Sunday, October 29, 2006

How to deploy to Iraq...

Someone sent this to me and I laugh hard at some of the following suggestions to simulate being deployed to Iraq. Hard to believe that I was there this time last year. Hope you enjoy all of these.
Semper Fi,
P.S. the folks are doing well and getting better as each day passes, thanks for all the support.

How to Prepare for a Deployment to Iraq

1. Sleep on a cot in the garage.

2. Replace the garage door with a curtain.

3. Six hours after you go to sleep, have your wife or girlfriend whip open the curtain, shine a flashlight in your eyes and mumble, "Sorry, wrong cot."

4. Renovate your bathroom. Hang a green plastic sheet down from the middle of your bathtub and move the showerhead down to chest level. Keep four inches of soapy cold water on the floor. Stop cleaning the toilet and pee everywhere but in the toilet itself. Leave two to three sheets of toilet paper. Or for best effect, remove it altogether. For a more realistic deployed bathroom experience, stop using your bathroom and use a neighbor's.

Choose a neighbor who lives at least a quarter mile away.

5. When you take showers, wear flip-flops and keep the lights off.

6. Every time there is a thunderstorm, go sit in a wobbly rocking chair and dump dirt on your head.

7. Put lube oil in your humidifier instead of water and set it on "HIGH" for

that tactical generator smell.

8. Don't watch TV except for movies in the middle of the night. Have your family vote on which movie to watch and then show a different one.

9. Leave a lawnmower running in your living room 24 hours a day for proper noise level.

10. Have the paperboy give you a haircut.

11. Once a week, blow compressed air up through your chimney making sure the

wind carries the soot across and on to your neighbor's house. Laugh at him when he curses you.

12. Buy a trash compactor and only use it once a week. Store up garbage in the other side of your bathtub.

13. Wake up every night at midnight and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a saltine cracker.

14. Make up your family menu a week ahead of time without looking in your food cabinets or refrigerator. Then serve some kind of meat in an unidentifiable sauce poured over noodles. Do this for every meal.

15. Set your alarm clock to go off at random times during the night. When it

goes off, jump out of bed and get to the shower as fast as you can. Simulate

there is no hot water by running out into your yard and breaking out the garden hose.

16. Once a month, take every major appliance completely apart and put it back together again.

17. Use 18 scoops of coffee per pot and allow it to sit for five or six hours before drinking.

18. Invite at least 185 people you don't really like because of their strange hygiene habits to come and visit for a couple of months. Exchange clothes with them.

19. Have a fluorescent lamp installed on the bottom of your coffee table and
lay under it to read books.

20. Raise the thresholds and lower the top sills of your front and back doors so that you either trip over the threshold or hit your head on the sill every time you pass through one of them.

21. Keep a roll of toilet paper on your night stand and bring it to the bathroom with you. And bring your gun and a flashlight.

22. Go to the bathroom when you just have to pass gas, "just in case." Everytime.

23. Announce to your family that they have mail, have them report to you as you stand outside your open garage door after supper and then say, "Sorry, it's for the other Smith."

24. Wash only 15 items of laundry per week. Roll up the semi-wet clean clothes in a ball. Place them in a cloth sack in the corner of the garage where the cat pees. After a week, unroll them and without ironing or removing the mildew, proudly wear them to professional meetings and family gatherings. Pretend you don't know what you look or smell like. Enthusiastically repeat the process for another week.

25. Go to the worst crime-infested place you can find, go heavily armed, wearing a flak jacket and a Kevlar helmet. Set up shop in a tent in a vacant

lot. Announce to the residents that you are there to help them.

26. Eat a single M&M every Sunday and convince yourself it's for Malaria.

27. Demand each family member be limited to 10 minutes per week for a morale

phone call. Enforce this with your teenage daughter.

28. Shoot a few bullet holes in the walls of your home for proper ambiance.

29. Sandbag the floor of your car to protect from mine blasts and fragmentation.

30. While traveling down roads in your car, stop at each overpass and culvert and inspect them for remotely detonated explosives before proceeding.

