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When I’m accused of being a racist May 31, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in Current Events, History.
32 comments

I suppose I can feel ok withdrawing my support for you.

geoff articulates it well here, and I’d say that’s pretty much where I am over George W. Bush.  I wasn’t in love with the guy, and over the years have been at odds with his positions on restraining the growth of government, Harriet Myers, war miscalculations, and lately this complete “eff you” on immigration reform.  I’ve defended him from unfair attacks, and been accused of being just another Bush-bot.

Regarding those I defended him against, I learned a long time ago it really doesn’t matter that you were critical of anything at all.  Most leftys don’t care about the things I criticized, because they weren’t the “right” things, i.e. the things they believed I should have hit him over.  Whatever.  I’m not trying to persuade them.  This isn’t about them.

One criticism I resisted, and won’t anymore, is Bush’s tone deafness when it comes to certain issues.  He’s been called stubborn and I’m starting to think “yeah, it’s one thing to turn off your opposition’s ire, it’s another thing entirely to turn off the ire of your supporters”.  We saw some of it with the Harriet Miers thing, accusations of misogyny.  Still I’m somewhat surprised.

I’ve been disappointed that he didn’t use the bully pulpit to persuade people to the rightness of his cause more often than he ever did.  In some ways it reminded me of Jimmy “Rose Garden” Carter.  Step off the lawn, close the doors behind you, who needs to campaign when you’re the President?

I’m slowly coming to believe either Bush can’t use it effectively or doesn’t believe he should have to.  Either position could not be more wrong.

Well no more.  If that’s your take, fine.  I’m out.  Good luck with whatever else you have to do for the next year and a half.  You just kissed off most of those who would have supported you.

You know, it really doesn’t feel all that bad.  Not at all.

UPDATE: Somebody in the White House leaked their immigration bill FAQs to Frank J.

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Zen and the art of four vehicle maintenance. May 29, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in Current Events.
8 comments

I mentioned earlier over at IB we had rain and stuff.  And kids driving and stuff.  Two of which walked away from nasty accidents without a scratch.

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Memorial Day post eight – Congratulations Graduates May 27, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in Current Events, honor.
2 comments

For the past several year, the Army has made arrangements with local high schools to set up simulcasts so that family members in Iraq and Afghanistan can participate with the high school graduation ceremonies of loved ones back here near Ft. Hood.

I remember the first one I attended, the graduation of my oldest daughter, and seeing the soldiers who were deployed able to watch on the big screen, their child or sibling, walk across the stage and recieve their diploma.  In the early summer in Iraq, late at night, you could see the sweat pouring off of the soldiers.  And the smiles and pride were as big and wide as you would imagine. 

Very few dry eyes at that moment.

This year was no exception.  I am impressed, as I always am, at how the 1st and the 4th look after their soldier families.  So far away, so many concerns and worries, and still they go out of their way to connect them to the ones they love. 

This is a message from Major General Joseph F. Fil, Jr., Commanding Officer of the 1st Cavalry Division, to graduates here in Central Texas.  (sorry, scroll down and click on the image of General Fil). 

In it, he recounts the story of a hero, Lt. Col. (USA ret.) Bruce Crandall, whose story was told by Col. (USA ret.) Hal Moore and Joe Galloway in We Were Soldiers Once, and Young.  Recently Col. Crandall was honored for his heroism and sacrifice during the Battle of the Ia Drang.  A time when the men on the ground needed air support, ignoring the book, (then) Maj. Crandall flew 22 resupply and medical evacuation missions into a hot LZ.

This stubborn SOB, along with his wingman Capt. Ed Freeman (now Major, USA ret.), brought 70 wounded men back to aid.  Seventy.

While under intense enemy fire.

For his courage and his determination, in the face of strong enemy opposition and at risk to himself, Col. Crandall was awarded the Medal of Honor.  It should have happened a long time ago, but at the time, the commander of the air operations group felt that honors should be reserved for the men on the ground.

He was wrong, and I’m glad to see that Col. Crandall was still here to receive the honor he so very much deserved.

God bless him, and God bless those who serve.

bruce-crandall.jpg

Memorial Day post seven – Those crazy squids pumpin it May 24, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in honor.
40 comments

BUMPED again, because I’ve been wondering how the Sun Kings have been doing.

God bless em, and keep em.

VAW – 116.

 The Sun Kings.

UPDATE: They cover Hey Ya at least as well as Linus and Lucy

Shake it like a Polaroid picture.

Memorial Day Post Six – 1st Lt. Phillip Neel May 24, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in honor.
7 comments

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The young platoon leader had sustained a serious leg wound about 10 minutes after midnight Easter Sunday but continued to give orders for his men to return fire from where he’d fallen.

Where do we find such men?

In this case, Fredericksburg Texas.  The home of Admiral Chester Nimitz.

phillip.jpg 

Phillip’s unit, the 3rd Battalion, 3rd of the 8th, part of the 1st Cavalry Division, became engaged in a fight north of Baghdad on Easter Sunday.  He was mortally wounded in that struggle.  And yet he commanded his troops to fight.  Although mortally wounded, he ordered men under his command to return fire from their position.

