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.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Excuse Sgt. Soto's language.

This picture and the last two I took while scrounging for some metal in some of the remote and unused buildngs on Taji. Scrap metal is nothing in short supply here, it's everywhere. It's only a matter of finding what you need.

I'm glad today is over with. It was chaotic, most every day is but everything was happening at once. At one point both of my cellphones were ringing while I was being called on the radio. Everything pulled off OK though.

I carry a Military cellphone, an Iraqna phone, and two Motorola radios, monitoring two differant nets. yeah, I know it's weird.

There is an eight hour differance between here and the east coast. Alot of you are going to bed when we're getting up.

The day before yesterday I sat in an S2 breif where it was stated that the high would be 115F. It's alway's hotter than what they call for. At 1600 there was a net call that it was 130F. 110 is nothing. It's like one of our Officers joked, you could bake cookies in the open air.

Someone gave me a Cross today. That makes three Cross's I carry.

People back in the States just don't understand the daily chaos that goes on here. Yes. there is occasional violence, multiple times a day depending on where you are at, but it's the managment of resources, services and the little things that are taken for granted. ..Not to mention peoples attitudes. You get so aggrevated with Iraqi's and you just can't help but like them.

Your not going to make sense of things here just reading the news.

Yep, I've typed enough, wish I could post more often. Heck, this is my second time trying to get this darn pic posted.

Until the comments rickle in...
The Appalachianist Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 25, 2006

From right to left, dictator love, exploitation of religion, 4GW and fascination with the kinetic. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I don't know what the Arabic say's. I will have to ask one of our translators.
It's hard washing the saddam thing out. It's not the brutalitiy, it's the lack of NCO's and real leadership at the junior levels. A Warrent Officer, that acts much like our NCO's, makes plans, takes it to the Officers so that they can slap it down or just sit on it. Part of it's cultural, part of it is just the way saddam wanted it. I've said it several times and I will say it again, if you were to get rid of two thirds of their Officers they would be in OK shape. Not that all Officers are bad. I've seen some that are good planners and decision makers. Some of them are honestly trying to do the right thing. Some are selfserving, some are incompetant, some just don't get it.

I was talking to some guy's from the Stryker Bn, 1/17th, next to my barracks about how hospitable the Iraqi's are. We both agreed that they will give you the shirt off of their back. The day before some others told me that the people in this part of Iraq hated them, where as up in Mosul it was differant, they loved them. But, then their hearing that it's rough in Mosul now. Well, the S2 portion of my brain knows that the insurgents, not all being homegrown, floats from place to place...Up roar in the east, attack in th west... then, it depends from neighborhood to neighborhood.

That's all for now...
The Appalachianist Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 18, 2006

The T55 Of Love

Everyone who has been to Taji knows this place. As I've said before the place is scattered with discarded equipment from the past. It's now all covered in American Grafitti. The Bizarre on Taji sells the paint...You can emblazing the name of your sweetheart on the side of a T55. I've climbed inot some of these. The commo equipment is in English.

Today was hot...Kulish Harraa...very hot. Then later in the day a big cloud cast a shadow. A couple of us looked at it with welcome eyes. But, I knew what could happen. Aboob. It's a dust storm spurned by storms miles away. It was an Aboob that contributed to the failure of the Iran Hostage Rescue. The Marine Helo's were caught in a very large Aboob. All was calm though. Before it had passed me and one of the guy's from my section were on the other side of Taji when I noticed the air was brown on the road ahead of us. Every thing turned brown as a gust blew through. It only lasted ten minutes then turned calm and hotter than before.

My AC is out tonight. My first night on Taji was spent without it. I've had three more nights since then. The people of Baghdad get four hours of power a day. If they have a generator gas is $5 US per gallon. If the guy doesn't come and fix my AC soon, I'm going to sweat all night, but, I'd best not complain.
Well, he's here to fix it. I would say it's 90 or 95 outside here at 2030 hrs.

I'm going
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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Starlog 16 August

