Hingham, MA, day thirteen, part II (actually Manassas battlefield visit 2018, day I)

Well.  That was a  bit longer drive than I expected…But the best of plans, they taught us at the Infantry Officer’s Basic Course at Fort Benning way back in 1986 will immediately turn to chaos once battle begins.  I’ve had that little lesson confirmed to me over and over in my adult life…”Improvise, overcome, adapt” doesn’t belong to the Marine Corps (sorry my Leatherneck friends – We doggie officers have been using it as long as you have, perhaps longer).

So I simply reversed my itinerary and went straight to Mosby’s Rock in Herndon, had a one-sided conversation with the ghost of one of the most legendary Rangers in Ranger lore (he was actually known as “The Gray Ghost” by his adversaries – If his ghost is in fact gray, he wasn’t present today – But then I like to think of Mosby, Rogers, and Darby much in the same way I think of the Infantry god: He’s always there, and he sees what you’re up to, and if he disapproves, he’ll make it known).

I sat right on that rock, as I always do, and pondered questions on all of the things I think I did wrong as an LRSD (Long Range Reconnaissance Detachment, a sub-specialty Ranger unit whose job is the opposite of Mosby’s – We were to insert without being detected, patrol our area of operations, moving our “base camp” (which just meant digging fighting positions in a new location every morning…most of our movement was done at night)) Team Commander.  These are the sort of things I’d love to discuss with formidable Ranger officers of the past like COL Mosby, for example…

Continue reading Hingham, MA, day thirteen, part II (actually Manassas battlefield visit 2018, day I)

Hingham, MA, day twelve, part I

Winter Storm Skylar sure did f*** up the mail around here, my regularly scheduled deliveries of L-Arginine (Nitric Oxide booster, keeps one’s muscles full and “pumped” much longer than they normally would be after a workout) and Glutamine (recovery aid) were shipped on the 12th of March via USPS Priority Express (2-3) day delivery time.  Says USPS this morning:

The package is delayed and will not be delivered by the expected delivery date. An updated delivery date will be provided when available. Your item arrived at our BROCKTON MA DISTRIBUTION CENTER destination facility on March 15, 2018 at 1:15 pm. The item is currently in transit to the destination.

In my experience, since they haven’t provided an updated delivery date yet, I probably won’t receive the package until tomorrow.  That’s OK, today’s an off day from the iron for me, tomorrow is leg day, as long as I have them by then I’ll be fine.  I can imagine the piles of mail stacked up at the Brockton distribution center – There was NO mail delivery on Wednesday (USPS planes and trucks obviously weren’t moving because of the storm), and there’s been none since…Hell, two inches of snow in Georgia would cause the same sort of delay, we had upwards of twelve inches here on Wednesday, and the roads were impassible.

Stacked up with meetings from 0930 – 1200 today, then end of the week reporting…Should be an easy day, if a long one.  Who cares?  It’s Friday!  I’m not on call this weekend (that’s next weekend), so on the spur of the moment I’ve decided to visit Manassas (Bull Run) battlefield after tomorrow’s early workout, will probably spend the night somewhere in Northern VA and drive back up here to Hingham on Sunday.  Walking Civil War battlefields is an obsession for me, and I haven’t been to Manassas in some time – I’m long overdue for a visit to the Stone House and Mosby’s Rock.  Shame on any Ranger who visits the Manassas / Herndon area and doesn’t stop to commune with Mosby’s ghost.

Have a great weekend, all.

Out here.

Hingham, MA, day ten, part II

It’s hard out here for a Gimp, so one for my homies me.  No, two for me, then Thor: The Dark World on Xfinity On Demand, then bed.

IMG_2149 Continue reading Hingham, MA, day ten, part II

Why we call it “shock and awe”

Forgive me, but every now and then I come across an image I think deserves a wider audience.  You all know how proud I am of our armed forces, and having spent two years with the 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (Blackhorse!) myself, I’m more than a little familiar with the M1A1.


Marines in an M1A1 Abrams tank engage a target during semi-annual qualifications at Fort Stewart, Ga., Feb. 13, 2018. The Marines are assigned to the 2nd Tank Battalion. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Aaron Henson.

