Monday, July 28, 2014

History's cunning passages and contrived corridors

The greats are the greats because, well, they're great.

In spite of the torture he inflicted on so many youth indirectly through the force feeding of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (I actually like it in spite of what my high school teachers did to it, but Mrs. Salamander does not allow poetry in the house, so I don't speak of it often), one has to accept that T.S. Eliot has his way with words.

From Prufrock ... just as an example; what Sailor cannot relate or have a memory-spark from this?
LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
I'm not sure if that best defines liberty in Souda Bay, Crete - or what one does after the official party at Broward Navy Days. There is a timeless to the mood of the poem, but I think it takes a well seasoned soul to really get its meaning. Not a concept a 17-yr old male can quite grasp, but with life's experience - it comes clearer ... but I digress.


If you find yourself a bit overwhelmed with the steady stream of unravelling from Ukraine, Gaza, our southern border, Afghanistan, Libya, and other vacation spots ... and find yourself pondering in general themes why and where all this is going in the centenary of the start of WWI, you are not alone.

In Canada's National Post, Rex Murphy manages to fold in history, WWI, today's goings on, and ... Eliot.
History, said T.S. Eliot, has many “cunning passages, contrived corridors and issues.” He continues rather bleakly that what history might or could teach us emerges with “subtle confusions” offered only when our “attention is distracted.” Eliot’s is a necessary caution against seeking specific lessons from history; despite the maxim, it never “repeats itself.” Rather it is like the ancient oracles, speaking always in riddles, hiding its truths in ambiguities and perplexity. The only lessons we may draw are general ones. It will never speak to a single or particular event, but it has its maxims and morals which we cannot safely ignore.
We may start with the axioms that human affairs are always riddled with error, confusion, misjudgement and carelessness, and that all of those fallibilities and failings have had, and will have again, massively turbulent consequences. The example of a century ago is ominous and necessary. History “deceives with whispering ambitions, guides us by vanities.” Eliot again.
If anyone really knows where this history's path going, or that they can in some way control it - they are fools. One can hope, aspire, and try to steer ... but control? No, only in the micro; in the macro, all you can do is react.

All you can do is prepare yourself to be as strong as possible, as flexible as you can, and to try to ensure that you have the best leaders possible. Even if you follow the "Big Man" theory of history, you cannot discount the small players.
We draw too from the reckless drift into the First World War how small and underscale the actors of that day were, how little the rulers, whether czars, monarchs, presidents or revolutionaries, truly understood of the events they thought they were managing. The leaders then were tragically unequal to the times, but of course, as leaders unfailingly do, thought otherwise.
The West has had some peace since the last great war, almost 70 years of it now. And we have had with that peace an astounding march of technological and material progress. Both tend to make people forgetful of worse times. It renders them careless of the foundations upon which peace is first secured and then maintained, and nourishes the delusion they are exempt from the horrors and perils that have been a constant in human affairs.

So it seems now to some, as it seemed to some a century ago, that there is a menacing scattering of events and conflicts, where a disturbance, an accident or misadventure (such as the shooting down of the passenger jet) in one arena could unwind into a chain of unforeseen events, a haphazard flow of unpredictable cause and effect. And here, despite Eliot’s cautions, we can draw another clear and unconfused message from history: Whenever full-scale war comes. it is always worse than the previous one.
Read it all.

What does Prufrock's love song and global war have in common? Easy my friend - easy. What is, and what will be has always been and will be.

See? Simple.

Wrath, avarice, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony will always be a driver of human action. Human intitutions also are run by imperfect beings in a fallen world. Sometimes nations put a leader in place who has the character and talent to rise to the occasion - some times they do not.

There is one constant here; you cannot control for history's drive. You can prepare for it - you can have history's inconsiderate narcissism as one of your planning assumptions - or you can ignore it. You can try to mitigate the chaos, or you can let it run free and multiply.

One thing we know from what was - those who ignore history do not enjoy the results of their indecision, and sometimes cease to be part of what will be.

Endnote: Yes URR, feel free to bring up the Gods of the Copybook Headings; Eliot was a big fan of Kipling.

