Thursday, August 12, 2010

On Oki!

We are on Okinawa, Japan! First time here and first time stationed overseas as a family. The language is VERY different and it seems everything is more complicated.

We are staying in a hotel off base, so we are having to interact quite a bit more with the local populace, to get stuff done.

We purchased the first of two vehicles today and that was quite interesting. Tomorrow, we should purchase our second one.

There are numerous little bases over here and it seems you cannot do much with out going to another base to do it. Most people live on one, but there is no commissary on that one, so they have to go to another base. The chapel they would go to is on a different base all together. Work is on a different base still... even the elementary school and the middle school are on two different bases (and why wouldn't they be...).

Not that any of this stuff is a big deal, it is all just different to what we are used to.

I actually start working next week sometime, well at least until the housing office calls and offers us a house. Once that happens, we will need to start the process of getting moved in and getting our stuff unpacked.

Work has been extremely flexible with me. We have an Awesome sponsor as well. Our sponsors are a family who are assigned to take care of us and make sure we have transportation to get done what we need to do. It is a great concept. We are very blessed and thankful to have them as our sponsors.

Well, more to follow!

Semper Fi,

Sunday, May 30, 2010

2010 Happy Memorial Day

Veterans, Happy Memorial day.

For those who have served, it is often hard to think back about brothers we have served with who have gone before us. I must say it has been an honor to serve with each of them, and it is to honor them that I give everything I have to do what I do.

To those still serving, I am honored to be your brother in arms.

To those who have retired from active service: Thanks for your awe inspiring service. I hope one day to make it to that 20 year mark.

To those who served but did not retire but served: Thanks for playing a part in keeping our nation free from tyranny.

To those considering service in the armed forces of this great land: Don't. If it is something you can even consider saying no to, you are not called. U.S. Military service takes unwavering commitment and a willingness to spill blood, yours or your enemy's, in a fight you may be opposed to. You won't make it.

Only those who can't stop thinking about it, who just feel drawn to excellence, who absolutely must serve will make it. Every one of the brothers I have lost in combat were not there because they signed some silly contract (and they did voluntarily); not because they had considered it and decided it was a great idea; but because they just had to be there, doing what they felt called to do.

On Friday afternoon, the scouts of troop 597 and I placed flags at the headstones at the North Carolina veterans cemetery. The ground was hard and the flag staffs were breaking as we stuck them into the ground. Some of the fathers were smart and brought screw-drivers with them to poke a hole in the ground in order to put the flags in. All I had was a knife, but I cannot think of a more honorable task for a knife to complete.

After placing the flags, my sons and I went over to the Beirut, 9/11 and Vietnam Memorials, to talk about Memorial Day and what it really means.

I will never forget.

Semper Fi,

Monday, February 8, 2010

Back from OIF 9.2

Well, for those of you who don't know, I am back from OIF 09-10 and don't plan to go back to Iraq anytime soon. We will see though, right. We turned Anbar Province over to the 82nd Airborne, the same unit that turned it over to us back in 2004... Oh the irony.

It was not an easy deployment that is for sure. We worked, hard and long hours. The main reason I did not blog on this last deployment is our rules and regulations forbade it, but in reality, my schedule would have prevented it anyway. Our section worked too many hours for it to have been feasible. We had more drama than my last four deployments combined and most of it was unnecessary. We seemed to shoot ourselves in the foot and create more problems than we fixed.

Two of the Marines in my team were not just promoted, but promoted meritoriously. Those two were just two examples of the Marines we had that got recognized for their persistent efforts and hard work. Numerous awards and medals were earned and awarded by the time it was all over and we have now returned able to say we accomplished our mission.

During the trip, I got to go to Baghdad for a week. That was quite a trip, complete with several walk-abouts. The palaces there, although not in the best of shape, were so very interesting to look at. I got to walk into where they held Saddam Hussein before he was hanged.

We got back just in time to see the SuperBowl, in time for Colleen’s birthday, Caleb and Seth’s birthday and Valentine’s Day.

Yup, one more in the books… now on to the more important stuff: my family.

I am planning on getting overly involved in my boys’ scouting and enjoying what time I can squeak in with Katelyn. All three of my kiddo’s are just growing like crazy. All three of them are hitting that age when they need a daddy’s discipline and love.

Thank you so very much for all of your support over these last few months. The care packages were all shared and made a significant impact on the Marines, their morale and the performance of their duties. As hard as this deployment was, your support made it bearable and made our successes possible.

Semper Fi,

Monday, January 11, 2010

He's Coming Home!

In case you haven't heard the news... Mark is coming home in early/mid February. Nearly 2 months before his scheduled homecoming. Many people have asked why, and quite simply the reason is the Army showed up several months early. So the Marines are leaving early. Mark's unit was slated to "turn the lights out on Iraq", but the Army will now do that as Marines all over the globe prepare for their next assignment... Afghanistan. We have no reason to believe Mark will head there anytime soon, but we are certainly praying he'll be home for longer than he has been over the past couple of years.

So Mark if you are reading this, come home soon and come home safely.

We all love you and can't wait to hug your neck, give you a high five and simply live life with you!