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Showing posts from March, 2010

The PT Reflective Belt

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Ask anybody in the military, especially those who are deployed, what they think about the reflective pt belt , and you will more likely than not be greeted by rolled eyes at best; or quite possibly a full fledged rant. Here's the rule ... Anytime it's dark, and/or low visibility, you MUST wear your reflective belt at all times. I'm all about safety, and being a good SNCO, I'm not going to publicly mock leadership decisions. For people who are running and walking on the roads at night, that reflective belt could very well end up being a life saver ... the important (you're not dead) type ... not the candy. I think what inspires the mocking though, is the way that the rules are sometimes enforced. For instance ... The Army guys may very well be denied entry to the DFAC (dining facility for you non-military types), if they show up without their PT Belt. Guess what happens? They're sent back, into the dark, to go get their belt ???? The Air Force isn't much be

Joining The Air Force Was A Good Decision

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I've been in the Air Force for 20 years, 3 months, and a couple of days. Before that, my dad was in the Air Force for 24 years. I've had (and will continue to have) a military ID card my entire life. Given this history, I suppose it probably wasn't too much of a long shot that I ended up joining the military ... although if you had asked me when I was 18 or 19 years old, had long hair, and was working as a bartender at the RAF Mildenhall Galaxy Club, I would have told you something along the lines of " no frickin way will I EVER join the military! " Needless to say, I did end up joining just a few years later. Looking back, all things considered, I think it was actually quite a wise decision ... even though, at the time, it was something of an impulsive action. Here's the story of how I joined the Air Force ... My dad retired from the Air Force in 1989 when his tour at RAF Mildenhall England came to an end. We packed up all of our stuff, and moved to Flor

Is There Really A Man In The Moon?

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I remember one time when we were driving from my parents house near Tampa, back up to Tyndall AFB, FL, where I was stationed. Justin was about 5 or 6 years old, and Haley was still a toddler. Their mom, and baby Jordan were sleeping, as it was already dark. As I'm driving along, and I hear a question from behind me: "Dad, is there really a Man in the Moon?" Now, I could have given my young, impressionable son the "real" answer ... But you have to understand something about me, back when I was 19 years old, my favorite comic in the world was Calvin and Hobbes , and I made up my mind right there and then that if I ever had kids (little did I know), my "role model" as a father would definitely be Calvin's dad. :-) So, here's what transpired over the next 5 minutes or so ... Justin: Dad, is there really a man in the moon? Me : Sure there is, can't you see him? (as I point out the window at the full moon) Justin: Why does he look so sad

Iraq Election Results Were Released Today

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This was my second time here in Iraq ... and very likely my last. A couple of weeks ago, I was working pretty hard doing 12 hour shifts. The Iraqis were having an election, and since the American military is still here, we were providing support. Especially compared to the last election they had, a few years back, March 7th was relatively successful and smooth. Today, the finally released the results ... And, it looks like it's just about a tie; with the former Prime Minister Allawi's faction ending up with 2 more seat's than current Prime Minister Maliki, with Al-Sadr's party not too far behind. This being a parliamentary system, they will now have to find a way to build big enough coalitions to be able to form a government ... which may not be easy . It could be an interesting couple of months this spring. Either way, I don't think that any of the parties will be very interested in having American troops stay past the 2012 date in the SOFA. (purely my opini

The Whole World In My Hand

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So I found this little beach ball globe in our back room when we were cleaning it out yesterday, and got the idea that it might make for a pretty cool picture. I may actually do something like this again in the future, when I have bit more time to set things up ... but for now, I think it came out about like I'd expected. And as a "bonus", now I have that song I remember from when I was a kid stuck in my head: He's got the whole world in His hands He's got the whole world in His hands He's got the whole world in His hands He's got the whole world in His hands He's got the itty bitty baby in His hands He's got the itty bitty baby in His hands He's got the itty bitty baby in His hands He's got the whole world in His hands He's got a-you and me brother in His hands He's got a-you and me brother in His hands He's got a-you and me brother in His hands He's got the whole world in His hands He's got a-you and me sister in His

The Alamo - COB Adder Legal Office

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I had to make a quick trip to the Legal Office the other day. Here on COB Adder it is called the "The Alamo". This is another one of those places that was on my "I gotta get a picture before I leave" list. Since I was over that way again this morning, and had my camera in the truck, I couldn't resist the opportunity to snap a few pictures of the arch, and wall mural. The reason that I had to go to the legal office was to get another power of attorney to send to my wife back home. I had actually already gotten a multi-purpose special power of attorney from the Fort Hood legal office back when I was going my pre-deployment preparation. However, as sometimes happens, an subject that I didn't plan for (and therefore wasn't covered by the existing document) happened to pop up. Fortunately, I was able to get a walk-in appointment right here on post, scanned the new power of attorney, and emailed it to my wife. Most larger bases over here in Iraq (and A

Why Are Some Bugs Better Than Other Bugs?

