Saturday, April 28, 2007

I rode in a large group of motorcycles one time about 20 years ago, but I was 21 and stupid and we almost got killed going too fast. I did it again today, older and wiser and less young and somewhat less stupid. There is a group of soldiers that gets together to ride once a month, all from FT Jackson. It’s a wide variety of folks, some officers, retirees, Drill Sgts, NCO’s and even a SGT Major or two.

We met this morning in memory of our fiend Bob, who died on his bike last spring. He loved to ride wo we celebrated his life by riding as friends. Most of the time I ride alone, just me and the road and a destination in mind. Today was different, we just rode to ride. It was a blessing. We took a lap around lake Murray (I couldn’t finish the whole thing had to get back to work) but it was truly glorious. The weather was perfect. We had a mix of Harleys and assorted cruisers.

There were amped up super bikes and even one Big Dog Chopper and it was unbelievably loud. We rode tight and staggered. We had road guards blocking traffic at lights to keep the group in tact. Its funny how people just stop and watch as 30 bikes roll through town! Its like we were the circus.

It was very cool and a great break just to get away. Met some new friends like this fiery little woman named “Speedy”. Now that’s a great name for a biker! Saw some of my old friends from 2-485th, CSM Rossi riding a hog (that was awesome), Mike, DS Giffen, Craig, MSG Rivera, SFC Sanchez, DS Jackson, SSG Flynn and others. It was good to catch up and laugh for a while. Posted a couple of pictures…enjoy! By the way I was going to take a picture while we were riding in the group but I didn't think that would be very see I am wiser!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Change of Mission

We had a death in our Battalion this week. It has been hard. Death is never easy. I've been so busy with ministry that I haven't had time to put things in perspective.
The following was written by my friend and colleague CPT Ken Quimby and has a great ring to it. Hope you enjoy it.

Change of Mission.

This has been a difficult week. We lost a Soldier suddenly and unexpectedly. 1SG Gerry Spivey suffered a deep brain aneurysm and essentially dropped dead. It is interesting that this happened on the weekend and even the day that we were honoring our regimental veterans that had been assigned to 1/61 in years past. Many of the veterans were Vietnam Veterans who witnessed a great deal of death. Many of the current cadre have seen far too much death in their tours in Iraq in recent years. We are dealing with a Drill SGT and his severe struggle with PTSD and delusional visions and flashbacks and trauma from his experiences in Iraq. Currently he is in the hospital where they are trying to stabilize him and regain his perception of reality.

I am rather removed from this situation with 1SG Spivey, and I did not know his personal family, but as a member of his military family, I cannot write this without tears and significant emotion. For those familiar with the military we know that everything is based on a Mission. We don’t utilize the latrine without it being a mission with contingencies and security, etc.

Well, I think God has a Mission for us as well. We are where we are as part of the mission God has for our lives. We are doing what we need to do as our part of that mission. It may be part of the training phase of the mission. As I have read and often think of; “every person we meet and every experience we have is part of the perfect preparation for the future [mission] that only God knows.”

In my career both personally and professionally I see this very clearly. I was an “LT” for 15 years. Why? Yes, the system of the Army messed up, and I didn’t know I could question it, but was it really for some preparation, something that I hadn’t learned yet, and had to know before I would be fully ready for my mission? In my personal life, I have long struggled with my ex-wife and how to handle a blended family, 5 kids, a bunch of life transitions, etc. My wife and I have talked frequently about how God is preparing us for a new “mission”.

I know that we don’t like to think about death. We feel that we want to live a full and rich life. But, if God has a plan for our lives, what a pleasure and honor it would be to know that we have finished our current mission and are ready for the next. Or even more honored it would be that we have shown that we are ready early and selected by GOD for a new mission. I believe that is what God has done with 1SG Spivey. He has been called home and selected for a new mission. I can only imagine what a Glorious mission that must be.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Mr Robbie and Bekah on Victory tower

It was Army day today. May friends Robbie and Kelly were here visiting this week with their three kids. My family was also here so that means 9 people in my apartment. We are getting close! Today we spent all day at Ft Jackson. It began with Victory Tower. I hooked up with the range NCO and arranged for Robbie and Bekah (their oldest) to go down the rappelling tower. We got there along with about 180 soldiers in training. We tied up our harnesses and hooked up our D rings and made our way to the top. The Drill SGTs from Echo 1-34 hung out for a few minutes extra to make sure we got down the wall safely. Bekah jumped off and flew down the rope like a pro, except for the part where her hair got caught in the figure 8 ring! It was traumatic for a moment, no need for scissors though, she got herself undone! Robbie went down like an Airborne Ranger and his belay man held him tight in the air to get some good photos. Tammy and Kelly stood safely away from any danger while Jack, Tori, Daniel and Emilee cheered us on. It was very cool. We then went to the gas chamber to watch newbie soldiers puke up their lunch and we ended the day with the Night Infiltration Course this evening. Flares, live fire and 133 soldiers crawling through dusty sand, it doesn’t get any better. Except for the fact that I had Italian Sausage for dinner and nearly threw up 5 times on the course. All in all good fun for an April day. Enjoy the photos!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Army Strong

Read an article today in Time Magazine about the Army being broken. I agree. I agree that there are soldiers hearts being broken becasue God is bringing them back to Himself. And when He brings a warrior back the strength of God is revealed.

The following link is way too cool. Hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I just got off the phone with a parent of one of my soldiers. She’ll be referred to as PVT S. PVT S came to us back in January in our first cycle of the year. We get so many soldiers with so many stories. Many times I just get brief snippets of their lives, other times I get more information than I want! PVT S is older, probably in her 30’s. I met her through a request she put in through her Drill SGT. My first meeting with her I remembered thinking “Man!; What is this person doing in the Army?” She was struggling both physically and emotionally.

One Sunday at church she came forward at the invitation to receive the grace and mercy we all so desperately need. She was overcome emotionally at the thought of God’s forgiveness. I knew she had been on the rough side of things, but I never pried. Her physical difficulties continued. She missed some crucial training and did not graduate with her company. This was a heart breaker for her. But to her credit she pressed on. She refused to give up.

She joined another training company and started basically all over again. She is finally going to finish this week. All she has to do is chuck a couple of grenades and then she moves on. Her platoon has been bad so they have lost their phone privileges. So she asked me to give her parents a call so they wouldn’t make plane reservations for a graduation ceremony that she’ll not attend.

I spoke with her mom and found out some remarkable stuff. Before PVT S joined the Army she spent 12 years basically estranged from her family. Her mom tells me that her family cared deeply for her. I believe her. We are all free will beings able to choose one path from another no matter our upbringing. Believe me, I know that first hand. She lost her way for a long time. Her mom found her about 6 months ago on a curb, literally. They went directly to the recruiting center. That middle aged soldier displayed some remarkable courage. She came from over a decade of wandering to relationship with her maker and a life turned in a new direction. I continue even after 26 months of this stuff to be amazed!

The songs of life- Thanks to mom

My home was filled with music and people growing up. Mom loved music and can play an assortment of instruments but her favorites are th...