Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Synchro

I know and realize that Part I was rudely interrupted by my detainment in the form of handcuff transfer which led me to go off on a side track but I do plan to continue the story for it is completely real and attached to our now. Today is not the day however, nor will the morrow be for I am and we are dealing with the death of Maximus Grandis, the Greater Dane. The last 76 hours have been truly no less than real and on tomorrow night we will be with him when he stops living in this dimension. Sadness is only a result of the connection to what is authentic in a relationship when two spirits can drop everything and get on with it. I promise you, he is at peace.

In the meantime I have some Memorial Day Synchro to share with you.

In the story line, two days after we last left Part I, the day after Golf Company secured its objective on the western edge of Kuwait City I turned from my hasty fighting hole and made this image of then Lt. Brian Christmas, the commanding officer of 2nd platoon. The camera I used was my combat action point and shoot 35mm Olympus that I had bought two years earlier at the ship store on board the USS Nashville LPD-13
Lt. Christmas is seen here half standing behind some cases of MREs while he is talking on the PRC-77 handset to the CH-46 pilot in the background who was delivering supplies for our Company.

This past Wednesday night with Ms. Arcen out of the house I noticed that the clock on the oven read, 1828hrs. We are hardly ever in that spot so I turned on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric and watched the semi-coverage from the spill in the Gulf. I stepped away and then when I looked back saw Mandy Clark reporting from Helmand Province on a 6th Marine Battalion Commander who was taking a different approach to his interactions with the people of Margah, Afghanistan.

It was none other than Lieutenant Colonel Brian Christmas who I watched step out into a field with open arms and palms to a group of elders. As soon as his face turned towards the camera I realized that it was him. Once again another Marine from Golf Company appears before me, this time on a screen in my living room. He looked amazing, like the last time I had seen him which Sgt. Karnes thought of me and I of him when we randomly crossed paths a few weeks ago.

The CBS story went on. He was a BN commander trying to help the folks there, not just assuming that their illiteracy was a rationalization for treating them with harm. The film I saw of him made him appear brave, braver than anyone I know even though we had only met for a few short years so long before. No armor, no Kevlar, no flak jacket or rifle. Just open arms extended in the form of consideration to make, build, provide and deal with what it is that we have all created.

I called Lasher to confirm and he reminded me that yes, it was indeed the same Lt. Christmas from 2nd Platoon and that he was the son of a Four Star General while we were in during the late eighties\early nineties and that recently NPR featured a story on his efforts as well. When Mandy Clark finished her story I found my photo book from the Arabian Peninsula and pulled out a picture of, at the time Lt. Christmas that I knew I had made almost twenty years ago. The understanding that I have been intuitively writing these memories into my reality of now gave me a transfer of thought that went backwards in time towards the beginning.

I am not looking for it or anything for that matter but yet when I follow what I know to be real, that process always manifests into truth before me. Today as I consider Memorial Day, I am quiet with my beliefs and am thinking about those who are immediately in harm's way surviving in a realm that they did not create but are very much attached to.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It Does not Weigh Much


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Gone to the Dogs...

Mary, the ten and a half year old Germanic Shepherd that came to us after being abandoned by her original owner over nine years ago. This ole gal is nothing less than true. She keeps a constant watch on Ms. Arcen and the other Bluders. I missed the focal on this one by about 4 inches but I still like her smile.

For those of you who have met Mary, she is doing well. She seems to be feeling her age a bit and it shows in her eyes but she still plays and is happy to be.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The National Anthem Done in the Real

Rachel Van Slyke came into town via Chapel Hill and flood torn Nashville where some folks are still talking about the end of the world. Just prior to leaving Nashville, Rachel had spent time volunteering on a search and rescue team that went on down river looking for the bodies of still missing neighbors. Rachel described seeing evidence of where the water line had risen against the trees up on the bank of the river sometimes as high as 40 feet over head. She saw tons of debris in the form of what looked like wicker baskets in a twisted wreck in all directions 20-30 feet high above river. My family and I were glad to see her make it here safely for this year's Charlotte Femme Fest where she played two sets Saturday night. For those of you who may not remember, I met Rachel here in the Jar two years ago this month when she was riding her over loaded 100lb+ bicycle from Miami to Quebec for her inaugural musical bike tour.

