Category Archives: The 322d Civil Affairs Brigade

Thanks to you!

Those of you who have been stopping by for a while remember when we had Say Hi to Bill Day. Bill is my brother-in-law who got called back to serve again in Iraq after 3 months of retirement; he was 55 and had over 30 years of service in Special Forces.

The posts around Bill and his tour in Iraq drew more response than any others. You all left an amazing number of heartwarming comments full of concern and support. You refrained from talking politics and offered up your thanks for our service men and women, pure and simple. When Jim had his MixMania fans send duplicates of CDs for the 332d Civil Affairs Brigade, lots of others joined in and ultimately I shipped over 300 CDs and 200 DVDs to that group in Baghdad. Bill and his able assistant, Mary, distributed these and also organized a media library. (Contrary to popular opinion, Winged Migration was a big hit. Along with an old copy of Matango, The Fungus of Terror.)

Bill is home, safe and sound. Some of his group aren’t. He has mixed feelings about his efforts there but here, in a family where we are strongly opinionated in several directions, we are merely thankful for his life, his work, his dedication.
Bill said it meant so much to him and his people that people left comments (which were printed off and posted), sent pictures from their children, letters and all of the media diversions. His group had very little down time and he personally had almost no opportunity to use the computer for anything but business so he wasn’t really able to respond the way he wanted.

This weekend Bill brought a thank you of sorts and asked me to pass it on to you all. On his 360th day in Iraq he bought this flag at the PX and he and members of the 322d Civil Affairs Brigade flew it- for YOU- in Baghdad. The flag is one of those simple nylon affairs, special only in it’s meaning. I’ve been thinking about it and, because we already have two beautiful flags- one from the service at Arlington and one my sister Betsy gave me to fly at Wit’s End shortly after 9/11- I am going to send this one on to one of many deserving people.

Jane (Mamacita), the queen of CD music mixes, sent somewhere near a hundred mixes to be shipped over to Baghdad. She also is my idea of a dedicated citizen: She’s a topnotch teacher and a woman who speaks (and WRITES) her mind eloquently, intelligently and with humor. She is a person who shows more respect for the rest of us, in her own feisty and often irreverent way, than anyone I know. On this day, the five year anniversary of 9/11, she has written a beautiful tribute as part of the blog community’s campaign to remember. Jane, there’s a flag coming your way. Thank you. And thanks to all of you for your prayers, thoughts and good wishes you sent to Bill.Bill_1

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What’s the state of your union?

Okay. I agree, that’s personal. Share if you want. What’s the state of OUR union? Tonight we get one perspective on that and I’m already feeling grateful that I won’t be watching that particular broadcast up at Lost Loon Lodge with the Bud and Jan Show. Their new big screen TV will be lucky to escape unscathed.

Here at home we know, we believe, we feel, we intuit- whatever- the situation is bleak. Michigan is at the bottom of the pile but this whole Union of States is suffering mightily. And I’m not happy about it. The worst part is the legacy of international ill-will, military conflict, tarnished and ozone depleted environment and massive debt that we will leave for our children. It saddens me.

In the meantime, my super-hero is over there in Baghdad, trying to do the best he can to help ordinary people build hospitals, vote, and get safely to school and work. You’ll recall that my brother-in-law Bill was a few months into a well deserved retirement after a lifetime of service to his country when he was called back for another two years in Iraq. At 56 years of age. Bills_place

Dan is here, composing on the piano, but he took a break for dinner and got interested in what I was posting. He had several observations: "Oh, I would love being with Grandma and Grandpa (Bud and Jan) for the State of the Union! It’s worth leaving now, driving all night, sleeping tomorrow and getting up for the fireworks!"

He also commented on Bill’s short haircut, the low profile insignia of his high rank, his kind and open face and added: "he has the family cranium."  It’s a general observation that these four brothers, born in four years, all have a lot of gray matter packed in up there. As I write this, the evening news is on, with the lead stories about losses in Iraq, mostly related to IEDs. Dan said, "I’m just so sick of hearing about this month after month." Me, too.

Finally, he notes that hostage CSM journalist Jill Carroll, a fellow townie from Ann Arbor, is little older than himself.

I had this idea that while you weigh the words of the nation’s
leaders this evening, today you might want to leave a few words of
encouragement and goodwill for Bill and the hardworking men and women
of the 322nd Civil Affairs Brigade. They’ll read your comments and
appreciate them. (hello and welcome to all of the kind readers of Hoss who are trooping over here after reading HIS typically clever and funny plan for reconstruction in Iraq. A heart felt thank you!)

It’s another "SAY HI to BILL AND THE 322d CIVIL AFFAIRS Brigade" DAY!Monk

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GOOOOOD MORNING, BAGHDAD!

