I know I have been gone or a while and I am very sorry about that. My last post was on September 11th, and it has been way to long. Part of it was because of my extremely busy work schedule and part was technical. Up until two days ago I could not even get to this website from my home network. Thanks to several calls with G0Daddy and Verizon we got it fixed and I now have access back to bouhammer.com.
Anyway, I have missed blogging and I am so glad to be back on here. This is truly therapeutic and is something I need to do.
So for my first blog after the longest period ever of being silent, I would like to wish whomever is still reading this blog, a very Happy Thanksgiving. As you gather around the table with your family and friends this Thanksgiving please take a moment and give thanks for all of those who have stood watch over the defense of our Country and continue to do so as we enjoy the holiday and our freedoms. There are tens of thousands of men and women who won’t be with their families this Thanksgiving, but hopefully will by next Thanksgiving. Pray for them as they sacrifice away from their families and for their families who I am sure are holding an empty seat for them this year.
I found this on military.com and knew it was something I wanted to share with my readers.
Each year, Americans can enjoy four special days set aside specifically to honor our veterans and comrades in arms. Sadly, too many of us often overlook these opportunities to pay our respect and recognize the sacrifice and service of these individuals. These four days are intended to, in some small way, express the sentiments of a grateful nation. So what does it say of us when we forget, overlook, or simply brush aside the opportunity to honor the best among us?
I understand that today our lives are more complicated and busier than ever. We have so much going on in our lives these days; school getting out, visiting relatives, graduations, and any number of other competing priorities. I hope each of us were able to honor all our heroes last November on Veteran’s Day. But what about the other days?
It’s perhaps easy to seek and find forgiveness for not making it out to a veteran’s cemetery last Memorial Day Monday. After all, who of us is not grateful for a day off or for a chance to sleep in, fire up the grill, catch a new summer blockbuster, and recharge our batteries?
The American Flag which flies above the USS Arizona Memorial
The boys at Ranger Up are trying to do their part for the first responders of the Boston area who were just the center of the Nation’s attention last week. They have created a Unapologetically Boston Shirt, which is a play on the words of their Unapologetically American line of clothing.
We’ve designed this shirt at the request of many of the police in Boston. For every shirt purchased, we will also donate one shirt to the Boston or Watertown Police Departments, in addition to the 500 we are already sending their way. The rest of the profit will be donated to either the victims or the police departments. We will make no money off of this shirt.
The shirt is a modification of our Thin Blue Line T-Shirt. It has the words Unapologetically Boston on the front, with a thin blue line representing the Police Force. The words Boston Strong are on the sleeve , and the back contains Ranger Up’s phrase: “There are wolves. There are sheep. I am the Sheepdog.” inspired by David Grossman’s amazing article.
So to recap, we are donating 500 of these shirts to the Boston and Watertown Police, plus for every shirt you buy:
1) You get a shirt.
2) A Boston Cop gets a shirt.
3) Any remaining profit goes to charity.
4) We will make no money off of this. This is just for the boys and girls in Boston.
Let me also point out that this last weekend, members of Ranger Up went to Boston and opened up some bar tabs for all members of the law enforcement and first responders in the Boston area. I sure wish I could have been with them as I am sure it was an awesome time.
Below is what I wrote about this day two years ago. I am amazed that it has been two years since Tim was stolen from this world and from everyone that knew and loved him. As I said several times in the original post below, the only solace I have is he did die doing what he loved.
This week, someone I consider a friend, and a very close friend of Tim’s, Sebastian Junger released a documentary about Tim called “Which way is the front line from here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington” on HBO. A close friend of mine watched it and told me how emotional it made him and how much it moved him learning more of Tim’s background. Just reading his words about the film brought out pains in my heart. I haven’t watched it yet, but know I will need to soon one day. I am so glad Sebastian made this, and I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for him to do it.
Many knew Tim through his imagery, but few were lucky enough to know him as a person. I will always cherish my time talking to him in person, on email, the phone or on Facebook.
Even though it is a day for me to celebrate, it is and always will be a bittersweet day. It will be a day that the world as a whole had a little something stolen from it.
The flag in front of my house is at half-staff for you today brother!
