Army

SOS on Toast

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The other morning one of our local radio personalities was pitching a fancy restaurant in the Richmond area, and he proudly announced that their most popular entre was chipped beef on toast. A ten dollar platter these days, and whudda thunk it? People paying ten dollars for the most plebeian dish in America, the breakfast anchor for five wars at least for every grunt who ever sat in a mess hall, since Pearl Harbor.

All those memories came rushing forward. I tried to remember how ...

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4

Letters From Fallujah (5) The POG FOB

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Sept 07 03

Uncle Hank,

Still on COP Factory guarding some radioactive shit we haven’t even seen, not that I mind not seeing it but we don’t even know where it is.  We found 23 IEDs buried along Route San Juan the other day.  Artillery rounds wired to be be command detonated.  That means someone is watching, all we have to do it catch his ass watching and we’ll make him a good terrorist.  You know there’s only one kind of good ...

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By an Angel’s Kiss, SFC Christopher Andrew Celiz, 32 (Afghanistan)

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

SFC Christopher Andrew Celiz, 32, of Summerville, SC

was killed July 12, 2018 in Zurmat, Paktika Province, Afghanistan, by small arms fire

He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Rest in peace, Sergeant

Job well done.  

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Gays in the Military, a Wartime Remembrance

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  “Policies Concerning Homosexuals” have changed since I was an Army defense lawyer in the closing years of the Vietnam War. “Being boarded out” was a large part of my defense work.

I’d be interested to know how attitudes stand up to today versus how it was during that war. In 2010 homosexuality became totally legal in the US military, but I wonder if anything has changed.

For one, it never seemed to matter except in combat units and in barracks situations, such as basic training, ...

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2

Letters From Fallujah (4) COP Factory

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20 AUG 03

Uncle Hank,

We’ve been busy since I wrote last.  We ran a couple missions into Fallujah, what a shithole.  We were security for the Battalion Commander, which means we were way too far from what was really going on but we got to hear about it on the radio.  What utter bullshit.  We also had to watch our Battalion CSM sleep in his vehicle like the huge turd he is.  The men of 1Panther call him “Deebo” like ...

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2

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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2

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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2

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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1

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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