Last Monday I had the opportunity to go to Qatar – my first trip out of Kuwait. I flew out Monday because there were no flights available Sunday or Saturday, and I couldn’t get on a flight the previous Tuesday or Wednesday. Flying Space-Required (Space-R) is not exactly a sure thing; it’s barely one step removed from Space-A.
With Space-A, you probably have the flexibility to wait around all day to be told, “sorry, maybe tomorrow.” With Space-R, you probably have someplace to be but don’t have enough rank to get a seat; so the only difference with Space-R is that you’ll need to call the person you had a meeting with and postpone it. Perhaps more than once. But, I finally did get on a plane – a C130 – with one other passenger and a big payload of cargo. I arrived at Al Udeid Airbase (which is actually a Qatari base with an American base nestled within it) in the late morning, went through customs, checked in with billeting, and dropped off my stuff in the open bay I was going to be staying in. Continue reading
Well, I’ve been in Kuwait for a little over two months now, and I have certainly settled into a bit of a routine. To help break up that routine, I’ve been able to get off base a couple of times. On one excursion, a small group of us went to brunch and did a little shopping. When we got out of the car by the water, I was immediately struck by the familiar scent of the ocean, which of course reminded me of Virginia Beach. Above is a shot I took of the Kuwait City skyline with the pier in the foreground. There were a lot of beautiful boats docked at the pier and out in the water. There was also this beauty.
On 21 February, I began the latest chapter in my Army story. That’s when I started my preparation for a six-month deployment to U.S. Army Central Command in Kuwait as the Bands Liaison Officer. On the 21st, I arrived at Fort Bliss, Texas, which is adjacent to El Paso. Spending a week at the Conus Replacement Center (or CRC), I got a healthy dose of training, a couple of duffle bags worth of gear, and an all expenses paid trip to sunny Kuwait. Continue reading
On September 12th, I relinquished the company command of the Army School of Music after serving in the position for a little over two years. (That’s not me in the above picture; I just thought it looked cool.) I came to the School of Music to be an instructor; as often happens in the military, it didn’t quite work out that way. Circumstances led to me assuming command of this unique unit while continuing to serve as Director of Training. Having two full-time jobs wasn’t always fun, but how could I pass on the privilege of my second command? I couldn’t. Continue reading
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the Constitution, its Bill of Rights, and the document’s relevance to our world today. There was even an op-ed in the New York Times recently by a “professor of constitutional law” that argued citizens should “give up on the Constitution.” (I won’t link to the article or state who wrote it because its not worth your time and I don’t want to provide him with any more “hits” than he’s already gotten. If you want to read it, a simple Internet search will find it.) Suffice to say that in my opinion (and this is my personal opinion), his students are wasting their money. Continue reading
I’m all for efficiency but I’d like to know where the $125M number came from (since some Soldiers I know – who knows, maybe me – would lose their job come October 1 if this trend continues — oh, wait, no one told you that?).
I’m no genius but does anyone really think this is like building fewer jets or buying fewer wickets to bring down spending? The bulk of that $325M budget goes to Soldiers’ salaries and equipment; not concerts or trips across this great country performing for Americans so that they can feel connected to the men and women who have sworn to protect their way of life, and for them to feel good about their military and their country, since for probably 90% of the population, the only military member they’ll meet face-to-face is a military musician. Continue reading
It began with a series of articles by an ill-informed Washington Post writer. Then came articles in the New York Times. Now another series of questions have arisen regarding military bands and their worth from another fuzzy math writer. It’s gotten to the point where some people wonder why we have military bands at all. Now, I’ve already talked a little about this here and here. But I will now offer a complete thesis on the subject: Continue reading