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, July 26, 2006


This morning the sun was egg shaped, hanging in the sky with a bright yellow at the top and orange below. It looked almost as if a painting except the piles of discarded trucks from the old Regimes Army laying under it. The other morning I thought I saw clouds in front of it, two little wafer thin clouds. Maybe some fog over the Tigris...But, more than likley it was smoke from some burning trash somewheres.

There have been some changes to my Section. Some good, some plane old changes. There have been some changes here at the Depot, and most of them good. I swear if the American Army is showing the Iraqi Army anything, it's to have meetings. Communication is a good thing though. I'm going to try to get more time to write even if a couple of minutes in the morning, like now. Even if it's talking about the irony of a sunset.

The Appalachianist

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

I'm here. Nothing has dropped in on top of me. A big "Crump" woke me up yesterday morning though.

I've been meaning to hammer out a new post, but, havn't gotten around to it. My apologies. Without an Internet connection of my very own it's not as easy. I have to select my buisness when I get online. I ussually stay on line for 10 to 20 minutes. It depends. Now, I know I've mispelled words and everything. The darn spell check messed up my grammar in my last post, but, anyhow folks, I'm here. Right here in lovely Taji, a place with a little something for everyone.

The Appalachianist...

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Laugh Dammit'

Funny things happen. A few day’s ago, one of my Junior NCO’s had a close encounter with an IED. He calls me on my cell phone. “I have to show you something”. He sounds serious. “OK, what is it?” “I found an IED”. It’s possible, very possible. If a Afghan Guerilla can hide out in an American Base after escaping from it’s jail than an IED can be planted here on Taji. He comes and gets me, he’s as white as a ghost. We have a Marine Major with us and he drives up as I was going to check this out. I informed him of what was happening and he gives me a direct order not to get killed. “Hey, you’ve got Bino’s, right? Take your Bino’s”. I was forgetting about the things. So, we go and look at this thing. I had to look at it from a couple of different angles, but, sure enough, there is artillery round with wires taped to it and we are in more than killing range. Heck, they would get our body parts confused. It’s sitting next to one of the many ruined buildings on Taji, where some GI would get on it while poking around, like my Joe did.
We backed off from it. I pull out my cell phone and try to call EOD(Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and can’t get through. I try again. The damn phone won’t get through. I wasn’t going to say IED over the air on my radio and cause folks to get into a panic. We go back to our area where I inform the Major that the boy wasn’t crying wolf and I couldn’t get through to EOD. We called the Base Defense Operations Center on his phone, which was working better. “Come and get us and take us right to this!” So, it’s going to be time consuming, I go to the latrine real quick before heading out. The Major comes and gets me and my NCO who had found the thing. BDOC had called back, it was a training aid, several people had called it in before. My young NCO’s 21 year old heart is pounding out of his chest, he’s white as a ghost and his eyes are as big as a deer’s. “That’s fucked up!” he say’s. I laughed.
Really, he did good. I had to get onto him about something the other day. He’s still a work of clay. I told him the same thing I told my Stepson. “Be glad God is teaching you your lesson’s while you’re young”.

As I’ve said in some e-mails, I slept through a rocket attack a while back. Lot’s of our people heard it. They usually come in onsies and twosies. My building has pretty thick walls and my window is sandbagged, plus my air condition runs constantly (Except for the couple of nights it tore up on me). “You didn’t hear that?!” I slept like a baby.

Speaking of my sand bagged window (one of ye faithful knows of my project) I’m coving it up with pictures of home, post cards (that one of ye faithful has sent) , a news paper clipping of my newest little cousin, wildlife and girls out of magazines. Stuff like Stuff, Maxim, etc. The ones we were told we couldn’t bring over on the plane that is sold here in the PX.

As you may gather from a earlier post, the other night there was a show put on my five dancing girls. One a former Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader, a couple had posed for the above mentioned magazines and a Vegas Show Girl. They really put on a show. A couple could sing. I didn’t intend on going, but, found myself obliged. That’s another silly story.

The Appalachianist

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

CENTCOM asked me to post this...

July 13, 2006

BAGHDAD – Iraq witnessed a historic event today with the transfer of security responsibility in Muthanna Province from the Multi-National Force - Iraq (MNF-I) to the Provincial Governor and civilian-controlled Iraqi Security Forces. The handover represents a milestone in the successful development of Iraq’s capability to govern and protect itself as a sovereign and democratic nation. Muthanna is the first of Iraq’s 18 provinces to be designated for such a transition.

As Prime Minister Maliki announced on June 19, 2006, the joint decision between the Iraqi government and MNF-I to hand over security responsibility is the result of Muthanna’s demonstrated abilities to take the lead in managing its own security and governance duties at the provincial level. The transition decision also reflects a joint assessment of the overall threat situation in Muthanna, the capabilities of the ISF there and the provincial leadership’s ability to coordinate security. Transition teams are in place to smooth the transfer process and multi-national forces will stand ready to provide assistance if needed.

With this first transition of security responsibility, Muthanna demonstrates the progress Iraq is making toward self-governance. Several other provinces are close to meeting the criteria necessary to assume security independence. The Iraqi government and the Multi-National Force will continue to transfer security responsibilities in other provinces in Iraq as conditions are achieved.

Australian, Japanese, and the United Kingdom forces have assisted Muthanna authorities as models of international cooperation, providing economic and humanitarian assistance as well as security and stability. As Iraq develops and its needs continue to evolve, so too will the nature of international assistance to Iraq in Muthanna and elsewhere.

