Saturday, May 17, 2014

For My "Buddies"


Sorry, I shouldn't have put buddies in quotation marks as the first two sets of photos are for some actual buddies.  But I'm a bit aggravated right now, so the third set of pics is for some internet "buddies."  In any case, here are some miscellaneous photos.

For Shaun:

Well, like it says, Surfers Paradise.

Me in front of Hungry Jack's in Brisbane, 2001, not long before the war started.

We trained out in Shoalwater Bay Training Area, quartered in Rockhampton.  Here's a photo of our four man team with some Aussie Defense Force folks.  Sorry, I too, the photo so I'm not in it (actually, that's probably a good thing).

Us maneuvering in the force on force out in SWBTA.  This is what a squad moving really looks like.


Us digging in, that's me on the left.  We did a live fire exercise that went real well, a knucklehead shot an Emu with a Ma Deuce...

For Panda-John:

I bought these for Dux Brittinarium by TFL, they're all 10mm Pendraken goodies.  I apologize, I don't know much about the period and kind of lost interest.

Here's the whole mess, been sitting out in the garage untouched and unloved.  They were really taking me a long time to paint...  Not like WWII to present stuff where you just slap a uniform color on, do the packs and gear, flesh, weapons and you're done.

Here's a shot of the one guy I totally finished, mounted on a penny, even gave him a red mustache and beard.

Here's a couple of test figures I did.  I really liked the 'blackline' method on left, but it took so long I went with the 'block paint' method on the right, which still took too long.

Now a few shots of guys I finished but didn't base.  After I lost interest in Dux, for a minute it was rekindled by Songs of Blades and Heroes, but, once again, the passion left me due to how long the project was taking and how little I knew about the period.



And a couple stragglers.  You can see the figures are absolutely beautiful, they just need someone with more time and dedication.  I have about another 100 troops to finish...  Then I need to base them.

For me (and that peckerhead on the internet...):

A dashing young Sergeant, circa 1999.

Now for my time in Afghanistan:

Northeast of Bagram, that's me on the left, with my trusty '203.

Me at whatever the big hotel is overlooking Kabul.  That's a Brit Warrant Officer in the center.

Me after arriving at Camp Doha in Kuwait, right before heading into Afghanistan.

Me right after arriving in Afghanistan the second time.

Me in front of the US Embassy in Kabul.

Hung out there a time or two.

Lived there for a bit (note the USMC flag).

Worked out of there for a bit (this is Bagram), the building, not the tent.  Stepped out of the building to have a smoke, sat on a knocked down door.  My buddy says "you probably shouldn't do that."  I get up, we flip the door over, and there's a Soviet anti-tank mine under it...

Ate there a couple times (at the ISAF compound in Kabul).

Tried to move in, the landlord was a bit picky...

Was shot at by these...


Couple of these...

Using these...

One of these too, the HMG not the main gun though (and not this one, this is a park right outside Bagram controlled by "General" Babajan's people).  It was immobilized but still manned, we took some fire, called in air.  Problem solved...

More trash lying around Babajan's compound.

Brought me home a Soviet helmet and a few bayonets from these guys (in Kabul), they're upstairs.

Rode in this a time or two.

Overlooking Kabul again.

Sorry for the crooked photo, not sure how that happened.  In any case, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Massoud's old hangout, the Panjshir Valley, home of much destruction and consternation to the former USSR.

I must admit I felt a little queasy watching the Chinook fly away after being dropped off in the middle of nowhere with only one other American, a couple rifles, an Irridium phone, and a pack of smokes...

On my way to the freedom bird to depart the lovely and exotic Afghanistan for the last time (I was in and out a few times during my first stay in the desert), end of May, 2002..  Please note the old style 'Flak Jacket,' not the cool, new Interceptor vest that everyone else had.  Semper Fi, Mac.

Now for some Iraq:

Now a dashing, seasoned Staff Sergeant, circa 2004.

Lived here in these 'Food for Oil' warehouses in Shahabi for a few months with K/3/1.

My team's little bungalow.

"Captain Save-a-Ho," working out in our 'gym' (we always joked, but were supremely grateful as this stuff was donated by some folks back in the States and shipped over to us).

Me and my harem, I mean some buddies...

Stayed in an abandoned schoolhouse up in a quaint little town called Kharma for a few months after Fallujah with B/1/5.  Again you see my trusty '203.

"Danger Dan" at the schoolhouse.

Once a month we'd come out of the field, get a hot chow, take a shower, sleep in a 'real' bed with AIR CONDITIONING, and watch movies in our team hooch.  I took 11 showers during my 7 months in Iraq.  Now I get a shower every day but still smell the same.

Ahhh, the city of Mosques, the always lovely Fallujah, April 2004, during Operation Vigilant Resolve.  I took this while lying on top of a garage.

I took this photo the next day while cowering behind a HMMWV that had just been hit by an RPG.  I wasn't behind it when it took the hit, but just a second before one of our guys took frag in the ass.  We drug him back and laid him on his side while the Corpsman worked on him, just in time for a photographer to snap a pic, which ended up in Time magazine.  I know it's hard to tell, but if you look at the left spire you can see some crap hitting it; there's an M-1 Abrams just off camera to the right lighting it up with its Ma Deuce.  I had been firing at the spire (which is where the RPG came from), but when the tank pulled up I lit a smoke and took a picture.  A few seconds later the tank fired its main gun, hit the left spire, and there was no more firing...