I had to put a Junior NCO at Parade Rest today. I had to raise my voice and instruct him to look me in the eye. I was close to having him alternate between the Position of Attention for the Officer standing next to me and Parade rest for me. Do you think that is a lot of fun? I do what I have to do, but, being placed in a position of having to do so is not the fun part. The truth is he was having a far worse day than I was, but, his attitude only dug his hole deeper.
The last few days there has been some high clouds in the mornings. It actually has been rather pleasant and 100 degrees(F) in the shade doesn’t bother me as much. I know that may anger some of you back in the states who have been suffering. But as mid morning approaches the sun begins to sting your skin. August is a miserable month here. We all hope the clouds mean the rainy season is coming. I’m not banking on seeing rain before I reach North America again.
One of the guy’s from the Detachment is in Germany now. His hand was broken rather badly by the tail gate of a 5 ton truck. He is going to have to get pins and maybe even a computer chip or something. OK, maybe not a computer chip.
I’m on the verge of Internet…Patience is a virtue and she’s having to wait one more night.
I’ve got a bicycle. One of the other guy’s from the section has the exact same one, Desert Camo Mountain Bikes made by Jeep. Kind of like CJ.5’s. We’ve both broken our pedals. Riding it burns more calories than riding in my little Nissan 2400 Pick Up.
I’ve got a video camera now too. I know, all I need now is a kinky new Girl Friend. I also need to learn how to use the software for it so I can turn all the video into one. I also need to burn more pic CD’s that I have been intending on.
Speaking of CD’s, I only have one Cult CD. Open request to my Brother…I need Sonic Temple…as well Son Volt’s Trace. They don’t sell good music over here. At least not to my liking.
I’ve got visions of the Mountains back home in my head. I don’t know if I miss them, just look forward to seeing them again.
Look this is rambling. That means it’s time to stop typing.
Semper Vigilans
The Appalachianist

Monday, August 14, 2006


We had a big day yesterday. I discovered a cell phone was on a Local National driver, one of the Iraqi MP's had caught it. He's not supposed to have one on Taji Base. The company he was rented out too found out their was a cell phone on another driver. So, the Iraqi Gaurds and myself started digging into the trucks for the cell phone. We caught three drivers trying to steal cargo and netted two more cell phones, wich were cleverly hidden. The sharp Air Force Master Seargent I was telling about the cell phone noticed one stickiing something in an over head compartment as we were speaking. That was it, it took several try's to reach it, heck we even had an Interprator digging that phone out. As I searched another truck I heard my name called and one of the best Iraqi MP's we have was throwing stuff out of a cab left and right. That pitucular truck had Body Armor in the cab that he was trying to still. They had stolen the stuff off of their own trucks, thinking they could get away with it. We would have caught them anyway, but we were putting emphasis on cell phones. As thing after thing was being thrown out of the three trucks I looked down the convoy and Iraqi Soldiers not part of the Security Force had joined in the search. There must have been close to twenty of them. Afterwords we all laughed and joked about Ali Babba. The Civillian contractor thanked us as well. The last we saw of those four they were cuffed and riding in the back of an Iraqi MP's truck.

I'm supposed to get Internet in my room...well, I was supposed to a week ago. All we are waiting on is a simple cable to come from Baghdad. In the meantime I put $100 down on it. "Patience is a virtue but she won't alway's wait." Now, the first person* to tell me what that is qouted from get's to read Appalachian Patria free!

Oh! I saw clouds, yes, CLOUDS the other evenen. They were'nt much, but the first I've seen since May back at Ft. McCoy.

* All persons entering this contest must be a valid human being and leave their answer in the comments so that I can make fun of your answers where everyone can see. I reserve the right to be merciless. Void if given in any other language than English/Englizee/Englis.

Correction: I originally said forty of them. This was an exageration in my own mind. After watching the video of it and thinking it through in my head I realized it was a silly exageration. There were forty or so people, US and Iraqi that came out to see it altogether. I broke a Milblogging rule and made an exageration, and Rangers don't lie about what they see. My aplogies.

Ready to get out of here..
The Appalachianist

Friday, August 11, 2006

Odd things back home.

I first heard tell of this in an e-mail from Jellouise and the Reguvinator. My Mother comfirmed it in a phone conversation this week (My first call home). My Father e-mailed me the story, wich is pasted below.
Back Home, in Transylvania County NC, an Alligator was found in the French Broad River. Those of you not familiar with The French Broad, must know that it's not a warm river by Southeastern standards. Even Rivers in the Peidmont, wich feels like an Inferno to the high valleys of Appalachia are not warm enough throughout the year to supprt such creatures. Heck, I thought it was something when one was on the Chatahoochee on the lower part of Ft. Bennining.
Anyhow, someone put the thing in that river. Wich, you will learn from the article is just plain foolishness on several counts.

BREVARD – For more than 15 hours over three days, they stalked their prey.

Finding the alligator was no problem, even for a trio of amateurs from a paddling business. Catching it was harder.

But about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, the wire loop of Sid Cullipher’s catchpole snagged the alligator between head and forelegs. One savvy application of duct tape later, they had bagged the mysterious creature roaming the French Broad River.

The reptile that boaters have reported seeing in recent weeks is a juvenile American alligator more than 3 feet long. It’s at Brevard College until officials figure out where to send it.

Lori Williams, wildlife biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, said the American alligator is listed as a federally threatened species, and the college cannot keep the animal without proper permits.

