Sunday, April 11, 2010

Milblog Conference Wrap-Up

The Conference is over, and the party-crowd attendees have been dispersing all day. For those who didn't attend or watch the live feed, Princess Crabby's overview is here. I'll try to fill in the gaps a bit...

Friday afternoon included a treat - a tour of the Pentagon courtesy of Army PAO Lindy Kyzer and her team. We stopped briefly at the America's Heroes Memorial at the Chapel, to honor the memory of the victims of the 9-11 attack at the Pentagon. The tour then concluded at the Conference Center, where the blog crowd (about 25 of us) met with several key players in social media related roles in the Military / DoD for over an hour. Great discussions!!

Friday evening was the gathering phase, with the first panel of the Conference providing the attendees with a little perspective on Milblogging with the first panel discussion, titled "It's a Marathon, not Sprint". Several long-time milbloggers talked about their decisions to start blogging, and what the blog landscape was like in the early years of this decade. Members included Sgt. Mom, Baldilocks, Matt of Blackfive and Mitch 'Taco' Bell of Sandgram, with Grayhawk moderating.

Saturday was a packed day, with a quick welcome from "T" McCreary of Military.Com, who led straight to a message from Gen. Patraeus, recorded just for the Milblog Conference! His brief message centered around social media being here to stay, and an important means of keeping troops connected with their families, while providing a way for stories from all levels of the military to be read by anyone with interest.

The remaining panels covered divserse topics from military related charities and the use of social media, to a discussion of the View from the Top, which included no less than Admiral Harvey of US Fleet Forces blog. I can't begin to relate the varied topics covered across the panels. The good news is that the content should be available for viewing at YouServed, thanks to the hard work of Marcus Penn and Troy Steward, and others.

The best part of this conference for me was the time I was able to spend talking with various Denizens and bloggers who I had met only briefly in the 2008 Vegas conference. This one was much more intense, but without the time pressures.

We had quite a few Denizens present: Maggie, AFSister and Keith, FbL, Sgt. B, Homefront6, Bob, MaryAnn, AW1 Tim, and myself ... and we got to finally meet Boquisucio!! John and Beth were sorely missed, and not just by the Denizens crowd - many people were disappointed.

I need time to digest, and I will just offer this advice: When the videos are posted, take the time to watch the wrap up and awards ceremony. 'Taco' accepted the Marine Milbloggie on behalf of America's 1st Sgt of Castra Praetoria, who is downrange. The delivery was in the fine style of a senior Marine NCO, and holding in my laughter made it hard for me to hold the video camera still properly. I do hope the video comes out well, but even if only the audio were to survive, you should not miss it!

That's it, folks. If you weren't there, we missed you. If you were there, then leave a comment or trackback. I had a great time, and I am already looking forward to the next one!

(cross-posted at Castle Argghhh!)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Milblog Adventures

This week the Milblog community will be holding the Fifth Annual Milblogging Conference, a gathering of the brightest and best of the Milblogging world. These fine folks even let a sometime-blogger like me join the crowd, so that's where I plan to be from April 9th through the 11th. There's just a few spots left to register for, if you're interested, so head on over.

Even if you can't make it to the Conference, take the time to head over to Milblogging.Com and vote for your favorite blogs. This is the fourth year of Milbloggies, which cover all of the military related blogging categories. It's tight competition - check it out, and lodge your votes Now!.

I've only been to one Conference in person, but it was a blast to meet many of my imaginary friends, and the panels are lively and enlightening. Here's a teaser:

We've stacked the agenda with a substantive, engaging conference and we've filled all remaining holes with more social events than ever before. You can sit down with film director Jake Rademacher, place someone under arrest at the Jail N' Bail, witness a live acoustic performance by Saving Abel, mix and mingle at Friday night's cocktail reception and party till the wee hours at the Fifth Anniversary Awards Ceremony and Party on Saturday night. Grab a seat while you still can....

Hope to see some of you there!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Connecting Deployed Troops with the Homefront

What a great idea, from Dell and Operation Homelink

Operation Homelink

The Mission

Operation Homelink™ provides refurbished computers to the spouses or parents of junior enlisted (E1 –E5) U.S. deployed service men and women enabling email communication with their loved one deployed overseas. We offer this service on behalf of our donor corporations as a way to demonstrate their support of our brave men and women serving our country.

Read how the program works here. If you'd like to donate either computers or funds to help this great effort, check out the options on the Donate page.

H/T to Blackfive.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Milblogs Silent Today

Army Master Sgt. C. J. Grisham has always led from the front, from combat that earned him the Bronze Star with V device, to doing right by the men he led. His honesty won him readership and respect, from the White House on down. Yet, when he stood up for his children in school, his command did not stand by him. You can read more at Military Times to get the full story.

Hosting provided by FotoTime
Please donate via PayPal; or you can log into PayPal on your own, go to the send money page, and put in his email:

dj_chcknhawk -at- yahoo -dot- com

Or, you can send donations directly to:

Grisham Legal Fund
c/o Redstone Federal Credit Union
220 Wynn Drive
Huntsville, AL 35893
Please write "Grisham Legal Fund" in the memo line if you use this option.

