Saturday, August 30, 2008

Passing the Torch

The conventional wisdom (and I use that term loosely) of the newsies and nosies is that John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin for his running mate is a bold, if calculating, one. The obvious play for disaffected Hilary Clinton voters is a bit disconcerting to me, but I guess that is to be expected. I, like the rest of you, know next to nothing about Governor Palin. At first glance she seemingly possesses a natural if not well-tuned political acumen. She would have to be more than the Susie-Homemaker turned political activist as some would portray her. Alaska is a state in name only--it is, in many ways, still a wild frontier with residents who see themselves as frontiersmen. They possess the last remnant of the spirit that animated Americans to cross and subdue our continent and build our world class civilization. It's not a land, nor a people, that follows pandering politicians blindly. Governor Palin has to have some leadership ability to be as effective in that environment as she has been.

From the standpoint of political experience Governor Palin could be Senator Obama's twin. The two of them, along with others like Governor Jindal of Louisiana, represent the coming of age of Generation X--a generation much less self-absorbed than the Baby Boomers who preceded them. This, I think, is important in any discussion of the political future of these re-United States. There is a palpable feeling of torch-passing this season. But, I'm not sure that Gen Xers have the collective wisdom, yet, to keep from burning down the house with jubilant torch-waving. There is something to be said, to be sure, for the energy that this next generation brings to governance. There is also something to be said for the need for a governor on the accelerator as they climb behind the wheel and experiment with the "need for speed." Lucky for us we are living longer--there will always be enough wise heads to provide the balance.

One thing for sure, this election is, and will be, historic.

As much as the political scientist in me is jazzed by this past week's developments, there is another torch-passing I'm more focused on today. Coach Huston Nutt picked up a snuffed-out and trampled torch at Vaught-Hemingway this past spring. Today is the first football game of a new era at Ole Miss. Memphis is in the house, the new jumbo-tron is ready, and I'll be hollerin' hotty totty this evening--hope I'm still hollerin' on the way out of the stadium about 2200.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Speech Spectacular

Turned on the tube last night and thought that the Beijing Olympics were still going on--there was quite a spectacle happening in a stadium. Got to hand it to the young whipper-snapper; he can give a great speech. Reminded me of another young whipper-snapper the Democrats nominated for president 16 years ago--he could speechify like there was no tomorrow, as well. Had the morals of an alley cat, but he could connect with and whip up a crowd.

How did the McCain campaign respond? Belittled the grandiose set for the speech--real mature. I have been embarrassed for the McCain campaign as Republican operatives hung around the periphery of the Denver convention and snickered at the Democrats like my little brother used to do when I had a girlfriend over to the house. I've got to believe that McCain has to have some grown-ups somewhere in his circle who would have seen that kind of behavior for what it was. Just plain stupid. Leaves the door open for the Democrats to do the same thing. Had I been running his show, I would not have let any of McCain's campaign lackeys anywhere near Denver.

But, back to The Speech. Barack Obama covered all the bases with undeliverable promises, and delivered in a most believable way. He looked us all in the eye and told us he was the same as the rest of us, but a different kind of political leader. He looked hip and talked that way. He captivated the crowd. He marveled the media. He impressed this ole crotchety colonel. The spectacle was masterful misdirection.

I've heard a lot of motivational speeches in my time, by some very motivational speakers. Marines are masters of the rah, rah. Getting a young man up out of his fighting hole and charging into the mouth of hell takes inspirational exhortation. Oh, and one more thing--it takes moral leadership. Moral leadership stands on its principles. Moral leadership doesn't compromise. Moral leadership stays on the bedrock of one's convictions and doesn't stray onto the quicksand of situational expediency.

We have all heard Obama's life story by now. It is quintessentially American. I mean by that, that his life story is one of the disparate life stories that makes up the uniquely American patchwork quilt of life stories. The one thing that is most impressive to me about Obama's short adult life's work is that it was one of service. He approached his service from a much different political azimuth than I am comfortable with, but he served. Other than that, he is still just a recordless manikin who can give a great speech. He will never get the Democrat congress to do all of the wonderful things he told us HE would do.

