Veteran’s Affairs

No sailor stands watch alone. Whether you are a snipe or a top rider, you have support while you are on watch. A top watch to guide you and answer the random WTFs you are bound to encounter on watch. When you retire, or just plain leave, it may seem that you no longer have that support system. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

I am here. It is my duty to support you. Whether you served for 10 minutes or 10 years, you are my brother in arms. You are my battle buddy. I have learned from your mistakes and triumphs. The least I can do is give you a shoulder to cry on, or a good old bitch session.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD) is big news these days. Some former sailors/soldiers feel that it is weakness to seek help. I call bull. General Order Number 9 instructs us to call the Officer of the Deck in any case not covered by instructions. Calling for help is not weakness. It shows maturity and good judgment.

If you feel that the darkness is closing in, call me. Call one of the many like me. We are here for you. I have the utmost respect for any veteran, from any service. Any help I can give to you is yours to have. You have taught me many lessons. Some good and some ridiculous. A problem is 10 times worse if it is hidden.

This post is meant to bring awareness to PTSD. You don’t have to be military to help. Ask the hard questions. Provide the needed support. Know a resource or two. Don’t be afraid to get a vet the help they need. If all else fails, remember ACT. Ask, Care, Treat. It works for suicidal intentions and PTSD.

I have seen it in the war vets in my family. From WW2 to Vietnam, the problem was just under the surface. Nobody asked. It was understood that certain subjects were taboo. Would talking about it help? No one can really know. At my brother’s wedding, we had several generations of combat vets. From Vietnam to present. We all had our own nightmares. We also had our own funny stories. Whether it was grown men fighting over cans of beans and weenies, or almost using an M-16 in lieu of a pellet gun for birds on the flight deck, we had stories. Let me tell you, a Grandpa and his grandsons laughing over some ridiculous war time situations is awesome. Some things haven’t changed in 50 years.

Even if you aren’t kin to a veteran, you can still get some awesome sea stories. Just ask. Support the American Legion, FRA, and VFW. By supporting them, you support veterans of all stripes. Remember what these men did for you and yours. There but for he grace of God go you.

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

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Pumpkin Seeds

It should be no secret by now that I like to use everything to its fullest. Pumpkins are no exception. Mrs. Snipe and I were considering what to do with the pumpkin seeds from the Jack-o-Lanterns we were carving. Pocket Monkey was spoiling to roast the seeds. So we did.

Gut the pumpkin. Clean off all the stringies aka the pumpkin guts. Place cleaned seeds on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with spices of your choosing. We used black pepper and season salt. Garlic works too. Roast at 350 degrees for around 10 minutes. The wetter the seed, the longer the roast.

We finished roasting the seeds and they are delicious.

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

Those That Have Gone Before

http://williamlopez1984.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/the-medal-of-honor-a-handful-of-hereos/ has a post that really opened my eyes. It expounds on how few people can name a Medal of Honor winner and how many people can name all 5 Kardashians.

The Medal of Honor(not the Congressional Medal of Honor) is this nation’s highest award for military valor. It calls for service above and beyond the call of duty. For men whose call of duty includes rescuing comrades from burning rooms, and surrendering only as a last resort, above and beyond is some next level valor. Like Mr. T, Duke Nukem, and GI Joe rolled into one awesome fighting man.

I have met a few Medal of Honor winners and heard others of them speak. They are some of the most humble farm boys I have ever met. I couldn’t quite picture them charging machine gun nests with flamethrowers, or organizing desperate last stands. The historical record shows that they did just that. They took lives and saved lives. It was their call, and they answered.

There are two Navy Seals who recently earned that medal that now have ships named after them. One jumped on a grenade, which is a movie cliché, but a real life choice. The other exposed himself intentionally to enemy fire while calling in reinforcements.

On a whim, I gave Mrs. Snipe a quiz. I asked her how many Kardashians she could name, and she named one. I asked how many American Idol winners she could name, and she named five. I asked her how many Medal of Honor winners she could name, and I got a blank stare in return. I can name three. It would have been four, but I forgot Woody’s last name. He is from my home state, and spoke at my church once. He is the basis for my flamethrower example above.

I posted earlier about what constitutes courage. These men, and their brothers, had it in spades. Even if they were scared to death, they manned up, and did what was required of them. These men are real heroes. The ones I have met or heard speak, downplay their actions. They will say they hid in a foxhole like a good LT. They almost always skip the part where they stood up, guns blazing, in the face of a numerically superior enemy, to give their men time to reorganize and counterattack.

