Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Best Tour Eva!

I've enjoyed every Navy ship I have had the honor to be invited to, but this really was the best tour ever.
After the tour I had to dash to Cheesecake Factory to get Bette's fav low carb cheesecake because it was her birthday. Then work like a crazy person for a few hours. Then Jen and I took Bette out for a birthday dinner.
Now I am here, exhausted with aching calf muscles - lotta climbing. So I am going to cheat and throw some pics up and go to bed.
I promise that there will be posts soon.
Ambushing the Naval Reserve Center in Quincy.
Meeting Stella.
Meeting @punditreview and crashing his radio show "Pundit Review Radio" on WRKO.
And now.....getting invited to tour USS Wayne E Meyer DDG-108.
I am having a great time.

I Am TDY Naval Station Newport

Attention! All hands on deck! The famous BostonMaggie, Goddess of the Naval Blogging Strike Force will be in Naval Station Newport at 0900 today
R 021754Z SEP 09
FM CNO WASHINGTON DC
TO AL NAVADMIN
NAVADMIN
INFO CNO WASHINGTON DC
BT
UNCLAS
PLEASE PASS TO ALL OFFICE CODES:
FM CNO WASHINGTON DC//N00//
TO NAVADMIN
UNCLAS //N05000//
NAVADMIN 255/09
MSGID/GENADMIN/CNO WASHINGTON DC/N00/SEP// SUBJ/GODNAVBLOGSTRIFOR// GENTEXT/REMARKS/1. BOSTONMAGGIE WILL BE VISITING NAVAL STATION NEWPORT 29 SEP 2009.

Monday, September 28, 2009

My Marine Is A Handful

Ahhh...that's better! Got what I wanted.

Can't say so much for that RedLeg Donovan

"...and the rocket's red glare,"

Sunday, September 27, 2009

From The Armorer

"The Lingering Scars of a Purple Heart"

If I were speaking to the Armorer....I would tell him how much I liked this post. How much I wish I had met his Dad. How glad I am that I know him.

But I'm NOT.

So go read it and don't mention that I sent you there.

And..Here It Is!

My parent's fridge. I know what you're thinking - "What is she, ten?"

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Flock? A Covey?

What do you call a gathering of MCPONs? I stole this from MCPON West's FaceBook page. Are you a fan? You should be. How about this for some heritage. Four MCPONs. 3,6,7 and 12. Master Chief Petty Officers of the Navy West, Walker, Bushey and Plackett yesterday in Norfolk after lunch aboard MCPON Bushey's boat, "The Chief". --Senior Houlihan

Friday, September 25, 2009

What Does It Mean When....

....a man meets you....say a Marine....and says you're fabulous...but then.....proceeds to try to change you?

I explained about the picture on the blog. Story here. And that it was the only time I have ever shot anything and I missed and I am completely disinterested in trying it again. Well my new Marine says that I just don't know yet how much I love shooting. Once he trains me to hit the target, I will want nothing more than to shoot things. One of the biggest laughs of the day was when asserted with a straight face that when he was finished with this magical training....I would choose shooting over a spa!!!!

It's good to have lofty ambitions.

Next we were discussing books. He mentioned something about a series of books on the Civil War. I explained that was my weakness in American History. Probably because I am not interested. Well he said....start with (fill-in-the-book-title).

Again I laughed.

This is when I said "I thought you were happy to meet me and I was fabulous?" "You are!" he replied. "Then why are you working on changing me?"

Really! Doesn't everyone know Princess Crabby can't be improved on?

For the record, I was tardy. However, my half of this deal was well run. Lunch was close to the ship, very nice view, good food. I wore my favorite sandals, but had my Keds, a sweater and a hari clip in the car, so I was ....PREPARED.

His part? We drove over to the USS Salem.....and it was closed. He apologized and I laughed. I told him it was fine because it wasn't my fault.

In all seriousness.....I had a great time.

Lunch With My New Marine

Leaving to meet my new Marine for lunch up by the USS Salem. After lunch he will run the decks.....I will saunter.

Then I get to meet Stella from Swiftspeech! for dinner.

It's a beautiful early fall day and I am playing hookey....you're jealous, aren't you?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Will My Parents Put It on the Fridge?

Cause you know I printed it out and I've been carrying it around all night! I showed it to our fav bartender at East Bay!

From the National Review Online Media Blog

Underreported News: War in Afghanistan [Greg Pollowitz]
Over in the Web Briefing, there's a good article in today's Washington Post on how the new rules of engagement to protect civilians are causing the deaths of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the Taliban don't subscribe to the same R.O.E. Via must-read milblogger Boston Maggie (and follow @BostonMaggie), here's video of a Talban attack on U.S. soldiers. Notice how the Afghan child is of no concern to the terrorists (the child was reportedly treated by U.S. medics at the scene and transported for further care.)

Also in the Web Briefing is this Fox News report that General McChrystal wants 30-40,000 more troops for Afghanistan. What's not clear in the article is if it's 30-40,000 total troops or 30-40,000 "shooters" who would then need thousands more soldiers to support their role. The media fell into this semantic trap during the Bush administration and it's important to know the real number.

