Peru pics and a bummer weekend

If you hadn’t noticed from the Flickr widget on the bottom right, I put up some pictures of our Peru trip. Feel free to check out the set [here].

That particular group of photos are a sort of combination of Sarah, Adrian and my shots. We pooled all of our photos when we got back and, since we were frequently taking pictures of the same thing at the same time, I don’t remember who took what on certain occasions.

Adrian has his own gallery of shots. He takes much better photos than I, so the better pics in the above album are probably his!

On a more somber note, one of the public affairs instructors died suddenly over the weekend. He was the Navy chief I wrote about earlier concerning the refrigerator. He chilled out considerably since that incident and I’m really sorry he’s gone. I’d talked to him on several occasions as we worked together. He spent time on the same base in Japan where I lived as a kid—stuff like that.

It’s crazy how things just happen like that. In the military I’m used to hearing that so-n-so was badly injured—or was killed, as it happened in Iraq often enough. In college there were a few freak deaths.

But it always sort of takes your breath away when it happens. I’m not so jaded as to not feel anything just yet. It’s interesting how unnatural death seems. It’s like we’re not ever ready for it. It just comes and we’re left to adjust. It’s inevitable, as the current march of mortality goes; but as God never meant for man to die, the cold chill of it is striking.

###

About salemonz

Born in San Diego, Calif. Raised as a Navy Brat, I jumped ship and crossed over to the Army. Served as an enlisted journalist for a bunch of years, then helped the DoD figure out what the hell to do with social media. After the Army, now I drift down the river of life, trying not to be a jerk.

4 responses to “Peru pics and a bummer weekend”

  1. ZNB says :

    Sorry to hear about your co-workers passing.

    On a lighter note: I love the pictures of you eating things! You just needed longer hair and a pirate’s patch. Arrrr.

  2. marla says :

    Who was it that died? What happened?

    Also…don’t know if I told you or not, but I’m currently enrolled in an interesting sociology class, “Military and Society.” Every week a new topic is discussed online. Here is this weeks.

    Post on January 28 2008 (permalink)
    Created on Monday, 01/28/2008 5:40 PM by Sean Darby

    Sean Darby

    A core concept of civil-military relations in a democratic government is civilian control of the military. In the United States much of this control is rested in the executive. With presidential elections coming up, I thought it would be relevant to look at each candidate’s position on defense policy. The following link has summarizations of each candidate’s position, http://www.cfr.org/publication/14760/candidates_on_defense_policy.html?breadcrumb=%2Fcampaign2008%2Ftrackers. This information is provided by the Council on Foreign Relations; the Council on Foreign Relation is a member of American civil society, a sector of society that Rukavishnikov and Pugh said was important to civil-military relations.

    One of the repeated themes in the positions was the military’s budget and how to use the money. The article mentioned the importance of transparency in defense spending, and that the public should have a strong interest in knowing how the military budget is being spent. Many of the candidates mention increasing the military’s budget. One of the most common proposed uses for this money is modernization, but most of the candidates are not specific as to what modernization entails.

    Almost every candidate calls for an increase in the number of personnel in the military. This issue also ties in well with the Segal article from last week. The proposed increases range from 35,000 to around 100,000 troops. However, none of the candidates really offered a plan to gain these additional troops.

    Discussion Question: With the use of unclear terms like modernization and a lack of proposed plans for military personnel increase, is there really a great deal of transparency in military policy as called for in this week’s article?

    Comments (4)
    I feel that these policies are actually rather vague as opposed to transparent. President Bush and others are looking to increse both the money and amount of troops in Iraq yet at what risk? As one article states retired Generals and Officers feel that the Army is being wrecked by these lower standards and the leway allowing people who have been charged with crimes the freedom to join Armed Forces.

    Also, is this the best way for the country to be spending its’ money? This money is being spent on putting many peoples lives in danger abroad when there are still many domestic problems that need to be addressed.

    Is this the best use of money and are more troops and billions more dollars needed to keep the US in Iraq or is what they currently have established adequate and the money better used elsewhare?
    Wednesday, 01/30/2008 11:52 AM by Brian LeBaron

    I think that for any of the candidates to be able to actually increase the amount of troops they would have to lower the standards that applicants must meet which is a very bad idea. As Brian stated allowing criminals into the armed forces seems to be a pretty stupid idea, Not to say that all these people who are labeled as criminals are truly bad people but it shows that at some point in their lives they lacked the judgement to choose right over wrong and who is to say that it wouldnt happen again when they have a automatic weapon in their hands. Another proposition is citizenship for service which i also believe is not a good idea. I would like to think that our military is comprised of people who genuinely want to protect our country and allowing a large group of foreigner’s whose foremost interest is themselves over our country does not bode well if these soldiers are placed in situations where they must choose themselves over the protection of the country.