The first set was at the Evening Muse in NoDuh. I made the following recording of her and Jordy kicking it off with the National Anthem of this fine Nation in which we dwell. No flags or banners here, just the truth from the heart. Take a minute and listen if you have the time, their performance is quite honest indeed. After the National Anthem, they do a Duet of a co-write that they made together and then she goes solo.

Rachel Van Slyke/Jordy Moore-Femme Fest Charlotte 2010 from Billy Fehr on Vimeo.

Rachel singing, I'm Coming Home *All photos in the set by me.

Monday, May 24, 2010

50mm x 1.6 for the Digital Transfer

Zoo was gracious enough to sit in low light long enough for me to take her picture.
Zoo Zoo

Friday, May 21, 2010

Spoke Post

photo cred: James Willamor
Me macking and I technically am not even sure what macking is. Seriously, check out the smiling countenance and general radiant glow of this female security agent giving me a not so hard time. Maybe her female energy actually understood the truth of the situation and she felt compelled to be compassionate towards me.

Earlier this week after reading the post about me in the cuffs Spokejunky spoke up and I did not get mad.

spokejunky said:
You don't fool me. You wanted the lady cop to slap the cuffs on you. "My name's Billy. I'll be your pizza delivery boy today."

You read that one like a book Spoke. The lady cop is actually an armed with a .9mm Security Contractor that saw what happened from down the block while on another security assignment and then she came over to do her own investigation. When she realized that I was a bike messenger she gravitated towards my inner light and offered to keep me secure during the fiasco. What a good job she did because I could have not felt more secure than I was at that moment.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Yoga Interventions

Yesterday around the middle of the day I was in conversation with Jai when Who's this Joey showed up. He politely let me know that two of his friends were about to have a Yoga Intervention at the Beckler Museum and that I was welcome to come down and make some images. I wrapped up with Jay and rode to the spot. When I got there I noticed that Joey was shooting with an old Nikon lens on his new Canon Digital. I was intrigued so I inquired as to mechanics of what I was seeing. Ahhh, an adaptor bracket.

Joey was kind enough to let me try out his 50mm Nikon lens with a 1.4 aperture on my DSLR Nikon. It clicked right in and instantly the authenticity of the lens was felt in the weight that it added to my camera. When I looked through the glass everything about my digital camera perspective changed. The light meter did not work with the old lens but all I had to do was take a little test exposure and then I was able to dial in what I needed.

Meet Jessica and Paige of Yoga Interventions. These women are serious business and it was interesting to watch them work. Transfer
I tried this move last night at home when I pulled the image up. Not even close, no matter how hard I tried. I have a lot of work to do on my lack of Yoga skills.

Strength, grace and a look inward always reveals the truth.
Two hearts beat as one.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rewind less than 2 Hours from the Cuffs

photo made by: James Willamor
Sgt. David Karnes and I reunite after seeing each other last 19 years ago next month.

At a stop light Uptoon the bus driver looked down at me through her window and asked, "How's the snychro?" Just then the light turned green, she pulled away and I never had the chance to tell her.

Across the street on the same block a few hours before being detained by the police for simply doing what I felt was my job, James, Jordy and I were sitting on the little wall watching the ebb and flow of the NRA crowd. I had just got done saying out loud, "I wonder if we will see anyone famous." Seconds later I stood up in disbelief and asked my friends to please watch by bag and gear.

I trotted towards him and shouted, "Sgt. Karnes!" I felt a bit like Forest Gump on the shrimp boat seeing Lieutenant Dan on the pier. "Sgt Karnes, Bill Fehr here, Golf Co. 2/4!", I yelled again. He turned, smiled and stuck out his hand remembering who I was the instant we made eye contact. We had not only been in the same BN and Company for three years together but we were in the same platoon. I had done two Mediterranean deployments with him before we wound up in the Gulf together. David was a member of the 60mm mortar section of Weapons Platoon, Company G. I remember him being an honorable Marine who was fair, smart, fit and able to communicate without coming across as over zealous.

