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Blogger Checks In From Afghanistan

AW1 Tim’s friend and fellow veteran, TSO, also known as Mark Seavey, checks in with his first official post from Afghanistan. Mark is currently embedded Able Company, 3-66th Infantry. Mark is many things, Veteran, blogger, Pats fan, devoted husband, and runs the American Legion’s official blog: The Burn Pit.

His intro pieces, describing his journey to Afghanistan are:

“Back To Afghanistan, Waiting On The Bird”

“Welcome To Kandahar, Now Get In The Bomb Shelter”


“Gym, Chow, Laundry. Repeat X 270 Days.”


His first official embed piece is posted over to “This Ain’t Hell” another great blog, btw,  and may be read in full there. Here’s the opening and I encourage you to visit TAH and give it a read.  I’ll continue to post Mark’s other articles as they become available.

  “Outside The Wire, Fun With The ANA”

Even before I made it out here (FOB Andar) I had heard an NCO tell me how lucky I was to get embedded with Able Co, 3-66.  “Awesome unit, awesome leadership”, he said.  “They love the CO, but they worship the 1SG, dude is a stud.”  That was my first impression when I met the leadership as well, but I decided to ask one of the NCO’s I was out with yesterday.  He sort of smiled, “Well, that’s half right, we pretty much worship the CO too.”

Getting here wasn’t easy, and it was rife with anxiety.  KAF-BAF-Sharana-Andar is a pain in the ass travel scenario.  At one point a AF person told me my ticket would cost $122.  I was somewhat stunned, since the orders just said I was to have access to anything I needed, but I said “ok, how can I pay.”  What followed was a surreal experience as they explained that I couldn’t pay cash, couldn’t pay credit card, couldn’t be billed for it.  Then the AF female and a KBR person just started screaming at each other, and the loadmaster that was for my bird whispered to me, “We’ll get you on the bird man, don’t worry about this horse[expletive.]“  At the next stop, an Army female and a KBR guy also got into it over who had priority for weighing folks on the one scale they had.

So by the time I made it here, I was pretty tight and apprehensive all around.  Every unit I’ve been in has had some defect.  Whether it is the leadership being not up to par, or the troops not getting along, there’s always s0mething.  Here, not so much.  Everybody gets along great, and they play jokes on each other constantly.  And the PLs and PSGs all seem top notch, none more so than the Platoon I went out with yesterday.

Go and read The Rest. It’s good to see real MilBlogging like it used to be.

Our Intrepid Reporter




Milton Eugene Carlisle: An American Sailor

Milton Eugene Carlisle passed away on the 20th of April, 2012 after a long and productive life. I never met the man, but I’ve known many like him. He was a member of that “Greatest Generation” of Americans, those who set aside their lives to help win WWII, and keep our nation, and the world, from being plunged into darkness.

Seaman Carlisle served as a Captain’s Orderly aboard USS Kwajalein, CVE-98, an escort carrier.  His wasn’t a fancy job, nor particularly dangerous, though there are many ways to be injured or killed aboard any vessel.  He ran messages, helped with paperwork, and did any one of a number of things that needed to be done in order for the Captain & his staff to function. It was an important job, just as every job in the military is important, and THAT is what should be remembered. His country needed young men, he saw where his duty lay, and he raised his hand and took the oath. That set him apart, and made him someone special.

After the war, Milton moved to Cache Valley, Utah, and started from scratch to build a new life.  I also grew up in Cache Valley, and knew many, many men like him. Noble in their straightforward way, their willingness to do whatever was needed in order to put a roof over his family’s head, food on their table, and to increase his family’s prosperity.

Milton represents the kind of man that Americans used to be, the kind found everywhere. He didn’t need welfare. He was willing to work for what he had, to give a day’s honest work for a day’s honest pay, and he succeeded.  He started out doing this and that, including driving an ice truck.  But when he saw an opportunity, he took it. From his obituary:

He moved to Logan, Utah, in 1959 when natural gas was brought to Cache Valley. …… He worked for Mountain Fuel Supply Company, currently known as Questar Gas Company, for 43 years. He started out as a ditch digger and worked his way up to be the service manager of the Northern Division.

Imagine how many of today’s youth would be willing to dig ditches laying pipe. They’d rather wait for “something better” to come along, and draw welfare while doing it.  But Milton worked with his hands, and through the years steadily advanced from one of the pipe crew to management. He climbed that ladder of success, and was rewarded for his hard work. But there was more to him than that.

 He was an avid fisherman, hunter, square dancer, boater, bowler, gardener and jack of all trades. His mother always said, “Gene can do anything.”
He served as president of the Cache Valley Boat Club. He was a varsity Scout leader, in the Elder’s Quorum presidency, Sunday School presidency, stake building security supervisor, assistant librarian, Sunday School teacher, and Priests Quorum advisor in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. …….  He will be widely remembered as an excellent pickle maker, apple cider maker and right-hand helper to his wife’s canning. With a pocket knife, shovel or tractor, there wasn’t anything that he couldn’t do.

