Social Media and the dangers of over-sharing

MOD Security Risks – Think before you Share – YouTube.

A British Public Service Announcement that is equally vital regardless of your location.

Think about what type of information you are passing on about your loved one, whether they are deployed or at home, to the public.

Everything you could want to know about the proper use of social media as a family member of a someone serving their country

There is an old saying from WWII: Loose lips sink ships. It still applies.

h/t  Ghost of a Flea: the hoopiest frood, this side of the galaxy


Heroes saving lives: 214th Medavac Aviation Regiment

Blood and Dust – People & Power – Al Jazeera

This video is difficult to watch, as it shows wounded soldiers and civilians. The narrator of the film is an asshole; posing questions that I found to be ridiculous and offensive. The video concentrates on what an amazing job these guys do and how committed they are to doing it.Yes, it is Al Jazeera, but it is important to get the perspective of other cultures, even if it is the one you are fighting.

It’s just too bad that politics are preventing them from doing it.

Joe Bonham Project

Update: Apparently wordpress only allows specific video links when you aren’t paying them. So no more embedding, just links to the videos.

NYT video Drawing Warriors: Art as Documentation and Therapy for Wounded Vets

THE JOE BONHAM PROJECT represents the efforts of wartime illustrators to document the struggles of U.S. service personnel undergoing rehabilitation after traumatic front-line injury. Formed in early 2011 by Michael D. Fay, the Project takes its name from the central character in Johnny Got His Gun, Dalton Trumbo’s 1938 novel of a World War I soldier unable to communicate with the outside world due to the extent of his wounds. Scheduled to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, the exhibition will mark the silent sacrifices of American soldiers in the ensuing decade-long conflict.

The blog link has some gut-wrenching pieces on display. There is an emotional and visceral quality, in these sketches of wounded veterans, that isn’t inherent in photography. The illustrator in the video touches upon this effect, when he mentions the intimacy that a drawing creates. There is no relationship between the photographer and the subject, simply because it takes mere seconds to preserve an image. Illustration captures a memory, a personality, it spans time in a way that a photograph is simply incapable of conveying. I liked the fact that the artists (in the video) learn to see the soldiers as individuals, and they are drawn (no pun intended) into their lives and the circumstances that led them, both the artists and the soldiers, to this place. How often does the art world cross into the world of war, and how often do artists come face to face with broken bodies, faces hiding pain behind humor, and the only defensible position they have left, their pride?

Positively Military

Makin Island Sailors, Marines Volunteer at Hong Kong Animal Shelter during Port Visit

A group of 24 Sailors and Marines from amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) spent a day at a local dog shelter as part of a community service project in Hong Kong, May 27.

Sailors and Marines volunteered to bathe dogs and perform yard work at the Hong Kong Dog Rescue Center during the ship’s May 25-28 port visit.

Airmen advise Afghan women officers, instill hope

The Afghan air force Kabul Wing was the first to graduate six female Afghan maintenance officers in 2012.

“We are here to give oversight and support along with technical expertise,” said Maj. Jennifer Bradley, 440th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron flightline maintenance adviser, who is deployed from Detachment 510 at the University of New Mexico as an Air Force ROTC instructor.

“We show them new aircraft and how to maintain it,” Bradley added.

But, it is not only about learning the job, but showing the women there is someone they can look up to and see they have succeeded, said Capt. Vanessa Vanden Bout, 439th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron, gender integration adviser and force support squadron adviser, who is deployed from 3rd Air Force, Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

“Bradley has shown them they are not just females but individuals,” continued the Vermilion, Ohio native. “She is giving them both courage and hope to serve their country. It’s plain and simple mentorship. That’s what she’s teaching them.”

The major wanted to show the Afghan female officers the capabilities of women.


Texas National Guardsmen Inspired by Burundi Soldiers

MUDUBUGU, Burundi (May 14, 2012) — It was the first time U.S. Army Sgt. Idalissa Hernandez set foot into a Burundi national defense forces training center. For the soldiers she helped mentor there, it was the first time a female Soldier came to share best practices with them.

Hernandez and Staff Sgt. Michael Easdon, Task Force Raptor, 3rd Squadron, 124th Cavalry Regiment, Texas National Guard, were invited by the Burundi Peoples National Defense Forces to participate in a Peace Support Operations Soldier Skills Field Training course held here from April 9 to May 11, 2012.

“When I first was asked to go up in front of the group to share what I knew, I was nervous and didn’t know how they would receive me as a female,” said Hernandez, squad leader, 702nd Military Police Company, Task Force Raptor. “Once they realized that I knew what I was talking about, they quickly accepted me as a mentor and a Soldier, regardless.”

Hernandez is a military police instructor at the Texas National Guard Regional Training Institute, back home at Camp Swift, near Bastrop Texas. She noticed many similarities between mentoring U.S. and Burundi Soldiers.

Lots of good photos of Burundi troops getting trained by US Soldiers. I know our forces regularly train with other nations, but this is the first that I’ve heard of it occurring in a non-South African nation. I’m not surprised by it, though. It is likely that it has been going on for quite a long time, probably since Somalia.

