What's Happening

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March 31st

Last night we had a class briefing in Robinson Auditorium where we were able to listen to a panel of big-shot reporters tell us about the relationship between the military and the media.  Not many of us were impressed.  Infuriating at times and insightful at others, the "discussion" our class had with the 4 journalists was definitely something new for a change. 

The panel was made up of 4 journalists including Christiane Amanpour the CNN war correspondent, Paul Holmes the World Editor of Reuters News, John Kifner an old school reporter from The New York Times, and Kevin Sites the freelance journalist who shot the controversial footage of the marine in Fallujah who killed a seemingly unarmed and wounded Iraqi in a mosque.

I'm all for the right of free speech in the press, but please please please do it in an honest and unbiased way.  Christiane Amanpour, we're not the mindless lemmings you cater to on a regular basis.  We can see through your self-serving BS and it'd be hella sweet if you'd just stop.  John Kifner, you're a good dude, but you still work for the New York Times and because of that I do not like you.  Paul Holmes, I do believe you're the only unbiased reporter we listened to last night.  Keep it up, brother.  Kevin Sites, you also are a good dude and I think it was good to release the footage of that marine shooting the Iraqi.  Secrets only make people suspicious and the suspicion of "dirty laundry" like the shooting of an unarmed and wounded man can be catastrophic for the support of the people. 

All in all, the panel was extremely informative, but I still think the majority of war correspondents and journalists are more interested in reporting the shortcomings and failures than the success we achieve.  Where are the stories of heroism?  The stories of incredible feats ordinary Joes from the middle of nowhere have accomplished?  There are a ton things out there to report about besides failure.  Fokkers...

57 days.

-Tom

 


 

March 29th

My beloved and somewhat battered Trooper has new shoes now.  The old Goodyear Wranglers did their best, but they're gone now.  I realized it was time to replace them when the guy patching the flat I got just over a month ago refused to repair it and furthermore said I was crazy for driving my car if the other tires looked anything like the flat one. 

Here they are:  Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revos

They're great.  Expensive, but great.  Now I have to go see how they do on the firebreaks at Camp Buckner.  I mean, after I get the hole in the exhaust manifold fixed and the steering alignment checked.  Oh, the front bumper is still remodeled and the radio antenna is still completely gone.  Soon... very soon...

 

This weekend I picked up some CDs of Celtic dance music and they rock.  Fiddles and pipes and drums and all kinds of good stuff.  One day I'm going to learn to play the violin/fiddle.  That's no BS.

 

Tonight I had Yakimandu and Bulgolgi for the first time since I was stationed at Camp Stanley, Korea 6 years ago.  Les, Ed, and I went out for dinner and they did laundry afterward in Highland Falls.

Fifty-nine days and we're outta here.  That is all.

-Tom

 


 

March 28th

Time for a random picture of life as a cadet.  Well, one snapshot of MY life as a cadet.

For some reason this was a good idea.

 

I'm done walking area tours.  Forever.  One hundred sixty five hours.  No more for this guy.

 

Ok, I don't like to complain because it never does any good, but I can't help myself.  I've mentioned my Constitutional Law class on here before.  Today is worthy of mentioning it again. 

Once. Just once I would like to get out of law class the same time everyone else does and not 20 minutes late. Just once I would like for Alex Raggio to not force his radically conservative and incredibly lengthy opinion on us which no one wants to hear about every single issue the instructor brings up and a lot of issues she doesn't. Just once I would like for Anne Hammerstrom to not speak using her mechanical, overly precise, multi-syllable words whose effect on me closely resembles fingernails on a chalkboard and which none of us know the definition of. Just once I'd like to sit through a class without believing I'm in the inner-most circle of hell. 

Is that too much to ask?

60 days...

 

 


 

March 24th 11:00 P.M.

I'm in a great mood.  Gotta love little moments like the one I just had.  Most excellent.

 

Today we had a rifle range for Sandhurst practice and I was tasked out to be a "range safety" meaning I was supposed to stand behind the firing line and hold up a red or white paddle to let the officer in the tower running things know if everything was safe or not.  We were supposed to start shooting at 4 this afternoon so they had us out there by 3:30 to set up silhouette targets, load the magazines, and get everything ready to go.  We were done with all that in like... 15 minutes so we looked for something else to do.  Lo and behold, there was 5 inches of fresh snow on the ground!  What else to do besides make a snowman at the rifle range?

This was the first Snow Joe.  Major "X" decided it wasn't cool to have him standing out with the targets so she ordered some kids to knock him down.  We were most displeased, but not deterred.

We built this guy behind the firing line so the fine example of an officer and an inspiration to us all known as Major "X" would have nothing to say about it.

That's me, "Joe", Kyle, Jon, and Isaac from left to right. 

You can take our free time, but you'll never take our knack for having fun regardless of the situation.

 

You should all listen to this recording.  It's a voicemail from a guy who witnessed a car wreck and then the beating of a "Billy Bad-Ass" by an old woman with a purse and pepper spray.  Funny funny stuff.

-Tom

 

 


 

March 24th

Anyone else see a problem with this???

It's almost April and there's freshly fallen snow on the ground?!?!  WHAT IS GOING ON???

Aye carumba...  Hopefully the snow melts by May or we'll have the first USMA Graduation On Ice ever seen.

 

Sandhurst is going relatively well considering that sometimes it takes up more time in my day than anything else.  Every other day we've got a 5:25 AM workout in the weight room downstairs, and every afternoon we either go for a run or practice at one of the sites we'll be running through during the actual competition.  There's a 12 foot wall we have to get over, a one-rope bridge crossing over a stream, a mile run wearing gas masks, a site where we paddle a Zodiac assault boat a few hundred meters, a rifle range, and a few others we haven't even practiced yet.  The whole course is about 6 or 7 miles long and we have to wear BDUs and all the gear you see people wearing in war movies as we run from site to site.  Fun fun fun...

We're competing against the other 31 teams from each company, 2 teams made up of people hand picked from across The Corps, 2 teams of British cadets, a team each from Navy and Air Force, and probably a Canadian and German team.  It's no Sunday stroll and it sucks training up for it, but I think I'll be glad I did it once this is all over.  Until then, we'll see.

 

That's all I feel like writing for now.  I hope everyone's doing great and if you're one of the random people that check out this site that I don't know about, drop me a line.

-Tom

 


 

March 22nd

Puerto Rico

 

 


 

 

March 20th

Puerto Rico was... yeah, pretty friggin sweet. 

I'll have stories and pictures and such later, but for now I've got lots o' stuff to tend to.

-Tom

 


 

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