Appalachian Patria

Appalachian Intellectual. To me that means plain thinking. I am A Non Commissioned Officer in the Army Reserves. Let me say...My views expressed here are mine and not those of The U.S. Army, Army Reserve or my fellow brethren in The National Guard. This is entirely Sua Sponte. This is My Thinking. I'm single and in my mid 30's. Politicaly, I'm a Libertarian. (Again, Sua Sponte.I do not represent the Libertarian Party.)I love my native Appalachia, Rock n Roll and...I love God.

Location: Brevard, North Caroilina

I started blogging for two reasons. I was concerned about the changes to the area I live in, Southern Appalachia and I was about to go to the war. I was in Iraq in 06 and 07 and now Kuwait in 11 and 12. Blogging was a means of documenting my experiences and hoping it would help gain clarity. I don't feel that way about it any more. It's said people write blogs because they are frustrated, that's why people read them too. That makes us sound apocalyptic. Are we? Let it be said, what I say here is of my own thinking. This is entirely Sua Sponte and not an official representation of the U.S. Military or the U.S. Government as a whole.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I haven't gone any where...

I don't feel like writing. That's not to say the reason I haven't posted. I've had limited Internet access the last week. Only enough to read some e-mails. Mostly corresponding with my Counterpart in Iraq.

My Brother mailed me the new Drive By Truckers CD, "A Blessing And A Curse". Its great. I highly suggest it.

It's starting to rain now. The Weather has turned warm, but, on the 21'st there was frost. Frost in the Hand to Hand Pit...Nothing like frozen Saw Dust. Actually more like Saw Cycles. It's the jagged kind. But, back to the weather. It's hot in Iraq. Soon it will reach up to 120 degree's Fahrenheit. It takes two weeks to climatize to place. It's going to be a jump, that's for sure.

I finally bought a new digital camera. I'll start taking some pics. Also, my Commander doesn't have a problem with my blog here. So, all is good now.

"I've been falling for so long i's like gravities gone and I'm just floating
The Appalachianist

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Another Week

This last week has been a busy one. High OPTEMPO, as we say in the Military, meaning Operational Tempo. The Training went on for 12 to 18 hours. It mainly consisted of Convoy Training and was topped off Saturday with a Live Fire (live rounds). There I was fortunate enough to send 7 magazines down the barrel of my M4 at pop up targets. For the most part of the training I was a Vehicle Commander, and then I was a Turret Gunner. I liked pulling the different positions in the Convoy. It gave me several angles to everything going on. Patrolling by convoy is something new to me. Way back when every thing was Dismounted Patrolling, which is a science, that I have seen almost in art form. Mounted Patrolling is more restricted in movement, but, covers more space. Over all it was a learning experience, my time went quickly and we all had fun. The only thing is I would like to do more and expand on it.

All through out the training there was interaction with Civilians On the Battlefield, COB’s. You may have seen that sort of thing on the news. It makes it more interesting and a better learning experience. It’s actually Civilians being paid by the Army to play the part. They get paid and we have better training…It’s a win win situation. Now the thing that has been aggravating is the weather. Mother Nature has taken a turn here in Wisconsin. Wednesday was sunny, and warm. Wearing the Body Armor, Helmet, gloves and knee pads inside a buttoned up Vehicle was rather stuffy. Sweat soaked my Uniform and rolled out from underneath my helmet. The next day was relief…on the extreme side. It turned windy and cold…Then it started to rain. I better not forget the sleet and snow. That was brief though. On the night run there was ice forming on our windshield. Friday we didn’t do any Convoy Training, but, there was a wind chill of 23 degree’s Fahrenheit. Saturday was more rain falling intermittently through out the day. I was trying to knock down pop up targets while wearing rain covered goggles over my Oakley Ballistic Glasses. While at the halt, I pulled my goggles off in order to see the things better. I have long eye lashes (Girls eat your heart out) and while wearing the combination of ballistic glasses and goggles they press against them. It’s uncomfortable. I suppose I’ll have to deal with that.

I spent a part of the morning crawling in the wet sand and mud. Doing the low crawl you have to have the side of your helmet against the ground. Now, I know better, but, I failed to tighten my chin strap enough. The metal mount for the Night Vision cut me across the bridge of my nose. It was minor, but, if you never get cut, scraped or bruised, you’r not training.

The day I went in the Army, nearly 20 years ago, I had a zit right on the same spot. I was miserable. It hurt like the Dickens (the Dickens must have been an extreme family; every thing is like the Dickens). Right before my Service Photo was taken I was told to step through a door and stand still, where two guys pumped boosters into both of my arms. My nose hurt worse than my shot filled arms. Then I had a Green Coat put over me and a Garrison cap slapped on my head. I was sat down in front of bright lights and a big flash. My nose hurt, my eyes watered. You can’t see the zit in the picture, but can see the look on my face.

On to other things…

The Appalachianist

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Wonder and Ye Shall Find Out

Ft. McCoy is a neat little post. The Cantonment area is laid out in a big lazy triangle. Mostly it’s WWII barracks with a few new buildings here and there. The Post Head Quarters sits in the middle. Every day three loud horns blast off the various Bugle Calls. None of them are in cinch, blowing as far as 10 seonds apart, the Flag never moves. Retreat blasts and the flag stays put. I get a kick out of it.

I don’t get to see much media here. I have seen a little bit of the TV News, finally getting to see the Zawrqawi Video that has caused so much excitement. Yep, that Zawrqawi is the Lion of the Desert. Blazing away on an M249 SAW, weapons malfunction and all. Apparently the weapon failed to cycle. One of his Lieutenants comes and pulls the bolt back for him. He looks pissed off as he walks away from the camera. I think he even burned his fingers on the barrel. One thing about our enemies, they sure can make some entertaining video’s. There was a comment about him wearing New Balance sneakers. What’s wrong with that? I just bought me a new pair. Here is CENTCOM’s link to it.

