Riding with Strangers

Today walking home from dinner I was reminded of something that happened last(?) year.   I was new at Ft Bragg, so it must have been about two years ago, and was walking to the base minimall, and someone pulled over to offer me a ride.  I thought to myself that it must be someone in the company that I don’t know yet; also this was on post so I had that false sense of security that a gated community provides.  I hopped in the truck and said thanked the driver, a young man of about 20-5.  As we are driving along it become apparent that this is a soldier, but he is not in my company.  He asks me if I am new and if I like Ft Bragg so far.  I reply that I am and that I had not been very happy to PCS here.  He asks me what my hobbies are and what I like to do on the weekends.  I believe he is making small talk, but there is that itch on the back of my brain that is bothering me.  Then he pops the big question “Have you accepted Jesus Christ into your heart as your person saviour”?

I knew it!

Then things started to get unconfortable, as some of these Evangelical Christians creep me out.

I then tell him that I am good and really am not interested.  Then he starts to get upset, and I am happy that we are quickly approaching my destination.  However, instead of making the second left into the shopping center, he takes the first, pulling in back of the store where the loading docks are!

I think to myself, that he very may well kill me if I don’t except Jesus right then and there.  He stops the truck, and I look at the door, and it is locked.  Can I escape? No one is back here and we are all alone.  If I shout will someone hear me?  Probably not.

“I really think you should reconsider your position and join my and my church this Wednesday for some bible study and Men’s Ministry Group” he says to me.  Again I protest that I am well and good and am not actively searching for Jesus (truthfully, I didn’t even know he was missing!).  He gives me a card with his number on it, puts the truck into gear, and pulls around the front, dropping me off on the curb.  “So long brother, see you on Wednesday”.  “Whatever” I mumble and walk quickly into the shop.

Since then, I haven’t accepted rides from people on base, unless I know them.

Be careful, this could happen to you!

Flights of passage

Flights of passage


Staff Writer

Army parachute rigger students are required to complete five jumps in airborne school prior to enrollment in Fort Lee’s rigger course.

But ask any rigger student to put those five jumps up against their first student jump in the rigger course. They’ll tell you that the rigger jump is the most important jump they’ll ever make because for the first time, they’re directly responsible for the jump’s success — or failure.

“It’s a wonderful feeling because you get to jump in the parachute that you pack,” said Pfc. Channing Bartley, assigned to Company C, 262nd Quartermaster Battalion. “You wake up in the morning wanting to do it.”

Bartley and 60 or so of his fellow rigger students awoke the morning of Sept. 7, some with a measure of uneasiness, but most with anticipation, of their first and second jumps as riggers at the McLaney Drop Zone. Those jumps serve as a rite of passage for each Soldier-rigger, validating his or her skill at the craft of packing parachutes.

“It’s significant in the fact that the students build confidence in the equipment they’re rigging,” said Staff Sgt. Kenneth Baricuatro, rigger instructor. “In airborne school they are jumping someone else’s equipment. At Fort Lee, they are getting hands on (experience) with the equipment they’re actually packing.”

The day at McLaney began with a thick layer of fog that blanketed the weedy, dew-soaked fields. The students and instructors were discouraged by the sight, because when visibility is poor, the jump is sure to be postponed for safety reasons. Students, who were juiced with adrenaline in anticipation of the jump, were suddenly sunk by the dreary weather.

“It kind of gets you a little irritated,” said Pvt. Chelsea Raduziner of C Co., “but once it (the helicopter) shows up…it pumps you right back up in two seconds.”

The fog soon burned off, the jump pushed back 90 minutes and the students readied themselves, falling into their flight orders and checking each other’s equipment. When the sound of rotary blades could be faintly heard in the distance, the students assumed a posture of seriousness.

“Being their sixth jump, most of them are scared,” said Master Sgt. Kenneth Hamm, Aerial Delivery and Field Services Department instructor. “If they aren’t, they wouldn’t be normal.”

Being “scared” added Hamm doesn’t mean being paralyzed with fear.

“Once the first one jumps, they’ll all do it and meet the challenge because they are airborne Soldiers,” he said.

Eight-five airborne Soldiers in all — mostly students, but some instructors and others — filed on the CH-47 Chinook helicopter for several flights over McLaney at about 1,300 feet. This particular airborne operation was a tailgate jump, one in which the jumpers exit the aircraft via the large door opening from the rear, rather than the small door exit on the side of the aircraft. The students definitely prefer the tailgate jumps.

“This is the best jump I had,” said Bartley, after the jump, “because when you jump tailgate, you get the best exit….”

Like most of his fellow students, Bartley said he felt the rush of adrenaline just before and during the jump with an underlying feeling of fear.

“I was scared out of my mind,” he said. “If you don’t get scared or at least nervous before you jump, something’s wrong with you. It’s just human nature not to know what’s about to take place, but once you gain control of the situation, once that chute kicks in and everything is all right, you get that feeling that you know what you’re doing.”

