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

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

Army

“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

19 years, 7 months, 28 days

That’s it. Today was my last day on active duty in the United States Army. Today is also the 20 year anniversary of the day I signed my enlistment contract, and twenty years and a day after Kristin agreed that we should marry. I think this is where and when I am suppose to wax-nostalgic and blubber on about these twenty years, but today is only a milestone. Things aren’t stopping. There’s still shit to do. We still have great kids to raise. My amazing wife is still by my side, and we have many more adventures ahead of

Education

Professional Development: Books that matter

The New York Times has its list out now, and the list includes three books on education. I read a lot, though it’s often online and often things like the BBC, Reuters and al-Jazeera wire service feeds directly. But I do try to find balance in the books that I read, between books that I want to read and books that I should read. These three books are ones that I should read.

Education

A Call to Arms: Mentors & Coaches

This is Erin Stevenson (@MrsStevensonSS). I am suppose to say that she is a fairly typical 2nd year high school social studies teacher, only she’s not. She came to teaching later in life, after trials and tribulations, and finding herself. And I am also suppose to say that she is fairly typical, in that after having had an assigned “mentor” for her first year of teaching, she’s now going it alone during this, her second year in front of students. I would venture to guess that, in this fall semester, she’s focused on not drowning, getting her lesson plans

Army / Garmin Forerunner 305 / Military / etc.

The Sparta Challenge

I suppose I’ve always been known for having some crazy ideas. This, though, is probably pretty high up on the list of craziest things I’ve done. Over 30 calendar days, I just ran 300 miles. I didn’t run 300 miles in 30 days — I actually did it in just 26 days. But we’ll get to that. I’m not really sure where this idea came from. Last month, I was in Baghdad for a 10 day visit, and while there I ran about 66 miles on 5 runs. That seemed like a lot of running to me — my

Oahu / Running / Running Oahu

Sixty

I’ve had a big week of running. This is a big year of running for me, a year when I’m averaging a hair under 40 miles of running per week. This week, I ran almost 65. 65 miles. I had no plans to run anything close to that I figured it was going to be just another week, a week of probably running 40 miles. I started the week off with a 3 hours run through the hills on the Aiea Loop, a run that might have been 11 miles long, or maybe a bit more. But Monday morning,

44 Days / Army

They’re just pictures

But they’re not. The NY Times has a piece today, talking about whether the new Obama administration will change the policy on photos of the caskets of dead soldiers coming home from the war front. After all, the caskets really do show the human cost of this long, long war. And they’re just photos. The photos are what they are. But they’re not just photos. I am unsure if I can really capture in words just how I feel about this. Those aren’t photos, those are men and women making one last journey. In the summer of 2003, when

Army / Iraq / Military

It’s election day

They’re going to the polls today, and I’m pretty excited about. It’s election day here in Iraq, with the citizens taking to the polls to elect members for their provincial councils. It’s these councils that will decide upon the new governors (and a few other key provincial leaders). The last time the Iraqis did this was in late 2005. They’re going to the polls today, and there is no doubt — this is their election. We, the Americans, just happen to be hanging out. It is their doing, lock, stock and barrel. Their security, their plans, their officials, their