More Equipment...

Ft. Dix provided the unit with more individual equipment as we visited the base's Central Issue Facility (CIF) on Oct. 27. The experience was not as good as last time. I still think that the Rapid Fielding Initiative (a direct competitor) does a better overall job of issuing equipment to soldiers.


27 Oct 05, Eddie Meadows (far right behind counter), CIF A Bay Quality Control, leads A Co 2/224th AVN in singing 'America the Beautiful' during his exceptional welcoming of the unit to his facility. (Bert Stover -- washingtonpost.com)
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When we reached the CIF, Alpha Bay Quality Control employee Eddie Meadows met us outside and issued a brief on policies and procedures, one of which was that the unit had to show its motivation as we entered the building. Meadows had us recite the company motto, which as usual was a a hodgepodge of unintelligible syllables, shouted at the top of 50 soldier's voices.

Meadows continued to provide entertainment by getting Alpha company to sing 'America the Beautiful'. That was so unexpected that I couldn't my camera out in time to film the event. Once we finished singing, Meadows greeted us, shaking each of our hands, looking us in the eye and saying, 'Thank You for your service and welcome to Ft. Dix'. We then proceeded down a long line picking up more boots and other clothing items.

As an aviation unit, we require special, fire retardant uniforms. CIF was doing well until we got to the point where we needed to pick up the flight suits. The facility was out of certain sizes. If it weren't for Meadows' greetings, I am sure rating of CIF would been "less than helpful."

By Bert Stover |  November 15, 2005; 11:09 AM ET  | Category:  Ft. Dix Mobilization
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Love the article, but know there is more need to equip VA Hospitals and "Staffs" to serve 90% of returning soldiers mental, dental and physical issues. They are under funded. Why not write about this hurrendous issue?

Posted by: patrick mclaughlin | November 16, 2005 11:16 AM

Simple. He's under observation by his officers, who would never let anything that smacks of criticism of the miltary. For that matter, I wager that the author's not concerned about these sort of issues, they don't mesh well with his simple gung-ho short-sightedness.

Posted by: | November 16, 2005 11:41 AM

Pretty unfair comments. If you are looking for critical commentary on military health care, there are several good papers published by the war colleges--additionally, check out the Center for Defense Information and the Heritage Foundation. I don't think Bert ever signed up to write long-winded, strategic level, critically focused blahblahblah about the military. Blogs from helicopter pilots pretty much just that.

Posted by: Diana | November 16, 2005 03:01 PM

Bert is staying in his lane and covering what he is seeing and experiencing. There has been a hint of criticsm of the military and the government in his Blog so I don't fear that he is "holding anyting back" from his superiors. Warrant Officers have a great way of getting to the point and saying what they feel.

Posted by: CW3 Gordon Cimoli; Blog: "Operation XXX" | November 16, 2005 04:07 PM

This blog is the first and only blog I may ever read. I am reading it because my son is part of Bert's unit and I feel this blog is like having a personal embedded reporter. I hope that all of the other parents of soldiers in the A Co 2/224th AVN find the blog.

It does amaze me how many people have searched out the blog to attack Bert and the mission Bert's unit has been assigned. I have never quite understood people who have nothing better to do than to attack and criticize others.

I want my son to do his job and and all of the men and women in A Company to return safely to their families. I appreciate CW3 Cimoli's spirited defense of Bert's stories and the stories of others who can share the wisdom of lessons learned the hard way. I hope their wisdom will keep the men and women of A Company just a little safer.

Bert, thanks for sharing your news with us.

Posted by: Tata | November 16, 2005 11:00 PM

I too am keeping track of a daughter in this unit. I hear great things about Bert and I am sure I will learn about many of the soldiers in A Company.

I appreciate this "window" into their world. It gives me a chance to know what's going on, something my parents didn't get to have when I was in SE Asia. For those that have never had the privilege of serving their country, this is one more chance to see others do just that, up close and personal.

W01 Stover's blog is a journal of his unit's deployment. It has nothing to do with the budget issues of the VA, or the price of truffles in the free world.

I will support these soldiers and do what I can to help them bring their mission to a successful end. Hopefully, W01 Stover will be able to continue with this journal. With it we will see the formation of a "family" that is like no other... a family of brothers and sisters that will be connected forever. Their challenge is just beginning.

Blessings to all,

Mormonsniper
SFC, US Army, Retired
Department of Veterans Affairs, GS10-8

Posted by: Mormonsniper | November 17, 2005 12:09 AM

Bert is giving a first-hand account of the experiences his unit faces as they trained up and as they now prepare to deploy to OIF.

His work is meant to be informative not serve as an editorial on the war or lack of care provided to veterans of ALL wars.
Kudos to this young warrior and all the warriors in the service today!

Hooah!

Rat Warrior 7
Sergeant Major, US Army, Retired

Posted by: TR | November 17, 2005 10:09 AM

My son is in the service and he had to return to Kuwait on his way to Iraq with a broken tooth because dentist could not fit him in for appointment (so we purchased a dental kit from a drug store for him to repair tooth until he could have it taken care of). Plus, each time he has gone to Iraq we provide his group with radios & when he leaves we tell him to leave those radios with their replacement.

Posted by: Lynn | November 17, 2005 10:57 AM

Go Sergeant Major!
To Bert and all the Military Personnel -Thank you Bert for advising of the training you guys are and have been involved in. I know there is much that is unspoken- but it has to be that way. As it should be.
Keeping you and yours in my prayers.
ShirleyAnn

Posted by: ShirleyAnn | November 17, 2005 11:50 AM

I hope they gave you plenty of gear to kill innocent civilians, rape plenty of boys, and bring us back all that oil! GO ARMY!!!! You guys are doing a great job in a great war (note-sarcasm)

Posted by: TR | November 17, 2005 01:25 PM

Another testament to the value of free speech. What a contrast between someone with a sense of purpose and someone with an axe to grind... speaking with the intent to self gratify is protected by the first amandment but is completely unprotected from the conclusion that there are losers in this nation. The previous poster needs to find a positive purpose to life, maybe they need to join the Marines and get a non-pathological personality and a proactive sense of purpose.

