Archives

Archives / 2004 / June
  • More IRR Callup Info

    Fox23News Reports One Army official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that as few as 2,000 IRR soldiers might actually be assigned to units preparing to deploy abroad. Army Public Affairs Announcement Stars and Stripes About 2,100 IRR soldiers already have been activated, but those have been volunteers, Maj. Gen. Franklin L. “Buster” Hagenbeck, the Army’s chief for personnel matters, told reporters June 2.  [Apparently nobody mentioned me or others like me who were activated in May to him] The Stars and Stripes article also has some good info on how the various reserves work. Slate Title 10 of the United States Code gives the president the authority to muster … more

  • ArmyTimes: Army prepares to call up Individual Ready Reserve Members (this is news?)

    A quote from this ArmyTimes article: Here’s the gist of a call-up message the Army is preparing to give the Individual Ready Reserve: “If you’re in the IRR, get ready.” So said Maj. Kris Carle, a spokesman for the Department of the Army. Tomorrow (30 June 2004) at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time the Army will announce details about a call-up of IRR personnel, she said. Apparently there will be a big news conference at the Pentagon, so if you're in the IRR, watch for this tomorrow on CNN and other news sources.  The source cited for this article couldn't confirm the 5600 person number quoted elsewhere, but did say that the army has been updating its list of 118,000 … more

  • Visual Web Developer Express Edition (Whidbey) Beta 1 Released!

    From www.asp.net: Visual Web Developer Express Edition 2005 Beta 1 Released!Microsoft is pleased to announce Visual Web Developer Express Edition 2005 Beta 1, a lightweight, easy to learn development tool focused exclusively on Web development. Inside you will find everything you need to begin building exciting, dynamic Web applications with ASP.NET 2.0. Visit http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/express/vwd/ for more information and to get the Beta! more

  • Visual Web Developer Express Edition (Whidbey) Beta 1 Released!

    From www.asp.net: Visual Web Developer Express Edition 2005 Beta 1 Released!Microsoft is pleased to announce Visual Web Developer Express Edition 2005 Beta 1, a lightweight, easy to learn development tool focused exclusively on Web development. Inside you will find everything you need to begin building exciting, dynamic Web applications with ASP.NET 2.0. Visit http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/express/vwd/ for more information and to get the Beta! more

  • Big News In Iraq

    The transfer of power in Iraq has taken place, 2 days early.  This is certainly good news since without a big, planned event to target, the insurgents will be less able to wreak havoc.  And of course, it means they cannot keep the transfer from taking place. more

  • Home

    I flew home yesterday and had at least half a dozen people stop me and thank me for being in the military (I was in uniform - 99% of my civilian clothes got shipped home Thursday).  One little boy who couldn't have been more than 7 or 8 and who appeared to be travelling alone said as I was getting off the plane “sir, thank you for fighting for our country”.  That was priceless.  :) more

  • On Hold

    Most of the people in my CRC cycle shipped out today.  About a dozen of us are on hold for various reasons.  In my case, there was some confusion that didn't come about until late Thursday as to whether our orders indicated that we should report directly to Iraq or to McDill AFB first (near Tampa, FL).  After speaking with McDill today, they said they don't need to see us and we can go straight over, but the CRC flights are once/week and we already missed this week's, so we're delayed a week.  The good news is that I have a pass and can fly home for a few days. I also got to see my M9 pistol qualification record, and learned that I qualified expert with 270/300 … more

  • Good Stuff To Bring To Iraq (so I'm told)

    I've talked to a lot of people who have returned from a tour in Iraq and one of the questions I like to ask them is “What is the one thing you weren't issued that you wouldn't want to live without over there?”.  Here are a couple of things I've heard (and since picked up for myself): 1. A good leg holster (if you're carrying a pistol).  Having the pistol in a belt holster is uncomfortable, takes up space on the LBV, is harder to draw, and encourages dropping the pistol any time the LBV is grounded.  Having a leg holster attached to your pants belt fixes all of the above issues.  I ended up picking up a hip extender for the issued holster, which allows the … more

  • Pentagon Comments on IRRs going to Iraq

    http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/06/24/pentagon.troops/index.html Looks like I'm one of the critical skills Engineers being called up. more