UPDATE: Victor Davis Hanson seems to be getting the same vibe. I highly recommend his latest;
The U.S. looks at the current global violence and then looks away, after a call for a “pivot” or a flash card calling for Boko Haram to give back the girls it has enslaved. Our generation’s version of the bad memories of the 1918 Meuse-Argonne Offensive is Iraq and Afghanistan. Like our grandparents of the 1930s, we feel that the dead lost abroad in the most recent wars were not worth it — and so ignore the gathering war clouds on the present horizon, as if ignoring them means they must disappear.

Glance about — Central America, Venezuela, China, Russia, Ukraine, Crimea, Gaza, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Turkey, etc. — and the world outside the West is mostly a nasty place. The three common denominators in all these catastrophes are the usual demagogic leaders blaming someone else for their people’s own self-inflicted miseries, a comfortable West that shrugs that somehow all these depressing things and mean people will just go away — and a tired global enforcer whose community organizer leader went into retirement and offers “make no mistake about it” warnings between swings on the golf course.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Horn of Africa - still at the front - with RDML Krongard, USN, on Midrats

A special time this Sunday, 2pm Eastern, in order to have a reasonable time for our guest on the other side of the world.

This week we are going to visit an AOR that may have dropped of a lot of people's scan, but in the Long War - it is still the front lines; the Horn of Africa.

Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, and the waters around the Arabian Peninsular - from terrorism to piracy - America and her allies and partners are at work every day to keep the beast over there, and not here.

Our guest for the full hour will be Rear Adm. Alexander L. Krongard, USN, Deputy Commander, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Africa. In this position, he supports the CJTF-HOA Commander to counter violent extremism in East Africa, foster regional security cooperation, strengthen partner nation security capability, and build and maintain U.S. strategic access in the region. Krongard is also responsible for developing relations with senior military leaders in African partner nations and directing CJTF staff and subordinate commanders’ support to deployed personnel and units of all Services across the Horn of Africa. DCJTF-HOA.

A Navy SEAL by training, RDML Krongard is graduate of Princeton University and the National War College.

Join us live if you can with the usual suspects in the chat room and offer up your questions for our guest, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio.

Listen to internet radio with Midrats on Blog Talk Radio

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fullbore Friday

Attention to citation:
Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts distinguished himself by extraordinary acts of heroism at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Forward Observer in 2d Platoon, Chosen Company, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade, during combat operations against an armed enemy at Vehicle Patrol Base Kahler in the vicinity of Wanat Village, Kunar Province, Afghanistan on July 13, 2008.

Early that morning, while Sergeant Pitts was providing perimeter security at Observation Post Topside, a well-organized Anti-Afghan Force consisting of over 200 members initiated a close proximity sustained and complex assault using accurate and intense rocket-propelled grenade, machine gun and small arms fire on Wanat Vehicle Patrol Base. An immediate wave of rocket-propelled grenade rounds engulfed the Observation Post wounding Sergeant Pitts and inflicting heavy casualties. Sergeant Pitts had been knocked to the ground and was bleeding heavily from shrapnel wounds to his arm and legs, but with incredible toughness and resolve, he subsequently took control of the Observation Post and returned fire on the enemy.

As the enemy drew nearer, Sergeant Pitts threw grenades, holding them after the pin was pulled and the safety lever was released to allow a nearly immediate detonation on the hostile forces. Unable to stand on his own and near death because of the severity of his wounds and blood loss, Sergeant Pitts continued to lay suppressive fire until a two-man reinforcement team arrived. Sergeant Pitts quickly assisted them by giving up his main weapon and gathering ammunition all while continually lobbing fragmentary grenades until these were expended.

At this point, Sergeant Pitts crawled to the northern position radio and described the situation to the Command Post as the enemy continued to try and isolate the Observation Post from the main Patrol Base. With the enemy close enough for him to hear their voices, and with total disregard for his own life, Sergeant Pitts whispered in radio situation reports and conveyed information that the Command Post used to provide indirect fire support.

Sergeant Pitts' courage, steadfast commitment to the defense of his unit and ability to fight while seriously wounded prevented the enemy from overrunning the Observation Post and capturing fallen American soldiers, and ultimately prevented the enemy from gaining fortified positions on higher ground from which to attack Wanat Vehicle Patrol Base. Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts' extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Company C, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade and the United States Army.