31. Fire off 50 cherry bombs simultaneously in your driveway at 3:00 a.m. When startled neighbors appear, tell them all is well, you are just registering mortars. Tell them plastic will make an acceptable substitute for their shattered windows.

32. Drink your milk and sodas warm.

33. Spread gravel throughout your house and yard.

34. Make your children clear their Super Soakers in a clearing barrel you placed outside the front door before they come in.

35. Make your family dig a survivability position with overhead cover in the
backyard. Complain that the 4x4s are not 8 inches on center and make them rebuild it.

36. Continuously ask your spouse to allow you to go buy an M-Gator.

37. When your 5-year-old asks for a stick of gum, have him find the exact stick and flavor he wants on the Internet and print out the web page. Type up a Form 9 and staple the web page to the back. Submit the paperwork to your spouse for processing. After two weeks, give your son the gum.

38. Announce to your family that the dog is a vector for disease and shoot it. Throw the dog in a burn pit you dug in your neighbor's back yard.

39. Wait for the coldest/ hottest day of the year and announce to your family that there will be no heat/air conditioning that day so you can perform much needed maintenance on the heater/ air conditioner. Tell them you are doing this so they won't get cold/ hot.

40. Just when you think you're ready to resume a normal life, order yourself

to repeat this process for another six months to simulate the next deployment you've been ordered to support.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

My Mom and Dad

Hey guys,
Just landed after a 19 hour day, flying from England to Norway to St. Johns. Last night in Mildenhall, I was paged by the clerk as we were checking in with a phone call from the states. Mom and Dad were involved in a serious car crash as they drove up highway 35 on their way through Tulsa OK for a conference. I was instructed to call home ASAP as my folks were in the hospital. I called my Mother in law with 3 minutes left on my calling card. In the three minutes I had left, I found out that my wife Teresa was up there at the hospital with her father and Mom and Dad were pretty banged up. Here is the email that I got from Mary, my mother in law on the situation.
“Mary has been discharged. She is very sore and black and blue with a bruised lung.
John developed 2 very large hematomas from the cumadon (SP??) he takes. Ron said the one on his neck was the size of a football!! They were giving him meds to reverse and the meds were working...they were shrinking. He had a laceration on the back of his head which required stitches, and he has a couple of cracked vertebrae’s in his neck. They think he will be in the hospital a couple of more days.

I guess the semi hit them from behind which threw them into a tail spin and into oncoming traffic, of which 2 other vehicles then hit them. The semi fled! But some lady took down the name of the trucking company and reported it to police.:)
I think they'll be ok. Ron and Teresa went to see the car and collected all of their belongings. They are 2 very blessed people..It wasn't their time!
God Bless
I am blessed to say that my folks will walk away from this accident but there is another driver who may not. Please put all these people in your prayers tonight, I truly believe in the power of prayer and hopefully the other driver they hit will come out of Critical Condition.
I have to say to the world that my wife, her family, (Mother, Father and Sister and Brother/Wife) are a true blessing in my life and there is no way that I can ever repay them for the love that they show my family. They took off in a moments notice, flying up to Tulsa, renting a car and running right to the hospital to take care of my parents. For that, the loss of sleep I had last night was unjustified. I will keep you all updated on their conditions and thanks for the support. I can tell you this, call all of your family and friends that you love, tonight, and tell them that you love them, because sometimes you may never get another chance due to a freak accident!!
Semper Fi,

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Operation Fox and Friends


Ok guys, here I sit for the sixth day in St Johns New Foundland, stuck on this beautiful island, where everyday is becoming Ground Hog day…
I did go see the movie “Man of the Year” and it’s funny because it’s a grass roots campaign to get Robin Williams elected to the big ticket, the President of the United States, a suggestion from a member of the audience. A thought occurred to me as I read the comments on my blog from the church ladies out there (oh so pure in thought and mind) and Annie from CT said “Like to see MAJ Bell and MAJ B go on the "Today Show" to promote the calendar just as the other Marines did for their calendar.
Just a thought...”

