Sunday, August 30, 2009

Maggie Meets The MCPON....

...and his Hooligan too!

So Thursday while I was down the Navy Yard to hear CAPT Hudner, USN (ret), MOH recipient speak to the CPO Selects, I heard some news......
CAPT Hudner was a few minutes late and to fill the time the CPO Selects were asked if they were looking forward to meeting the MCPON.

Full stop! The MCPON is coming? Here? LOL I turned to the mentor Chief beside me "The MCPON is coming here? I've got to get invited to that!"

So when Sr. Chief Twiford came over to CAPT Hudner & myself while the CPO Selects were taking pictures, I asked "Where are you having me stand later so I am in a spot where I can shake the MCPON's hand?" LOL, he took it right in stride and told me that if I was at the gate at 1530, he would see to it. Sr. Chief Twiford rocks! He wasn't sure I'd be able to be in the "All Hands". I assured the Senior Chief that I would bring a book and he could stick me in a corner. I just wanted a chance to say hi.

So there I was at the gate at 1531 (ok, not so prompt). I walked through & I was all "Yellow M&M" as Jennifer likes to say and I was not paying attention. There was a Chief standing there watching me. "Are you waiting for me?" He answered in the affirmative and said "He's speaking now" and off we ran. And by "ran", I mean he was walking and I was trotting behind him.

I knew where we were headed, I've just never gone there at top speed, lol. As we approached the door, MCPON West was standing with his back to us. He was addressing Old Ironsides' crew, answering a quession about the importance of learning and understanding their Naval Heritage. The MCPON told them to take time to fully contemplate what USS Constitution represents to the Navy and to our country.

I was directed to a spot near the galley entrance and settled into to listen. I could see one of the Chief's making his way around the edges of the room in my direction.....I had a good idea who it was. A few hours before I had received a message from MCPON West's PAO, Sr. Chief Houlihan had sent me a message, "Email me, I'm in your little town.". I sent back "No computer. Only cell phone. I know where you are. I'll see you at 1530" Really, you can't sneak up on the GODNAVBLOGSTRIFOR! Sr. Chief Twiford pointed to the galley and I followed with the Hooligan behind. It was great to meet him, we have been internet buddies for a while. He told me that I was free to listen in and blog whatever I wanted from the meeting. I know that's a big deal and I was honored.

Back in the meeting I listened to the give and take of the "All Hand's Call". The questions ran the gamut from training to uniforms to IAs to "Continuation Boards". Each Sailor was encouraged to not only give their name and rank, but their hometown. There was goodnatured banter about sports teams and loyalties. The MCPON is engaging and very personable, without seeming to glad-hand like a politician. His own stories were self-effacing and he easily related to his audience. But he was still clearly in charge. I know that's a line some can't straddle. The MCPON is definitely in a position of authority. I think some would seem aloof - I've never met a MCPON before, so that's a guess. Or some would try to be your friend. But in being your friend, that would cross the line wouldn't it? Instead, he comes across as their advocate. He is open but still "running this train" as SB says.

At the end of the Q&A, the MCPON wrapped it up by exhorting USS Constitution's crew to never forget that here they are the face of the Navy. I wholeheartedly second that. For many Americans and tourists, visiting this ship may be the only interaction that person ever has with the Navy. I know when I was young, Constitution was the Navy. Sure there was USS Cassin Young, but it was an also-ran (no offense, you know I love the TinCans!)

When I talk to some people I am astonished by what they don't know about the Navy or the military. But seriously, how would they know if they didn't have some connection (Thanks, Dad!)? For many that only connection will be a trip aboard Old Ironsides. Nevermind the historic significance of it. One of my favorite things about this command is their devotion to preserving and sharing the rich 200 year old history of this amazing ship. I have never met a crew member who stumbled, they all know their stuff.

Then it was time for some of the crew to be recognized. They came forward as called for a personal "Well Done" from the MCPON. He shook their hand, gave them his "coin" and high-fived them, each in turn. When I tell you these Sailors were beaming, it doesn't really cover it.

The MCPON wraps his meetings up with a little tradition - he leads the crew in a "Hooyah!" He told them it had to be loud, that he used it to energize himself.
090827-N-9818V-089 BOSTON (Aug. 27, 2009) Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West wraps up a all hands call with the crew of the USS Constitution with a MCPON "HOOYAH" before attending a heritage training formal dinner for the chief petty officer selects. Every year 300 chief petty officer selects are chosen to spend a week living and training aboard the USS Constitution. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer A. Villalovos/Released)
I was standing right behind the person taking this picture. He told them it had to be loud enough "For BostonMaggie to blog about it!" Here you are - IT WAS LOUD!

Did I mention my new bling?

That's right - the MCPON gave me his coin! I was floored! It wasn't just in passing, it was in front of the whole crew at the end of the "All Hands". It came with a hug. I told them that it wasn't supposed to work this way - I am supposed to do things for them! He said it was his way of thanking me for my support of the Navy and the Constitution.