09/23 10:59AM
~~~~~~~~~~~
Now remember, my favorite BeerGirl - Maryann gets the real credit for this. She is linked (but not named) in the post.

But still "Via must-read milblogger Boston Maggie" Yikes!! Admit it - you could hear my excited screaming from there, couldn't you?

Still, there is a down side - Jen & Grace are suffering terribly. All that heavy lifting, pounding my ego back down to size.....and they are only at 2/3 strength since Jen's BFF, SB is off having a "blue water" adventure on a carrier. Jen actually sent my new Marine an email telling him to "tone it down", her job is difficult enough.

From Maryann @ Soldiers' Angels Germany

Read this post. Watch the video.

This is the enemy - triggerman detonates hidden rocket although he sees child standing just feet away

For additional edification read The Armorer - "Ignoring the enemy, because, well, he's not newsworthy".

BlackFive's Laughing Wolf True War Crimes

The Mudville Gazette "This Is The Enemy"

The Reality of War at Little Pebbles....

I put up those links because after watching that vid and reading the post.....Words fail me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wonder Who This Boat Belongs To?


Usually there is some clue as to what country a boat belongs to.
Wait! Is that handsome devil BMC Dotson driving that boat? Yep, he's driving it like he stole it baby!
Guess that means we're looking at the United States Navy! Happy #milmonday Sailor!
The ensign is from USS Cole DDG-67. After all USS Cole is the reason that all the Boat Units exist in their current form.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Moline Blaylock Ripley

Moline Blaylock Ripley
Moline Blaylock Ripley died at her home in Annapolis, Md., on Saturday, September 12, 2009, from natural causes. She was 68. Moline Ripley was born in Bluefield, W.Va., on December 7, 1941, daughter of Arnold Vincent Blaylock and Edna Pais Blaylock. She was raised in Radford, Va., attended Radford High School and graduated from Madison College in 1964 with a degree in home economics and secondary education. Upon graduation, Moline Blaylock married John Walter Ripley, also of Radford, Va. Moline Ripley was active as a Marine officer's wife, Interior Designer, and mother of four. She was a gracious hostess and the consummate southern lady. She was devoted to her role as a Marine Corps officer's wife in peacetime and war, showing compassion and providing help to families around her.

As an interior designer, she was tremendously skilled. In her career she cultivated numerous private and commercial clients to include the historic home of the Commandant of the Marine Corps at 8th and I. Like many military wives, Moline became the head of the household and sole parent during the lengthy deployments of her husband. The driving force in her home, Moline took great pride in the successes of her children and husband. Her expectations were high and unwavering. Mrs. Ripley is survived by a twin sister, Marcella Blaylock Zimmerman, of Nashville, Tenn.; her four children, Stephen Ripley, of Annapolis, Md., Mary Ripley, of Annapolis, Md., Thomas Ripley, of Annapolis, Md., and John Ripley, of West Palm Beach, Fla.; and eight grandchildren.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, 10 Rockefeller Plaza, Suite 1007, New York, N.Y. 10020. A memorial service will be held 9 a.m. on Friday, September 25, 2009, at the United States Naval Academy Chapel. Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 24, 2009, at John M. Taylor and Sons Funeral Home, 147 Duke of Gloucester Street, Annapolis, Md.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I never had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Ripley or her late husband Col Ripley. But I am proud to have their daughter Mary Ripley for a friend. I posted this to share with you this lovely tribute to Mrs. Ripley. I would be there Friday if circumstances allowed. I will think of this family as they bury their loved one and raise a glass.

Thank you for sharing your mother with us, Mary, Thomas, Stephen & John. I hope you find peace in the memories of a life well lived.
~~~~~~~~~~~
Mary posted this on Facebook & this comment struck me - "A warrior's heart is only as strong as the woman who loves him. The stronger the woman, the stronger the warrior's heart."
~~~~~~~~~~~
UPDATE 11/10/09
People are finding this post because they are searching Google for information on a book written by Norman Fulkerson. The contents of said book distort Col Ripley words. Mr. Fulkerson has done Col Ripley an injustice. Please boycott this book. Please read this post instead.

Viola! The New, Improved USNI Website

In their constant effort to provide an invaluable service to the Navy community (and some snoopy civilians like me) the United States Naval Institute has relaunched their blog.

USNI.ORG

Great job Mike & Ben (the crackerjack IT team).

You can now comment on articles.

I am going back to play with it some more.

Twenty Five Years Ago Today Muslim Extremists Killed Two Americans

On September 20, 1984, a suicide bomber attacked the United States embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. Two Americans were killed -

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Ray Wagner

Army Warrant Officer Kenneth Welch

We've just had a lot of coverage, and rightly so, for September 11th. We say "Never Forget!". And it's right to keep that memory fresh. However, we would do well to remember it all.

I remember watching the comedian/commentator, Dennis Miller talk once on TV about how he "woke up on 9/11" and then he said "and some people would say I was late to the party".

Word.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Chocolate Coma

I have some pretty awesome cousins on both sides, but if there were a contest, let me tell you who is pulling away from the pack.........Jessica.

Jessica decided that for her birthday she wanted a bunch of us to join her on a chocolate adventure. A few weeks ago we got chocolate candy bars with gold tickets inviting us to join her at the Cafe Fleuri in the Langham Hotel. You can't imagine how I have been looking forward to this!

The crowd included my sisters, my nieces, my father's sister, our cousins on our father's side. All told 15 chocolate lovers............