He said his peace afterwords with class, via WaPo's Thomas Gibbons-Neff;
The ceremony was over and former Staff Sgt. Ryan M. Pitts, the nation’s newest Medal of Honor recipient, walked toward the microphones set up in front of the West Wing, his pants bloused over his black boots and the nation’s highest award for combat valor draped over his chest.

“The real heroes are the nine men who made the ultimate sacrifice so the rest of us could return home,” Pitts said quietly, a reference to the nine soldiers who died defending Observation Post Topside beside him in the summer of 2008 in Wanat, Afghanistan.

“It is their names, not mine that I want people to know.”

“Spc. Sergio Abad, Cpl. Jonathan Ayers, Cpl. Jason Bogar, 1st Lt. Jonathan Brostrom, Sgt. Israel Garcia, Cpl. Jason Hovater, Cpl. Matthew Phillips, Cpl. Pruitt Rainey, and Cpl. Gunnar Zwilling,” he read, and in an homage to Chosen company of the 503rd parachute infantry regiment, added: “Thank you. The Chosen few.”

Pitts did not take any questions Monday, and as he walked away, a reporter inquired, “Is that it?” For Pitts, 28, of Nashua, N.H., it was.

... and in a very American moment later ...

Remember, you learned of 11 Luchtmobiele Brigade here first

Remember my little aside earlier this week?
I wonder if the G5 shop at the 11 Luchtmobiele Brigade did any unofficial planning for a recovery operation in coordination with Ukrainian special forces or one of their airmobile brigades ... naw ... well - I bet someone did, even if only at home over a few beers.
Status of forces agreement looks about done ... if this fleshes out like it looks - count the Salamander as impressed;
A five-nation "coalition of the grieving" is expected to supply the forces to secure the 50-square-kilometre crash site of Malaysian Airlines' downed MH17.
The multinational force is expected to be led by the Dutch, who lost 193 nationals in the bringing down of the plane, while Australia could serve in the deputy role.
Security forces from the Netherlands and Australia worked closely together for years in Oruzgan province, Afghanistan.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is in Ukraine and at 9.30am Australian EST time, signed an agreement with Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin that will provide a legal basis for Australia's presence in that country.

The arrangement will not come into effect until signed off by President Petro Poroshenko and passed by the Ukraine Parliament, which could take some time.

Once operating, it will allow Australian officials freedom of movement in the Ukraine, allow them to work with local authorities and allow equipment and supplies to brought into the country. It will also cover legal matters such as liability.
Earlier, President Poroshenko, Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans and Ms Bishop also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the investigation of MH17.

Under that MoU, the Ukraine delegated authority to Holland, as the nation that lost the majority of victims in the crash, to investigate the case.

''Countries whose citizens died in this terrible tragedy are scattered around the world. That's why we must be united to ensure co-ordination of actions in holding the efficient investigation and submitting its results to the world,'' the Head of State emphasised.
He thanked Australia and the Netherlands, ''with whom we are increasingly efficiently coordinating our actions and elaborating concrete mechanisms to ensure transparent and independent international investigation''.
The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf has flagged the possibility that members of that country's airborne brigade could be deployed alongside military police.
And Volksrant reported the Dutch government was "seriously considering" a group of soldiers and policemen, on condition the group is part of a multi-national force.

And overnight, news wire Agence France Presse reported that Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said 40 unarmed Dutch police would be sent to the crash site to stabilise the area.
They look to start as soft as possible - but there will be branch plans. 

For the love of Pete ... please don't let some drunk Russian do something stupid.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Diversity Thursday

In this environment, I guess they eventually get them all. 

Let me know if you catch the tell;
Buss also overhauled the selection process. The Blues will still get to pick the next generation of team members, but once those selections are made, Buss said new checks and balances will be used to vet those selections.

Buss said the the selection criteria has been carefully rewritten to ensure no one is excluded.

“We’ve really kind of focused on clearly stating in our selection instruction that demographics and gender will not be considered as factors,” he said. “It’s really based on aviation skill, professional performance and community reputation.”

Once the flying and nonflying new members are picked, those selections will first get looked at by the squadron’s immediate boss, the chief of naval air training.

From there, Blues selections will be sent to Navy Personnel Command for a final scrub to ensure there’s nothing in the person’s record to preclude their selection and that a tour with the team won’t be bad for their career progression.

