Archives / 2004 / October
  • ArmyAdvice: Getting Started

    First, go to your blog.  The url will be, where YOURBLOG should be provided to you in your welcome email.  Once there, you should see a blog and a Login link.  Click the Login link and enter your username and password.  If this is your first time logging in, your password will be 'temp' (without the ').  Note that due to a limitation with the login screen, you can't just hit enter, you have to click the Login button (or Tab and then Enter). Now you should see the Admin screen, with a series of tabs.  Here is a brief description of what each tab is used for:Posts - used to post entries to your blog, or to edit existing … more

  • Rain is Here

    It's been cool and overcast today (all day, for the first time since I've been here).  It rained some this evening, and the rainy season is supposed to be starting right about now, so the dust is probably about to be replaced by mud.  Not much new here, just continuing to mark time and do my job.  Internet has been working acceptably most of the week since I hooked up the platoon last weekend, so that's a plus, at least. more

  • PT Scores and Internet

    Not much new to report this week.  Temperatures are getting more and more tolerable here, and in the morning it's actually getting cold enough that something more than shorts and t-shirt is required for PT.  And speaking of PT, we had our Army Physical Fitness Test this morning.  Not having taken one in over four years or so I was unsure how I would do, but I'm pleased with my score of 251 after doing 66 pushups, 68 situps and a 2-mile run in 15:17.  I think that's better than I did back in the Ohio National Guard before I got out, but I'm not sure.  I usually score in the 240-260 range, which is around 85% (60 in each event is minimum, 100 is maximum, so 300 would … more

  • Update From Bernstein

    I've been here almost a month now, which has flown by very quickly, it seems.  I can hardly believe October is more than half over!  It's rained twice so far, but neither time enough to really leave any lasting puddles or wetness.  But the rainy season is coming, I think in November.  The daily highs are only reaching the 90s now, which is far more tolerable.  Meanwhile, my platoon continues to improve our accomodations, which now include the following amenities that weren't here when we arrived: showers, electricity, outside lights, washer/dryer in a shed, platoon picnic pavilion / hangout area with ovens, freezer, grills, shaded outdoor workout area with punching … more

  • First Rain

    We got our first clouds a few days ago, and today was the first real rain showers I've seen since I've been in Iraq.  There was some lightning and thunder, as well as some pretty heavy drops, but the whole thing wasn't even enough to really wet the ground, and lasted maybe 10-15 minutes.  It was still really nice, though. more

  • I'm still here (and soon you may be...)

    It's been a relatively slow week, which means time passes more slowly.  It is possible to be busy here as well as safe, so while I appreciate the sentiments that folks invariably have about how they'd rather I be bored here than having exciting experience, I'd prefer a happy medium wherein I'm busy and doing something useful, but not actively being attacked... In other news, I heard from a friend of a friend (so, as far as I know this is true, but I can't directly quote) that an HRC General said (to a group of IRRs getting ready to come over) that basically the IRRs are the “third string” and that the “bench is empty”.  He also said that his hands are tied … more

  • A General Stops In (funny)

    Last week some time, the 1st Infantry Division commander, a 2-star General, was visiting FOB Bernstein.  He (and his entourage of security personnel, drivers, and various hangers-on -- in total about 20 people) stopped by my platoon's new living quarters, a street of CHUs (containerized housing units -- trailers) which you can see some pictures of here.  Wanting to talk to the troops, he went up to the first door he came to and knocked on it.  A few of my troops were inside, and one of the ones who lived there yells out “It's open.”  So the general tries the door, but it refuses to open, so he knocks again.  “I said it's open, … more

  • More Info on IRR placement SNAFUs

    LTC (ret) Weldon formerly a deputy G1 wrote me today to elaborate on where the problem usually lies for replacements who arrive to find that they have no position to fill: Steve: HQDA and HRC St Louis do not assign individuals to positions within a theater, nor even at a stateside installation. Installations and theaters report projected vacancies and DA and HRC St Louis attempt to fill them. The problem lies within the theater and whoever is requesting personnel and validating the unit's requests. This, unfortunately, has for many years been the Army's weak link. They typically do not validate requests. If your unit shows a vacancy according to their MTOE, yet they are filling it with a … more

  • 30th Brigade Commander Gives SitRep to NC Newspaper

    In this article, General Hickman describes the current situation in his (my) brigade's area of operations here in Iraq.  I pretty much agree with everything he has to say, too, so if you're wondering how things are going over here, have a read. more