The Trailer for “Which way is the front line from here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington”
I had been planning this post since yesterday. How was I going to blog about my birthday. My thoughts were to write about how 42 years ago today I took my first breath and saw my first light at Ft. Bragg NC to a young military family with a father home on emergency leave from serving as a Green Beret in Vietnam and a country girl mom who had grown up a lot in a short 10 years of marriage.
It was not common for soldiers to get to come home from war in Vietnam for the birth of their child, but since my mom had lost two other sons at birth, I was high-risk and they brought him home from the jungles of Vietnam or Laos or Cambodia or wherever he was at that time.
Yes I was gonna write a little about how Bouhammer came to be in this world and celebrating my birthday today with my family on a beach in South Carolina.
But all that changed a couple of hours ago when I saw a note on Facebook by my very good friend Matt Burden from Blackfive.net saying that a recent, but good friend of mine, Tim Hetherington had been killed in Libya.
As I sat by the pool in the warm sun, next to my wife while my youngest son swam nearby it was like someone had dropped a bucket of cold water on me from the top of the hotel. I sat right up and I think I let out a “you have got to be F@#$@ kidding me” or something probably close to that. It was just last night I was checking Facebook in the hotel and saw a posting from Tim saying he was in Libya doing what he loves to do, video and capture images from the war front so the rest of the world can see a glimpse of the horrors of war. When I saw his posting last night I dropped him a note asking him to be careful. More than likely it was too late, but who knows.
All I do know is that for a day last summer I got to be in his presence and do a great screening of RESTREPO in Albany, NY. Then we went out afterwards and closed a german pub together. He, Brendan O’Byrne from Battle Company, and my two team-mates from Afghanistan Prophet and Puss. Since that time Tim and I stayed in pretty good contact with each other, calling, emailing and texting every so often. He kept inviting me to come hang with him in NYC but the problem was he was usually never there when I was. I will miss that we never got that opportunity.
When he came out with this book INFIDEL, last year he made it a point to send me a signed copy. Needless to say that book and his words will be forever cherished.
Lastly I guess the only thing I can say and try to keep this on a positive note are that a mutual friend of Tim’s and mine and the reason I even got to know Tim sent me a very kind note with some great quotes from Tim that he said about me. She will never know how much that meant. I am forever grateful for that. I would also like to highlight again something my wife said today and that I mentioend earlier in this posting. “He died doing what he loved to do.” I guess in the grand scheme of things and with all the dumb ways to leave this earth that there are, there is no better way that that. In fact I am sure all of man-kind wishes for that to be the way, going out doing what you love to do.
God Speed my friend, you will surely be missed.
Tim, me and Brendan after the screening of Restrepo in Albany, NY
NOTE- This blog entry originally appeared at www.youserved.com but they have removed it because it deals with an on-going legal case. So I am re-posting it here with a few updated edits.
My very good friend, Top Talk Radio co-host and past Military blogger, Army Master Sergeant CJ Grisham was detained and then arrested a few weeks ago while on a hike in a rural area of Texas for carrying a personally-owned AR-15 rifle. I was notified soon after he was arrested that it happened and have had frequent conversations with him about it.
He is currently fighting this arrest which, based on the evidence I have seen so far, appears to be an unlawful arrest to me. In order to highlight what a small world it is, the Bell Country DA was my personal attorney about 23 years ago for a couple of civil needs. I was one of his first clients as a private practicing attorney and now he is the DA prosecuting one of my closest friends, who would have guessed this?
Anyway, CJ not only has an attorney but also a P.I. and is going to all lengths to defend himself and the rights that he and many of us have fought to protect and maintain. Needless to say this is not cheap and as a Sr. NCO in the Army he is not someone flush with cash so he has set up a crowdsourcing page to help raise the funds needed to fund the legal costs needed to protect his 2nd Amendment rights. He only needed about $11,000 for his attorney fees but as of April 17th he is up to over $29K raised. The way the Indiegogo site works, he cannot stop it. The fundraising campaign has to continue until the end date. I don’t want to divulge all the details, but CJ has plans to use the extra money raised for many other soldiers who have went through what he is now going through.