Well, let me tell you - it has been and continues to be my pleasure!

090827-N-9818V-693 BOSTON (Aug. 27, 2009) Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West walks with Command Senior Chief David Twiford in front of the USS Constitution after attending a heritage training formal dinner aboard the USS Constitution for the chief petty officer selects. Every year 300 chief petty officer selects are chosen to spend a week living and training aboard the USS Constitution. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer A. Villalovos/Released)

Many thanks to MCPON West, his PAO Sr. Chief Bill Houlihan (my friend The Hooligan) you guys made my day. (You should fan the MCPON on Facebook, I did)

But especially thanks to Sr Chief Twiford. Without his good humor about me and my adventures, this wouldn't have been possible.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thursday In the Navy Yard

So Thursday was one of the days I picked to be at my parent's house (Grace, Jen & I are taking turns - it's on of the reasons they sprang my Dad early) because I knew that there was an event down the Navy Yard.

Last week CAPT Thomas Kelley, USN (ret), MOH recipient addressed the first group of CPO Selects. This week's group was to be addressed by CAPT Thomas Hudner, USN, (ret), MOH recipient.

So I was down there promptly at noon.....this promptness thing isn't so bad. And there were the USS Constitution Chief's getting ready.

The CPO Selects came over from the ship and assembled on the grass in front of the Massachusetts Korean War Memorial. CAPT Hudner arrived a few moments later. (This is a pic from 12/2008 because I don't have anything from Thursday)

He is very soft spoken and while his hosts tried to raise the volume on the sound system as much as they was diffucult to hear. If you could have seen us, there were 200 people (the Selects, the mentor Chiefs, the chiefs of the USS Constitution and myself) all listenig raptly. We were straining forward as one, trying not to miss a single word coming from this amazing man.

Like CAPT Kelley the week before, CAPT Hudner spoke of his actions that day in Korea as something he did without thinking more than a few seconds about the consequences. It needed to be done, so he did it -

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a pilot in Fighter Squadron 32, while attempting to rescue a squadron mate whose plane struck by antiaircraft fire and trailing smoke, was forced down behind enemy lines. Quickly maneuvering to circle the downed pilot and protect him from enemy troops infesting the area, Lt. (J.G.) Hudner risked his life to save the injured flier who was trapped alive in the burning wreckage. Fully aware of the extreme danger in landing on the rough mountainous terrain and the scant hope of escape or survival in subzero temperature, he put his plane down skillfully in a deliberate wheels-up landing in the presence of enemy troops. With his bare hands, he packed the fuselage with snow to keep the flames away from the pilot and struggled to pull him free.

Unsuccessful in this, he returned to his crashed aircraft and radioed other airborne planes, requesting that a helicopter be dispatched with an ax and fire extinguisher. He then remained on the spot despite the continuing danger from enemy action and, with the assistance of the rescue pilot, renewed a desperate but unavailing battle against time, cold, and flames. Lt. (J.G.) Hudner's exceptionally valiant action and selfless devotion to a shipmate sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
When that man talks - how can you help but be inspired. CAPT Hudner answered questions about the planes he flew, the Chiefs who influenced him and ships he served aboard.

I hope the CPO Selects left that meeting with a better understanding than ever before about caring for shipmates.

A Small Ridiculous Note

Do you know what the TTLB is? It's the eco system of blogs.

I am a "Flappy Bird" and I have moved from the 14,999th spot to the 12,045 spot.

Look out Daily Kos!

Friday, August 28, 2009

This Idea Rocks!

Hey! All you college football fans - pay attention!

Ohio State's Take the Field Tribute for Navy - 9.5.09

On Saturday, September 5th over 105,000 Buckeye fans can show our appreciation with a simple, yet powerful gesture...RISE TO YOUR FEET AND CHEER for the US Navy football team when they Take the Field just as loud as you do for Ohio State!

Ohio State's Take the Field Tribute for Navy on FaceBook

I really hope this idea catches on.

Pirates & Privateers with Dr. Michael Crawford

One of the things I missed during my Dad's stay in Mass General was a Bloggers Roundtable on Piracy. I just listened to the podcast

"DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable with senior U.S. Naval Historian Dr. Michael Crawford"
You can click on this link and listen yourself (note - for some reason there is no audio until the 2:24 mark)

A good recap of the call is here
"Navy Historian Traces Rise of Piracy"
By Judith Snyderman

You know, I'd like a Letter of Marque.....imagine what I could do with that! Although, the Navy pretty much gives me anything I want already, huh?

Didja Miss Me?

OK, quick recap - more later -

Saturday morning my first & favorite Sailor, my Dad, had a stroke. So I have been there around the clock it seems. First in the Mass General and then at my parents house.

My Dad is fine and later tonight....there will be lot's of blogging and twittering.

