Friday, September 30, 2005

New Profile Photo

Why is every photo I have of me in uniform look so grim?

You heard it here first...

I just saw this picture from AP on Yahoo News. Looks familiar...

Danger, Will Robinson!

This is highly alarming. If you are a fan of Jeff Goldstein - send help, send messages of support, send lawyers, guns and money..

Changing of the Guard

Almost always, I very much dislike standing guard. However, as an observer or tourist, I very much like to watch a Change of the Guard. For the first time, I must say that I am quite happy about being involved in a change of guard, heh heh - the one our unit is undertaking with the 515th CSSB, New Mexico ARNG. OK, so it is not ceremonial, and we aren't much to look at... But we are handing operations off and the Inner Prop and I will get to start toward home on Monday. By Tuesday evening, we should be home.

For those who care, these are Changing of the Guard scenes from Rabat, Prague and Copenhagen. (see comments re: correction from earlier)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Another Storm, Another First Responder

Norman Rockwell painted this after the 1938 Hurricane in New England.

I haven't seen any Scouts out here, but I'll bet they are out there doing their part.

This just seemed so similar to the things we are doing now, except this boy would have to be decontaminated today for walking in the water.

The other day I saw a Marine Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) walking in waist deep water to save two dogs at Tennessee and Saint Claude in the 9th Ward of New Orleans.

Somethings never change (thank goodness).

Gratuitous First Responder Picture

This photo is from earlier in the operation here. EMS and SAR personnel don't have to be hard-bitten and rough looking y'know....

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Gratuitous Animal Rescue Marking Photo

It wasn't just SAR for people going on in New Orleans. We saw plenty of markings for animals too. I think things like this speak volumes about the efforts down here, and the people involved in those efforts.

Gratuitous "War Chalking" Photo

Since so many sites had posts about the marking of buildings during search operations, I figure I might as well too.

I must confess that seeing these marks gave me a start. Not because of the possible morbid results of a search or such. Rather, they are too close to the markings I saw on many a mud brick wall in the northeastern corner of Afghanistan where I was stationed. Those markings denoted mine clearing efforts and their results. While I know the marks are not the same, it still is jolting to see something like them in an American city...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Aid Frustration

I tried earlier to point out one of my frustrations about aid coming into the New Orleans area. I see that a comment at Jeff Goldstein's blog has laid out a very good explanation of this phenomenon. One advantage of the blogosphere - if you look long enough, you always find someone smarter and better informed than you are.

Home Defense?

I really want this. Actually, I just wish I had this kind of free time on my hands...

(Make sure you watch the video toward the bottom...)

LA MUST Be Rebuilt

There is civilization in the New Orleans area! We must not stop until LA is rebuilt. Or at least until this place reopens.

Actually, now that I think of it, we have Rugby pubs back home. I think I'll go home and let someone else enjoy the pleasure and gratitude of both owners and patrons when this fine establishment reopens.

Some Reconstruction May Be Required

Seen outside of New Orleans by my fellow soldiers of the 33rd Area Support Group (ILARNG).

Monday, September 26, 2005

Do You Have a Reservation?

Please have your Marriott Rewards card, reservation confirmation number and credit card handy. Oh, and looters will be shot...


Update From Belle Chasse XIII

I have developed a sudden liking for New Mexico. While I have not been to that magnificient State, I have learned that our replacements will be coming from there. In a few days, I will greet
the New Mexicans like long lost brothers...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

eXtreme Sport Branches Out

Now this is eXtreme, dOOd!

UPDATE: oh yeah!

Someone has an Answer

Question: What happened to all the hats flying off of the on camera fools covering Rita "on location".

Answer: Here.

The Drink of Industry?

Sqwincher. It’s not a luxury. It’s a necessity. So proclaims the company website of Sqwincher, an, er, industrial, Gatorade-like drink. It seems to do the job (we have been provided with plenty of the stuff down here) but I cannot see their slogan/motto working against Gatorade's Is It In You?

Sqwincher - the drink of industry.

UPDATE: And they mean industry!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Medal of Honor

This post at Mudville Gazette tells of a late, but most deserved, award of the Congressional Medal of Honor. As a soldier, it is quite humbling to read about someone like this. You look at yourself and ask, "could I do anything even close to that if the situation arose?" Honestly, I am not sure.

Rita Adds Her 2 Cents

Major John was "Dangerously Bored" today because all of our maintenance assets left.

I however got to do a route recon. I went by the NASA site and then headed south on LA Route 47. We drove all the way through this (the median was out of the water all the way).

Actually things are not anywhere near as bad as for Katrina. You can see the former waterlines several feet above anywhere we drove and most of the routes were clear.

I couldn't find Forest or Lieutenant Dan anywhere though.


NSTR (Nothing Significant To Report). A couple of power outages, wondering what we will have to do in New Orleans now that some levees gave way...oh, and making sure anyone who isn't paying strict attention gets pranked.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Things are Popping

I will probably not be able to post for a while. Things are starting to happen around here, plus we may have to jump forward to Lake Charles after the storm clears. Or we may stay and deal with New Orleans. I will post when this resolves one way or the other.

Local Victim of Rita

When we broke camp and moved, due to Rita, I didn't realize we were going to cause some local problems. I believe this fellow had been trying to homestead under a corner of my tent...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

If-Then Statement



We are striking camp and piling into a pair of Air Force buildings. Going to be a little crowded for the next couple of days. Feel free to make as many jokes about field grade officers doing manual labor as you'd like...

Advice for those in the path of Rita...