So here is the mission Church ladies and readers of the Blog…I am charging you with finding the contact for the Today show or Fox and Friends or what ever medium you know nation wide that can put Marty/Brian from, Major Pain and myself on television to promote the product and amidst the clamor of certain politicians to pull our guys out ASAP, we can talk about how you can support them etc.
Now like I did in the desert, when I wanted to get Catherine Bell (not my wife) from J.A.G. television fame out to visit us, I threw the glove out into the internet world hoping that someone would know her agent. It worked, a now dear friend of mine Betty, hooked us up and talked her awesome agent into sending us autographed headshots of the actress since she couldn’t make it.
Same deal here, forward my request or link to the SandGram out to your buddies in Hollywood or NYC and as we say in the Marines when the machine gun is on full automatic “We’ll spray and pray” hoping that it will land on the right desk. They can contact us at or or to set up a phone con for an interview...
Now the only question is, should Major Pain and I wear our Evening Mess Dress Uniforms or the Dress Blue uniforms (one with my wife)… you decide.
Semper Fi,
BTW if you want to copy this, high light text you want then go up to Edit and hit copy. Only the ability to right click and copy has been disabled.

Monday, October 09, 2006

How to Annoy your XO

How To Annoy your XO…

Back when I was a young officer and member of the JOPA (junior officer protection association), it was us against the field grade. The follow list is a collection of things you can do to annoy your Executive Officer. Our XO in my first fleet Squadron was a real piece of work. His job was the “bad cop” and he played it well. Lets say that his name was Major Ima Pain, call sign “Sunshine” because of the stuff he didn’t blow up your rear. Funny thing is I got along with him great because I figured out that if you gave him crap back he left you alone.
It was our job as the junior company grade officers to harass him as much as we could possibly get away with. So, this is a short list of what you can do to drive your XO nuts and things that we did. Of course, I didn’t do anything, but am just passing on things that others did. Feel free to do the same things to your XO if you would like, and leave me some stories at ‘Thesandgram’ at yahoo dot com, and I will put together a collection of stories for the blog.

1. Have the boys down in the flight equipment shop make up a set of name tags with his name on it but with your rank. Then when you go on the road (trip) you put his name on your flight suit and jacket. This works wonders when word gets back to the Squadron about the wild antics of Lt. Ima Pain in the Rota O’Club.
2. When he is on leave, put his house up for sale. The next day when he returns to work…priceless!
3. If he is follicly challenged and does the comb-over, go to yard sales and buy broken hair dryers, then leave them on top of his wall locker in the shower room.
4. Also, half used bottles of hotel shampoo work well placed on his locker.
5. When no one is around, change his callsign on the Squadron Ops board from “SunShine” to “Santa” or “Tigger” or “Teddy Bear” something that a kinder gentler type guy would like.
6. If you have friends in the police office, pass and tags division, then snag a couple of Generals Stars that you put on the windshield next to his DOD sticker of his beat up old crappy Volvo. Going from a Major to a General isn’t too bad…
7. Put a glass half full of milk on the bottom shelf of his book case. It will take him about a week to figure out that smell.
8. Put some hard core Italian Porno mags in his suitcase while his bags are strapped down in the back of the cargo bay, only on the last leg of the trip right before you land.
9. Wait about three months when he stops searching his suitcases after a trip and then sneak some gay porn in his bag…Then imagine what excuses he is telling his wife that night…
10. Sneak in his office and write “Gay national pride day” on every third Friday of each month.
11. Leave bottles of butter milk in the fridge down in the ready room with his name on it.
12. Always spell his name wrong on the flight schedule to Ime Paine.
13. Leave a post it note on his desk with a message to call the Group C.O. at a certain number and then go to each place and have them say “Sir, he was just here and left for the base barber shop, call him at 919-466-6079, then have Moe over at the shop send him to the seven day store, etc. etc. etc. this one takes some coordination but is lots of fun.
14. Put your empty beer cans in his office trash can.
15. Finally, give his name out to all the nasty local gals you meet in Havelock NC at the local Men's club...with his office phone number and say “Give me a shout and we’ll meet for lunch.”

