Monday, November 26, 2007

Go Navy Beat Army!

It is almost time for the greatest rivalry in College Football (at least that is my opinion), the Army-Navy game is this Saturday, December 1st. Editor's Note: The Army-Navy game is on CBS at 12pm est. However a really important football game starts at 1pm est on ABC - the ACC Championship game #11 Boston College vs #6 Virginia Tech. Thank goodness for Tivo, I can finish watching Navy after the BC game. I am sure you all remembered. Also, don't forget to watch the commercials, there should be some pretty good ones from all over the world where Army and Navy personnel are serving. I don't count the one I did as part of the good ones, I saw it and it is a bit lame. I blame the writers strike, it is difficult to get good writing these days... we thespians are the ones who must suffer.

Here is a little history of the game:

The Army-Navy football game is one of the most traditional and enduring rivalries in college football. It all started in 1890 (Army won that one). Navy currently owns the bragging rights as they have beat Army 51 times over the 49 Army wins (there were 7 ties). The Army-Navy Game, pits the football teams of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York (Army), and the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland (Navy), against one another. The 2007 game will be played on December 1st at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. It was in the 1963 Army-Navy game that instant replay made its debut. Navy won the most recent contest on December 2, 2006, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia and with the win broke a Naval Academy record for consecutive wins against the other Service Academies with four winning years against both Army and The Air Force Academy.

And now for the news... This past week was Thanksgiving. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. We celebrated here by actually having a day off. I of course only worked a few hours thinking I could do some catching up, but alas it was a futile effort as the next day reality struck me and I was bombarded with too many things to do. One of the military traditions is for Officers to serve the Thanksgiving meal so I did my part and became a server. I was the ice cream man, so everybody like me. I wish I had my summer whites so I could really play the part, but I was dressed in my DCU's with a smock and white paper hat. It worked for me. After I was done with my shift, I enjoyed my Thanksgiving meal of real turkey, we usually are served pressed turkey. I forgot how good real roast turkey really is.

During the day, we had a chance to play volleyball in a dirt volleyball court. I say dirt because it wasn't so much sand as it was the fine powdery dirt that covers most of Afghanistan. The dirt is so fine that you actually have to hose it down to keep it from filling the air with dust as you play. Well the game was close, but our team lost in the first round 21 -16. It was still a good time, although I wish we had practiced a little so we could have honed our skills a bit.

We were also fortunate to have some entertainment from two comedians from the states who put on a very funny standup show. It was a nice diversion from the normal routine.

The rest of the week was filled with meetings, e-mails and providing reports; the usual stuff.

Back on the homefront, Rebecca and the kids celebrated Thanksgiving with my family in Dallas. I was able to get on a webcam call with them all and see how it was to have a party and consume mass quantities of alcohol. I can almost remember that.

Go Navy Beat Army!

Peace to you all,


Sunday, November 18, 2007

I am Thankful

The Thanksgiving holiday is just about upon us. This is a very special time and reminds us to think about those things for which we are thankful. I am thankful for my wonderful wife, Rebecca, who has kept our family together especially during this deployment. I am thankful for my children, Thomas and Madigan, who give me such joy all the time. I am thankful for all my family and friends who have supported me during this deployment, it is very special to know there are such great people close to me. I am thankful I have had this opportunity to serve in the military and do my part to help the world and keep us safe and secure.

Work is as busy as ever, I can't seem to catch up, not that I had thoughts of ever catching up. I had some VIP tours getting out to facilities to see how things are going. I took a Chinook helicopter ride to Gardez, which is a city East of Kabul, for a meeting.It was great being able to see other parts of the country. It seems I am constantly writing evaluations and awards as people are leaving and others are coming. We are doing great work, although sometimes it is frustrating trying to get things done with the Afghans as they move at a slower pace than Americans. We also struggle with a society that has a culture of corruption and it is difficult to know who to trust. We press on and make change where we can.