Run Away! Run Away!

Staying with your house or your pet or any other possession are not worth the very real risk of getting killed by a storm. Leave. Now.

Wal-Mart and Relief

I have not been a big fan of Wal-Mart (unlike Sam's Club, which I am enthusiastic about) in the past. Not for any political reason, mind you - just that the stores near where I live tend to be crowded, and a bit tacky. However, they are rapidly converting me to their side because of their Katrina response. Also, as you can see from the picture below, I saw plenty of their trucks in New Orleans...more, in fact, than
any civilian relief agency. [h/t Instapundit]

Ahhh! Stop turning this way!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Instabrother Has a Book Out

The Instapundit, Professor Glenn Reynolds, has a brother (the Jonathon Reynolds on the book cover) who is an historian. An occupation which is near and dear to my heart, as I have a BA and MA in the field. Well, the Instabrother has a book out - and it looks quite interesting.

Why the Texas Guard is Leaving LA

Not hard to see why the Texans are packing up and heading back to the Lone Star State. I hope certain practioners of the dismal science are battening down the hatches right now...

Update From Belle Chase XII - High Water Mark

This to the east of New Orleans near Michoud a few days ago. Clean up is progressing, but everyone is wary of Rita and the rain she brings.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Our WD1 to the 634th FSB broke and we couldn't talk on our TA312 so I went out (again) and fixed it. I didn't have dykes or linesmans' pliers so I had to use my trusty Gerber. I hope the Signaleer is having as much fun as I am.

Did I mention record heat in a place that considers 90 degrees and 80% humidity in September to be "normal?" I'm not complaining because our offices are in an AC building, but:

"Tarzan couldn't stand this heat. I don't think I can stay here if it's going to be this hot."

PS. I purposely put in as much jargon as I could.

Economics is for the birds (er, monkeys)

Probably not news to our resident economists, but apparently there have been recent studies showing how monkeys demonstrate some of the basic principles of economics when forced into a simple economic system. With just a simple system involving the exchange of metal disks for food, the monkeys demonstrated supply & demand and risk aversion. Unfortunately, they also developed the concepts of theft, bank robbery, and plasma-screen TV looting. (Ok, just kidding on the looting...)

An Open Letter

An open letter to Rita.

Update from Belle Chasse XI

This Volunteer moment brought to you on behalf of Professor Glenn Reynolds, the Blogfather.

Monday, September 19, 2005


Rita...Bah. If this storm rolls up this way, The Inner Prop and I will be out of touch for a while.


Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together!

You got your politics in my games! No, you got your games in my politics! I just saw this this morning, and it's hilarious. Although you won't really get it if you've never played Magic....

(Don't worry, it's an equal opportunity parody. It makes fun of everyone.)

Next Thing You Know, I'll Have Crawfish...

And to think I was worried I wouldn't get any good Cajun or Creole food while I was down here...

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Signs of New Orleans

Signs seen around town by our soldiers. My personal favorite is the fellow warning people that he has a dog, etc., and later you see the fate of this hound...

Update from Belle Chasse X

Things did not go well down at the Lakefront Airport in New Orleans. They may need to consult their auto insurance...

BTW, you may notice that I have switched from "Belle Chase" to "Belle Chasse". It seems the vast majority use the two "s" spelling of the name. I suspect the only reason I saw it with one "s" was due to spell check running interference.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


One of our lieutenants walked near a drainage ditch and found himself staring down a 5 foot water moccasin. Apparently the snake and the LT gave each other a look see, the snake hissed and then turned about back into the ditch. I love Louisiana...

Update from Belle Chase IX

The NASA facility at Michoud. They have lots of room at the facility (they assemble the external shuttle fuel tanks there, I believe). We have taken advantage of this by parking a major task force there. As you might imagine, the satellite phones seem to work better out there, heh heh.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Update from Belle Chase VIII

I always wondered what would happen to large pieces of building decor in a storm.

When I was out and about yesterday, I saw that things have improved, noticeably so, in the last 3 days. More civilian traffic, more things open, clean up and repair crews working. Some parts of New Orleans will take very long to get together, but I am more optimistic with what I saw yesterday than I have been to date. Heck, a Domino's Pizza outside of NAS New Orleans just reopened...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Train Wreck of a Day

This photo neatly summarizes the day. The Inner Prop and I spent a lot of time sweating, getting the fine New Orleans grit all over us, and with naught to show for it. I'll spare you all the details, and just say that there are some more interested in supporting soldiers than others here.

NOTE: I should have been more clear on the point. The people down here have been wonderful. Supportive, thankful, etc. I simply have some disagreements (strong ones to be sure) with those in some of the higher levels of command here about soldier support issues. Plus, the heat and humidity didn't do anything good for my disposition either.

Update from Belle Chase VII

The people of Gretna, Terrytown and the other small communties near NAS New Orleans (Belle Chase) are able to come home now. I didn't keep up with what happened on the Gretna bridge, but here is what I saw of local thought on the matter.

I will be out again today - out to Michoud and New Orleans. More to follow.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Update from Belle Chase VI

"We're going to need a bigger boat..." I can only imagine the circumstances that brought this boat to rest upon this street in New Orleans. Fortunately, things were fairly dried out by the time I drove by.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Update from Belle Chase V

Just brought a little help to New Orleans police, the sherriff's office and others. There are many places like this one throughout the city where the various law enforcement, relief workers and others have a base of operations.
Besides first responders, military, law enforcement and relief/reconstruction outfits - we didn't see many other people other than a whole bunch of TV crews.
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