What's Happening

newest stuff is at the top

 

September 30th

I got my ring back from Balfour today; it had to get resized and now my precious fits perfectly.  Rock.

Bob Dole stopped by yesterday to visit me for a few hours.  Ok, so maybe he came to receive the Thayer Award, but it's always good to see old friends like Bob once in awhile.  Seriously though, he should have won in '96.  Good dude.  The funniest guy I've ever heard speak and a genuinely good person who actually cares about the country and not his own personal climb to glory.  We need more Bob Dole's in the world. 

I finally got the starter on the Trooper fixed and picked it up from the mechanic this afternoon.  Dude, $122 for one and a half hours labor?!?!  Not cool.  I thought it would be like half that or I'd have done it myself.  Next item up for bid is the rear brake pads, wheel balance/alignment, the front bumper, antenna, and then we'll see what else needs done after that.  Any of you generous types that want to help offset the cost of all this can send donations to Box 3104, West Point, NY 10997.  Much obliged.

Anyone out there who knows a little something about the stock market needs to pay attention to this part.  I'm looking at buying some stocks and I need to know what you all think of these.  Google, Pepsi, Coke, Wal-Mart, Amazon.com, Ebay, Pixar Studios, and Yahoo.com.  I bought the book Investing for Dummies, but it's kind of big and I don't have the time to read it all. 

That's all for now. 

Oh, one other thing.  Here are the fabulous 3.  The plebes that sit at my table.  That's "Peaches" on the left, "Leroy" in the middle, and "Sweetpea" on the right.  Good kids, all of them.  Your tax dollars at work, hahahaha.

-Tom

 

 


September 29th

My buddy Clay told me this morning I need to distance myself from this situation as much as possible, but I canít help but think that this is the absolute opposite thing I should be doing.  All my life Iíve been taught to stick it out to the end, if the end ever comes.  Giving up early is a sign of weakness in my opinion and if I abandon this girl sheíll have no one to turn to besides the jackass would-be adulterer sheís under investigation with.  I canít have that.  Not because Iím scared of losing her or that I donít want someone else to have her, but because itís just not the right thing to do.  Leave someone all alone with no one to turn to in their time of need?  Thatís pretty messed up. 

 I know what thatís like.  1st semester plebe year I went through 4 months of absolute hell as I got slammed with an alcoholic board which earned me 80 hours on the area and 60 days of room restriction.  I could have dealt with this rather well, but my roommate at the time was one of the biggest toolbags you would ever have the displeasure of meeting and he spent every waking minute in the room driving me crazy.  Not intentionally, but just by his normal activities.  Listening to techno music, laughing hysterically at stuff that wasnít funny, dancing, asking me questions I wasnít interested in answering, etc.  On top of this was an honor investigation for something I didnít do.  My math project partner copied his entire half of our first project and because my name was on the cover, even though I had no knowledge of what had happened, I was brought up on honor charges with him.  Throughout the entire investigation no one believed me except my parents and closest friends.  I was exonerated, but I still had to deal with the whole situation.  Not fun.

 Ok, so I know what sheís going through and I canít help but think that if I abandon her and say ďI donít believe you.  Let me know how the investigative board turns out.Ē Iíll be abandoning her for life.  Before all this came down I thought the world of her, but if she gets booted out of OCS sheíll be enlisted in the Army and Iím not going to sacrifice my entire life thus far in preparation for officership to be with her.  No girl is worth that.  Call me somewhat cold-hearted, but I didnít even meet her until I was halfway through my academy experience.  Thatís the bottom line of how I feel.  That being said, I hope like hell this all turns out ok, but right now there are a lot of things contradicting her story about what happened with this dude.  I think I believe her, but I just donít know for CERTAIN whatís going on.  You gotta have faithÖ

 

ďYou may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you donít trust enough.Ē 

 


 

September 28th

Dude, I need a dog.  My roommate is getting tired of me trying to get him to roll over, fetch things, and growl at unwelcome visitors.  Seriously, I want a dog like right now.  Here's what I'm talking about, for those of you who might not know what a Great Dane looks like.

Yes, a huge dog (compared to the person standing behind him), but they're extremely even-tempered, easily trained, good with kids, great watch dogs, and actually supposed to be indoor animals which means I can scratch a home security system off the list of things I need. 

-Tom

 

 


 

September 27th

Well, I told you I'd fill you in on what was going on with Celine down at Benning and now that I've had a chance to get what I believe to be the full story, I'll tell you what's up.  This is kind of long, but I couldn't leave anything important out.

