was headed to Little Italy for dinner, my commander calls to tell me that it turns out that the BN CDR (or maybe it was the XO) made the decision. So... no deployment for Partamian. I’m the one with a pregnant wife. (I know, I should be grateful and I am)

However, I told everyone I was going. I canceled my slot for The Army Instructor Training Course (TAITC) to visit the family. This will be false alarm number two for my employer. I'm a little embarrassed. I mean, I was on the list to go, but I feel foolish now. I tried to give my employer a "heads-up" and prepare them for a mobilization base on a stated date. Deep down I thought "maybe I should just sit tight and wait for actual orders”, but since I was told that I was going… and saw my name on the UMR which showed me as one of the ones going... and I was told to report to Ft Stewart this coming weekend (orders were on the way)...


I get to be here for the baby. That's a huge plus, and I know it will make things better on Anne, but I still feel really weird about the whole thing. A lot of people don’t understand how much this bummed me out. Everyone in my family is happy about it but me. I was prepared to do this. I’ll get over it I suppose. It’s not like I’ve never been over there. I went to DS/DS. I don’t think the GWOT is going to end tomorrow… So, I’ll go eventually. It’s just really a great big psyche out. I’ll pick up this rambling vent tomorrow. I’ll have to call to see when I’m needed back in the office. Hell, I cleaned out my cubicle and everything.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

NYC... Blathering

Remember, I can't spell... and my grammar stinks too.

Well, I'm here in NYC. I went running yesterday morning, I ran a little over 3 miles. It was a slow run through Flushing aka "Korea Town". There's a lot of Korean immigrants in Flushing and it makes for an interesting run... lots of interesting stuff to look at, funny signs with cartoon ducks and hippos signing karaoke. It's kind of like being in Korea. Well, except that there were about a million Mexicans (ok...maybe, some were from elsewhere in Central-America too) hanging around on every corner. I said "Good Morning" to as many people as I could as I was running along. Only one person said it back to me. He looked confused that someone would actually be pleasant. I love NYC. I love that I can be myself, and suddenly I am a super nice guy. Whereas, down south... I'm a jerk.

We went into Manhattan later in the day to check out the apartment building that my dad just bought. It smelled like cats. My dad gave the guy, who was renting the retail space on the first floor, the boot. The guy left the place a mess and left three cats in the store to starve. My dad got a trap and got them all out, but the place is really stinky. I don't think Fabreeze is going to fix it.

After that we went to "Ground Zero". Let me just say that I hate the term "Ground Zero". I'm not sure which dumbass reporter decided to call it that, making it stick, but I'd like to smack him around. I bet it was Geraldo. Just before we got there, we (my wife my dad and step-mother) stop to get my wife a hotdog. (She's pregnant and must eat when she must eat and must pee when she must pee.) So, my dad is talking to the vendor and the vendor says "where are you from" and my dad says "Bulgaria" The vendor was from Greece, and they were chatting away for about a minute about something and then the hotdog guy is turning to me, talking about Bush and that I shouldn't go to Iraq... all the typical crap. Yes, I said typical, because it's becoming a lot more common. I'm thinking to myself, "I'm a block away from the World Trade Center and the hotdog guy is telling me what a dirtbag GWB is and that I shouldn't go to Iraq". I was so pissed off. "Sure, hotdog man... now that you want me to be a deserter... I'll just let my buddies do the work. I'll stay home and bash the president with you."

It makes me so mad that we have so many people in this country who have no backbone, no loyalty, and no idea what's really at stake. Many Americans can only think a year or two ahead at best and they can only think of themselves. These are the same people that were all for Bush when we were kicking the crap out of the Taliban and Saddam's army. Now that we are doing something different, something that is more difficult... something that requires commitment, they can't handle it.

Ok, I have to just stop or I'll be here all day. For those of you who agree with the hotdog guy... I'll go fight for you, but you still make me ill.

Friday, August 19, 2005

My Weight... Again

I watched Starved again last night. I really like that show. It shows how troubled many people are about eating. Three of the four main characters are men and they all have eating disorders. I could see myself in this show. The way I over eat, diet, exercise... the way I think about food, and what I see in the mirror... Yeah, I like this show. Hell, I could be in this show. AR 600-9 doesn't really help either. I mean, I am overweight right now according to reg's. I'm still 213 lbs.

I'm going to NYC today. I haven't packed yet, I better get at it. I'll post again from the big apple.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Last day at the office...

