Journey of a National Guard Soldier going Active

Thursday, June 30, 2005

A good article from the Economist

A good article I landed on while browsing the news magazines for world politics and such

here's a lil excerpt:

George Bush's long hot summer

"With Iraq, even Mr Bush's supporters admit that the administration exaggerated Saddam's ties to al-Qaeda. But in some ways, the current blithely optimistic doublespeak is worse. How can Mr Bush say he is “pleased with the progress” there, or Dick Cheney claim that the insurgency is “in the last throes”? Iraq is no Vietnam, but the sooner Mr Bush spells out the truth bluntly, the sooner he will recover his reputation as a straight-shooter with the American people and Congress."

Not much to say

Life went on, missions are rolling, same shit different day. Seems like our "leadership" had somewhat of a conscience attack. Just little things like the CO saying that he's going to put more emphasis on "soldier issues" and stuff like Platoon Sgt's saying that leader's are going to start writing more "positive" counseling statements, because there aren't that many being done. Too many negative ones.

I personally say Good Job, but to be a cynically asshole, I say also. Kinda 8 months late don't you say?

Oh ya, I got promoted yesterday. I'm a hard charging, mean truck driving, hooah all the way PFC now!! YESS!! Ok maybe not all that. Y'all know my personal views on my promotion, Long overdue, but I did my work for it since the time I've been back. "Proved" myself, shut my big ass mouth. Now there's word like "PLDC" being thrown in a same sentence as my name; for when I get back home. Now that's a scary thought. SGT. Johnny Rotten. Right! How bout we just aim for the SPC then talk about all that hoopla in due time huh?

They scrubbed me from the mission up to Anaconda, kinda pissed. I'm told that I gotta re-certify for my CLS, Combat Life Saver. "For the Love of God" I've taken that course 3 times already in less than a year, Once back home, one at Lewis, and one with the Regulators. Now I gotta do it a fourth time. Oh well. I heard it doesn't take that long, so no biggie.

Officially one more month till my leave. Good god, seems so far away. Truthfully, since I've been back with home unit, the days just go by slower, the missions aren't fun. It's just like going through the motions rather than participating in it. Very Exhausting.....

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Final Roll Call

The Memorial Service for SPC. Anthony Cometa was held today at 1500 at the Chapel in Zone 1 at AJ.

Alot of other people from other units were there, alot of high brass was there too. They had the typical Rifle in the ground with Kevlar and Dogtags hanging from the buttstock. The service went with a singing of the national anthem and an opening prayer. Then the commander talked about Cometa. After him, his 3 of his friends; 2 of em were the bandmates, talked about Tony.

Even at that point it didn't quite hit me. It was sad, the whole ordeal, no way around that. I mean, he was a friend, someone I personally knew, and someone that I would not see for a long long time. Yet; it still seemed unreal.

But then the Final Roll Call came. I've never been to a memorial service before, so I didn't really know what to expect. I didn't really think much of what the Final Roll Call would be like.

The 1SG of our unit came up to the front; we were all called to the position of attention, and he shouted out the names:

"SGT. Allman! HERE, First Sgt"
"SPC. Collins! HERE, First Sgt"

"SPC. Cometa......"

at that point, for some reason, I broke.


tears starting welling up....

"SPC. ANTHONY S. COMETA...Final Call...Dropped from Roll Call"

In my head, my mind was yelling out, Answer up Tony...but I knew why there was no answer....

They then proceeded to play "Taps" while the 21 Gun Salute was performed.

I haven't cried like this for as long as I can remember.

When we finally sat down, I got ahold of myself, wiped the tears off, and collected myself.

we had a final prayer and the procession was over. All the people at the ceremony then proceeded to walk by Tony's picture and Rifle display for a final rendering of the salute. Our unit went last. I walked up, looked at Tony one last time, Saluted my fellow "ex-PV2" and said goodbye.

That was that...

Back from "Mad Rush Anaconda"

So We got back earlier this afternoon, myself earlier tonight. Turned a 10 day mission into a 4 and a halfer. Sucked. Big. Mondo. Ass.

But the reason was obviously OK and no one minded; we had to be back in time for Cometa's Memorial Service.

I feel bad for the family, and SPC B and J. The three of them were real close before this war and during. They were in a band together back home. It sucks for everyone. Good Guy. Just like SPC B. said; "Of all people, It shouldn't have been him" I agree, but then again, it shouldn't have to be anybody right?

I remember just jokin aroud with him and he'd busted out his NY accent "DO IT!! DO IT!!" cracked me up. (inside joke y'kno)

I watched a little clip of the local new on Cometa. Angered me alot because of how the high brass talks about him like he knows him, how they're like buddies, and thats all public relations bullshit. You never even knew his name, let alone his face until this happened, and I despise that it's on C's dime. But it's expected I guess, right? I'll stop before "The man" screws me.