Nor would a President McCain. In my estimation, there are precious few members of congress who are there "putting America first" as Obama put it last night. Until congress commits to country over re-election, our nation will continue to wander in the wilderness of wasted opportunity.

George W. Bush, a guy anyone would like for a friend, has squandered the opportunity for personal and national greatness by fumbling the hand off just past the line of scrimmage. John McCain hasn't demonstrated the most rock solid moral courage since he left the Hanoi Hilton. But, that doesn't mean I'm ready to scrap the conservative game plan and blindly follow a socialist hiding shamelessly under a centrist's cloak. I wouldn't do it any more than I would have blindly followed a nationalist socialist masquerading as a populist had I been a member of the Wehrmacht in 1938--no matter how powerful the speech nor how grandiose the backdrop.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Delusional Peaceniks

The democrat talking point that is beginning to get old is the one about the need to "repair our image around the world." Why is that important? I'll let you think about that question for a minute.

Okay, now let me tell you how our "image" does need to be changed, and it ain't what the limp wrists in the George Soros party have in mind.

We don't need to be more loved in the Middle East--we need to be more feared and respected. We need to quickly and definitively help the fledgling government in Iraq crush the anti-democratic insurgencies. To do so requires a much more muscular approach to the supporter of the insurgency--Iran.

We don't need to be more loved in Latin America--we need to overwhelm the neo-marxists cropping up to our south with a tidal wave of capitalism. Let's quit focusing on the very slight economic downturn (it's not even a recession--the Commerce Department just reported that our GDP increased at a 3.3 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter) here at home and help Brazil, Mexico, Columbia, and the rest of our hemispheric neighbors compete with China for our markets.

We don't need to accommodate China--we need to get ready to fight 'em. See paragraph above for what we do in the meantime.

Anyone who is even a casual student of the last 5000 years of the history of man knows that peace is ONLY bought through strength--a muscular foreign policy, a robust trade with neighbors, and the overwhelming, if judicial, use of a world class military. Peace has NEVER been achieved by ANY civilization in ANY OTHER way.

The Season Season

The middle part of the month of August was a blessedly and uncommonly cooler couple of weeks here at the northern end of southern nowhere. We have Tropical Depression Fay to thank for it mostly. She kept the skies cloudy and brought cooling rain. We got just enough rain from her--unlike most of Florida. Just enough rain to make the flowers in Miss Brenda's gardens bust out in a last hurrah of the season. Just enough rain to push the grass into a two mows-a-week growth spurt. Just enough rain to arrest the summer shoreline shrinkage in Lake Brenda.

August is a time of scrambling for me. Scrambling to complete as many chores and projects as possible. Come September the tools are replaced by toys and I play hard for the next five months. September is the kick-off of the season season. Football season; dove season; deer season; duck season--they all pile on to each other in the coming months like a team tackle in a sandlot football game. Not until February, will I rest from my recreation and once again yoke myself to the plow.

The next five months will pass in a flurry of red-clad visits to the Grove and Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, camo-clad and bow-armed clambers into treetops, and wader-wrapped sloshes through sloughs and flooded timber. It is the time of year for which I pine during the rest of the year. The other seven months are wasted on my calendar--filled with the drudgery of work without respite and dreams of hotty toddy, crunching leaves, and whistling wings.

I tell myself I've earned this next season of seasons--and I'm almost convinced. No matter. I'm playing anyway.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake

I didn't watch any of the Democratic Convention last night (had to wash my socks), but my reading of the newspapers today reveals a party clearly in meltdown. The arrogance of the left is simply amazing and will result in their party's loss of the presidential election in November, if the party of the right can get their act together and not freak out when McCain picks Lieberman as his VP.