About 3 weeks ago Celine was accused of fraternization with another male candidate at OCS and lying about it.  Specifically, she was accused of going places in a car with this other guy, just the two of them, which is against the rules.  She was also accused of "holding hands and kissing" this dude too.  The guy she's accused of fratting with is an early 30's prior service (Infantry) candidate who's married with kids.  4 other female candidates, now 2LTs in the Army, signed sworn statements that they had personally seen these occurrences.

Ok, at first I didn't know what to think about this, but I believed Celine, and still do.  I know she didn't do anything and I'll continue to support her through the whole mess of an investigation.  I say "mess" because she's got 4 people saying they saw these things happen, but if you look at who these 4 females are, you'll see why you can't believe any of them.  One of them is her roommate, a prior service lady with a serious attitude and who hasn't exactly made any friends in the class, Celine included.  She's always given Celine a hard time and I don't doubt for a second that she was the "ring leader" of these 4 when it came to concocting these accusations.  The 2nd accuser is Celine's former friend from basic training, Mary (name changed).  The two of them were in the same platoon at Ft. Jackson for basic training and ended up in the same platoon in their OCS class at Benning.  They had a bit of a falling out early on in the course and I believe that for some reason Mary, being a weak-minded and weak-willed person (my opinion), felt the need to get back at Celine.  She was approached by the 1st accuser who took advantage of Mary's weakness and who also convinced Mary's roommate to help them.  One other conspirator, a girl with a reputation for being a terrible liar from day one, joined the group and the 4 of them wrote statements about seeing Celine and this guy doing things which could be construed as fraternization.  The 4th member of the group had been counseled numerous times about her lying and I still don't understand how she was not booted out of the course for breaking the honor code before this.

Now, that brings us to the fellow accused of frat with my girlfriend.  This dude, although married with kids, doesn't appear to be the brightest in the world.  Having spent 11 years in the Infantry before going to OCS, Wonder Boy knew that perception is everything when it comes to fraternization.  I hold him completely accountable for this situation and I'll explain why. 

After having a chat with WB this afternoon on instant messenger (he IM'd me) I discovered that he had taken a personal interest in my girlfriend and had taken it upon himself to "better prepare her for war" and to augment her professional development as an officer by imparting what he considered required knowledge for 2LTs.  Ok, fine.  You want to teach someone a few things beyond the normal scope of the class?  That's perfectly acceptable.  What's NOT acceptable is doing it with one member of the opposite sex, and only that one.  What's NOT acceptable is going out of your way to spend time with that person by sharing an individual fighting position with them out in the field when you're not even a member of their squad.  What's NOT acceptable is going out of your way to get assigned to the LPOP (listening post/observation post) with them outside the perimeter while in the field.  What's NOT acceptable is giving them personal gifts like a necklace because you felt they were having a rough time in OCS and jewelry would somehow make everything better.  What's NOT acceptable is not realizing that you were doing all this with a person 11 years your junior and that her boyfriend can see straight through your BS and right to your real intentions. 

I bring these points up because it was this guy's fault that any perception of fraternization ever existed within that class.  Had he acted in a professional manner, and not the way he did, there would never would have been any chance that the accusations of fraternization would ever hold up in an investigation because there would never have been the perception that anything had happened.  Now these 4 other females, who took advantage of the situation and added to it just a bit, have signed these sworn statements.  They added to the accusations with the charge of riding in the same car together.  The funny thing about that one is that none of them can remember the color or make of the car, the time of day, the day of the week or month, what the weather outside was like, what Celine or Wonder Boy were wearing, or even where they were on post when they saw them.  Oh, but they do remember they saw them in the same car together.  Sounds pretty solid to me.  Uh huh, yep...

Overall, it's not looking too good for Celine, but I think ultimately this will turn out ok.  It's a scheiBte situation, but we'll make it.  I still love her as much as I ever did, and I know she didn't do anything, but we'll have to see what the outcome of this board will be.

-Tom 

P.S.  Life's never so bad that you can't have a little Calvin and Hobbes.

 

 


 

September 26th

I had a most excellent weekend.  One little thing happened this morning that I'll follow up on later when I find out more, but other than that it's been a great break from studying and taking exams.  The last two weeks have been ridiculously full of projects, presentations, tests, quizzes, papers, etc.  We call weeks like these Thayer Weeks (named after the guy who came up with the academic system here back in the early 1800's, Sylvanus Thayer) and normally they come once every month or so, but I was lucky enough to have two back to back.  Sweet.  Anyway, the last two days have been a great break from that.