That is what Americans should be honoring. Not some tart who is famous because she is famous. Audie Murphy and Sergeant York were two of my heroes growing up. Not a ballplayer or celebrity. Two men, who in their respective wars, earned an amazing amount of awards for valor. To further prove my point, it is worth noting that Alvin York was a pacifist, who entered the war only reluctantly. When he realized that his squad was in grave danger, he hunted humans like he hunted ducks. He didn’t find it proper to let men die because he didn’t want to kill. It seems to me that most men of that caliber find themselves in similar circumstances.

If you can name more celebrities than Medal of Honor winners, please reevaluate your priorities. I, for one, proudly represent the fighting spirit of those who have gone before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world. It is my mission to learn about them, and to tell their stories.

Always remember, fall out, and carry out the plan of the day.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Call me old fashioned, but I believe that to pursue happiness one must get off their two-pack and actually, you know, pursue it.

Mrs. Snipe asked me about American politics one day. In true Snipe fashion, I summarized using my unique word view.

“You have two parties of thieves. One believes you should be allowed to pursue happiness, based on the Declaration of Independence, with little or no government interference. The other believes that happiness should be captured by the government, wrapped up, and delivered to their doorstep with taxpayer funds. A third party that is in the offing, believes both sides are nuts with power, and want a smaller government.”

Mrs. Snipe proceeded to ask me about the pursuit of happiness. I see the pursuit of happiness as being able to do things that make you smile. I like fishing, camping, shooting, and hunting. She likes cooking for us. Both constitute the pursuit of happiness in my world.

I see the pursuit of happiness much like I see a person’s religious preference. Yours might not work for me, but if it fits you and meets your needs, good on you. Follow it and do your utmost. I may try to sway you to my way, but I will think no less of you if you stay your own course.

As an afterthought, if one more Democrat says, “What difference does it make?” I will flood their office with so many letters that they won’t need to buy toilet paper for a long time.

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

Emergency Preparedness

Every state I have ever lived in has had weather disasters that the general populace was prepared for. In WV, it was blizzards. In Cali, it was mudslides, wildfires, and earthquakes. In Guam it was tropical storms and typhoons. Up here in the Pacific Northwest, it is a little bit of all of the above(except typhoons, of course.)

Everyone knows that you need clean water and food. A radio doesn’t hurt. Nor does a firearm and any edged tool. I have been treating the impending government doom and gloom as a natural disaster. We have prepared appropriately.

I was speaking to Dad on my birthday. I mentioned that we almost bought a decently priced chunk of pork loin at the grocery store we had been at for popcorn sales. He expressed amazement bordering on disappointment that we didn’t buy it. When I told him that we had made like hurricane season and full stocked the pantry and fridge prior to the looming government shutdown, he understood. There was no room for food because we had prepared properly for having little money to by food with.

Having grown up in climes and places where extreme weather was expected, any hiccup in buying food will be met with the same spirit and preparedness that I have learned since a young age. Mrs. Snipe calls it a typhoon kit. I call it a bug out kit. The idea and contents are practically identical. A little forethought and effort goes a long way. I don’t need a grocery store or restaurant when worst comes to worst. That’s where the firearm and sharp and pointy come into play. I also have an Army Survival Field Manual.

Bring it sister! Fall out and carry out the plan of the day.

OMG. He’s Got a Gun!

We have recently been doing site sales for Boy Scout popcorn. Washington is an open carry state. When one of my neighbors happened to our sale, openly carrying his pistol, one of the Cub moms almost pooped. I had to explain to her the way things work. The following is a rough approximation of our conversation.

“OMG!. He had a gun!” said Cub Mom.
“He was open carrying. There was a good chance he meant no harm. Besides, he’s my neighbor, and I have spoken to him before,” said I.
“Can he do that? Is that legal?.”
“Yes. And if someone is open carrying, it is highly unlikely that he is up to no good. Matter of fact, I am willing to wager that if someone tried to rob us, he would be the first person to draw down and defend us.”

Cub Mom went on to ramble for a few more moments, while I tried to explain that if people are open carrying, it is a good thing. I don’t personally open carry because I don’t want the hassle. Some A-Hole might call 911. However, if a fellow citizen wants to open carry, go for it. I know who can back me up when the fertilizer hits the ventilator.

At least half of our adult leaders have concealed carry permits. They have a weapon at almost every meeting. It is irresponsible not to. My paperwork is in progress to renew my CCW. You may bet your last pair of shoes that I will carry when my permit is renewed. I want 10 chances to tell a bad guy no.

I knew that man was my neighbor because I have spoken to him. On of the reasons was because he was open carrying. I asked him if any A-Hole had called 911 on him recently and he chuckled. As a country, we need to get back to loving and trusting our neighbors. They are the ones who defend us. They are the ones who watch out for our loved ones when we are away. I might seem old fashioned, but some things just work.

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