Jen put together a gift of Bath & Body Works goodies. Back when we were first invited I told my goddaughter Debbie we needed an unusual idea. Her response? "I'm on it!" and she was. Debbie never disappoints! Jessica opened her bag containing a tiara and a black feather boa. It was clear who was the Birthday Girl!

They have a large room full of tables covered with every possible form of chocolate - cake, truffles, pudding, mousse..... And a few non-chocolate things....lemon meringue tarts, rice pudding.

And of course, the requisite chocolate fountain with various things for dipping.

It was incredibly indulgent. Everyone had a great time.

And thanks so much to Mark, Jessica's husband who helped pull this together. Guess who else got presents? All of us. We each got a gift box with chocolate goodies - a chocolate poem, the Willie Wonka soundtrack CD.....M&M lip smacker.

We don't see a lot of Jessica because she lives in Vegas, but I get to see her again next month at Blog World Expo.

Happy Birthday Jessica!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Ego Knows No Bounds!

So, some Sailor is talking to me about places that our Sailors are serving in IA slots - 10.673 Sailors at the moment are serving in this capacity. The conversation turns to spots in Afghanstan in general, Kandahar in specific. I make some smartass remark about celebrities visiting these spots. The response was that NO celebrities go to Kandahar.

So I mosey on over to the MCPON's Facebook page. I am a fan of the MCPON, are you? You should be.

I wrote - So I've heard that not many celebrities go visit our Sailors in Kandahar....can I tag along if you go?

So, some Chief (he of the "Gentle Suggestion") says that he bets $5 that I don't get an answer and $5 more that I don't go.

Today the MCPON has just returned from a trip that included Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, RONALD REAGAN, TOPEKA, Djibouti and Bahrain. He comes out to his page, sees my nonsense and writes - "You've just lost the first 5......but sorry you can't go. It was a great visit though."

I press on - "But if you would let me go.....I would count as a celebrity visit, right?"

The MCPON responds....not unlike something my Dad would say "You betcha!....and no you still can't go."

The Hooligan chimes in - "Concur MCPON. She can't go." (Again not unlike after my father laying down the law, my sister Grace piling on.)

So I ask the new Marine in the Rotation - "So, can you work on a plan that smuggles me into Kandahar?"

His response? "You don't need to be in Kandahar."

I ask "LOL!? What if I want to be?"

He comes back with "You would until you got there."

The important part of these exchanges.......if I got to show up in Kandahar, it would be considered a celebrity appearance...........my ego is colossal

Normally I am A Very Pleasant Drunk

Maybe I had some underlying anxiety....

It started out well enough. We got to Orta and picked a stand-up table in the bar with a view of both big screen TVs. As we arranged ourtselves around it, it became clear that some guy at the bar would be trapped. So we spotted another table and headed over. The two guys at the table beside us joked "Where are you going? Was it something we said?" So turned my back to the closest one and said "I didn't want to move. I wanted to stay here all night and do this..." and rubbed my backside against him. They laughed, I hadn't even ordered my first drink.

We had the designated driver discussion and I was off!

SB called and told me he had dinner plans and would speak to me another night. I got snippy, forgetting that of course it would be too late for him to call me when he got in....Ketel One erased the memory of the 3 hour time difference. Which would have been fine, but you know Jen had to say something about how unreasonable I was being with her BFF. Why was it so much less aggravating when he was 8 hours ahead of me? Maybe because I hate California. If he comes back tainted, I'll be mad.

The next phone call was someone who didn't make the cut with the Rotation and can't take no for an answer.....that didn't go well for him.

Fortunately after that it was all fun and laughs. Delicious dinner...too many carbs. But hey, wait til you read about Saturday and my cousin Jessica!

Now I have to go out to Twitter and Facebook to see what trouble I caused, since I got online when they poured me into my house. Jen told me to go right to bed...but are you surprised that I didn't do as I was told?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

SFC Jared Monti MOH Ceremony Today

You can watch the ceremony on the Pentagon Channel today at 1400 (2:00 pm). The link is here.

You can read what McQ (my friend Bruce) wrote about Jared on BlackFive here.

You can read about the bipartisan efforts by Massachusetts bloggers to raise fund for the Jared Monti scholarship here.

You can contribute to the scholarship fund, a very worthy cause, by following this link.
And of course, John has SFC Monti in his "Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 17 September"

The Boston Red Sox Fill My Heart with Love

From Boston.com "Gonzo celebrates his game-winning single after watching it drop into left field out of Angels' outfielder Juan Rivera's reach."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

38 Days to Go


I Am Not Speaking To URR

You know I love the USNI Blog. I look every day. But I was a little busy yesterday. In the office, I had a girl out on vacation; I had a girl out sick and it was busy.

Plus there is the slight possibility that I was paying a little too much attention to personal emails from the male of the species.....I can neither confirm nor deny.

I spent very, very little time on Twitter even though @NavyNews was revealing my uber secret plan to take over Twitter for my own evil ends.

What little time I had went into preparing for Project Valour-IT which begins October 26th, the Day of the Deployed. I am putting all the knowledge I am acquiring from the reading the Navy Coterie has me doing together with the stuff I learned from the Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) curriculum and all the stuff I learned growing up in Charlestown to ensure that Team Navy wins a decisive victory.

