Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Times Have Changed

Remember when you were little and mom and dad taught you to open the door for those coming and going? Whether it is a store or your house. Remember how you saw an elderly loading or unloading a car and mom and dad taught you it was polite and correct to offer help? Remember when those people said thank you? How about last when you tried the same? Or did you even make the effort? When you made that effort, was it welcomed with a thanks or rolled eyes and a snarl?

Kinda busts my ass that I can offer help to some one, whether they need it or not and and get a dirty look. I remember days when you respected elders and helped them, no matter what you were doing. Now days you have to hope that you do not get sprayed with and hope for the polite no thank you. I offered to help some one this morning load their groceries in their car. I walked up and said "let me get that for ya". I got a rude and impolite, "I got it. I'm not crippled." I was being me and trying to do the nice thing and there was an attempt to insult me.

I was taught better than that. For example, I had the privilege to hunt at Sonya's mom's house. I was also welcomed to stay there and have dinner and sleep there so I would not have to drive in the mornings. I offered to fix a few things around her house and helped out with what I could. I could have done more, but it is better than doing nothing.

I wonder how parents today were raised to treat others with respect and forgot to pass it on to their children. My mom would have my ass if she knew I was disrespectful to anyone. Let alone my parents. I get tired of seeing kids in the store running the family. My mom would have, and still would, bust my 30 year old ass. Right there in front of God and everyone. And trust me when I say that I teach Courtney respect. She is learning it more from me than anyone. I have to believe that because of how she used to act in front of me. She knows that I will pass on what and how my parents taught me.

Why is it so hard for a parent to discipline? It isn't hard. Who cares if some one thinks that spanking is wrong. Your parents did it and look at you. OK, not all of you. There were days that no one cared what cartoon you watch, what video game you played, how you played outside or if you got your ass busted on a regular basis. I know that technology has changed since then, but we grew up fine watching GI Joe and He-Man and all the other violent cartoons. We didn't think we could shoot thousands of real bullets and no one get hurt. We never thought that we could drop an anvil on our brother, flatten him, and try to blow him up with an air compressor. I am tired of society blaming violence and our problems on TV and video games. How about education our kids with good teachers instead of teachers giving those private sex ed lessons. How about we have parents that are active in their kids lives and actually be parents. Stop letting them hide in a room all weekend and do something they want to do as a family. That doesn't mean if they say they don't want to go, don't. That means drag their crying little, embarrassed butt along and make them have fun. My parents did it all the time, and still try too. Most of our friends think that we have cool parents cause they are always involved to this day.

I am lucky to have a family calls just to call every day when I am siting down to a hot meal that is cold when I get off the phone. I am lucky to have parents that come to visit. I am lucky to have parents that can be a pain in the rear and even annoying at times. I will never tell them they are a pain or annoying when they are, because they raised me better. OK, mom I did yell that time you were annoying us all playing in the floor with Courtney, but we couldn't take it anymore.

So, shut off the babysitter, I mean TV, and do something with your kid. Even if it is just talk. Or pick up the phone and call and annoy that kid that moved out a long time ago. I know you are call as soon as you read this mom so I won't answer. OK, I will because it is my mom.

Stop blaming others for your kid's problems. You know how your mom and dad raised you. If worked, why are you afraid to do it. Afraid what your friends will think. I do believe that if you have kids, you are out of high school by now. Who cares what they think. It is your child. Be a parent.

Wow, I went from some rude lady to raising kids. I know that I do not see my daughter enough, but when I do, I cherish every moment and I am fighting to get more time. And spending money I don't have to make sure I am with her more.

SGT John Strader

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Military Pay

I have been spending a lot of time on www.fieldandstream.com reading some forums and learning things about hunting. I came across this off topic post this morning and thought that I would share it.


AMEN! God Bless this Airman!!!


Just to set the record straight, this Cindy Williams is not the one from Laverne and Shirley. Check out Snopes to understand who she is.

