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, March 28, 2007

Conservational Soap Box

Appalachia, much less any wild place anymore faces a number of threats. One is pretty obvious, urbanization. Land for the sake of land can be hard to hold onto. One thing is you've got to pay taxes on it while meeting other requirements. On account of "Spectacular views and blah blah blah" poor ground has high value. Then there is the increasing threat of the Immanent Domain Monster, where the Town, County or State will take your land because they would get more tax's out of someone else. Two things disappearing quick in Southern Appalachia is Farm Land and Private Forest Land. Conservation Easements can help with such a thing. Now, that ain't the in all answer. Allot of folks are afraid of them because they feel they would lose control of their land. People need a reason to hang onto their land. They can get a tax break for having a Forestry Plan in pace, but they should for maintaining Water Shed.

Another that is more hidden in the disease and insects that have been imported throughout the years from non native species. One that poses a great threat is the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid. It's a small little bug that eats at the Hemlock Trees. Hemlocks are evergreens, grow out by their lonsome or in groves. They are good shelter for about any bird or animal, but, their long branches and needles help the ground water too. They slow drip it. That and they cool the water below them. The loss of them would be catastrophic to "trout" waters. I was happy to read this article on Beetles to battle Wooly Adelgid and right there in beautiful Buttholeville. There is also the Pine Beetles that plague The South all over and heading north. South slopes that get good drainage and sun are good for Pines. I know quite a few now that are covered in dead Pines where they have been attacked by the Beetles. We need to get them too.

It's a shame to me that no more Controlled Burning takes place in either the Pisgah or Nantahala National Forests than does. Which is fractional. When the White Settlers came to the area the Red Settlers burned the woods on regular basis. Not necessarily a yearly thing but often enough. The Piedmont of North Carolina was a big prairie it burned regularly. Of course there was some woods, but east of the blue ridge was a swath of grass land. The woods of the Mountains varied from open woods to the sun loving brush. Hard wood ash puts base back into the ground, not as good as lime, but it does. Fire cuts back on crowding brush, letting sunlight in and making way for beneficial plants and trees. Pines love fire, some can't release seeds without it. Cherry Trees like burnt ground. There are a number of reasons for it, but man power to controll it seems to be an issue. And, personally, I feel like the Forest Service is afraid because it wouldn't be pretty to tourist. The woods have become thick in underbrush, such as Ivy*, that fires can easily get out of hand.

We say that we will never see the end of it. One thing I've learned over the last couple of years and my trip here to Iraq...Never say never.

The Appalachianist
* Mountain Laurel, we call it Ivy.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Beans, Bullets and Bull Shit

The days are getting longer, the times is getting closer, and, I'm aggravated.

Iraqi Society is a very abusive society. When they get something they abuse it, whether it be some form of goods to power, they abuse it until it is done. Things are managed with the throttle to the floor. Through out the country are piles of it's discarded past. Like the stereo type of the American South with cars piling up in the yard. When your done with something throw it down. The Iraqi Army was not a very Logistical Army during the Saddam years, and the concept is hard for them to grasp now. If a weapon broke, it went into a pile, a vehicle, robbed of parts. The Supply system, poorly accounted for, horded and traded for supply's. The majority of Saddam's ware houses were empty. There is no reason for the United States to gloat over it's victory over Saddam's Army. It was an army that maintained employment and some internal order...Otherwise it was in disrepair. That has been our mission here, to get a Logistical System up and going. We are here, doing our best and trying hard, getting up each day and taking on issues. Yet, the Iraqis don't quite grasp their own supply system. We have managed to keep up pressure on them to find solutions to their own problems, but as needy (0ne of my guys used the word) as they are, they want to depend on us.

Jinude are getting three 20oz bottles of water a day. That is not enough for my Guards that spend twelve hours a day on a post a mile away from running water. They need it for drinking, washing their hands and face as well as wiping their ass. The Iraqis buy water off of the market, the Americans have a water purification plant. I tell them to request more, that the Americans will not be able to give them water like the summer before, that there are many more American Troops on Taji for the Security Plan. It goes in one ear and out the other.

Slowly though some little changes are being made. I'm often approached by the Iraqi Enlisted to talk to their Officers about fixing their problems. One of our areas posted was shorted on water and a patrol vehicle. "They won't listen to us, they will an American". But, the Warrent Officer in charge of the area spoke to his leadership and fixed it.

One of the Guards took a turn to fast and ran his Uaz Jeep into the fence, before we could tell them to get it fixed, they came up with a creative way of fixing it (using a cargo strap to pull two fence posts back up).

And then recently, we had Jundis (Jinude) quit because they had not been paid in five months. I told the Iraqi Col. to inform these men of their progress on the matter. They insist they will come back, I told them I hope so.

I have an Iraqi Officer that is intent from leading from the Office, in the three weeks he has been in charge I've seen him out on the posts once, to chew ass. The senior Iraqi Officers are more concerned about ordering some Jundi to bring them Chai. They are out of touch, and don't want to be...But a few. A few deserve credit, but it's not in me to give it now.

Me and a buddy watched Deliverance the other night. He had never seen it and said it made him not want to go camping. It made me think of the hills and rivers at home. It reminded me of my Ex Father In Law building a dam that flooded his Grand Fathers land. But, it mostly made me want to be back off in those woods.