So, URR, if you are going to put up something I would find interesting on the USNI blog, is it too much to ask that you nudge me????? You know, you might be the last arguement of kings....but I am the Goddess of the Naval Blogging Strike Force.

Fair Winds and Following Seas, Major Pope.

A Hero Laid to Rest; Major Everett P. Pope, USMC
Today, 15 September, 2009, Medal of Honor recipient Major Everett Pope, USMC, was buried at Arlington Cemetery. He died in July, on his 90th birthday. Major Pope won his Medal of Honor during the savage, bloody fighting on Peleliu. He was buried on the 65th anniversary of the landings on the island. On Peleliu, he commanded Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines.

Go read the rest here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gentle Suggestions.....

....my eye!

I have been reading "Sea of Thunder" forrrrrrever. I keep picking up other stuff when I have a question and going back. So lately a few of the Navy Coterie have started to come back at my questions with...."You should have read Last Stand of the TinCan Sailors first."

As you can imagine there is not much sympathy in this group. No warm and fuzzies. No one says "Sorry Maggie, we should have stopped you and given you better direction before it came to this point" No, they just watch me flounder and point out my errors, lol!

So the final straw was one of the newest members, a Chief, saying it. I'm like...."Fine!"

I tell SB and he's says "Yeah, that's probably a good idea." Thanks SouthieBoy! Nothing like chiming in after the fact. What's slowing you down? It's not like you are in a different time zone anymore. (Don't tell Jen I wrote that about her BFF)

I couldn't find it in the house. It's probably in a box somewhere - yeah, yeah my bedroom still isn't painted. So Jen picked it up for me from the library.

Now, of course, I want points. So I go back out on Facebook toi the Chief and say -

"OK, I've got "Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors". I'll start tonight. By the time I get back to "Sea of Thunder" I will forget what this was all about. You know, I have a new guy trying to get me to read more about piracy in the GOA.....but he's a former Marine and told him "Back of the line buddy!"

He answers "Going with Last Stand is a good choice. I really think you will like it better. It is better writing, and the perspective is a little more to my liking. Have a box of tissue on hand, towards the end."

Good choice? Like I actually had a choice. What is he talking about? It was an order. He says -

"Tell the Grunt that while Aden piracy is current and sexy, Leyte Gulf and Samar is where we forged our modern Navy. Not to mention, saying "Leyte" sounds cooler than "GOA." Marines... and it wasn't an Order, per se. It was a gentle "suggestion"

LOL! If he wants me to read LSTCS....he better stop calling the Marine's stuff "sexy". I am easily led.

You know........the Marine is nicer to me......

This Day In Naval History


Monday, September 14, 2009

The Rewards of Blogging

I've actually had people thank me for blogging things. Most recently, the MCPON.

And I am always astonished. Because blogging has brought much more into my life than I could ever imagine.

Especially the people I meet.

Recently, someone.... a stranger.... emailed me. We have some mutual connections. He asked some questions, I asked some questions.

Now he's not a stranger and I look forward to these emails.

So this weekend which I am sooooooo looking forward to because of a few things.....we will have dinner.

Lately I have been so stressed.
Work.
Finances.
The car is in the shop - AGAIN. I lost the power steering on the Mystic River bridge yesterday and scared the bejesus out of myself.
My Dad and his stroke.
Visiting my Godfather who is on Hospice care.

Not to mention that Dr. Miller's people will be on my case soon because I cancelled their appointment in the immediate aftermath of my Dad's stroke. They haven't seen me in months and they are getting very anxious. Don't worry, I have no symptoms of the myeloma. I have nothing except for the damage from chemo

Anyway, this person has been a fabulous distraction.

So I think we will call him SOS.

Brown Water Navy in Vietnam

Somebody emailed this to me today.
"Brown Water Navy in Vietnam"
Thanks to the Game Wardens and the Swifites!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

There's A Typewriter In Somalia!

***UPDATE - added comment at bottom****
Seriously! And they use it to type up fishing licenses. I'm not kidding.

So yesterday I was on a DOD Blogger's Roundtable concerning piracy & CTF-151. Thank goodness for affirmative action! They have to have a certain percentage of nonsense and that's how I get in!

DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable: U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Scott Sanders and Royal Navy Capt. Keith Blount

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Scott Sanders & his chief of staff, Capt. Keith Blount were aboard USS Anzio CG-68 in the waters off of Somalia. They discussed Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151) counter piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and the Internationally Recognized Transit Corridor (IRTC). They stressed the international cooperation needed to provide safe navigation through the GOA for commercial shipping.

There were eight bloggers on the call. Seven serious......and me. I was a good girl right up until the very end.

This is audio of the call.

After brief introductory statements from Admiral Sanders & Captain Blount - we were off and running!
First up, Daniel Sekulich of Modern Day Pirate Tales & Terror on the Seas. Daniel has also written a book about piracy, "Terror on the Seas: True Tales of Modern Day Pirates". His question was about combining the operations of CTF-151 with CTF-150 for a "more robust operation". Admiral Sanders explained some of the reasons why they can't be combined. It relates to the specific mandates and how they may effect the politics and governments of the partner countries. In other words, CTF-150 is related to the Coalition and some of the countries participating in CTF-151 may not be in favor of the mandate of CTF-150. And in turn, some of the anti-piracy actions that we (US & UK) wanted to undertake, couldn't be undertaken in CTF-150 and that's why we started it up.