Tomorrow's gonna be...I dunno...just something we all have to deal with.

Take care bro, have fun jammin up there......

Friday, June 17, 2005


A good friend of mine died the other day. Kinda still in shock, too surreal....we all still talk about him like he's still here...I dunno...

He turned 21 the day before he died..can you believe that shit...*Sigh...

21 fuckin years old

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Food for thought

A former Bush team member during his first administration is now voicing serious doubts about the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9-11. Former chief economist for the Department of Labor during President George W. Bush's first term Morgan Reynolds comments that the official story about the collapse of the WTC is "bogus" and that it is more likely that a controlled demolition destroyed the Twin Towers and adjacent Building No. 7. Reynolds, who also served as director of the Criminal Justice Center at the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas and is now professor emeritus at Texas A&M University said, "If demolition destroyed three steel skyscrapers at the World Trade Center on 9/11, then the case for an 'inside job' and a government attack on America would be compelling." Reynolds commented from his Texas A&M office, "It is hard to exaggerate the importance of a scientific debate over the cause of the collapse of the twin towers and building 7. If the official wisdom on the collapses is wrong, as I believe it is, then policy based on such erroneous engineering analysis is not likely to be correct either. The government's collapse theory is highly vulnerable on its own terms. Only professional demolition appears to account for the full range of facts associated with the collapse of the three buildings."


Two years after President George W. Bush proclaimed "mission accomplished" in Iraq, some thoughtful officers are beginning to question who the insurgents actually are. In a recent interview the head of the US 42nd Infantry Division which covers key trouble spots, including Baquba and Samarra Major General Joseph Taluto said he could understand why some ordinary Iraqis would take up arms against U.S. forces because "they're offended by our presence." Taluto added, "If a good, honest person feels having all these Humvees driving on the road, having us moving people out of the way, having us patrol the streets, having car bombs going off, you can understand how they could (want to fight us). There is a sense of a good resistance, or an accepted resistance. They say 'okay, if you shoot a coalition soldier, that's okay, it's not a bad thing but you shouldn't kill other Iraqis.'" Taluto insisted however that the other foreign forces would not be driven out of Iraq by violence, observing, "If the goal is to have the coalition leave, attacking them isn't the way," he said. "The way to make it happen is to enter the political process cooperate and the coalition will be less aggressive and less visible and eventually it'll go away." Taluto's comments are sure to raise hackles at the Pentagon, which insist that all insurgents are either Baathists or al-Qaida. Taluto observed that "99.9 per cent" of those captured fighting the U.S. were Iraqis.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Supreme wrong

CITYLIFE is a free weekly local newspaper in vegas that I read religiously even now while I'm over here. It has great articles and op-ed pieces. Here's the most recent one that I tend to agree with. Hope they don't mind me posting it?


In the wake of the Supreme Court's immoral decision to tear medical marijuana out of the hands of sick people -- even in states where American citizens have overwhelmingly authorized the practice -- the Drug Enforcement Administration sought to reassure Nevadans that it will continue to focus on big-time drug traffickers, not sick people harvesting marijuana to alleviate pain.

"Our mission remains the same," the DEA's Rogene Waite told the Review-Journal.

Waite was probably hoping we'd all forget what the Review-Journal's editorial page remembered: One case that gave rise to the decision involved DEA agents confiscating six marijuana plants from the back yard of a California woman who was growing them to deal with a degenerative spinal disease. Clearly, the danger of trafficking that much marijuana compelled the feds to act?

Lies are just as important in the federal government's war on drugs as Glocks, AWACS and cooperation with foreign dictators. Look no further than the facts in Gonzales v. Raich for proof: Despite the fact that California voters approved the use of marijuana as medicine, two California women were charged -- in federal court -- with drug offenses, which arise out of Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce.

But wait, the defendants replied, this marijuana was grown and used by sick people in California, not sold for profit. Congress has no business regulating commerce that takes place entirely within the state of California. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, but the Bush administration appealed (the "Gonzales" in the caption is none other than Attorney General Alberto Gonzales).

Nice try, the Supreme Court said. "Given the enforcement difficulties that attend distinguishing between marijuana cultivated locally and marijuana grown elsewhere ... the court has no difficulty concluding that Congress had a rational basis for believing that failure to regulate the intrastate manufacture and possession of marijuana would leave a gaping hole" in national drug laws, the court's ruling says. Therefore, right or wrong, Congress' authority -- and the drug laws written under it -- stand.

And in the process, a host of other liberties, including states' rights and the republican guarantee clause of the U.S. Constitution, are jeopardized.It's ironic that conservative Republicans in the Bush administration find themselves presiding over a huge expanse of federal power. They've tried to whittle away at abortion rights. They've authorized spying on Americans via the USA PATRIOT Act. They've abused the executive's warmaking powers by invading another country on false pretenses. Where have all the small-government conservatives gone?