So, in Fallujah every house has stairs that lead to the roof that come out on top of the building in a little room like this.  I was standing right here where I took the photo when these two rounds hit the wall above my head.  The Marine behind me was just coming through the door when the rounds hit.  He did an immediate about face and walked back down the stairs.

I had about a dozen *very* close calls during my time in Iraq (just Iraq, not counting anywhere else).  My buddy says I need to write a book to document it, people will dig it.  I say people won't believe it...

Our team, with me fourth from left.

Did a lot of this.  That's me right there, the pic was taken by Captain Save-A-Ho while he should have been paying attention to what the hell was going on around us...

While we were in Fallujah there were quite a few free-lance photographers around, and a guy named Chris Bouroncle snapped this photo of me, Captain Save-A-Ho, and Danger Dan.  I hope Getty Images sees that I grabbed this from their webpage and starts something; I've contacted them about a dozen times trying to get a 'legal' copy and they've never responded.

And then there's this, just a bitter reminder...

Some miscellaneous stuff:

Me, near Surabaya, Indonesia (after we moved from Jakarta) in '97.

Me in Iwakuni, Japan, I think '98.

Me in Okinawa, I believe in 2002.

Not sure why I put this in here; me at the pistol range in Iwakuni, with Gunny Arrietta, probably in '99.  That was a funny, straight shootin' sonofabitch.

Me in Ayuttaya, Thailand, I believe in 98 or 99...

A bunch of us jarheads climbing around on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima, pretending we were kids again and trying to be Sergeant Stryker, probably in 1998.

The Big Gray Boat from my last float in 2003, docked in Guam.  When Operation Iraqi Freedom kicked off we were storming the beaches of Guam on training exercises.  You've never seen so many pissed off Marines.

Me and my Old Man while I was home on leave in 2000.  He did four years in the Navy, went to Vietnam, came home, got married, had me, then joined the Air Force and did another 16 years.

Me and my Old Man's Old Man, I believe in 1997 before I shipped overseas (ten years in the Corps, first three at Camp Lejeune, the remaining seven stationed in Japan).  He was US Army during WWII, fought on Bougainville (in the Solomons), Saipan, and Okinawa.  Fun fact: when I shipped over to Okinawa in 2000 I was the third generation to hit Okinawa; my grandfather during WWII, my father during Vietnam, then me.

Me and the wife in her homeland ;)

Well, this started off with me wanting to post a couple pics for Shaun and Panda-John, then me being severely pissed at some idiot on the internet, but ended up as a quite interesting stroll down memory lane.  I'm not even sure if I should post this...



  1. Thanks for sharing your photos and memories- it sounds like there's a book in there, and I'd read it!

  2. Proof you visited South-East Queensland! I live about 3km west of that Hungry Jacks and work about 1.5km north. Hopefully you can work in km...I have English parents and so forced to work in both.

    Do you ever get the board out in Texas? It is a trick question - just because you have a coast I have never heard of anyone visit it for surfing. While I cannot surf myself, I have a friend that travels the world surfing - Texas has never been mentioned.

    Your 10mm figures are painted better than any 15mm I've ever done!

    And lastly, thank you for sharing your career. Anyone putting their life on the line deserves all the respect they can get from me. I think you may have made the point you were aiming to get across!

  3. Just came across this post now; well as I believe all things are for a reason and if by getting dawg housed meant you posting this than I for one am thankful to the "idiot" on TMP. Which pleases you I'm sure ;)

    Great photos, you remind me a lot of my brother Jim who served with the Ranger Wing...spent a lot of his life on duty abroad mainly with the UN...I especially loved the photos with your Dad and Grand Pa...amazing that you're the third generation to be posted on Okinawa. Looks like such a beautiful family. God bless them.

    You mentioned about people asking you to write a book. Absolutely do. I mean it Jack. Start writing. Don't think about the readership, just write down the truth. You have a gift and you have the material. With regards to whether people believe you not not...irrelevant. I've been asked to write a book and I guarantee you most people that don't know me would believe it. Doesn't bother me in the slightest. Do it. I'll be the first in line to buy a copy. Well as long as its not terribly expensive...nothing over $5.00 ;)

    My word Jack did you paint those medieval guys? Brilliant...and hard to believe only 10mm. I ordered a bunch of 28mm stuff a couple of weeks ago for skirmish level Saga. Maybe you'd be inspired again to give them a go. I intend to do some modelling of the buildings where I grew up at...monasteries and churches that were sacked by the Vikings...some have arrived but I'm thinking of keeping them for next Christmas...I've overindulged myself already :)

    BTW I apologize unreservedly to your good wife for the quite outrageous lies I posted about her beautiful home...when you mentioned she was Asian I didn't realize you meant a bleedin' Tiger. It's all in the details Jack...when she has baby/cub please don't send her to visit...I'm sincerely sorry for any offence caused. Where I come from thatyou see won't be considered at all normal...I'm not judging or anything, and I realize you Americans are into all sorts so ahem.well ...lets just move on I guess...

    BTW I was pals with a Marine from Texas...Rod Davis...I'm sure thats as relevant as someone expecting me to know someone from Ireland...he's 40 this year too, lives in Houston; thought I'd mention it

    Thanks for posting
    John (Mr War Panda)

  4. Thanks for the kind words guys, I appreciate it, and I'll look to get the last batrep up as soon as I can.


  5. Great pix and bio . thx sincerely for sharing Jack. !