At first some thought the animal was a caiman, a close cousin of the alligator that some people keep as a pet. But Cullipher said it’s not hard to buy an alligator despite its protected status.

“Apparently you can buy them off the Internet,” he said, “and I know in Florida especially there’s some kind of shady alligator ponds that will sell you hatchlings.”

Growing up in Florida, Cullipher used to handle small alligators. He didn’t expect to go after any as program manager of Headwaters Outfitters in Transylvania County.

But spurred by concern that the gator might die in the cold mountain water or be shot, he enlisted Aaron Motley and Adam Beason and hunted it down.

It didn’t all go smoothly. Once he had the wire looped around the gator, Cullipher tried to wade ashore only to sink past his knees in mud. The reptile swam toward the canoe as his captor tried to wrench free of the mud, surprising Motley enough that he leapt backward out of the boat in surprise.

Once on shore, though, Cullipher got the alligator on its back and brought his hand up its stomach slowly until he could clamp its mouth shut. He wrapped its snout with duct tape and put the animal in a burlap sack.

He hopes authorities will prosecute whoever abandoned the gator, which he said is just as illegal as possessing one.

“Someone could have gotten hurt,” Cullipher said. “This is a wild creature, a three-and-a-half-foot gator. It could take a chunk out of you.”

Gary Peeples, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said because the alligator was probably in contact with humans before its release into the river, it likely would not be a candidate for re-introduction into the wild.

“I’m almost certain because it was in found in the French Broad River that this animal has had anything but a normal life so far,” Peeples said.

Chuck Byrd, chief of Transylvania County Animal Services said the animal would be relocated but declined to give specifics.

So, there you have it folks. I'm glad it didn't bite nobody.

The Iraqi Chow Hall smells pretty good this morning...
The Appalachianist

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Schway Schway...

Schway Schway. Little by little I learn more of the language, a little more of the culture. There is no better teacher than the Iraqi. . Show your curiosity and the Iraqi will show you they’re ways. They are more than eager to share, they will always offer a seat to a stranger, always offer food and drink. There is a hospitality that exists in the desert. They’re a hard people, the results of a hard climate. Loving to a friend, brutal to an enemy.
Inshalla…If God Wills It. Back where I come from folks are prone to say "Lord Willing". That’s reserved for long term and often difficult tasks that are prone to interference of circumstances. That doesn’t parallel here. It’s said liberally for the simplest of things. An Iraqi Jundi one night told me after I advised him to wear Helmet and Body Armor "Inshalla, all men die in their own time". That’s something I do agree with to a point, yet he was so casual in saying it. I replied that God helps those who helps themselves. He smiles and say’s Inshalla. There is nothing that they don’t see as Inshalla other than their own carnal pleasures.
One of my Iraqi Counterparts joked that I should be adopted into his tribe and that he would see to it that I had a good wife with big boobs then went into a string of obscene comments of her wifely duties. They think it terrible that I don’t have a wife, not understanding why I’m not married. None admits missing their wife for any other reason than the flesh. They boast of their children’s being not their deeds. That they exist is enough.
One of my Interpreters told me that God has cursed Iraq and blessed the Untied States because Iraq still practices slavery and the United states does not…"All men a free". He gave the example that in the Iraqi Army Soldiers have to obey Officers orders no matter what they are. The less fortunate are obligated to the more influential. "Slavery…You know what I mean slavery?"
An Army is a beast of procedures. The Iraqis don’t understand this. They ask me for answers. I often stand there just as frustrated with the procedures as they are. T.E. Lawrence said that "Arabs believe in people, not in institutions", this is true and I can’t say that I blame them.
The Appalachianist

Saturday, August 05, 2006

While Your Here...

This is about something a little close to "home". We tend to see these guy's alot. Congratulations to them.
The Appalachianist

Iraqi Army’s 6th Motor Transport Regiment takes control

Friday, 04 August 2006

Story and photo by Sgt. Trevor Snyder 124th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

BAGHDAD -- The Iraqi Army 6th Motor Transport Regiment took control of its own operations in a ceremony July 3 at Camp Taji, a sprawling joint Iraqi-Coalition facility just a few miles north of Baghdad.
The regiment has been working closely with the 4th Sustainment Brigade since October 2005. The transfer of authority is another milestone in Iraqi progress towards providing its own security. The 6th Motor Transport Regiment’s mission is to transport Iraqi Armed Forces members and cargo throughout Iraq as directed by the Ministry of Defense.
“It’s a completely Iraqi show,” said Lt. Col. William Schiek, commander of the 4th Brigade Support Battalion. “It’s been a real pleasure working with them because not only do we share ideas with them, they are sharing ideas with us.”
“Who is better at working in the local area than the folks that grew up in this area,” Schiek said.
The 6th Motor Transport Regiment consists of seven companies including a headquarters company, four light transportation companies, a security company and a support company. Their equipment consists of more than 100 trucks.
Recent areas of operations have included Baghdad, Mosul, Kirkuk, Fallujah and Ramadi.
“We’ve built some friendships here,” responded Maj. Roger Glenn, a force protection officer who works with the 6th Motorized Truck Regiment. “(The Coalition’s) role has really switched from being warfighters with them when we first arrived here. Now they are conducting all of that mission on their own.”
“It’s nice to see them receive some credit and recognition.”