First I have to sort through 324 emails, lol.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Meeting CAPT Kelley

Ok, I've come down off my cloud a little bit, lol.

Wednesday night at the "USS Constitution Versus HMS Guerriere Battle Commemoration", I found out that CAPT Kelley, USN (ret), MOH recipient would be speaking to the CPO selects.

The Navy has a program where two groups of CPO Selects are TAD to USS Constitution for five days and four night. We are in the first week, there will be a different group next week. Each week has a different person come and speak to them. There are many other activities including service projects. It's called "Heritage Week".

Now, I have never met CAPT Kelley and the opportunity couldn't be passed up!

So, again, I got there a little early - I'm having a pretty good little streak of promptness (is that a word?). It was being held at the Massachusetts Korean War Memorial. I took some shaky video.
****Warning - You may need to take a dramamine to view my vids. They are bad. I have always had a tremor and it is much worse since chemo.*****

So after I make my vid, I hear the CPO Selects coming from the ship. I film that too, but it is much shakier and at the end when I realize that I am talking to CAPT all goes to hell. The girls in the office found it very amusing. They said I should post it just so you can "see what a dork" I am, to quote Nic.

So, once we are all settled CAPT Kelley begins addressing the CPO Selects. He talked, he took questions. He discussed his US Navy service and his service as the Commonwealth's Secretary of Veterans' Services. Not to be age-ist....but it's all pretty amazing for a guy who is 70.

His biggest point was that these CPO Selects should be focused on looking out for their Sailors in every way. That anyone can operate or repair machinery, etc. but it takes someone special to mentor, protect, educate the Sailors under their care. He also encouraged them to be brave in their dealing with their Sailors. Brave enough to tell someone when they are doing something wrong. It's tough to look someone in the eye and tell them they are not ready to move along.

Of course I was torn over his advice for the CPO Selects to avoid email, etc to contact their Sailors and opt instead for the face-to-face - (without social media, how can you know how important I am?).

CAPT Kelley also planted a seed for a future blog post. I'll have to do some research, but I hope to write a post about another Sailor that was involved in the same action for which he recieved his Medal of Honor.

Now.....the best was all great, but there was a highlight.

When CAPT Kelley was leaving he thanked the CPO Selects for their service and their time. He wished them luck and recognized the mentor Chiefs that were with them. And as he exited, he looked over and said "Bye Maggie!" My smile was HUGE

I emailed SB -
"It was incredible. Such a privilege. At first it was just PO2 Alexander and myself and he was off under a tree. When CAPT Kelley arrived and he struck up a converation with me before I knew who he was. then he introduced himself. We spoke for a few moments as the CPO Selects came over from the ship. He spoke and took questions. And when he left....he said "Good bye and thanks." and then he looked over at me and said "Bye, Maggie." Sorry, not you, AND Grace AND Jen working together could bring me down to earth!"

His reply -
"How far out the window did you have to keep your head driving home?"

Don't worry, I had borrowed Jen's's quite roomy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Can You Feel My Excited Buzzing From There?

Tonight's adventure - "USS Constitution Versus HMS Guerriere Battle Commemoration."

Today was fabulous!

OK, it was a little hot, I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn't in the Middle East as I was on this day in 2004.

But no matter, it was lovely next to USS Constitution this evening! I was a little late last year & determined to be on time this year. I was crazy early, but I was prepared, I brought a book. I didn't end up reading much, I watched the set up for the event. I was literally the first of the audience to arrive, lol.

At 6 pm, the official party was "piped aboard" figuratively speaking because we were on the pier adjacent the ship. Old Ironsides is still undergoing a massive renovation. They had the replica cannon and a podium for the XO, LCDR Savage to speak from, and seats for it was all good.

CDR Cooper explained the particular points that he felt made commemorating this battle worthwhile. I don't think many Americans realize the huge moral boost this victory gave America during the War of 1812. Our Navy was a fledgling enterprise, USS Constitution one of six frigates fighting the most powerful Navy on earth. Constitution's victory gave a hope to a badly demoralized country.

There were two guest speakers. The first was a gentleman from USS Constitution Museum, who recounted the history of the battle.

The second was a Mr. Jackson, who is a direct descendant of 1st LT William Sharp Bush's brother Lewis. LT Bush was the first USMC officer killed in combat. Mr. Jackson recounted the Bush family' s tradition of military service before and after his famous relative. Then, he spoke about a letter of condolence (an excerpt is here) written to Lewis Bush by Marine Lt. John Contee who fought alongside the gallant LT Bush. The letter has since been donated to the USS Constitution Museum. However, I was fascinated to learn that the speaker's father carried the letter in his back pocket during his time in the Navy in the Pacific theater during WWII. Imagine that.... I was going to ask him for details, but I never had the chance to catch up with him.

However, I did get to speak with CDR Cooper's wife and parents and mother-in-law who were all enjoying the evening.

