04 May 2007

If I had a hammer...i'd hammer out love...

Ok, here is my long awaited and greatly anticipated, latest and greatest update! I am now in country and have been for a few weeks. Been getting settled in with my job and with my unit. I moved into a lovely ummm…¼ wide trailer and I don’t use that word ¼ wide loosely, it truly is…but it is mine for the next many days/months. This is definitely a combat zone. I am sure you all see that stuff but for the sake of my family and the regular ‘grunt’ out on the streets , I’ll focus on positive stuff! This place is truly amazing. The huge majority of folks want to wake up in peace, go to work and provide for their families, just like us back in the USA. It is all the ‘other few’ bad guys that are trying to screw this thing up. I guess that whole ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’ has ticked them off or something. In my humble opinion, we are making an amazing difference here and the huge majority of people like it! As long as things back home don’t ‘cut this off’, this is going to be a great county one day. I was thinking about Japan, even after all the fighting we did in WWII and us even dropping a ‘nuke’ on them, our countries have a fabulous relationship and we are close economic partners! So that prompted me to think up another one if my great ideas! In an effort to start and build the country here, we need to generate some mulla flow (I mean $$$, not a guy in charge of a religious sect). I figure this place has good leather workmanship, some nice gold, jems, camels….umm…oil….a good amount of sand and rocks (read concrete)….so I would like to start a BUY IRAQI campaign! Think about it…it is a win win. If folks back home want us out of here, help build the economy and government by purchasing Iraqi ‘stuff’. It would be a great way for the American people to 1-Support & build the country, 2-maybe buy things cheaper, 3- help finish this up and come home! It is a win for Iraq and for us and ummm for the free world (I guess it is a win, win, win)! Now if we can just get the few jerks (read bad guys) to hold their breathe for eternity, or get w/ the program, my plan will work! I am not a politician so, I better shut up now.… I have a great appreciation for the young grunts out here. I was at the store (navy read NEX) and there were these 3 or 4 young gunslingers standing around, dirty, dusty, sweaty and just looking ruff then out of their pockets they pull out cell phones and start texting (or just checking their phone calls ….I think texting). They are no more than your average young college student except not only were they all grungy, they had their M-4s and SAWs slung across their shoulders and had just returned from ‘God knows what’ kind of mission out in the streets trying to help with the goal of “get the few jerks to hold their breathe for eternity or get with the program”. We do truly have the worlds best ….I pray this finds everyone doing well and blessed, for I am. To my family back home, I do miss you and love you bunches. Keep praying for me and I’ll be praying for you. BE SAFE, sandboxrich

08 April 2007

i'm leaving on a jet plane...

welp folks, i am headed for the desert for some incountry training and then onto another assignment in country...i may be 'out of the office' for a few days or weeks but i will update as i can. i have met some really great warriors here and should have atleast another 2 weeks together with them. hopefully a few of us will be able to stay together in country or atleast network while we are there. with today being Easter sunday, i want to say Happy Easter and encourage people to find 'the Way' in their lives. i know we all have things that get us caught up in the day to day hussle and bussle but eventually we all face situations when we need the help of something bigger than ourselves. i like many have had those days and expect more in the future. besides all that it is good to know that there is One smarter, faster and bigger than us, who keeps everything in order.....i have started to refer to the places i am as paradise just becuase it helps lighten things up. i got convinced yesterday this place was a little bit more like paradise than i thought when i finally got my 'cheeseburger in paradise' ;) ...took some time to call people back home and say some good byes before mailing my phone and other 'junk' home. to those i was able to contact thank you for your encouragement and prayers, i appreciate your support. to those i wasn't able to contact please know that i am thinking about you as well....as my wife tells me and kinda like our motto "keep on, keepin' on". i will do the same. but for now, "ho ho ho daddy's gotta go" i'm leaving on a jet plane...BE SAFE, sandboxrich
to my family & friends, i know you love me and please know that i love you!!!