Friday, August 04, 2006


Folks, I have a post, but, for some reason Microsoft Word is having a problem. Give me a day or so. There are a few things to work out on this newly reloaded machine. The Printer, wich is in Russian and now something to do with Word. But, rest assured ye faithful, it's right here on a thumb drive.
I appreciate it you'l and stay tuned.
The Appalachianist

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It's a few day's late....

28 July 06
I couldn’t have started the day better. An E-mail from my Brother telling me I owe the IRS a lot more than I thought. My Father footed the bill to make it easy on me for the mean time. I can send mail free, but, it takes weeks. Come to think of it, I’m waiting for some more of my Taxes here to be reimbursed to me. It’s tax free in a Combat Zone, but they take it out anyway and then pay you back. Go figure. (Since I started writing this it I have been reimbursed last months taxes.)

Tonight I have contractors on my mind. One would be very surprised how many are here on Taji alone. Mostly KBR and its subcontracted parts. Civilians are everywhere. A couple of doors down there are middle aged Ukrainians that don’t speak English and listen to Britney Spears, and an old Texas Country Boy that rebuilds tanks for the Iraqi Army just to name a few. Mostly in my function I deal with security Firms, EODT(US), Armor Group(UK), RGS(UK), Falcon, and Universal. I wouldn’t be surprised if I encountered another soon. These company’s are staffed by EXPATs…Ex Patriots, guys from Western Country’s like the US and UK, South Africans and one Frenchmen I know. They form the leadership in armored trucks loaded for bear. Third Country Nationals (TCN’s) make up the trigger pullers and Local National (Iraqi) trucking companies provide the freight trucks and drivers. Some companies use LN’s for trigger pullers as well. Point blank, they’re Mercenaries but, that doesn’t mean their bad guy’s. There is not one of them that I don’t like. Every single one of them is a hell of a guy. I’m not here to get into the concept of them.

These companies haul much of the supply’s around the Country and it’s an acccepted fact that things wouldn’t get where their going without them. A few weeks back they had to get a special letter from the Army saying they could use the roads. During that time certain items got low in the Chow Hall. The Iraqi Army would be naked without them.

Today we had a big convoy lined up out side of the Depot Gate waiting to be loaded. We needed to have them a certain distance down the road, so me and the guy from EODT told a certain number of them to turn around and get at the back of the line. It may have been twelve or fifteen trucks; the front started, and began speeding towards the back and the middle pulled out in front of them. In my mind I imagined a speeding semi to slam into another broadside as it pulled out in a U Turn. How that didn’t happen is to be credited to God alone.

Today I heard that one of the contracted convoy’s had been hit hard, losing a few guys and some trucks. I hope to see some familiar faces next time around.

I have an OIC now. That’s Officer In Charge to you civvies. He’s an Air Force Captain that specializes in Security. Along with him there is a USAF Master Sgt (actually the same rank as me, a SFC). They are some of the changes to my section I mentioned. I had a guy leave as well. He didn’t like some of the changes we were having to implement, and voiced it, so, I didn’t want someone disgruntled disrupting the Harmony…I arranged for him to leave the Section. No hard feelings, but, a decision had been made and it was time to support it. It’s not like the decision violated principle, so, it’s up to us to make it work. We have essentially combined two sections into one with us all doing a shift rotation. We are the only section of the Depot that operates 24 hours a day. Others sections have let someone take a day off here and there, I’ve been in Country longer than anyone and I’m yet to take a day to rest. I’m not complaining, I’ve got friends running the roads of Baghdad, but, a day to gather some thoughts would be nice. We’ve been waiting on the Air Force guys, we’ve not had the man power for one of us to not take more than a couple of hours. I think my record is 76 day’s without a day off, and I’ve not broke that yet. Look, I just want to make it perfectly clear I’m not bitching.

Enough of this writing stuff. I just don’t know when I’m going to get this posted. The internet has just gotten harder to access. Some Ass Hole put a pass word on a computer and didn’t tell anyone before rotating home. When the Power went down (Generator Maintenance) it rebooted. It was the one I used for posting and checking mail. Internet Café computers are slow…Very Slow. I mean Dispasionet.

The Appalachianist