So.......I know what you're saying.....that's nice... that's interesting.....good for the Navy. But what's the buzzing about?

Well, we were talking about the CPO Selects that are TAD on USS Constitution for Heritage Week.

And we talked about the stuff they are this service project.

And how there will be a guest speaker for them tomorrow.

And it's CAPT Thomas Kelley.


I get to go!!!!

And if that weren't enough....and it should be.....the Senior Chief came up to me and issued the invitation and said "What else can I do for you?" Yikes! I blanked. I said I should have made a list. Afterwards, CDR Cooper's mother told me I should have just said "What else do you have?" She's right.

So, tomorrow at noon, I will be at the Korean War Memorial (pic from Superdubey's Flikr) near Pier 4 and I get to meet CAPT Kelley.

You know, he's from Southie.

See? I told you I was buzzing.

Thanks CDR Cooper & Sr. Chief Twiford!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Meet Afghanistan's Biggest Blogger

From Foreign Policy Magazine by way of U.S. Forces - Afghanistan on Facebook (are you a fan?)

Meet Afghanistan's Biggest Blogger
How 26-year-old Nasim Fekrat helped create Afghanistan's blogosphere out of thin air.
At this point, the litany of contemporary Afghanistan's problems is well known. The country has few paved roads, let alone computers; its population is poor and illiterate; it is blighted with poverty, disease, and violence. For the past 30 years, Kabul has been under the control of radicals, strongmen, foreigners, or some combination of the three. Only rarely can the foreign reporters who describe these conditions leave the safe bubble of Kabul or the back seat of an armored vehicle. As a result, Afghanistan's people, culture, and traditions remain woefully unknown to the world, or reduced to crude stereotypes.

"People outside of Afghanistan have no idea what really exists here," a deep-voiced 26-year-old blogger named Nasim Fekrat says. "I was searching for Helmand [on the Internet] the other day. The only things that came up were about terrorists and suicide and bombs. But there is another side to Helmand, another face. There is agriculture, art, museums, culture."

On his groundbreaking blog, Afghan Lord, Fekrat hopes to tell that to the world. Writing in Farsi as well as self-taught English, he has taken it upon himself to show Afghanistan's softer, more genuine face. Until recently, he feels, this face was nearly impossible to find.

Read the rest here

Monday, August 17, 2009

USS Constitution Vs. HMS Guerriere Battle Commemoration

Ok, I know it's short notice - This Wednesday, August 19th from 6 to 7 pm, the officers and crew of USS Constitution will be hosting the 3rd annual commemoration of the battle that garnered the ship the nickname "Old Ironsides"

Straight from the press release

USS Constitution Ceremony to Honor 1812 Battle at Sea

CHARLESTOWN NAVY YARD, Mass. -- In the evening of August 19, Bostonians who are used to hearing the roar of USS Constitution's long gun only once at night - at sunset - will be treated to a second gunshot, leading off the third annual "USS Constitution Versus HMS Guerriere Battle Commemoration."

The event takes place on the pier adjacent the ship, and honors the legacy of the historic battle at sea fought off the coast of Nova Scotia on August 19, 1812.

During the short battle, in which the two frigates exchanged numerous broadsides and collided twice, USS Constitution earned her enduring nickname "Old Ironsides" after an anonymous sailor observed British cannonballs, fired from only 25 yards away, bouncing harmlessly off the hull of the ship.

"Huzzah!" he exclaimed, "Her sides are made of iron!"

"It was an important day for USS Constitution and the Navy. We are holding this commemoration to pay tribute to both ships and their crews who fought valiantly on that day," said Cmdr. Timothy M. Cooper, the 71st and current Commanding Officer of USS Constitution.

"This event was very successful last year, and we hope to see it continue to grow every year."

Beginning at 6 p.m., the "USS Constitution Versus HMS Guerriere Battle Commemoration" is free and everyone is welcome to attend. The ceremony includes boarding pike and small-arms drills demonstrated by crewmembers of Old Ironsides.

This event is held in conjunction with the USS Constitution Museum's "Victory Day," which will be held at the museum in Charlestown Navy Yard Aug. 22, from 11 - 4 p.m. There will be family-friendly hands-on activities for all ages, including crafts and maritime-oriented demonstrations.

In addition, during the dates of August 18 through August 28, USS Constitution is scheduled for our annual Chief Petty Officer Heritage Weeks, and will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for free, public guided tours that include descriptions of Old Ironsides' victory over HMS Guerriere.

To learn more about USS Constitution, visit

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jared C. Monti Scholarship Fund

This, my friends, is a two-fer -

First - We are given the chance to honor Staff Sergeant Jared C. Monti, U.S. Army. Go here and read Bruce's "Someone you should know".

But we also get to come together across party lines and work together. I think that feels really good in the middle of all the partisan attacks lately. We're going to put aside differences and come together for a good cause.