  • Weapons Qual

    Qualified on the M9 pistol today (again).  The Ft. Bliss range nice and the instructor was top-notch.  I think he significantly helped my accuracy with the pistol.  Otherwise, not much new.  Got back my DCUs from alterations and immediately gave them to another place to sew on my rank and branch insignias.  Should have them back tomorrow. more

  • CRC - Ft. Bliss

    If you are an IRR soldier or otherwise think you'll be going to Ft. Bliss CRC, you should read all the information available on their website, here: http://www.bliss.army.mil/LocalUnitLinks/5035thMobilization/CRC/index.htm In particular, the schedule is more-or-less outlined here. So far my experience at Ft. Bliss CRC has been a very positive one.  They are squared away and organized and know what they're doing.  We've gone through Day 2 of the above schedule and are pretty much on-track. As I get closer to wherever I'm going, I apologize but I'm going to have to be more and more vague about my activities, for operational security reasons.  At some point this site may … more

  • Made It To Bliss

    After many cancelled and delayed and missed flights Sunday, I made it into Ft. Bliss CRC.  Monday started at 0400 and was a long, busy day of SRPs and first aid classes.  Today started at 0500 and will include equipment issue and NBC training.  First formation is at 0545, in 5 minutes, so I've got to run. more

  • Senate OKs more troops for Army

    The Houston Chronicle reports. Ironically, the pentagon is fighting this move.  Personally, I think it is pretty obvious that the Army needs more people.  The fact that we're dipping into the IRR soldiers, the last reserve pool there is short of a total draft, is evidence enough that we do not have the people we need.  We also need the right kinds of troops.  Given the fact that most of our conflicts with foreign states are won in a matter of weeks or, at worst, months, but that the tougher mission is in the time that follows, performing peace-keeping and security, it seems clear that military police units should comprise a large portion of the 30,000 more troops … more

  • More IRR Info - If you joined a unit and want back out, you can

    Andrew Carr emailed me this story: Voluntary Assignment of Individual Ready Reserve Soldiers to Army Reserve Troop Program Units Basically, if someone pressured you into joining a unit to avoid getting called up while in the IRR, you can change your mind. more

  • My sympathies to Paul Johnson's family

    I learned that Paul Johnson was murdered today from CNN in the mess hall.  I was deeply saddened and angered by this tragic act.  I wish something could have been done to prevent it, and the only thing I could think of that might make people who do this take heed is to turn the tables on them.  If they demand the release of Al Qaeda prisoners from Saudi prisons and the removal of westerners from the arabian peninsula, or else they will murder a prisoner, then the Saudis should respond via national media that the terrorists must release the prisoner within a certain timeline or else they will begin executing Al Qaeda prisoners until he is released, and further that they will … more

  • Kuwait Info

    It sounds like if/when I get to Kuwait, I'll be passing through an APOD, or Arial Point of Debarcation, called Camp Wolverine.  It doesn't sound like there's any way into Iraq for soldiers except via this camp.  Michelle forwarded me this Stars and Stripes article describing what to expect. more

  • CIF Complete

    I returned to CIF this morning with MAJ Huard as my unit representative.  I managed to find Chris' clothing issue receipt and so, having met all of the criteria required by the CIF personnel, the two of us managed to get through the turn-in in just under fifteen minutes.  It was actually rather funny, since one of the workers there was pretty rude to Major Huard, prompting us to discuss whether there is a “CIF School of Customer Relations” somewhere, since it does seem to be a fairly universal characteristic. That was basically all I had to do today.  Country brief tomorrow, then I'm outta Missouri on Sunday.   more

  • Country Brief

    One of the many 'check-the-block' items we have/had to complete at our mobilization station prior to going to a CRC (and from there to Kuwait and then Iraq) is something called a country brief, given by some military intelligence folks.  This, I'm learning the hard way, is a mandatory thing that we cannot ship without.  It is also something that, in our case, could not be given any earlier than today, because until today we did not have official orders stating where we were going.  Even today our orders don't specify where in Iraq we will be going, something the briefing party has said they need in order to provide an accurate and useful brief of what we will need to know … more

  • More Frustrations with CIF

    As an FYI for other IRR soldiers and perhaps as an tip for those folks tasked with mobilizing soldiers, here's some things to remember about CIF (clothing issue facility), at least at Ft. Leonard Wood. Expect half of your trips there to be a complete waste of time (perhaps not so many if you follow the rest of these tips) For soldiers, no matter what your rank, you need to bring a unit representative with you in order for CIF to issue you anything or for you to turn in anything.  This representative does not, as far as I can tell, do anything other than stand there, but the civilians who run CIF must derive some benefit from wasting the representative's time. Despite the fact that … more

