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Post 20

Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - 11:40amSanction this postReply
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The base my unit will be deployed to in Iraq should have internet access, but the lines are long so there is a 30 minute time limit.  If  I have time between sending e-mail to friends and family, I will try to keep up with my regular dose of SOLO.

Training for this deployment is what kept me from coming to the last conference, so I'm pissed off at these insurgents and I am hoping to take it out on all of them! :-)


Post 21

Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - 2:36pmSanction this postReply
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Best of luck on the deployment. You have my gratitude and best wishes.

Alec

Post 22

Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - 2:58pmSanction this postReply
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Good luck AND good premises.

Post 23

Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - 5:43pmSanction this postReply
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Galt bless...

Hope to see you on TV inspecting Al-Zarqawi for tooth decay, like that other video.

Post 24

Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - 7:21pmSanction this postReply
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A marvelous article, Byron.  Please email us postcards from the edge and take care of yourself so we can have more of these gems.

Godspeed. ;-)


Post 25

Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - 9:14pmSanction this postReply
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I'd like to echo the request for dispatches from the frontlines should you have the time.  All the best to you - we look forward to having you back!

Post 26

Wednesday, May 11, 2005 - 8:41amSanction this postReply
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Byron,

Keep your head down and your powder dry.

Thanks,
Glenn

Post 27

Wednesday, May 11, 2005 - 11:03pmSanction this postReply
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That was a pleasure to read, Byron.

Thanks for your hard work and service. I hope to shake your hand one day.


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Post 28

Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 10:49pmSanction this postReply
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I am a combat weatherman, 208th Weather Flight,  MN ANG, deployed once to Kosovo, probably going to play in some sand sometime soon. From enlistment through first station your story matches mine, re religion.  In Kosovo people did tend to become workout junkies, church junkies, video game junkies, etc., though with less ferocity than what I have witnessed among active duty folk, as we were all Guardsmen (Army or Air).  The loneliness factor is less intense, since the Army almost always deploys with their units, and hence, people they know from home (ANG weather people travel in much smaller herds, often deploying "alone" to support other units).

I have had some fun with the whole thing - I managed to have my dogtags made with "Objectivist" as the "religion", and when I had to fill out a form about any special conditions re my death in a foreign country, I replied that I wanted a nice white gravestone with a dollar sign on it... Minnesotan Guardsman are too polite to ask what the hell "Objectivist" means, or what I was smoking when I made my gravestone request.

Travel Safe, Kick Ass, Come Home Alive,

SrA Casey Brown


Post 29

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 - 6:31amSanction this postReply
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Byron Garcia wrote:

Training for this deployment is what kept me from coming to the last conference, so I'm pissed off at these insurgents and I am hoping to take it out on all of them! :-)

Kick ass, take names, and come home safe. Don't let those demon-ridden barbarians have the pleasure of taking your life.

Post 30

Thursday, February 9, 2006 - 8:14amSanction this postReply
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Interesting article. I'd guess, from it and what I'm about to quote, that the US military could be a little more neutral w.r.t. religions; there ought at least to be neutral space available for non-chaplained contemplation or discussion. In any case, the current situation as portrayed in the article is both amusing and instructive, and doesn't fall too far short of its Constitutional obligations.

Let's make something clear: The US Constitution says nothing about a separation of church and state, of religion and government. It says, in its first amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...."

Among the amendments recommended in New Hampshire's ratification of the original Constitution was: "Congress shall make no Laws touching Religion, or to infringe the rights of Conscience[.]"

Virginia's ratification, which ought to be required reading in civics classes, asserted that "the liberty of Conscience ... cannot be cancelled abridged restrained or modified by any authority of the United States". It further recommended that there be a "Declaration or Bill of Rights asserting and ensuring from encroachment the essential and unalienable Rights of the People in some such manner as the following; ... [conscientious objectors provision] ... Twentieth, That religion or the duty [(love that wording!)] which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence, and therefore all men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience, and that no particular religious sect ought to be favored or established by Law in preference to others."

New York's ratification, equally worthy, North Carolina's, and Rhode Island's essentially echoed Virginia's w.r.t. religion.

BTW, several of the ratifications have interesting things to say on the right to keep and bear arms, and on transfer payments.

While it can be argued that religion is unnecessary, it was important to Washington and for the greater part of the other men fighting in the Revolution -- and apparently remains so, in the US military, to this day -- despite the diversity of religion then and now. Whatever means people find useful in promoting both their short-term survival and their long-term well-being, and thus the effectiveness of the military, ought to be treated, if not as sacrosanct, at least in view of its utility, and of the difficulty, expense, or infeasibility -- not to mention unconstitutionality -- of officially displacing it.