Join us supporting the Jared C. Monti Scholarship Fund
From Kevin
Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti of Raynham, MA was killed in action on June 21st, 2006, while deployed with the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan. On July 24, 2009 Jared was posthumously awarded the highest honor our country has to give, the Medal of Honor. What, exactly, did Jared do to deserve such an honor?

At a time when partisan bickering over healthcare reform is at a fever pitch, Pundit Review and Massachusetts leading liberal blog Blue Mass Group are putting politics aside to try to raise money for to support Jared’s legacy and Scholarship Fund. Jared fought and died for all Americans, and supporting his scholarship fund seems like the least we can do in return.

Won’t you join us, by contributing and spreading the word through your blog and social network? We invite any other bloggers who would like to to join us to please do so. Just send me a note at punditreview at hotmail dot com or @punditreview on Twitter. We’ll update them with your logo as soon as possible.

So go read Kevin's post. It has the Paypal link, and mailing info.

And Blue Mass Group.

And Solomonia.

And Hub Politics.

And Jack Army.

And Universal Hub.

And JBlog Central.

And the Daily Danet.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Some People Are A Little Taken With Themselves

LOL! Not me! (This time anyway.)

I got a forwarded email today announcing a new defense blog. I am not naming the new blog on purpose because I don't believe in rewarding rude behavior.

"We all recognize what the main problem is with blogs. The barriers to entry are so low that almost anyone with a laptop can start one, and it's hard to sort out the good ones from tendentious nonsense. For every interesting, competent effort like DoD Buzz, there are dozens of ill-mannered rants masquerading as insight. To say that blogs have lowered the standards of public discourse on policy matters is an under-statement -- there are no standards. Anybody can say anything, with extra points for verbosity."

Well, speaking on behalf "tendentious nonsense" blogs....pardon me?

Why would you write such a belligerent announcement? It's like reading a birth announcement "We've seen your ugly, stupid babies and it seems that anyone with functioning genitals can procreate. We've decided to show you polluters of the gene pool how it should be done."

Their blog plan?

"We want *unnamed blog* to be an island of sanity in the chaos of the Worldwide Web."

because -

"It is a defense blog. Yes, yes, I know -- there are already hundreds of defense blogs, and many of them are pretty awful. But that's why we launched our own blog..."

Perhaps, my dear, you should start out by studying the concept of "social media". No purpose is served by poking everyone else in the eye with a stick.

But you did do a good job with the disclaimer "The blog has actually been up and running for over two weeks, and we are still tweaking features such as how the postings display and are written"

Yes....I went over and.... *yawn*.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Line Of The Week

Time to vote

First up - Jennifer

On our way to New Hampshire Saturday morning we were listening to talk radio and discussing local politics. The subject of Gov. Patrick's upcoming hip replacement surgery came up. It was revealed that his hip pain stems in part from an old injury he received while helping with a UN project in Darfur. My point being that I see Gov Patrick as being a guy who wants to give away my money but not his.....but in this instance, he's walked the walk.

The mention of Darfur sends Jen off on one of her rants that makes me wish I had a tape recorder handy. "Darfur! Always Darfur! What about the rest of Africa? Don't those Ethiopians still need a rice cake? Why is it always Darfur? What's so special about that one place? Darfur! Dar-six! Dar-eight! What does it matter they are all Dar-dead!"

When she does this to me I am always laughing so hard I can't defend my point.

Our next entry comes from SouthieBoy -

SB went dark a little bit ago and surfaced last night. I was sitting next to Jen when he called. He asked where I was and then asked me to hand the phone over to Jen. She told him the trials and travails she and Grace had endured coping with my giant ego all weekend. Once I got the phone back - it took two tries - I headed up the hill to my own house. As frequent readers know, Jen & SB have the quite the little mutual admiration society. They conspire against me constantly. Some nonsense about keeping ego in check.

SB asked what I had been up!
I told him about calling into Pundit Review Radio
I told him about calling into Beth Wilson's radio show "Homefront in Focus" and speaking with the MCPON
I told him I was at 900 followers on Twitter - that one gets a big eye roll from Jen & Grace
I told him that the Navy came to Boston to visit me.......ok, that's a mad exaggeration.
I told him about my new COIN!!!

Finally there was a sigh and I could hear the swig of beer happening on the other end of the line.........

"Can we conference Jennifer in on this call?"

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I Live To Serve!

First, go visit the TankerBabe. She has requested the assistance of yours truly and I am happy to help.

It's cute, it's fun.

Then go read the comments at BlackFive, where BlackFive actual linked.

I am more evil than I ever hoped.

Caution - viewing the picture I linked in BlackFive's comments may cause nausea, anxiety, Tourette's, depression, and suicidal tendencies.

Princess Crabby's Grand Vizier Returns!

Home: Mission Accomplished…

Welcome home baby!


And someone better figure out a way to say something.