Posted by: Jim | November 17, 2005 02:16 PM

Bert~ Keep up the blog. Talk about whatever you want. I appreciate anything that you want to blog about. My brother is in your unit. Your blog is the only site providing info. I also appreciate the pictures...my brother looks good! He is one of the "crusty" guys! I only wish you had time to do this daily! Thanks...and my family appreciates all of you.

Posted by: Kathie | November 17, 2005 05:17 PM

So far, it is better than not knowing anything. However, the author seems to know little about the region where he is headed (ie tax dollars), or much about how the military really operates after 10 years in the NG. ?? Regardless, keep it coming. I am curious to see how OPSEC will change things.

Posted by: | November 17, 2005 08:00 PM

Keep up the good work, Bert. As someone who has never served in the military, but who has read a bit about military history and accounts of the lives of various people who helped make it, I am interested in the raw details of how logistics are often messed up. (Where but the military would we get such terms as FUBAR, clusterf*ck, SNAFU, etc.?)

I, for one, am glad that the U.S. has often led the way in encouraging its military personel of all ranks to think, even as it expects them to cooperate and ultimately carry out their orders.

While the situation in Iraq does appear to be similar to that which the U.S. faced in the Viet Nam conflict, we can only hope that our military leaders and the elected officials who direct them learned a few things from that debacle. Since the U.S. is not commiting its forces to "win" in Iraq in any traditional military sense (e.g., no clear objective or definition of what constitutes victory), it should plan to get out ASAP while saving as much political face as possible. Given such a poorly defined task, I am glad to see that our troops are hanging in there and doing as well as they are.

If the situation were different, say our forces were tasked to "eliminate all significant traditional military threats to U.S. interests, both domestic and abroad, that are based in Iraq" I am absolutely positve that the U.S. military would make extremely quick work of accomplishing the stated objective.

But using the U.S. Armed Forces as they are being used in Iraq now is just using the wrong tool for a job that many people are not convinced needs to be done at all.

I think Bush Sr. was in a better position than Bush Jr., as Gulf War I was a fairly clear win by most accounts. It seems to me that the U.S. must learn that it should stick to protecting its own interests and let other nations squabble between/with themselves unless and until they pose a direct threat to us.

Zen Zone

Posted by: Zen Zone | November 18, 2005 01:19 AM

"Bad war, good soldier(s)." Max Cleland's remark about the Vietnam War is pertinent to this war in Iraq. Yes, it is possible to support our military and be critical of this war at the same time.

Posted by: Utah Reb | November 18, 2005 07:55 AM

Who is TR? Son, if what you had to say makes you afraid to sign you name then you should not say it. Didn't your Mom ever tell you if you can't say something nice then don't say anything? Baby-killer?, rape boys?, kill innocent civilians ?, where do you get your stuff. You need to get your head out of the comic books and off the internet (that great bastion of truths made up by anyone to fit their mindset) and live in the world. Talk to some soldiers, but talk nicely or they may beat your cowardly butt, and find out what they think. I have to admit baby-killer is what they said of us in Viet-nam. Your sick. Your uniformed, and you don't have an original thought in that pea-brain of yours.

Posted by: P. Kelly, Retired Military( CWO3) | November 18, 2005 11:06 AM

Hooah Chief! Couldn't say it any better!

Also kudos to Utah Reb for sharing Max Cleland's quote -- he truly knows firsthand about the horrors of war as well as the nightmares of negotiating throughout the VA and other govt agencies!

Honor the Warriors; not the war!

RW7
Sergeant Major, US Army, Retired

Posted by: TR, the Sergeant Major | November 18, 2005 12:43 PM

P. Kelly - TR may have a pea brain, but I think you need to learn to write correct English. Your sick & your uniformed should read you're sick & you're uninformed. Other than that I agree with your blog.

Posted by: R. Ruth | November 18, 2005 04:10 PM

I must say that even as somebody who does not support the war itself, I find posts like TR's offensive. I did 6 years in the Army and while never having been unlucky enough to go into combat I respect those that have to. Posts like TRs do a disfavor for those of us that do not support the war, but however wish our servicepeople the best. As for those who question why WO1 Stover does not address questions like vet benifits and the reason for the war, the answer is really quite simple: Right now he has only one thing on his mind, getting himself and his men home alive and safe. Best luck to you, sir!! Stay alive and stay safe.

Posted by: j | November 18, 2005 05:57 PM

I guess we are running out of sand colored nomex? I have a couple of old forest green ones from Vietnam, but I don't think they take dye well and they would stick out a little in the desert. Talked to some returning troops today and they said it is still pretty warm in the OAR but getting chilly at night, so the fleece will probably come in handy sooner than you think. Their flight landed at o dark hundred and it was cold and windy on McGuire's flight line, but they weren't complaining. I look forward to greeting you guys when you get back.

Going into work this morning I was overflown by what looked like an old Huey (but might have been a Blackhawk, I was sort of zoned out because of sleep deprevation) coming out of the reserve center at Dix. Was that any of your troops?

Dave
CBP McGuire

Posted by: martid83 | November 18, 2005 10:47 PM

TR,

You're welcome to appear in my crosshairs anytime you wish.

Posted by: Patriotic Phillyis | December 9, 2005 01:33 AM

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