    In terms of the transparency of our military, i believe that the candidates are just using the idea of transparent spending as a tool to gain support from the US population. to honestly believe that the government would disclose what they are spending our tax dollars on, even vague ideas of what our tax dollars are paying for sounds rather foolish. As to the “modernization” of our forces im pretty sure that we are tho most modern military in the world by far so it seems a little ridiculous to say that we need to modernize.
    Wednesday, 01/30/2008 3:24 PM by John Tripp

    I think that it is interesting that the stands on military spending seems spilt somewhat equally between the Republicans and Democrats. I would have expected a much bigger gap between the two parties beliefs. I want to begin by saying that, I may not agree with our decision to go to war in Iraq…but we are there now, we cant change that.

    Increased spending and manpower is probably the only way that the United States can make any difference in Iraq. As the articles for this week indicated, many Generals are calling for increases in personel. Gen. Shinseki stated that a few hundred thousand more troops would be neccessary to keep peace in Iraq.

    There is also a need for better equipment and supplies for the troops. In response to what Mr. Tripp said earlier: America may be seen as the world’s superior military power, and we may be. But, our troops in Iraq are lacking some of the things they really need to get the job done. There have been reports that units do not have proper body armor or metal plating on the HUMVEEs. So, yes, we may be “modern” but we can still be at a shortage of “men and guns”. I really like Mitt Romney’s plan that would add increased funding and troops in order to accomplish the mission and more importantly; keep our troops safe.
    Wednesday, 01/30/2008 6:06 PM by Daniel Parker

    I think the the goverment should disclose what it is spending it money on…to an extent. I just returned from three months of army school, learning how to be a Public Affairs Specialist. During the first month of class, all of our teachers informed us that we may not be able to even have classes because of lack of money. For example, the electricity bill wouldn’t be able to be payed to power the school or any of the electronics (computers, etc.) inside the school. Luckily, some money was found, or funded, and I was able to complete my school without any problems.

    Another instance of lack of funds comes with my re-enlistment bonus. I am supposed to receive a $5,000 bonus for re-enlisting for another 3 years of reserve duty. Yet, when I called my unit administrator, he said that there are no funds available. He advised me to not sign any paperwork pertaining to my re-enlistment until the funds are available. In essence I am to remain in limbo until President Bush or even our future president signs a piece of paper.

    Also, there is no knowledge of when there will be funds available…which means I am in a sitting and waiting period until then. This happens every year. Funds run dry and soldiers who are promised bonuses up to 20,000 dollars never see the money.

    I think that when it comes to everyday spending, it is okay for civilians to be able to know where their tax money is going to. It will help them better understand government spending and possibly it will force the government to balance their pocketbooks better. But the idea of full transparency does not seem like a good idea. As discussed in class, it would leave open too many holes for the wrong eyes to be able to view security items/issues.

    Will the government form some sort of half-and-half transparency policy? Probably not. It is much easier to keep civilians in the dark than it is to come up with a plan that would show the government’s poor planning…and waste of money. I too believe the candidates are using the idea of transparent spending to gain support from their voters.

  3. Joshua says :

    Chief Bell died, one of the Public Affairs instructors.

    Good response on the questions. It’s a tricky one. Yeah, I hear the candidates wanting to further expand the military (Romney wants the 100,000 increase). Congress just expanded the Army by 60,000 and we’re going to be short 3,000 captains and majors each year until 2013, among our usual shortfalls.

    Trying to expand by tens of thousands more seems a little improbable, considering how hard up we are for numbers now.

    Isn’t it funny how down-to-the-wire the Army is on funding. I remember when the fiscal year ended while I was in Iraq and Congress was pussyfooting around with the budget, we ran out of new bottled water, copy paper, had to stop missions because of fuel, ran out of food at the DFACs. It was hilarious. Hood and other installations made headlines because they couldn’t pay their electric bills. Ridiculous.

  4. Felyne says :

    Those pictures are breathtaking… well, except for the little guinea pig… that’s just disturbing. Just stunning.

    And I’m sorry to hear about your coworker. Bugger. All the same, welcome back.

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