On the homefront, Rebecca took the kids to Dallas for the holiday to spend time with family. My brothers and sister live there and Thomas and Madigan will get to see all their cousins. They have a fun filled holiday time planned, I only wish I could be there with them.
I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

Peace to you all,


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thanks to Veterans

It was veterans day this past Sunday, so I would like to say thank you to all you veterans out there. I am proud to be among you and whether you served a long time ago or are serving now, the United States is better for your service. It was also the Marine Corps Birthday this week, November 10th. Happy Birthday Marine Corps.

I am swamped this week so this update will be short. Just want to make sure you all know that I am doing fine. It has been a busy week. Had several meetings with my Afghan counterparts, working on many projects. It seems we are always trying to catch up with so many initiatives ongoing. We are revamping how we train and outfit the Afghan National Police, in addition to keeping up with our regular shipments of equipment to both the ANP and ANA. I am looking forward to my break at Christmas time, it is just about a month away so I am getting close. We had a few new people arrive to replace those who are leaving or who have left already. That is always a nice thing because it means I am getting closer to coming home. I made contact with my relief this week and that is a real good thing to know that my relief is already identified and eager to come over here (well not really, but he has a lot of questions.)

Back on the homefront, this week was parent teacher conferences so it was short days for school. Rebecca had a little less free time with the kids around more. With the fires the week before, the kids were out of school and this past week they had short days, I am sure Rebecca wants a break. Editor's Note: Rebecca is losing what was left of her mind... this was a three day weekend for the kids too! Free time is not exactly what I have when the kids are in school... there's that whole work thing that takes up most of that time. It just means that when they don't have school, I have the kids with me on trips to the grocery store etc. And anyone who has kids knows what a joy it is to have two kids with you when you are trying to shop. Yes, I actually did break down and buy them Lunchables last week.

Peace to you all,


Monday, November 5, 2007

The Streak

A streak: an unbroken series of events. There have been many streaks throughout history, mostly tracked in sports, and every streak must end. The Boston Red Sox not winning a World Series for 86 years, now they have won two in the last four years; Cal Ripkin's 2,632 consecutive games played and then he sat out; (how about basketball?) the longest losing streak in NBA history was the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1982 with a stretch of 24 games without a win and finally for college basketball the dynasty of the UCLA Bruins won 88 games without a loss.

We all love the streak. We say, "Oh they're on a winning streak or they're on a losing streak." We love tracking streaks. For all the Navy fans out there, you know one of the longest running streaks in college football history ended this weekend. Navy had not beaten Notre Dame in 43 years and this year in triple overtime they beat Notre Dame 46-44. I wish I had seen the game, but I only got to see the highlights. Either way, they played tough and beat the Irish and ended the streak. Unfortunately for Rebecca and the other Boston College fans, BC lost a tough one to Florida State ending their own winning streak of 8 games.

On to business, this week was pretty normal following up on projects and keeping up with e-mails and loads of information. It is almost winter so our big project lately has been fielding the Afghans with winter clothing and supplies to keep them warm during the cold winter months. We have to put together large shipments of supplies to ship to all corners of Afghanistan before the heavy snows start and the roads are impassable. Actually, I have been waiting for the cold weather here in Kabul, but it has been absolutely gorgeous. We have had temperatures in the low 70's during the day and at night and early morning it has been in the 40's. It has been quite pleasant; I am just waiting for the cold stuff to start.

Back on the homefront, Rebecca and the kids celebrated Halloween. They had great costumes, Thomas was a trashcan and Madigan was an ice cream cone. They both won the costume contest at school. They got a fair bit of candy from trick-or-treating, but not their biggest haul. Probably a good thing since we have plenty of treats in the house already. We may even have candy leftover from last Halloween.

We had a small Halloween celebration here on Camp Eggers. No trick-or-treating, but some people dressed up and there was a pumpkin carving contest. The winner was a pumpkin made up like a man puking into a toilet bowl. There was an Irish band, but I was too late to listen to them play.

Go Navy Beat Army!

Peace to you all,