Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Support The Troops

From COL Ostlund
ROCK Paratroopers –
Sadly, we lost another ROCK Paratrooper. I was going to say to his own hand, but that is only partially true. We likely lost him in a firefight that raged internally to him – maybe known to others, maybe not. As tragic as the human toll of our collective deployment was – 26 killed and 143 wounded – it pales in comparison to the preventable losses we have racked up since redeploying. Before a ten year reunion, we could surpass losses in combat with losses in “garrison” – tragic.
While deployed to fight the demons of Kunar, all ensured the billions of dollars-worth of assets our great nation has were on standby or readily available – and when “in contact”, we brought them to bear with lethal results. When fighting internal demons we have to do the same, BRING TO BEAR THE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF ASSETS – military and civilian – THAT OUR GREAT NATION HAS AVAILABLE. Reach in to our no virtual formation – and reach out for the assets to suppress, fix, then destroy the demons that are killing our brothers. We have to do better and collectively we can.
Justin, Destined Company – RIP..
ROCK


     This was posted recently to a Facebook page I am a member of.  I'm sharing it because I think it is perfectly said.  The Rock is the nickname of the 2nd battalion, 503rd parachute infantry regiment, out of Vicenza Italy.  David was a member of The Rock.  We didn't personally know this solider, though we've known too many like him.  
     I recently read an article, quoting Clint Eastwood about the movie American Sniper.  I'll post the article for those who want to read it in it's entirety.  However, for those that do not, I'll paste a few excepts from the article here:

"We tend to talk about “the troops” only in an insistent plural, distancing ourselves from them—their complexity, their individuality, their humanity—through the lens of the heroic collective. "

"Not only because the world isn't a Toby Keith song, but because the easy, empty logic of “supporting the troops” gives civilians leave to do a disservice to the people we reflexively thank for their service: It allows us to be ignorant of what that service entails in the first place."

As Fallows summed it up: "We love the troops, but we'd rather not think about them.


Original article can be read here: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/01/beyond-support-our-troops-the-admirable-complexities-of-american-sniper/384574/

     My take on this: civilians do not really want to know the ugly reality of what our soldiers endure.  But it exists, and it changes soldiers.  Some may seem to deal with it better than others but I know the struggle exists in them all.  What is normal life to someone who has seen the things our soldiers have seen in the last 15 years?  Furthermore, are you ever really normal after living through war?  My best guess is no.  Somewhere along the lines, we are failing our veterans.  Maybe because society expects them be something they aren't.  Another fantastic quote that stcks out in my mind right now comes from the movie Korengal, also about the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment out Italy, discusses the nature of the phrase "You did what you had to do."  Have you ever said that?  Because to the soldier, they volunteered to join the army, they choose be an infantryman.  They made choices that put themselves exactly where they are.  They did not "do what they had to do."  Now consider the impact of that statement (you did what you had to do) on someone who believes just the opposite.  Maybe it's not the most appropriate thing, maybe it's not even the right thing to say.  
     I don't profess to know all the answers, I just know that something needs to change because I'm tired of seeing soldiers survive a firefight, only to succumb to an internal battle upon returning to civilian life.  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Croatan Lodge, Fort Bragg NC

Over the MLK holiday, we went exploring!  Our friends, Bill and Amy, had been telling us about this old Rockefeller mansion that had been abandoned on army base.  From the minute he told us about it, David and I were interested.  And that is where we ventured off to.  

The front of the Croatan Lodge.  


The property is extensive.  When it became abandoned the army bought it, and now uses is for training purposes.  



When it was built, it was designed as  golf course and hunting lodge.  There are many buildings spread all over the place to explore.  






This is part of a golf area.  


Attached to this building was an indoor pool, which can still be seen.  


My best pictures are the panoramic shots I took, but I don't know how to get them onto the blog in their original format.  






A few of the buildings could not be explored because of asbestos.  Like this one below.  



This building was in relatively good shape, as can be seen by the hardwood floors that are still in tact and in decent condition.  















I don't have more to write because it was haphazard exploring.  We were just walking around, and stumbling upon stuff.  My next visit, I plan on having a game plan, and being more informed about where I am, what building I'm walking into and such.  

You can read more about the Croatan Lodge here: Percy Rockefeller Lodge

Friday, January 23, 2015

A great gift idea

For christmas, my father in law gave David and I the gift of Wine and Design.  We've been there before and had a blast.  This time, David pushed us to be even more creative by doing Picasso like portraits of each other.  At first, I resisted.  I resisted a lot, but he kept on and eventually I gave in.  I am glad I did though!  

Our evening started with a shared bottle of wine and Kinect bowling.  We all needed loosen our inhibitions and get the creative juices flowing! 

Once we got to Wine and Design, we all stared at our blank canvas for far too long.  Except for David.  He's irritating like that.  


My canvas developed a rough facial sketch.  Don't mind the neck.  I sure didn't.  



Then we all added some color.  



We had made an arrangement that the portraits would be a surprise, until they were competed.  



The portrait of David (above) and Billy (below)


These are the two images we had to look at, and go off of.  









Surprise!



The completed works.  


Mine does look like the original, but as David said "It's not his fault they modeled it after me!" ; )


We all had such a good time.  After painting, we walked down to Pierro's and had dinner together, before heading back home.  

When David first suggested these paintings to me, I said no because they didn't "go" with our house and I had no idea where we would even hang them.  I didn't like the way they looked.  After doing it, I couldn't be more proud of our paintings, which hang proudly in our hallway.  What's more, I have the wonderful memory of doing it.  We all laughed so much.  It's was that deep laugh that hurts your cheeks.