The mood after the jump was more relaxed than before the operation. The fact that all students were able to jump and that there were no injuries all contributed to the ambiance.

“Aside from the delay, everything went smoothly,” said Hamm. “It was a successful jump.”

Most of the students who jumped Sept. 7 still have several weeks of schooling that remain. It will include a “Heavy Drop” in which they will pack cargo or equipment for the jump and subsequently jump behind it. The remaining students have about two weeks until graduation. Upon graduation, they will be awarded the red distinctive baseball-style caps that symbolize the career field and that represent the trust others have in their competence.

Gitas for the Troops Featured on SastraDana.com

Aristide LaVey is a US Army soldier, a devotee of Sri Krishna. He first found out about the Bhagavad-gita as a child when he received a copy from a sankirtana devotee. Ever since he’s been a regular reader of Srila Prabhupada’s books and a visitor to the Iskcon Los Angeles temple. Recently he was called to active duty service in the Army and is based in Ft Bragg, North Carolina.

Aristide distributes Bhagavad-gitas to Army Chaplains and Chapplain assistants. He gives them a few copies to give to the soldiers who are looking to read the Bhagavad-gita. He also gives them out to anyone who sees him reading his and asks about it. “I try to be a good devotee through my service and example.” says Aristide.

Though the Department of Defense has authorized the recruitment of “Hindu” Chaplains since 1998, they have yet to attract any. It is Aristide’s dream to become the first.

Currently Aristide distributes the soft bound Bhagavad-gitas because that is what he can afford, but the vinyl Bhagavad-gitas would certainly be much better as they are more convientient and can fit in soldiers’ uniform pockets.

Please note that many Christian groups print and distribute to US soldiers vinyl Bibles of the same dimensions like our vinyl Bhagavad-gita. Certainly we can then distribute Bhagavad-gitas.


Aristide getting ready for parachute jumping


A Bhagavad-gita study session conducted at the army base by Aristide


Aristide distributes soft bound Bhagavad-gitas to an US Army Chaplain’s Assistant


Aristide distributes Bhagavad-gita to a soldier


Srila Prabhupada (SB 4.22.47):
“Knowledge of Krsna is such a great gift that it is impossible to repay the benefactor.”

To sponsor vinyl Bhagavad-gitas for distribution to soldiers by Aristide

go to DONATE page.

Please include a note that your donation is for Aristide. Thank you.

Bhagavad-gita Vinyl = $6.50

If you’re interested to help in any other way with the “Military Ministry” CONTACT US and we’ll put you in touch with Aristide.


Bhagavad-gita vinyl

http://www.sastradana.com/html/newsletterarchives/htmlarchive/09.13.htm

Soldier to Offer First Ratha Yatra in Iraq

Partha-sarathi dasa, a Sergeant First Class in the active duty US Army and is currently on hiscurrently on his fourth tour in Iraq.  He has received permission from his Commanding Officer to have 2 Ratha Yatra’s, on US Bases, one being Mosul then other being Talafar.  He passes along this word:

Last time I was deployed I was given facility to have Bhagavat Gita classes, and do book distribution to the soldiers. I am requesting the devotees to adopt a brahmacari and help facilitate my preaching. Our Ratha Yatra is scheduled for August 15th, I am expecting 200 – 900 soldiers to participate. Any help would be very much appreciated. Also devotees who would like to sponsor a soldier, please let me know. 15 months is along time in war, together we can make it the best experience the soldiers ever had.

your servant Partha-sarathi dasa

partha-sarathi.kks@pamho.net

Article and Photos Published

a23.pdf

My article in the Ft Lee (VA) Traveller.

Gitas for the Troops!

Gitas for the Troops (www.gitasforthetroops.org) is an organization that is making available copies of the Bhagavad-Gita to all soldiers/airmen/sailors/marines/coast guardsmen that request one.

Once I aquire the Gitas they are distributed to Chaplains and Chaplain’s Assitants/Religious Program Specialists to give/distribute to any one that desires one.

Seeking donations of pocket-size black vinyl Gitas (http://www.sastradana.com/html/catalogpages/bgvinyl.htm) to distribute to our soldiers.  The black vinyl version is nice because it fits in uniform pockets and one doesn’t have to worry about it bending or getting creased. Japa malas would be nice too.

I have been distributing them free of charge to soldiers and Army Chaplains locally (Ft Bragg/Pope AFB, NC).
I would like to increase the distribution, nationwide, to members of all the Armed Forces. We could use a Military “Ministry” and I am trying to get that going!

To donate Gitas (great price @ www.sastradana.com) or funds to purchase said Gitas, please contact me at director@gitasforthetroops.org

Thank you.

Gitas for the Troops!

Gitas for the Troops is an organization that is making available copies of the Bhagavad-Gita to all soldiers/airmen/sailors/marines/coast guardsmen that request one.

Once I aquire the Gitas they are distributed to Chaplains and Chaplain’s Assitants/Religious Program Specialists to give/distribute to any one that desires one.

