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.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

High Country Bear Hunting (Addendum)

Due to the curiosity over a woman, the group she belonged to, and her attitude toward me, as a Bear Hunter, I am adding to this post. The new stuff is in italics. .

This is not either of the bunch's I hunt with. This is was shot in West Virginia.

While standing in the cold wind and rain waiting to see Drive By Truckers a pretty girl came along handing out literature to a friend of mine. Kind of another story in there, but, she said she was from a group of artist living on a commune in West Virginia, but she was from Eastern North Carolina. Well, I was pulled into the conversation when my friend, handed the literature to me. Squeaky, my Plott Hound, has hunted West Virginia, so has Twister, my long time Ranger Battalion Buddy. Twister saying it was good hunting. I then remarked about Bear Hunting West Virgina to Twister. I turned to the artist girl and asked if you can hunt West Virginia. "Oh I don't like Bear Hunters", she said as she turned walking away. "Then you don't like me", I replied with a grin. "No I don't!" She retorted while she twirled her pretty head of dark brown hair to look at me. She had her convictions. She was idealistic. I can respect idealism and convictions. I feel like she didn't know what she was judging though. I don't hate her kind.

"Stop bitching, start a revolution"
I kept the literature. I e-mailed the group to flirt with her, but it came back. Her group is a curious one. It is simply called Zendik, led by Arol Zendik, the widow of Wulf Zendik, an artist and apparent activist of a seeming Bohemian nature. The title of her literature being "Zendik", focused on non competition, their commune near Marlinton West Virginia, is called the Zendik Farm. The group produces music independently, and visits music festivals handing out their magazines. Being a farm, they produce much of their own food, I imagine. A search on Google turns up the good, the bad and the ugly about the group. Mentions of "mind control", no specifics that I've found yet, have surfaced. There is a blog titled "Escape From Zendik". But before drawing conclusions, we need to remember the polygamist sect in Texas that was supposedly marrying off under age girls and the now lacking evidence*. This last Friday, May 30th, was the day Joan of Arc was burned for heresy. History has proven her falsely judged. I do not intend to hang anyone, not even the young woman in question.

Return The Favour - The Hives
There's a problem in these Mountains. We've got people from all over that want to come and live here, and then tell people how to live in them. "It's just a big jug full of stupid passing through".

This Plott mix is somewhere in Western North Carolina. It was said (on YouTube) he was avoiding work. Maybe the trail was cold. But then, Dogs can be slackers too.

I do have a couple of videos. I need a better connection to post them and anyone who is in any of them's approval.

*I think what is so bad is the apparent lack of variety of fashions those ladies had to choose from.

Be a Man among Dogs...Bear Hunt...
The Appalachianist

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Tick Tick Boom - The Hives

Before the first of the year a Stateside Mobilization for January was being kicked around. It was supposedly going to take place at Ft. McClellan Alabama. The mission was to set up a training site and conduct Pre Train for Reserve and Guard Units deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. My Brigade, 2nd Bgd 98th Div, was tasked to fill it. Instead of Mobilizing a Battalion, they decided to task each Battalion of the Brigade for a Company. An issue with my Battalion, 3rd of the 323d, was, there was no full Company. The Battalion was being rebuilt after Mobilizations and Promotions that resulted in a substantial turn over. As a result each Company would have to contribute to fill the mission. At the time of all of this, from December to April, I was "Attached" to the Unit, not yet Assigned due to a mysterious paper work shuffle beyond my comprehension. So, my going on the mission was in question, as well as I've been off Active Duty for less than a year, which, would require my volunteering and some higher approvals.

The mission was delayed to a later date. During that time Ft. McClellan became Ft. Somewhere. Ft. McClellan, the former Active Duty Taining Post, now belongs to the Alabama National Guard and they had serious concerns about their obligation in facilities. The old Basic Training Barracks belong to the City of Anniston and housing on the remaining portion of the post is limited. As time went the mission was postponed until the 15th of May. The date came closer and still no site was confirmed. In the meantime, come hell or high water, every member of my Company, was to be activated on the 15th of May except for me and my Commander that had been Activated with me for Iraq in 2006. He has since left to command another Company within the Battalion and the other members are now activated and on their way to what appears to be Ft. Hunter Ligget California. Suddenly I was Alpha Company. As a note, I was going to Bravo Company, but in January Bravo was reconstituted as Alpha Company, but the people stayed the same. After submitting my paper worrk six months earlier, I received my Orders Assigning me to the unit in April.

Then the week before Drill, the 17th and 18th, I received an e-mail informing me that a Specialist (E-4) coming off of Active Duty would report in that weekend. Now my job is to get him promoted and off to Drill Sgt School as quickly as I can. AS well, somewhere along the line something happened to the training aids. There is nothing, no training aids, not a bandage for First Aid or any hard copy reference materials (FM's, Reg's and TM's). There is a Unit deactivating on their return from Iraq and we hope to draw some NCO's from them. How am I to tell them they will be Trainers when they have nothing to train with to be proficient? So, another serious task for me is to gather as much as I can in training aids and publications.

