24 September 2012

Week 11 from Afghanistan

This week's email was a bit personal so I'll only share a snippet.
"in the midst of political battles and debates, and especially in times like this for me where I am faced with what can sometimes seem to be senseless conflict, I have a favorite Tabernacle Choir rendition of Stars and Stripes Forever, that helps me focus in on exactly why we do what we do. I have pasted the words below, in case you haven't read them all. 

The Stars And Stripes Forever
John Philip Sousa came back to earth one day!
He looked around at what he found here all the contradictions that abound here
Good surviving, evil thriving, everything in disarray ...
With frown and mouth turned upside down
He said "This'll never do! dead level never do!
Don't they know to show some pride in who they are!
The pioneers of former years were not without their doubts and woes and fears but
They know well the love of God would never let them go astray!
But here today where there's no fear of dark in the wilderness some are in wilderness
They must shift and lift their gaze to some new star!
By a star in the east the least of men once were succored in time of needing
For the star promised peace to those in pain and from Galilee was Westwardly proceeding.
With the star of the West the best of men now are siding in their endeavor
To restore as of yore their country's pride in the glory of the stars and stripes forever.
Three cheers for the red, white and blue, for the red is the blood of our brothers.
The white is the light of the star that has led us to where we are.
The blue is the hue of the sky where on high the Almighty falters never.
Our banner for two hundred years! Oh pioneers! Here's to the stars and stripes forever!

True Love

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Afghanistan 'makes you appreciate America'

Returning Marine: Afghanistan 'makes you appreciate America' - U.S. - Stripes

17 September 2012

Feeling Loved

ONE says,
"I love walking into the pantry after you've gone to the Commissary.  Seeing all that food makes me feel loved."  
Can you tell he is a teenage boy?

16 September 2012

Week 10 from Afghanistan

Hope all is well with you.  It has been a mixed week here.  We had a fairly significant attack down in Helmand Province, and also a couple more insider attacks from Afghans we are partnered with.  When you consider all the positive interactions that are occurring all over the country on a daily basis, this kind of thing is a statistical anomaly--but insurgents realize that it gets more media attention than roadside bombs, and it is the tactic de jure to try to break down popular support at home and cause distrust between coalition and Afghan forces. 
We have also been watching the unrest around the region with caution. 

12 September 2012

Libyan Loss

From my husband:
The US Ambassador that was killed in Libya was someone I knew.  He was the Deputy Consul General at Jerusalem.  I saw him again when General B***** had to testify on the Hill.  At the time he was serving as the Diplomatic Fellow assigned to Hillary Clinton on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  He always took time to talk to me about the things I was working on.  He was a great American. 
It sounds like the video that started the protest is pretty offensive.  Not sure why people do things that just tear down. 
Another senseless loss of life as people resort to violence and murder as a means of expressing their dissatisfaction.  

11 September 2012

Afghanistan Week 9

I had a chance to travel again this week.  Again, I was impressed by the amazing folks we have working things at a tactical level...  My team and I continue to try to push these lesson's learned into practical course corrections ... it is our duty to make an effort.  

My return back to HQs was disrupted a bit due to a

07 September 2012

Top 10 Perks for the Air Force Spouse

Top 10 Perks For The Air Force Spouse
Article by: Wendy Zarganis, Air Force Spouse

The Air Force life is not an easy one. The constant moves, deployments, North Dakota. But there are some key perks that your civilian friends are simply missing out on.

10. Immunity from Hoarding. Traditionally, in America, you get married. You buy a house. You fill it with crap. The Air Force variant is you get married, you buy a house thinking you’ll be stationed in the area for several years and then it gets suggested to your AF spouse that he/she apply for a job 1500 miles away as it will be really, really for the best. So you sell the house, move, and then repeat the cycle, except next time, you rent. The ability to collect crap is exponentially diminished by the Air Force’s need to show you the world beginning with Yikes, Nevada and followed by WTH, Oklahoma. You get tired of packing and TMO has weight limits anyway, so you don’t collect junk. You are streamlined and would never think of hoarding. Oh, I know, some have tried (I see those timeless and classic Longaberger baskets there, ladies) but PCSing every couple of years keeps the clutter at bay. And really, life’s better for it. Stuff is just stuff. Better to pack on the memories and leave the tchotchkes behind for those civilians who know they will be in the same house for 40 years.

 9. Geographic Know-How. You get to see the world. Mostly the desolate parts of it where the Air Force can park its airplanes, but still, you get to travel and enjoy new cultures even within our own country. With all that travel comes uncanny abilities, like being able to pack up your car with exactly what the kids and pets will need at any given moment, or the ability to use an atlas(!) should the GPS short out after somehow finding its way into an open coffee travel mug. You will know how to make the best of a 3400-mile PCS move driving across the frozen Alaskan wilderness to the desert-dom of Las Vegas. (Hint: if you see a functioning road stop along the road, just pull over and use the bathroom, even if you only kinda have to go. If you don't, a sightseeing plane may crash land on the road 10 miles later and you'll be stuck in traffic on the two-lane-through-nothing part of the Alaska-Canada Highway for HOURS. You may have to pretend you're pregnant to garner sympathy from the tour bus of seniors stopped in front of you, just to use their on-board toilet.) But you will develop a sense of humor and flexibility about life that others don’t have.

READ MORE at http://www.baseguide.com/Articles/Article.aspx?title=top-10-perks-for-the-air-force-spouse&page=1

02 September 2012

Update from Afghanistan

For some time I have been studying the works of philosophers that influenced our founding fathers--Locke, Montesquieu, Kant, Rousseau, etc. My study culminated a few months ago with a reading of James Madison's journals of the Constitutional convention. The point of this for me was to understand better the the foundation principles that influenced their debates, and resulted in a document that we hold to be inspired.
During my study, I was surprised to find less of a direct connection than I had expected. Except for a series of letters written by John Trenchard after a financial scandal in England (collected as Cato's letters) I found few arguments that were direct ancestors of what was eventually established by those good men. There were some basic ideas on sovereignty of the people and separation of powers, but nothing that would account for the genius of the document itself. Interestingly, the debates themselves reveal little argument regarding the great ideas, but were primarily occupied with discussion over various forms of power sharing, which when it boiled down to it, revolved around the slavery issue. The actual drafting was carried out by the committee of detail, a small group which shaped the destinies of generations here in America and abroad.

Surprised by what I found, it became apparent

01 September 2012


Grandma and Papa are visiting this weekend. The kids love when they come. One of the special things they do for the kids is make a big breakfast. This morning was waffles, and some with chocolate chips. Not just any chocolate chips but the ghirardelli chocolate chips.