Last year I attended the 2011 James River Writer’s Conference full of self-doubt. I was nervous that I wouldn’t fit in with the scholarly, eclectic, and creative world. I’m an Army Officer. I’m not a writer. Could I be both, though?
I had written my first book while in Afghanistan. Big deal, right? I mean this conference was going to be full of serious writers. Surely they would look down on me. For the entire conference I was timid, stressed, and constantly trying to sell myself to possible literary agents and publishing folks.
U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Brandon Mann, a dog handler with Alpha Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, and native of Arlington, Texas, sights in with his infantry automatic rifle while providing security with Ty, an improvised explosive device detection dog, during a patrol here, Feb. 16. Marines and sailors with 1st LAR and India Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, conducted clearing and disrupting operations in and around the villages of Sre Kala and Paygel during Operation Highland Thunder. Marines with 1st LAR led the operation on foot, sweeping for enemy weapons and drug caches through 324 square kilometers of rough, previously unoccupied desert and marshland terrain. Mobile units with1st LAR set up blocking positions and vehicle check points while India Company, 3/3 conducted helicopter inserts to disrupt insurgent freedom of movement.
Three Marines with 3rd Platoon prepare for a patrol … Read More »
This isn’t my story but I thought it was really interested and wanted to share. It also mentioned our pal- Gabe the Hero Dog ! Canine Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) is a very real challenge we are facing with our four legged service members.
The dogs of war: saving lives but paying the price
Story by L.A. Shively
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – Can courage be measured in a canine heart? Can a dog actually be a hero?
Take Gabe for instance, a yellow Labrador Retriever who has three Army Commendation Medals and an Army Achievement Medal for finding explosives in Iraq. Actually, Gabe’s awards are not for finding weapons, ammunition, or bombs; but for saving lives.
How about Cairo, the Belgian Malinois that accompanied SEAL Team Six to Pakistan on the mission to kill Osama bin Laden? Cairo and the Navy SEALs were … Read More »
U.S. Army Spc. Ahren Blake, a combat medic from Clinton, Iowa, with Company D, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls, holds two puppies he found at an observation post in the Aziz Khan Kats Mountain Valley range near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, April 15. The puppies have been living with the Afghan National Army Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 201st Infantry Corps, which man the Ops that 3rd Platoon visited.
U.S. Army Pfc. Matthew Thomas from Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, holds a puppy during a patrol in Waza Kwah District, Paktika province, Afghanistan, July 10.
Lance Cpl. James R. Borzillieri, a gunner with 81 mm Mortar Platoon, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, plays with a … Read More »
This is the next chapter in the compelling story of Army Specialist Marc Whittaker, his military working dog (MWD) Anax (now retired) and his new MWD, Dark. I suggest you read the first few pieces to get caught up if you haven’t already.
Readers Digest version: Anax is injured in Afghanistan protecting Marc. Anax loses his leg as a result. Anax is now located in Texas with Marc’s family. Marc is in Germany trying to get back “on the leash” and channel his passion for dogs through MWD Dark. But MWD Dark is no MWD Anax.
Marc Whittaker slammed his hand down of the buzzing alarm clock and turned over. He wasn’t in the mood … Read More »
I’ve always said that everyone’s Iraq/ Afghanistan experience are different. You can spend the entire deployment working on a large camp in an office. Or you could be “outside the wire” intermixing with the public/conducting missions/ engaging the enemy in combat for the entire deployment. I’ve had both types of deployments.
They both suck. Check out what they are doing below to build an outpost. I’ve done some of this myself!
I’ve personally never deployed to large camps like Victory/ Anaconda (Iraq) or Bagram/ Kandahar (Afghanistan). I prefer smaller intimate camps. (not that I had a say in the matter) Plus there are less things to spend your money on if there is no Coffee Bean, post exchange filled with tempting treats or a pizza parlor (Kandahar). As a leader, a smaller camp provides you more control over your troops. I like … Read More »
Great news this weekend! Our hero, Specialized Search Dog Gabe, was awarded the title of Hero Dog by the American Humane Association ! This is the first time a military dog has been recognized for this prestigious award.
Congratulations Gabe! Also, a huge congratulations to Gabe’s dad, Chuck Shuck. Chuck has worked tirelessly over the past eight months or so campaigning for Gabe. Chuck committed himself to this exhausting campaign in order to bring recognition to all military dogs. Gabe won $15,000 which will be donated to the United States War Dog Association.
The association sends care packages and assistance to dog teams deployed.
During the first stage in the competition Gabe went head to head with other military dogs. Thankfully Gabe emerged victorious.Then he faced the daunting task of facing off with the winners of seven other categories such as police … Read More »
Command Sgt. Maj. David Inglis, 3rd Infantry Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion command sergeant major, wears a protective suit and is attacked by a military working dog during a demonstration of the dogs abilities at Kandahar Airfield, Sept. 29, 2012. The military working dogs, from 3rd Infantry Divisionn K-9 unit, are used for various purposes including sniffing for explosive residue and protect military personnel.
This edition features a story about Staff Sergeant David Macdonald, a military dog handler originally from Mobile, Alabama, tells us about the importance of his job. (Produced by Marine Cpl. Liz Cisneros, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.)
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So Barbara Longley and I decided to go a second round with our discussion. Should an author work with an editor or a critique group. As you might remember I support going with an editor. My long winded and talented colleague, Barbara Longley is a huge supporter of critique groups.
Honestly I think Barb wanted to go a second round because she couldn’t handle that I was so spot on in that first post!
So here we go….round two….. I’ve got one gloves raised high to protect my face and the other lower……. Barb can’t be trusted to spar cleanly!
KEVIN: I have a lot to say Barb? Really….Really? You just tripled my word count!
I’m not going to match you though. I don’t feel like I must. Why?…… Because I believe in myself. I don’t need affirmation that I can write. Especially from people who … Read More »