Category Archives: Administrative Items

The House on Pooh Corner

The House on Pooh Corner

The below photo is the House at Pooh Corner (Our name) in Bosnia in the summer of 1996 as my platoon was returning to our camp after spending the day guarding some UN folks who were excavating a Mass Grave nearby.   I was deployed to Bosnia in 1996 with 3/4, later 1/4 Cavalry out of Schweinfurt, Germany.  I ran across this photo last night and decided to post it today.  I am not in the picture because I am behind the camera.

The House on Pooh Corner
The House on Pooh Corner

The picture is not very good quality because I had to scan it, digital cameras still being in the future except for the rich in 1996.  I used about 30 disposable cameras back then that I would take the pictures with and then mail them off to get developed.

Here is the story behind the name of the building. In the winter of 1995-1996 as my unit first came into the sector we did a lot of patrolling to familiarize ourselves with our AO and to keep an eye on the people to make sure they were not going to keep being stupid. As you can perhaps imagine there is not a toilet in a Bradley CFV so we had to find somewhere to do our business. Probably 40%-50% of the houses in our AO were either abandoned or partially destroyed and this house was one of the one’s that had been abandoned. We never did find out who owned it before although by the time we redeployed someone had moved in.

Well, the house got its name because it was abandoned and on a route we drove fairly often because we knew the road was un-mined. I can’t remember who first used it to take a dump but eventually everyone in our platoon had taken a dump in the house and some with christened it he House at Pooh Corner. It was ideal because it was large and still had a roof of sorts so you would not get snowed and/or rained on while inside and it was easy for the rest of the section or platoon to secure. It eventually turned into an almost regular break area for us. We also used the name as shorthand because everybody knew where the house was at so we could reference it on the radio.

I look back and find the story hilarious now and thought I would share it. This is the kind of stuff soldiers do when they are bored.

 

My First Book is Officially Released-22 January, 2014

Bowker Cover Image-2I just want to take the opportunity to announce that my first foray into publishing was released on Tuesday, 22 January, 2014.  It is a survival/forest quick reference book titled The Simple Survival Smart Book.  I started working on the idea several years ago and finally finished it recently while I was stuck in the house after surgery and had no other excuses for not working on it.  It is available on Amazon as both a paperback and Kindle version.  So everyone get on over there, buy it, an make me rich.  Don’t forget to write a customer review about how awesome it is while you are at it.

Military Retirement

Congress makes Courageous Decision to CUT Military Retired Pay

In the news: Ryan Defends Reduction to Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Early Military Retirees

In a stunning display of which segment of society politicians are really afraid of last week politicians in Washington agreed to cut military retired pay in an effort to offset the sequester cuts that they put in place just two years ago.  Unsurprisingly there has been absolutely zero talk about attempting to curb growth in other entitlement spending such as SNAP and TANF (welfare)being the two largest programs.  The logic behind it is clear.  There are more people receiving welfare than military retirees thus making welfare recipients a more powerful voting bloc.

Military RetirementThe numbers just for SNAP & TANF
SNAP – 46,670,373 people or 14% of US population cost = $71.8 Billion annually
TANF – 12,800,000 people or 4.1% of US population cost = $131.9 Billion annually
By contrast here are the numers for military retiress – 2,300,000 military retirees in the US or roughly .7% of US population cost = $52.4 billion annually

What is the difference between the two groups?  Easy, military retirees dedicated a significant portion of their lives to serving the nation, welfare recipients did not.

Total honesty, I myself am a military retiree and feel betrayed by both my country and my elected representative.  My Congressman (John Carter, TX-32) voted yes.  I made a deal with the nation, I would serve and go where they wanted me to and fight who they told me to fight, in return I would receive a set amount of benefits after twenty years service.  I did so for 23 years and went to two wars.  Now I find out that my country is not going to keep up their end of the bargain.

For some reason I am not surprised at this, just disgusted.

stars-and-stripes

Remember Those who Served both Today and all through the Year

The following is an excerpt from The Sky Behind Me: A Memoir of Flying & Life. Taken from chapter 14, this piece is dedicated to my fellow veterans, of Vietnam and all wars Americans have been involved in through the years. For non-veteran readers, please keep in mind that returning GIs want nothing more than to be welcomed home, that politics and ideology play no part in that welcome. When I returned from Vietnam all those years ago I was expecting hostility, judgement, interrogation and doubt concerning my effort in that conflict, and my behavior in the war zone. Imagine my pleasant surprise when the following event took place instead. This is a true story. It happened at Port Columbus Airport on March 21st 1971 at about four o’clock in the afternoon. Thanks for reading it, and please keep it in mind if you’re ever in position to do the same for a returning GI.

BE

14

Home from the War

            The airplane landed at Port Columbus and taxied to the gate. It was a full flight. I was seated two-thirds of the way back, in coach. In order to use my military free travel option I had to be in uniform. So flying home I wore my dress greens, which were at that point festooned with medals: Army Commendation, Good Conduct, Air Medal with 24 oak leaf clusters, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign, Bronze Star and Distinguished Flying Cross. Though I was very far from it, according to the decorations on my chest I looked like a damn war hero, Vietnam’s answer to Audie Murphy.

            My fellow passengers on the airplane that day must have thought so. Their courtesy to me is something I’ve not forgotten. The plane stopped at the gate, and the seat belt sign chimed. But unlike the typical frantic scramble of panicked passengers grappling for overhead bags, elbowing each other, scrapping toward the exit, no one moved. Instead, people turned in their seats, looked at me, and waited. Not one of them stirred, or stood.

I stared at them a bit dazed. Then, understanding what they were offering, I got up, grabbed my carry-on and walked off the airplane. It was an odd, but gratifying experience. I still see those people waiting for me, their deference to a returning soldier obvious in their gracious behavior. When I hear about rude and dismissive acts against returning Vietnam vets I think of those people on my LA to Columbus flight that day. And I thank them again. They didn’t have to do that, but they did.

Years later, during the height of the conflict in Iraq, I had a chance to return the favor. On a flight from Columbus to Dallas two troops were seated about where I’d been all those years ago. I asked the flight attendant to make an announcement, which she was happy to do. When the plane stopped at the gate in DFW we civilians waited for those men to deplane. I watched them shuffle up the aisle, desert-camo fatigues, sand-colored boots, small duffels in hand. I knew just how they felt.