Military Pay

This is an Airman's response to Cindy Williams' editorial piece in the Washington Times about MILITARY PAY, it should be printed in all newspapers across America

Ms. Cindy Williams wrote a piece for the Washington Times, denouncing the pay raise(s) coming service members' way this year citing that she stated 13% wage increase was more than they deserve.

A young airman from Hill AFB responds to her article below. He ought to get a bonus for this.

"Ms Williams: I just had the pleasure of reading your column, "Our GIs earn enough" and I am a bit confused. Frankly, I'm wondering where this vaunted overpayment is going, because as far as I can tell, it disappears every month between DFAS (The Defense Finance and Accounting Service) and my bank account. Checking my latest earnings statement I see that I make $1,117.80 before taxes per month. After taxes, I take home $874.20. When I run that through the calculator, I come up with an annual salary of $13,413...60 before taxes, and $10,490.40, after.

I work in the Air Force Network Control Center where I am part of the team responsible for a 5,000 host computer network I am involved with infrastructure segments, specifically with Cisco Systems equipment. A quick check under jobs For Network Technicians in the Washington , D.C.. area reveals a position in my career field, requiring three years experience with my job. Amazingly, this job does NOT pay $13,413.60 a year. No, this job is being offered at $70,000 to $80,000 per annum...........

I'm sure you can draw the obvious conclusions.

Given the tenor of your column, I would assume that you NEVER had the pleasure of serving your country in her armed forces. Before you take it upon yourself to once more castigate congressional and DOD leadership for attempting to get the families in the military's lowest pay brackets off of WIC and food stamps, I suggest that you join a group of deploying soldiers headed for AFGHANISTAN ; I leave the choice of service branch up to you. Whatever choice you make, though, opt for the SIX month rotation: it will guarantee you the longest possible time away from your family and friends, thus giving you full "deployment experience."

As your group prepares to board the plane, make sure to note the spouses and children who are saying good-bye to their loved ones. Also take care to note that several families are still unsure of how they'll be able to make ends meet while the primary breadwinner is gone obviously they've been squandering the "vast" piles of cash the government has been giving them.

Try to deploy over a major holiday; Christmas and Thanksgiving are perennial favorites. And when you're actually over there, sitting in a foxhole, shivering against the cold desert night and the flight sergeant tells you that there aren't enough people on shift to relieve you for chow, remember this: trade whatever MRE (meal-ready- to-eat) you manage to get for the tuna noodle casserole or cheese tortellini, and add Tabasco to everything. This gives some flavor.

Talk to your loved ones as often as you are permitted; it won't nearly be long enough or often enough, but take what you can get and be thankful for it. You may have picked up on the fact that I disagree with most of the points you present in your op ed piece.

But, tomorrow from KABUL , I will defend to the death your right to say it.

You see, I am an American fighting man, a guarantor of your First Amendment rights and every other right you cherish. On a daily basis, my brother and sister soldiers worldwide ensure that you and people like you can thumb your collective noses at us, all on a salary that is nothing short of pitiful and under conditions that would make most people cringe. We hemorrhage our best and brightest into the private sector because we can't offer the stability and pay of civilian companies.

And you, Ms. Williams, have the gall to say that we make more than we deserve?

A1C Michael Bragg Hill AFB AFNCC

In my own experience I have come across several people in my career that have no respect for the military, especially those that are fathers or are not a gun toting infantryman. I would like to educate you a little on the military.

First of all, when a unit/division deploys, it is not only the ground pounding grunts that go. Everyone that makes the operation work goes. That means even the mailman (which was my first deployment), the cook, the admin (my second deployment), supply, EVERYONE goes. With out the supply there, how are the infantrymen getting bullets? Without the truck drivers, HOW are the bullets getting there? Without the cook, how are they fed so they have strength to fight? Without the mailman how are they getting letters from home? Without the admin how are they getting paid, getting awards, getting promoted, getting life insurance? Without admin to keep files up to date how are we supposed to know who to contact if they are hurt, or God forbid, killed?