A full life, lived in a wonderful area of the country, and a productive life.  I wish I could have met him, but I knew so many just like him. Men whose youth was set aside to risk their lives in the crucible of war. Men who, having seen the worst of humanity, came home to make a better life for themselves and those around them. They used their skills and self-discipline to work hard and become successful, to be a PART of society, and not dependent on it. They had eachother, and that was enough. There is much we can learn from them and their lives, so much worth emulating. We don’t need a large, intrusive government to help us. All we need is ourselves. Faith in eachother, faith in ourselves, and faith in God.

Milton’s obituary may be read here.

More on USS Kwajalein here:

Fair Winds, and Following Seas, Shipmate.

Milton Eugene Carlisle



Navy Airdales: Yeah, We’re Lucky Stiffs

Here’s a great old commercial. I haven’t a clue when it was made, but it’s pretty doggone good. It certainly captures the beau ideal that we of the Navy’s Aviation side of the family see ourselves as filling.

BTW: For a great and insightful look at what life was like on liberty for my fellow blueshirts,  There’s a wonderful article from The Goat Locker entitled “Airdale Liberty Bars“.  If you have a few moments, it’s a good read and good gouge. That was my youth.

H/T to my friend Thomas Cheever for the link.


April 18, 1942. A Quiet Hero

Sometimes, you are blessed to meet someone whom you recognize as being important, but the depth of that importance doesn’t hit you until later in life. Such was my case with Colonel Chase Jay Nielsen.  Colonel Nielsen came to speak to us when I was in elementary school. He’d recently retired from the Air Force and we were all amazed at getting to talk to a real-life Air Force Colonel.

I don’t remember exactly what he spoke of, but it included bombing Japan. At that time, the war had been over for only 20 years, and many of the veterans still had vivid recollections.  He told us that he had been captured and spent time as a POW in Japan, rescued at the end of the war, then resuming his career until retiring in 1961.

But, he was from my hometown of Hyrum, Utah, and also went to Utah State University, where I would later go.  In Junior High School, he came back and talked to us again and it was there that I finally understood who he was. Then Captain Nielsen had been the navigator aboard B-25 #6 on Doolittle’s Raid.  It made an impact upon me because I had recently seen the movie “30 Seconds Over Tokyo” and also had a copy of the book.  A while later, I noticed that my copy of the book was missing from my bookshelf. My dad said he’d borrowed it, so I didn’t think anything of it. Turns out he’d taken it over to the Legion Post in Salt Lake City when Colonel Nielsen was speaking there, and asked him to sign it for me. It’s one of my treasured possessions now.

Later on I was fortunate to actually meet and talk with the Colonel when back home on leave from the Navy. He was still working as, I believe, a defense contractor.

Still, you just never know who you might meet in your life, what individuals you pass along the road each of you are taking. That’s why it’s important to stop and chat every now and then, to say hello and maybe share a cup of coffee. These heroes, these legends, walk among us every day, quietly getting on with their lives. They aren’t interested in the limelight, but it’s always a good thing to just say a simple “thank you”, because they deserve our thanks, and because they will be gone too soon.

Today is the 70th anniversary of that great raid. If you have the chance, take a moment to thank God for giving us such men.

More on Colonel Nielsen may be found here and his obituary here.

April 1942: Lt. Chase J. Nielsen (left) stands with his fellow crewmen before the famed Doolittle Raid mission April 18, 1942. As part of Crew No. 6, 95th Bombardment Squadron, they flew Plane #40-2298 to bomb targets in Tokyo. (Left to right) Lt. Chase J. Nielsen (navigator), Lt. Dean E. Hallmark (pilot), Sgt. Donald E. Fitzmaurice (engineer-gunner), Lt. Robert J. Meder (co-pilot), Sgt. William J Dieter (bombardier). (U.S. Air Force photo)


Patriots Day

Elections have consequences.  Through a crisp and heavy April night and into the early dawn, men from the surrounding communities descended upon Lexington green and Concord bridge to risk their very lives for their, and eventually our, liberty. They “fired the shot heard round the world” and several gave their tomorrow for our today. We must NOT let those liberties be taken from us. They and others like them down to today have fought, and bled, and died so that we might enjoy our God-given rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Others will comment more eloquently than I about Patriot’s Day. I will only add to the warning that we are fast approaching the same situation as these brave Patriots faced: An aristocracy intending to crush our liberty under an iron heel of oppressive taxation and onerous laws and regulation. Remember November.  I’ll simply leave you all with this, which used to be required reading in our schools.

Concord Hymn


Ralph Waldo Emerson

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those spirits dare,
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.


