31 May 2004, Monday – Memorial and Memories. Camp Doha, Kuwait
It is Memorial Day.
A time to reflect on those who have given their lives in defense of their country. A time, around the world, when military members should visit the graves of those buried in foreign soil. A time for us to remember; not to forget the cost of conflicts, battles, and wars.
In May of 2003, there were 27 different incidents resulting in one or more soldiers losing their lives in Iraq. This was just the month after the “War” was ended. In May of 2004, there were 43 such incidents, ranging from IEDs to bullets, that took soldiers/sailors/airmen and marines from life.
We have seen men and women from all walks of life, religion, ethnic backgrounds, and rank die in this operation. No one wants to die, that is a given. But we have an incredible number of brave, uniformed personnel who believe in our country.
In past conflicts, we didn’t have the communications; we didn’t see the daily carnage. By broadcasting it, I think we have trivialized the sacrifice service members make, and make bleaker the future faced by their families.
I think it was clear, in the 1700s, the reason for our war; it was fought on our land, for independence. In 1812, WWI, WWII, Korea, we as a people, felt the reasons were valid, we did not start the conflicts, so accepted the responsibility and the war.
It became harder in Viet Nam to stay focused, to know what we were doing, and what was right. We had over 55,000 die in that conflict, all years, and countries combined. We have added since then: to the deaths, to those left behind.
None of this is to say that there should not be honor given to those who did what they were asked, and more.
Rather, our leadership needs to be worthy of the sacrifice our men and women are making for our country. And to make sure that it is in the name of freedom. That there are no other options, and that the civilian leadership puts the cost in lives clearly in their minds.
We honor the dead of this war, and the previous wars.
We should do them honor. The purpose of war is peace, that we may not battle in the future – that the swords may become plowshares.
26 May 2003, Monday – Memorial Day Camp Doha, Kuwait
Memorial Day – first celebrated by the military in the 1880s for the memory of the Civil War losses. Over the years, it has expanded through the general population. For those of us in uniform, it is still closely tied to those who gave their lives in military service of their country. There is not a military post, camp base or station any where in the world that does not have a remembrance event of one kind or another.
I slapped up signs all over the clinic yesterday – saying – in Honor of our Fallen Comrades – the clinic will be closed except for emergencies between 1200-1500 in order for the staff to attend the post memorial service.
I’ll bet you would believe how many fools wandered in and said…… Oh – I didn’t know it was Memorial Day.
That was on top of the fact that there were really only two providers here for sick call. Me and Kure as permanent party. Will is still sick, Win and Collier are out-processing. Joustra, bless his heart, came in and worked almost a whole 12-hour shift. He was released by his unit last week and is still working. One of the flight docs wandered in to pick up a bandage and worked ½ a day. Still we were all moving to see over 100 patients in the morning. It would be easier if they were all of the “freeze my wart” type. But many were a higher acuity.
Found three more outstanding citizens who do not belong in this theater and are going to be administratively returned, and two more who are leaving through the medical system.
So, I wound up seeing a lot of patients. Met with the housing folks to arrange billeting for 10th CSH personnel coming in tomorrow. Did a lot of paperwork, obviously did not get out of here to the Memorial Service myself.
But the high point of the day? Got a package from Shana. Pen, lamb, and blow up toy.
NO – not THAT kind of blow up toy. This is Kuwait and this package came from my oldest daughter. – clean up your mind (grin)
So there I am, fuzzy pen on the desk, lamb in the pocket
Now, if I can ONLY get my pink plastic flamingo BACK from the guys.
28 Mai 01 – traffic update, München Germany
It has been a long while since you have had to put up with me bitching and
moaning about the traffic. But decided that I just had to share the local fun.
You see, Pippingerstraße is under construction, repair, update, what ever.
Now, this was the start of the short cut I had found to get to the office. Up
Blumenauer, blow through Passing and out Pippingerstraße to the Autobahn.
Well, no more of that. Now out-bound, one lane is open. When, of course it is
not being held up by asphalt laying, rolling, scraping or dumping machines. And
trucks. Don’t you just LOVE to see those double trailer and 22 wheelers weave in
and out at 5 km an hour for the five kilometers out to the autobahn? You get the
I have checked out several of the dodge and dart through local residential
areas. Trust me, none of them are worth it either. Today I just went back to my
first year method. Over to A96 (Ammersee Autobahn) up the Mittlerring over
Donnersbrücke to the Middle Ring, past BMW and the Olympic Stadium to
Inglostadter Straße and work. Amazingly today it was not bad. But, in honor of
the US holiday I waited till after the major rush was over, stopping at Wal-Mart
on the way home. Nice Sparkasse cash machine liked my cash card. So now will see
what it shows up on the exchange rate… bought more storage containers and
and….. finished the Vebjörg. Done, soaked, blocked. photo’d and drying as we
We still do not know exactly which day we will close on the house, but work is
getting done as we speak. The first phone line will go in next week – ISDN and
we are on the list for DSL (which looks to be mid-Sept).
George took a turn at the laundry today, and cranked off what should be the last
two loads, that is until the kids clean out underneath their beds and locate all
the missing underwear and such. The weather is prime for outside drying, for
which I am thankful – the dryer, as a condenser dryer, takes even longer than
the washer to finish a load.