It had been 19 years since we last saw each other shortly after returning from our tour on the Arabian Peninsula. We stood there for a few minutes trying to briefly get caught up on where each of our lives had led us. He looked like he had not aged at all and in response he told me that I looked exactly like he remembered the last time he saw me. We exchanged contact info and said good bye again.

The experience of picking this fellow platoon mate out of the crowd within the context of having been writing Part I about my memories of the Gulf was a powerful one.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Free Billy, I got Hooked Up...

The NRA held its 2010 National(American) CONvention here in Charlotte this past weekend in CONjunction with the end of Bike Week activities. The NRA festivities started Friday during my work day so James, Jordy and I headed down on bikes and feet to get a feel for The Queen City's highest cultural accomplishment to date. It was a strange sight indeed to just quietly observe in the shade. Jordy and I sang the National Anthem in full a cappella style, no one joined in.

As soon as the Time Warner Cable Arena let out after being cooped up with the likes of Sarah Plalin and Ted Nugent, the members of the National Rifle Association walked 40 yards to waiting Coach buses the size of a Greyhounds. They were then diesel transported the four blocks as the pedestrian path(apparently the Jar has been rated:Bronze in being Pedestrian friendly) goes along the light rail directly to the Convention Center where there was more Associating to be done. This hot shuttle service exhaust into the only atmosphere we have went both ways and was constant during the transfer. The flames in the logo would explain the whole hot thing.

Photo shot by: James Willamor
All that this lady has to do when she gets to the Convention Center is flip the page and then it will read: To Time Warner Arena.

Photo created by: James Willamor
Then time passed. Josh called telling me that he had gone down and was in the back of an ambulance about to be hauled away. It was after 1600hrs, he had jobs to the Courthouse in his bag and I was 7 minutes away. As soon as I arrived to take his/our/Dicky's work, I saw his eyes and knew that he was going to be okay. I had seen his pupils look similar before at 17,000ft above sea level on the side of a glacier covered volcano and he was just fine then. Josh handed the papers to me during a strange dialogue that I was trying to not have with a Charlotte Police Officer. Then the next thing I knew I was in cuffs, a place I had never been before even at my lowest point.
Photo care of: James Willamor
Team Dicky came to the rescue when he heard that two senior CMA members' immediate futures were held in the balance between the shackles of justice and the institutionalized response of emergency over priced diesel health care reform.
At this 125th of a second, deep down Rich realizes he has to be dreaming because he has already had this dream many times before and now it was coming true. Hang in there little buddy, your gonna get paid twice what you are used to.
Photo created and donated by: James Willamor
Now for a different perspective. Shortly before I was released on my own recognizance, a young fellow walked by and gave me a glance. Another photographer was close by and grabbed this shot of me talking to Dicky as I was being checked out.
Image provided by: Cracked Out Adventures(not on crack)
This was by far one of biggest emotional transfers that I have ever rolled into while doing my two wheeled job Uptoon over the last 12 years. I have more to say and hopefully will have the chance to after the court hears my plea. I can tell you this, I am innocent until proven guilty and justice will at the least be recognized. If you have any questions, fire away.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Part I 'Bright Light'

Further up the line and off in the distance I could see what appeared to be in tact Iraqi Units marching in formation toward their surrender to the Americans. Some of them clutched small white clothes while others waved those little surrender pamphlets that had been dropped on them earlier in the campaign. The inert bomb dropped papers that rained down on Kuwait prior to us getting there were about the size of a dollar bill and the text explained in Arabic aided by a cartoon strip how easy it was to give yourself peacefully over to the Coalition. Haliburton produced and sold over 12 million of these paper tickets to the USA in just one of the many war contracts. As someone very smart pointed out to me last night, the United States' biggest export is war. I plan on devoting some time talking about the implications of that obvious truth later on in the document. The consequences for all of us under this banner of nationalism are very real and cannot be denied, contradicted, rationalized, bought, sold, simplified or actively chosen to not be thought about.