*crossing my arms*

OK, well this post was aimed at the favorite Naval Consort. If he was online I wanted him to remember that it is an anniversary of sorts. But he is actually doing serious Navy stuff. I posted it fully realizing that his seeing it in real time was a long shot.

But it is my job to be unreasonable and demanding.

However, thanks for playing our game....some really interesting answers.

SJS gets the prize.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

A Roller Coaster Day

I drove into downtown Boston Thursday morning to meet @FlyNavy for coffee. Actually I had tea and his name is CDR Charlie Brown.

What a nice guy!

I know more about the Navy and public affairs than I did before. I had this idea that it was a single top down operation. Also, I was under the impression that every ship had a dedicated PAO. Of course, I also thought that the mission of all Public Affairs Officers was to amuse and inform me.

CDR Brown explained that I am not the center of the universe......but it came with a present!
I was given Vice Admiral Thomas J. Kilcline, U.S. Navy, Commander, Naval Air Forces coin. I've talked about these coins in the past. I have some from SB, I have one from Soldier's Angels, I have one from VADM McCoy. I have them from CDR Junge and CDR Bullard. They are marvelous gestures of friendship and appreciation.

So thank you Admiral for this gesture of appreciation. I know @Flynavy & @ NavyNews had to explain who I was. But if after their explanation you felt I was deserving of this, I am moved.

I hope CDR Brown enjoyed Boston as much as I enjoyed meeting him!

So then when I got to the car, I was in such a good mood, I answered the phone without thinking or looking. Dr. Miller's office.....busted. I've been ducking them. So, I talked to them for a bit. But thet didn't get me to come back in - vive le resistance! LOL

So CDR Brown was a peak......Dr. Miller's office was a nadir.....but all good roller coasters take you back up. I stopped at my parent's and there was a bag that my cousin Chrissie had dropped off.....more presents! This time from the Navy's Experimental Diving Unit. My cousin had visited there and they gave her two t-shirts and a sweatshirt for me!

So I missed most of the Twitter denial of service attack. But someone out there was nice enough to say that entertaining me on is considered fun & rewarding.... Dr. Who?

Thank you CDR Brown.........thank you VADM Kilcline.....thank you @_NEDU_ .... thank you Twitter!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

From @SluBlog

These two posters are from @SluBlog on Twitter & on SluBlog. They are in reaction to the White House efforts to frighten Americans opposed to Obama's plans.
Dear Robert Gibbs, President Obama, and other DNC operatives - I'm not afraid. Report me. I could give a shit buddy.
The White House says they want to fight a "whisper campaign".
I'm not whispering.

Navy Leads The Way

U.S. Navy Hospitalman 3rd Class Simon Trujillo runs for cover as a UH1H helicopter prepares to take off during the air evacuation of an Afghan boy in the Nawa district of the Helmand Province of Afghanistan July 30, 2009. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Artur Shvartsberg/Released)

Credit Where Credit is Due - BZ Bill Clinton!

Betcha nevah thought you'd see that here!

I can't imagine what it's like to be held captive by that loon Kim Jong Il, facing prison time.

I can't imagine what it's like to know that only one man can get you out.

I can't imagine what it's like to walk into a room and see that man.

Bill Clinton was that man. He didn't want to be there - it's clear from the look of absolute distaste on his face. He could have said no, it was risky. After all, he's not running for anything ever again. Plus it's true, Kim Jong Il could could have kept him or killed him.

But he went. He totally stepped up to the plate and delivered.
"Bill Clinton meets with NKorean leader Kim Jong Il"

As a fellow American I am proud and grateful.

Defining The Rotation

From a chain of emails

The subject of the Rotation came up & one emailer wrote -

"Mathematically, a rotation is a rigid body movement which, unlike a translation, keeps a point fixed."

And the reply came back -

Rotation, in the Maggie sense, is the semi-random orbital motion described by a constantly-changing number of suitors around a continuously-moving central point (aka, "Maggie"), interrupted by the occasional descent of one of the orbiting suitors to attend the central point on a temporary basis until drained and ejected back into the orbiting swarm to undergo rejuvenation/recuperation. Not unlike a cloth belt of 7.62mm in a Moebius strip configuration, passing sequentially from gun through reloading point and back.

Mmmmmm, I love it!

The two emailers may come out and identify themselves if they wish.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Happy Birthday to the United States Coast Guard

The Armed Forces Military Museum to celebrate Coast Guard's 219th birthday

Go to The Coast Guard Compass and leave a birthday greeting.

Read greetings from USCG's sister services at the Commandant's Corner.
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Shawn Beaty looks for survivors in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, La., Aug. 30, 2005. Beaty, of Long Island, N.Y., is a member of a Coast Guard HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter rescue crew sent from Clearwater, Fla., to assist in search and rescue efforts. Defense Dept. photo by U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class NyxoLyno Cangemi

Monday, August 03, 2009

Coupla Things

First - Boston is such a beautiful city. I was coming back from my sister's. My nieces took me to see "My Sister's Keeper". Yeah, this is the movie you take the cancer victim to. LOL I said that to them & for half a second they looked stricken and then we all disolved into laughter.

