Saturday, August 02, 2008

Going for the Gold

I rucked 25 kilometers (15.6 miles or so) with a 25lb rucksack this morning. 3 full camelbaks were consumed in this endeavor. Me and my buddies walked it together, chatting and motivating each other. We completed the march in 247 minutes, 3 minutes under the standard. Now I need to find a place to crawl into and take a nap since this thing woke me up at 0230!

We are going for the Gold!

Team work, I haz it!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Week 10 of SBOLC III

Entering into the homestretch. Just 3 weeks and change before I can, as we reservists joke, head home to Ft. Living Room.

This week we broke up from the "flows" (man, that name sticks in my mouth... it's a seriously unmilitary name) into our Tracks (now we are talking! this sounds much more military!). About 45% of the class moved into the S6 Track (since their follow on job is more of a staff job that focuses on radio's, Blue Force Tracker, and that sort of stuff... they are also not normally headed into Platoon Leader jobs), 35% into the Division Track (this is mine. The focus is on the latest Army platoon/company level (which supports a battalion) structure, using a system called JNN-N (Joint Network Node-Network)/WIN-T (just a follow on/latest and greatest version of JNN... it even has the new holy grail, wireless access to the network on the move for the command post). Students in this track will most likely be Platoon Leaders in this new force structure), and the remaining 20% into the Network Operations Track (these guys are mainly in the fixed installation that the Army has that supports the field operations).

The splitting up the flows is good since we were completely on a different schedule from the other 26 students in the other flow and now everything has been stirred up. It means getting to see and talk with some new people!

Most of the week was powerpoint slides on how this new system works. We did have an exercise at the end where we had to put together (as a team) a presentation on a theoritical scenario where we had to specify how things would be deployed to support that scenario. It was actually kind of fun taking the task and building the end product and eventually giving the presentation to the instructor.

This week brought me closer to my GPB goal, as we had a First Aid Test (10 questions based on the Army FM that we had to get 8 right on... no retakes.). Tomorrow will be the Ruck March. 25k... We have to be there at 0300.....

Monday, July 28, 2008

Every vote counts?

This is embarrassing. America's best and bravest have problems getting their votes in so that their voice may be heard as is their right, and all that is heard from the other side of aisle is crickets chirping, a resounding (and damning) silence.
Rep. Roy Blunt, the House Republican whip, on July 8 introduced a resolution demanding that the Defense Department better enable U.S. military personnel overseas to vote in the November elections. That act was followed by silence. Democrats normally leap on an opportunity to find fault with the Bush Pentagon. But not a single Democrat joined Blunt as a co-sponsor, and an all-Republican proposal cannot pass in the Democratic-controlled House.

Analysis by the federal Election Assistance Commission, rejecting inflated Defense Department voting claims, estimated overseas and absentee military voting for the 2006 midterm elections at a disgracefully low 5.5 percent. The quality of voting statistics is so poor that there is no way to tell how many of the slightly over 330,000 votes actually were sent in by the absentee military voters and their dependents and how many by civilian Americans living abroad -- 6 million all total.

Nobody who has studied the question objectively sees any improvement since 2006, and that is a scandal. Retired U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Charles Henry wrote in the July issue of the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings: "While virtually everyone involved ... seems to agree that military people deserve at least equal opportunity when it comes to having their votes counted, indications are that in November 2008, many thousands of service members who try to vote will do so in vain."

I freely admit to being biased on this issues, as I am a Soldier (though unlike my Active Duty comrades I can go cast my vote at my polling place). But for these Soldiers (and those other service members) to not have their vote counted as is their right is embarrassing. Yes, the majority of these votes are probably going to be Republican but every member of Congress (and not just the Republicans) should be falling over themselves to support this bill (and any other that gives full representation to this most prestigious class of voters, those who have risen above most people and volunteered to place their lives on the line to defend this great country). To have their voices silenced over partisan politics is sickening. Shame, Shame on every Democrat Congressperson for this....

The Soldier Voting Scandal
The Military Voting Scandal Continues