Did the Speaker of the House of Representatives, third in line to the Presidency of these re-United States, really reply to a bunch of protesters chanting "Drill Now" with the retort "Can we drill your brains?"!? Really?!? Did the House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer, really call their chanting "sophomoric"? Really?!? I guess the chants "yes we can" and "change we can believe in" must harbor intellectually stimulating messages that my pea-sized brain can't fathom! The left's arrogance is matched only by the hypocrisy, intellectual vapidity, and moral bankruptcy of their positions. Save a few polar bears (who would have us for lunch in a New York minute), but champion infanticide of a large percentage of an entire generation (one of whom probably would have grown up by now to discover cold fusion and make fossil fuels and global warming warnings moot). Huh?!?

In their desperation to bridge the Clinton--Obama divide, the George Soros party trotted out Teddy Kennedy to provide some misdirection. What would make them think that was a good idea? The last time Teddy provided misdirection at a Democratic Convention it sank Carter for good and gave us Ronald Reagan (hands over your hearts).

If I were Hillary Clinton, I would demand a floor vote--she might just win it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Party Pooper Pick

During the George Soros Party presidential primary, my opinion was that Joe Biden, despite the fact that the definition for the word "pompous" in the dictionary has his picture next to it, was by far the most qualified of those seeking the party's nomination. He got no respect, no traction, no votes. For the left it was all about who made them feel special. Never mind three decades of experience in the Senate, it was all about who made them tingle when he/she talked.

That the least qualified man in America to be president (I'm more qualified than Obama and I couldn't get elected, nor do a credible job, as dog catcher) picked a bilious blowhard for his running mate because of his experience underscores Barack Obama's lack of gravitas. In the history of this great republic, no presidential nominee has picked a vice-president that made him look so weak by contrast. In my not so humble opinion Obama blew it with his pick of Biden. The "make me tingle" party wanted a vice presidential nominee that would excite them. They got Biden, instead.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Debate Prep

This time next month the national media spotlight will focus on the fair city of my undergraduate matriculation, as Oxford and Ole Miss host the first Presidential Debate of the 2008 election. When the news broke regarding this several months ago, there was much rejoicing amid the kudzu and cornfields here in North Mississippi. However, the euphoria has evaporated and been replaced by a gathering sense of dread.

The reality is that the national news media will not paint Oxford and Ole Miss with a fair colored brush. They will arrive with preconceived notions and agendas, and will tailor their reportage and images of our place accordingly. They will first of all focus on something that happened here 46 years ago, and will intone with solemnity that the attitudes that erupted violently in the early fall of 1962 still simmer menacingly below the surface. They will be dead wrong.

What happened all those years ago was a horrible event that some have called the last pitched battle of the American Civil War. Hard to imagine today, but in 1962, schools across these re-United States (not just in the south as Yankee politicians would have you believe) were segregated. A brave young man, James Meredith (a USAF veteran, by the way), enrolled at Ole Miss that fall and the situation soon spiralled out of control. A minority of malcontents on campus began to riot. Federal Marshalls were detailed to ensure Meredith's safety, and soon an army of rednecks with rifles poured into Oxford from surrounding counties and states. Led, amazingly, by a retired U.S. Army general, the redneck regiment swarmed the campus of Ole Miss and besieged the small contingent of Federal Marshalls holed up in the university administration building, the Lyceum. Throughout a long night a steady rattle of gunfire peppered the Lyceum, the marks of which were still visible a dozen years later when I arrived on campus. A young and failing President Kennedy (he had bungled and lost the battle to overthrow Castro a year earlier) struggling with the secret revelation that the Soviet Union was placing nuclear tipped missiles on Cuba (Kennedy's failure to reverse the communist tide in Cuba that previous year led us very close to a nuclear exchange with the Russians over the missiles in Cuba), dispatched federal troops to Oxford to quell the insurrection.

Next month the media will make the case that not much has changed at Ole Miss since that fateful fall of 1962, and nothing will be further from the truth. There are still pockets of ignorance and racism in Mississippi to be sure, but in no greater prevalence than any where else in this country (Boston's racism is shameful, Ted). Some facts that the media won't bring up: A black student was popularly elected by the student body to the revered post as Colonel Rebel, in 1976. James Meredith is now a conservative and critical of white liberals for their use of blacks. James Meredith's son recently attained his PhD in Business at Ole Miss and was voted the Most Outstanding Business Graduate in his class.