Next was your truly asking about their view of reserve commands taking part in this mission. Do reserve commands out perform or under perform compared to their active duty counterparts? Admiral Sanders told us that he was from the reserve side and he found that he couldn't tell who was reserve and who was active. That at the end of day they were all Sailors and that not being able to tell was the biggest compliment he could give reserve components.

Following me was Andrew Lubin - He wanted to know what the current lull in pirate activities meant for the future. What was happening day to day. Captain Blount discussed how encouraging it is to see so many nations come together to work on this problem, echoing Admiral Sander's statement that "Piracy is an international problem which requires an international solution". The Captain also discussed the anti-piracy measures encouraged by the task force, i.e. fire hoses and razor wire.

Now - here comes the most astounding thing! Admiral Sanders is talking about their ability to board vessels and hopefully deter piracy. He said when you go aboard and you see "people, weapons, ladders and, you know, pirate paraphernalia"...."they have no legitimate fishing gear on board. They, ah, no fishing license."

Hello? Full stop! FISHING LICENSE???? ROFLMAO! A million images flash through my ADD addled mind - what I picture when I think of Somalia is the chaos depicted in "Black Hawk Down". I flash back to my reading for the Naval war College Joint Maritime Operations (JMO) course. Somalia was the "failed state" example. Then I pictured Mayberry and Opie & Andy with a voice over from that assclown, John Kerry. What? At the Town Hall in Mogadishu (Gesundheit!)??? I was dying for them to get to the follow up question part!

Following Andrew was Eagle1 of EagleSpeak. His post is up and you can read it here.
His question had to do with the importance of air power (helicopters and drones). Admiral Sanders said they were important but it was the coordination that mattered. That there was no single thing that turns the tide. Then he mentioned stopping a skiff with an RPG. I think that was the first time he mentioned really lethal weapons. It's not like we don't know about them, but was that aspect being downplayed? I mean, not to be a wiseass, firehoses are fine in certain situations, but do you really want to be holding the firehose in the RPG fight? The follow up question brought up the Shared Awareness and Deconfliction Meeting (SHADE). Very interesting, I'll be reading up on that!

Grim of Blackfive
Grim wanted to discuss AFRICOM , CENTCOM and NAVCENT Admiral Sanders talked about the people he networked with to cover the different aspects, jurisdictions. For example Rear Admiral Anthony M. Kurta, CJTF-HOA. Because of UN mandate they can go into Somalia's territorial waters.

David Axe of War is Boring
David wanted to talk about the different platforms involved. Again the answer was that no one platform makes the difference, it's the combination. Captain Blount said that "you need a pretty big gold bag of different size clubs".

Chuck Simmins of America's NorthShore Journal
Chuck requested a list of the nations participating in CTF-151. Hehe! I sent him an email of them as they were answering. I was pretty full of myself. Then his question had to do with Yemeni involvement. Captain Blount stated they had not seen any Yemeni pirate activity and that they were going to be meeting with the new Yemeni Coast Guard today.

Scott Wilson of Homefront in Focus, one of my favorite Sailors!
Scott asked how Somali pirates were finding their targets if we are controlling the IRTC. Admiral Sanders clarified that it's not just being in the IRTC that repels attacks, it's also following the recommended steps to repel attack. It's the combination of both that has been successful. You must take the proper counter-measures to give the military time to get to them.

Admiral Sanders jumped in to stress the enormous heroism of the merchant mariners in fighting off the attempted pirate boardings.

Then Galrahn, my good friend, of Information Dissemination.
Galrahn wanted to talk about the regional coast guards. Also, the Iranian navy is helping out. who knew! Captain Blount said they will pursue every possible avenue in working together with these regional players. But it is difficult to find the right opportunities to have a meaningful engagement with the Somalis. But they will try. After all, the goal is to have the regional players control piracy.

Time for follow-up questions, right? Wrong. apparently we have run late. Oh no! Jen asks that the Admiral and the Captain give their closing statements. The Captain wants to remind us that this is an important maritime mission and we should remember that piracy is often romanticized but they have seen the hurt and suffering the pirates do. He said that they are very proud of what they are achieving out there (Captain Blount - We are all proud of you and all the participants of CTF-151)

I can't help it. I have to know. I interrupt.
"Hey, I'm sorry to interrupt. But I gotta ask - where do you get a Somali fishing license and what does it look like?" (All my peeps on the line start laughing)

The Admiral is a little startled and after a moment laughs and assures me "I don't think you want to travel to where you have to get it." I ask "I mean do they hang it from the back of their ballcap like a hunter's license?"

The Admiral replies "No, it's a , um...there is one, I mean we get 'em all the time, I mean we don't get 'em....you know we have ah....when people are out here we want to make sure they're fisherman. they do have them."

Then Captain Blount piped up with "I'll tell you what it looks like. It's on a piece of letter size paper. It's got a stamp in the top left hand corner. And it appears as if it's been typed with a typewriter. And it's got a signature at the bottom of it. And our Somali translator says it's as official as it's going to get. And there are some vessels that have them and there are some vessels that don't have them. But that's what a Somali fishing license looks like."

"That's the title of my blog post "There's a Typewriter in Somalia!" And so it is.

