Friday, September 30, 2011

A Day Down Range

You probably see a lot of news about the war in the middle east and the coverage usually centers on the big picture so I thought I would show a few pictures of every day life and the little things which go unnoticed in the media. The picture to the right is of one of our .50 cal's with a small silly looking bird attached to the night vision scope. Some of the troops would have little toys like this and would put them in pictures to send home for their kids to see. Most of the time it was a toy which belonged to their child. I guess this gave some connection to home and vise versa                                
When we first arrived in country (very early stage of the war) the vehicles were not well armored, no bullet proof glass or ballistic pannels. This proved deadly so we engineered our own "hardening" from any scrap we could find. most looked like this. We welded panels over the doors and top and bottom of windshield. What you can't see is the 1/2 or 3/8 steel plates under the seats, by the time we finished a 6,000 lb Hummer weighed over 10,000 lbs. but hey it worked. Note double steel panels on doors, the first sheet of steel would deform the bullet and it would have a harder time penetrating the second sheet, there was about a one inch gap between them.

 When we were on convoys we would have to radio in reports at certain checkpoints to give status updates on things like ammo, fuel or if we had enemy engagement or medical evac. etc. These reports had acronyms to go by like LACE or SALUTE etc. some radio operators would write the format out on the inside of the windshield in grease pencil, this allowed them to call in reports without looking down at notes which was also a big help at night because we traveled totally blacked out using only NVG's but they could still be read.

 Many times when we moved about we carried interpreters with us and we knew from experience they could not be trusted  because we learned the hard way they might leak convoy plans to the enemy so we would keep them in their own tents and they would not be privy to any planning. Thus the need for this sign on  the outside of out "internet cafe" and phone center. There were no cell phones of any kind allowed in any camp. Some units used satellite phones but they were strictly controlled.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Three Boxes.

 We have 3 boxes to use in this country, the "Soap Box (freedom of speech) to address grievances

We have the "Ballot Box" to elect representatives 

 And we have "Ammo Box" (Second Amendment) to fight tyranny......I have no doubt our founding fathers would already have reached for the latter.                                  

St Augustine by Water

Yesterday I wrote about our fishing trip offshore St Augustine and said how beautiful the city was. I decided to show some more pictures I took as we left and returned.

River House, this is where my son and daughter in law had their wedding reception.
Down Town St Augustine
Old Houses, Bed & Breakfast Inns
Bridge of Lions. This bridge was recently re-built,  architecture meeting original
specifications except four lanes instead of two. 
West end of Bridge of Lions with old Flagler Hotel (now Flagler College) in background
Flagler was the railroad tycoon who built the railroad down the east coast and down to
Key West. 
Old Fort, as seen from ocean
Downtown river front
Nephew with shark he caught.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Great Offshore Fishing Trip

After my sons wedding on Saturday myself and 4 other family members decided on taking an offshore fishing trip on Monday leaving out of St Augustine Florida. We arrived at the dock before daylight and were the only ones to go out fishing so they opted to take us on the smaller of their fleet.

Shown here is 4 of us (my uncle took the picture)

Nice size boat for a small charter. It was 5 of us and Capt and Mate.

 It was daylight as we left the dock and headed under the Bridge of Lions and the "Gilligan's Island" theme in my head.  You could see many historic sites from the water, the old fort, down town landmarks and old homes. As far as towns and city's go St Augustine is one of the most beautiful IMHO.


My Brother and I were sitting on the stern as we head out the mouth of the river and the others sucked up the A/C in the cabin even though it was nice and cool outside I think they liked the soft chairs inside.
Heading out for the "3 hour tour....the 3 hour tour"
My Nephew fishing
My youngest son (right) and mate holding a shark he caught.
Our shark catch
My Fish Cooker. I have cook many fish and shrimp in this cooker.
Ready to eat, you get about this much from one shark this size.
We went out about 10 miles offshore and anchored over a reef in about 80' of water. The seas were about 3-5 feet, not too bad and a slight breeze.
 I like fishing offshore it is fast paced  when you are over a reef the fish bite quick, I was catching a fish almost every time I let down early in the day although many were "throw backs" it was fun and you get tired reeling. I remember times in the past filling a large cooler with snapper till the lid would not close. This day we caught a few snapper but we could not keep them.
We caught many small black sea bass (2 keepers out of the bunch) and 5 small sharks. Some people wont eat shark but it is extremely good meat, it is firm and white and cooks up flaky.

Sharks are a lot of fun to catch, They put up a good fight even after they are in the boat. One in particular kept jumping out of the cooler and thrashing about on the deck.

Shark is also easy to clean. One cut to remove the belly section and one cut down each side to remove good meat and one cut to remove skin. It takes less than a minute to clean each one.