Today was my last day at the office. We all went out to have Italian food at the place across the street. I thought it was just going to be my boss, Bill and I, but then everyone else slipped in and surprised me. And my wife showed up too. She used to work there before I did. I even got a carrot cake that was decorated with "Essayons", in red icing. It even had a castle on it. It was funny because when it was brought out, the people from the restaurant started singing Happy Birthday. They stopped when they were told that it wasn't a birthday cake. It was a "going to Iraq, see you next year" cake.

So, I ate some sausage and peeper on pasta, and a nice sized hunk of cake. Not to good for Operation Slimdown, but I did just get back from the gym. I did a full hour on the treadmill and then did a generic upper body workout. I did some bench press, some flys, some tricep and shoulder work. I even did some curls for the biceps. I've lost a lot of strength. The rotator cuff injury has really taken a toll. I'll have to work through it over the next week or so.

Yeah, it's all about me today. After all I did call it the Partamian Report.

213 lbs

I have got to get this under control. I'm starting to look like the soldier to the left. I was 203 lbs at Fort Gordon back in June. I have got to cut back on the food and start exercising again. Tomorrow, I'm going to NYC for a week, to visit the family. I always eat too much when I am up there. I'm going to really have to be careful or I’ll be 220 by the time I get back.

Dad, if you’re reading this...


Ok… enough about my flab problem. Surely, I'll have something interesting to post at some point today… just not right now.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Three soldiers from 48th die in accident

Read about it here...

Found it on Mudville Gazette

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Underlying Reasons...

An excerpt from Critical analysis of regime changes in Iraq 2003: Underlying reasons behind the Iraq War. By
Roderick John Young

Chapter one. Analysis for Regime Change In Iraq

A few years or so ago, the "peace movement" shouted that Afghanistan could not even be approached by a UN coalition without risking the server undying enmity of the Muslim world or that the Taliban regime could not be bombed during Ramadan or that a humanitarian disaster graver than ever would occur if Islamic ultra-fanatics were ever confronted in their own lairs. However now we have an imperfect but recovering Afghanistan with elections help recently at a National level, and a population increased of almost two million returned refugees. There were similar critics and cynics lining up and saying, "Hands off Saddam Hussein," These people almost made the same doom-laden predictions. Even thought the line that connects Afghanistan and Iraq is not a straight one the results have been the same. It is hard to ignore the direct connection between al Qaeda and the Taliban regime. Saddam Hussein even denounced the timely removal of the Sunni Muslim-murdering Slobodan Milosevic; he also denounced the removal too of the Shiite-murdering Taliban. It can be seen that with Saddam the state of Iraq has been sponsoring him in his terror campaigns(Hitchens, 2003)[1]!

If the counsel of the peace-protestors had been followed then Kuwait would today be a 19th province of Iraq. Also based on Saddam Hussein own recently produced evidence, he would have acquired nuclear weapons by now. Moreover, Bosnia would now be a trampled and cleansed province and part of Greater Serbia. Kosovo then would have been emptied greatly of most of its inhabitants. The Taliban too would still be in power in Afghanistan. Yet what is missing on the contented air and moral superiority that seems to surrounds those who intone the "peace movement."

There are three well-established reasons in favor what is termed "regime change" in Iraq. The first is the year after year flouting by Saddam Hussein of many known law on genocide and human rights(Bruni, 2004b). This is why the Senate with the urging of Bill Clinton came to pass the Iraq Liberation Act and did it unanimously even before George W. Bush had even been nominated to stand for president. The second is the persistent efforts by Saddam's brutal regime to acquire the weapons of genocide. The use of these was seen in the Iran-Iraq war 1980-88. These actions of gaining WMD were condemned by the United Nations even before George W. Bush was governor of Texas. Then the third is the continuous and systematic involvement by the Iraqi secret police with the international underworld in terror and destabilization. In Iraq prisons and mass graves have been uncovered.

The no-fly zones have been good for the people who live under them. Dr. Barham Salih, is the elected prime minister in one sector of Iraqi Kurdistan. Neither he nor his electorate would have had this right with out protection. The no-fly zones were imposed as a result due to democratic protest in the West and at the end of the 1991 Gulf War. In this part of Iraq, "regime change" was shown too occurred before Hussein was removed. Under the no fly zone there were dozens of newspapers, development of numerous radio and this included TV channels along with satellite dishes even Internet cafes. A total of four female judges had been appointed. Almost half the students in the University of Sulaimaniya are women[2]. A pro al Qaeda group who recently transferred from Afghanistan was then trying to assassinate the Kurdish leadership(Bruni, 2004a).
[1] Hitchens, Christopher January 16, 2003 issue of The Stranger, a Seattle weekly News Paper.
[2] Ibid.