I drill in Athens Georgia. Over the last month in civilian life I had worked 12 hour shifts and we were done with production early last week, giving me Friday off. So, I went to Athens the day before my weekend Drill. I like Athens. I stayed at the BQ at the Naval Supply School there in Athens. On the wall of my room was a memorial photo and narrative of the USS Thresher. It sucked to be them. I was walking down town Friday night and came across a shop, "Junkmans Daughters Brother". It's a freak supply shop or in my view for those young and young at heart. It had some T-shirts my Stepson would like to Lingerie I'd like to see some choice women in. Some Marines from the Naval Supply School were walking around in it. A girl reminded us several times..."Attention Junkmans Daughters Brothers shoppers..." as if it was K Mart that they would close in a matter of minutes. I had to find a Wal Mart for reasons that's none of your business and found myself in SUPER Wal Mart off of Epps Bridge Rd on the west side of town. Here came that same group of young Marines traipsing into Wal Mart. After talking with another NCO the next day he had seen the same Marines running back onto the Supply School grounds with minutes to spare before their 2300 hours curfew. There is so much entertainment in that town. To be them...Oh by the way, Franklin's Gun Shop is as cool as Junkmans Daughters Brother without the Bustiers and Go Go boots.

I posted The Hives because...I like The Hives.

Note: I edited this post from it's original state to clarify a couple of details. It ain't easy being your own editor.

"Cause I have done it before and I can do it some more"
The Appalachianist

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Blooming Appalachia

My Aunt tells me this is Pinkster Flower. It's near an old rail road bed of The Gloucester Lumber Company, now National Forest. I wonder what it's like up in there after last Sunday Nights wind.

I've been through some storms and wind on this Mountain. Last Sunday was one f the fiercest I'd seen. While I was in Iraq last April I'm told the wind ble constant for three days. From what I see here on this Mountain, Sunday Nights wind did more damage than those three days. The ind ravaged the leaves of a Maple Tree and they now hang there dead, A Chinese Chestnut lost every limb of it's top and three trees as big as my truck tires lay broken at the bottom. I know the winds hit 80 MPH.

A place I had hunted last fall had had a down burst from last April. Large trees, Oaks and Hemlocks lay in three different directions. They smashed down on the Ivey crumbling them up like blades of grass rolled into a ball.

This year everything is blooming but us. At the lower elevations white blooms hang from the Locust, the Iveys are putting their pink blooms out. every little flower showed it's colors. The Wild Azelias stand orange off in the deep woods and the Dog woods hang onto a few of their white blooms. Blossoms hang from the Dog Hobble. I appreciate it more than I did before.

It comes back every year, some years more than the others. But it comes back, no matter what happens. The Honey Bee's took off and left or just died. The Keepers brought more back and those flowers shine for them like they did for the others.

The Appalachianist

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Big Picture Post

(Jason Isbell wrote and performed this song while with the Drive By Truckers on The Dirty South)

This Christmas Tree field was tore up by rooting wild hogs during March. it looked as if some one had took a plow to the ground.

Don't laugh. It gets good mileage. This old truck sits off in in a seldom traveled part of the Pisgah National Forest north west of Rosman NC. Where this was taken was private land as late as the 50's I know. Still in some places discarded modern implements still lay about.

This old home site sets off in the same country as I spoke of above. If Uncle Sam was to say to me I could have 40 acres of my choosing for being a good fellar, I believe I'd pick this place. Outside of Hunting season a soul could sit naked (are all souls not naked?) on their porch and drink their coffee...Just don't spill it in your lap(or like Ed get it in your eyes). It's over an hours walk back into there.

The bank behind my house.

Sir Walter Squeaky, the Plott Hound of Love. He's a smart, fierce animal.

Sweet mannered Bell. She's half Walker, quarter Blue Tic, quarter Cur. She's yet to be proven on a Bear.

Wiggly Butt Walker Dog...3/4 Walker,1/4 Plott. She's hard headed. That orange is a bark collar. It keeps her pretty quiet. I've taken it off of her lately.

This is the mountain I spoke of to Sage in the comments of "Lonely Places". It's Toxaway Mountain, or Hog Back Mountain, it's eastern face and the land below it is Toxaway Estates, an "up scale community". In the mornings large window panes reflect the sun like specks of mica on the ground. A lake sets on the Toxaway River there below it. Early last century,in 1916, the dam bust in a hurricane. A large resort motel set there called The Toxaway Inn and it went into shambles after that. The lake was not rebuilt until about the late 60's (don't quote me on the years). Now it's a Country Club for millionaires. Once in a conversation of how the "up scale living" has altered the area my Ex Father In Law said to me once, "A man bought a 3 million dollar house in Toxaway and tore it down and put a 12 million dollar house on it. How can we (the locals) compete with people like that? We can't." I thought for a second and something about guerrilla warfare came to my mind, "No, but we can out wait them."

