Life gets in the way 

I haven’t posted anything in over a month now. Though I had plenty to say and write about the Pages From My Pocket series, as well as other quips, tales and thoughts – life has just gotten in the way. 

Work is insanely busy. I struggle to find time to even pause to reflect on what my life is like now, though the stress and angst with work and life should pale in comparison to my life overseas. 

I will write. That I promise you. Just bear with me. 

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Contact: Time Measured in Seconds —

TBOTB Blog sponsored by: Protalus Discount Code: ffvillage Support Wounded Warriors Publishing Contact. What is it? It’s a radio-call; it’s an event; it’s something you receive, not something you get to give (there are other words for that); it is what you train for. What is contact? I realized that contact means a little something different to […]

via Contact: Time Measured in Seconds —

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The Print Shop: Pages From My Pocket

In this week’s edition of Pages From My Pocket: The Print Shop

There were a lot of anti-Iraq force (AIF) support networks and facilitation cells in Tal’Afar. I remember that there were a lot of ‘shops’. A lot of businesses got used to disguise locations to build IEDs or car bombs. A lot of businesses were required to fabricate a number of things associated with conducting their counterinsurgency. Back in these early days of the war, a lot of things were ‘tell-tale signs’ of insurgent activity or threats. A car that had a bunch of munitions thrown into the trunk would make the back end ‘ride low’ due to their weight. SO, we looked for a lot of vehicles that ‘rode low’.  I think that once this technique was discovered it was quickly remedied. Cars that were to be used as Continue reading

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It’s In The Courtyard: Pages From My Pocket

In this week’s edition of Pages From My Pocket: Intel

Every soldier is a sensor. That aside, there are a number of ways that battlefield intelligence can be collected. The very nature of our Cavalry Squadron was RTSA: reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition. That doesn’t just include spotting enemy artillery positions, armored columns, and reporting the grade and slope of roads in unfamiliar territory. Those are all great scout tasks but the war on terror was seeing us increasingly gathering more human intelligence. Each platoon had an intelligence soldier Continue reading

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Council Me, Please: Pages From My Pocket

In this week’s edition of Pages From My Pocket: Reconciliation

This one comes from our time in the Surge. Post-Baghdad the Regiment moved to Ba’qubah in Diyala province. Diyala was where Abu Al Zarqawi had been hiding before the U.S. leveled him and his house. The continued sectarian issues in the region, coupled with the lack of employment and rule of law, were large factors in what was going on in Diyala at the time. This instability created rife opportunities for the Jaish Al-Mahdi (JAM – Shia) and various splinter groups of what was left of Al Qaeda in Iraq (Sunni). Diyala had become what we felt was a “mini Mosul” – most of us in the Regiment having been in and Continue reading

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QRF -This Sux: Pages From My Pocket

In this week’s edition of Pages From My Pocket: QRF

Ah – QRF; the Quick Reaction Force.  I’ve written a few brief blurbs about being on QRF here and here. But as goes, there are hundreds of other stories about being on QRF never told.

And from my leaders notebook circa 2005, here is one. Continue reading

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Purple Heart Day — Pacific Paratrooper

August 7th is National Purple Heart Day.

It doesn’t seem to be a day on calendars, there isn’t a card for it, and there are no cakes – nor should their be, if you ask me. What today is, to me at least, is a day to remember those who paid for their Purple Heart with their lives; to remember those who paid for theirs with their limbs, eyesight, organs, and blood; and above all, it reminds me of all the close-calls: the “could have been”; “might have been”; “an inch to the left”; or the “two seconds later, and…” moments. Continue reading

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Winds of Change: Pages From My Pocket

In this first edition of Pages From My Pocket: Change

Notes on the changing tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP’s) used by AIF (anti-Iraqi forces) Circa June, 2005.

Upon returning from Tal’Afar, but before we moved down to Rawah, we had done a number of patrols and missions in and around Mosul. Part of that was to assist the Brigade in gathering intelligence on the surrounding areas, some of which were just too ‘out of the way’ for them to have previously focused on. So while we got familiar again with Mosul, we also ventured east of the city to a number of towns (mostly friendly, with little or no AIF Continue reading

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Introducing the “Pages From My Pocket” Series

I recently spent a weekend overhauling the storage space under the stairs leading down to the basement and furnace room. Doing so allowed me to get rid of some crap I had been keeping stored that was of no real use. It also allowed me to rework my shelves in a way that gave me free access to the footlocker you see in the main image. I have been dragging this footlocker around with me since OIF III; from Seattle to Iraq and back, to Germany, Continue reading

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Can’t Make These Things Up

We had a sniper problem.  Plain and simple, what began as opportunistic or harassment fire escalated into a full-scale issue.  It all was at and around the Castle in Tal’Afar (the old Ottoman Empire fortification that ringed the central hill smack dab in the center of the city.)  Across the way from the Castle to the east was Al Sarai, Tal’Afar’s AIF stronghold and bad-neighborhood trophy winner.  In the fall of 2004, up at the Castle we occasionally had small arms fire directed at us from the winding endless series of alleyways and courtyards. It was horribly inaccurate and most of the time you just could still stand there. Continue reading

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