  • A Note About DCUs

    DCU (Desert Combat Uniforms) are not issued to IRR soldiers at Ft. Leonard Wood if the soldiers are going to a CRC.  In theory, we'll get our DCUs at the CRC.  My unit here at FLW sent us over to CIF (clothing issue facility) twice to pick up DCUs, and both times we were turned away.  If you're an IRR soldier at FLW and you're going to be going to a CRC prior to Iraq, save yourself some wasted time and just count on getting your DCUs at the CRC. And of course, in 10 months or so the army will be adopting new uniforms anyway, which will replace both BDUs and DCUs. more

  • Still no orders - but I'm going to Ft Bliss for CRC

    In the last couple of days I still have not received my orders, which means I haven't been able to schedule my travel, but that should happen tomorrow.  I do know that I'm going to Ft. Bliss as my CRC, which means the appropriate info is here.  And I know I'm leaving on Sunday - it's just the details that are still up in the air.  I tried to get some folks to nail down for me exactly where I'm going, but thus far nobody has been able to do so.  The orders that are sending me to Bliss show me as reporting to a unit in Kuwait that is pretty much a replacement unit.  From there I guess I'll get my final duty assignment/destination, a process which is very frustrating … more

  • Keeping up with this site

    This post is for my mom, and for anybody else who has found this site to be of interest and is checking it daily (or more than daily) to see if I've posted any news.  I just want to share with everyone some information about tools that will automatically let you know whenever I post something new, and in fact these tools can also be used to notify you when things of interest happen on other sites you visit, especially (but not limited to) web logs like this one.  These tools are collectively called aggregators and basically they periodically check sites you 'subscribe' to in order to see if anything new has been posted there.  I wrote up a brief article about how these … more

  • Several Thousand IRRs scheduled to come through FLW

    I've learned that Ft Leonard Wood is expecting another several thousand IRR soldiers to come through the post, though I'm not sure what the timeframe is.  This year, I'm pretty sure; probably in the next few months, if I were to guess.  That's just what's scheduled -- I was supposed to be here with 4 other LT's and instead there's just 2 of us, so 40% showed up.  So, if that holds true there's probably only going to be around 1000 IRRs coming through, but that is still huge.  Chris and I are staying in a 50-bunk bay, but there's only 3 of those in our area, so either these guys coming through will be in separate housing or they'll be cranking them through much faster than … more

  • No Orders Yet

    Not much going on today.  Michelle's come out to visit and is staying through Wednesday morning.  My fellow IRR LT Chris is going back home on pass later this week and returning Saturday.  We still haven't received our orders telling us where we'll be stationed or what we'll be doing, but I expect those to come tomorrow.  Chris had some more dental appointments today and I had a vision exam as a follow-up to my lasiks surgery I had back in early May.  Everything seems fine with my eyes, which is a good thing; 20/20 and 20/15 or so, although they're frequently in need of lubricating drops.  I have some other info but I'll put it into a separate post since it's … more

  • RSS Aggregator Info

    If you're someone who's interested in some content on a particular site, especially a blog, and you find yourself constantly checking the site to see if any new information has been posted, then you probably would benefit from using an aggregator.  Almost every blog engine supports a standard called RSS, which is the de facto aggregation standard.  What RSS does is provide a standard format describing recent posts to a site or blog which can be periodically queried by aggregator clients. These clients then provide a simple way for users to see what's happening on sites of interest to them.  When there's just one site you care about, it's no big deal to just navigate to it … more

  • Minor Update - Leaving FLW June 20th

    Having wrapped up our CTT, medical, and administrative stuff pretty much the first week and a half we were here, the only thing left on our to-do list at our mobilization station (here at Ft. Leonardwood) is to do some “Engineer Refresher Training”.  Unfortunately, there has been no semblance of a plan for that (as has been the case with most everything else we've encountered here), and so pretty much the only training we've managed to get scheduled for engineer skills has been to sit in on a few EOBC classes.  The first of those was today, and as usual the instructors had no idea they were going to be receiving guests (us), but they were gracious enough to let us … more

