May 24, 2009

Memorial Day Story

Today I would like to remember those who have passed in the line of duty serving this country. One in particular stands out to me. His name is Peter Woodall. Growing up in Sarasota, FL was by no means a difficult place to be. It was a good community full of things for us high school guys to do. Plenty of girls, great beaches and our passion paintball. I first met Peter in the JROTC Program at Riverview High school. He was year younger but exhibited the strength and professionalism that I would expect out of a seasoned veteran at his young age. We quickly became friends, and myself along with some other friends of our we created our first paintball team. All was going well. we played well together playing when and where ever we could (sometimes illegally). After high school, Most of the team joined the military save for two. We went on to keep in touch as much as possible but as our careers progressed it became very difficult. Peter was a Marine and a darn good one being selected for Staff Seargent in only 7 years. Before he could wear the rank his time was cut short. While placing a counter charge on an IED, the IED exploded killing him instantly. I received the news through one of my former paintball team members and was devastated. I still think of him and I still have his phone number programmed into my phone. He was a great friend who would do anything for you. Though second to none he was a brother in arms. He is sorely missed. Peter, if you are up there reading this, we miss you........

Pictures and the press release can be read here: Peter Woodall 2, 3, 4

April 16, 2009

Oh Wonderous Suds

I have embarked on another one of crazy ideas and started to create my next beer. But Benji, you may ask, this has nothing to do with the military? This is where you would be incorrect. Many of our forefathers were brewmasters them selves. While many choosing to brew whisky instead of ale or mead, it has its root deep in military and especially Britsh Navy Culture. As a salute to those who served, I am creating an Imperial India Pale Ale.
IPA History (in short)
In order to satiate heads of state, and Brits living on the Asian sub-continent Some of their favorite ale was sent from the fog bogs to Inda. Due to the condition onboard a ship most noteabbly the lack of A/C and the long trips (often several months), their ales would spoil on the passge. They had to think of a way to further preserve the beer. Enter Hops. Hops was initiall used as a means to preserve the ale. So why not add more preservatives to make the ale last. It did last but what they didn't expect was to create a beer with a noticeablly more bitter taste than their normal ales. In order to support this the mash was increased which also leads to a sweeter beer to off set the bitterness and a higher alcohol content.
What makes it Imperial?
To answer this is simple. Add more of everything. More malted Barley and more Hops!! This creates a beer even higher in alcohol and even more bitter.
A Tribute
So again as a tribute to those who are serving and who have served this IIPA is for you. It will be handed out to local soldiers returning from their long deployments over seas and the receipe will be posted for other brewers wishing to do the same. It's my first official beer for the soldiers, by a soldier. Enjoy!!

April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

As I write this I sit inside a SCIF missing my family.

I know it's a late post but Happy Easter! I would like to personlly thank anyone (at this point) who acctually reads my lame lamentings and ask that you think of our service members who are currently serving in position where they don't get to see their families. Thanks for your service guys and gals; I wish you a safe and speedy return.

April 10, 2009

To leave or not to leave that is the Iraqi Question

First here is the Article that spawned this question.

Next my thoughts.

Far be it for a lowly NCO to speak his mind but it is my given right as an American and urge everyone else to do it as well. When I heard that we were leaving Iraq my first thought was WTF over?! Given the current state of the country and the shift towards Afghanistan I undstand the need to shift troops and to slow down the rotations to give more soldier time wih their families. I am all about that. Now forget that most of the nation acctually believes what they hear on television and think for a second. Why on earth would you pull troops out at this point other than politial posturing?

The news reports that MOST people see point to many Iraqi nationals wanting the US out. What they don't show is the surpising number that want us to stay there and finish what we started. I am a firm believer that you should finish whether or not you are faced with adversity. The issue I forsee happening is something close to the Russians and Afghanistan after their 10 year war. It just happened that Russia up and left the Afghan people to rebuild their the homes that they had destroyed and had since fostered a large hate and left a significant power vacum which was almost imediately filled by the Taliban. Wonder why the Afghan people initially hated the US so much? Why the Taliban was allowed to grow to their pre-9/11 strength? Because once the Russian left so did our money that helping to fund their insurgency.

This same issue could happen in Iraq today as it di in Afghanistan many years ago. Al-qaeda is still prevalent in many northern towns as well as other neighboring countries waging their own insurgent suport lines against the US.

In my opinion as an analyst.....I say stay the course finish till it is complete it is the right thing to do by the people.

Don't F@#% With a SEAL

Many of you out there in the community may have head the story of Marcus Luttrell, who in previous years has been awarded the Navy Cross as well as many other awards. Well some stupid @$$ bag went out and killed his dog. Some of you out there may say on well thats sad and unacceptable. There is more....This dog was given to him as a companion to help him deal with the horros that he experianced during his time in theater.
There are a few things we can learn from this:
1. SEALs are trained to drive in extremely harsh terrain at high speeds in order to action an objective or break contact
2. SEALs a vengeful lot after you have killed one of their own
3. Don't F* with a SEAL unless you are ready to suffer the consequences.

I just have to say I am glad the cops got to this guy before Marcus did. Otherwise we would probably be seeing one of our own in a bad situation.

The article can be found here.

The Start of Something Good

Here I am again stuck inside the SCIF no windows, just drab walls and grey cubicles..... How did I ever get myself into this mess? Cue the flashback. It all stared when I was a pudgy teen brought up on military values. My father and grandfather were in the military, so I figured hey if my old man can do it, heck I should have this thing down in a couple months and be running the place by year end. How hard could it be?

Enter SFC Foster my drill sergeant. I joined at 5' 9" 206lbs of blubbery ice cream eating goodness. SFC Foster was determined to turn me into a lean mean fighting machine. He kicked the crap out of us day in and day out. Well thanks to him I left there a lean 144. A full 62 lbs gone in 9 weeks.

I left basic ready to take on what ever would come my way and a profound understanding that I would not be running the Army in a year. Well I turned my focus to more constructive efforts. Airborne school....... My grandfather always said only 2 things fall from the sky, bird shit and rain. Well I finished as keep of the wings and had a full 7 jumps to my name. (yes I said 7 you only get 5 from school, I blew out my knee on jump 2 and was carried off the DZ and had to be recycled. I had torn my ACL, MCL, and PCL. But more on the fantastic medical care on a later post.)

Now I was on my way to AIT. Good Fellow Air Force Base here I come!! To a private who knew practically nothing of the Army, putting him on an AFB made for some interesting times. I squeaked by with out any major infractions and I was officially a 98C10PCM.

Some interesting times and 9 years later here I am. I have been deployed 3 times to the Middle east and many more times around Asia and its islands.

I have worked in many SCIFs some have windows but most not. Some are under ground, in the side of a mountain, or just simply a tent. No matter how you look at it the perspectives are all the same.


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