Buss said he’s ready for naysayers to complain that the new process as “the admirals picking the team,” but he said nothing is further from the truth.

“It’s just having an outside set of eyes look at the selections to be sure you are picking the most talented and diverse team possible,” he said.
Can I pick at that a bit? I'll fisk just the paragraphs above.

1. We no longer trust the best to pick the best? We need to have the not-best second guess the choices of the best? I get that right? The best are motivated to pick the best because in that line of work, if the guy off your left and right wingtip is not the best - then good chance he may kill you and others. So ... what do the second guessing not-best think overrides excellence?

2. Of course people are being excluded, I sure hope so. That is the foundation of an "exclusive" display team. Without mercy, you exclude those who are not the absolute best in the aircraft. You exclude some exceptional pilots, superb officers ... but those who just don't quite make the final cut. In VADM Buss's view, who, exactly, is being excluded for reasons that require a 3,000-mile screwdriver? Please provide examples for us to use as a reference. Do you have any evidence for the reasons that unacceptable exclusion took place?

3. "... really kind of focused ..." is not the kind of clear wording that builds confidence. "...clearly stating in our selection instruction that demographics and gender will not be considered as factors ..." Why, pray tell, do you feel the need to say that? Shouldn't that be self evident? If not, would the reason be that those in the Fleet see on a regular basis that selection on demographics (read race and ethnicity) and gender (sex) does take place? It feels a little protesteth-too-much and defensive. Of course, we know why you had to say it - don't we?

4. Actually, having the first Flag Officer in the chain of command looking at the list seems fine and good; probably the move I most approve of. Good manners if nothing else.

5. What, pray tell, would Millington know about a junior officer that the squadron CO doesn't? Additionally, if the Millington Diktat on career progression would stop someone from going to the Blue Angels - then we don't stop that pilot from going to the Blues - we break the Millington Diktat down to parade rest and rebuild it. It is broken.

6. VADM Buss; if the Admirals have the last say in who and who cannot be on team, then they are picking them. Don't run away from reality, embrace it. It is a defendable position that good people can argue both sides of.

7. Ahhh ... there is your tell. In an echo from para. 3, you show your hand. "... outside set of eyes look at the selections to be sure you are picking the most ... diverse team possible." Yes, I took talented out, because words and sentence structure matter. I would ask that he define "diverse," but we all know what that is - it is the diversity metrics we measure; race, ethnicity, and sex.

So there you go. We know why the Admirals have their new system. They want to second guess from a distance based on something they are not the best judge of - talent in the aircraft - and on something that has nothing to do with who is the best in the aircraft - diversity.

In a normal organization, that is just irritating, bigoted and unfair. In a precision flying team, that means you are willing to accept greater risk of death to pilots, observers, and service reputation in order to be able to check more boxes in the Diversity Bullies' little boxes.

On an individual basis, there is also the very real fact that because of this taint in the system, everyone who comes to the team from a group that has a special snowflake month from the Commissariat will be look at in a different light; did they get there like we did by performance - or are they a diversity pick? That does no one any good, and the fault lies with leadership for letting such a system take root.

That, sir, is on you. It's a tough job, and I am sure you were in a tough place where you felt you had to do something. Your call to make in the end. Hope you made it for the right reasons.

I am glad you gave the answers you did. I don't think it had the desired effects based on my email since this came out. Instead of people not worried that diversity is trumping safety and performance, now most are convinced that it is or will be at some time in the future.

Me? I don't know. I do know we have a long history of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity and sex - at least in the period from the late 80s to first decade of the 21st Century that I saw in all its patronizing and bigoted glory; I was ordered to participate in it, and I get new examples of it all the time. Just a shame to think that even here, this cancer has seeped in.


There is a non-DivThu story here as well.

In a standard issue high-n-right reaction to this - Big Navy has flailed about until they have change to say they have change.

Details here on the changes. They are going to have an XO now; an XO who does not fly. Yea ... that will go over well.

I mumbled to myself that they would probably pick an NFO so no one would try to get flight hours and instead will sit at the desk. I thought it would be fun if they picked a P-3 NFO just to give the pointy-nosed guys someone to abuse ... but they turned the nob to 11 instead.
Executive Officer:

Navy Cmdr. Bob Flynn, 45, of Moorestown, N.J., is a S-3B Viking Naval Flight Officer and is currently assigned to the Naval War College. He is a 1992 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.
The last S-3 squadron decom'd in JAN09 ... so ... there you go. Nice work though Bob; BZ to you given a chance to get back to squadron life, and enjoy the opportunity to create and make a unique XO position.