I like to cut the meat up in chunks the size of 2 fingers and soak in butter milk and roll in corn meal and fry in 350 deg oil till golden brown. you can also soak small pieces in orange juice over night and cook on the grill. The meat is very firm and not mushy at all and no bones. I cooked the fish along with 3 lbs of fresh shrimp, hush puppies, coleslaw and potato salad.......... Excellent eating. 

Interesting Find

I am always interested in finding storage boxes and ran across these yesterday. I was at a local gun shop and saw them for $9.99 each. There is 2 sizes both are 5"X 8" but one is about 3" deep the other about 5" deep. Both sizes were available in green and safety orange I bought one of each size. They are not the same quality as the "Pelican" brand boxes but were a third the price and seem very well made. They have a "O ring" rubber gasket and 3 snaps which lock them securely closed. They would be excellent for camping, canoeing, survival situation or just in a damp location to keep camera, keys, wallet etc. They have holes located to tie lanyard straps as well.  The smaller size seems perfect for a back pack while the larger would suit a first aid kit or larger storage for stuff like ammo. They are heavy plastic and are sturdy enough to stand on (well maybe if you are under 200 lbs) and should float easy and not get the contents wet. Either size would be good to assemble emergency supplies for a bug out bag that needed to stay dry. They have a compass built into the lid, while not military quality is better than no compass, there is also a cheap reflective signal mirror on the bottom. They are also made in the about that novelty. If you have already seen them don't burst my bubble, I thought they were neat for the price.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

Strange Sign.

(Am I the only one who thinks this is funny)
You can't do anything but enjoy anyway.................

Busy Weekend

Today starts the beginning of a very busy weekend (actually lasting through Tuesday) One of my son's is getting married tomorrow and I have lots of out of town family coming in so things are hectic. Monday some of us are planning an offshore fishing trip and I have a big cookout planned Sunday and Tuesday. (hopefully a big fish fry) anyway I hope to have more news to share next week.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Offensive Driving

Thought you might find this interesting. I did not take this video but it is the way we had to drive in Iraq (at least in 2003-04) You never stopped for anything, keep moving at all costs. Bridges were the worst, we were always a target and we had the bullet holes to prove it. Something to keep in the back of your head if you find yourself in a bug out situation.
Also note: we had heavy duty bumpers and no seat belts. The last thing you wanted if you had to fight or bail out was a seat belt to contend with.

Group Hug

I enjoy reading a lot of the blogs out there and I like that we support each other on this platform. In these times we need to stick together, I know like many of you I get busy but it is always good
to read what others are doing and how they cope, it restores our faith that there is many like us out there.

Welcome to Shepherd K, it is a pleasure to have you on board. I always enjoy seeing a new follower it makes it seem like I'm not just "beating my gums" sometimes, I feel I have met many new friends.
If you have a blog and hit the follow link I will put you in my read list, I am still fairly new at this am trying to keep up so if you are not listed yet let me know,  I will do my best to reply to all comments as well.
BTW,  some of you don't have your site linked to your Icon (the one on the follow list) apparently it is not automatic. so myself and others  don't know if you have a blog.

 Peace brothers and sisters, keep your head down. Duke.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This is a Knife

The perfect concealed carry combination, Officers Model 1911 and USMC K-Bar.....When only the best will do.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Where would you live?

If you could live anywhere where would it be?  I have pondered this question for a long time. I have done lots of research and would like some input. I know this is a loaded question because most of us are biased in some way usually we base it on where we were born or raised or where family live or where we work etc. I am trying to be objective and look at facts the best I can find them. One important factor I consider is overall taxes. I looked at  US Census  numbers for tax burden by state, this takes into account total tax paid per capita and includes property tax, sales tax, fees, income tax if applicable etc. The top 10 states which paid the lowest were (in order) SD, TX, NH, CO, Missouri, Tenn, AL, SC, GA and OR.
The worst 5 were, Vermont, Hawaii, Wyoming, Conn, Minn.

Here again this is Per Capita, if you totaled all tax revenue for a given state and divided it between every man, woman and child it is the dollar amount they each pay. Wyoming for example has a very low tax revenue for the state but they also very low population so it works out more per person.

I also looked at  this Retirement Web Site and  and it lists the best 5 States for tax burden according to percentage of income as being in order, Alaska 6.6%, NH 7.3%, Del 8.4%, Tenn 8.6% and AL, 8.8%
The worst 5 were Maine, 13.5%, NY 12.9%, Ohio 10.0%, Minn 11.9% and Hawaii 11.7 %
Neither on of these lists tell the whole story because they are based on averages per state, your income may be more so the percentage of income my be less or your property may be worth more or less so it will effect the total property tax you pay etc. Also percentages don't take into account average income in NY is much higher than Mississippi for example.  It is interesting to note that AL and Tenn fall in the good category on both lists (neither of which are my state BTW)
Another factor to consider is  weather, climate, growing seasons, terrain, access to things you need etc. We should factor "Freedom Friendly" States as far as gun laws, CCW permits, Home Schooling maybe etc. Not to mention bug out potential and natural resources.
I ask this question, Hypothetically, if  you had  a U-Haul truck loaded with all your possessions and no family or personal ties where would go and why? (assume money and job were not an issue) If you believe your current state is best give a second option if you could not live there.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Proper Authority

Classic movie line in reference to this blog
 post a few days ago

Friday, September 16, 2011

Real Men (A Public Service Announcement)

A lot has been written and Jokes made about real men. This is meant to be a guideline, you judge yourself.