Friday night Clay, Ed, and I went to the Palisades mall and didn't really do a whole lot except walk around and BS about random stuff.  Saturday Ed and I were going to work on cars all day, both his and mine, but NAPA closed at noon so I couldn't get a new starter for the Trooper.  Instead, I helped Eddo paint the rotors of his wheels on his Volvo.  See, Ed's quite proud of the aesthetics of his car, and for good reason.  It's purrrty...  He puts a ton of effort into how it looks and when he noticed rust on the rotors, it was time to paint.  Fair enough, it took an hour or so.   Later on we met up with Jason in Cornwall where he was house-sitting for one of his crew team coaches.  We grilled out, BS'd about random stuff, and then went to see a movie called The Forgotten.  GREAT movie.  It's kind of spooky, kind of dramatic, kind of a mother/son love story, and kind of like nothing you'd expect.  Two thumbs up because it's the most original movie I've seen in a long long time.  Great flick.

Today Jason and I went SKYDIVING.  A lot of you seem to think it costs too much money.  Ok, cheapskates, you obviously need to go just once to see what it's like.  Imagine being able to see anything and everything around you for hundreds of miles because you're so high up, feeling the blast of air hit you in the face as you leap out the door, seeing earth-sky-earth-sky-earth while doing barrel rolls and back flips, hurtling towards the ground at 150 mph, pulling the ripcord and hearing the intense rushing wind die down to almost nothing as your chute opens, doing corkscrew maneuvers while under canopy, coming in for a nice soft landing, and then screaming at one of your best friends who did the same thing you just did, "CAN YOU F&$%ING BELIEVE THIS?!?!   HOLY %$#! DUDE!!!"  as you run towards each other laughing your heads off and feeling like a million bucks because you're on the adrenaline high.  Imagine that.  Oh wait, that's right.  YOU'VE never been skydiving and you probably have no clue what I'm talking about!  Do it. 

All in all, a great weekend.  Oh, I decided I need a dog.  My entire life thus far (not counting the last 6+ years in the Army) I've always had a dog.  Some were big, some small, but they all rocked.  Cats?  No dice, I hate 'em.  What purpose do cats serve?  They're picky, stuck-up, don't do any tricks, don't scare away people you don't like, and just eat and sleep all day.  No thanks, you can keep your damn cats.  I'm gonna have a huge dog, probably a Great Dane, and I finally decided today I'll name him Rockne.  Yeah, after Knute Rockne, the greatest Notre Dame coach ever.  Anyway, a Great Dane named Rockne sounds like a damn good idea. 

The Fighting Irish beat Washington 38-3, ARMY RUGBY destroyed Harvard and Columbia, Arkansas beat Alabama, but the Bengals fell to the Ravens.  Such is life. 

-Tom

 


 

September 25th

I had an entry on here about some stuff that's happening at Ft. Benning with Celine right now, but I took it down because...  well, I'll explain later.

-Tom

 


 

September 23rd

Thursday night mandatory dinners are always interesting around here, but tonight was rather extraordinary, at least for me.  For entertainment, the plebes came up with the idea of doing their own version of the TV show Fear Factor.  They let Clay and I mix up 3 bowls of whatever we wanted and they would have to eat the entire thing.  The first one done, in less than 5 minutes, would get to be table comm for next week's Thursday night dinner.  I was cool with that so we got busy making 3 bowls of the most putrid, rancid, and foul concoction of shituff we could.  A-1 sauce, lots of salt, Mrs. Dash, lots of pepper, parmesan cheese, and Texas Pete hot sauce went into the mix.  The rules were they would get one dinner roll and a spoon to eat all the "stuff" and they weren't allowed to drink any water or milk until they were done.  If they got sick, they forfeited.  We got em started and at 3:45 we had a winner.  The other two were dry heaving pretty bad and gave up early, but "Peaches" (we gave them special names for the table; the other two are "Sweet Pea" and "Leroy") made it to the end and cleaned his bowl out with a look of absolute misery on his face.  Hey, they brought it on themselves.  It was their idea.  Ahhh the things we do for entertainment as cadets...

In other news, I got a B+ on my MilArt paper about the Battle of Saratoga during the Revolutionary War.  My instructor even said I was a "pretty sharp guy" and that the thing he cut me points on was that I had a few errors in the annotated bibliography.  Whatever, I'll take it.  It sure is weird being the smart kid in class.  Again, if you think I'm being arrogant saying all this, I don't care. 