Our movement through this part of the operation seemed to slow down to a grinding halt. The sky was crystal clear and by mid day the sun's brightness shined down white hot on the desert plain. An occasional Cobra Attack Helicopter chopped loud and fast over our heads We were stopped and outside of the vehicle helping another Company from the BN deal with being surrounded by surrendering Iraqis. It was very confusing to be eye level with such desperation. These soldiers from the world's third largest Army were adamant about not wanting a fight. They were waiving the white clothes and shouting desperate to live surrender in a language that I did not understand. Their malnourished human frames made their dirty uniforms seem two sizes too big. The smell of these soldiers was even worse than we smelled to each other.

The word came down from Spartan to disarm the prisoners, bury the bolts of their weapons in the sand and point them south toward the forward moving column of support behind us. In that column were more ground support Units including Military Police and other FSSG(Field Service Support Group) folks better trained and equipped to handle such a mass surrender. We were Infantry and our job was to keep moving at the head of the line until our objective in Kuwait City was secure. Only a couple more days to go and that's just the beginning.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Part I 'Bright Light'

Golf Co. mounted up and shortly there after rolled out to catch up with the rest of the BN. Soon our movement north continued into more darkness, it was the real night without transition from day. I only have a vague recollection of what happened on that second night out. I do know that after linking up with the rest of the BN that we stopped often while our command seemingly planned our next movement forward. The radio crackled to life every once on awhile and we even heard the BN Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Conry occasionally talking to Spartan about the reasons we were checked up. Fatigue combined with the monotonous drone of the track caused me to drift in and out of an uncomfortable sleep.

On the morning of Day 3 we were greeted by a brilliant sun appearing in the east far above a cloudless sky. I had gotten used to standing on a bench inside of the track and half laying on the roof with the gun facing outboard. The three of us took turns behind the M-60 but I remember staying up there a lot, even when someone else from my team was manning the crew served weapon. I could see for miles in all directions and that made me feel better about where I was. Plus it felt good to be breathing outside of the track. During this thing called combat there were lulls in the sensory input level that are occasionally interrupted by exciting chaotic minutes. All of a sudden things began to get very active around us.

We came through a large area where I started to see other Marine Units and some of our tanks spread out across the sand. I could also see for the first time in our movement north many surrendering Iraqi soldiers. Just a few meters off to the left and right of our track some enemy combatants were sitting in small circles on the sand being guarded by American Troops that I did not recognize. The Iraqis were not blind folded. I could see their blackened lean faces contorting as they squinted up into the sun at us rolling by. I made eye contact with those willing to give me theirs. They looked so small on the ground compared to the Americans standing over them.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Give Me Something to Believe in...

I knew that this has been coming for what has felt like years. Our City, State, Country and World is now a better place because the NASCAR Hall of Fame has been officially opened with a grand plastic throw away ceremony that took place yesterday. 30million in cost overruns means nothing against the bigger picture of progress for our culture. I could have been right down there in it to bring you the up close scary futuristic toon but instead I decided to make the pictures from above and a block away. On the ground two blocks to the north of the venue completely out of line of sight to the fans I did see two huge city garbage trucks parked behind the CMPD Mobile Command Post and the CFD HAZMAT Response vehicle. The garbage trucks sat idling the 3.09$ diesel in the light rain with their orange flashers on waiting for the party to be over so that they could get to work.

I made these images from a corner conference room 250ft up in the One Wacky Fargo Building 2 blocks away.

Check these out closely, there is plenty of info transfer in each of them.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Part I 'Ghost Enemy'

All of a sudden gunfire erupted in front of us. It was a few bursts at first with seconds of silence then within no time the situation became what I would recall as mad minutes. Tracers I could see and rounds I could not were ricocheting off of the radio tower and the buildings making up the compound. Because we were behind them and could not identify one target, no one from my position fired a single shot. We just stayed as low as possible watching the minutes unfold and waiting for the outcome. I truly felt then as I do now that I was merely an observer of this thing called war. More gunfire to the front in the form of a spectacular light show. Thousands of rounds had to be going down range and across our frontage. I remember being able to see muzzle flashes out in front of me to the right just before the hot red orange projectiles zipped(853meters or 2,800ft per second) at an angle across the hill. With all of that shooting going on I thought to myself that not one shot felt like it was coming toward us. All of it appeared to be either going away from where I was or away and across at an angle. There were also a few loud bangs that started when Sgt. Funkhouser theoretically tossed the first grenade of the offensive over a wall that caused another half dozen to follow. I later learned that one of the grenades that Sgt. F threw actually bounced off of the SSGT's helmeted head. Confusion sinks deep in the dark room of the desert landscape. More loud reports of small arms unloading their lot stock ammo into the void as I watched in the prone position for a sign telling me what to do next.