02 April 2007

quick up date

my wife suprised me! she and our daughter drove down to sc to spend about 10 hours w/ me on sunday. a great surprise! we had some good ole country cooking at the lizard's thicket...mmm...it must have been a bummer of a ride but our time visiting was great! i don't know if the average american realizes the willful sacrifice military families have been making for a long time...Please note: "willful"...we it because we believe in what are doing and are doing it because we are the kind of people who are willing to stand up for what we believe in and not quit when the going gets tough...rather we, the tough get going! we do not seek special favor or simpathy but we are appreciative for the occasional 'thank you' and especially the prayers of others. this is all for now, God Bless. BE SAFE, sandboxrich.

cheeseburger in paradise

30March-welp, here it is about week or more since i last wrote which means i have been busy. things here at fort jackson have been fairly fast paced. we’ve been working on our narmy skills (cross bred navy/army troopers). this week has given me a whole new appreciation for the life of an infantryman, aka grunt. the gear, which never seems to stop being issued, is pretty heavy. i relate it to walking around w/ my 13 year old daughter on my back all day. actually if it was only about walking around, it wouldn’t be too bad but you add in taking it off, putting it on, running, getting down on the ground, getting up from said ground, carrying weapons in your hands or your battle buddy’s weapons and i must admit it gets old fast. i have about four seabags full of …well…we will just leave it as ‘stuff’. i’ve met up with some pretty decent people. of course when ever you get a group of 20 or more, there are bound to be that …”that guy” mixed in with the group. lets see, i have been gone for a little over a week and i have missed my daughter’s thirteenth birthday, muay thai work outs, cutting the grass, washing the truck (which was strategically parked under a tree, sorry zach), evenings with my family and cuddling with my wife. instead i have been getting trained in individual weapons markmanship, heavy weapons, army pt (joy,joy), land navigation, combat first aid, evade/escape/recovery, marching (joy,joy) and that all important “how to put 10 pounds of crap into a 5 pound bag” training. i think i have eaten 14 hard boiled eggs, 8 bowls of oatmeal, 6 hoagie sandwiches, 7 mystery meat entries, drank 3 or 4 gallons of water and only 5 SMALL cups of coffee (not by choice). my family and i are working on getting into the ‘groove’ which takes a little while to do. it reminds me of some of the first deployments i went on. there are some similarities but to be honest there are more things that are not. especially the length of time and area of operations. over this last week, things have started to become more of a reality rather than a future ‘could be’. i have been fairly isolated from the news due to the amount of time we spend training and the fact that we do not have internet available in the barracks. i try to call home every other day or so but it isn’t like whipping out my cell phone as I drive home from work. when I do call, the last thing we are gonna spend our time doing is talking about the news and how the ‘new’ congress is trying to ‘goon’ up this fight by cutting money / setting time ‘limits’ and such. i know my wife has a big job keeping things working back home with our house, family and all the stuff that goes on with that and the last thing she needs to worry about is somebody cutting off her hubbys ammunition and fighting equipment/freedom. i am grateful for her ‘can do’ attitude and her ‘we will make it’ support. the last thing that i need to do is worry about my family and the home front. Baby, if you are reading this…thank you, i love you! as you all know, I ended up driving to MD and to ft. jackson. it was wonderful to spend a day in charleston, sc with my family. what a great city! we are really looking to retire in place like that. after spending a week in MD, in a hotel room by myself with plenty of privacy and a shower to myself, i ended up at the ft. jackson ‘ritz’…it is very spacious, room for about 50 grown men to sleep comfortably! large showers with enough room for 5 grown men to wash all at the same time, while 6 are using the sinks right next to them and 5 who are doing #2 and 5 who are doing #1.…image all this for free! actually i lied, we really have about 120 sharing those head facilities….but heck nothing builds camaraderie like showering naked w/ your battle buddies eh? the week end is here, we will work and likely have some time off on Sunday. i think i’ll look for a cheeseburger. BE SAFE, sandboxrich

19 March 2007

on the road again...