 Dress Guide, Real men don't carry a shoulder bag. They don't wear Speedos, Spandex pants or baggy shorts that have to be held up with their hand. They don't wear socks with sandals.
Any kind of clothing you see in a John Wayne, Chuck Norris, Clint Eastwood or Bruce Willis movie is probably OK
Another hint, if you have to ask your wife if this is "too girly" it is, don't wear it (she will lie to you)

 Body piercings are out, in a fight they are the too easy to grab on to and get ripped out. I am fairly sure women don't dig it either, not to mention you look like a complete idiot.

Real men don't say "you know it's my birthday tomorrow" ( I don't know where that came from, just me)

Real men are polite to ladies and treat their wives with respect and hold doors for women and old folk. They are kind to children and dogs, kicking cats is authorized sometimes (just kidding) Real men aren't slobs they will cook and clean and aren't afraid to get their hands dirty.

Real men have welded with no shirt and bare feet and know how molten slag feels on exposed skin. Real men know what it feels like bust their hands on a piece of machinery and watch the blood ooze out between the grease on their knuckles.
Real men like the sound of V8 engines, Harley Davidsons and belt fed weapons.
Real men like the smell of burning Cordite and black powder, WD-40, motor oil, gasoline, diesel fuel, Hoppes gun cleaner, wood fires, dinner cooking on a cold day and a baby after a bath.

Limited crying is allowed in the following situations.
Birth of your children or grandchildren
Death of a family member
Playing of Taps 
Running out of ammo.

Crying is not allowed at "chick flicks", I understand you have to watch them sometimes just don't get too caught up.
 Real men don't try and impress anyone or talk big, they are not loud and obnoxious. Real men don't talk about it they do it.
Real men don't "go green" or hug trees unless they are climbing them.

Real men won't get in touch with their feminine side because they don't have one.

Real men understand that almost all problems can be solved with a suitable application of high explosives.

Real men won't leave the country until they are waist deep in the ocean with an empty magazine.

 Note : This list is not to meant to be all inclusive you are invited to add to it or write your own.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

America's Biggest Looser

 It never ceases to amaze me how many Cool-Ade drinkers we still have in this country. Here are some pictures I took this morning of one of the biggest looser's I have seen in a while.

This truck has "Zero" stickers all aver it, there is nothing like driving around and telling the world you are a fool.

I see a few Obama stickers which are still on bumpers but not like this.

 Drivers door

Front bumper

This 2012 Obama sticker

I see he is still driving a pile of junk for a truck so I guess the big tribal chief hasn't bought him a new truck yet. Maybe he has got his new house by now.
I'm sure he also pays for his gas which no doubt is the reason for this public display of support.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

PTSD Kickin' in Again

There is a reason some troops miss being in a combat area and volunteer to go back again. In that situation life is boiled down to "cave man" level almost, you have no concerns about bills to pay, buying groceries, what to wear, car repairs, home maintenance, relationship issues etc. Your whole life is centered on staying alive, you run on adrenalin, even the military relaxes a lot of "standards" in war zones. They don't care if you shave every day or your uniform is wrinkled and dirty, boots not clean etc.