-Tom

 


 

September 22nd

Being sick is pretty awesome, except not.  I honestly didn't know you could take that much NyQuil and still get the max score on an Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT).  Good for me.  I did 72 pushups, 92 situps, and ran 2 miles in 12:58.  I say I maxed it, and in my opinion I did, but the grader cut me 15 pushups so instead of 87 she counted 72.  Note to self: Stay the hell away from CPT Cushen next time.  This woman seriously got up out of her chair and got down on her hands and knees to make sure we were going down far enough and that we were locking all the way out at the top.  I actually had to restrain myself from standing up and screaming "WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM?!?!"  It was pretty bad, but we made it.

I'm not sure whether the half bottle of NyQuil helped or hindered me on the run, but I felt pretty drowsy immediately after I got back to my room.  I LOVE NyQuil.  Not in a bad way, just when I'm sick and can't breathe and I'm up all night 3 nights in a row coughing.  That's when I love it.  NyQuil.  Good stuff.

Today I called up USAA and opened a brokerage account with $8,000 in it.  That doesn't mean I know what I'm doing, but I'm getting advice from some economics major friends of mine.  I also ordered the book Investing for Dummies which should be here by week's end.  Seriously.  I'm gonna be rich someday and have a huge family and a helicopter and a Great Dane named Napoleon (still not sure on the name) and a bank account full o' cash.  Someday.

Tonight I don't have much homework so if anyone feels like going to the Firstie Club, you're welcome to it.  Here's some pictures of the mechanical bull from last week. 

Yeah, that's me, but I lasted 10 seconds.  It ain't as easy as it looks, and Mr. George Killian's didn't help.

That's Jake Worth.  He did pretty well too, I think.  Or something.  Yep.

 

That's it for now.  I added a page dedicated to Calvin and Hobbes on the homepage, but here's another strip because like I said before Calvin and Hobbes is the greatest cartoon.  Ever.

-Tom

 


 

September 19th

Weekend update. 

I'm absolutely convinced I've got some pretty sweet guardian angels.  I smoked my WPR in Generalship class last Thursday.  Ok, so I didn't get to finish because I knew too much and didn't have time to write it all down.  Oh, that sounds a bit arrogant of me?  I care not.  I knew EVERYTHING there was to know about Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Wellesley the Duke of Wellington, U.S. Grant, and Helmuth Von Moltke.  Sucks when you can't get it all down on paper in time.  I got a 97/100 on my Civil Engineering problem set.  Yeah, Tom beat the smart kids.  Get some, nerds. 

My TA-50 (the nomenclature for Army field gear) inspection went extremely well Saturday morning.  One or two things I overlooked, but nothing serious.  Saturday afternoon I walked up to C-lot to get the Trooper, but lo and behold the starter wouldn't engage.  One more thing to get fixed.  I got tired of trying to fix it so Jason, Ed, and I went to Hacienda and then saw "Mr. 3000".  Great great movie. 

This morning the 3 of us left USMA around 9 and screwed around getting breakfast and filling up on gas before we took off for Connecticut.  You ask, why Connecticut?  Because Jason needed to return the car he borrowed from his buddy he knew from being stationed together in Germany.  His buddy Vic had a most excellent house and family and a GINORMOUS Great Dane named Monster.  This dog's head came up to my chest when he was standing flat footed.  I want one. 

After we dropped off the car we piled in Ed's Volvo and went south to the Mohegan Sun Casino.  Ok, so I'm not a HUGE fan of Casino's, but I'll go and lose a few bucks every now and then.  I walked in knowing I wouldn't spend more than $50 and I only bought $40 worth of chips to start with.  We started playing blackjack and after all was said and done I cashed out with $169.  I gave the dealer $10 so I guess I walked away with $159.  Yeah, QUADRUPLED my money.  Excellent.  Jason and Ed didn't do as well, but we all had a great time.

ARMY RUGBY destroyed New Hampshire 68-0 and Notre Dame beat Michigan State yesterday.  Arkansas whooped up on Louisiana Moore.  The Bengals won a nail-biting 16-13 game against the Dolphins; it's the first time they've beat the Dolphins since 1977.  Yeah, they sucked for a LONG time, but we're back.  Rock.

So there you have it.  Pretty decent weekend, good times all around, and all my sports teams won.  Hella sweet.

-Tom

 


 

September 16th

Our company went to a wine-tasting class last night and although it was a bit too preppy and high class for my taste, I learned alot.  I'm practically royalty now, or something.  Meg Rucker, our Spirit Officer in C-2, set it up with the cadet hostess and everyone had a great time.  If you ever get the chance, even it costs a few bucks, do it.  Nothing wrong with being taught how to drink the high-class way, right?