The United States will provide $10 million in order to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Muthanna as they take a bold and courageous step forward in the country’s movement toward an independent and secure nation. This event represents significant progress by the Government of Iraq to achieve a constitutional, democratic, and pluralistic Iraq which guarantees the rights of all citizens.

I havn't posted these in a while. It's usually old news when I get the mail.
The Appalachianist.

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Only will the US Military have someone get up and sing the National Anthem before some girls shake their ass for you in a morale show.

Yep, The Appalachianist

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Another Much Anticipated Post

I have found that there is no word in Arabic that translates “bush”, as in the vegetation kind. It’s either a tall tree or a small tree. Of course my Iraqi Counterparts would be in disbelief if they saw some of the tree’s back home. In the Iraqi Chow Hall there are posters of various places around the world, all green and lush, none of the desert. In the movie Lawrence of Arabia, Prince Fiesal tells Lawrence that Arabs love trees and water, not the desert. I have a few pictures of back home, I may print one off for them. They sometimes ask me where I’m from…”Florida…LA…Washington?” They don’t know I have a Southern Accent. The other day we explained some Southern English to the Translators, they seemed to get a kick out of it.

Translators. I don’t know what we would do without them. They live a dangerous life…if it’s found that they work for the Americans they will be killed. Some won’t give you their real name, only a western nick name. Our Interpreters have a pretty good set up. It’s safer than going on patrols. They live on site and even have a day room with satellite TV.

The other night I saw a MEDAVAC Blackhawk go out being escorted by two Apaches. You don’t like to think of what someone is going through. Sometimes the phones are blacked out. That’s not good; it usually means someone was killed. No one yet has complained about a phone being blacked out. I don’t think anyone ever will. Someone’s going to get a knock on the door. Dealing without being able to call home for a few hours is not a problem.

Whenever you watch the news and you see that an American/Coalition Soldier has been killed, know that many more Iraqi’s are being killed. You only see and hear the dramatic stories, not the assassinations, or the bomb that wasn’t as big as the other one. This war is often paralleled with Vietnam, and in some cases eerily so. But, those who focus on deaths are wrong. Far more were killed in the same amount of time in Vietnam that we have been in Iraq. The Vietcong and NVA were good…Damn good. I wouldn’t credit our advanced force protection alone. Simply, this is not as intense as Vietnam. In Vietnam we concentrated on body counts. What kind of Government does it have now? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

To make a long story short I lost the 19D from my Escort Team. I had a young E-5 shooting for a Commission, but, he has to resubmit his packet. It didn’t look like I was going to have him, so I didn’t even mention him in my post about it. So, I had three guy’s, not including myself. It looked like I would be stretched thin…The Lord heard my prayers. I picked up two extra NCO’s to go on the team. One is from Puerto Rico and knew some of the places I had been. He told me Salinas, the little town outside of Camp Santiago had not changed much, but was “better”* since I was there.(You hear that Twister?) I would really like to see what it’s like now. The other is from Trinidad. Yeah, he’s got the cool accent and I really enjoy the guy.

I’ve had people ask me about Wildlife here. I’ve seen some birds by beautiful Lake Taji. I’ve also caught glimpses of the Phantom Dog. It’s not quite the size of a Feist. I ‘ve only seen it from the torso back. All way’s crossing a road. I’ve also seen other wild Dog’s. Hopefully one day soon I will be able to stop at beautiful Lake Taji and get a few pictures of the birds.

I get a kick out of this…My Mother sent me some news paper clippings from home. Someone broke into a convenience store and stole some things. He’s on $10,000.00 Bond. You know what he stole? Four packs of cigarettes and a lighter.

*I failed to ask how it was better…You ought to go find out, Twister!

I’ll have another post in a few day’s, so tuned for more Appalachian Patria!
The Appalachianist

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Sallam Allacum

Don't fret. I have a post written, but, I've not had the peace to revise it, none the less remember to put it on my memory stick.

Today I had to be at a meeting along with one of my Iraqi Counterparts clear across Taji. It was to start at 0900. There would be an Interprator at the meeting, so, I wouldn't have to bring one along. He was moving like pond water. Ten minutes before we had to be there he comes along. I had been trying to track him down. The road is as rough as a cobb between here and there, and there are Iraqi's driving all over it. They might be driving fast, they might be driving slow. It's garunteed that if it's armored, it's going fast. If I get killed on Taji, it will be in a head on collision. So, off we go. He starts singing..."Habibi Inta Rohay Inta". He is grinning and wanting me to sing along. "I'm late", I tell him. He smiles and sings, I sing along...slowly getting the words right. He wants me to sing an American Song...What will work right? A folk Song...Something catchy. I pulled an old Johnny Horton tune out of my pocket and he sang along quite well to the "Battle of New Orleans". Once we get to the meeting place there is no one there. I go inside the TOC, the head shed if you will. I ask about the meeting. "It's Friday, man, sleep in day", an Air Force NCO tells me. Friday is the Muslim Sabbath, so the meeting is at 1000. I didn't realise it was Friday. Through an Interpraator I explain and apologise. My Counterpart smiles real big and said, "I know this, but, I can't explain it to you because I don't speak English". So, we drove over to the Iraqi PX for something he wanted and then waited around for 1000 to get there.

Habibi Inta...
The Appalachianist

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