As a S-3 bubba, you're used to the abuse from the Fighter Attack Guys - so you'll be fine.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Decade of the Salamander

How fast time flies … and how much changes with it: CDRSalamander just turned ten.

I’m not all that big on ceremony, and I’ve been pondering what to do, if anything, to mark the 10th Anniversary of my little vanity project. I thought about a Midrats special, or a best of hit-list post, or just nothing.

I’m still not sure what to do, so instead I thought I would just sit down and type a bit. I'm going to freeform over a drink, so stick with me as I wander.

The first thing that comes to mind is this – thanks.

I have a lot of people to thank for making what is truly a pleasure for your humble blogg’r. I had no idea where this would go and never really had a game plan for it, still don't. For good reason, in 2004, this whole milblog thing was a boutique operation at best. We talked to ourselves and each other, not really expecting traction beyond that little universe - but in our own way, we caught lightening in a bottle.

2004 was a different environment for online information than it is now, and we were all trying to figure it out at the time. A very ruthless environment, there was a high mortality rate for blogs, and a lot of people who got in to it thinking of what it was, but failing when they just didn't understand the medium. 

There were also people on the downside who poo-poo'd milblogs, and still do, who even less than we did, failed to understand what can happen when you get traction in the marketplace of ideas.

Prior to CDRSalamander, I had been an online presence for awhile, under a different nom du blog. Sent some items to a few people over at NRO's TheCorner that they used, and enjoyed playing around in comments at Argghhh!!!!, MudvilleGazette and other places Navy types may be familiar with.

After another round of, "You can't publish that ..." I decided that, OK, I won't publish on those things I was professionally focused on, but I will just skip the other blog comment sections, message boards, etc too - and one afternoon set up CDRSalamander.

I was a junior Commander at the time, but knew that I could not be "out" as the minute I was, my boss would shut me down regardless of what I wrote about. I could have started a catblog, and after sending me for a psych-eval, would have shut me down after crushing me. Yea, I had that kind of command climate.

So, 22JUL04, LOC1-SER1 came out like this;
I have been thinking about getting this started for awhile after bothering a man greater than myself, CDR Bluebeard, to start a blog. If for no other reason than to post his rantings (if he will let me), err insights, I decided to give this a start and see what happens.

As for me, well I'm a Navy Commander. That is about all you are getting out of me. Going public with your opinions as an active duty officer is in a way just dumb if you want to get recommended for promotion and don't want someone's "pinky finger" spiking you at a selection board. The Naval Institute's Proceedings ( is a great institution, but you publish at your own peril. Sad really. You can publish technical and tactical pieces with them, I have. But opinion? Not so smart. We will cover boards and command influence later, but let’s just say that blogging is a better institution until you get outed. Lets see how long this takes..............if I get edgy. I don't know how edgy I will get. Maybe my random thoughts and postings will just float around in obscurity and be ignored. Hey, if nothing else, it is cheap therapy.
See, I've had poor grammar from the start. Still don't have an editor, still click "publish" after hammering something out over b-fast, while in a conf call I'm ignoring, or before going to bed. I still hit the topics I am interested in - not the ones I know the most about, just the ones I am most interested in. Still good therapy. I wander off the maritime reservation now and then, something some of you don't like, but I have from the start. If I didn't, CDRSalamander wouldn't be what it is.

No, I never got "CDR Bluebeard" to publish anything. He soon found himself in an IG from h311, something that educated me in detail what a heartless and cowardly system can be used to destroy a good man. He just no longer cares. Sad.

As things clicked on, I soon found myself in a little corner of the blogosphere - the Navy milblog phylum. Within a year, I found myself getting to know Lex, EagleOne, Joel, SJS, good 'ole Chap, and eventually Skippy the next year. Combined with some ground element bloggers - that first year, that was about it. I remember laughing when I started to get 30 unique visitors a day. Now I have thousands and sometimes tens of thousands.