It had to have been ten minutes of total ammo chaos but it felt longer as it was playing out. Golf Co. unloaded an extraordinary amount of munitions down range into a somewhat empty target. Quietness crept back in, no more shooting just indiscernible voices from across the gap yelling over the silence. The grunts were shouting commands and their statuses to each other just like in training. It was dark again in all directions. Everyone was okay and the objective was secure. We moved from our support position forward and walked across the fence that had been mowed down by the big tracks. Everyone seemed jacked, completely elated that they were alive and talking to their smiling friends who were alive as well. We did not stay on that hill very long but I remember realizing that I never saw any wounded or killed Iraqi soldiers. Two or three of their commanders crawled out of a dug in bunker and immediately surrendered when the shooting was over. Apparently almost all of the Iraqi Mechanized Infantry Unit had beat it north and west when they found out that we were were on the way. Their retreat and/or complete humble surrender would become another of those reoccurring themes during the Gulf War. Lets face it, they were decimated weeks before we had arrived. The combat sorties had relentlessly cut the Iraqis off leaving them dangling hungry and thirsty in the wind. All of that shooting had actually occurred and not one shot was fired back at us, yet anyway.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Part I 'Ghost Enemy'

NPR reported on Saturday evening that the United States has changed its Pilotless Drone targeting policy. Up until this past week the human target of the American operated drone had to be identified as a terrorist that has had connections to past attacks on American Interests. NOW a target may be engaged without knowing its identity if it appears to be committing a suspicious act that may lead to terrorism. There are more of these Pilotless planes of war being flown right now than at any other time in history. The drone marks the target from above and then the bomb is dropped from a another plane that is sometimes a hundred miles away completely detached from looking at the faces of innocent on the ground. Nothing about the outcome of this call for fire is precise.

February 25, 1991
Sometime around late morning on the second day I was woken up by verbal information transfer and the loud sound of our track's Detroit Diesel Cummins motor coming to life. Spartan came over the net and told us that the BN had identified a Company sized Iraqi Mechanized Infantry Unit just over 10klicks(1 klick = 1,000meters) in front of us. Everyone in Golf Co. sat inside the red glow of their tracks listening to Spartan describe the situation. He told us that the Iraqis were dug in on a small rise that was surrounded by a tall chain linked fence topped with coiled concertina wire. Apparently their defensive position was a Kuwaiti radio tower transmitter site before the occupation. The enemy was in the ground with their BMP transport vehicles parked at the base of the hill behind them. The plan was for Golf Co. to take this position with its four platoons plus machine gun and 40mm mortar team support.

The top side hatches of our vehicle were now open allowing me to see the Cimmerian shade of day around us. One of the SAW Gunners went up on the roof as we moved forward with the other tracks. There were plenty of cautious stops between receiving Spartan's frag order and getting to the spot where we exited the track and set up our supporting position roughly five hundred meters from the fence. It was so dark that I could not see anything past a few feet in front of me. At first I remember quiet being interrupted by the sound of the other tracks delivering the line Platoons to their objective. Curtis was behind the gun and I was to the left looking into the same emptiness that he was. Small red and white lights came out of the void in front of us from the inside of the tracks that had breached the perimeter and were lowering their back hatches allowing the riflemen to get out and do what they were trained to do. There was chatter going on around our position as the rest of Golf Co. advanced forward up the hill.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Face Book Blog Post

Billy Fehr: Just got back from a ride around Sherman B-Ranch, twice around the RC. Honeysuckle was blooming in both yellow and pink creating a tunnel of color and smell in spots on the Roller Coaster. The new berms are amazing, thanks you guys. Dust and a bit of Oxygen transfer is easing the pain. Now time for a cold hoppy vegan approved malt beverage while I cut lettuce from the garden and head to the roof for some down home gutting cleaning.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Open Birthday Card to Bono

aka Paul Hewson, born on the tenth day of May in the year of our Lord 1960. I have no idea who made this image but it is a lasting one. Happy Early Birthday Dvde, yer the first person to get me to shed a tear when I was a child that coulda jumped off the stage or had been on the cover of the 'War Album'. HAPPY 50th BIRTHDAY, THE DAY AFTER TOONMORROW....