Pretty good stuff

This blog is full of crap!

I found this on "This Blog is Full of Crap" it is definitely worth a visit.

Adventures with Cindy

Donate or I'll come find you.

Valor IT

Help wounded soldiers...

211.4 lbs! I am a "Disgusting Fatbody"

I ran two miles yesterday with "Double S" and my dog, Dagmar. It almost killed me. I have gone from the best shape of my life (or darn close) in December to a complete slug in August.

I have got to get it together. Leading from the front is difficult when you have a stitch in your side.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Where the heck is this guy?

Keith Matthew Maupin

Where is Matt Maupin? Why haven't we found him? It's like everyone has forgotten about him.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

More on "Over There"

I'm not the only one who knows this is crap.

Bochco's Botched and Biased "Over There"

And look what we have here...

Iraqi Chemical Stash Uncovered

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Just blathering on...

Hopped on the scale this morning... 209 lbs. Rats!

I think I know why I haven't been dropping the weight. I'm spending too much time sitting on my butt at the computer, tinkering with this blog. I'll have to get back to my old self. Another contributing factor is that I have been drinking a pot of coffee a day. I've been drinking it in the mornings, afternoons and evenings. So, I've been going to bed at 12:00am-1:00am. So, I haven't been able to force myself out of bed to get to the gym at 5:00 am. That's got to change. Of course when I deploy, I'll be doing who knows what, at and for unknown hours... I'll see how it goes.

My mother is visiting. She's really against "W" and the war. I gave her the Cindy Sheehan briefing this morning. I told her that if I die, I don't want her to blame the president and crap like that... at least not to reporters. No one twisted my arm to re-up after being out of the army for 11 years. I wanted to do it.

I find it amazing that friends and family can be proud of you for serving, earning a commission, etc... and then they think it's horrible that you are being "forced" to go to war. They just don't get it. But, I guess when people love you they just don't want you to ever be in danger. I'll probably have a better understanding once the little sapper shows up in January. Maybe I'll be able to take leave when Anne goes into labor.

Ok, that's it... I have got to go do things besides sit on my butt and type stuff.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Iraq War Today

I wanted to say thanks to Pam from Iraq War Today
for getting the word out about the blog...

So, thanks Pam!

Oh... this page is definitely a "Milblog", but if I want to put a giant picture of Dom Deluise or Jamie Farr or even a picture of Buckminster Fuller with his head looking like a geodesic dome then I will do that too. Even when I'm in Iraq, I'm still going to post goofy crap. That's what it's all about. At least partly anyway.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Coolest beard ever...

Could I be related to this guy? Hey Dad... he kind of looks like one of the family. Why has he not contacted us? Where the heck are all of these Partamian's coming from? Istanbul? Sofia? Glendale? Fresno? There's a freaking Air Force Colonel out there too... in Missouri. I just came from 5 months of training there and I didn't hear a peep from him.

I thought I was The Armenian

Freaking weird... Stepan... drop me a line.

Two of my favorite things...

Ok, just to prove to you guys that I am still into things other than the army, I found an article with two of my favorite things combined... Armenians and Clean Renewable Energy...

Alternative Energy Armenia: First Wind Power Plant

I won't hold it against little Armenia that they are dealing with the Iranians. They're in a rough part of the world and maybe if the Iranians get really good at wind power, they won't need that nuclear energy that they are trying to develop for purely peaceful purposes. Yeah, right...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

"Over There"

I was flipping through the channels just now and came across that new TV show "Over There". It only took about 45 seconds for me to realize that it was just as bad as I thought it would be. What a complete load of crap.

But I'm not the only one who thinks so...

Check out what folks are saying at Black Five

These soldiers say 'Over There' is 'bogus'


A truck tire hits a flagged wire, a roadside bomb explodes, a handsome private with shredded leg screams in agony. In the bloody chaos of the moment, his soldier buddies panic. One pukes.

Stop the cameras! Sir!

In a preview of "Over There" at Camp Murray in Tacoma, 1st Lt. Eva Sovelenko reacts to a scene as Sgt. John Figueroa looks on.
"People don't act like that when an i.e.d. (improvised explosive device) goes off. They make us look like idiots. We're not idiots!" said a first lieutenant previewing "Over There," the new TV series from Steven Bochco ("NYPD Blue," "Hill Street Blues") that debuts tomorrow night on FX cable network. It's set in Iraq, hyped as "true to life" by producers and hailed by critics as "unflinching" and "gut-wrenching."