Anyway, I came south on the Tobin to the most breathtaking vista. The Bunker Hill Monument on my right, St. Francis further right. USS Constitution on my left, the new Boston Garden beyond. The city spread out before me like a twinkling jewel.
Next - Route 3 - driving south - which lane do you belong in?

If you are "traveling" then you should be in the center when there are 4 lanes or the right hand lane when there are 2 lanes. When you are "passing" you should be on the left.

Or put another way, if you are not the fastest moving vehicle, you should not be in the left hand lane. The left hand lane is not the "I'm headed south and I am traveling fast enough" lane. It's the "passing " lane. If someone wishes to "pass" you - LET THEM. You are not the gate keeper. You are not in charge of deciding how fast is not fast enough.

Sometimes I drive fast. Sometimes I drive slow. But no one ever, ever has to pass me on the right.

If someone *can* pass you on the right - and I don't care if think they *should* - but if someone *can pass you on the right, you are in the WRONG lane.

There, that ends Princess Crabby's public service announcement.

Up The Irish! BZ To The O'Neills

True Irish welcome for U.S. troops at wedding party
Happy couple invite stranded G.I.'s to join wedding celebrations
IrishCentral.Com Editor
Published Thursday, July 23, 2009, 9:11 AM

Some welcome R&R for U.S. troops at Irish wedding party
U.S. soldiers were given a true Irish welcome at a wedding in
Co Clare this week.
The 300 troops were stranded in
Shannon last weekend after their Iraq-bound plane was grounded.
As luck would have it, they were booked into the same hotel as the wedding party for Amelia Walsh and Sean O'Neill.
And so the 300 troops were invited to join the festivities at the Clare Inn in Newmarket-on-Fergus.
The groom's uncle, Joe O'Neill said: "It didn’t take long before the combat fatigues were manoeuvring to the strains of ‘The Walls of Limerick'."
The happy couple posed for pictures with the troops earlier in the day and
Eamon Walsh, the father of the bride, said the couple were "proud" to have the soldiers at their function.
Walsh said the couple invited the men in so they could experience an Irish wedding.
"They behaved in an exemplary manner at all times and if our troops behaved in the same way when they are on peacekeeping duties, I would be very proud," he said.
O'Neill, who flew in to the wedding from his home in San Francisco, said: "As the soldiers began to mingle into the private wedding party banquet area they were told by their Commanding Officer that the area was a private party and off limits.
"Common decency, and Irish hospitality however, overruled personal political opinions, and the groom, a fine young man, accepting that I might be a little prejudiced in this respect, informed the Commanding Officer that they were welcome to join the party.
"I believe the groom’s brother summed up the general feeling of wedding guests when he said, “If my own son happened to be in that situation in a foreign country, I would hope that someone would show him a bit of a good time before he had to face what they are going to," he said.
Congratulations & A big thank you to the new Mr. & Mrs. O'Neill

****UPDATE***** as Susan Katz Keating (in the comments) & the Armorer (at his place) point out there are some are trying to twist this incident into something anti-American. But not to worry, this guy wrote a great rebuttal.
These heroic US soldiers deserve welcome by us all

Thanks pal!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Closure Is Overrated

But of course, it's not my feelings that matter here. The feelings that matter today are those of CAPT Scott Speicher's family. His widow Joanne, his daughter Meghan and his son Michael. I hope they are comforted, because finally, answers are here.

Pilot’s Remains Found in Iraq After 18 Years

Published: August 2, 2009

WASHINGTON — Navy officials announced early Sunday that Marines in western Anbar Province, Iraq, had found remains that have been positively identified as those of an American fighter pilot shot down in the opening hours of the first Gulf War in 1991.

The Navy pilot, Michael Scott Speicher, was the only American missing in action from that war. Efforts to determine what happened to him after his F/A-18 Hornet was lost to ground fire on Jan. 17, 1991, had continued despite false rumors and scant information.

Conflicting reports from Iraq had, over the years, fueled speculation that the pilot, promoted to captain in the years he was missing, might have been taken into captivity either after parachuting from his jet or after a crash landing.

But the evidence in Iraq suggests he did not survive and was buried by Bedouins shortly after he was shot down.

An official statement released early Sunday said that Marines in western Iraq had received information from local citizens last month about the crash of an American jet and the burial of the pilot.

“One of these Iraqi citizens stated that they were present when Captain Speicher was found dead at the crash site by Bedouins and his remains buried,” the statement said. “The Iraqi citizens led U.S. Marines to the site.”

A search of the area last week recovered remains that included bones and skeletal fragments, which were flown to Dover Air Force Base for scientific examination.

