Friday, March 20, 2009

Sir Chief

A week prior to the now infamous date 9/11, I took my oldest son to speak to a local Air Force recruiter in Plano, Texas. A week later two commercial planes, hijacked by terriorist, flew into the Twin Towers in NYC. Right then a definite life changing decision was made in my life.
No it wasn't my son joining the Air Force. Though, I became a proud dad at that point and it was going to be life changing for him, that was not my life changing decision.

The life changing decision that was made that week was me re-enlisting, for the third time, into the Army. Yes the third time. After I left my son in the hands of the AF recruiters I went next door and negotiated with the Army to let an older man back into the ranks.

I really didn't realize how old of a man the Army put back into a uniform until I sat down in a classroom full of brand new lieutenants. Most of them were young enough to be my kids.

There was this one particular 2LT that sat next to me in class. She was barely 20 years old. Her and I were talking one day and she told me that she never really had a grandfather. "Would you mind being my grandfather?" she asked. Wow! What a question. I think she was only half kidding because when I told her yes she gave a soft smile back with tears in her eyes.
Fast forward. I am back in Iraq for my second tour and again am surrounded by some very young lieutenants. Hell, some young captains for that matter. But it's all good. I'm having a good tour and am enjoying my mission.
I usually go to chow with my boss MAJ Daneker and 1SG Martinez. We take the long sidewalk route to the chow hall two, sometimes three, times a day. It's a good walking exercise and it also lends itself to be the same for the upper body. You greet and salute Soldiers along the way from the time you start out to the time you reach the other end.
I tell you that to tell you this. Along this, oh... quarter of a mile stretch, I get greeted at least once a day with "good morning Chief" or "how are you today Chief." Now when I was growing up my uncle used to call me chief. Kinda like calling someone bud or dude.
Now I'm thinking, "wow these 1st Cav Soldiers are mighty friendly and casual." Then it hit me. They aren't being casual at all. They think I'm a Chief Warrant Officer Five.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas of Long Ago!!

Well it's good to be home. The short tour in Bryan/College Station is over and I'm certain I didn't want to spend Christmas at the "EZ".

Christmas at the Sarratt Place was very nice this year. It was quiet but I think that was a good thing.

Just to be home sitting on the couch with Domenica and taking in a movie or two was relaxing.
But it wasn't always that way. I can remember one Christmas when I was on the road. A dirt road to be specific. It was back in the 1880's when I rode with the Legendary Jesse James.
No, I didn't rob any trains. I was his PA media escort. He was so famous that I had to make his appointments to meet with the press and dime novelists.
Anyway, we were riding on a long dusty trail in Missouri on December 24th, 1883. Jesse wanted to stop into town and see Santa. I advised him not to because I knew the press would be all over the Santa event in town and someone might recognize him.
Sure enough, as Jesse was on Santa's lap someone recognized him and he had to leave town in a hurry. The picture above is me in the saloon with BOB, the guy that recognized Jesse.
It was a long time before I met up again with Jesse.
me & Jesse
Believe it or not, in 2006 I was his escort again. He came over to Iraq to meet with the troops and he and I were able to just hang out together. Just like old times.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I'm a GUY

I was sitting at my desk today doing some busy work during lunch and started playing some of the music I have stored in I-Tunes. The very first lyrics in the song came out loud and clear to me: "Everybody needs a little time away..." by the mellow group Chicago.

This is true for most couples as we all need a little time away from each other to re-energize, but when you've been away almost four years into a five-year marriage, I think the title of this song is more apropos: "Hard to say I'm sorry."

Staying at the "EZ" is not the most appealing place to be away from home, alone and trying to keep a relationship interesting. Especially when you're a GUY!

If I don't have much to say on the phone when my wife calls (probably because I'm watching football), it's still "Hard to say I'm sorry." Why? Because I'm a GUY!

Last week was not a good time to be away from home. Domenica was not feeling well, the heat wasn't working properly in our home and her puppy was being a royal pain in the BUTT!

She called me yesterday hoping to get a little sympathy and all she got was...,

well... let's just say:

I'm a GUY!

So I continue singing...

"Everybody needs a little time away,

I heard her say,

from each other.

Even lovers need a holiday,

far away

from each other.

Hold me now,

It's hard for me to say I'm sorry.

I just want you to stay.

After all that We've been through,

I will make it up to you.

I promise to.

And after all that's been said and done,

you're just the part of me I can't let go."



Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I've been around!

"No #*&% there I was..." seems to be a standard preamble to all of my conversations with the young Soldiers of the 211th MPAD. Me being the "Oldest living 1LT" in the Army today, I have succumbed to the fact that if it happened anytime before today, I was probably there.

For example; I served wine at the last supper, I participated in the Civil War alongside General Lee and some say I even helped sign the Declaration of Independence. I don't want to shatter anyone's illusions of grandeur about me, so I keep quiet.

In reality, I only got to stomp on the grapes, work in the blacksmith shop where he kept his horse and was the hired help in the printing office. Needless to say, it gets interesting around here while we train.

But at the end of the day, all is fair. They keep me laughing and I keep reminding myself that the great thing about having grown kids is that they get to go to "their" home (or hotel room in our case) at the end of the day. I'm then left alone in my room to enjoy a good read, the Readers Digest-Large print, and take my Geritol and Silver Vitamins without ridicule.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

This is Just A Test

Testing, testing - Is this thing on?