Beauregard's Battle Flag (the rebel flag we all waved at Ole Miss Rebel football games in my day) is outlawed on campus. But, I will bet a punch in the jaw and give you five minutes to draw a crowd that there will be a redneck waving one on camera during the lead up to the debate. He'll be the only idiot waving a flag in a crowd of thousands, but will get all the air time.

I'll also predict how Obama and McCain supporters will be depicted on camera. There will be several cerebral draft-dodging professors (American academe is so liberal because those running our universities today stayed in school and became degreed educators in order to get draft deferments during the Vietnam War) on camera whose scholarly support for Obama will be contrasted by a redneck McCain supporter in a "Forget, Hell!" rebel flag-splashed t-shirt whose down-south diction will reinforce the reporter's agenda of portraying Mississippi as a bigoted backwater.

Then again, the reportage will be accurate--Mississippi is a terrible, horrid place. You wouldn't like it. Stay out.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Want some cheese with that whine?

I do believe that if I hear one more pandering politician, or one more blathering commentator, opine, with all the solemnity of an undertaker, that "people are hurting out there" in reference to our current economic situation, I'm going to throw my coffee mug straight at my 50 inch plasma. Well, maybe I'll just go down to the kitchen and unplug the 13 inch LED, instead. At any rate, I'm growing rather weary of being told how "bad" things are right now.

Hmmm... Let's take a gander at the facts, shall we?

I'll give you that it makes my throat constrict more than a bit when I pay $60 to fill my gas tank. I do long for the days when gas was 50 cents a gallon--yep, I'm that old. But, I recall that while I was paying less than $10 to fill up my tank, my starter family (Miss Brenda and I) only had a $500 a month income. Adjusted for inflation, we aren't spending any more of our monthly income on energy than we were 32 years ago.

The payments on the new car I just bought for Miss Brenda are nearly the same as the payments on the first house we bought 21 years ago. But, back then my monthly income as a captain was less than what my current mortgage is. And my current mortgage isn't very big, as middle class mortgages go. I know people making a lot less than me living in much bigger houses with three new vehicles in the garage. They ain't "hurting."

Heck, we've had much worst times than this just in the last 40 years; and the gas lines and inflation of the 70's was nothing compared to the rationing and shortages our parents and grandparents endured during the Second World War. And they had it good compared to what our grandparents and great grandparents went through during the Great Depression.

We are the most spoiled population on the planet. We have unlimited information and entertainment on demand wherever we go via cable, satellite, and cell towers. Our cars make the Jetsons' look like jalopies. We can go an entire month without dirtying one dish in our kitchens--there's a drive-through eatery or budget restaurant on every corner. And, when we do dirty a dish we have a dishwasher into which to drop it and a squirt of soap, and presto, clean dish. I was the dishwasher in my house growing up, and I was told that I should count myself blessed that I didn't have to go outside to the pump for dishwater and shovel coal into the pot-bellied stove to heat the water.

Unemployment, while edging up a bit, is still at historically low levels.

We are at war and there's no draft, no rationing, no shortages, no victory gardens, no sacrifice whatsoever for the vast majority of our population.

The temperature in most of our homes never swings more than 5 degrees either side of 70.

Obesity is the fastest growing health threat in America. Hard times? Hardly.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Russia's Opening Gambit?

"Democracies don't go to war with each other."

That has been the conventional wisdom of a generation of political scientists, and it always sounded a bit too Utopian to me. I always believed that even nations with popularly elected governments would fight each other over matters of national interest. A nation's notion of what constitutes its national interest can be something as ephemeral as its culture, its historical place in the world, or even its self-respect. Easier to understand is protection of territorial integrity or access to vital resources--food, water, energy.

As I write this, Russian combat forces, at the direction of a popularly elected government, are executing an impressive and obviously long-planned invasion of the democratic nation of Georgia. The vital national interests at stake in this conflict--um, er, hmm. Got me.