Being here training for Iraq must be setting into my mind, meaning that I’m getting used to it. I’m getting curious about home again. What’s the weather? Is the Sun shining? What’s the latest news around the County? Is anything changing? Flying out of Asheville I sat next to the window of that little Jet and watched Appalachia fade away into the clouds. There it was then gone behind a white veil as if it wanted a quick good bye. I didn’t see the Earth again until we were above the Ohio, where there was no hint that Appalachia existed.

I did get a call from the Reguvinator today. The day I left there was a Forest Fire near the Brevad Music Center. The day before I left there was one next to my house, but not nearly as big. There is a place called Silvermont in Brevard, belongs to the City or County one. It's an old mansion from old man Silverstein, he was a big buisness man, lumber, leather and so on. In front of it were great big Hemlocks. They were diseased and had to be cut down. They have been there all my life. He called me and told me the things I wanted to know. He lived in California He knows what it's like...small changes in a small town. Knowing stuff like that will make it easier to adjust when I get home.

I miss hearing Church Bells. From my house I can hear Church Bells ring from various Churches. To be off in the woods and hear those sweet bells! I can remember my Step Kids Hunting with me and the look of wonder on my Step Daughters face as we listened to the Bells. They play Christmas Carols during Deer Season. Someone once told me that every time I hear Bells ring that God is looking after me. I think that every time I hear them. I don’t think that I will hear any Church Bells ring across a Mountain side from far away any time soon. It’s OK though.

Today was a good day. The sun shined and it was pretty warm. It was a good day for Land navigation.

Some Politician will be telling you next election that our Armed Forces are the best equiped and best trained in the world. They've obviously never slept on and Army Bunk.

The Appalachianist...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Not Too Bad

Hello all of you Mortals,

Good News
I’ve shot my M4. The little thing shoots well. The M68 Close Combat Optical(An Aimpoint Red dot Scope) works like a charm. It scared me at first though. I had a hard time getting it Zeroed. When Zeroing you first shoot a three round shot group and ensure that it’s within four centimeters. Group twice and adjust the sites from there. The M16 doesn’t shoot like other rifles. People that have shot all their life have to readjust to M16’s. In order to get a good site picture with the rear aperture site, you have to get your nose as close to the charging handle as possible. For me, my nose has to be right on the charging handle or I don’t get it. So, while shooting the M4, which is a little shorter, I had my nose on the charging handle…just like a good boy. I was all over the place. I usually zero the Weapon in in 12 rounds, with two adjustments. It wasn’t happening and I was getting real discouraged. What was wrong? I shoot better than that. Now, I’m talking Iron Sites, not the M68. So, after discussing it and reassuring myself, I took a lighter to my Sites, re oiled the weapon LIBERALLY, backed my nose off of the charging handle about a ½ inch and had it zeroed in 6 rounds…no adjustments. It looked a little high, so I dropped the front site post a turn. Then put the M68 on, “Lolly Popped” it to the front site post, where the red dot sat on top of the front site post, went out, shot it, 9 round Zero, no adjustments. Shot it on the qualification range, where you have 40 pop up targets at 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, and 300 meters. 20 rounds from a foxhole, and 20 from the prone. I managed to knock down 35 of them, not Expert, but, just shy of it. I knocked down all of my 300 meter targets, but, for some reason I had a hard time with the 150’s. I think if I could get a little more range time, I could do better. I would blame the wind, but, I did kill the 300’s.

Like a Boat Anchor
It took some getting used to wearing the Body Armor(IBA) with it’s two Ceramic Plates and shooting. While in the prone I could feel the back plate cutting into my neck. It weighs 35 lbs, and fit’s around your torso. I told a fellar today I feel like Robo Cop with the thing on. Well, it could save my life.

It’s about time
My Digital Camera died on me, otherwise I‘d have pictures for you. I figure it’s about time. It’s been a lot of fun over the years. An old Olympus 1.3 Mega Pixel. They have a decent little variety over at the PX, I figure next Pay Day I’ll break down and buy a new one.

Not Fun
I was one sick Puppy over the weekend. I had come down with a cold and it gave me a severe ass whoopin. I think it was Saturday I fell asleep right after Training. Got up long enough to get the “poop” at the Team Training meeting, give out to my guy’s and back in bed. Hacked and coughed my lungs out on into Tuesday. Shooting with the IBA is bad, hacking and coughing with it is as bad, if not worse. Gave me a heck of a sore spot, right on the right shoulder blade.

Bible Characters for $200
I got to pondering today. The saying..”As old as Methuzla”…Now, I know he was in the Old Testament, but, exactly who was he, other than being the oldest living person? I know Adam was 930 years old. I think Seth lived longer. So, this Methuzla fellar had to live an awfully long time.

One of our young E-5’s had his Wisdom Teeth cut out today. The boy was all over the place, drugged and trying to communicate to us in his best possible manner. I convinced him to sit down, relax and he fell asleep. I went over to the PX and got him an Ice Pack. A few hours later and he is pretty coherent. I remember having my Wisdom teeth cut out, all four. Frankly it sucked. I remember coming to and seeing the Penrose Quarry from lying down in the back seat. I was in the company of my the Girl Friend, who took very good care of me. I don’t deal well with being drugged. This poor Boy was here in the company of us Virtual Strangers, stumbling around confused, bloody gauze in his mouth and a swollen face. No privacy, just his corner of the open bay. But, he’s OK.

I figure I’ve typed enough. I’m going to use MS Word and cut and paste my posts. That ought to be easier.
The Appalachianist…Head High, Clear Mind and Just Plain Happy To Be Here