I was reading for my MS345 class, Army Operations: Past, Present, and Future, yesterday and came across this excerpt about an assault on Hill 300 during the Korean war. 

    "On 5 Feb 1951 the entire task force [Task Force Dolvin] moved up the highway and deployed around the base of Hill 300.  The self-propelled antiaircraft machine guns deployed behind the tanks, the two lines of vehicles staggered so that all could aim at the hill to engage the enemy defenses.  For 30 minutes, the 4.2 inch and 81mm mortars, the infantry recoilless rifles, the AA machine guns, and the tanks methodically blasted Hill 300, trying to suppress and if possible destroy enemy resistance."

Ok, no big deal so far right?  They shoot the hell out of this hilltop for awhile and then they'll go clear it out, right?  Check this part out:

    "Then the infantry, which was sheltered behind the tanks during this preparatory fire, advanced cautiously up the hill.  One man in each platoon deliberately exposed himself to enemy fire while wearing a brightly colored orange panel (VF-17 panel), originally intended for signaling aircraft, around his body and running directly at the enemy defenses.  Whenever these leading men took cover because of enemy fire, all supporting weapons knew exactly where the friendly troops were, together with the approximate location of enemy resistance.  The result was considerable damage to the Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) without major American casualties."

THAT'S INSANE!!!  "Here you go Private, wrap this fluorescent orange sheet around yourself and run at that machine gun nest.  Ready?  GO! GO! GO!" 

Wow.  The things Joe will do to get the job done.  Anyone out there who wants to complain about their job, remember guys like these and what they did and continue to do today.  Rock.

-Tom

 


 

September 14th

I got my MilArt paper turned in on time this morning.  Seriously!  Now that I'm done with that, I've gotta start studying for my Written Partial Review (WPR) in Generalship on Thursday.  Shouldn't be too bad since I've stayed on top of the readings 100%, but I'm still going to study my ass off so I can blow that thing out of the water. 

Speaking of Generalship class, I got 2 books in the mail today.  We have a comparative book review due in like late November on any military leader who made an impact at the Strategic level and I decided to use George Patton.  The two books I ordered from Amazon.com came today.  One of them is seriously 955 pages and has it's own damn index!!!  Yeah, the font size is like 7 or something too.  The other is a "scant" 308 pages, but it has pictures and decently large font.  So I've got that going for me, which is nice.  1263 pages to read, analyze, compare, draw conclusions on, and write about.  Awesome.

My Roth IRA has already gone up 4.5% in the few weeks I've had it.  $3000 initially invested and now it's at $3127.  All with a few clicks of the computer mouse.  Rock. 

This afternoon I decided I'm going to buy a helicopter one day.  Not one of those ginormous things that costs a ton of money.  Nope, I'm going to build my own.  Seriously.  They sell home-build kits for 2 seat helicopters for around $60,000.  Oh yes, it shall be mine. 

That's it for now.  Oh yeah, Calvin and Hobbes is the greatest cartoon.  Ever.

-Tom

 


 

September 12th

First home football game of the year.  Yeah, we lost.  That being said, I have NEVER seen us play as well as we did yesterday.  Seriously, our boys were fired up and laying some serious hits on those Louisville Cardinals every chance they got.  The Cardinals are ranked 1st in our conference so it's understandable that we lost, but we scored 3 touchdowns on a nationally ranked team when most other teams can't even score 1.  We're gonna turn some heads this year.  You just wait.

My team, the Bengals lost to the Jets 31-24 today.  Yeah, I said it.  I LOVE the Cincinatti Bengals.  I always have, and you should too. 

Notre Dame beat MichigaN 28-20!!!  That's kinda like Army/Navy as far as rivalries go.  Get some.  Ty Willingham, I love you.

I saw in the news they had some excitement in Baghdad today.  Here's an excerpt from www.msnbc.com At least 37 people were killed in Baghdad alone. Many of them died when a U.S. helicopter fired on a disabled U.S. Bradley fighting vehicle as Iraqis swarmed around it, cheering, throwing stones and waving the black and yellow sunburst banner of Iraqís most-feared terror organization.

Ok, can you picture this the way it really went down?  A Bradley gets disabled from a roadside bomb, the crewmen get the hell out of there, and they call their boss to tell him what's happened who then turns around and calls in some air support.  While they're on the phone with their commander, a bunch of Anti-American jerkoffs show up and start climbing and jumping on this disabled Bradley and screaming "boobla boobla allah hakim boobla boobla" or something like that while they're throwing rocks like wanna-be tough guys.  They unfurl a pro-terrorism banner and really get into yelling about how awesome they are when a few Blackhawk and Little Bird helicopters show up.  Imagine the looks on these protestors' faces and the realization that they're morons for thinking they have a chance in this fight as those helicopters unload a rather unhealthy amount of ordnance on them.  Rock.  Whoever said violence doesn't solve anything was a fool. 