As part of his case, CJ and his attorney do not want this to be buried in the back page and want to make sure that this arrest is known to all. I want to make note that CJ was originally charged with “resisting arrest” but wasn’t arrested for anything else. I am not a lawyer, but I am not sure how someone can be arrested for “resisting” an arrest that didn’t happen. I would think someone would need to be arrested for something in the first place before they can be charged with resisting it. Well since that initial charge, I guess someone in the judicial system at Bell County realized the same thing and how foolish it was so they have since dropped the “resisting arrest” charge and now are charging him with “interrupting, disrupting, impeding and interfering with a peace officer while performing a duty. Again I question what his “duty” was. It wasn’t like he was responding to some other call or performing some duty that CJ disrupted. I think it is poor attempt to justify an arrest based on weak circumstances. The full video of what CJ was able to record is available at http://youtu.be/A8r4MK3R4PI.
In addition to this being featured on several news outlets, this has caused quite a dialog back and forth by people with opinions on both sides. On the comical and sometimes off-color “Grunts, 11-Bravo” Facebook page the topic generate a flurry of comments back and forth about CJ’s case. The Grunts Facebook page along with other Facebook pages, his blogs and the Indiegogo page all have many comments on this matter, not to mention a slew of comments on all the websites mentioned above.
I am curious what your thoughts are, after reading this, the other sites and seeing the video yourself. Keep in mind that Texas law allows him to walk with a rifle and he has a concealed carry permit. With all that said, what do you think? Was he treated wrongly? Was he within his rights? Were the officers justified and within the law to arrest him? If you comment I ask that you state your reasoning behind your opinion.
My good friend, Gina Elise, who is the founded of Pinupsforvets.com recently visited the very remote Marine base of Twentynine Palms to lift the spirits of the Marines and other personnel there. Well now she is heading back out into the desert to visit the soldiers of the National Training Center in Ft. Irwin, CA.
She will be going there on March 9th and just like when she visits VA and Military hospitals, she likes to take gifts for the soldiers to lift their spirits and thank them for their service. Ft. Irwin would like her to bring 300 of her star-studded 2013 Calendars with her to give out, but as of right now she is aiming for 100. She is not sure she can get 300 donated by people at this point.
So to reach 100 she is asking for people to visit her store at http://pinupsforvets.mybigcommerce.com/2013-pin-ups-for-vets-calendar/ and purchase a 1, 2 or however many you can afford to be given to these soldiers as Thank You gift for their service. You can select to have them donated to Active Duty Soldiers and in the note on your order you can specify this is for her Ft. Irwin trip.
They are only $10 a piece and I would not ask this of you if I would not be willing to do it myself. I just purchased 4 for her trip to be given away as I see $40 as a small price to pay to brighten the day of four warriors for a whole year.
I am hoping that everyone who reads these words can spare $10 to buy at least one, if not more. While on the site, be sure and pick one up for yourself too, if you don’t have one yet. If not for you, for a Veteran you know as I am sure there is someone you know who could appreciate it.
On Tuesday of this last week I was asked to be a guest again on the BBC’s World Have Your Say radio program. A show that I have been on more times than I can count. Most of the time it is about Afghanistan and last week was no different.
With Karzai coming into the US last Friday to meet with the President with a beggar’s hand and a slapping hand, they decided to call. They asked me if I had an opinion on him coming into town asking for more money at the same time while he is blaming us for all his country’s woes. They knew darn well I had an opinion and I was more than willing to share it.
I used to be a fan of Karzai a very long time ago, but that respect was lost as I watched him get drunk with power. It is one thing for him to shoot off at the mouth to his own people in order to look tough but something else when he starts talking smack to Americans. I don’t know who he thinks he is, but we have a saying in the US that says “never bite the hand that feeds you”.
Hamid Karzai, who will meet Barack Obama, wants Washington to stump up for planes, helicopters, heavy weapons and other advanced military equipment for Afghanistan‘s still-shaky armed forces. He also wants more aid money to be channelled through ministries rather than spent by western aid agencies.
So when you come asking for something you really should also slam the country and government you want free stuff from.