What it comes down to

My friends know all too well of the damage done to my body (heart attack in 2013 that left me with a permanent affliction: Pulmonary hypertension, a reduction of pulmonary function that leaves me gasping for breath at times) and to my mind and soul – A long delayed episode of PTSD that I’ll never discuss with anyone but the closest of my Brothers in arms. They are no doubt perplexed by my redoubled efforts to complete my un-f****** of my headspace by re-committing myself to physical and mental fitness…I was coming along well in that effort until I was laid off from my job of ten years last September, then I slacked off during five months of unemployment.

Here’s what it comes down to. I asked myself the question: “Is it more befitting of a man to live in torment and rage, this late in life, or not to live at all? And to recall almost nothing of the circumstances and the Medevac that drove me to the brink in very late 1989, only to fall off it in 2017?”

MY answer, knowing full well that many would answer otherwise, was to seek help and work for the years I have remaining to try to forget. I have a very good start towards becoming the kinder, more gentle man I want to be, and I don’t want to f*** it up. Sure, I’ve lost some friends in the process, but I don’t begrudge them that, they have their own reasons to remain hard, and I respect that.

But I’m a grandfather (“Opa” to my grandsons) twice over. My true Brothers are still right in step with me, offering almost unbelievable help and support in many cases, offers I will never forget. I’ve no need to be a “rough man standing ready on the walls” any longer, and I don’t want my grandchildren to be encouraged to follow that path.

Thus this blog. Thus my story. One day, in the not too distant future, I want to be “The good and kind man”, rather than “The Not-So-Bad Man”. And if writing of my journey simply interests you, or better yet, helps you in some manner, well, it helps ME with the journey, so all the better.

I’m signing off this net for the day – Have a great Saturday night and Sunday. Out here.

Hingham, MA, day six, part II

“Poor baby”, texts Ranger COL (R) Priolieau after reading the last couple of posts, “has to live in a luxury resort and stuff his face all day. Find a f****** tree, Brother.”

Yeah, well f*** YOU, Dave…you think I’m made of money?

While you were sitting around in your drawers reading blogs, I was out buying $150 worth of groceries and supplements – That’s one week’s worth. Good thing you’re not my workout buddy any longer…I don’t think you could keep up on a retired Colonel’s pension 😉

RLTW, and OUT here.

Hingham, MA, day four, part II

Have to be on a conference call with some really well-trained marksmen in the Middle East at 2030 hours, but the subject matter only requires you to weigh in occasionally? That’s what the “mute” button is for:

Look, I may have put more lead down range than these young fellows, given I’m retired from the service, but I was never an elite shooter as they are – No sniper school, just fired “expert” for record on maybe 17 different ranges (the toughest one being Bridges long distance at Benning). I can hit a gnat’s a** at 300 meters even today, but these men can hit three or four gnat’s a**** at 600 meters with one gentle pull of the trigger – Even if the gnats aren’t precisely lined up.

So I listen and take notes on “mute” a h*** of a lot more than I open my pie hole. That, as a matter of fact, is my general rule for conference calls, unless I’m the call organizer, and even then I am mainly collecting data and enforcing Robert’s Rules (not Roger’s Rules, which are a useful, but entirely different thing).

Some other things you may expect if you are a young man anticipating the point in life I’ve reached, regardless of your occupation:

1. You’re going to have to own nose and ear hair shavers. You’ll employ them frequently, I promise you.

2. You won’t sleep well, even when life is good…You’ll have a mortgage, sometimes two or three of them. Go to bed early.

3. You’ll have to overcome bad habits. Frequently. Discipline yourself to do so, and nip them in the bud, the longer you engage in them, the harder they will be to shed.

4. Exercise. Start now, and don’t stop. If you haven’t been shot or blown up, there’s no excuse to be stoved up in your 50’s.

5. Leave your personality at the door of the workplace when you arrive. It will still be there when you leave for the day, and being a “character” at work, especially in this day and age, will put you in the unemployment line.

I have a lot more, but the numeral five has a special meaning for me, so I’ll dole them out in that number when I feel like pontificating. Until tomorrow, then, out here.