He had recently come back from a brief trip home to visit his loved ones.

Neel had recently returned home to Fredericksburg while on a two-week leave from his duty station at Baquba, Iraq, to join his brothers and sisters in a surprise spring break visit for their parents who have lived in Fredericksburg since moving here in 1996 from Ft. Leavenworth, KS, after his father retired as a lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Army.

Phillip enlisted in the Army after he graduated in 1998.  He went to Kosovo, having qualified as a paratrooper.  But later he decided to come back and attend and study at West Point. 

He earned his commission in May, 2 years ago.
 

In addition to his parents, Neel is survived by a grandmother, Katherine (Mrs. Zeke) Lewis of Fredericksburg, along with five brothers and sisters.

My heart goes out to each and every one of them.  God grant you peace, and comfort, in your pain and loss.

UPDATE:  I neglected to note his honors.

The Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal with Bronze Star, Global War on Terrorism (Service) Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Expert Infantryman Badge, the Parachute Badge and the Italian Parachutist badge.

He’ll be awarded the CIB too, and I daresay there is one making its way through the chain of command for valor.

RIP Phillip.

A Memorial Day time out May 24, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in drama, guitarsrockandroll, Work and Life and Love.
28 comments

Mostly cause I need a break.  It’s been a tough week.

It wasn’t all bad though.

My newest baby arrived this week, from the communist bastards exquisite luthiers of the Carvin custom shop in Cah-leefor-nee=ya-ay.

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I might have been a little frustrated about the length of time on this build.  But the product was worth the wait.

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A war correspondent – Memorial Day Post Five May 23, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in honor.
7 comments

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Writes what is arguably his greatest post.

He wrote about the death of a young captain, Henry T. Waskow of Belton Texas.  A town just a couple of miles from me.

Here’s what he opened with.

In this war I have known a lot of officers who were loved and respected by the soldiers under them. But never have I crossed the trail of any man as beloved as Capt. Henry T. Waskow, of Belton, Texas.

What follows is one of the most touching stories I have ever read.

Here is another haunting phrase:

You feel small in the presence of the dead men, and ashamed at being alive, and you don’t ask silly questions.

pyle47.jpg

Ernie Pyle was killed by a Japanese sniper near the end of the war, on an island close to Okinawa.  He was 44 years old.  And he was loved and admired by thousands of GIs and their families, who considered him one of their own.

It was a goddamn shame.

Memorial Day Post Day Four May 22, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in honor.
12 comments

Dad enlisted in the Navy after graduating from Albany High School, on June 27, 1950.  Two baseball friends, twin brothers, Walt and Wynn Strickland, enlisted with him. 

Dad’s service number was 3282474 (he can recite it still, but you have to give him a moment).

Wynn’s was 3282475.

Wynn passed away in 2004.

Dad went to San Diego, and was enrolled in sonar school.  He looked like this.

 dad21950005c.jpg

Big eared goober on the left.

While in SD, an officer heard about his high school baseball ability.  He asked dad if he’d like to go to Hawaii to play football (go along with this boy, I’ll get you on a ball team).

My dad, exhibiting what generations of men in my family have demonstrated as judgement, said “oh hell yeah”.

And off he went.  Two stripes on his sleeve.

The previous post, the 331 boat, was the 3rd sub he shipped out on.  This was the first, the 524 boat, the USS Pickerel.  Made famous by this picture.

pickerel-524-surface-test.jpg

An emergency surface test.  Surfacing is important to a submarine, dad said with a straight face.  Dad said this photo was a publicity shot, they were surrounded by ships and photographers who were not barfing or holding onto something.

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Boats that served in Korea have kind of hidden service records.  Kind of meaning a lot.

The USS Perch has an interesting story, early war.  Pickerel’s is not known, but they received the same Submarine Combat Insignia as the Perch SSP 313.

The other boat dad shipped on was the 415 boat, the Stickleback.

 ss-415_stickleback.gif

But the last one he served on, the Bugara, was the one he was wounded on.

Dad joined the Navy because he didn’t want to be drafted into the Army.  He was given a chance to do something he loved doing, playing baseball.  In Hawaii.  How cool is that?

As it turned out, not as cool as you’d think.

Memorial Day Post Day Three May 21, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in honor.
3 comments

331 Boat.  The Bugara.

the-bugara.jpg

One of four subs my dad shipped out on.

This week I’m going to talk to him again about his sea service.  I already know about his baseball service.  He joined the Navy a few weeks after he graduated from Albany High School in Georgia.  He was a ballplayer.

Later on he became a sonar operator.

Later he shipped out from Hawaii.

Memorial Day Post Two May 20, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in honor.
3 comments

Caring for a badly hurt boy.

may065.jpg

Miami native Maj. Joseph Johnson, the brigade surgeon with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, stabilizes an Iraqi boy who came in with second-degree burns to his face, shoulders and chest from an accident involving hot water as his mother watches by his bedside at the Muleskinner Clinic at Camp Taji, Iraq, May 9. The mother asked for help from Soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, who were conducting operations in her neighborhood.  (U.S. Army photo)