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.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

"Letters From The Wastland"

Hello all of you shaker’s, mover’s, sinner’s and grinner’s…Here is your letter from the Wasteland.

My purpose on Taji is to train and assist an Iraqi Security Force and advise a US Army Lieutenant Colonel and an Iraqi Brigadier General on Security Matters at an Iraqi Army Depot. Originally I was supposed to serve as the Detachment First Sergeant, but, with the addition of the Security Position my Commander decided to place me into that position. I figure because I’m the Combat Minded guy. I’m not an MP, but, I pretty much serve as one. So far I’ve not put the MP sleeve on, and personally, I don’t want to. I’ve kept my position quiet because it can change and you civilians will give me the “I thought you were doing this…” line. Things change. At one time I was supposed to teach an Infantry Platoon SGT Course, and, I was looking forward to that. Things changed, though.

Is this job dangerous? It is at night. The bad guy’s know we are here and there are all kinds of goodies inside. We can’t let our guard down. I’m wanting to introduce a motto for the Security Force and I’m thinking about borrowing my Family Motto…“Simper Vigilans”, but, in Arabic of course. Also one of the Iraqi Guards could freak out and shoot me. But, they have better weapons discipline compared to much of what I’ve heard. When I get done with them it will be even better.

I’m also the NCO in charge(NCOIC) of an Escort Team, which liaisons and guides Contracted Convoy’s through the Base. I have three guy’s there, one a former 11M(Bradley Driver) and one a 19D(Cavalry Scout) the other has a good head on his shoulders. So, if something was to go down, they would know what to do and not have their arms flailing in the air screaming “What do we do?”. One is from right down the road from me. He was in the Airport the day I left home.

Both my Commander and myself have been on ground ahead of the rest of the Detachment for about two weeks preparing for their arrival. I’ve kept quiet about that because some things should only be posted in past tense. Now everyone is here safe and sound. So, with this in mind I will not post but about so much of what I do. Simper Vigilans.

As I draft this it’s the evening of the 26th of June. My 38th Birthday. I had to remind myself today. In celebration I ate a cup of Pudding in the CSM Cooke DFAC. I also learned today that I’m some what going to be a Grandfather through my Stepson from my previous relationship, I’m not ready for that. I really don’t know what to think about it.

In a couple of hours I have to go out and check the Security. Shut up. If you read this I survived. I won’t get much sleep tonight. My walls are thick, my Air Condition works (it didn’t the first night) and my mattress is firm, so, I can catch up pretty well. There’s people getting less than me. I’m fortunate in that case.

A lot of you’ll are wanting pictures. When it works out I’ll get some posted.

Open Note to Twister: I have the Arm Chair General July 2006 issue. When I get around to working the interactives, I’ll give you my solutions. RLTW!

I’m going to do something besides type now. An hour or so to kill.

Aut Pax Aut Bellum,
The Appalachianist

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Thursday, June 22, 2006


Can you Veterans imagine our Armed Forces without an NCO Corps? That’s essentially what the Iraqi Army is. The NCOs that they do have are nothing more than glorified Jundis (Privates). An NCO to them is a direct threat to the Officer’s in their eyes. In some units they do have some effective NCOs, so I hear. It takes ten years to build an NCO Corps, something they don’t have. Something they need now. You can send them to schools, but that won’t give them the experience an NCO should have in leading troops. Not only are they uneducated Militarily, they are often uneducated period. Saddam put all of his money into fighting wars he couldn’t win so, education suffered. Many American people complain about lack of money for education in our system, our American Fallacy…Throw money at it…Yet, here schools were shut down so money could be spent on unattainable goals.
Today I had a Veteran of the Iran/Iraq War show me some of his scars. He was in the last two years of the war. A bloody stalemate that his country ultimately lost. Now he’s in the “new” Iraqi Army, in another bloody stalemate. Will they ultimately lose this war too? I don’t know. Arabian Army’s have not stood well against invaders, but, have rid themselves of occupiers. Their last great victory*, the expulsion of the Ottoman Turks, was done with their own hands…though, largely accomplished by the clever strategy of T.E. Lawrence, he gave wise men council. So, there is hope that they can “out Guerilla the Guerilla”.
Today(21 Jun 06) it was 120 Fahrenheit in the shade. At 1700 the direct sun seems unbearable. It hasn’t rained in months, yet there are puddles of blue water, pretty like an ocean, sitting in open spaces. Mud puddles layered by dirty white crystals of brackish earth are still slippery. The mud will still stick to your boots…It hasn’t rained in months. “I’ve never seen it rain mud, until I came here”, one of my counterparts told me. “It doesn’t rain much, just enough to make you miserable”, said by someone from the Northwest. Today I tried explaining to some Iraqis how much it rains back home(parts of Transylvania County get over 100” a year). I’m told it’s dry back home. Nothing seems dryer than here as I watch a Dust Devil 20’ high meander off towards the airfield. Dust swirls in the air where brackish mud puddles lay on the ground…It’s a strange land.
* I first put their “greatest victory”, but that was probably the expulsion of the Crusaders from Jerusalem, led by Saladin.
The Appalachianist.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Taji, Iraq

