Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Coming to America

And the winner is........St. John's University!!!!

We received word today that I have been selected as the new Professor of Military Science for St. John's University in (wait for it).....Queens, New York.

Considering that the selection rate to become a Professor of Military Science at all was 15% (51 selected out of more than 300 applicants) we are very excited to know that we will be coming to America in true Eddie Murphy fashion.

More to follow.....
Sideways Through Deutschland

In our constant effort to keep our minds averted from the fact that our fate, future assignment, and our location for the next 3 years is dangling tediously with the Army's Professor of Military Science board in Washington, we decided to vacate the area and occupy our minds elsewhere.

As we are entering the wine fest season here in Germany, we took a look a the local paper and found all the villages that were showing wine fests this weekend, plotted them on the GPS and did our best imitation of the movie "Sideways" travelling from winerey to winery along the Deutsch Wein Strasse.

Starting in the south and moving north along the Rhein river, we stopped at no less than 6 wineries tasting their various offering and buying the ones that tickled our fancy. By 3 P.M. we had enough bottles to fill our new winerack but that didn't keep us from stopping at the vineyard owner who was plying his wares in front of his neatly ordered rows of grapes in a stand next to the road.

Brian and Pam: Guten Tag

Herr Boos (I swear that's his name): Guten tag

Brian and Pam: Ich Sprechen Kein Deutsch (I speak no German)

Herr Boos: Nicht? (None?)

Brian and Pam: Nicht.

Herr Boos gesturing to his wares: Probe? (taste)

Brian and Pam pointing to a particular bottle: Ja Bitte (Yes Please)

Herr Boos continuing to speak in German: Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Kaisersluatern, blah, blah, blah. (This is a particularly vile wine that we just we just squished with our dirty feet this morning. It contains leaves, stems, seeds, and a few rat turds, but you will taste it and buy a few bottle, take it back to Kaiserslautern and drink it because you know less than my dog about choosing wine.)

Brian and Pam: Ja, Ja. Is Gut. Ich Mochte Zwei das, und Zwei das, und Eins das. (Yes, Yes, it's good. I'd like two of these, two of these, and one of these.)
And off we go further down the wine strasse.

Ok, that might not be exactly what Herr Boos said, in fact the wine was very good.
So we eventually found ourselves at a wine fest in Bad Durkheim linked arm in arm with more Germans that spoke no English, weaving back and forth to the sound of German folksongs.

All in all, it was a good trip "Sideways" through Deutschland.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The More Things Change, the More They Remain the Same

Well, I suppose it's time that I started writing again.

Pam and I have been back in Germany since April now, and it's been an experience of extremes. This seems to be a place that you alternately love and hate or even sometime simultaneously. There seems to be no middle ground. We love our house, but the neighbors are psychotic. The weather went from 2 solid weeks of rain to 3 solid weeks of intense heat then back to rain. We're ready to leave, but we want to stay.

We did get to experience the World Cup here in Germany, an experience to remember, culminated by a trip downtown where we joined tens of thousands of fans watching Germany take on Portugal for 3rd place. Truly an experience to remember.

The 4th of July weekend found us in Bavaria checking the "I went to Germany" block of visiting Mad King Ludwig's castles followed by a short jaunt through Austria and a night in Garmisch.
We also made the journey back to Bastogne in Belgium and were able to walk the grounds of Foy, Noville, and Rachamps which were immortalized in "Band of Brothers" (watch episodes 7 and 8).

  1. We have a number of things we are looking forward to in the next few months:
    I have submitted all the applications to compete for a Professor of Military Science position beginning next summer. The board meets near the end of this month with the results expected by the 1st of September. We're waiting on pins and needles for this one as it will hopefully tell us where we will be for the next 3 years.
  2. Simon and Schuster is set to release "The Blog of War" on September 5th. Several of the posts from this blog are included in that book and we are looking forward to seeing them in print. More importantly, most of the proceeds are being donated to the Fisher House. Please take a few few minutes to order your copies. They are very compelling stories, the nature of which you will not find in any other format and the proceeds will be doing worlds of good.
  3. We received word last month that I had been selected for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel and with any luck should be able to pin on the silver oak leaves by October.

So now I find myself back at the 21st Theater Support Command working the same job I was before my diversion to the 191st and Afghanistan. it seems a little surreal now to think of all that has happened over the past 18 months and while the memories and heartache fade with time, I find myself making a concerted effort to keep them as a constant companion and reminder of our other comrades who are still there or headed that way. Our Son in Law Alan is toughing out his last couple of months in Baghdad, as is Brian Moore who I worked with at 21st before. My buddy Scott from the unit in Colorado Springs is set to head back that way soon, and Lance Corporal Daniel Wiesen who was with us in Salerno last year is now finishing up a subsequent tour to Haditha, Iraq.

These are just the ones that spring to mind immediately, but the chartered DC-10s that regularly fly overhead on their way in and out of Ramstein serve as constant reminders that there are still many of our comrades far from home and in harm's way who require our daily prayers