It’s SAY "HI TO BILL and THE 322d CIVIL AFFAIRS BRIGADE" DAY!

Bill  is a man of few words; ever since I sent him a bigger memory chip in that last care package he’s settled for pictures. We do catch up on IM and it’s always a relief when he pops on, especially if we haven’t "seen" him for a few days. My sense is that they are incredibly busy and there is essentially no down time. When we "chatted" yesterday we talked about Katrina and also the terrible stampede in Baghdad yesterday that took the lives of nearly a thousand pilgrims running from the rumor of a suicide bomber.

Today, among some other pictures, you will see pictures of fish. There’s a fish story attached to this. Abby was talking to Bill on IM about moving to Florida and being near the ocean and Bill said there was a nice lake with good fishing right behind his quarters. Abby said, "Right." Bill said, "Really. Some of them are 5 feet long." Abby said, "LOL." They went back and forth for a while but it ended with Abby convinced that, there in the desert and sand storms, there are no lakes and no fish. Turns out that there IS a lake stocked with giant fish; it is a large man-made lake near one of Saddam’s palaces that now headquarters military personnel. How far the mighty, in their BVDs, have fallen.

Yesterday you got a glimpse of the opulence of that palace as well as the haute cuisine dished up at chow time. Today I’m posting pictures of Iraq’s one and only Burger King, Bill’s housing in close proximity to both airport and lake, a typical sand storm and Bill, in full gear on the base.

They loved getting the package of CDs and DVDs but one of the first things Bill noted was that one of the DVD wrappers was missing the disc. I didn’t understand this until about a week later when I was at the cottage and found Miss Congeniality II with Sandra Bullock in our DVD player; we had "previewed" it for them.  Now we know what they go for first over there. Guys: it’s a really stupid sequel but there’s a lot of Sandra to see so I’ll send it right along…Anything else we can send?

You all know my sentiments on this situation so I won’t elaborate, at least in this post. Be informed by the photos (click ’em to big ’em) and, most definitely, SAY HELLO! to Bill , Mary  and all the members of the 322d Civil Affairs Brigade.
Sunrise_and_perfume_palace_1More_heroHave_it_your_way_yeah_right_1House_and_stromCrossed_swordsMy_houseAirport_behind_house_ya_think_1Fish_story

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GOOOOOD MORNING, BAGHDAD!

It’s SAY "HI TO BILL and THE 322d CIVIL AFFAIRS BRIGADE" DAY!

Bill  is a man of few words; ever since I sent him a bigger memory chip in that last care package he’s settled for pictures. We do catch up on IM and it’s always a relief when he pops on, especially if we haven’t "seen" him for a few days. My sense is that they are incredibly busy and there is essentially no down time. When we "chatted" yesterday we talked about Katrina and also the terrible stampede in Baghdad yesterday that took the lives of nearly a thousand pilgrims running from the rumor of a suicide bomber.

Today, among some other pictures, you will see pictures of fish. There’s a fish story attached to this. Abby was talking to Bill on IM about moving to Florida and being near the ocean and Bill said there was a nice lake with good fishing right behind his quarters. Abby said, "Right." Bill said, "Really. Some of them are 5 feet long." Abby said, "LOL." They went back and forth for a while but it ended with Abby convinced that, there in the desert and sand storms, there are no lakes and no fish. Turns out that there IS a lake stocked with giant fish; it is a large man-made lake near one of Saddam’s palaces that now headquarters military personnel. How far the mighty, in their BVDs, have fallen.

Yesterday you got a glimpse of the opulence of that palace as well as the haute cuisine dished up at chow time. Today I’m posting pictures of Iraq’s one and only Burger King, Bill’s housing in close proximity to both airport and lake, a typical sand storm and Bill, in full gear on the base.

They loved getting the package of CDs and DVDs but one of the first things Bill noted was that one of the DVD wrappers was missing the disc. I didn’t understand this until about a week later when I was at the cottage and found Miss Congeniality II with Sandra Bullock in our DVD player; we had "previewed" it for them.  Now we know what they go for first over there. Guys: it’s a really stupid sequel but there’s a lot of Sandra to see so I’ll send it right along…Anything else we can send?

You all know my sentiments on this situation so I won’t elaborate, at least in this post. Be informed by the photos (click ’em to big ’em) and, most definitely, SAY HELLO! to Bill , Mary  and all the members of the 322d Civil Affairs Brigade.
Sunrise_and_perfume_palace_1More_heroHave_it_your_way_yeah_right_1House_and_stromCrossed_swordsMy_houseAirport_behind_house_ya_think_1Fish_story

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