Karzai’s government in turn has accused the west of fuelling corruption and waste in the way it spends money in Afghanistan. The finance minister, Omar Zakhilwal, is pushing for more money to be put straight through the government budget to be spent by ministries like education and health, rather than channelled through foreign aid organisations.
“We believe that the way the US money is spent here, there’s a lot of waste, particularly money spent through contractors and outside sources,” Zakhilwal told the Wall Street Journal before the visit. Much of the aid cash flowed back to the US through “big consultant salaries and overheads”, he added.
So it is obvious that besides being drunk with power he is infected with stupidity. If he thinks that he is going to stand any chance of convincing an American people and Congress of continuing to give more money to his grotesquely corrupt government after giving them money and blood for the last 11 1/2 years, then he should really try to suck up a little bit.
Karzai has never stepped up to the plate to make his country truly take over the security and running the country the way it should have be. 11 1/2 years ago the SF team ODA574 helped escort Karzai into the country and keep him alive. 11 1/2 years and Karzai hasn’t been able to lead his citizens to truly stand up and care for their country. Even with billions in free money and the assistance of a huge coalition of countries, many of which gave their up their own son’s and daughters.
I think it is clear the reality is that Karzai is NOT the leader of Afghanistan or even the “Mayor of Kabul” for that matter. He needs to keep his mouth shut, take himself back to Afghanistan and do the country a favor, resign.
I am proud to announce the launch of “Top Talk” on Jan 16th from 8:30-10PM ET. Top Talk is hosted and produced by CJ and myself and will be a show focused on military related affairs, the Constitution, and Patriotism. It will be hosted on BTR and will occur every week on Wednesday nights at the same time. The show’s location to listen live and catch archive shows will be at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/toptalkusa.
We will host guests that fall within the purview of the show’s focus plus we will have some new features on the show like we have never done before. There is a Facebook page established for the show at https://www.facebook.com/TopTalkUSA and a twitter account www.twitter.com/top_talk_usa. We don’t foresee any additional online presence except for these two sites. Be sure and follow the show on Twitter and “Like” it on Facebook to keep up on things with the show.
One feature we will have is a segment called “Ask Top!” The point of the segment is similar to a mix of Dear Abbey and Blackfive.com‘s Ask an Infantryman. We are looking for people to pose real-world questions to us dealing with leadership, leadership issues or how to deal with certain situations from a 1SG’s point of view. We are also looking for satirical or not-so-serious questions that someone may want to ask to get a “comical” reply by a 1SG. We will pick different questions every week from those emailed to us, written on the FB page or tweeted to us and will answer them on air. Who knows we may even respond to some on email or twitter if we know we aren’t going to get to them all on air. You can email questions to email@example.com if you would like.
We are also planing to sell advertising spots for the show. So if your business or one you know of is interested in buying radio advertising time on a show that already has a huge military-focused fan base before it even launches please don’t hesitate to contact us.
We hope you will join us on our first and many other shows. We really think the new show, format, etc. are going to be a big hit with past fans of radio shows and new ones. Of course anything you can do to help spread the word through your contacts, Facebook, twitter, blogs, etc. would be greatly appreciated.
I wrote this the the other day for a Veteran’s Day tribute on VeteransUnited.com. I would like to share it here too.
There is a difference between wanting to go to war and willing to go to war. Veterans Day is all about recognizing and thanking those who were “willing” to do the tough job that may be asked of our military. This day is for everyone who has served, from the airman who served three years in the 1980s and never saw combat, to the Soldier who served 20+ years and maybe spent a couple of years in combat. Regardless of branch, time spent serving or where they served, every man and woman who raised their hands and swore the oath to defend our country deserves to be thanked.
So please take a moment and thank anyone and everyone you know who ever raised their hand to “defend this country against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
For those veterans who read this blog, be sure and check out the links below in order to find great deals and offerings for you, on your day.
The Bouhammer [boo-ham-er] blog is owned by a 22-year Retired Army First Sergeant. It is now one of the leading and award-winning blogs written primarily on operations in Afghanistan and other military related topics. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy what you see. If you care about what is happening in the land where the attacks of 9/11 were planned and if you care about our military, this is the blog for you. Click Here to Contact Bouhammer
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