Easy Reading

  • The Real Life Forrest Gump

    My wife and I were visiting the Vietnam Wall memorial early one morning with plans to grab a few photos.  I was taking in the sights and emotions, listening in on people's conversations.  Many Vietnam veterans have not made the trip to visit this place, and we saw a few who were there for the first time.  I look over and down the walkway I see an older man wearing his dress blue uniform, the ASU.  It was very out of place to see and immediately I thought "wow, this is a Vietnam vet wearing his uniform".  As he got closer I paid attention to him and his group - a lady who must have been his wife, and as younger man recording everything.  As he got closer I notice this wasn't just any veteran, he was wearing the Medal of Honor.
  • Project 100,000 - The government's 1960's program to send low-IQ troops to war

    Project 100,000, also known as McNamara's 100,000, McNamara's Folly, McNamara's Morons, and McNamara's Misfits, was a controversial 1960s program by the United States Department of Defense to recruit soldiers who would previously have been below military mental or medical standards.

    Project 100,000 was initiated by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara in October 1966 to meet the escalating manpower requirements of the American government's involvement in the Vietnam War. According to Hamilton Gregory, author of the book McNamara's Folly: The Use of Low-IQ Troops in the Vietnam War, inductees of the project died at triple the rate of other Americans serving in Vietnam and following their service had lower incomes and higher rates of divorce than their non-veteran counterparts.


  • The Battle For Corregidor

    The drop at Corregidor began at 8:30 AM on February 16, 1945. In two lifts, 82 C-47’s of the 54th Troop Carrier Wing carried 2,050 men of the 503rd from Mindoro. The initial drops were made from an altitude of 650 feet, but this was soon reduced to 500 feet or less to minimize drift. The RCT included two battalions of the 503rd Parachute Infantry and its headquarters, engineer and service companies, and field artillery batteries of 75 mm howitzers from the 462nd Parachute Field Artillery. The troops faced an estimated enemy defense of 850 (later proved to be over 5,000) in heavily fortified positions.



  • Bad Leadership - A Look In Retrospect

    I recently asked you all for input on what things you think make for a "bad leader".  I took your comments, added my own thoughts, and this is the result.  Now I want to preface this by saying that I have had the opportunity to lead many Soldiers at the team, squad, and platoon level.  Additionally, I have worked in some non traditional areas where leadership can be challenging.  Some of you have worked either for me or with me, and I admit I am not, and have not always been the best leader, although I had always tried to be the best possible out of respect for my profession and those in my care.  This post is being written in retrospect, taking into account all of the things I have learned and wish I knew earlier.  click below to continue reading full blog
  • Money

    Money.  It makes the world go round.  I want to share my thoughts and things I have learned as an enlisted Soldier.

    Surviving on an E1 paycheck was tough in 2006, and its even harder now.  That being said, the paycheck can go a lot further or shorter based on your habits.

    One of the biggest purchases an 18-20 something year old will likely make is a vehicle.  Many end up buying a vehicle at their first duty station.  A few things to consider here -

    1. Do you need a car right now?  Often times everything you need is right next door.  Work, the chow hall, gym are all near your living place.  Often times you can get around just fine with a few friends.
    2. Get something practical.  Why is it you see Majors drive beat up cars and privates driving chargers and cameros?  Because they make better decisions thats why.  Find something cheap and within your means.  Just because you can make a $500 car payment doesn’t mean that you can afford it.
  • COP Keating - The Battle of Kamdesh


    With casualties mounting and the enemy fire unrelenting, Romesha raced over to LRAS-1 to check on Specialist Zach Koppes trapped inside. Smoke and fire raged from the nearby ANA building and other structures.

    While at LRAS-1, Romesha grabbed a Russian Dragunov sniper rifle and engaged in a cat and mouse duel with a Taliban sniper who had been targeting Koppes’ position. Dodging enemy shots and looking through the scope, Romesha silenced the sniper and gained Koppes more time.  

    Around this same time, as Taliban soldiers poured into the base, Specialist Chris Griffin and Joshua Hardt were killed. In Hardt’s case, his fellow soldiers would not learn of his demise until after the battle. 

  • American Paratrooper POW that fought along side Soviets in WW2

    Joseph Robert Beyrle (1923-2004) was a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne when he was caught by the Germans during the Normandy landings.  Eventually, he managed to escape and wandered in the German countryside until he met Russian troops and persuaded their commanders to allow him to fight on the front line.He fought for a month and was wounded. Marshal Zhukov arranged for Beyrle's trip back to the US. Beyrle is the only American who fought the Germans in both the US and Red Armies during WW2.  CLICK TO READ FULL STORY
  • La Fiere

    The mortal ferocity of the four-day battle for control of the small stone bridge over the Merderet River at La Fière in Normandy is testament to the bridge’s strategic importance in the D-Day invasion of June 1944. Without control of the bridge and its vital causeway, American forces coming from Utah Beach would not have been able to force their way inland. 

    Fought largely by paratroopers and glidermen from the 82nd Airborne Division, the battle to secure the bridge at La Fière is described as “probably the bloodiest small unit struggle in the experience of American arms.” Victory at La Fière cost more than 250 American lives, and yet the fateful engagement’s story is largely untold. CLICK TO READ FULL STORY

  • Peaceful Chaos

    We take off and are able to sleep, however uncomfortably, for the next hour or so.  Those asleep are awoken to the jumpmaster’s commands.  We received a ten minute warning and move to our feet, 100 pounds of equipment and ruck sack weighing us down and grinding on our shoulders.  The doors open up and the cabin is filled with freezing wind and a loud roar.   It all happens so quickly.  Your heart races with excitement, no matter how many times you have done this before. CLICK TO READ FULL STORY
  • Using Your Education Benefits While on Active Duty

    Like many Soldiers and service members, I went to college after high school and failed miserably.  I went because it was expected of me and I didn’t know what else I should be doing with my life.  I didn’t know anything except for that I wanted to have a good time.  Fast forward three years to 2006 and you would find me, a college dropout with no plan, sitting in the recruiter’s office.  I had finally had enough.  CLICK TO READ FULL STORY
  • Ghosts of the Valley

    Our mission was simple: take back land in the valley, establish strongholds, and flush the enemy out. Coming back to the valley meant bringing humanitarian assistance for the local populace and put bad guys in body bags. Simple enough.
    Holy shit, I’m back! Talk about déjà vu.
    Our MP squad were the first Americans in the valley since the last units retracted earlier that year. As we approached the entrance of the valley, we were to meet with local Afghan police at a checkpoint in order to proceed forward. When we arrived at the checkpoint, smoke had engulfed the building and we found some the police officers beheaded, with their heads on sticks. God this smell is ripe. The interpreter said there was a message on the wall from the Taliban.
    “What does the message say?” I asked the interpreter.
    “Keep coming,” he replied.
    These assholes are taunting us. Telling us to come deeper into the
    valley. Wait, this was planned. They have to know we are coming, right? So, how many of them are waiting for us?
  • The Unwanted Guest: Dealing with Anxiety, Depression, TBI, PTSD

    It all started during deployment to Iraq in 2008.  I was sitting in my Stryker and pulling security with our truck’s .50 caliber machine gun when I became very dizzy and disoriented.  While the feeling was hard to describe, I had never felt that way before in my life - that was sure.  I couldn’t focus, and it seemed difficult to breathe.  It only lasted maybe half an hour, and I soon forgot all about the incident.  Fast forward to the fall of 2009 and I was being transported to the hospital on Fort Wainwright by an ambulance after a night of heavy drinking. CLICK TO READ FULL STORY