In time, more great blogs came online, I joined USNIblog as a resident poster (thank you very much for the opportunity Mary) and the comments here section started to get some great regulars. I think of many who are still with us from the start Byron, Sid, Mr. T's Haircut, AW1, URR, LT Black, and others. (you guys and gals have no idea how much I truly value visiting with you each and every day) Even more came to be regular visitors during the years, making a real enjoyable Front-Porch. Sharp elbows, snark, but also some just plain good people and as I have come to know some of them IRL, some superb professionals.

Something happened fairly soon - and of all places it started with Salon, stuff I was putting out started to get a reading well beyond what I expected. CDRSalamander started to have an impact in policy discussions and other areas. That is when the underground started.

There are people who never show up in comments that communicate with me by email, and now FB and twitter. A lot of the stuff is not for publication or comment - just on background. They are, in a word, "interesting" people. There is a place online for places like CDRSalamander and others. I hear from YNSN to Admirals off the record about their concerns, ideas, and observations - happily taking the invitation to make their ideas mine and getting them out in the open.

Some don't like that - but that kind has always been with us - those who cannot stand any voice but their own.

Early on, some of the places we started to make a difference was in the re-birth of Riverine, and building the foundation of the anti-transformationalist movement. Shining light of some of the worst socio-political experiments being pushed on our Sailors - shaming some of their leaders who were going to far in to backing off. In substantive areas adding, where I could, a little of the creative friction that, with or without conflict, I think brings the discussion to a better, more clarified place.

The first half-decade of the blog, I was on active duty. I know for many the anonoblogger status was an issue. The Mark Twain to Samuel Clemens and Federalist Papers etc argument has been around a long time - but it has its place. It still does. I have no problem with it.

The second half decade of the blog, I have been USN (Ret) and am no longer in deep cover. I am out in the open if you know where to look, but I am quite happy with Sal - a lot of people know my Samuel Clemens - it really does not matter. I did enjoy being able to break bread with people I have known in my little underground for years, who I also served with - and when the time was right, was able to come out to them.

I have also enjoyed the opportunity to finally meet in person many of the people I came to know in half a decade online only as very good people, and seeing them in person, found them to be that and more. Real true friends in a social way, and in a constructive criticism way in their observations, commentary, and suggestions on how I try to communicate my thoughts. True friends who are not just hail fellow well met, but want you to be better. I was about to name a bunch of you, but you know who you are.

Also when retired, with the encouragement of some good folks, we started with EagleOne our weekly talk show, Midrats. That has been a great joy as well - a fun, groundbreaking, IMAO, concept.

One reason I enjoy it is that over the years, CDRSalamander developed its own "voice" and niche in the milblog ecosystem. Make no mistake, CDRSalamander is very much me - but everything has a certain brand and job to do - but as for "me-actual" it only reflects one side of my personality. The more complete "me" is the Sal you find on Midrats. A little duller, a little less of a bomb thrower, a little more pensive ... still long winded and arrogant, but I'm a little more comfortable in that skin.

Would I change anything about blogg'n? In hindsight, sure - a few things. If I were a YG99 type starting a blog, I would unquestionably do things differently - but time travel is a drag. In any event - everything is very different now than it was in 2004.

Stand-alone blogs used to be the standard; not they are an exception. Commentary and observational blogs done on the fly have slightly fallen out of favor for group-blogs that are organized and edited almost like an online magazine in some cases. Not better or worse, just different.

Thanks to the support and contributions of the Front Porch and underground, we've done some good things - and though I don't have as much time to blog as I used to - serious civilian jobs and houses full of teenagers will do that to a man - I don't plan on going anywhere.

Where it this blog trending, where I am going? No changes, same course and speed. It was a quick decade, I'm not done yet - though I wish I had more time.

Would I call this a success? I wasn't really looking for that mark. Others may say, "no" - or think that I have not fully realized the potential - but that is fine from their point of view. For me? Look at LOC1-SER1, I think I've met most of those goals. I'm content, and I hope the regulars glean some value from our time together - goodness knows I do.

Well, enough freeform. In summary, thanks. Here's to another decade.

Advice to others thinking about joining the conversation? Email me, I'll try to help. In general though - I'll let Arnold speak for me.

UPDATE: There is a new Navy milblog hatchling you may want to check out - TheGreenieBoard.