Friday, May 7, 2010

CMA Presents: Homemade Rain Poncho of the Week

Part I will continue on Monday.
*Dude, check out this fellow's gym bag. Go Hornets!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Part I 'King Fahd gave us Plenty of Fuel'

I found this image of King Fahd(1921-2005) being given an AK-47 tutorial from none other than Saddam Hussein. This photo was obviously made before the King invited us into his Kingdom in 1990. Photographer unidentified. When we reached the Battalion refueling depot it was early evening of Day 1, some 16 hours into the ground operation. The sky at this spot in the desert was less filled with oil smoke which allowed the sun to cast a solid pale gray hue on the chaotic scene in front of me. We had driven from under the wet oil veil and now although I could see, it was in total absence of color. At the head of the two lines, side by side, sat huge gas tanker trucks next to these big round rubber fuel bladders.

There were dozens of Amtracks queued up to receive the precious diesel. Off to the right several M1 Abrams Tanks stood silently waiting their turn to get in the procession leading to the blessing of oil in the form of gas. Their guns sat level, the color of the sand. Hundreds of Marines stood off to the side watching and waiting for further instruction. An occasional Cobra Helicopter Gunship flew overhead keeping watch on this refueling war plan project from above. After our late Amtracks were filled with what we needed, we lined up with the rest of Golf Co. and shortly there after started rolling north again.

More hours pass as we move into the middle of the night some 24hrs after this thing started back south in the House of Saud. Sleep came in the form of intermittent dozes sitting back to the metal wall wedged in between the shoulders of my combat loaded colleagues. We moved forward across the sand through the night stopping occasionally for minutes at a time. A few of the pauses lasted as long as an hour with motors turned off while the command figured out our next tactical move based on the reports coming in from the forward scouts a few clicks ahead of us. These forward scouts were fast moving Humvee Heavy Gun Teams from Weapons Co. 2/4 that stayed out ahead of the BN looking for trouble before we ran into it. One of our friends and ex-G Co. platoon mates Eric 'Row-Bow-Sahn' Robison from Pascagoula Mississippi was riding in the turret behind a Browning M-2 .50cal on one of those BN scout vehicles. Something sort of exciting happens to him and his vehicle crew two days from this point in the operation but we will get to that later.
We continued moving north until shortly after sunrise on Day 2 when our track commander leaned down from his hatch above us and let us know that we were back under another thick layer of dense sun blocking oil smoke. Then our track stopped and the driver shut off the motor. A silent Golf Co. was spread out over the desert under the dark night daytime sky. Sleep came to all of us at various times over the next few hours. This was the longest stop so far in the ground operation. Spartan was receiving data transfer from the BN and we would be moving again soon enough.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Part I 'Through the first Darkness'

Unfortunately I do not have any photos supporting the next few posts of Part I. Instead for your viewing pleasure I will put up more recent images that I feel are interesting and correlate to the entry. I took this cloudscape picture on tripod last Sunday out in the way back. For a minute the hole in the center of the cloud looked like a moving broken heart. Far off in front of our position a small orange flame flickered. We laid there watching the vast emptiness while a crew member pounded one of the pins on the broken track with a sledge hammer. Time passed. I turned around, looked up and saw orange light dancing on the side of the silent broken track just under the driver's compartment. The reflective surface of the armored vehicle surrounded in darkness acted like a tan movie screen playing back the refraction of light burning flames off in the distance. I can still see a hologram image of that light in my mind's eye.

While the crew continued to work, someone in charge and paying close attention called off our defensive response. That left one team on forward watch which allowed the rest of us to mill about just as we had been training to do around the world for years. The wet ebony oil smoke ceiling hung flat not far above our heads giving the illusion in all directions towards the horizon that we were in some sort of a building structure. I do not remember there ever being any actual liquid particulate falling from the sky as has been portrayed by the fiction film industry. But I do remember thinking to myself that I had never witnessed anything like what I was seeing before me.