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, Or close the wall up with our English dead! In peace there's nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility; But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger: Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood.

-Henry V

 


 

September 8th

I testified for the prosecution at Baker's court-martial today.  He plead guilty to 2 counts of assault with a deadly weapon, housebreaking, having a knife longer than allowed by regulations, and conduct unbecoming an officer.  He got 4 months confinement at Ft. Leavenworth, 1 year forfeiture of all pay and allowances, separation from West Point, and he'll be a convicted felon for the rest of his life.  Enough on that, it's in the past and done with now.

Apparently the yearlings are writing reflective essays in their military science classes about their experiences out at Camp Buckner this past summer.  One of my Dirty Joe's from this summer approached me today and said "Hey, Two Six.  I wrote my MS essay about you."  I initially thought he was joking, but being a curious person, I asked him to send it to me to see what he had written.  The following, in white text, is his essay.  I really don't like to talk about how I did this summer as a platoon leader, but these are this kid's words.  Not mine.

            Cadet Field Training was exactly how cadets can begin to build the foundations for preparing for battle, whether it will come or not.  The ideals behind an officer as a war fighter are physical, mental, and moral values.  During training, I saw all three of these values in my platoon leader; from his actions, I learned what makes a good leader and future officer.  If I am able to lead the way he led and fight the way he fought then I will be on the right track to establishing myself as an Officer and a Warrior.

            The physical aspect of a warrior is to not only be in great shape and be able to excel at physical training; one also has to be able to maintain physical stamina and toughness when in the field.  By observing my platoon leader, Tom Martin, during Operation Highland Warrior, I saw this idea actually brought to life.  During the defense, no one dug more or worked harder at preparing a superb fighting position than he did.  He could have easily just sat around or not have even made an effort at making a position  (he had already endured Buckner once before as a yearling), or he could have made the excuse that he would be moving around during the fight because of his position as the platoon leader.  He did not.  If we was digging, he was digging twice as hard.  If we were running from an Artillery Simulator (ARTY Sim) he was sprinting ahead of us.  At one point in the week, we were hit by an ARTY Sim attack and nobody in the platoon felt like running.  We were all feeling sorry for ourselves but we all saw Martin, our platoon leader, sucking it up and running ahead of us yelling for us to catch up.  The physical aspect of a warrior is the ability to get oneís act together even in tough conditions.  For an officer he must be able to endure the same things his subordinates endure in the field.  My platoon leader did this and more.  By observing his actions and making them into something that I will apply to myself, I will be developing myself as a future officer and a warrior.

            The other aspect of an officer and a warrior is that of mental capacity.  One must be tactically and technically proficient.  I believe that being cunning and having the ability to know the limitations of oneís subordinates and being able to use Ďstreet smartsí to help them is just as important.  Once during CFT, our platoon was on a patrol and came into contact with a single enemy soldier.  He kept firing his weapon toward our platoon and then running away in an attempt to draw us into a location that was set up as a baited ambush.  My platoon leader saw what the enemyís intentions were and saw on the map where the ambush was likely to take place.  Using his cunning and ďoutside the box thinkingĒ he was able to set up a surprise of our own to counteract the enemy ambush.  Based on his plan which was built from battle drills and a combination of techniques we were able to actually surprise the enemy, and in doing so effectively neutralized their intended ambush.  We used this to our advantage and routed the small enemy force before it could inflict catastrophic damage on our platoon.  Because of our platoon leaderís ďstreet smartsĒ and ability to think outside the box we were very successful in a place where other platoons had been literally wiped out in the ambush by the same enemy forces.  Tom Martin also had a very important characteristic of being mentally superior as a warrior.  He was able to use common sense in situations where it seemed that no other member of the company leadership had any.  He reorganized our weapons draw and got our platoon through the process very quickly and efficiently where other platoons took an unbelievable amount of time.  My identity as an officer who is a warrior who is mentally sound was strengthened by his example.  I realized that sometimes the smartest thing to do is not always written down in a book or technical manual.  It is in the ability to think outside the box that truly makes an officer who is mentally proficient an excellent warrior.

