Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day

Here's to hoping that Americans, and those that we have secured freedom for, will remember what this long weekend is all about.

I hope that folks enjoy their cookouts, days at the beach, rounds of golf, or other leisure activities this weekend. I sincerely hope that they take at least a moment to think about what we are supposed to be honoring on this, and every, Memorial Day.

Here's a sharp salute to those that have given that last full measure of their very being for something greater than themselves. Here's a salute to those that fought to the bitter end, and laid down their life for the rest of us, or even for the buddy next to them.

Semper Fidelis
Go Navy!
Go Army!
Go Big Blue!
Go Coast Guard!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Marine Corps 101

This is for all of my fellow Marines that read my feeble little blog. Leave your answers in the comments with just a number (1. Chesty Puller, etc). Feel free to try it, even if you're not a Marine. I know some smart guys that will still probably get some right. NO CHEATING. Leave Google out of it!

1. Who said, "uncommon valor was a common virtue"?

2. Who adopted the current Marine Corps emblem?

3. Who are the only two Marines to be awarded two Medals of Honor?

4. What's the maximum effective range of the M-2 .50 caliber machine gun?

5. During what conflict did the Marines earn the title "Devil Dogs?"

6. After WWII, where did the next amphibious landing take place?

7. Where did the first amphibious landing in USMC history take place?

8. Who was the first Marine to hold the rank of Sergeant Major?

9. Who was the first Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps?

10. Who was the only Marine to be awarded five Navy Crosses?

11. When in the field, who eats first? Who eats last?

I'll post the answers in about a week or so...or, at least, a link to them. Semper Fi

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Japanese Signs

I've seen some crazy signs since arriving here in Okinawa. Here's a sample of some. I've seen one of these, but the others were simply found online. They keep the spirit of the odd translations though...WTF with the chick on the bear? Maybe that one means "no girls with axes riding bears."

Friday, May 9, 2008

Week In Review

I guess this will be a "double whammy" review, since I didn't do one last week. Twice the bang for your buck! Let's see, what happened last's a bit of a blur. Bob roamed the neighborhood last Friday evening and met some people that were partying (on a Marine base? What are the odds?). What happened this week?

I'm still attending the SNCO Academy Advanced Course. Only four more weeks to go! The physical training (PT) each day is fun and challenging, so that's a plus. The academic portion isn't really challenging, except for the sheer amount of it in any given period. We have an exam every Monday, which covers all of the topics of the previous week. Having the weekend to study is a huge advantage. Our "Class Commander," or the senior Marine in our class, is a complete idiot. Students are beginning to just laugh at him now, and we're all wondering why he hasn't been fired yet. Oh well, he does provide us with entertainment.

My ribs are not completely healed, but they're much better than they were. The PT program at the academy is probably not helping the healing process, but that's just the way it is. No big deal; it's just pain. Some of us are fond of saying that, "pain is just weakness leaving the body."

We planted some flowers in front of our house. Well, my wife planted some flowers in front of our house, and they're doing well. Our front yard looked pretty barren prior to that, and it looks pretty nice now. We put the flowers in little flower boxes that look as if they were designed to go on a window ledge. This will allow us to drag all of our flowers inside when the typhoons come. Our neighbors, on the other hand, will simply have their flowers scoured down to bare dirt by the typhoons.

This Sunday is Mother's Day (don't forget guys!). The weather here is supposed to be crappy, so I guess I won't be taking my wife to do much of anything that day. I'll just be doing, well, I don't know what I'll be doing. I'll be doing whatever she desires me to do. I suspect that it will involve cooking and cleaning, but that's just a guess. I had ordered a very small gift for my mom, but it only got here yesterday, so there's no way it will reach her by Sunday. Oh well; she'll get it a bit late. It's not necessarily a Mother's Day gift anyway, just something small that my wife and I both though was very neat. I'll put something up about it after she gets it (don't want to ruin the surprise).

I watched the movie The Kingdom, starring Jamie Fox. It wasn't a bad movie, but it wasn't exactly a good movie either. It got the point across, I suppose. It certainly pissed me off. You can just watch the first 30 minutes of the movie, and get plenty pissed off (which is probably the point of the movie).

Well, until next time, stay safe and shoot straight.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Okinawa Battle Sites Tour

As part of the SNCO Academy that I'm attending, I was fortunate enough to go on the Okinawa battle sites tour today. Here are a few pictures from the trip.

This first one is one of the countless entrances to the elaborate tunnel system that can be found atop "Hacksaw Ridge." 2,500 Marines and Soldiers lost their lives taking that ridge. Some of the tunnels went as deep as 130 feet underground.

This next picture is of a Japanese machine gun that was recently unearthed behind the Taco Bell on base (Camp Foster, to be exact). Any time that construction projects take place here, some type of war relics are usually dug up.

The next picture is of the actual Japanese flag that was flying atop Shuri Castle until it fell to U.S. forces. It was signed by various unit commanders. It, and many other artifacts, can be viewed at a historical collection on Camp Kinser. Unfortunately, the Marine Corps is doing nothing to support this historical exhibit, and it exists due to donations alone.

This last picture is taken from atop Shuri Castle. Most of what you see had to be rebuilt, due to damage sustained during the battle.

I enjoyed the tour, but a few pictures can hardly do it justice. Read up on the Battle of Okinawa; you won't be disappointed.