In the back drop of our quietly chatting smoke circles we could sporadically hear Spartan and other officers of Golf Co. give their sit-reps(situation reports) over the net. Near the rear hatch of the track close to the red bulb there was a speaker that we could hear clearly broadcasting the occasional reports from the field to the north of us. I believe that at one point Spartan talked about us, the two tracks back. He instructed us to get the vehicle fixed then proceed to a forward gas distribution point where the Co. would wait for us before proceeding. Just before the track fix was complete there were a few loud explosions way off to our west and north. Friendly fire, a reoccurring theme during the Persian Gulf was most likely the source. There were other Companies from 2/4 and some Army Tanks from the Tiger Brigade out there in the darkness of daytime picking their way through and north. By the time we loaded back up our charcoal suits were off but our flack jackets and helmets were securely on.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Business as Usual

At least nothing is chaotic yet. Part I will continue tomorrow but today I bring you my observations from our now in Charlotte. It started as a normal Monday for me riding around in the rain taking care of an average amount of legal work between the big buildings and the court. Early in the lobby of the Hearst Tower for my first schedule I noticed a professional dog handler and his four legged partner talking with Bank Corporate Security. The event that took place Saturday night in Times Square NYC was near the Bank of America's Bryant Park Office. As of yesterday there was an obvious and very much visible security response at the Bank's interests here in Charlotte. I went on with my work and an hour later found the team outside of the building where I was able to make this picture of them. It was a little awkward at first and my emotional chakras were vibrating with the same nervousness that I have been aware of since I was a child but I approached the two and asked the human half if it would be okay if I made their portrait. Meet Donnie Dolinger and his 6 year old black lab bomb sniffer Sonny. I think this image is unique in its representation of what is really happening here and how that is intrinsically connected to our power of manifestation around the globe.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Part I 'Into, out of and back into Kuwait'

Notice the 5.56mm green tip armor piercing rounds that I had loaded into two magazines. I made this picture at our last position in Saudi Arabia. The grinding strain of the tracks tearing their weighty load across the desert seemed louder than ever. A small red light bulb glowed from near the back ramped hatch dimly illuminating the inside compartment. I could barely make out the familiar eyes of my friends sitting right next to and across from me. The weight of all of my gear felt heavy on my legs as I sat with my back against the inside starboard wall inhaling diesel fumes and the spiritual breaths of my fellow Marines. A loud grinding noise continued as time and distance pass by delivering us to the edge of the berm. The vehicle slowed then sped up only to slow again. None of us had any idea what was going on outside the skin of our armored transportation.

All of a sudden the track jerked hard like we had hit something and bounced off of it. In our armored box it was difficult to determine which way we were turning but we cut hard and the metal on metal grinding sound became louder. We soon found out that we had made it through the berm but as soon as we cleared it on the Kuwaiti side we were ordered to turn around and get back on the Saudi side as soon as possible. Once back on Saudi sand again we disembarked and were instructed to break open the charcoal suits and put them on. When I opened my foil package I was not surprised to see that the suits were woodland green/brown forest cammie. The inside seemed more crowded once we loaded back up. Our carbon filled trousers and jackets added diameter to all of us.

Back through the left hand breach in the berm into Kuwait all over again. It seemed that for hours our track rumbled slowly forward stopping occasionally for a minute or two then continuing north. It was late morning when we made our first stop inside Kuwait. The back door of our track lowered introducing us to this new land. As soon as my boots hit the sand I realized that the sun was being completely blocked out by the thick oil smoke. Weeks before Saddam Hussein had order his military to set fire to the wells in most of Kuwait's southern oil fields. For the first few minutes I could not even see the hand in front of my face as I tried to understand what I was perceiving. Even when my eyes adjusted I found it difficult to make out the landscape around me. It was apparent that we had stopped on a little rise close to another vehicle that had thrown a track. The rest of Golf Co. and the BN were out there somewhere in front of us. We set up a hasty perimeter around the two vehicles while the crews went to work on the fix.