Cold Beer and Warm Gumbo

Today, I taught Pocket Monkey how to make Dad’s(his Grandpa’s) Gumbo.  It is the simple version that doesn’t involve a roux.  I was laughing because he tried every ingredient after he chopped it.  Just like me!  In the course of preparing the meal, he took a bite of half dozen veggies, and a bit of chicken.  I would chop something to show him how I wanted it chopped, and then turn him loose with the kitchen knife.  He succeeded.

Pocket Monkey just turned 10, so he is of a good age to teach basic cooking skills.  By the time we are done with him, he will be able to cook like a Chamorro or a hillbilly at his leisure.  He can already cook rice and Spam, which are basic Chamorro staples.

Mrs. Snipe and I were deciding what we would name a restaurant if we had it an settled on the name Chamoule  That is Guam slang for a half white and half Chamorro person.  .  She would cook the Islander favorites, and I would do the southern comfort food.

We invited a neighbor to try the gumbo, and therefore had to use the “spice for Yankees” rule.  If you want it spicy, add your own hot sauce.  Most gumbo recipes I am familiar with include the phrase: If you are cooking for Yankees, the elderly or the sick, spice with caution.  Of course, our neighbor loved it.

I love cooking, and love sharing with my friends.  That is all.  Fall out and carry out the plan of the day.

Live from WV

My maternal grandmother is turning 80 this month. We scraped and saved and have found ourselves in the small town in WV where I grew up. Mrs. Snipe and Pocket Monkey are quite possibly the only 2 Chamorros in this town at the moment. One of my cousins in college told me he learned that this is the second least diverse city in the US.

It is good to see all the family but everyone has aged a lot. It is the first time I have darkened my mother’s door in seven years. Some people have passed away and many businesses have shut down. All the manufacturing that we were famous for in my youth has dried up. Consequently, a lot of restaurants have shut down.

More to follow. Fall out, and carry out the plan of the day.

Memorial Day

Another Memorial Day is upon us. While it can be a celebration of life, it is also a time to remember those who have sacrificed. A major theme of this blog is “…Those who have gone before.” Every Memorial Day I get quite emotional. I have personally met men who later died in battle or sneak attacks. It would take one misstep, or one fluke for me to join their ranks.

For most men of arms that I know, it is a time of deep reflection.

“Will my family be taken care of if I’m gone?”
“What will my parents think?”
“Will I honor my family and my service by my actions?”

About 2 years ago, I had a post about my personal honor roll. As with any warrior, it grows every year. On the one hand, I am thankful I am still here. On the other, there but for the grace of God go I.

We had 2 sailors die in a mudslide this year. There was nothing we could do about it. They were living in that location because of their duty station. This is their day just as much as those who have died in combat.

There are others as well. Many warriors suffer from PTSD. This is their day too. Some of their sanity was lost at war.

By all means, honor our men and women of the Armed Forces. But this is a day for them to honor their lost brothers and sisters or fathers and mothers. For some, it is quite personal.

This is not a day to praise a veteran or an active Armed Service member. It is a day to thank the young child that will never meet their father. It is a day to thank the Gold Star mother or wife. It is a day to remember the father who had to bury his son. That is an inversion of the natural order.

We have our days. We have Armed Forces Day and Veteran’s Day. This is our day to honor our fallen brethren. We shall drink and carry on, because that is the way the military honors their own. We will remember funny anecdotes and stories.

On Monday, we will be placing flags on the graves of veterans at the local cemetery. It Is a small action. It means the world to some. I find it to be quite an honor.

That is all. Always remember. Fall out and carry out the plan of the day.

The Doolittle Raid

I wrote here http://freshairsnipe.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/those-who-have-gone-before-2/ about the Doolittle raid. Today is its anniversary. That raid was a textbook example of interoperability and joint service cooperation.

The Naval History blog has an article about it today.

http://www.navalhistory.org/2014/04/18/doolittle-raid-lesson-in-joint-innovation-resilience

My first link sums up my opinion quite well. I couldn’t say it better again if I tried.

Five to six men got promoted or earned awards based on that action. We showed what we could do.

Success here set up our success in the Battle of Midway. I encourage you to read the links.

Please remember. That is all. Fall out and carry out the plan of the day.

Today in Navy History

March 9

1798 – Appointment of first surgeon U.S. Navy, George Balfour-water and Motrin soon found to be a cure-all
1847 – Commodore David Connor leads successful amphibious assault near Vera Cruz, Mexico-“The Halls of Montezuma “
1862 – First battle between ironclads, USS Monitor and CSS Virginia
1914 – Test of wind tunnel at Washington Navy Yard-now the wind tunnels are found a few blocks over.

The Greatest Generation

Sixty-nine years ago today, a group of US Marines accompanied by a Navy Corpsman raised a flag on Mount Suribachi in Iwo Jima. The associated five week battle was quite bloody. Of the six men that raised the flag, only 3 survived the battle. Ira Hayes is one of the most famous thanks to Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, both of which sang a song about him. Most of the Native Americans I have served with hold Ira Hayes in a high reverence.

In the Battle of Iwo Jima, nearly 7000 US troops were killed. The Japanese lost almost 19000. The little known fact is that there were 2 flag raisings. The second is the most famous. The flag raising was intended to be a signal to the others that the mountain was secure.

Men like these are the men my generation of sailors look up to. They fought in one of the bloodiest battles of World War 2. The survivors became celebrities and were sent home to sell war bonds.

The battle itself turned out to be somewhat of a strategic blunder. The Army and Navy had no use for that particular island. The PR that came from the flag raising was extremely invaluable.

As always, we must strive to remember “those that have gone before, to defend freedom and democracy around the world”.

That is all. Fall out, and carry out the plan of the day.