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
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) because 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
Mission Command. It just sounds cool. Like this picture.
It’s also the way the Army is supposed to conduct business. So, what is it? BLUF: It’s the name we’ve given to the thing that good leaders have done for a long time – exercise “mission command” rather than the stuffy and outdated “command and control.” Who does that anymore?!? Well…plenty of people. We call them “old school” leaders. Bad leaders? Those were your words, not mine. Continue reading
One of my fondest memories of my time as a lieutenant (I don’t sound like an old Soldier there, do I? Yikes.) was serving as the Executive Officer of The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Band (although back then, it was called The U.S. Continental Army Band). There were a lot of great things about that assignment, but what truly set that band apart, in my humble opinion, was its summer concert series, “Music Under the Stars” or MUTS. Continue reading
From time to time, social media or an occasional article on military bands gives people an opportunity to voice their support or displeasure with the money spent on military music assets. This is often followed by a wave of comments both for and against. I’m biased, but I also speak from first-hand knowledge and experience. Seventeen years worth of experience. Does the Department of Defense wisely spend every dime of the American taxpayer’s money? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say…no. Continue reading
My wife and I have been in Korea for about four months now. There are things that I miss about living in the U.S. and there are things I love about living in Korea. Obviously, I miss my friends and family, and living in an Asian culture certainly takes some getting used to, but here are a few things I like about Korea that I wish we would adopt in the United States: Continue reading
I’ve written here and there about my job and the satisfaction I get serving as an Army Music Officer, but so many people – both civilians and military – ask me how I became an Army Music Officer. Having been in the Army for over 17 years now (gulp) and having served as the Army Music Officer auditions coordinator for three years, I think I have as good a perspective as any on the process.