Positive identification was made by visual and radiographical comparisons of Captain Speicher’s dental records with the jawbone recovered at the site.

“Our Navy will never give up looking for a shipmate, regardless of how long or how difficult that search may be,” said Admiral Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, in a statement. “We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Captain Speicher and his family for the sacrifice they have made for our nation and the example of strength they have set for all of us.”

Although the dental records confirmed the identity of the dead pilot, further DNA tests will be conducted to compare the remains with samples previously provided by family members, the statement said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Captain Speicher’s family for the ultimate sacrifice he made for his country,” said Ray Mabus, secretary of the Navy, in a statement. “I am also extremely grateful to all those who have worked so tirelessly over the last 18 years to bring Captain Speicher home.”
You can read the rest here.

Navy Times article here

CDR Salamandar posts here

InstaPinch posts here

Solomonia posts here.
Musings from the Den Mother posts here.

One Marine's View here.

USNI blog posts here.

From My Position...On The Way! posts here

Bear Creek Ledger posts here.

ROK Drop posts here.

Fuzzilicious Thinking posts here.

PrairiePundit posts here.

Boudicca's Voice posts here.

I suppose the thing to do here is to focus on the committment of the Navy and all our Armed Forces to never leave a man behind. The fact that after all these years there were people who never gave up and stayed focused on bringing CAPT Speicher home.

Fair winds and following seas CAPT Michael "Scott" Speicher, United States Navy.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Doesn't Bouhammer Clean Up Nice?

1st Sgt. Troy Steward


Mine vs......

I was driving in my car on my way to work when I heard Daniel Schorr on the radio. He was doing his "Week in Review" on NPR's "Weekend Edition - Saturday". Now normally I just plain disagree with him. This morning however....I wanted to drive my car into the studio where he was speaking, run him over, back up and run over him again. LOL He was speaking about the beer summit and how we are not yet a post racial country, whatever the eff that is.

SIMON: A neighborhood incident - ordinarily - in Cambridge, Massachusetts, became a national story this week because it involved a distinguished Harvard professor, Henry Lewis Gates Jr.

SCHORR: Right.

SIMON: He was arrested for disorderly conduct outside of his home in Cambridge. Police were called to the house to investigate a possible break-in. Professor Gates says that he and his driver were forcing open the front door of his own house. The door was jammed. Now, this is where versions differ because, of course, the Cambridge police accuse the professor of being obstreperous and uncooperative with the officer. Professor Gates says…

SCHORR: But nobody differs on what the president then did: plunged himself into the act at the end of a news conference, the purpose of which was to talk about health care. And if anybody could do immense distraction from health care, it was the president himself. And I'm sure he must have wondered later what led him to do it.
Well, I suspect it is time to say that this country is not yet finished with racial profiling and that's - a great deal of sensitivity to anything that sounds like it. And so when professor Gates got an impression that he was being treated in a way that maybe white people trying to break open the lock on their door would not have been treated, when they realized what was involved there - we are looking at people acting as they used to act and which we hoped was over, especially with an African-American president. But racial profiling lives, or the fear of it.

SIMON: Well, I was struck by the reaction of the Cambridge police officer, who took special exception to the charge that he was racially profiling.

SCHORR: Well, that's right. The thing…

SIMON: And that also carries a very heavy sting.

SCHORR: Yeah...
(Soundbite of laughter)

SCHORR: There are so many ironies involved in this. Sergeant Crowley, the officer in question, was the one who was in charge of briefing the police on racial profiling. Here's a president who - we know where he stands. And everybody acts out a part, as though we were in some former age.

Everyone acts out a part? Once again, someone speaks as though everyone in this incident is equally culpable. Because to do otherwise is to admit that Gates is not a victim and Obama is an assclown.

I haven't said a lot here although frequent readers can guess where I stand. But for the sake of clarity - Gates was an asshat. Now I will cut him some slack because of the long flight and being startled. But the next morning he should have simply LET. IT. GO. Gates is minorly wrong for what he did during the incident. I say minorly because losing your temper is something that could happen to anyone. Mistaking the motives of the police is an easy leap to make. If you really know me, then you know I am no blind cheerleader of police conduct. My mother taught me long ago. "The police are not your friends." They have job to do and some do it better than others. That said, the next morning Gates, if he is so smart, knew he was in the wrong and he should have STFU.

Obama, what can I say here other than there is a reason that "3rd man in" is a automatic game misconduct in hockey. And to preface it with "I don't know all the facts, but....." Good. God.

So who's left here? Oh yeah. Crowley. The guy who played it by the book and bears no responsibility for the cluster this has become. Crowley, the guy that looked absolutely betrayed when people asked him about Obama. Crowley, the guy who has done more to bring about a racially just society then the other two pinheads combined. Crowley, who has been an absolute class act all through this hullabaloo.

I just can't decide if Daniel Schorr is senile or willfully misleading people. After all, we know that if you say a thing often enough.....