"Bogus" was the preferred adjective among the eight soldiers -- most of them Iraq vets -- viewing the series pilot last week at Camp Murray, headquarters of the Washington State National Guard in Tacoma.

"Thank God that's over," said a master sergeant as the credits rolled.

The uniformed skeptics dissected the series pilot scene by scene, beginning with the roadside bombing and panicked soldiers. Who, they asked, was pulling security? And what kind of idiot pulls off his helmet after a bombing attack? "In real life, training takes over. Not in Hollywood," said Sgt. Dan Purcell.

The flags on the trip wires got an "F": roadside bombs in Iraq are typically hidden in watermelons, hay stacks, animal carcasses -- not marked for easy viewing. "A flag to mark an i.e.d.? What is that -- like don't land here?"

Truck drivers also got eight thumbs down. "You do not, under any circumstances, pull off on the side of the road. You stop in the middle."

The TV series, filmed in California, follows an Army infantry squad, flashing between soldiers' experiences in-country and the impact of their deployment back home in the States. It's billled as the first war drama built around a U.S. military conflict still in progress, a war with death tolls mounting daily.

Bochco, who co-created the series with Chris Gerolmo ("Mississippi Burning"), has stated in interviews that the show is apolitical. "Ultimately, a young man being shot at in a firefight has absolutely no interest in politics," he told Reuters news service.

But some camo-clad critics at Camp Murray were left wondering just what the message was in "Over There." One said a young soldier who brags about slitting the throat of a child sentry "makes us look like murderers."

Master Sgt. Jeff Clayton complained that cameras deliberately dragged out the death scenes of Iraqi insurgents after a firefight, lingering unnecessarily on the carnage. "It made me sick."

And where, soldiers asked, were the scenes of soldiers building schools, Iraqi kids waving American flags?

The fast-paced premiere is packed with sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll; cool explosions and close-up gore; cussing and wrought emotion. It opens with the soldiers' goodbyes to family and a nervous flight to Iraq. In an instant -- "Yeah, right" -- the new dudes are belly-down in sand in front of a mosque full of insurgents, with two women accidentally trapped in the trenches, one with a big attitude and little common sense.

"I can do it myself!" she yells at a soldier who tries to help her dig a trench. "You deaf soldier?" It's night, she's totally exposed to enemy fire and, when it starts, it's boy-soldier who has to push her head down to save her.

No wonder the men keep asking, "What do we do about the women?"

"I did not like the way the show presents men's opinion of women -- they act like the women were some other species," said Lt. Connie Woodyard, who returned from Iraq earlier this year. "We're not cowards. Women in Iraq are doing amazing things."

The Camp Murray soldiers dismissed the military firefights as "bull---- " ("Where is the air support? Where is the armor support?"), the dialogue as contrived ("It sucked") and plot drivers as pure Hollywood.

In the script, characters are thrown together for the first time. They constantly ask each other to explain nicknames. In real life, soldiers are sent to Iraq in units. "They don't have to ask each other's nicknames. They all know each other."

After one week in-country, the soldier-actors mull life and death and war in eloquent speeches home to loved ones, talking about how war unmasks the monster within. "Nobody is that reflective after one week in-country. It's more like, "Ohmigod, we're in Iraq. Hi. What the hell am I doing here?"

A few scenes passed muster. Heads nodded when a soldier opened up a packet of Taster's Choice freeze-dried and downed the whole thing. Nice detail. Ditto the scene of the earnest soldier describing the horrors of war via computer video e-mail as his adulterous wife is writhing in ecstasy with lover-boy back home.

"But after only a week?" commented one soldier.

"It usually takes at least two," added another.

One scene hit home for the tough audience: an intimate close-up of two African American soldiers talking band-of-brother bonds. Says one: "If you're looking for another fool to risk getting shot to cover your fool behind, I'm right here beside you."

Correct! Sir!

Only one of the camo-clad critics, Sgt. John Figueroa, who is awaiting call-up orders to Afghanistan, said he'd watch it.

"Hey, I'm into Hollywood," he said, shrugging.

I'm tinkering with the colors...

Well, I thought I'd start getting into the "Desert" mode now. I may go back to the B&W thing later on.

My Weight... The VA... etc

Note: I can't spell worth a damn and my grammar's not too good either... oh well!