You should read each of the articles, as I only post highlights.







Hardcore. Soldier.

Females proud to wear Sapper tab | Article | The United States Army.


FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (May 25, 2012) — Women are not allowed to serve in certain combat occupations — but that’s not stopping female engineers from taking on the grueling 28-day Sapper Leader Course, becoming Sapper qualified and wearing the coveted Sapper tab.

“I saw it as a great opportunity to prove to myself I could do it,” said Maj. Jennifer Etters, the first female officer Sapper Leader Course graduate in March 2002.

She recalls her schooling in the Sapper Leader Course at Fort Leonard Wood as the hardest thing she has ever done, but is thankful for the demanding training.

“The course taught me a lot about myself and what I could handle physically, mentally and emotionally. I believed it prepared me for some tough situations down the road — especially in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Etters said.

Etters said being the only female in her class was not always easy, but that didn’t change her affection for her profession.

“A few classmates did not want me there, particularly during the patrolling phase,” Etters said. “I love being an Engineer and our motto ‘Let us try.’ I think it’s important for any Soldier that truly has the heart of an Engineer be given the chance to be a Sapper.”

Six years later, Sapper tab recipient Capt. Emily Hannenberg had a contrasting experience in her class containing 32 Sappers — four of them women.

“I was very proud to be part of such an amazing group of strong, confident and determined women. It was great to be there with sisters in arms, and I know that because of our hard work we were able to represent women well to our fellow Sappers,” Hannenberg said.

According to the Sapper Leader Course’s records, the female graduation rate is 35 percent, compared to 52 percent for their male comrades.

“Entry and graduation requirements are the same for female students as they are for male students,” said Sgt. 1st Class Troy Winters, Sapper Leader Course chief instructor. “Our instructors are trained to treat all Soldiers equally.”

Hannenberg said she experienced this as she and her classmates were held to the same high expectations.

“There is absolutely zero difference between the standard for female and male students. Females never once were given a different packing list for a ruck, a slower time standard for a run, or a lighter weapons system during patrolling. In my experience, the Sapper Leader Course did an exceptional job of being gender blind and adhering to unwavering high standards of performance for all candidates,” Hannenberg said.

Although the Sapper Leader Course is designed to be brutal, both Etters and Hannenberg have fond memories of the time they spent on Fort Leonard Wood.

Etters particularly enjoyed her hands-on education at the demolition range.

She enjoyed the challenge of being a Sapper so much that she entered the Best Sapper competition in 2011 with teammate 1st Lt. Robert West.

No Gender but soldier. No Color but service colors. You can either do the job or you can’t. Everyone deserves the opportunity to prove that they can serve their country in whatever capacity they can achieve.

My Grandfather’s Field Jacket

My Grandfather gave me his uniform jacket, after Desert Storm. It is the only thing that I have, that was his. He served in WWII and Korea.

He died in 2008.He was so proud of me for joining the Army. He was a lifetime member of the VFW; they put up yellow ribbons all over town in my honor, and in honor of the rest of the troops. There was never any grey area, as far as me being a soldier. My parents weren’t happy, but my Grandfather bragged about me constantly. Unfortunately, I don’t know a lot about what he did, because he would just make jokes about it whenever I queried about it. Or he would tell me all the “fun” stuff he did while in Germany.

RIP Grandpa.


Kansas gov. signs measure blocking Islamic law | Fox News.

The new law, taking effect July 1, doesn’t specifically mention Shariah law, which broadly refers to codes within the Islamic legal system. Instead, it says courts, administrative agencies or state tribunals can’t base rulings on any foreign law or legal system that would not grant the parties the same rights guaranteed by state and U.S. constitutions.

During the Kansas Senate’s debate on the bill earlier this month, Sen. Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican described a vote for the measure as a vote for women’s rights, adding, “They stone women to death in countries that have Shariah law.”

Hooper said supporters of such proposals have made it clear they are targeting Islamic law.

Underlying all of this is demonizing Islam and marginalizing American Muslims,” he said.

I’ve made a personal decision regarding Islam. That decision is that I have no problem demonizing a religion that would even consider allowing:

Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) has appealed to the Islamist-dominated parliament not to approve two controversial laws on the minimum age of marriage and allowing a husband to have sex with his dead wife within six hours of her death according to a report in an Egyptian newspaper.

She was referring to two laws: one that would legalize the marriage of girls starting from the age of 14 and the other that permits a husband to have sex with his dead wife within the six hours following her death.

There are a lot of kooky laws still on the books, that we get to smile and shake our heads over, but when a contemporary parliament actively considers the merits of child marriage and necrophilia, then I seriously have no problem DEMONIZING THIS STUPID ASS RELIGION. There are a lot of religious activities that I find ridiculous, as I am agnostic, and take a dim view on the strict interpretation of any religious doctrine. I could point to many silly-ass traditions within the various Christian sects, but luckily they have no affect on me, because they are not LAWS.

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