What we do know about the roots of this conflict is that they are a tangle of cultural clashes dating back centuries. The battleground between Russia and Georgia is the crossroads territory of Ossetia. Russia conquered Ossetia in the 19th Century. Stalin's Soviet Union divided Ossetia between Russia and Georgia early in the 20th Century. North Ossetia became an autonomous sovereign republic of the Russian Federation following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. South Ossetia fought for its independence from Georgia as the Soviet Union collapsed. Russian "peacekeepers" have monitored a cease-fire in the region since 1992. For the past several months Georgia has taken more and more aggressive actions toward South Ossetia in response to what Georgians claim is overt Russian meddling in the break-away province.

Looks to me that Russia picked this fight by baiting Georgia into acting in South Ossetia and then responding with a well-planned invasion that has gone beyond the borders of South Ossetia and deep into Georgia. Russia clearly wants to expand (reestablish) its influence in the region and is acting accordingly.

What makes this particularly sticky for the United States is that Georgia has been a staunch US ally for the past decade. Georgian troops have been serving alongside ours in Iraq. NATO, at the behest of the United States, has been planning to have Georgia and the Ukraine (known as the breadbasket of the Soviet Union) join the treaty organization--the charter for which, by the way, was aimed at Soviet Russia and states that "an attack on any member is an attack on all members." It is arguably not in Russia's national interests for Georgia and the Ukraine to join NATO. Such are the ingredients for wider war.

President Bush just announced that the United States is sending humanitarian aid to Georgia via our air and naval forces. This could get interesting.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Hosting Hummers

Down on the Redneck Riviera I put out a hummingbird feeder in the spring and counted myself lucky to have as many as three of the hovering jewels hanging around over the summer--Panama City just wasn't on the hummingbird list of favorites it seemed. Different story up here at the northern end of southern nowhere.

I put out a feeder on the 1st of April and, within hours, the first hummingbird of the season paid a visit. He hung out alone for a few days and then was joined by a female who he couldn't chase off--hummers are notoriously anti-social. Over the next several weeks a few more birds drifted in and out, presumably making pit stops on their road trips from the Yucatan to Yankee land.

Toward the end of July, I increased the number of feeders out my back door to four and the hummingbird numbers have jumped dramatically. It's hard to count hummingbirds--they don't sit still for long--but I think I have at a couple dozen hanging around at the moment. This count pales in comparison to what my parents experience at their place each summer--I have counted as many as 75 hummers at their feeders in late summer and the rule of thumb is that you have that many again out of sight waiting their turn to tank up.

This morning I stood with the rising sun at my back and my nose not 18 inches from a feeder as a procession of the birds buzzed in to drink the high calorie sugar water needed to keep their wing-blurring metabolism fired. As I stood still, the tiny birds zoomed right up to me, hovered within inches, and studied me as if trying to determine my intentions. Satisfied that I was a non-threatening observer, they spun to light on the tiny railing ringing the feeding station, poked their needle-like bill into one of the holes, snaked out their thread-thin tongues and drank from my offering. The sun-splashed back of these ruby-throated hummingbirds sparkled like an emerald-studded cape, and, at the distance of a foot and a half, the green flash was mesmerizing. That close, I could make out details that differentiated each bird. One's head feathers was ruffled and mussed as if it had risen late from its slumber and raced to breakfast without combing. Another's tail was missing a feather--didn't seem to affect its aerial acrobatic capabilities that I could tell. Yet another had a splotchy coloration on its breast--probably an immature male.

I could have stayed there watching them for hours, but five minutes is all the time Miss Brenda lets me goof off when I'm home and chores need doing on Eegeebeegee.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Three times in the last 150 years these re-United States had the opportunity to rule the world--1865, 1945, and 1991.

In the summer of 1865, the War for Southern Independence petered to an end after Lee abandoned Petersburg. At the moment Grant and Lee agreed to the terms by which the Army of Northern Virginia became extinct, the Army and Navy of the United States was the most modern and powerful force on the planet, by far. In fact, the economic power of the United States, and the natural and manpower resources available to it, were beyond peer in the Western World. Noted Civil War author (and Mississippian) Shelby Foote observed that, indeed, the Union fought the war with the Confederacy "with one arm tied behind its back." When Great Britain considered recognizing the Confederacy, Washington's representatives in London warned that if they did so, Great Britain would be the next target after the fall of Richmond.