090905-N-6814F-016 GULF OF ADEN (Sept. 5, 2009) Royal Navy Capt. Keith Blount, chief of staff of Combined Task Force 151, addresses officers from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer JS Harusame (DD 102) aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68). Anzio is the flagship for CTF 151, a multinational task force established to conduct counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian K. Fromal/Released)

So one of my Sailors left a comment regarding this post on my Facebook

"Epstein's Mother wrote it, to be sure. "Achmed and Salam have my permission to be fishing with RPG's on the boat, Epstein's Mother"

Maritime Evacuation on 9/11 – An American Dunkirk

From The Old Salt Blog

Maritime Evacuation on 9/11 – An American Dunkirk
Eight years ago today, on a beautiful Tuesday morning in September, hundreds of thousands of commuters were trapped in lower Manhattan. Manhattan is an island and all bridges, tunnels and subways had been shut down following the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Shortly after the second tower was struck, well before either tower fell, something remarkable, almost miraculous, happened.
Go read the rest here.

More on CPO Selectees Aboard USS Constitution

This article came up in my Google news alert for "USS Constitution".
It's from The Dolphin.

Selectees hit the deck of Old Ironsides during Chiefs' Indoctrination Training
By: MCC(SW/AW) Evelyn Haywood
08/27/2009

BOSTON, Mass. - USS Constitution made history 197 years ago as the first U.S. Navy warship to defeat a British warship, HMS Guerriere, in battle, and "Old Ironsides," as Constitution came to be known, continues to impact the Navy's future. Each year the USS Constitution hosts over 300 Chief Petty Officer Selectees and about 50 Mentor Chiefs for the Chief Petty Officer Heritage Weeks, a step in the indoctrination process into the largest fraternity in the world, U.S. Navy Chiefs. They come from all over the world to participate in a once in a lifetime experience, having been chosen from thousands of applicants.

Once a Sailor reaches the rank of Chief Petty Officer, their role changes and there are new depths of responsibilities and expectations demanded of him or her. A Chief Petty Officer is the first of the senior enlisted ranks, where they spend more time leading junior Sailors to accomplish the Navy's mission and helping them to achieve the same success that they have attained. Sailors that are selected to the rank of Chief come with beneficial experience and lessons learned, but those that have already made it to that rung of the ladder provide special training to guide them to even more success.

Welcome to Induction Training

Once any Sailor in the Navy learns he or she has been selected for Chief, they enter a six-week, intensive training cycle geared toward developing advanced leadership and teamwork techniques within one of the Navy's most talented cores. In a process resembling the basic training they received at the start of their careers, these senior Sailors train alongside established Chief Petty Officer mentors using teambuilding challenges, complex problem solving and, for a lucky few, immersion into naval heritage in order to transition from a bluejacket to a Chief.
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Read the rest here.

This pic is from the Facebook page "2009 USS Constitution CPO Heritage Week 2"


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Patriot's Day 2009

Couple of things.

One, I don't have anything different to say about the day than I did when I wrote this -
8:46 am

Second, one of my very best pals on Twitter, @NavyNews says "..if you watch only on 9/11 piece, this should be it. Please share & never forget. NEW YORK won't.."

Next, Matty of BlackFive has suggested that we link to posts about Rick Rescorla today. So I will list them here and I will put them up on Twitter and Facebook.

Matty's annual post "Stand and Never YIELD!!! - From the Battlefield in Viet Nam to Tower 2 on 9/11"

From my girl AWTM "A Day at The Museum..."

From Bookie "Remembering Rick Rescorla — and the lessons of self-defense"

From Greyhawk "911 Remembered: Rick Rescorla was a soldier"

From Laughing Wolf "I Remember"

From What The F*&#!?!? - "Rick Rescorla Hero: From LZ-XRAY To 9/11"
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Project 2996 from Curt
Project 2996-2009: William J. Dimmling, SVP, Marsh McLennon Companies

From Eagle1 "We Remember"

From Steeljaw Scribe "The 2996 Project: CAPT Bob Dolan, USN (Pentagon) and Mr. Colin Arthur Bonnett (WTC)"

From GOP CounterCulture "In Memoriam: Sergio Villanueva"
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I'll post other things as I see them or they are pointed out to me.

37 Year Old Canadian Actress DX'd W/Multiple Myeloma

Lisa Ray fighting rare cancer
Toronto star of Cooking With Stella is optimistic as she's treated for bone marrow disease myeloma
Sep 10, 2009 04:30 AM
Linda Barnard Movies Editor
Actress Lisa Ray isn't letting a rare cancer diagnosis stop her from appearing on the red carpet at the TIFF gala premiere of Cooking With Stella next Wednesday.

The Toronto actress, who also starred in Bollywood/Hollywood and Water, posted the news on her blog The Yellow Diaries: "I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma on June 23rd. Started my first cycle of treatment July 2nd.

"Myeloma is incurable."

Ray describes the illness as "a relatively rare cancer of the bone marrow" and says at age 37 she is younger than most patients, who are usually diagnosed at age 65. But the model-turned-actress is steadfast in her optimism about her health.

She is undergoing treatment in Toronto and says on her blog, "with an ever expanding toolbox of treatments and awareness ... this cancer can be beat. So I'm going to do everything I can to wrench the spotlight onto myeloma and cancer awareness. I believe it can be cured. That's the dirty realist in me ... I'm aiming for full remission."

Ray wrote she was feeling so unwell before her diagnosis, "it was a relief to hear what was wrong."

When she got the news, "I didn't react and I didn't cry. I'm an actress, believe me, I can be dramatic. Not just then, though."

Her blog is peppered with wit and humourous observations, like the fact some medications make her constantly hungry. "Who knew it would turn me into a free range chicken, pecking the landscape?"