I weighed-in on Monday at 211.2 lbs. Un-freaking-cool! I have been really having a hard time with my weight over the past few months. I've got to get it under control. I weighed-in this morning at 209.0 lbs. At least it's a little less. I need to drop at least 10 lbs before I mobilize. And yes... I'm going to get mob'ed, probably 1 September. Hell, I might even get orders sooner to help do all of the coordination required to get us to the mob station. I've heard from my buddies that they've all lost weight over in Iraq. My buddy Homer's lost 15lbs and he didn't really have 15 to lose. When I was in DS/DS I lost about 10 lbs. The desert heat with all of that gear does it to you. Anyway, anything I lose now will likely make things a little easier on me when I get there.

Right now (and I am late getting out the door because I am goofing off writing this) I am supposed to be heading over to the VA hospital to take some more field measurements for the new elevator tower we are designing at my civilian job at Technicon It's kind of cool and disturbing being over there because on the one hand... I see all of these old guys (and some not so old guys) proudly wearing there CIB's, names of the ships they served on, unit pins and stuff like that on their baseball hats or on their shirts. I can see the pride that a lot of them have. It seems that many of them are there because they're just sick and it's a hospital. But there are a few that have lost limbs and I can tell that they paid a heavy price for freedom. So, it does make me wonder how things will go for me and my guys once we get there. I do a lot of thinking over there between reading the tape measure and scribbling on my drawings.

Crap, I am really running late.

Monday, August 08, 2005

2LT Jason Royal

This is an article about my buddy Jason Royal. He is an infantry platoon leader in the 48th Brigade.

From The Valdosta Daily Times

Platoon leader tells of life in the 48th Brigade

Author: Kenna Walsh
Publication Date: 2005-08-05

Sgt. Jimmy Buel of the 48th Brigade leads a patrol through an Iraqi market.
— Lt. Jason Royal
VALDOSTA — At 5 a.m. the alarm sounds, a harsh awakening after fitful spurts of sleep staggered by tremulous premonitions and visions of loved ones half a world away.

A U.S. soldier in Iraq rises early to pile into gear adding around 60 pounds to an already tired and famished frame and load into an armored vehicle, venturing out beyond the protected boundary.

Lt. Jason Royal, platoon leader with the 48th Brigade’s Bravo Company, left the Middle East, 14-hour workdays and 120-degree heat to return to Georgia for two weeks, just days after the first of two roadside bombs killed four soldiers from the Alpha Company stationed at Camp Striker, a short drive from Royal’s camp.

The night of the attacks, Royal prayed with fellow soldiers, grieving for the men who died and asking guidance for those who remained.

He understood the devastation their platoon leader felt.

Their jobs, which require adapting quickly to circumstances, allow little room for doubt and fear.

When a bomb explodes near his vehicle, Royal said the first thing he does is look down and make sure he’s in one piece. He turns toward fellow soldiers making sure they haven’t been injured, then the platoon continues, sweat-soaked, down the road.

The heavy equipment and clothing cause a case of prickly heat you can’t get rid of, and at moments Royal said he wants to scream for the need to itch.

Trained eyes scan roads for signs of explosive devises, which Iraqi insurgents cleverly disguise in concrete-filled boxes, old tires and empty tree trunks.

“What you’re trained to do is scarier in reality,” Royal said.

He joined the Army National Guard at age 27 because he couldn’t go through his adult years without serving his country.

“I don’t attach myself to the word ‘hero,’” Royal said, stressing he is a normal guy who felt a sense of duty.

Royal joined the 2,700 soldiers of Georgia’s 48th Brigade who left in May for the one-year Iraq deployment, the largest abroad initiative since World War II.

Royal drove to Wal-Mart the other day and couldn’t stop looking for rooftop snipers and hidden artillery shells buried in the middle of the road.

He said troops train to look for suspicious activity, including roads without pedestrians and freshly filled holes, all signs an explosive device may be present.

Insurgents will use children to gather information on American soldiers, often when the soldier gets close to give candy or shake a hand.

Royal, who has a wife and three sons, said he doesn’t understand Iraqi values and said detecting insurgents is difficult.

“The adults are friendly to Americans, but just as friendly to the terrorists,” Royal said.

Streets are filled with garbage, and sewage runs into canals where animals and people bathe and swim.

“You never get over the smell,” Royal said.

He stepped off the plane in the United States and looked with fresh eyes at green grass and clean public streets.

Next week, he’ll enjoy playing with his 1-year-old son and spending precious time with family before boarding another plane to head back to the desert.