I've been in Iraq for a little over a week now. I'm in a plae called Taji, an old sprawling Iraqi Army Base that is barracks cells seperated by junk piles of Saddams scrapped Tanks and vehichles. Part of the base is Iraqi and part Coallition.

I'm lucky. I have a room to myself, it's pretty decent. A Portajohn 15 feet away and a shower/latrine house 150 feet away. It's the cleanest I've seen in Theator yet. Unfortunatly the water has to be trucked over to it. Yesterday we didn't have any. Otherwise my only complaint is we don't have Internet over there. I'm using a computer at a Morale, Welfare, Recreation (MWR) Facility. This is the first time it was able to open blogger. I also have to stand in line at times. I have way's of posting thugh. It could be wose, it's a War Zone, just use your imagination.

I spent a couple of day's in the IZ, right when the President was there. Unfortunatly, he didn't get a chance to shake my hand. While there I had my hair cut there in Adanan Palace, admired it's hallway's and Saddams pool. No wonder you don't see him grinning on TV anymore, he's not there to play the gracious host. Oh well, he got what was coming to him.

Apparently back home there was a earthqauke in Franklin (Twisters town). Interesting. Brevard (Buttholeville) sits on a very large fault. It runs right smack dab across the middle of the County.

You've been patient with me. Shukran (Thank you in Arabic). I hope to be posting more regular now.

The Appalachianist

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Your's truly... The Appalachianist Posted by Picasa

Some of the Ft. McCoy countryside. It's pretty sandy and the tree's don't grow too tall. It's pretty county though.
The Appalachianist Posted by Picasa

The Enemy

This is what the Enemy looks like on Ft. McCoy. Little green midgets(Hey, Ranger bro's, bring back any memories?) I've seen them with Turbans and Sheghma's on their heads. You've got to watch these guy's.
The Appalachianist Posted by Picasa

Al Sallam Alla Wallacum

I've made it off pst for the second time. Before,it was a trip to Wal Mart and the Ground Round Steak House. I received a four day Pass while training lulls. I've rented a car, ended up getting a nice F150 four door Pickup. It's a nice ride. This will be my last break for a long time. It's my first, not that htere hasn't been slow day's.

Tomah Wi. is a cute little town. It's like Brevard used to be. It has a downtown that doesn't revolve around tourisim. I saw Amish Folk going down the road in a horse and buggy. I've never saw that. You don't have that down South where I'm from. No, I didn't gawk. But, I thought it was cool.

There are some of the Iraqi Culture/Language Trainers staying at the Motel I'm in. I was standing gaurd at a gate(yep, an E-7 pulling gaurd, that's OK, so are some 0-3's, we are a rank heavy task Force) and a van with "Iraqi Officials" pulls up. I have to check their credentials. A Michigan Drivers license. A couple of US offficail Contractor, a couple of females. The official guy is trying to rush me in Aribic and English while I check his ID. "Please be patient" I tell him. One of the women pop over the drivers seat and in perfect English pleasently announces what he wants to say, explaining she is his Interpretor. It suprized me(of course I know she lives in the US and may have even been born here)An Iraqi woman being so...engaging. I found her attractive, so, I had to refrain from making "googlie eye's" at her. I turn my attention to the Official, He understands what I say. Talk to the Individual, not the Interprator. I get clearance for them and let them through. Earlier, I had to try to explain to an "Iraqi Jundi" he had to clear his weapon before entering a building. He didn't speak English. He doesn't want to clear his weapon. Finally an Interprator shows. A "Full Bird Cololnel" allows him to pass anyway, just to calm the incedant.

I don't know Iraqi Arabic yet. I may know it at least some when I get back. Learning to pronounce something from a spelling doesn't allway's work. I don't prononce all of the English I red the right way. How can I do iraqi Arabic? These Iraqi Expatriots have been very helpful. They are making big money, but, more so they are very proud of what they are doing. "We are saving lives" they tell us. I hope they are.

I am a "God Father" now. I have a new Cousin. He was born this morning a little after 0700 Eastern. I can't meet him for months, if not a year. Congratulations Jellouise and Reguvinator.

The Appalachianist.