The Letter I Did Not Have to Send
For more than a month, I was prepared to stop blogging in response to orders -- orders that are now, happily, no longer operative. Here's a letter I was prepared to send explaining the situation:
October 20 , 2006
Dear friends and family:
After a year serving my country as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and with 100 "Reporting for Duty" posts under my belt, my blogging days have come to an end -- for now, anyway. I'd like to thank my family, friends, and everyone else who has helped to generate hundreds of thousands of hits to my eye-witness accounts of life on the ground and in the air as a national guardsman. Thank you to my command, too. I have been afforded rare opportunities here. Special thanks to washingtonpost.com and the colleagues that have made this experience possible.
Throughout this year, I spent countless hours trying to relay the goings-on of the 2-224th AVN BN to my readers and family through washingtonpost.com in order to give a real perspective of what it is like in Iraq. I spent hours writing and thinking about what to write, recognizing my novice skills. I also spent hours negotiating with various military commands as part of my genuine effort to keep everything published in "Reporting for Duty" at washingtonpost.com above-board. I've received no compensation for these hours of work, but have taken immense pleasure in keeping you at home informed.
Every command for which I've served was informed of my intent and understood the terms for publication of the blog. The rules were as follows: keep operational security in check, ask before publishing anything of questionable nature and terminate publication upon request. I have complied consistently with these rules.
On October 15th, a day off, I went to the flight line to look at the work schedule and to check my e-mail. One message caught my eye as I noticed it came from a mid-ranking officer and was addressed to me directly, bypassing my chain of command.
In that e-mail, I was issued a lawful order relayed from General Zilmer, Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). I was ordered to "cease" my public writing about the deployment to Iraq. Upon receipt of the order I respectfully requested to post one last "Reporting for Duty" message to inform the public that "Reporting for Duty" had been shut down. The reply was "no" and the officer suggested I instead send an e-mail to alert family and friends that my posts would no longer appear in the Opinions section of washingtonpost.com.
I have had a great time doing this and I hope that I may someday share what now becomes my personal journal.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: Pilot's Dad | November 20, 2006 01:18 PM
Posted by: Carla | November 21, 2006 02:58 PM
Posted by: Lyle | December 15, 2006 11:56 PM
Posted by: Patrick | December 18, 2006 07:53 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.