I am not one of those who miss it however I clearly see that side of it.
Back home most days we cope normal but sometimes little things pile up and you miss not being able to use a weapon to solve issues.
Sometimes little things set you off like the old lady you pulls out in front of you, making you slam on brakes and then proceeds to drive 15 mph or the wanna-be who works at the gun shop (you have all seen him) he carries the 1911, (cocked and locked) swaggers around and thinks he is an expert on everything and talks down to you.
More often than not you zone out little stuff like arguments over ball games, who cares, get a life people, is their life so boring they have to create things to argue about.
 Our country is going to Hades and some want to worry about the NFL or college games. I dare say most Americans don't know the freedoms that have been lost in the last 50 yrs. You should be able to order a gun in the mail without filling out a form, where do we get off punishing a law abiding citizen for crimes we don't commit. If someone uses a gun to rob a store lock him up for a determined amount of time and if he does it again have a public hanging, I promise you he wont commit that crime again....ever.
Executions are 100% effective in deterring that person from ever committing crimes we as a society deem worthy of that punishment.
Our freedoms are eroded to the point we are required to wear seat belts, why stop there wouldn't we be safer if we also had to wear a helmet, I mean race car drivers do and it saves a lot of lives. I think maybe in the old west riders should have been required to wear a helmet on horseback. As soon as insurance company's decide it will save them money you will be required to mow your grass wearing steel toed boots, safety vest and hard hat, or wear a safety harness in the shower (bathtub falls are the #1 cause of deaths and injury in the house)  When do we start realizing we are responsible for our actions and pay for out mistakes instead of making a law to "protect" others. I am sick and tired of all the regulations we have to endure just to try and live a normal life. I dare say we are under more regulations and taxes than our founding fathers were in their old countries they left to get away from.
I for one TAKE my freedoms men don't ask permission. I will be in charge of my own safety. I will be a good Christian and a good citizen, I will take care of my family, I will look out for the weak. Calling 911 is a joke, the cops show up and put tape around the crime scene. I will live my life as a free man, I wont hesitate to help someone in need even if it violates some stupid law or code. I refuse cower to stupid laws passed by those only want to control every aspect of my life.
When you are dead and gone your grand-kids won't sit around and talk about how you always followed all the "rules" but they will brag about how you lived free. Am I the only one who feels this way ?.........should I take some medication and go sit in the corner and drool on myself ?, I hope not or else our future is doomed.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9-11 Ten Year Anniversary, Never Forget

Never forget those who died and never forget who are enemies are, foreign and domestic
(We have a lot of both) ...................'Nuff said.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I love Fall Weather

I sat on my porch this morning it was cool and crisp, the little creatures are still busy storing food.
I  enjoy cool weather. Being from the South I always had a high tolerance to heat but being in the desert changed that I think, talk about making your blood boil. It's no wonder all those countries over there are always fighting with each other, It's the heat (that along with ugly women and they can't get drunk)

Here it is nice and cool in the shade. Ahhhhhh sweet relief.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Perfect Bug Out Vehicle.

I like it.
Can't you just picture heading out in this. 
(Love the gear shift)

Up Coming Project

In light of a recent field trip/training exercise I did with my friend Stephen and prompted by a comment he made on a recent Blog I posted we thought it prudent to do a joint project to be published in the near future. Be advised this took some careful planning and we want to ensure all bases are covered.
We will keep you posted.

Whats on your bookshelf

 I used to read a lot as a youngster but got out of the habit when I married and got a job. Before I went to Iraq I bought an MP3 player and loaded all my music on it but after a few weeks paranoia started to set in because when listening to it I could not hear gunfire, incoming rounds or any other important info which might keep me alive so I went back to reading. We would get tons of books over there and they would usually be piled in locations where we could sort through what we wanted and take them to read. I got hooked on John Grisham novels and other similar type books. I could read about 3 a week during my down time.
After reading Brigid's blog about books I thought about all the books I have collected over the years, mostly technical manuals on guns, machinery, cars, trucks etc.

 Here is some in my other reading category

One Second After
Patriots, (Rawles)
Molon Labe
Bostons Gun Bible
Iraq and beyond
Lee Re-Loading manual.
Red Cross First Aid

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Iraqis don't read Czechoslovakian

In life we often find ourselves in places we don't like. Iraq was one of those. One of the constant threats over there was incoming rocket and mortar fire. The bright side was (and trust me we needed a bright side) was about half of the ordnance failed to explode.
One Sunday morning I was shaving at the water buffalo you see here, (I always shaved and cleaned my M-16 for church services)  when over the sound of generators I heard several  muffled booms in the distance, it is amazing how keen your sense of hearing can be over all that noise, I waited and listened for a second or two and heard several rockets streak just a few feet over my head and saw plumes of dust as they landed in the berm you see behind the water buffalo (water tank on wheels)
 11 Czechoslovakian made rockets had impacted just a few yards from my location and failed to explode.
There was was always several reasons this would happen the first one being Iraqis don't read Czechoslovakian. You see all the writing on the rockets was Czechoslovakian and therefore they could not understand the directions on how to arm the rockets. 
Shown here are one of the rockets dug out of the ground, believe me they can make a big boom, you notice there was no reason to wear blast suits when removing these because........well it was kind of pointless. I guess the Good Lord was watching over me.
 Another threat was mortar rounds, these also had a high rate of failure thus the second reason, Al-Qaeda got their mortar training from the Wiley Coyote, Road Runner cartoons. A lot of the time they did not have guns to fire the mortars so they would devise other methods to fire them. I have seen a few of these setups and they look like cartoon contraptions.

Being trained on mortars I know they have to rotate very quickly several times  as they leave the "tube" to be armed and makeshift firing mechanisms did not always do this. 
Below is a picture I took of a un-exploded mortar round near our showers.
Of course the down side is half the time they would explode and reek all kinds destruction but I will save some of those stories for another day.