The Appalachianist

Thursday, May 01, 2008


This Post was spawned from a series of events and this Post on DNI (The comments meander nearly as much as they do here, Hmm).

I got this video e-mailed to me via Twistoli a week back. It’s originator made the claim that the explosion at the end was from U.S Counter Battery ( Indirect Fire).

 This video (open the attachment) was made by the bad guys! The shooter's
> friends are praising Allah as he is launching mortar shots at American
> troops.
> What you will see is the effect of U.S. mortar locator technology that
> can track the trajectory of a hostile round and then fire a retaliatory
> shot to precisely the spot from where the hostile shell was fired. The
> effects are usually final. It is claimed that tracking of the hostile
> mortar fire normally can be completed within 3 rounds.
> Count the number of mortar rounds the masked insurgent fires in the
*> video. It demonstrates exactly how effective our US Army Mortar-Locator
> technology is. Wow!

It’s not Counter Battery. For a good Battery (Artillery) or Mortar Section (Infantry) it takes 120 seconds to send a shot out. Considering all that is involved, that is good. That is why mortars and rockets come in in groups. In my first months on Taji we would get 57mm Rockets in groups of three and four. In the early days of the 06' Ramadan we took a heavy hit with 120mm Mortars. It was a few rounds in less than a minute. But, the big news story of the time was the hitting of the Munitions Bunker at Camp Falcon. Then 4th Infantry Division depended on Apache Attack Helicopters to counter the mortars and rockets. After the 1/82 FA (1st Cav) began doing Counter Battery with the M109 Palladin's (155mm Self Propelled Howitzer's)the incoming began to come in in ones and two's. The main thing is, with several 155mm Improved Conventional Munitions (ICM) in Effect, it was placing the insurgents off balance. It didn't stop them, and as time went, they became more innovative.

Taji was taking a series of hits from a 120mm crew. They were hard for the Artillerymen to nail. Once on Counter Battery an Apache observed the impacts of the 155 rounds so he flew over to investigate. The pilot observed a sedan speeding away and began to follow it. A mortar tube was thrown from the car and he lit it up. Talk about a Combined arms Team. However, that was not the last of the 120's.

As well, the insurgents in the video are firing from a populated area. The US does not fire into heavily populated areas...And they know that. That is one reason the IZ has been getting hit so much lately from Sadr City.

What I believe happens in the video is the result of a poorly set fuze or, just plain old ammunition. Twister thought it was a British 2 Inch Mortar, I think its a 40mm. Either are old. The smallest mortar in US Inventory is a 60mm. The insurgent is doing the quick aim, holding the tube at an angle that is just a guess (he may not have the bi pod and sighting device). He knows he doesn't have much time either. He's just getting into the general area of a target. When it comes to indirect fire, one side setting the other off balance is an accomplishment. If you suppress their action, then you have achieved something as apposed to doing nothing. Yet, the fire has to be effective. I personally watched the impact of rounds with great concern, and felt relief at others.

Truth be known most Artillerymen in Iraq are doing things other than Artillery. I spoke with one Sgt than ran a convoy through the Depot that was on his third combat tour, one in Afghanistan and then twice in Iraq. He had always been doing something other than firing the big guns. The 1/82nd FA was tasked as the Base Defense Operations Center (BDOC), their responsibility was the gates, which covered a great deal with the searching and badging of Local Nationals (LN's)as well as "the wire" and some internal issues. I remember a PFC that worked Lobo Gate telling me he was excited that he was going to the "Hot Guns". He was going to fire rounds, not guard gates. As the surge came on other units were able to donate less essential personell to help fill the different rolls and more guns were manned.

Some Artillery units had Area's of Responsibility's outside the wire, for example a section of greater Baghdad. 13B's were knocking down doors, a roll more so for the Infantry. In reality, they operate as pseudo MP forces.

I did see the first Excalibur Round fired in Iraq. It hit it's target twice that day within inches. This device has great potential.

As a note there was some interservice rivalry involved. From my understanding, the Army wanted Excalibur, but the Marines did not. Hearing that made my Marine Lt. mad. Neither of us could imagine why not. The day it was fired the Air Force missed the same target twice, once with a dud and the next a miss altogether. The FA guys roared.

Making stuff up and glorifying technology won't do any good. It's war, where the Butterfly effect is always in effect, and one day your winning and the next your losing. Artillery is not the "King of Battle", Chaos is. When you know that, and you can adapt and adapt quicker...The better your chances of winning.

As a further note, I come from the Infantry, not the Artillery. I believe in effective fire.

The Appalachianist