            The moral aspect of an officer as a warrior is the ability to live up to the oath of office, to be able to protect his country against enemies of a different nation and the moral courage to defend his nation against enemies, both foreign and domestic.  All the while, he is still sensitive to the rights and needs of the people who he serves.  This characteristic is more difficult to find an example of at Buckner.  We did have to defend a simulated country against an enemy and that enemy threatened the way of the simulated native people.  They were also our enemy because, in a sense, they threatened our very existence as well.  My platoon leader had the moral ability to recognize this and make this situation as real as possible for us.  He actually played the scenario out as if everything were real life and by doing that displayed the moral responsibility of an officer.  More than this, though, he was concerned with how the enemy was treated, if and when captured.  His moral ability led him to make sure we knew how to treat prisoners in accordance with the Geneva Convention and how to correctly search enemy prisoners of war.  He knew that it was morally wrong to mistreat them and made this very clear to us.  Because of his moral values, we searched prisoners countless times in the correct manner and without incident.  This would help us remember in the future, when the adrenaline is pumping, not to make the mistake of mistreating them.  He lived out his moral value this way.  Through his teaching and drilling, he was able to convey a deeper morality in me.  My moral values as an officer were strengthened by his example and this will help make me a better warrior in the future.

            Overall, through Tom Martinís leadership and the example that he made himself, he made me a better warrior.  He lived out the values of an officer and a warrior in the physical, mental, and moral sense every single day at Buckner.  I was able to see these values actually lived out rather than just reading about them in a book.  I now have a living example of what an Officer and a warrior is. 

 

Wow.  I didn't know what to say after reading that.  Makes me feel good I affected at least one of my Joe's in a positive way.  Hope the rest of them learned a few things too.

Two six, out.

 


 

September 5th

Ed, Les, Megan, and I went to the movies tonight to see Exorcist: The Beginning.  I've got two things to say about this.  First, it was a pretty decent movie.  Second, don't bring your kids to the theatre.  Some sweet dude a few rows back had his 18 month old kid in the theatre with him.  A few rows in front of us were a bunch of teenagers that WOULD NOT shut up the entire time.  Oh, you're scared and you feel safer talking to your friend?  Don't buy a ticket for a scary movie. 

Blockbuster is right down the road, or if you don't feel like going out at all then do it the way my father joked about when I was in high school.  "Dad, you wanna go see Apollo 13?" "Tom, why pay all that money when you know it'll come out on TBS in 7 or 8 years?"

It seemed like the four of us were in a daycare or a middle school cafeteria instead of a theatre.  Yeah, we only paid $7.50 for the tickets, but come on!  Oh, on top of all that racket a few cell phones rang while we were in there.  Sweet, except not.

Seriously.  I LOVE watching movies.  It's one of my favorite things to do second only to watching a rugby match.  I can't do what I love doing, watching movies, if you're talking or allowing your 18 month old kid (who shouldn't be there in the first place) to make all kinds of noise.  Ok, 'nuff said.

I'm slowly getting my paper on the Battles of Saratoga started for MilArt class.  Not so fun, but it'll turn out well.  I'll let you know.

Random pictures?  Here you go.  G'night.

    

 


 

September 3rd

"The problem with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than their minds."    -Walter Duranty

I don't even know who this guy is, what he did in life, or where he came from, but I like this quote.  Maybe he's trying to say that sometimes people try to live way too far outside of reality and try too hard to make impossible dreams come true.  On the other hand, he might be saying that sometimes people think about their dreams so much that they get caught up in their hope for the future and never really get started down the path to achieving their goal. 

I personally believe every aspect of life is about balance.  You have to learn for yourself what the right combination of dreams and actions is.  You can't sit around hoping for things to turn out perfectly for yourself, but if you work yourself into the ground without any hope of a better future, what are you really accomplishing?  To quote Red from The Shawshank Redemption, "Get busy living, or get busy dying."

I'm not a philosopher by any means; this all just popped in my head tonight. 

-Tom

 


 

September 2nd   8:30 P.M.

INVICTUS

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

-William Ernest Henley

 


 

September 2nd   5:30 P.M.

I got this from www.edodo.org, the Air Force Academy's underground outlet for zoomie cynicism.  Yeah, it's about Colorado drivers on I-25, but all of you that drive the Palisades Parkway between West Point and NYC can relate all too well to this.  STAY OUT OF THE LEFT LANE FOKKERS!!!