Ok You'll
The Appalachianist

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Year

A year ago this time I was back in Buttholeville, "Strangeylvania" County North Carolina with orders for Iraq in my hand. People had a whole list of questions for me. I was going to Iraq, that's all I could tell them and all I knew. Everyone meant well, but with all I had to do it was exhausting. In a days time my Army E-Mail account roller coaster'd. "Sign this waiver saying you will go with less than a 30 day notice"..."Don't sign the waiver"..."You get your orders this weekend"...and I did.

A year before that I was roller coastered in a days time..."We have four names, we need three of you 11 Bravo's to go with an MI Unit"..."Turns out we didn't need you". Well, fate has landed me here, Taji. I could be in worse places.

I'm an Infantryman, and I act more like an MP. We do a Guard Mount with the Iraqis, they would drag to it like it was a burden. Now they enjoy it. They're smiling in the mornings and joking. I go around to check how they are running things, list their issues and try to find answers to sell them. They come to me grinning, "Hey Wilson, Sabah Al Kaihr". They ask me about my home, a place they can't conceive, and when I go home people will ask me about here, a place they can't conceive. I was talking with a Security Contractor, a Mercenary (there is nothing wrong with that) he had done work in Central and South America, I've been to Central America. They can't be compared to Iraq. The Judio Christian (Quasi anymore) West and the Middle East have two different logics. Both Baghdad and Cairo are the filthiest cities I've ever been to. Saddam's Military bases were a collection of junk piles. The Iraqis love gardens, a Forest is something they don't fathom. The find it crazy that we build houses out of wood and not concrete. Only the desert is open space to them and it's brutal and unforgiving. It's two different worlds. A year later and I'm in that world. I once dreamed I would go back to Egypt. I now know that is here. God was warning me I guess.

I was wondering if I would recognize my home town when I get back. I still wonder. heck, they are taring part of it down and throwing up new. Which that happens, but it's a big building with shops and condos. No one gives a damn about the average folk there anymore. Afford ability will not be part of that. The Condos will cost more than the average home from what I read. It's growth, but it ain't smart growth.

Now ain't you glad I posted?
The Appalachianist

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sorry about that...

Hey Folks, I'm alive and kicking. Sometimes you just have to take a break from something...It's been brought up to me about my lack of posting. Everything is fine. I didn't get pinched on St. Patrick's Day (Sorry Lee Ann)...We just knew what day it was and we worked while everyone back home partied. Actually it was my Brothers Birthday and I always e-mail him something for his Birthday. Apparently he worked on his Birthday and some of it my stuff. he handles my legal type issues back home.
I do have things I intend to post. You'll are good to me. I appreciate everyone one of you, especially you, Cuddle Bunches. Now, let me read the news before I get good and going.

The Appalachianist

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Back In The Saddle

"I'm on a roll...I'm on a roll...My baby got some brand new clothes...
Riding high, shooting like a rocket I can't help smiling got some money in my pocket...
Like a Soldier riding into battle I've fallen off the horse but I got back in the saddle...
I'm on a roll..."

A "Gritty Mountain Rock" quote.
The Appalachianist

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Post You Have been Waiting For

I've started writing a time or two and got distracted by one thing or another. Just some of my thoughts...

What Me and My Buddies are saying...

Me: Good Morning, it's another stupendous day in paradise
Him: Morning. What did you say?
Me: An outstanding day in paradise
Him: Oh, I didn't understand you
Me: Sorry. It's another day closer to leaving
Him: That's right. One day closer. I wouldn't lean as far as calling it paradise though...
Me: Yeah, but...
Him: I don't know about paradise. I wouldn't go as far as hell...somewheres in between.
Me: Purgatory?
Him: yeah, purgatory...a good one.
Me: Another stupendous day in purgatory then...
Him: Home will be paradise after this...

A Change
I was tagging along on posting Guards this morning. The Guards coming off all wanted to hop in the back of my truck instead of the big Ashok. A few got in the Ashok. They were laughing and joking. A month ago it was fist fighting...same crew.

The Iraqis finally got smart and moved a Guard Shack that was extra at one point. This was done without us saying anything. It's good when they find their own solution.

Once upon a time in Appalachia
I've been hearing tales of "Big helicopters" buzzing around back home. Back in 1995 the Air Force was using The Upper French Broad River Valley, which is cut between the Blue Ridge Escarpment and The Balsam Range, for OH53's doing nap of the earth. They did that for months. That summer on Bele Chere weekend (A big street party in Asheville) me and a girl sat in the back of my truck at a place called Bennet Knob and watched a meteor shower. We'd spent the day together in Asheville. An OH53 came across us maybe 20 ft above the trees flying blackout...It brought back memories of my Ranger Bn years. Me and her counted twelve stars that night. Damn I thought the world of her.

Some things don't change...
The Appalachianist

Monday, March 05, 2007

The post You've Not Been Waiting For

Folks, I've just not been in any real posting mood. It will break soon and you can read all about what ever I happen to be posting about. Be it back home (a far away distant land) life in general, the War here or some other odds and ends.

Your hanging on the edge of your seat, ain'tcha? It ain't like I don't have things to talk about. Maybe I will start scratching one tonight.

I did learn I would be called "Tug" if I was a British Royal Marine because my name is Wilson. Why is that I asked..."Because it's a tradition in the Royal Marines and Royal Navy", he answered. Which reminds me, I'm impressed by the British Puma helicopter. It's pretty quiet and picks up good speed.

So there you go...
The Appalachianist