The book, The Sandbox, which was a selection of the best milblogs compiled by Garry Trudeau and David Stanford, has won a Gold Award in the Anthology Category from the Military Writers Society of America. I am extremely proud to be a member of the Society which allowed it to be eligible for the competition.
My good friend who goes by RN Clara Hart sent me an Instant Message the other day to give me a heads up / warning about this blog post. She told me that it was about to go on the sandbox and with her knowing a little of what I have went through in the past, plus what I went through in the last 2 weeks with losing one of my previous soldiers in Afghanistan she wanted me to know it would be there in case I read it. She wanted to make sure I was prepared to read this.
As with all of her posts, this one is awesome. Her writing will pull at your heart strings, cause that stinging lump to form in the back of your throat and at the same time make you damn proud to be an American and glad that we have people like this treating our wounded. I cannot encourage you enough to please go over to http://gocomics.typepad.com/the_sandbox/2008/06/carnage-of-the.html and read that posting.
A while back, the SecDef stated he was planning for a surge of 9000 soldiers to Afghanistan next year, so three more brigades just further supports that. Three brigades would be roughly 9000-10000 more soldiers. I have been talking about this subject on this blog since last year, but more so since January. Task Force Phoenix is stretched way too thin since they were saddled with the Police mentoring mission. This happened in January 2007 and progress on either the Army or Police front has been tough at best. As my man Puss would always say, “You can do more with less, all you can do with less is less”.
32 coalition members have died in the month of June in Afghanistan, 19 in Iraq. There are several months left of summer and the enemy will be out in force. They are getting better and more brave all the time. The prison break alone was enough to distract the Afghan Army while they massed in the Angharab district and tried to put up a fight. Granted they succeeded in the prison break, and they suffered terrible losses in trying to go head to head with our forces last week, but they probably succeeded in showing the uneducated and un-informed Afghan public that they still pose a threat and that they can put up a fight against the coalition forces.
55 enemy fighters killed yesterday in my old stomping ground of Ziruk distict of the Paktika province, suicide bombers in Kabul and Herat, and some deadly IEDs with coordinated adn complex ambushes in the Khandagar province are all signs that the enemy is not cowering away and are ready to try and fight.
Even if they lose 20 in a fight, if we lose 1 American then that is 1 too many. We cannot afford to wait until next year to surge. We need to surge now, we need to drop another brigade in there NOW and go after the enemy forces with extreme prejiduce. These are some determined fighters with improving war-fighting skills and outside influence. There is evidence all over the county of Pakistan, Iranian and Chechyian influence at a minimum.
As you know, I am a huge fan of The Sandbox website and all of the blogs that are featured on there. It is one of many blog sites that I try to check daily. There are many good blogs out there, but every once in a while I come across one that I must talk about and promote. The link below is for a blog written by one of my favorite writers, LT G. His works are featured regularly on The Sandbox. He frequently has some good dry humor in his posts, which may not always be understood by non-military types.
Many people read both my blog and many other milblogs on the blogosphere to try and get a better understanding of what is happening on the front lines of GWOT. Read this blog entry below to get a good idea what it is like and the frustrations that soldiers have as a result of political correctness, leaders without a pair, and combat decisions that are more based on bad news coverage than keeping men alive.
I Just wanted to drop a quick note to all and ask that you don’t forget the real reason for this long weekend. It is not about sales at Walmart or Lowe’s. It is to take a moment and remember all that have fallen in service to this country. Regardless if it was in the Global War on Terrorism, Vietnam, WWII, a training mission, or an accident while serving in the military. All that have served and never were afforded the opportunity to come home to their loved ones are the reason that we have this weekend and why I hope all who read this take the time to say a prayer for them and their families on Monday.
I know for me today, I personally thought of and prayed for many fallen soldiers and friends. They had names like Kutz, Randazzo, Legier, Roustum, Schuester, McLoughlin, Rafferty, Deghand and of course there have been countless others that many in this great country have cried over.
More to follow in the coming days about how my Memorial Weekend went. I can tell you it was an awesome 4 days on the east side of New York state, spending time with my two room-mates from Afghanistan (Prohpet and Puss), seeing many old friends, taking my family to see all of the history at West Point and then taking part in an awesome Memorial Day parade and tribute ceremony in one of the coolest little towns I have ever been to, Millbrook NY. Anyway more on that in the next few days I hope.
While checking out the ever-famous and highly successfull site concieved by my buddy JP, www.milblogging.com, I saw a link to an article about the book signing that I will be part of on Monday. I thought I would share it here for anyone that would like to read some more about it and the history of The Sandbox website and book.
I have been actively pursuing many different outlets to try and get a professional book review of The Sandbox book. In order for it to really take off and get huge national coverage and attention, it really needs a professional review. So I have written Glen Beck, Bill O’Rielly, Good Morning America so far to try and get them on-board and review it.
Of course I guess getting Oprah to review it would be the ultimate publicity, but not sure I have those connections. I am also trying to get USA Today and Military Times to do a review. If anyone reading this has any connections with anybody that could do a review, please contact me via leaving a comment on this entry or email me at email@example.com and I will touch base with you.
Memorial Day 2008 will be a tad different this year. I, along with Owen (from the book-signing tour back in October, and a gentleman named Stefan Ralph who also had some blog entries in The Sandbox book will be participating in a Memorial Day parade in the town of Millbrook NY. Millbrook is a classic small town with one big tree lined main street with small shops on both sides. There is a wonderful garden-covered hill park with monuments to veterans of previous wars at the end of the street.
So the three of us will be participating in this parade and when it is over we will be heading over to Merritt Bookstore where we will conduct another book-signing event. David Stanford and I have been talking about doing this for a while, so I am glad to see it finally happening again. So if you are going to be in the neighborhood, stop by and see us as we love to meet as many people as we can.