-Tom

 

DEAR COLORADO DRIVERS:

The following is a message from a concerned ďoutsiderĒ who has had to drive on I-25 far too many times. We need to talk. There are some unwritten rules of the road that Iím not sure you guys understand. These are not laws, but they are reasons why people always seem to pass you on the right, waving that longer finger in the middle of the hand in your directionÖ or maybe you didnít notice that. Before we start with the rules, please allow me to give you a visual demonstration.

I know it's a bad picture, but this isn't art class. This is a highway. It is not a "big road," there are different rules here. You are not the only person on it. A lot of people with out of state license plates are trying to get somewhere on it. It is not your job to impede their progress.

Now on to the rulesÖ Keep in mind that if you go to other states and do not follow these rules you may be shot.

Rule #1: Get the hell out of the left hand lane. The left hand lane is for passing people. Moving .5 miles per hour faster than a car in the right hand lane does not mean you are passing them. Why donít you just get out a white board and start writing messages to each other. I call this phenomenon the Colorado Roadblock, because no one can pass you. This isnít a town meeting; itís a damn highway. Move over. Iíll go deeper into rule #1 later, because itís very important.

Rule #2: You can go however fast you want in the right hand lane. Thatís where all you polly-pissy pants should be in the first place, but for some reason itís like there a huge magnet on the left hand side of the road that drags you all over to the fast lane where you damn near put your car in park.

Rule #3: Get rid of that stupid ďNativeĒ stickerÖ I hate you even more now that I know youíve been driving this way all your life. I donít view this as you being a product of your surroundings; you have a choice, now move the hell over.

Rule #4: If all you see in your rearview mirror are headlights and a middle finger, pull over to the right. Obviously this person has some place to be and youíre slowing them down. In Texas people will actually pull off the road to let you pass them at 85 MPH. Now donít get me wrongÖ Texans are crazy. Someone is going to get hurt doing that stuff. Iíve also yet to meet a Texan who knows how much he has had to drink. Your average Texan will try to tell you that he has had about 15 beers to drink when you know for a fact all you had in your fridge was 2 six packs and you drank seven of themÖ but I digress.

Rule #5: Stay the hell out of the left hand lane.

Rule #6: Donít give someone else the finger if itís your fault. Thatís how people get hurt.

Rule #7: Just because itís shiny and on the side of the road doesnít mean you have to slow down to look at it. I have - no kidding - sat in a traffic jam for a half hour going from the south gate to the north gate exits because people were looking at a hitchhiker. A hitchhiker. Not one of these bastards picked the poor guy up but they all felt free to slow down and have a look at him and his 3-legged dog. Thatís right, they left him walking with a 3-legged dog of all things.

And now for a test: I call this ďspot the assholeĒ.

Somewhere in this picture there is an asshole. If you can point him out you are making progressÖ and yes those red things are supposed to be cars, Iím not Michelangelo over here.
Thatís right, the guy in the left hand lane is blocking the one dude whoís trying to pass. If you canít see how this works you are blind. If you are the guy in the left hand lane, pull over and report for beatings, because you are an asshole.
Now, who is the asshole in this picture?
Trick question, what we have here is a train of assholes. Just because someone is already in the left hand lane doesnít mean you can just sit there like a Colorado Highway Lemming right behind him. You are not sheep, you are men, now use your brains. I know what youíre thinking, ďwhy doesnít the guy on the right in the back just wait in line like the rest of usĒÖ Iíll tell you why, because the whole line should be in the right hand lane. Itís you types of assholes who speed up whenever someone tries to get into your lane, like itís some kind of insult for someone to move faster than you. Die.
We've all been in this type of situation before; unfortunately this is the fault of one asshole. Can you guess who he his?

That is all. Thank you for your time.

 


 

September 1st

I've been asked to shorten my entries.  Fine.  Not my fault you all suffer from ADD...

Uniform show today.  Man I sure miss those green uniforms.  Now that I'm sized for my new ones it just means one step closer to graduation.

Classes are going extremely well.  I get "the look" from my classmates for answering too many questions in class now, but screw you guys!  I'm busting my rear to get my grades as high as possible this semester and if I somehow insult you with my newfound ability to read the assignment beforehand and have some critical thoughts to offer, the hell with you.  Generalship and the Art of Command.  Friggin AWESOME class.  Alexander the Great, Napoleon, and Arthur Wellesley the 1st Duke of Wellington.  Yeah, ask me anything about those guys.  Not necessarily good people, but damn good commanders/generals.  'Nuff said.

Celine is back at Benning now, but she's in senior phase now so she gets the evenings and weekends off.  She gets pinned with 2LT bars Thursday, September 16th.  Rock.

I'm not "allowed" to type much more than this so here's Calvin.  Night-o.

 


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