Off to sleep. Tomorrow should be busy; most of the Americans will be back at
work and my phone should (might) ring.
am past the armholes on the front of the Shana sweater, have promised her a ball
of yarn a day. And for those who inquired…. double strand of LaLaine on size
7,00 mm needles does go rather quickly.
29 May 2000 – Maldonado. München, Germany
Morning goes quickly, I am trying to get assorted stuff put together and sorted
out. I am starting to feel the time pressure of leaving for the states, trying
to see what can and can not be finished up prior to heading out the door.
Join the guys for lunch, this is one of the really low ones – I get salad and
salad, with desert being an apple. The Linsentopf is declared horrible by all
but one at the table. That is ok, he eats anything. Think of split pea soup with
chunks of wieners floating in it.
Today, tho, brought home the differences between out militaries. OFA (LTC)
Maldanodo is finishing his term of service with the military and this is his
farewell. 18 years. Now, for you, me, and the rest of us with the US military,
18 years? Why not stay till 20? Differences. Admittedly, 18 years includes his
med school time. But since he is not a career soldier, he does not have the
option to stay for a career. It is a moot point. He has done two deployments,
Bosnia early on, and Tetevo when the Germans rolled in there last year, only
redeploying in August. He has been teaching the deployment first aid and medical
courses: training the German military, the chaplains and the IPTF – health,
safety, and first aid. It just seems strange from my perspective: 18 years, a
nice certificate, a couple of presents from friends and a whole new life ahead
of him. I gave him some toys; SFOR toys, truck, helicopter, mercedes jeep tucked
into a BDU cargo pocket. He will be working for one of the Internationals on
medical relief efforts. He said in many ways, he might not have minded staying.
I think I am still more in favor of the US system. By and large, military is an
occupation for young people. There have to be constant gates for retention.
There has to be opportunities for people to change their minds about who they
are and what they want to do in their lives. There has to be a way for the
military to get rid of those who are not pulling their weight. Funny thing about
a system that grants you career status at age 30, there are those who don’t do
not much of anything for the next 25 or more years.
Did I mention to you up front that I did not have the car?
31 May 1999 – Memorial Day Würzburg Germany
Finally sorted out today’s plans. George will take the car full to Rothenburg.
Great tourist place with Torture Museum and everything.
They set off about 1100. Nina heads to the front gate to meet Kirstin about 1200
and I realize my folly. I left the computer at work, and I really don’t want to
haul it home on foot. I don’t want to leave the girls alone in the house.
Technical rules are that no one under 12 is allowed to be home alone. Nina by
herself is fine by me, but with a friend, I should likely be there.
Nap? sure, why not? otherwise there is a lot of work that I should do around
here. By the time Kirstin heads home, I have two Miriams. Not going to leave
Nina with two Miriams. But she does agree that they can sleep in her room with
Everyone else gets back about 1830. I am here trying to catch up and sort out
Mitch, Sally and Rebecca head back to Frankfurt tomorrow for one of those
wonderful six cities in 12 days kind of tours, then Rebecca will stop back while
her parents head to the states. She has a rail pass and is will spend sometime
traveling on her own.
I did that in 1972. Best and worst months of my life. Amazing that I can still
remember some of it, especially some of the really stupid, embarrassing things.
I think I have grown older. I will swear to neither nicer or wiser.
25 May 1998 – Memorial Day, Blue Factory Bosnia
Just what we needed today – pouring rain. Plus, of course, the other base camps had not figured out that this was suppose to be a holiday.
Fair number showed up for sick call.
Wandered over for breakfast right before 0900 to find there was a prayer breakfast going on. Tried to sit to the far back and away from all the goings on. It just would have looked too strange to pack up my stuff and leave. Instead I ate all the maracuja that was left so that it would not be thrown out. Talked to a couple of the Medevac soldiers, and one of the young soldiers from D/261 who is interested in becoming a pilot. I made a commitment to write him a letter of recommendation and try to figure out how to get him a DA photo done so that his packet is complete by July for the 1 Sept selection board.
Right before 1500 decided that I really should get out of PT clothes and decide what I was going to say for the 1600 formation.
Never did really get anything written down. Since it was pouring, the 159th moved “stuff” out of one of the Rupp Hangers and we held a mass formation inside. SSG Davis sang the Star Spangled banner – he has a wonderful voice and the Chaplain did his thing. My turn.
Managed to say about three- four minutes about
1) past history of US military service
2) why to remember
3) why we should remember that war affects more than just the military.
4) why we are in Bosnia – and the 71 killed by mortar attack in Tuzla 25 May 1995.
5) why we will continue to work with everyone else and use past examples to do our best.
Then everyone moved next door for the BBQ – all of us, almost the entire NorMedCoy and our local national employees participate.
One of the docs is a violinist – he played several selections. There were a couple of relay races, some games and then everyone sort of wandered around.
The rain stopped around 1700.
Went over to the Barn for a while to talk to Paul and Svein and just “sort of be seen.” Getting some ice cream from the dining facility and heading to bed. morning will come all too early.