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More here.

This is her blog.

SPC Jordan Shay Funeral Arrangements

***UPDATE**** SGT Shay has been posthumously promoted to Sergeant.
SGT Shay's body arrived at Dover Saturday night around 11:30 pm according to a statement issued by the family.

Jordan was a milblogger.

His funeral arrangements have been set.

From the Newburyport News

Funeral arrangements for Sgt. Jordan Shay have been confirmed, beginning
with a brief ceremony when his remains arrive at Hanscom Air Force Base today
and ending with a procession through Newburyport, Salisbury and Amesbury on
Saturday.

A funeral Mass for the 22-year-old Amesbury native will be held on
Saturday at Holy Family Parish in Amesbury at 11 a.m. Calling hours are set for
Friday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Twomey, LeBlanc and Conte Funeral Home on High Street in Newburyport.

The Patriot Guard will be present.

Congressman Joe Wilson

Congressman Joe Wilson R-South Carolina

OK, it might have been heartfelt.

Actually, I am sure it was.

But it was inappropriate.

You need to show the office of the President of United States more respect than that.

It wasn't a Town Hall meeting.

He's apologized.

Let it go.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Why I Need A Keeper!

Friday evening I picked up my car from the shop with it's new starter and drove back to work. Just after dark I left to go home and the battery light came on. Hmmmm. As I drove home the headlights were getting more and more dim. Luckily it was a full moon and I made it home....barely.

So Saturday morning I get up, try it..........dead.

I call the other Jen (not my sister) and ask for a ride to work. She has a child so I know she gets up early, lol. Then I called the mechanic and he tells me to leave the keys above the visor and he'll come get it.

So I work all day and get home just after dark....there's the car still in front of the house. Bummer. I had things I wanted to get done. Oh well.

So Sunday I tell the boys to jump the car and drive it up to the mechanic - he's just a mile away. They do and they leave the keys.

I don't bother calling Monday, it's a holiday. I just steal my sister's car to do what I have to do.

Tuesday I forgot to call until late afternoon and I didn't catch him.

Today I call. He just starts laughing. I ask how the car is. He asks what I think happened on Saturday. I tell him that I realize he didn't get to it and that's why I had the boys bring it up.

"No." he says "I came down in the white car. Took your car to the shop. Fixed your car. Brought it back and took my car."

So.......that means that I have been whining about being carless and cadging rides since Sunday morning.........for no reason.

I'd like to say such nonsense is unusual, but sadly no one who knows me is surprised.

Don't ask me what it was he did exactly on Saturday, I was too embarrassed to ask.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I Am Pretty Satisfied With Myself

I worked more than a full day.

I went to the gym and I stuck to Atkins......despite the obstacles placed in my way! The car is still in the shop so Jen shows at the gym to pick me up....with a pizza in the car? Really? A pizza? She is on the phone with her BFF while I am yelling. They are discussing Bill Murray's performance in "Stripes"and quoting lines from the movie back and forth. Finally she turns to me and say "Everyone has to overcome obstacles." in a very smug tone. I yell back "Oh! So you're building my effing character with pizza!?" Honestly? Pizza?

I took "The Solomons Campaign: THE BATTLE OF GUADALCANAL, Part I September 2009" from USNI Blog & Steeljaw Scribe (are you keeping up?) with me to the gym and "got a good foot under me" with it.

I did some Project Valour-IT - Team Navy stuff done. We are so winning this year! You know that don't you? You should join Team Navy if you want to be on a winning team.

I caused some trouble over at the Castle of Argghhh!!!

And I'll be in bed by midnight like a good girl.....

Monday, September 07, 2009

September 7, 1892 & September 7, 2009

From Mass Moments - On this day in 1892, the poet John Greenleaf Whittier died at the age of 85. He had come a long way from his Quaker boyhood on a struggling farm in Haverhill. He began writing poetry as a teenager but sacrificed his literary career to the greater cause of abolition. For nearly 30 years, controversy over his passionate opposition to slavery made it difficult for him to publish his poems or earn a living. Only after the Civil War did he become a popular poet. During the last decades of his life, he was such a beloved figure that Massachusetts made his birthday a school holiday. The man who had been reviled for his abolitionist politics was now considered a national treasure.

His poem, "Barbara Fretchie" is one of my favorites. It was my post on this day in 2007. I had to memorize it and recite it before an assembly in 5th grade.

I am not sure if I was more nervous that day....or today. I'm on Blog Talk Radio tonight representing "Team Navy" for Project Valour-IT's annual fundraiser. We officially kick off on October 26th, but it's never too soon to start getting ready.

Do you have a blog that would like to join the winning team? Be part of Team Navy's efforts to pull in the most donations for this great cause.

Valour-IT has no overhead. None. Not "low" overhead...."zero" overhead. It's a 501(c)(3) charity meaning it has IRS approval. Every penny you give goes directly into voice-controlled laptops, Wii Video Game Systems, and Personal GPS. Now before you dismiss the game system, go to the website and read their about their therapuedic application.

So tune in tonight, details here.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Spa Sunday

Spa Sunday is where I pull out all my favorite messy spa stuff from the cabinets and do it up while I watch the Sunday morning talk shows. Bath & Body Works Lavender Chamomile body scrub is waiting for me.

I'm in a terribly good mood.

I've been working more lately - very important since the car is still out of commission. After I picked it up from the shop with it's new starter...the battery light came on and I barely made it home.

I've got 3 solid weeks back on Atkins under my belt today - very important since steroids piled a ton of weight on me.