Frankly, we had a few scores to settle on the other side of the Atlantic. British forces had burned Washington fifty-three years earlier and France had meddled in neighbors' affairs in our hemisphere. We eventually went to war with Spain in 1898 to strip them of possessions in the Caribbean and the Pacific. We could have been the masters of both the Pacific and Atlantic in 1865 or shortly thereafter. But, instead petty politicians kept the re-United States' aggression turned inward and spent the next several decades punishing the southern population of our great nation. The greatest Navy and Army in the Western World was disbanded and the re-United States entered yet another period of self-imposed isolationism--always a sure way to quickly lose the eternal state struggle for preeminence.

Sixty-three years ago, today, the re-United States declared attainment of world preeminence in military, economic, and technological power when a single B-29 bomber (technology for which in itself was unrivaled in the world) dropped an atomic device on an enemy city, and thereby ushered in an era of nuclear nightmare that disturbs our sleep to this day.

Had the re-United States subdued the rest of the world in a few short years following 1865, established an empire governed by the principles of democratic republicanism (little r, little d), one can make the case that the tragic wars of the 20th century might have been prevented. Sure, we would have fought insurgencies against our empire across the globe, but the loss in lives and treasure would have been minuscule in comparison to that wrought by the carnage of what is ironically called the "American Century." Think of the advances such an empire could have made in science and medicine with half of what was spent on building the armies, navies, and air forces (and outrageously expensive nuclear weapon stockpiles) in one century.

And, don't get me started on the opportunities lost in the 90's with the collapse of the Soviet Union!

Sorry, need to put my INTJ personality back in its box and go drive my tractor for awhile.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Credit Where Due

Ten years ago this month, I gave up the last really fun job I ever had. For eighteen fleeting months I commanded the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, comprised of upwards of a thousand of America's best, bravest, and brightest. I assumed command on the 14th of February, 1997, and a year and a half later, to the day, I handed the colors and command of "the best battalion in the Marine Corps" to an old friend, saluted him, and wished for all the world that I could be in his boots.

It will sound like MOTO (mastery of the obvious) to any Marine who reads this, but the rest of you need to know that any and every officer worth his salt dreams of, yearns and strives for, and otherwise actively seeks the opportunity to command, even though the responsibility of command is a crushing load of care in which the lives and welfare of those in your charge weigh on your shoulders and in your mind 24/7. Command of a Marine rifle company or infantry battalion both makes you younger and ages you--your mind and body works overtime to keep up with the ability and antics of 150 or 800 hard-chargers all much younger than you, by decades in some cases. Even the soundest slumberers find themselves rendered sleepless by the demands of command, and yet it is the most refreshing and rewarding experience known to man.

I've mentioned before that most treasured of all of my plaques and other "I love me" memorabilia from my career in the Corps are the two with pictures of the officers of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines and the officers of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines during my tenure as commanding officer of each. More and more often lately I pause to look at those two pictures and reflect on just how lucky I was to have had such dedicated and talented men on my leadership team. I brag that Charlie 1/8 was the best rifle company in the Marine Corps twenty years ago, and that 1/3 was the best battalion in the Marine Corps in 1998, with the only credit claimed that I recognized my good fortune to be surrounded by greatness and let them run. These are my heroes:

Company C, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines 1988
1st Lt Brad McCulloch, XO
1st Lt Tony Wells, Weapons Platoon
1st Lt Joe Davis, Forward Observer
1st Lt Al Adler, 1st Platoon
1st Lt Pat Hollis, 2nd Platoon
1st Lt John Burk, 3rd Platoon