Post 31

Thursday, February 9, 2006 - 6:35pmSanction this postReply
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My time at MEPS was pretty much the same; however, besides me being disgusted by the individual handing out bibles, I didn't see it as some major infraction. As for 'Religious Preferences', I have had no problem having my information, including dog tags and ERB, displaying Atheist. Sometimes when seen or asked there will be a comment by the observer, but this is the same as the civilian world. Recently, while inprocessing for a new unit, I was asked for preferences. After responding that I was an atheist, the individual made a comment and then said that he was just joking, and that he had not been to church in a long time.

My experience during basic training (Ft. Leonard Wood) and AIT (Ft. Huachuca) was different. At both posts there were many services to choose from; there were jewish, moslem, and christian services.

During basic training, those that wanted to attend the jewish services were even allowed out of training. Sunday mornings were allotted for barracks maintenance, and people could go to their denominational offering at the allotted time, marching off on their own. There were even offerings for druids? and wiccans. However, one had to clean while in the barracks on Sundays. So while all of the christians took their brake from cleaning to go to church (most of them got very 'religious' for this reason), I stayed and cleaned the whole time. I always joked with everyone and told them they have an atheist to thank for doing all the work.

During AIT, everyone had the weekend off, so anyone could go to whatever service they wanted--I noticed a large drop in church attendance, of course.

For every ceremony I have attended, I have never bowed my head and will refuse to do so under any circumstances, and I have never been reprimanded in any way. In fact, in a ceremony a few weeks ago, all the chaplain said was 'let us pray' and I didn't see anyone in my unit bow--the only time I have seen this, and probably because the chaplain didn't include, "please bow your heads".

Personally, I have no problems with religious services being offered by the military.

Post 32

Friday, February 10, 2006 - 8:33amSanction this postReply
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     I gather that the military has allowed itself to become VERY 'evangelical' oriented re a biasedly-faved religion since I was there. When I re-enlisted there was no comment about my saying 'the Oath' and excising the routine ref to 'God'...and...there was never any 'prodding' about bible-reading, church-going, etc. --- But the, that was the 60's.

     This article and its follow-up posts sure hint at more than what I've been hearing about the AF Academy.

     Leave it to 'benevolent' Xians in the militaryto make use of a 'captured' audience...'separation of church and state' not being literally spelled out in the Constition nwst. --- Wonder when some Muslim leaders are going to get enough 'pull' to force (er, 'influence') some competition?

     I've heard other denomination followers (all Protestant) use the "There are No Athiests in Foxholes" argument. Interesting that they never quote it's source: a Catholic bishop who used to have a Sunday TV program in the '50's, Fulton J. Sheen.

Byron:

     Kick all possible ass, and get back ASAP.
     May Xena-The Warrioress watch over you.  :D

LLAP
J:D


Post 33

Friday, January 5 - 4:54pmSanction this postReply
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(Random Past Article.) It was because of Byron's post (which comes up now and then) that I found "Foxhole Atheists" a couple of years ago by googling the phrase.The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers works for all "religious minorities." Catholics are under-respresented, and Jews, etc., all the moreso. Only recently in the last year I think, the US military has recognized Humanist chaplains. Byron's post raised the issue of separation of church and state and in reply in #3 (Citizen Rat) and #6 (Jeremy Johnson) did not see the issue. I do, of course. 

 

I joined the MAAF and paid my dues for a couple of years and via the MAAF website, I found the books by Kayla Williams, Love My Rifle More than You, and Plenty of Time When We Get Home. Though not an Objectivist, Williams was indeed a Rand-fan, reading Atlas Shrugged while on deployment in Iraq and relating well to Dagny's battles against incompetence.  (I reviewed her books on my blog.) 

 

I noted in another post that a superior NCO found my picture at the MAAF site. We were serving in the same office then, but it did not seem to affect his view of me. We still socialize. 

 

Much as been written about fundamentalist Protestants prosyletizing at the USAF Academy. The stories and reports are worth knowing about.

 

I suppose that in the federal military, the numbers are more representative, but in the Texas State Guard, I have never met a Catholic chaplain. I know from statewide drills that even in Texas, all kinds of people serve in the military. I know that we have Jews and Muslime, and I suspect some Hindus and Buddhists. (DFW and Houston are big cities.)  And I know from standing at the back during leadership conferences, that not everyone bows their heads at the chaplain's command. At his introductory sermon, our current chaplain started off by asserting that he had a  "Constitutional Right to Witness for My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."  Maybe he does. That still leaves a lot of spiritual needs unaddressed. However, it is also true that every unit leader from the corporal to the commanding general is tasked with mentoring and guidance as a requirement of effective leadership.  (The US Army publishes training manuals FM-22-101 on Leadership Counseling.) So, if you were in the military and if you were looking for "someone to talk to" you might have to test the waters, but you can probably find someone older, wiser, or at least more interested in listening.



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