March 8th

Since I was a little kid I have always loved this book.  Good ole Alexander and I have got quite a bit in common at times and this is definitely one of those times.  I don't need to bore you with details, but Spring Break in San Juan with Erika can't get here soon enough.

I finished my MilArt paper this morning at 5:50 AM.  Yeah, definitely got about 20 minutes of sleep last night.  Awesome.  You probably don't believe me, but the paper turned out rather well and I still managed to stay awake in my classes today.  I don't know how.  My partner Trey and I also smoked our presentation in MS360 about SF operations in Iraq to hunt down Scud launchers before Desert Storm One. 

 

Moving on, these pictures come to us from Jon, the Commander of Operation ARCTIC TRAILBLAZER.  Jon was given permission to lead a pack of yearlings and plebes on a spirit mission to hoist a C-2 flag over Ft. Putnam, the old revolutionary war fortress next to the football stadium.

They wore BDUs and NVGs and used a human ladder and ropes to scale the wall around Putnam.  Once inside they put the flag up and it flew for 4 days until they were "asked" to take it back down. 

Picture taken through NVGs.

 

Congrats on your promotion, Major Wooten.  AIEEYAH!

It took them almost 5 hours to get up there in the deep snow, get over the wall, hoist the flag, and get out without getting caught by the MPs, but it was worth it.  I'm proud of those kids.

 

Tania sent me this video of some kids on the snowboard team here at school having fun at the ski slope here.  Oh by the way, they're wearing Full Dress uniform and doing backflips.  Rock.

Snowboarders in Full Dress

-Tom

 

 


 

March 6th

One weekend closer to Spring Break and Graduation.

Friday night we had the Brigade Open Boxing and our very own Ed "I've got a voice like Barry White" Harrison was the announcer.

And boxing out of the Blue Corner...

It was fairly entertaining, but you've got to remember that most of the people that boxed were novice fighters at best.  Don't get me wrong, a few of the guys on the boxing team here are NCAA champions in their weight class.  Guys like this:

Wes "The Grizzly" Baer.

 

That was Friday night.  Saturday we had a few briefings about how much we'll get paid as 2LTs and what our allowances are for shipping stuff to OBC and such.  Because I've got 3 years of prior service I'll make about $4,500 the first month and just slightly less after that.

 

I've only got 1 area tour to walk off now because I did 5 on Saturday afternoon.  I got picked to do fatigue tours instead of area tours because I had one of the best looking uniforms out of the regiment so initially I was pretty happy about that.  Fatigue tours are usually a sham because you do a few hours of work, in BDUs instead of Dress Gray under arms, and then you normally get released early.  Not today.

8 of us had to move thirty 200 pound bed frames from one part of the basement of MacArthur barracks to the other end of the building.  After that we had to move thirty more from the basement of Ike to the basement of Mac.  Think about the logistics involved in that.  Only one bed frame fits in the elevator at a time so it was a long and painful process.  After that we were supposed to move over 100 rolling desk chairs from Ike to Mac, but we ran out of time. 

At least Ed was down there with me.  He got in trouble for parking at the corner near the Supe's house even though people park there all the time and always have.  Ed's Tac Officer is one SWEET dude and decided to make an example of him so Eddo was "awarded" 20 area tours. 

 

Sunday Erika and I did laundry, which isn't all that exciting, but we saw a 10 year old kid making a snow statue between Lusk Reservoir and The Soldier's Statue.

Pretty good looking, yes?  The statue is decent too.

 

New Cadet Chilly Willy.

 

 


 

March 5th

COLD.  Turn up the friggin heat because this is ridiculous.

Thursday and Friday afternoon our Sandhurst team went to the range to zero and qualify with our rifles.  Awesome, right?  I LOVE going to the range.  It's one of the few things we do here during the school year that has anything to do with that whole "military" part of the Military Academy.

I love the range.  That's mostly because I'm a damn good shot, but what can I say?  My father was once on the Army Marksmanship Team and then became a sniper instructor for marksmanship for a few years.  It's not my fault he taught me a few things...

What he didn't teach me was how to shoot in conditions like this:

 Cold.

 

Here are some pictures Mr. Don "Peaches" Irwin took after we were finished shooting on Thursday and of us on the ride back to West Point from Range 4.

Hi.  My name is Peaches, and I like to take retarded pictures of myself.

Ok, imagine riding in the back of a Humvee doing 55-60 mph with the actual air temperature somewhere around 15 degrees.  Do the math on the wind chill of that.  COLD COLD COLD.  Shaun, Ross, and Paul agree.

 Negative 20 wind chill in the back of that Humvee for the 10-15 minute ride back to school.  I apologize for the obscene gesture, but Jon and I were COLD.

There's no place like home.  There's no place like home.  There's no place like home...