Egypt: When the Money and Food Run Out

Asia Times has a warning article online today that ought to be read by anyone with a passing interest in current events. It details what is likely to happen when Egypt’s money and food run out, something that is likely to happen sooner rather than later. Hoarding of both hard currency and consumables has already begun and it’s only going to get worse.

Muslim Brotherhood chooses chaos
By Spengler

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood signaled its intent on Sunday to push the country into economic chaos. With liquid foreign exchange reserves barely equal to two months’ imports and panic spreading through the Egyptian economy, the Brotherhood’s presidential candidate Khairat al-Shater warned that it would block a US$3 billion emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) unless the military government ceded power.

The real problem that few want to talk about is this: When the food and currency begin to run out, and that will happen sooner rather than later, the Muslim brotherhood won’t be seeking to turn it’s anger towards the other Arab nations. they will do what happened in Germany and turn the blame onto the Jews.  Attention will turn toward Israel as a way to funnel the anger away from the authorities and help them entrench themselves in power.

It’s not like they haven’t already started down that path. Egyptian authorities and especially the MB have begun to call into question whether Egypt should still respect the 1973 treaty with Israel.

As the article continues:

American analysts mistook the protestors of Tahrir Square for revolutionaries. The Muslim Brotherhood now reveals itself to be a revolutionary organization on the Leninist or Nazi model.

And which should be obvious to anyone who has ever watched the History Channel:

As a revolutionary organization that rose under the influence of Nazi Germany’s wartime foreign ministry, the Brotherhood has no qualms about exacerbating Egypt’s economic misery if it furthers its agenda. Paul Berman’s 2010 book The Flight of the Intellectuals summarized exhaustive academic research into wartime archives showing that the Brotherhood was shaped by Nazi ideology. Berman’s report evoked outrage, but has stood up well to its critics.

A Muslim Brotherhood consolidation of power on the back of devaluation and food shortages using techniques of the Bolsheviks in 1917 or the Nazis in 1933 seems the most likely outcome. There seems to be no plan to avert it, for the power of the military will run out along with the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

But let’s also not forget that another underlying cause for this instability in Egypt’s economy is the call by radical clerics to remake the entire Egyptian tourist trade. These clerics have called for an end to alcohol, to making beaches segregated by gender, to covering up if not destroying all the great monuments and historical sites to prevent the sight of “paganism” and “idolatry”, etc. Egypt’s economy depends greatly upon the tourist trade, and already many hotels and airlines are showing decreasing numbers of bookings due to fear and unease.

Our president and his enablers should be so very proud of themselves. Even MSNBC agrees:

After more than two weeks of anti-regime protests in Egypt that had sometimes caught the United States off balance, President Obama Friday hailed the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, saying “the people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard, and Egypt will never be the same.”

Mubarak’s exit came as welcome news after days of uncertainty. The event that Obama and administration officials had been hoping for did finally happen Friday, a day later than some had expected.

Obama said Friday “this is not the end of Egypt’s transition — it’s the beginning. I’m sure there will be difficult days ahead and many questions remain unanswered.”

But he added he had confidence that the Egyptian people “can find the answers and do so peacefully.”

He compared the change of power in Cairo to the fall of the Berlin Wall and quoted Martin Luther King’s statement that “there’s something in the soul that cries out for freedom.”

Elections have consequences. Remember November.

For more on the history of the Muslim Brotherhood, see here:  Tell Children The Truth

Amin Al-Husseini, Grand Mufti and Head of the Muslim brotherhood during WWII, spends the war in Germany at Hitler’s side. He recruits Muslim Nazi troops and becomes heavily involved in the genocide of Jews, Gypsies and Serbs.
Husseini refers to Nazi Muslim troops as “the Cream of Islam”.


Caring For Our Own

There’s an excellent post over to “This Aint Hell”  today.  Jonn Lilyea writes:

In Riverside California, the four years old group, Veterans Without Family, has honored 1500 veterans who have died and have been buried in the Riverside National Cemetery. Those veterans had no family to claim their mortal coils, so the organization fills that void…..

The original story was presented by the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin which writes:

Veterans Without Family founder Doyle Tolbert realized the need when he was an investigator for the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office and noticed that many veterans whose bodies were left unclaimed went without a proper burial.

On a weekly basis, veterans were buried without a song or a prayer.

“Before 2008, veterans who have no family were given no military honors,” Tolbert said. “They were given a direct burial, which is essentially a truck backing up and putting the body in a hole.”

This is another excellent example of veterans taking care of their own. It’s nice to think that the  Dept. Of Veterans Affairs would take care of us, but we’ve all seen the dangers and frustrations of depending upon them to do the right thing on their own.  Rather, we should make an inquiry with our local Cemetery Department, or funeral home(s), etc, and see what their own procedures are for internment of the remains veterans with no relatives to claim them. I know I’ll be looking in to that this coming week.