In Iraq, Royal said he’s seen men not stand up for their homes and visibly mistreat their wives.

“Pregnant women will lug water from canals while their men yell at them,” Royal said.

Royal said he and other soldiers hope their actions will change the political dynamic, no matter the cost.

There are moments, Royal said, when quiet Iraqi palm groves feel like a peaceful holiday resort, but he constantly yearns for the comforts of home.

Friday, August 05, 2005

This is really funny.

I think it's funny.


¡Feliz Cumpleaños!

¡Feliz cumpleaños a las mujeres de Puerto Rican en mi familia!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

3 More from the 48th Brigade

Three more members of National Guard's 48th killed in Iraq

Associated Press

ATLANTA - Three more soldiers from a Georgia National Guard unit have been killed in Iraq -- bringing the total to eleven from that unit in less than two weeks.

Military officials says the three, who were members of the guard's 48th Brigade, were killed yesterday in a car bomb attack. Another was seriously wounded.

Identities of those killed have not been released.

The incident marks the third time in ten days that the 48th Brigade has suffered multiple fatalities from attacks in Iraq.

The 48th Brigade is the largest combat unit of the Georgia National Guard to deploy since World War Two. The brigade, which arrived in Iraq in May, has 27-hundred members from across Georgia, and is augmented by about 16-hundred others from Alabama, Illinois, Missouri, Maryland, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico.

Guardsman in Iraq Punished Over Blog Post

Associated Press | August 02, 2005
PHOENIX - An Arizona National Guardsman serving in Iraq has been demoted for posting classified information on his Internet Web log, an Army official said Monday.

Leonard Clark, 40, was demoted from specialist to private first class and fined $1,640, said Col. Bill Buckner, a spokesman for the Multi-National Corps-Iraq.

Soldiers in Iraq are allowed to maintain blogs or Web sites but cannot post information about Army operations or movements. They also are barred from posting information about the death of a soldier whose family hasn't yet been notified.

"The intent of the policy is not to violate soldiers' rights, but to safeguard soldiers," Buckner said. Blogs are "a growing phenomenon, I guess. It's something a lot of people do and has some uses."

Buckner said he didn't know what kind of classified information Clark had posted.

Clark's blog contained two posts Monday, one with links to articles on him and one stating Clark would comply with a gag order.

Calls to his home Monday by The Associated Press went unanswered and contact information for him in Iraq wasn't immediately available.

Clark is a Glendale, Ariz., kindergarten teacher who has run for the state Legislature four times. He could have appealed the ruling but declined to, Buckner said.

Clark's company was called to active duty in November and has been in Iraq since around January, said Capt. Paul Aguirre, a spokesman for the Arizona National Guard. The company is expected to be brought home next January.

I grabbed this from

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I think it's time...

With all of the stuff that's messed up in the word today... I think we all need to take a look at something positive.


This is what blogging is all about...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Four More from the 48th...

8 gone from one platoon

Monday, August 01, 2005

Happy Birthday to my Best Friend!


I believe my wife will be 29 years old today... again.


I've been slack over the last couple of months. I've really morphed into a butterball. I'm about 205 lbs and I should be 185 lbs. I have not been running as much either. I have some injuries which have made working out a little more difficult. My shoulder was screwed up. The doctor said it was my rotator cuff. He gave me a prescription for some Feldene. My shoulder does feel better now, but I'm not sure if the Feldene did it, or if I should continue to take it. He also gave me some exercises to do and I've done them twice in the last week. I'm supposed to do them every day.

Also, my foot's been killing me. I went to the podiatrist and he said that my achilles tendons were too tight and that the muscles in my feet have to strain against it with every step and that may be causing it. So he gave me a night splint that is supposed to slowly stretch out my achilles tendon while I sleep. I tried sleeping in it... I tried. Oh yeah, and my insurance doesn't pay for the $350 orthotics for my shoes. I'm in the wrong business. I need to go into the insurance business.

I was supposed to be at the gym 8 minutes ago… but I have been working on this blog.

Oh yeah… I may be mobilized soon. I’m not going to get into the specifics, but there are more lieutenants than lieutenant slots for this deployment. I’ll let you all know when I know.

Crap, I was supposed to be at the gym by 5:30 to do cardio and then lift with M.M. at 6:00. I better get to the gym now.

Superchunk was pretty good...

Superchunck was a good show. I'm not driving 6 hours there and 6 hours back to go see them again though. They have to come to Atlanta next time.