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Every notice how pretty much everybody loves Lady Bugs? We pick them up, we let them crawl all over us, we take pictures of them ... Heck, we even make jewelry designed in their image. But man, let some people spot a cockroach, or even one of those rhino beetles; you know the ones with the big horns; and they about have a heart attack. What makes Lady Bugs so much better? Even with little kids, there are certain bugs that just universally "good". I know kids that are correctly scared of spiders, bees, and yes even the dreaded cockroach. But, introduce those same kids to a " rolly polly " and they'll sit and play with the thing for an hour. Even when I was here last time, we all briefed in advance about the dreaded " camel spider "; which, upon closer examination wasn't really all that scary. It kind of reminded me of a beetle, with 4 pretty sharp pinchers on it's front jaws. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't go around trying to pi

Global Warming?

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Okay, I don't know about "global" warming, but it's definitely hotter than it's supposed to be here in southern Iraq right now. I realize this is sort of a recurring theme. I know, it's kind of like, "why is it hot?" ... and Sam Kinison screams back at me "Because you're in the F%&*@# desert !!!" But seriously, according our (admittedly limited) climatology, the previous Record High for this month was only 99 degrees Fahrenheit. The official high temperature we recorded today was 104 ... but our little hand held, sitting in the sun for about 10 minutes right outside our office showed a much more impressive (for purposes of my picture anyway) 110.8 degrees. Either way, it's just not normally supposed to be this hot, this soon! Just to clarify though, lest someone accuse me of being a "global warming alarmist" ... I am NOT at all trying to imply that just because it's hotter than normal in one place, it somehow

C-17 GlobeMaster Taking Off Into The Rising Sun

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I like airplane pictures, and I like sun rises. Every once in a while I'm in the right place, at the right time, with the right lens on my camera .. as I was this morning when this C-17 was taking off into a nice orange early morning sky. When I first started project365, I wasn't really planning to take many pictures of the aircraft around the base. However, over the past 2 1/2 months, two of the most popular shots (here on the blog, and flickr) were of a C-130 airplane and UH-60 helicopter. Of course, I did have a cool story to go with each of those posts ... I've flown on C-17s a couple of times over the years. I remember on the flight into Iraq in 2007, the last time I deployed here, we were really happy to be on a C-17 instead of a C-130 ... I wasn't quite so lucky this time. I was also on a C-17 flying Space-A from Hawaii to Travis AFB to go meet up with my son Justin a couple of summers ago. The coolest thing about flying Space-A on a C-17 is that if you bri

Does 41 Birthdays Make Me Old?

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I was born on March 8th 1969. I've always thought that anyone who was born after men walked on the moon is still pretty young, so I guess I do just barely qualify as "old" ... lol, especially if you were to ask my teenage kids. ;-) Forty-one is actually a pretty interesting age ... The great majority of the time, my mind still thinks I'm 22 or 23. But then ... My body (usually the knees or back) jumps up and smacks me in the head, with the all too painful reminder that I'm way closer to 50! In just a couple of months, I'm going to be a dad again ... for the 7th time if you count my step-kids Johnathan and Jasmine (which I do). I suppose it should probably freak me out or something ... but it doesn't. I do feel kind of sorry for my two youngest daughters in one way though. I can almost hear their future junior high school friends now ... "Oh, that's so sweet that your grandpa picks you up from school" It's all good though. Maybe by

It Is Hot In the Desert

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... and in other news, the sky is still blue. I know this is the desert and everything, but I had kind of hoped to avoid feeling too much of the heat before I go home next month. Unfortunately, no such luck. The temperature is going to climb up into the mid 90s today, and will most likely pop 100 a couple of times later this week. I guess I shouldn't complain, it only rained 6 or 7 times during the entire 5 months I've been here so far ... and this was the "wet" season! ... so, I didn't have to deal too much with the muddy mess that a desert turns into when it rains. But still ... I'm going to get plenty of this 100 degree heat this summer in Texas. Anyhow, for those of you who think that the snow storms back in the States this winter somehow indicate that global warming isn't happening ... I just thought I'd let you know that it's definitely hotter than normal in other parts of the world. (although truth be told, neither is a terribly good i

Putting Out Fires

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Why is it that in my personal, professional, heck even with my hobbies, it seems like I spend such a large percentage of my time just putting out fires? Don't get me wrong, I'm perfectly adept at handling problems ... whether I had a hand in creating them or not. It would just be nice if every once in a while I had a little more warning about what type of challenges I'm likely to wake up to each morning. In my ideal "Todd's World" I would have my own plan, stick to it, and let someone else take care of the fires. Someday I might get there. But for now, I guess I if I'm looking for a bright side, my life would be much more boring without all these silly little flare ups every day :-) Todd

Not Your Dad's AFN TV

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Picture of AFN Satellite Receiver Dish I remember when I lived in England in the late 80s and early 90s, AFN (Armed Forced Network) TV had I think just one channel. It wasn't that big a deal, since we were in an English speaking country. And even for people in Germany or the Far East, I would imagine that even one channel was better than nothing at all. When I was in Korea in 2005, there may have been a few more channels, but I honestly didn't pay very close attention. Fast forward to 2009-2010 here at COB Adder Iraq ... most people have TVs in their rooms (I don't, but that's basically because I already don't have enough time for the things I want to do), so I'm a bit more aware this time about what's on AFN. Holy Cow! There are like 8 or 9 channels now. For the most part, the shows that are on are still from last season. However, there are a few that are current (1 or 2 days behind the States), American Idol is one that comes to mind. Also, obviousl