Milblogs have been a vital link in getting accurate news and information about the military, and military operations, to you. Today, many milblogs are gone and others are under attack from within and without. Today, you have the chance to imagine a world without milblogs, and to do something about it. Make your voice heard by writing your congressional representatives and others, and by making donations as you see fit.

The battle for freedom of speech and the marketplace of ideas is fought on many fronts and in many ways. Without your help, the battle may well be lost.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Ballad of Captain Z

Combine the ballad from Jeff Bader with the memories and thoughts of Code Monkey, and you get this great video at Chuck Z's place. It's all done for Project Valour-IT, and it captures the reasons and emotions perfectly. Well done, Code Monkey!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Support Project Valour-IT

The milblogs are once again raising funds in support of Soldiers' Angels : Project Valour-IT.

Project Valour-IT helps provide voice-controlled/adaptive laptop computers and other technology to support Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand wounds and other severe injuries. Items supplied include:

•Voice-controlled Laptops - Operated by speaking into a microphone or using other adaptive technologies, they allow the wounded to maintain connections with the rest of the world during recovery.

•Wii Video Game Systems - Whole-body game systems increase motivation and speed recovery when used under the guidance of physical therapists in therapy sessions (donated only to medical facilities).

•Personal GPS - Handheld GPS devices build self-confidence and independence by compensating for short-term memory loss and organizational challenges related to severe TBI and severe PTSD.

The project starts Oct. 26th, and continues through Veteran's Day. As in previous years, we are using a little healthy inter-service rivalry to help keep our competitive spirit high. I have joined the Army team, led by Blackfive - which happens to one of the first milblogs I started reading.

Jump right in, donate, and help spread the word. Show our wounded troops how much you care, and help them to enjoy things we take for granted each day. Just click on the widget there in the right-hand column - it's easy!

Check back daily, as there will be an auction with very special items, and other unique options on occasion!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Patriot Golf Day / Weekend is coming up!

Patriot Golf Day 2009Planning to golf this weekend? If so, then you can add a few extra dollars to those greens fees to help the Folds of Honor foundation provide scholarships for the children and spouses of fallen and wounded service members. Thanks to Veteran Dan Rooney, the Patriot Golf Day program was created to allow golfers to donate easily to the program. Dan's original vision was a single designated day, but the program has been expanded to cover the whole Labor Day weekend.

It's simple to take part. Locate a participating golf course using the search tool, then make your tee-time. When you show up to play, add your desired donation to the golfing fees, and the course will take care of forwarding it to the Folds of Honor foundation.

By the way - If your favorite course is not listed in the tool, then call the course and check with them directly. Some courses may not have opted to be listed on the search site, or may not have been added to the list.

The Hubster and I plan to hit two different courses. I know, it's a tough job ... but somebody has to do it!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I'm good

And that's only a smidge from great, in fact. I figured that when Eric showed up here to check up on me (see comment here), it was time I posted something as proof of life. (Thanks, Eric!)

I just haven't had the blogging bug lately, but life is good, and while some things change, others remain. Like family and friends. Good times were had on vacation with the Hubster, little sister, and 5 of her girlfriends. We descended on Whistler to play golf (sometimes in the Pacific Northwest version of liquid sunshine), eat, drink, and enjoy one another's company -- all very good.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Honoring their memories

Today is about remembering our troops who have fallen in battle, men and women like Sgt. Adam Cann, 1st Lt. Laura M. Walker, Sgt. Robert G. Davis,
Pfc. Devon Gibbons. Remember their lives and honor their sacrifice.

John of Argghhh remembers.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Adopt a Hero

Thanks to Chuck for the reminder that this is National Miliary Appreciation Month. And the best way to show your appreciation for the military is to adopt one of our deployed troops. Go to Soldiers' Angels now to adopt one of the waiting Heroes.

There are hundreds of deployed men and women who need, now more than ever, to know their sacrifice and separation from their family and friends is appreciated. To quote Chuck:

To Adopt-A-Hero go to the website and click on the ADOPT button. Your commitment each month is simply a letter a week and a small package each month. Join our team. Our nation's heroes need you.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

(Up)Grading Afghanistan

As in creating roads, one of the suggestions of this open letter from AfghanistanShrugged, a training team leader with boots on the ground. He makes some very good points about how the lack of infrastructure keeps the power in the tribes.

Go read the whole thing. H/T to a tweet from JP.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pledge allegiance to the Flag, not the man

The Pledge of Allegiance is an 'oath of loyalty to the U.S. flag and the nation it represents.' Over the years, there has been controversy about the inclusion of the words "under God", and I understand that there are schools where it is not recited at the start of the day, as it was every day of my public school experience. But when the pledge is spoken, it is directed to the flag, as our symbol of the country and the Constitution it is built on.

Changing the focus from the flag, and the country behind it, to any person, is wrong. I don't care if that person is the President.

This isn't an oath of allegiance, but indoctrination – maybe hero worship. If I were a parent whose child attended a school such as this, the principal and school board would be hearing from me.