1st Battalion, 3rd Marines 1998
Maj D. E. Liddell, XO
Maj A. H. Smith, Ops O
Maj J. J. Wanat, CO, Weapons Company
Capt S. K. Moore, XO, Weapons Company
Capt J. W. Ross, Heavy Weapons Platoon
1st Lt R. J. Rizzo, 81mm Mortar Platoon
2nd Lt N. T. Perkkio, Dragons Platoon
Capt J. L. Day, CO, H&S Company
1st Lt J. C. Star, XO, H&S Company
1st Lt V. V. Gerald, Adjutant
CWO2 T. J. Sukalski, Personnel Officer
Capt R. Rochelle, Intelligence Officer
1st Lt F. P. McDowell, Scout/Sniper Platoon
Capt M. A. House, Asst Ops O
Capt G. R. F. Brown, Air Officer
Capt C. L. Christopher, Forward Air Controller
Capt T. K. White, Forward Air Controller
CWO2 G. E. Lawson, Jr., NBC Officer
Capt C. G. Cabaniss, Logistics Officer
1st Lt S. Cavazos III, Asst Logistics Officer
1st Lt G. W. Lewis, Maintenance Management Officer
1st Lt P. J. Moreno, Jr., Supply Officer
1st Lt P. A. Reeves, Motor Transport Officer
Capt G. A. Wynn, Communications Officer
Lt M. R. Hendricks, Chaplain
Lt R. Pickard, Battalion Surgeon
Capt C. R. Henderson, CO Company A
Capt E. T. Card, XO Company A
1st Lt G. W. Johnson, Weapons Platoon, Company A
1st Lt B. J. Hamlet, 1st Platoon, Company A
2nd Lt M. A. Haley, Jr., 2nd Platoon, Company A
2nd Lt J. H. Keller, 3rd Platoon, Company A
Maj K. M. Detreaux, CO Company B
1st Lt A. K. Ledford, XO Company B
1st Lt G. Anikow, Weapons Platoon, Company B
1st Lt P. E. Zambelli, 1st Platoon, Company B
1st Lt T. B. Noel, 2nd Platoon, Company B
1st Lt B. F. Harley, 3rd Platoon, Company B
Capt S. P. Kaegebein, CO Company C
1st Lt B. T. Fulks, XO, Company C
1st Lt D. A. McCombs, 1st Platoon, Company C
2nd Lt J. J. Zavaleta, 2nd Platoon, Company C
2nd Lt J. C. Fitzhugh, 3rd Platoon, Company C
2nd Lt C. B. Lynn III, Weapons Platoon, Company C

Semper Fi, Gentlemen!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Car Kin

The lovely and long-suffering Miss Brenda and I celebrated the accumulation of 32 years of marital (ahem) bliss this past week. I often marvel that she put up with even 32 days of my shenanigans. I definitely got the better end of this partnership agreement!

For anniversary presents this year I got a tractor and a workshop, and Miss Brenda got a new car. While getting a new car is a significant emotional event for most everyone, in Miss Brenda's case it is both a rare treat and traumatic experience. She believes that when you buy a car, it becomes a member of the family; and, that such a purchase is a long-term commitment.

This tendency first manifested itself fully when we finally traded in her much used and teenage boy abused van on a new SUV for which our boys had lobbied hard and long ("Dad, when you see a family go by in a van, you say to yourself 'they're going somewhere'''--"when you see a family go by in an SUV, you say to yourself 'they're going somewhere and they are going to have fun when they get there!'"). Miss Brenda's van had carried kids and kit to untold sports practices and events, suffered the indignity of being the vehicle in which two teenagers learned to drive (with scars to testify), and bore all of this with grace and the good manners to not break down on long road trips between duty stations. For nearly ten years Miss Brenda's van endured and earned membership (if only in Miss Brenda's mind) in our clan. While I was in the salesman's office signing paperwork on the new vehicle, I looked out the window and burst out laughing.

Out in the parking lot Miss Brenda was hugging the van goodbye. I kid thee not.

Her current seven year old four-wheeled child is still with us despite having been replaced in Miss Brenda's half of the garage by a brand spanking new model. Miss Brenda wants to make sure it gets to a good family.