Seeking donations of pocket-size black vinyl Gitas (http://www.sastradana.com/html/catalogpages/bgvinyl.htm) to distribute to our soldiers.  The black vinyl version is nice because it fits in uniform pockets and one doesn’t have to worry about it bending or getting creased. Japa malas would be nice too.

I have been distributing them free of charge to soldiers and Army Chaplains locally (Ft Bragg/Pope AFB, NC).
I would like to increase the distribution, nationwide, to members of all the Armed Forces. We could use a Military “Ministry” and I am trying to get that going!

To donate Gitas (great price @ www.sastradana.com) or funds to purchase said Gitas, please contact me at aml@massagewallah.com

Thank you.

Army #10

According to BestPlacestoWork.org, the Department of the Army is the 10th Best Place to Work within the Federal Government.   With a score of 64.8, down .02% since 2005, the Army scores higher then the Air Force (#11 – 63.8), and the Navy (#19 – 61.1).  The Marine Corps, a sub-component of the Navy came in at 63.3, interestingly higher then its parent agency.  The Coast Guard, a sub-component of the Department of Homeland Security, trumps the other four armed forces with the top score of 68.6.

Within the Army and Air Force, the National Guard (74.5, 67.7) is apparently a better place to work then the Reserves (60.7, 62.1).  There are not separate rankings for the USNR, USCMR, or the USCGR.

The US Army Force Command (FORSCOM), to which my unit, the 82nd ABN DIV is a part, scored a 68.

The King is Dead, Long Live the King

The passing of the guidon was today.  We said farwell to CPT Fickel and welcomed CPT Parker aboard.  Poor CPT Parker has no idea what he has just gotten into…  Really is too bad that we are losing CPT Fickel, but he is moving on. 😦  We wish him luck.  We also lost 1LT Thompson, but she will be close by and we’ll have 1LT Burns.  Best of luck to both the outgoing command staff and the incoming. 

Myself and CPT Fickelaed-154.jpg

A.M. LaVey

AML1, originally uploaded by Massagewallah.

Vote for this photo @ http://www.jpgmag.com/photos/145493 !!!

Parachutage

Pour un parachutage, l’atterrissage est réussi.

(As far as parachuting goes, the landing was a success)

-Ségolène Royal, presidential contender (RF)

I know its not Airborne, but kinda funny if you are.

Military Nurse Insignia

 USCG NP Badge: PA-NPCGBadge.jpg

Navy NC Badges:  Surface:  and Flight Nurse :

 Army ANC Branch Insignia:

USAF: Flight Nurse: Basic: Flight Nurse badge - big  Senior: Flight Nurse badge Senior Level - small Command: Flight Nurse badge Command Level - big

           Corps Badge:  Basic Nurse Corps badge - big Senior: Nurse Corps badge Senior Level - big Command: Nurse Corps badge Command Level - small

Military Midwifery

Did you know that the Army, Air Force, and Navy all employ nurse-midwives in uniform?  Big bonu$e$ !  n.b. the Coast Guard’s health care needs are served by the commisioned nurse officers of the USPHS. (1)

The Department of Defense has utilized certified nurse midwives (CNMs) for the delivery of primary women’s health care for over 20 years. Although their numbers remain relatively small, their impact on quality, cost, choice, and access to care is substantial. CNMs are not merely physician extenders, but primary health providers who emphasize holistic and wellness-oriented care. This philosophy, based on both nursing and midwifery models of care, distinguishes as well as makes the CNMs’ practice complementary to that of their medical contemporaries. – NIH.gov

Another AF link regarding job description.

Ft Bragg OB and Midwifery.

 Link to “Saluting Midwifes in Uniform” from www.midwife.org.

Fun little site; http://www.gotmom.org/

(1) However, to serve in the USCG as a NP (http://www.gocoastguard.com/faq.html):

What if I’m a nurse practitioner?
The Coast Guard is seeking qualified health professionals. If you are a nurse practitioner and would like more information about active duty positions for health care professionals, please contact:

Captain Mike Adess
Commandant (CG-1123)
USCG Headquarters, CGHQ-5314
2100 2nd Street, SW
Washington, DC 20593-0001

Voice: (202) 475-5186

Every Citizen a Stockholder

The Army exists for one purpose to serve the American people. It belongs to the people, and it is made up of the people. It draws its officers and soldiers from every walk of life from every part of America. The Army is a cross section of our free society. Every citizen is a stockholder in the US Army.

Gen. William C. Westmoreland

Former Chief of Staff of the Army

http://www.goarmy.com

On Veterans

Current mood: grateful

Remember

It was the Veteran, not the reporter,
who has given us the freedom of the press.

It was the Veteran, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It was the Veteran, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to fair trial.

It was the Veteran, not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to demonstrate.

It is the Veteran, who salutes the flag,
who served under the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protestor to burn the flag.

Written by Father Denis Edward O’Brien, MM

Veteran -USMC

Note: I have also seen Veteran replaced with Soldier, I am not sure what the original quote was.

My New Book

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