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First I want to thank Mr. Higginbotham for his time in writing his view of our departure ceremony. Many of us agree with his assessment that our departure is overdue and we'd like to get the show on the road.

However, the Army still has some training we need to complete before we leave in a couple of weeks. The Army calls it "validation." Something tells me we are going to make the trip regardless of our "validation," if only because half of our equipment is already halfway around the globe on a ship.

Since our return to Yuma, we have celebrated Capt. Heins's birthday (a company outing to the base club where many experienced the wrath of the local favorite concoction called a "Snake Bite"). We've completed the mounted and dismounted land navigation and convoy training part "validation."

Now, straight from the Army's "Certified Combat Ready" cookbook, we're working on a four-day exercise where we pretend to be in Iraq, simulating everything from flight missions to mortar attacks on our hangar. Next up, final packing and loading of our gear and folded Black Hawks. The time is very near.

By Bert Stover |  January 18, 2006; 12:30 AM ET  | Category:  Preparation for Departure , Training with Marines
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Good Luck with your last hurdles. I'm currently at Ft. Sill at about the same stage you are in the premobilization red tape. We start our final exercise on Sunday.

Posted by: Dan | January 20, 2006 12:16 PM

I'm glad that my firend Capt Heins was able to celebrate his birthday. I trust that the "snake bite" finally put some hair on his chest.
Capt Heins is certainly missed back here in PA school.
Everybody take care when you finally make it to your destination in Iraq.

Posted by: A Bruening | January 23, 2006 07:33 PM

Proud of you all! We will have to have some "Snake Bite" as a celebration when you return here Commander.

Enjoy the time togehter - you will look back on this and the people you have served wtih for the rest of your lives. Be proud - we sure are!

Posted by: CW3 Gordon Cimoli | January 25, 2006 02:10 PM

Hey! I'd like to see an EM story! Thus far, you only show officers views. Officers are pampered. They cut through long lines and red tape. We EMs (that's "enlisted men"=the privates on up through Non Commissioned Officers/sergeant ranks)do the dirty work. Our perspective, I will openly state, is much less WHINY than yours, sir! :)& you can't catch me for insubordination. I spent nearly 30 years in active and reserve duty. I have my DD214. :) But thanks for the writeup!

Posted by: samtheoldaccordianman | February 1, 2006 05:34 PM

To SAM,
Sorry you did not learn team work in 30 years.

Posted by: TED | February 3, 2006 09:48 AM

First I would like to thank you for information and support to all of us at home in the USA.

My son in a Marine. Tomorrow he will be deployed to Al Taqaddum, IRAC. This is his first time. As a mom, I have so many emotions running through me. Love, faith, not knowing the unknown-fear itself. My son, Mathew Bland, is stronge, loving, a great father, wonderful husband and one of the best sons I have ever had. ( I have 3 sons, I can not be partial!)

I know he is going there for a good reason, it's not just a job or an order, but what he has chosen to do. I am so very proud of my SON, my MARINE.

Thank you again, A very proud Marine Mom,
Lynn Bland

Posted by: Lynn Bland | September 6, 2006 10:04 PM

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