When it comes to the war on drugs, however, there are no partisan bounds: Republicans and Democrats have prosecuted that war -- sometimes with fatal results -- with equal vigor. Former drug users (think Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush) have in the latter years of their public service decided that we should definitely not do as they did.

If the American people had been told the truth about Iraq before American forces invaded -- that there were no weapons of mass destruction, no nuclear program, no ties to the Sept. 11 terrorists and no threat to the United States, not to mention that we would lose hundreds of soldiers and the cost would be billions higher than predicted -- war would have been far less likely. A lie was needed to sell the war to Congress and the public, and a lie was what we got.

The same thing is true of the war on drugs. If the government ever told people the truth -- the campaign is unwinnable and a massive sacrifice of civil rights, federal treasure and lives is necessary to continue to fight it -- Americans might start asking some uncomfortable questions.

In fact, they already have. Voters in several states, including California and Nevada, have passed laws to legalize the use of marijuana by sick people. It's far less about defying Washington than it is about compassion. But what does that matter to the federal government, which, though unable to prevent the Sept. 11 attacks, is certainly able to prevent people in the last months or days of their lives from the only thing that seems to relieve them of a little pain.

Those lying bastards.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Big Brother's Watching

I just got called in to talk with the 1SG, along with my whole chain of command. My platoon sgt, squad leader and team leader, the whole shebang. Wanna take a wild guess what this was about? Yup, you guessed right, it was concerning my blog. I was trying to keep calm on the outside but freaking out on the inside, I was afraid that they'd try to get me with OPSEC violation or something else, either way, I thought I was screwed. 1Sg read out some of my ever-so-tantilizing excerpts, which I felt totally embarassed to be hearing my own shit read in front of my whole chain.

I was told pretty much to just watch what I say, because the media loves to take shit like this and twist it, and that there are people watching this blog, ergo; big brother is watching.

I talked with 1Sg alone after that, kind of an "open-door policy" kinda talk, everything's gonna be ok, I think. I hope. I mean, Ever since I came back I been jsut trying to be the "model" soldier. Keeping my mouth shut, doing the job.

It's been going good so far, so when I was summoned in front of "the man". I was thinking what the hell did I do now? Am I that cursed that even when I do good, I do bad?

Enough about that topic.

Oh ya, guess what else, my leave got screwed up. Turns out you can request a leave date, but battalion will give you what they want, or that's one story I'm told, there's other like my Gun truck company dropped the ball on that one, or the paperwork was never filed. So instead of July 1st I gotta wait till the 30th to see my "family".


Sunday, June 05, 2005's on

So we're a Camp Taji, getting our backload, we're there for 2 days cuz the roads were black, throughtout the day there were bombs going off, at first we were like "What the hell was that?" but then found out that they were conducting controlled detonations right outside the wire on our last night there, about 9 pm, we heard a big ass boom, louder than any other controlled det. we all paid no thought to it but all od us did think that it was alot closer and louder than the controlled blasts, come to find out it wasn't a CB, turns out it was an indirect round that hit...cuz the alarm went off in about 10 sec. we were told to grab our IBA's outta the truck. I thought that was kinda funny though, although standard procedure is to don protective gear, it seemed funny because that meant that we had to go out to our trucks which were about 200 yds away from us. So on the way out I thought it was funny if another hit, WHILE I was getting the gear that's gonna protect me.

It's so hot, the damn busted ass A/C in the cab makes this whole trip just that much worse.

Leave is in less than a month...I can't wait, that's my main motivation right now. Just to get home, seemed only like yesterday that my leave date was 5 months off. Time flies I guess

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

bored at scannia

about 3:40 am right now, bored off my ass, but online so I can talk to some girls back home, read some news. I found out you have to register a garage sale in Las Vegas. how completely ASININE.

The only thing I can think about right is my leave. It's from July 1st to 15th. A month may seem like a long time but its not, as long as I'm on the road anyways.

Finally went to the Haji mart today for the first time in like a good month. Bought some movies I thought would be good. Watched 3 of them: "Kicking and Screaming" with Will Ferrel, funny but ASININE (starting to become my word of choice...dont ask why), the newest Jet Li movie called "Unleashed" good action movie with a surprisingly great storyline, and the movie "Crash". This is a star studded cast which deserves best screenplay and cinematography at the Oscars. GREAT movie, one of the best Drama's I've since in years. It should be out in the theaters stateside. WATCH IT...LIKE NOW. I'm too lazy to tell story line, but if you can find my blog then you can find movie info on google.

I'm planning on having a nice-low key BBQ first thing, when I get back home. Have my closest friends and family and relax. It's gonna be nice. Then hopefully get shitfaced later on that evening. I deserve it.