Army

The CIB, the Light That Commands the Room

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As you already know, I’m the garritrooper in this outfit, “too far forward to wear a tie, and too far to the rear to get shot at.”

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t know some things about wading in muck up to my elbows, sleeping on hard ground, marching ten miles in full kit, or peering down the sights of an M-14 at a target 200 yards downrange. Or having a big, tall black sergeant, with the same last name ...

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Letters From Fallujah (2) Volturno

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August 18, 2003

Uncle Hank,

Before Sarnt Spear left for the leader’s recon he gave a warning order, get everything ready to roll tonight at O’dark thirty.  Of course he added, “I wanna be able to look at the trucks before dark, me and the LT’s shit is packed, put it on the trucks.”  He’s got a serious pet-peeve with load plans.  Every truck has to be exactly like the others, f*ck its a pain in the ass but Sarnt Spear is ...

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The Return of a Korean POW, a local story, 1954

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The return of the remains of 50 soldiers’ remains from North Korea put me in mind of my first encounter with parades for military heroes. It was a parade in my town for a returning POW from Korea. His name was John Gallagher.

And I was 9.

I knew about the Korean War then, had two uncles who’d served, and came home alive…my mother was always praying them home. So that was the sort of thing a kid would know. But I didn’t really know the ...

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Letters from Fallujah (1) Arrival

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I’ve been avoiding telling stories from my time in combat areas.  You never know when something is gonna set off a shitstorm.  I’d just as soon avoid that.  Remember the Marine Sergeant who was giving blood wings to his Marines who’d made their first jump with a Marine unit?  Poor bastard got kicked out, all he was doin was living up to a tradition.  You shoulda seen my airborne school graduation, there were half a dozen Paratroopers in my Company, ...

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By an Angel’s Kiss, Cpl Joseph Marciel, Afghanistan, Green on Blue

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By an Angel’s Kiss, Cpl Joseph Maciel

 

Kissed by an Angel, Where Violins are the Angels’ Voices, and the Cello Sings Harmony

Cpl Joseph Maciel, 20, of South Gate, CA,

was killed July 7, 2018 in Uruzgom Province, Afghanistan as a result of gunfire from friendly Afghan Forces

He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry ...

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National Service: How to Save America’s Lost? Hire The Veterans.

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We began this conversation a couple of weeks ago, when we pointed out that 90% of Americans have invested none of their own skin in this game that is called “Keeping America Alive.” Even my generation, the last to know the military draft, which was never natural to the American scheme of warfare anyway, and which accounts for about half of the “skin in the game” citizenry today, are now in our 60s and 70s, and will soon pass away.

Most college-aged ...

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July 4th – 50th Anniversary of 11th Infantry slog in Vietnam

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(This is another installment of one of our sponsors, Mike Collins, and still swaps stories with this mates from the old unit. Reunions and much beer involved.-VB)

This is the 50th Anniversary of our slog to build LZ Karen.

On the 4th we were OPCON to 3/21st Inf but were dropped off in the wrong place without right maps and wrong radio frequencies and/or were  out of radio range. This was smack in the middle of the Que Son valley.
I remember Patterson ...
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Putting a Tuk-Tuk Into the Wall

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It must have been 1990 or 91, my battalion was in Thailand for a training deployment.  They worked the hell out of us and made us hurt.  I learned first hand about the nasty things that live in jungles.  After 23 days in the jungle the entire crotch fell out of my trousers, it was cooler that way but still somewhat embarrassing.  I wasn’t the only one, that helped a little.  The Wolfhounds finally got me a shower and decided ...

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Exorcising the Salutin’ Demon

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Vassar wrote about a Salutin’ Demon a few days ago.  They weren’t uncommon in my day either.  Usually they are young Second Lieutenants who haven’t figured out their actual place in the chain of command.  Do you know the difference between a PFC and a First Lieutenant?  A PFC has been promoted twice. It kinda puts things in their rightful place. Theoretically a Lieutenant out ranks his Platoon Sergeant but in fact that Platoon Sergeant is, by Army regulation, ...

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