So you see, it takes a lot of people to run a military branch, not to mention a war. I only mentioned a very small part of a huge picture. I understand that there are those that are getting shot at and blown up, but we are all serving the purpose. I have the utmost respect for the men on the front lines. I know that I have the comfort of an office when I am deployed and have nothing to complain about, but we are all still away from family. We are all confined to a very small area for several months at a time. We don't have the luxury to drive across the state and go see family or friends. We walk down the road and see a friend and never leave an area not much bigger than a city block for a year. Some of us are lucky and have 2 city blocks to wonder around. When I say city block, I am not talking nice big building. I am talking crappy little huts.

I have been told I am a horrible father for being willing to leave my daughter and go overseas. A good father never does that. Well, I want to keep this a safe and wonderful country for that little angel.

So, if you do not respect your servicemen and women, keep your mouth shut or I am sure that some one will help you keep it shut!!

The article that I post is regarding pay. I bet that you did not know that there are certain jobs in the military that people only do for the initial enlistment and then find out they can makes 2 and 3 times the amount of money on the outside. We are all paid the same at the same rank no matter what job we have. So, a cook on the outside might make $15,000 to $20,000 a year on the outside and a computer tech can make over $50,000 a year on the outside, but in the army, we all make the same. If you want to complain that your tax dollars are paying too much for your military, remember, there are those that are like me that can get out and make a lot more, but choose to stay and serve our country. Thank them, not complain.

I am done ranting over this for now. It really hit me and made me think that recently I was laughed at by some one you all know well (Christina and her boyfriend) because I am admin in the army. Well, at least I stood up to serve and I am proud of what I do. Try explaining to some one that shallow that it serves a purpose. To people like that, if you are not shooting or being shot at, you are nothing. Well, in my eyes, we are.

God Bless you all that support us!!!!

SGT John Strader

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Society Today

I was watching the news the other day and people were complaining that there is a DirectTV commercial with David Spade and Chris Farley. The problem to some people is that Farley is dead and they are upset that they are using a piece out of Tommy Boy for the spot. It is the scene in the hotel where Farley puts on Spade's jacket and is doing the big man in a little jacket scene. That is one of the funniest parts of the movie and and one of my favorites. I have to agree with Spade when he says that believes that Farley would love the commercial. People will find anything to complain about.

I was reading some forums on FieldandStream.com yesterday and some one is complaining that with the technology today that hunting is too easy. He stated that with today's technology that he can get his deer and be out of the woods by 645 in the morning. Why in the world would you complain about that while you are using the technology that is out there? He stated that he wished that the technology did not exist because it is taking away from the challenge and the sport. Well, why is he using it then? That makes no sense to me. I talked to a guy yesterday and he has scouted, photoed, and seen a buck in a certain area several times. He has been after this monster buck all year. He has used what he knows, technology and good old smarts and still has not gotten the trophy buck he is after. I also know of people that have used the trail cams and photoed trophy deer and set up where they are and still have not seen or gotten the buck they are after. Even with all the technology that is out there, it is still a challenge to get the trophy. I have set up on several paths that I know are being used daily by deer. I will go on one day, mess up the tracks, stomp around and then the next day there are several new tracks and deer prints in my boot prints. But I am not mad that I am not seeing them. I know that I am there at the wrong time of the day. Maybe I need to move on down the path further cause I am setting up where they are in the middle of the night. No matter what technology is out there, there is still a challenge to everything.

Last night when I was hunting, it was almost sunset and I heard a shot. I had given up and headed back to the truck. By the time I was there, I noticed that all other hunters around me had started leaving, except one. He was parked in the direction of the shot I heard, so I waited for a while on him to come out, and a couple other guys come out in the same area. I talked to them and they heard the shot and saw the deer. We waited on the guy to come out and talked to him. He was sure that he had hit the deer but could not find it. We decided that the four of us would go look. By now, it was dark, although we had a full moon out. We headed back into the woods and looked for over an hour trying to help this Marine find his deer, to no luck. This goes to show that there is a friendship that can bond hunters together. No one cares where you are from, just that you are a hunting brother. You can be on the side of the road after a hunt and the majority of vehicles will stop and talk to you asking what you saw, where you were, and how your hunt was. There is no other place to find a brotherhood like this. I actually find a new hunting buddy for back home just by making a call to pay a bill. I should be hunting with my new hunting buddy this weekend. He wants to learn a few things and has plenty of land at his disposal and we are going to check it out and see what we can find.