I have scored a new Sailor for my Navy Coterie. He's a BMC. I've always heard that Bos'n Mate were trouble....doesn't that sound like fun?

OK, I didn't want to bring on any bad ju-ju, so I haven't said much...but.... I have been feeling good! The constant fatigue has finally receded. I stopped chemo on January 23rd. I was told it would take two to twelve months to recover from the effects. I had only taken them for four months so I set an arbitrary deadline of four months to recover. That didn't happen, as a matter of fact, some things got worse. I didn't take it well at all.

Why, if my cancer hasn't done one thing as expected, did I think this would go according to plan?

My friend Kathy told me from the beginning to lean more towards 12 months for recovery. I tried to remain optomistic, but it was so hard. I have been so angry. I know in July I very unfairly unloaded on the other Jennifer (not my sister) and told her that I was sure it would never get any better than it was. That I would just have to take larger and larger doses of oxy until I was disabled.

But then when the July script ran out at the beginning of August, I just decided to stop taking them. I only told SouthieBoy. God! What that poor man has been through, lol. He couldn't tell his BFF, he just had to deal with what I dumped on him.

Man that was awful. There were days I would have killed to take them. LOL

But it got better. The thing that got better most quickly? My mind. I think that was the scariest part of all of this. I was getting fuzzier all the time. I couldn't read more than a page or two without going back and re-reading things. But almost right away that got better.

Sure, there is still pain, but apparently, despite all my doubts, I am dealing with it.

So, by and large, on this sunny, cool Sunday - I feel good!!!

I am off to the spa in my bathroom with this song in my head -

Friday, September 04, 2009

SPC Jordan Shay, USArmy, Milblogger

Today the Milblogging community lost one of their own.

SPC Jordan Shay blogged at "Through Amber Lenses". The soldier killed alongside him in the vehicle rollover, Staff Sgt. Todd W. Selge, 25, of Burnsville, MN saddens my heart too.

My sincerest condolences to the families of both men.

If you have the time you should read Jordan's blog and Alex's tribute to him at his blog, Army of Dude.

Jordan's blog "Through Amber Lenses"

Alex's Post "Through Amber Lenses, A Light"

It's noted at Mudville Gazette.

Jordan was also recently sucked into Twitter and there are a few Tweets to read. He was @regulargrunt.

The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald have written about him because he was a local boy from Amesbury.
I read Jordan.

I don't usually come this close to what I write about.

I am lucky enough to have all my friends - real and imaginary - go and come back.

To absent companions.

$385 To Get The Car Back On The Road

Argghhh!!! You people are going to have to work out a schedule of who is taking me to dinner on which night......so I don't go hungry the next two weeks.

Of course it happened on the paycheck that reflects the time I took off for my Dad's stroke. LOL I worked 41 hours out of a normal 80 for the pay period.

I need a tin cup.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

From The Victory Theater

Victory Theater: Hollywood And World War II

Stars Enlist For NationalWWII Museum Effort

Wow. From the NY Post today -- The National World War II Museum in New Orleans and Tom Hanks have announced the roster for voicing their new WWII epic Beyond All Boundaries premiering at The Museum on November 6. It seems like Hanks must have drafted the help of half of Hollywood as the cast list reads like a who's who of A-Listers including Hanks, its narrator and executive producer, joined by Kevin Bacon, Corbin Bleu, Patricia Clarkson, Kevin Connolly, James Cromwell, Blythe Danner, Viola Davis, Jessie Eisenberg, John Goodman, Neil Patrick Harris, Kevin Jonas, Justin Long, Tobey Maguire, Daran Norris, Wendell Pierce, Chris Pine, Brad Pitt, Bill Sadler, Gary Sinise and Elijah Wood, among others. Are there more? Keep coming back to Hollywood at War for more information about this special cinematic experience opening in New Orleans.

Sounds awesome doesn't it?

H/T to @WWIIToday

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

FW&FS, Rear Admiral Wayne E. Meyer

9/1/2009 8:01:00 PM
From U.S. Department of Defense

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Retired Navy Rear Adm. Wayne E. Meyer, regarded as the father of the Navy's AEGIS Weapons System, passed away Sept. 1.
Read more here.

Often times we wait too long to honor people. This time however, the Navy was in time and on target.

Last October I was invited up to Maine for the christening of DDG-108 & missed it. But you know who didn't miss it? Rear Admiral Wayne E. Meyer.

September 2, 1945


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Fr. Vincent Capodanno, USNR

Every #MilitaryMon I twitter the names of Medal of Honor Recipients from the US Navy & Reserves. For several weeks now I have been tweeting the name

Lieutenant Vincent R. Capodanno, Chaplain Corps, United States Naval Reserve

along with a link to his citation. So when I was reading some Navy news and saw Father Capodanno's name, I had to click the link.

Mass at National Shrine to honor Servant of God and heroic Navy chaplain

Washington D.C., Aug 18, 2009 / 06:12 am (CNA).- Servant of God Fr. Vincent Capodanno, a U.S. Navy chaplain whose heroic ministry to U.S. Marines in Vietnam won him the nickname “the Grunt Padre” and a posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor, will be remembered with a Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on the evening of September 3.

The organization CatholicMil.org, which is dedicated to supporting Catholics in the U.S. armed forces, told CNA that Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for Military Services will celebrate the Mass in the Crypt Church of the Shrine at 7:00 p.m. Veterans who served with the chaplain and members of the Capodanno family are also among the confirmed attendees.

Read the rest here.

A website to further the cause for Father Capodanno's beatification is here. Well worth the click.