Thank you, Korea

Last week, after 22 months of serving in the Republic of Korea, I relinquished command of the Eighth Army Band to a friend of mine and I’ve begun in-processing Fort Meade for my new job as the Deputy Commander of The U.S. Army Field Band. While it’s great to be back in the States and serving at the Field Band, it was tough to say goodbye to our home for the last two years.

We made a lot of friends and created many great memories that we will re-live through our thousands of photos (digital photography is one of the great inventions for travelers). While we were able to get some great travel in to Japan, Thailand, and of course Bhutan, the two things that made these last two years so special was the beauty and hospitality of Korea and the Korean People and the unique and important mission of the Eighth Army Band…and Korean fried chicken.

I have never been prouder to serve my country or serve as a commander than during the last two years (and that’s saying something because I’ve been fortunate to have several great assignments over the years). From the many performances by the Band’s music performance teams across the Peninsula for the Korean people, to Honor Guard ceremonies on Knight Field for the Senior Mission Commander, to key leader engagements with Korean partners, it was an honor to support the increasingly important alliance between the Republic of Korea and the United States.

Ground Forces Festival 2016

Azalea Festival

Eighth Army Holiday Concert 2016

At the British Embassy

Jinhae Military Band and Honor Guard Festival

Cherry Blossoms in bloom on Yongsan Garrison

View from the peak of Bukhansan

Green tea fields

Gate near Dongdaemun

 

Dreamy Camera Cafe in Yangpyeong county outside of Seoul.

Always looking for the perfect selfie


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Happy Independence Day


This July Fourth, don’t read other people’s opinions on the meaning of Independence Day or what someone else thinks the Founders meant. Read the founding document yourself and come to your own conclusions. Read it and see for yourself why the United States is unique in the history of nations. Happy Fourth! Continue reading

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Review: Blades Grim Shave Soap and Pre-Shave Oil

Last October I wrote a post about wet shaving; you can check it out here. In that post, I mentioned a Kickstarter campaign I funded from Blades Grim that scored me a shave soap and a set of scented pre-shave oils. Well, in January I started using them. Bottom Line Up Front: I’ve really enjoyed using their soap and shave oils; it was definitely money well-spent. I’m sure you’d like a little more detail so let’s get into it. Continue reading

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Army Music – Honor Guard Ceremonies

In an effort to keep up my spotty track record of intermittent blog posts, I’d like to highlight one of the mainstays of the 8th Army Band’s mission – Honor Guard Ceremonies. These ceremonies, held on US Army Garrison Yongsan (at least until the four-star headquarters moves down to Camp Humphreys), are conducted on the gravel of Knight Field in front of U.S. Forces Korea Headquarters. Continue reading

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So You Want to Support the Arts…

There’s been a lot of chatter recently about the impending doom of civilization due to the possible defunding of the National Endowment for the Arts. If all of the people displaying social media outrage actually supported the arts – you know, with their actual time and/or money – there wouldn’t be an issue. If you want to “live in a country that supports the Arts” then…support the Arts.  Continue reading

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Impressions of Bhutan

Bhutan. Land of the Thunder Dragon. Some call it a modern day Shangri-la. I call it a beautiful country steeped in tradition that my wife and I had the good fortune of visiting on our most recent vacation. I know what you’re thinking. “Oh yeah, Bhutan…that’s where now?” The Kingdom of Bhutan is a small (around the size of Switzerland), land-locked country nestled in the eastern range of the Himalayas between India and China. Its history is rooted in protecting its sacred traditions but the last forty years has seen its monarchs slowly open the country to the modern world while simultaneously safeguarding its heritage. Continue reading

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The (Dark) Art of Wet Shaving

One of my interests/hobbies is tied closely to my job – no, not music; wet shaving. Or, as men who grew up in a different era called it, shaving. Classic wet shaving is a morning ritual that gives me an opportunity to slow down, reflect, and get my mind right before taking on the day.

So, for my job – being in the military and all – I have to be clean shaven; and here in Korea, I have to be clean shaven 24/7. That being the case, having a thick beard that grows in quickly can be a bit of a pain. For much of my life, shaving in the morning was an annoying task that often left my skin and mood irritated. Like many guys, I used a shave gel and a cartridge razor (like the Schick Quattro)┬ábecause I enjoyed spending lots of money on disposable blades that didn’t give me a close shave and often left my face feeling like it’s been put through the ringer. Continue reading

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