I'm all over on this post, for one reason is that I started this at 9am and it is almost noon now. I am actually having to work today!!

I have been thinking about that Jeremy has been saying regarding possessions. It is weird when you think about it. OK, you go to the store and you want and MP3 player to listen to while you are at the gym, walking, or whatever reason. What is the first thing you think when you think MP3 player? iPOD. Who doesn't? It is all that you think about. Who thinks about the Sony that is half the price and just as good or better? What about those that get the tech magazines each month and see something new they have to have that costs twice as much as something that is close, but not quite as good? I used to be very guilty of this. I was hardcore into computers and computer gaming two years ago. Now, if it works, who cares. I would spend thousands of dollars each year just trying to keep up, when it was not needed. Your thing might not be computers, but is it car? TV? Clothes? Why do you need a $30 t-shirt when the one that does not have that logo on it covers you the same, and serves the same purpose? Don't get me wrong, I will not wear some designs or colors, but I don't care who made it. As long as I like it, that is all I care about.

We all have our little quirks that make us happy and make us who we are. Some of us are still figuring out who we are. Some of us will be doing it for years to come. Me, for example. I have always enjoyed hunting but I married two women that did not like it and I did not have time for me and to make me happy. Last night I could have, and should have, went home and cleaned the house, but I did what made me happy and I went hunting for a few hours. I am learning that the more I spend outside doing what I want, the happier I am. I have been asked several time recently if I have dated since Tessa left or if I have tried. Well, I did date one person, Sonya. It was great while it lasted, but there were some differences and other issues we needed to work out. I have found comfort in discovering me and being me right now. It is not that I would not date, but I am not going to settle or go out looking for it. People are enjoying me being me. I am not going to stop being who I am and doing what I love for some one, other than Courtney. I get tired of hearing other hunters say they cannot hunt very often cause of a spouse. I don't understand that if a spouse wants someone to be happy, why not let them do what they love and what brings joy to them. I have had chances and opportunities to go on dates and meet new people, but I am too busy keeping me happy to worry about keeping another happy. I will tell you now that the next person I am with will either love it or hate that I have things I want to do with my time. I am me and not who you want to transform me into.

People ask me if I am going to start dating or looking after hunting season. Well, I hate to break their heart, hunting season never ends. There is always something out there to hunt. I am going to try my hand at turkey hunting for the first time this year. I am waiting until after deer season, but I am getting ready. I have most of what I need to go. And it is not starting to date. I am always dating even if I don't have a date. Why should I sit at home or go out looking when I can spend that time being happy instead of frustrated that I am not seeing anyone? Life is too short not to enjoy yourself. Don't get me wrong, I would love to share my time with some one, but why should I sweat it? I was not looking for Christina when she fell in my lap.

I know that I have been all over the place on this post and it is long. I hope that everyone that logs on takes the time to read it all. I have a lot to say about some things that I have been thinking about. I don't want to only tell you about hunting and boring you to death with all of that.

One more thing. Almost everyday I see the same people at the gas station and at the gates coming onto Fort Campbell. They always ask how I am and I tell them awesome, great, or whatever comes to mind. Every day is a great day if you let it be. There is no reason to have a bad day. No matter what has happened, find something positive in it. You get a flat tire, you just got a little workout changing it. Or you got delayed just enough to your destination that you heard your favorite song on the radio and was singing at the top of your lungs. Let the little things make you happy, not bring you down. It is too easy. Once again, I will mention "You Are What You Think" by David Stoop. Maybe if I mention it enough, you go out and find it and actually read it.

I hope that this finds everyone is having a great day!!!

SGT John Strader