  • Free Videoconferencing and Net2Phone Calling to Iraqistan

    According to this ArmyTimes article, soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan will begin getting access to facilities offering free access to net videoconferencing and phone usage this month.  About 40,000 troops are to be covered by the initial collection of facilities, which are being funded by a charity called the Freedom Calls Foundation. more

  • 3DFTP Client >> WS_FTP(lite) Client

    I've been using WS_FTP for a LONG time (the free/lite version) and recently I had the need to download something with resume capability (my 'net access is intermittent at best here at Ft. Leonardwood, Missouri).  So I did a quick search and found 3dFTP, which I downloaded and have been very happy with.  It's multi-threaded, so it will download several files concurrently.  Somehow, that makes for a much faster overall download speed (I'm not sure why that is, but it is), as much as 5x as fast in my (limited) experience (they claim up to 20x, I believe).  Anyway, check it out.  And for all I know the latest and greatest version of WS_FTP does all this as well, but for … more

  • More Info On IRR Callups

    The Duluth News Tribune Reports (on 5/19/04): The Army on Tuesday confirmed that it pulled the files of about 17,000 people in the Individual Ready Reserve, the nation's pool of former soldiers. The Army has been screening them for critically needed specialists and has called about 100 of them since January. Under the authorization from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the Army could call as many as 6,500 back on active duty involuntarily. "Yes, we are screening them and, yes, we are calling some of them up," an Army spokesman, Col. Joseph Curtin, told Knight Ridder. "We need certain specialties, including civil affairs, military police, some advanced medical specialists, such as … more

  • Update - Weapons Qual

    We were scheduled to do M9 Pistol qual yesterday and M16 today, but luckily we managed to get in both qualifications yesterday.  Chris, my fellow IRR LT, and I both qualified on both weapons.  We'll be doing so again at the CRC, I think.  We also found out we'll be doing some mine and booby trap training in the next couple of weeks, up through 16 June, which makes me think our departure date to a CRC will be on Sunday the 20th (Father's Day), but that's just a guess.  From what I've read, CRC departures are always on Sundays, and that would be the next one after we're pretty much finished here. more

  • CRC Info

    Upon completing my requirements here at Ft. Leonard Wood, my next stop will be a CRC, which stands for CONUS Replacement Center.  The military loves acronyms, and this one is an acronym of an acronym.  CONUS is short for CONtinental United States.  Anyway, the CRC is the last stop for deploying individuals, and is where they return once they come home.  I don't know exactly where I'll be going (which CRC -- or for that matter, what unit and where that will be), but the two main CRCs as I understand it are Ft. Bliss, TX and Ft. Benning, GA.  Fort Benning's website has a bunch of information about their CRC, which I'm posting here for my own future reference as well as … more

  • Wow, somebody admits that some IRRs are being called...

    Until recently, all the press I read had Army officials denying that IRR soldiers were being activated, claiming rather that IRRs were only being screened.  However, the New York Times reports: Also, for the first time in more than a decade, the Army is combing through the Individual Ready Reserve, the nation's pool of former soldiers, looking for specialists with critically needed skills. So far, 618 soldiers have been called back to duty under the program. I guess I must be one of those special few.  The complete story I got here, but unless you have a military AKO account you probably can't read it.  The article appeared on June 3rd, titled Army Extending Service for G.I.'s … more

  • CTT Schedule

    Things are moving along slowly but surely.  We had Monday off for Memorial Day, then yesterday pretty much all we did was go over some land warfare and geneva convention classes, then we were off doing medical appointments.  Today was more CTT (common task training) and a medical threat briefing at the hospital.  Most of the CTT was self-taught from some powerpoints, with the exception of some SINCGARS commo training.  We're supposed to do NBC today as well (Nuclear-Biological-Chemical -- gas mask mainly).  Thursday we're doing first aid and land navigation, then Friday-Saturday we're qualifying on the M9 and M16.  Hopefully next week we'll have some classes at … more

  • Bummed I missed TechEd

    Dave Sussman's pictures reminded me today how much I really wish I'd been at TechEd last week.  Hopefully I'll make it next year.  So far in Missouri things are proceeding very slowly with my mobilization processing - see some pictures and info at ArmySteve.com.  We'll probably be here another two weeks, and later this week we'll be doing M9 and M16 qualification, so at least that's something more interesting than paperwork and medical exams.  Anyway, I just wanted to say 'hi' to all my friends I normally hang with at conferences - I miss you guys. more