 

Ok, it wouldn't be so bad, but we get ZERO cold-weather gear issued to us here.  Fort Drum is just a few hours north of here and they get issued Gore-Tex suits, Bear-suits, Poly-pros, "Mickey Mouse" winter boots, neck gaiters, balaclavas, extreme cold weather gloves, etc. 

What do we get?  A field jacket.  And... um... nothing else.  Those Gore-tex jackets you see us wearing in the pictures above are ones we bought or acquired on our own.  It's total BS if you ask me, but they didn't so we make do with what we've got. 

The Sandhurst team that freezes their butts off together stays together.

 

Anyway, other than trying to stave off frostbite at the rifle range, life is pretty decent.  There are only 6 days until I'm in Puerto Rico with Erika in our king size suite overlooking the beach at Isla Verde.  That makes me rather happy.

Here's a link to the unit I'm headed to in Alaska next year after Armor OBC. 

Airborne Infantry Brigade at Richardson

-Tom

 

 

 


 

March 2nd

Ok, I'm back to normal again.  Angry Tom is gone.

It'll be ok. 

Here's something you should all check out in case you missed The 100th Night Show here at West Point this weekend.  Make sure you turn your volume up and if you don't get the jokes because you are not nor were you ever a cadet, I'm sorry.

100th Night Show Highlights

If you don't have DivX software you can't watch the video, but you can download it for free right here.

-Tom

 


 

March 1st

Well, someone mentioned a few days ago how I need to be careful of the yin-yang principle.  All these good things that have been happening had to balance out eventually, right?  Yep.  I've seen better days.  Please humor me for a bit while I whine like a little school girl.

 

Starting yesterday afternoon things just kind of started going the wrong way.  On top of still being exhausted from the late nights and early mornings this weekend I had to listen to the kids in my law class who like to hear themselves talk.  They were in full effect and made our class last 30 minutes longer than it should have. 

After school we went out to the one-rope bridge site to practice for Sandhurst, but we had to deal with sub-freezing temperatures as we practiced crossing a somewhat frozen stream.  I sliced my finger open yanking on a rope to pull a slip knot out but didn't notice it until after I got across the stream.  I, as the guy who has to run across as the last man, also twisted my ankle when I landed on the far bank of the stream and hit my knee really hard.  Oh, and it was cold.  Really really cold. 

It gets better.  Yesterday was the release of the 4th quarter earnings reports for the company I own 500 shares of, Interchange Corporation.  Every single indicator told everyone invested in the company that they would have much better than anticipated numbers to release concerning their profits and such for the 4th quarter of 2004.  I had been waiting for yesterday's news release because I knew the stock price would spike considerably and I could finally sell my shares at a profit.  This would let me take care of all the monetary "issues" that have presented themselves lately.  When I left for Sandhurst practice yesterday the stock price had closed out the day at 4 PM at $20.69/share.  The 4th quarter results were released at 4:05 which is 5 minutes past the time the market closes.  I expected the price per share to jump at least 4 or 5 dollars if not more, but that's not what happened. 

A lot of people lost a lot of money on this company yesterday.

When I got back from Sandhurst the after-hours price per share was down 40% to $12.30.  Do the math on that.  A 40% loss of a $10K investment.  AHHH!!!!!!!

On top of all that I had CDO last night so I couldn't even chill out the rest of the night. 

The best part happened this morning.  We had a meeting with CPT Wooten to discuss Military Development (MD) grades for our subordinates and one part of the discussion between he and I went like this:

Me:  "Sir, CDT XXXX deserves this grade because he's been doing a decent job as the PDO (physical development officer) and he's just doing what's expected of him."

CPT Wooten:  "Tom, CDT XXXX isn't the PDO.  He's the RDO (regulations and discipline officer)."

Me:  "Uh... well... uh... roger, sir.  (Clears throat)  Right.  Well it's ah... um... it's my understanding that he's ah...  he's been doing a good job as the RDO and uh..."

CPT Wooten:  "Hmmm....."

Yeah, I made a TOTAL JACKASS of myself in front of the man who once told me "You should have graduated already.  The Army needs you right now and I have full confidence you're 100% ready to be a platoon leader right now.  If it were up to me you'd be a Lieutenant already." 

Yeah, good thing that after 2 months I don't even know what my subordinate's job is.  Absolutely brilliant, Tom. 

How much trust and confidence do you think CPT Wooten and SFC Walker have in me now?  Yeah, I wouldn't have any either. 

 

Ok, enough of that.  Here's some stuff that might make you laugh.  Maybe.

 

 I love to make fun of my sister Laura's midget cat.  It's not kneeling down in the picture.  It's legs really are that short.  She calls it Keebler.  I prefer "Stumpy" or "Short-round."

 

 

Drinking and Shooting

 

Shawshank Redemption in the 90's

 

 


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