27 May 2009

USO Girls

Caroline and Jamie over at USO Girls are at it again…this time they are putting together travel pillows for the lads and lassies headed to the sand box. If you sew and have a few extra hours they would really appreciate your help.

I really appreciate all the work they do for the USO and for pimping out Jamie for the Defenders of Freedom organization. If you are ever in Dallas, let them know we all appreciate them.

Until next time: Keep your eye on a shipmate, head on a swivel and stand by to Give'em Hell!

26 May 2009

Linked on Other Blogs

Wow! I am now listed at http://afghanistan-analyst.org/blogs.aspx. and at http://navyaugmentee.blogspot.com

I only started blogging 24 days ago and have already been listed by "The Navy Augmentee" and "The Afghanistan Analyst: An Online Resource for Researching Afghanistan" websites. Check them out, they have a quite a few links to some great websites and blogs.

Here is the latest: I still have 30 days until I transfer, until then I am working full time on my ECRC Checklist. (ECRC Checklist is used to verify personal data, next of kin info, and that all prerequisites such as medical, dental, legal, and required training are complete. )

Until next time: Keep your eye on a shipmate, head on a swivel and stand by to Give'em Hell!

25 May 2009

Memorial Day - 2009

"Cuimhnichibh na suinn nach maireann.
Mairidh an cliu beo gu brath."

(In memory of the Heroes who are no more.
May their Fame live on forever.)
Gaelic Prayer

12 May 2009


I have worked side by side with gay Sailors. I’ve shared meals with them, slept in the same quarters, showered in the same head. The gay Sailors I have known have been some of the most professional men (and women) I have had the pleasure to know. I don’t care what a Sailor’s sexual preference is, all I care about is if he (or she) can do the job. 1LT Choi did the job, in a time when we need Arabic linguist the most; the US Army has discharged him simply for telling the truth. For telling the world he is gay. 1LT Choi is now leading the charge to end DADT…From his Open Letter to the President and Congress at his CNN OP-ED

By Lt. Daniel Choi
Special to CNN

Open Letter to President Obama and Every Member of Congress:
I have learned many lessons in the ten years since I first raised my right hand at the United States Military Academy at West Point and committed to fighting for my country. The lessons of courage, integrity, honesty and selfless service are some of the most important.
At West Point, I recited the Cadet Prayer every Sunday. It taught us to “choose the harder right over the easier wrong” and to “never be content with a half truth when the whole can be won.” The Cadet Honor Code demanded truthfulness and honesty. It imposed a zero-tolerance policy against deception, or hiding behind comfort.
Following the Honor Code never bowed to comfortable timing or popularity. Honor and integrity are 24-hour values. That is why I refuse to lie about my identity.
I have personally served for a decade under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: an immoral law and policy that forces American soldiers to deceive and lie about their sexual orientation. Worse, it forces others to tolerate deception and lying. These values are completely opposed to anything I learned at West Point. Deception and lies poison a unit and cripple a fighting force.
As an infantry officer, an Iraq combat veteran and a West Point graduate with a degree in Arabic, I refuse to lie to my commanders. I refuse to lie to my peers. I refuse to lie to my subordinates. I demand honesty and courage from my soldiers. They should demand the same from me.
I am committed to applying the leadership lessons I learned at West Point. With 60 other LGBT West Point graduates, I helped form our organization, Knights Out, to fight for the repeal of this discriminatory law and educate cadets and soldiers after the repeal occurs. When I receive emails from deployed soldiers and veterans who feel isolated, alone, and even suicidal because the torment of rejection and discrimination, I remember my leadership training: soldiers cannot feel alone, especially in combat. Leaders must reach out. They can never diminish the fighting spirit of a soldier by tolerating discrimination and isolation. Leaders respect the honor of service. Respecting each soldier’s service is my personal promise.
The Department of the Army sent a letter discharging me on April 23rd. I will not lie to you; the letter is a slap in the face. It is a slap in the face to me. It is a slap in the face to my soldiers, peers and leaders who have demonstrated that an infantry unit can be professional enough to accept diversity, to accept capable leaders, to accept skilled soldiers.
My subordinates know I’m gay. They don’t care. They are professional.
Further, they are respectable infantrymen who work as a team. Many told me that they respect me even more because I trusted them enough to let them know the truth. Trust is the foundation of unit cohesion.
After I publicly announced that I am gay, I reported for training and led rifle marksmanship. I ordered hundreds of soldiers to fire live rounds and qualify on their weapons. I qualified on my own weapon. I showered after training and slept in an open bay with 40 other infantrymen. I cannot understand the claim that I “negatively affected good order and discipline in the New York Army National Guard.” I refuse to accept this statement as true.
As an infantry officer, I am not accustomed to begging. But I beg you today: Do not fire me. Do not fire me because my soldiers are more than a unit or a fighting force – we are a family and we support each other. We should not learn that honesty and courage leads to punishment and insult. Their professionalism should not be rewarded with losing their leader. I understand if you must fire me, but please do not discredit and insult my soldiers for their professionalism.
When I was commissioned I was told that I serve at the pleasure of the President. I hope I have not displeased anyone by my honesty. I love my job. I want to deploy and continue to serve with the unit I respect and admire. I want to continue to serve our country because of everything it stands for.
Please do not wait to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Please do not fire me.
Very Respectfully,
Daniel W. Choi
New York Army National Guard

06 May 2009

Predeployment Reading

I consider myself relatively proficient in the area of naval tactics, both in surface warfare and submarine warfare, but, I know almost nothing of land tactics/strategies. So I am quickly trying to educate myself.

Tactics: To start, I reread the timeless classic "The Art of War", by Sun Tzu. Written more than 2,500 years ago, it is still one of the best books on tactics ever written.

History: After reading the very confusing and dry "Afghanistan: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the War against the Taliban" by Stephen Tanner, I was not looking forward to reading another history book about Afghanistan. But since I had already picked up a copy of "Afghanistan: A Short History of Its People and Politics "by Martin Ewans at the Exchange, I decided I had better read it. I was pleasantly surprised. Sir Martin Ewans, a member of the British Diplomatic Service, provides a clear and concise history of the region. Sir Ewans briefly covers the period prior to 1838 and then goes into great detail of the historical events following the First Anglo–Afghan War. I highly recommend this book to anyone with orders to the AFPAK area.

Next book: "Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife", by John A. Nagal

Until next time: Keep your eye on a shipmate, head on a swivel and stand by to Give'em Hell!

02 May 2009


After 20 years of Naval Service including tours on 3 submarines and an aircraft carrier, I have orders to Afghanistan ...with the NARMY.

Over the next year and a half, Highland Sailor hopes to provide you a "boots on the ground" view of our brave young men and women serving in Afghanistan. I will be attending NARMY Training in July, until then keep your eye on a shipmate, head on a swivel and stand by to Give'em Hell!
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