Well, I have to fly to England and Norway, you guys have a great week and I’ll catch you on the flip side.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Thin Red Line...

Sometimes I have to sit back and chuckle at life, and the folks that surround you on a daily basis. Take last week for instance. I flew a KC-130 over to a local B-52 base not too far from my base in Texas. Yes, it’s in another state east/west of here (all you military hacks out there might know this Buff base, but I’m disguising it here), and we were tasked to pick up a giant B-52 tow bar to bring back for the air show they had this weekend.

Upon landing in the first 500 of this 14,000-foot runway, we turn off and receive instructions to park in front of Base Ops. The parking guide does a nice job of stopping us in the center of a red painted box. Unbeknownst to us, this was part of the red box of death. After shutting down, we stroll the fifty yards into Base Ops to check on the weather and call the “POC” (point of contact) for this tow bar. After killing ten minutes in there and sipping on a nice diet coke, we see the massive equipment loader with the forty-eight foot tow bar on top, moving towards the back of the plane.

As the Load Masters and the ground guys scratched their heads on the best course of action to move this bar inside (this taking about ten minutes), out of the corner of my eye, I see a large SUV pull up outside of our red painted line soon to be known as “The Red Box of Death,” and two Air force police officials, with loaded M4 tactical machine guns at the ready, approach the cab of the loader. The lead MP points at the driver and orders him out of the machine and the other then takes his flight line badge, followed by his Military I.D. card, puts handcuffs on this young lad, who looks nothing like a terrorist I might add!! They take him away to Hanger 54, I guess.

So here you have a giant mover, sitting as the engine idles, and all of us going “Huh????” We approach the lead MP, the question is asked, “Hey Sergeant, why are you arresting this man?” He turns around and says, “Sir, see that red line out there on the ground?” I’m straining my 20/10 vision to pick up on what he’s talking about. The MP points at the one next to my foot, and then points again on the flight line behind some B-52’s, “that driver crossed the Red line there and here; that is a violation of our flight line policy, punishable by arrest.”

Now I’m really confused and ask, “Sgt., if he can’t cross the Red line, then how is he supposed to drive his vehicle from point “A” to our plane’s tail?” The MP points to a small break in the magic box where he was supposed to daftly maneuver his massive vehicle to our plane. You’re talking about going out of your way with a lot of backing up etc. to finally straighten out in back of our plane vice turning left over this painted line on the concrete, and pulling up in back of our plane like he did. Oh, did I forget to tell you that the Air Force takes this “red line of death” thing VERY seriously and you will find yourself face first with an M-16A2 barrel in the back of your neck if you ignore it.

While we are talking, our young navigator is walking back from Base Ops with a couple of burgers he bought. Due to the noise on the flight line, the Engineer is waving his arms to get his attention, and have him stop before he crossed the Red line next to our plane and became victim number two. We moved him around the line until he could walk through this break in the paint.

I say out loud to myself, “Wow!!! Who’s going to drive the loader???” “Man, I always wanted to drive one of these things!” says one of the Air Force ground guys as he jumps up with a big grin. Actually he was the boss and drove it well. Mission completed, we closed up the back of our Herc. But it makes me laugh to think that the reasonable person approach would have told this driver, “Hey buddy, next time you need to drive around this invisible Red Line of Death” but no, sadly our brothers in arms can proudly boost back at the MP shack, “Man, did you see how I put that guy in handcuffs??? Not bad, they should put me on COPS!!”

Anyway, words of advice, the Airfarce spent all their money on the four-mile runways, nice BOQ’s and Officers club next to the golf course, and ran out of money for these nifty Jersey barriers. So mind any Red line on the concrete, they don’t lead to the Wizard of OZ.

Semper Fi,