Army / Writing

NaNoWriMo and my Army career

I’m using November 2015 to participated in #NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. It’s suppose to be a month in which to bang out 50k words towards a novel, using a lot of great tools and formulas from this great and structured program, but I’m a rebel – I’m going to try and put down 50k (or more) words about my time in the Army. Stories I Should Tell, I’m calling it. So, here’s the question to you: what are you favorite Art in the Army stories, that just have to be included?

Army / Iraq / Syria

America on being, or not being, in Syria today

The White House announced Friday that the US is going to deploy Special Forces personnel to Syria. The announcement specified that these SF personnel, described as intending to number less than 50, are going there as advisers to moderate rebel groups fighting against ISIS/ISIL. Today, President Obama faced questions from NBC Nightly News about his September 2013 pledge to not put troops on the ground in Syria. Back then, President Obama had stated, “My answer is simple. I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria. I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan. I will

44 Days / Army / Iraq

On Stifled Innovations

I have been spending a lot of time recently reading, re-reading, and talking with fellow captains about an April 2002 paper, ““STIFLED INNOVATION? DEVELOPING TOMORROW’S LEADERS TODAY.” Dr. Leonard Wong, of the Strategic Studies Institute, wrote it. The first time I read it, I cheered. The second time, I stewed. Now, it just gets me thinking, and worrying, about the company commanders to follow. The description of the paper is tantalizing – “The author examines the current company commander experience and concludes that the Army values innovation in its rhetoric, but the reality is that junior officers are seldom

44 Days / Army / Iraq

Coming out of Command

I’ve spent time today rebuilding my main computer, and with that, moving and backing up a lot of files.  I ran across a file, the contents of which are below, from an online interview I did with the folks at, back in 2003 or 2004, about capturing and sharing lessons learned about wartime command.  I’d almost forgotten I’d done the interview.

Army / Oahu / Running


“I’m going out for a run, probably up to Post.  I’ll be back… after midnight, probably after 1” I said to my wife, as I laced up my shoes.  I’d been making noise about going for a longer run since it was the Thursday night starting a long weekend, and really, I didn’t think my wife was listening to me. We’d just finished dinner, there was still plenty of summer sunlight, I had a good full belly, and was feeling strong. “Uh huh,” she said, “yeah.” Followed by, “Wait, what?”

Army / Blogging

The Army Officer’s Guide to Mentoring

My good friend and Army colleague Ray Kimball has a new book that has hit the Amazon bookshelves. The Army Officer’s Guide to Mentoring is the book version of his dissertation, written to support his PhD at Pepperdine this year, about the state of affairs for mentoring in the specifically Army Officer Corps. This is the book I wish that John Chverchko had had available, when I reported in to his unit as a brand new second lieutenant in 1996. Ray doesn’t prescribe what mentoring and coaching in the Army should be, he just does a great job, based on his


The Martian, Movie and Book

We’re just back from the family outing to go see the Matt Damon movie, The Martian. Because it has Matt Damon in it, I am suppose to say that it sucks and that I hated it, but because it’s based on the Andy Weir novel, I am compelled to say that I did like it. It’s Castaway (trailer) in space, wherein our hero has to “science the shit” out of things in order to make his way back to Earth. It’s a good movie.  

Mini / Portland

The Club Runs

In moving West this August, I have immersed myself in the local Mini club. It’s what we do as Mini owners – we get together, we talk cars, we turn wrenches, we share meals, we go for drives. The Portland club has been around, in one form or another, for as long as the new generations of Minis has been. And with that, so have their organized run – planned events and drives, wherein someone marks out a route and leads others on a drive, usually because of the value of the route itself. Mini owners like curves, they


“I need you to go into this minefield…”

I’ve done a lot of stupid things in my day. I did a lot of stupid things in service to the Army. At or near the topic of the list involves the time when I was a lieutenant, of course, and I was tasked to go into a minefield and recover 5,000 gallon field truck that rolled over onto its side there. We like to joke about minefields. They make for good drama. They are fantastic visuals, in movies, on TV – we just saw one on Doctor Who. But I’m not sure people really understand just how amazingly

Army / Culture / Family / etc.

The sound of gunfire

Alone, I can’t change American culture and this strange relationship we have with guns and ammunition. There are so many different things that America could do, to change the levels of gun violence in America, and the numbers of events of school shootings in our country. But this isn’t small problem, these solutions aren’t tiny ones, either, and I’m afraid that I haven’t come upon one yet that I can implement myself, which will bring national, regional, or cultural change. But what I can do is model the behavior I want to see. The behavior I want to see in

Army / Blogging / Culture / etc.

As we use to say, History is Written By the Winners

I still love that quote, from George Orwell. It was the title of a column he wrote in 1944, you can read it here. I bring it up because China – the People’s Republic of China, or as it’s also called, Communist China – just celebrated the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender and the end of World War II. The Atlantic, and one of my favorite features they do, In Focus, has great photos up that relate to both this topic, and this great quote from Orwell.

iPhone / Photography

iPhones, locations, and the dreaded curse of… Windows

My sister asked me for help, and I am at a loss for answers. Their friend took an iPhone to Europe, and took a lot of photos as they traveled. When they view and edit the photos on the iPhone, the phone displays the embedded geolocation information (in the form of latitude / longitude) with an approximation of the nearest city of town – Bergen, Norway, as an example.


The news and the campaigns

News reporting takes on such a strange shape during campaign season in America. I ran across an article on the NY Times website yesterday, just after it was published. “State Department Redacts Material Deemed Sensitive in Hillary Clinton’s Emails” was the title, and I saw it published since I subscribe to the RSS feed for the NY Times headlines.  But the headlines, and the article, didn’t stay that way. They changed, significantly.


Back to School: Engaging Parents

A few weeks ago, I was faculty at the CUE Rockstar event in Crescent City. Last week, I attended the #edcamp here in Portland, #edcampPDX. At both places, I talked with teachers about better ways to engage parents, based on the techniques we use in the Army, but I also talked about tools teachers can use in better engaging parents. And since school has actually started in many places, to include our own school district, I should probably share some of those ideas here as well. Here they are: Some tools to consider, when changing how you engage parents

Army / Military

Before You Separate from the Army, Fix Your Records

I retired from the Army this spring. I didn’t want to. I had more years of service to the national left in me, more cans of whoop-ass, more things I could and wanted to do for the nation, for the Army, for the Soldiers with whom I was having the honor of serving. It wasn’t my choice. The Army said it was time. It’s also that time now when more of my peers are being told the same thing. Thanks, but it’s time to retire. Here are things I learned during my process, things they can and should considering