i have made it to my second stop...indian head,md. learning some good job specific stuff. met up w/ a few more of our group who flew out from california. since being in md, i've gone grocery shopping, washed landry, and worked out...as it turns out, i didn't get the room on the waterfront w/ a jacuzzi. instead i got a room on the second floor w/ no wifi....but, the hotel's fitness room is inop so they have a contract w/ the local Gold's Gym which is where i was able to go and get some good PT, for free. i am getting to know some of the folks here better. i met up w/ a guy named mike D who i had gotten in touch w/ prior to all of this beginning. as for the briefs, briefs and more briefs...well they didn't refer to fruit of the loom...they are a secret and i can't tell you all the 'stuff' this group has and will continue to do 'down range'. perhaps when i get back i can share some of the good and creative unclassified work our guys are doing to kick the terrorist's butts (for rizzle, no shizzle)....one part about this type of work is that it can't be put on the tv/news since that would tip off the bad guys....so instead the country is stuck w/ cnn's latest version of 'bong hits 4 jesus'....what a joke. some of the media are playing right into the bad guys hands and don't even realize it....well, nuffznuff for tonight folks. got to get up early for a live conferrence w/ troopers down range. so i'll be on the road early, drinking coffee and dodging cars....BE SAFE, sandboxrich

14 March 2007

Lets get it started...

i have arrived at my first intermediate stop which is 'in processing'...read: redo much of the paperwork i spent the last 2-3 weeks filling out. ended up getting blood drawn and have an immunization scheduled for friday. so far i have met up w/ several others going to do a similiar job as me. this is a pretty optimistic and motivated group, ready to get on station and do some good. i will get my new uniforms (Army Combat Uniforms aka ACUs for those not in the know) this week. as you have read in my prior posting, i was going to "HAVE" to fly to my follow on training. well, chief logic has trumped navy think and i am now authorized to drive my POV ! it may seem like no big deal but it will allow me to stop at home one last time before i go to 'oz'. so kudos to the change in what i "HAVE" to do. now if i could just go back and change my taxes, i think i'll go ahead and check the box at step 1, giving $ to the federal campaign fund...lol...yeah right. anyway, i believe i have done my fair share at saving the gov't $$ by not having to pay for a plane ticket or rental car!!! i estimate it to be over $1k saved!!! perhaps if everyone did that ~300 million americans, we'd be doing pretty good. anyway, if you would like to read some of what my job will include, here is a good story i found on (***section has been removed by author to maintain integrity***) other insightful stuff...as i sign off, ummm, sign...that reminds me, i better look into signing paperwork for getting my 'tax free' pay and 'extra pays' started, hehehehe.....BE SAFE, sandboxrich

11 March 2007

spring ahead...

here i am, tomorrow i'll check into my first intermediate training stop as i head over to the sandbox. it has been about a week since i posted last and i wanted to have some 'substance' to share on here. first, me and my wife work with a youth group out in town and we had a great 'good bye' paaaarrty on thursday night. played some tuneage and got to do what i like best, chat with the youth. the weather here has started to warm up so in the back of my mind i am thinking, hmmm if it is getting 70 degrees here, i can only image how warm it must be starting to get in the sandbox. i was hoping to get there before the temps felt like you were walking on the sun. i guess i'll just have to aclimate quickly. did some great running ~8 miles...love the run, hate the chaffing (that is another story...somewhere else). i stopped by the office that is processessing my travel and training to see what the upcoming week looked like especially since i was hoping to drive my truck to the first couple of training locations. i wanted to drive from norfolk to maryland then to south carolina, stopping on my way to socar to pick up my family in virginia and spend the last night with them in socar before i checked in and headed to the 'box'. welp, not in navy think or logic...instead it seems like i will "HAVE" to fly to maryland and then the navy will pay for me to get a rental car while there. then i will "HAVE" to fly to socar. of course doing it all this way will leave me with a day or two at each stop and nothing to really do, except collect per diem $$. ok, i did my part to cut the budget, tried to save my fair protion of the nation debt but nooo, that was not acceptable. so, i will go ahead and follow the navy logic. hopefully the only rentals available when i get to maryland are CADDYs or VETTEs...hmm that would teach them. i hope the only rooms available are suites w/ a jacuzzi in the room and water front views...yeah,right. enough rambling about that. as if losing an hour of time on the clock wasn't enough 'out of my control' happenings before i leave. i guess when they decided 'they' would switch the clocks ahead, 'they' didn't take into account it would rob me of one more hour with my wonderful wife and kids before i left. errrgghh....i guess i'll go do my taxes and set my watch. ...BE SAFE, sandboxrich.