Saturday, March 29, 2008

Survived Mess Night Without Becoming Part of the Mess


Ladies, does this look familiar, only in gender reversal? Yes, that would be a line to the MENS' room. Now you don't see that very often do you? Why the line? It was Command and Staff College's Mess Night. From what I am told, it is usually more commonly a night of drunken shenanigans and roasts. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being dinner at your grandma's and 10 being "Marines Gone Wild on Spring Break", this evenings Mess night rated about a 3.

And you will be proud to know that I did not get dragged into the middle of the mess. I promised our docent services manager that would never happen again. It would never happen again because I had nightmares for two weeks. Now, as you might remember from my post last year, all I did was take a drink to someone. But I had nightmares that I was standing naked in the middle of 300 Marines and they were all laughing at me.

This year, I actually knew people. Brad was part of this class, so I knew him and his room mates. My associate pastor is also part of this class. My associate pastor was introducing me to the men at his table. He started out with "RG goes to my church, she's an escort, or what do they call you?"

"Um, don't introduce me as an escort, that has kind of a bad connotation." To that all the men laughed.

"I'm a docent" I replied.

Here are some photos from the event.

Now, some may be wondering where the women were since there was no line to the ladies room. Well, this would be it for the ladies. There may have been a couple more milling about but these gals all seemed to know each other. One of them was Brad's room mate. So it looks like we have two naval officers and three Marine Corps officers. Those are the female dress mess uniforms.


Below, the F4U Corsair from the Korean War era appears to be diving down on party goers. The bugle has been sounded and they are all finding their seats, that is why the bar is so empty. Trust me, earlier in the evening you couldn't even see the bar unless you were on the second deck.


This photo must have been taken earlier than the one above because there are still a few people around the bar.


Below, the AV8B Harrier 'dives' down onto the tables below. This was taken during the guest of honor's speech.


Another angle showing the entire Harrier and the SR1-Chicksaw helicopter.


In this photo we have the Curtis Jenny and the Harrier and the HRS-1, along with the students in Command and Staff College.


In this photo, we are under the right wing of the Corsair looking down.


This photo shows the "Ship Super Structure" staircase, the Jenny and the LVT-3 landing at Tarawa. (o.k. there will probably be some history buff that will say, that can't be an LVT-3 landing at Tarawa, those were LVT-1s. Yes, they would be correct. Here is a bit of Museum trivia for you. There are no LVT-1s in the Marine Corps collections. They had an LVT-3 - - so it is representing an LVT-1 landing at Tarawa. Did I confuse you?


How was this one different from last year's? This year they actually did some silly slide shows and they did the charges and fines. There was no 'grog' and no carrier deck landings. I'd say a little more relaxed than last year's event. I wonder how next year's will be?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Celebrating a Birthday

Three of us from my bible study got together to celebrate one of our member's birthday. It was a nice dinner - - but embarrassingly, I was short cash. ARGH! This always happens to me!!! I think I'm prepared and whamo, I'm not. Our birthday girl is in camo - -she's an Air Force Major and just works really hard so we were happy to be able to celebrate with her.

Now, if you are in the Washington, DC area, you have to try out the local restaurant chain, Lebanese Taverna. I'll have to write up a review. They are wonderful! We got hummus and flat bread as an appetizer - - it was so good it just melted in my mouth - - bread and hummus. They also served herbs in olive oil with the bread - - whatever was in that mixture - - it was great. I think we all could have just sat there and eaten bread all evening. I got the mixed grill - - lamb and chicken. It was so good! And our waiter was really cool. He remembered us mentioning we were waiting for the birthday girl -- at the end of our meal he brought out baklava with a candle. We were all surprised. Our birthday girl commented, "Wow, you guys did good keeping that a surprise." I said we did good because we didn't ask for it. But we sang for her and people around us clapped. We ate at the Tyson's Galleria location. Great atmosphere. I have also eaten at the Pentagon Row location. It was difficult to pick something to eat because everything on the menu looked good.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

First Run Outside in 2008 and Zombie Co-workers

Amazingly, I was able to run 1 and a quarter miles outside today. I think it was easier because I ran with my co-worker and we talked a lot of the way. My goal is to add half a mile every week or two until I'm up to 3 miles. I don't want to injure myself (I did that the last time I was running outside and pushed too hard).

But all in all for the first run outside, I feel pretty positive about it.

Oh, and then I had a great conversation with one of the military police officers later in the evening in the cardio room at work. I don't know what it is with me and men in uniform - - haha! The last time I worked on the project I am on now, he and I used to work out at about the same time and would chat - - then I moved to the bored-out-of-my-mind project.

You know what -- he remembered all that - - all the details about me moving to the other project. Hmmmm. And that was over a year ago.

The day ended on an up - - it started on a real downer.

I forgot the bagels today.

It was my day to bring the darn things and I was running late and its not part of my routine. So I had to drop all my stuff off at my desk and run out and get them.

Can I just tell you my co-workers are like sharks. I mean they are feeding machines. People were coming by my desk before I got in asking where I was and where the bagels were. Forgetting the bagels was like my biggest work nightmare. Its like that dream you have where you miss a final in college because you show up for it a day late (I actually did this - - really missed a final because I showed up a day late). So anyway - - I'm now living the cubical world nightmare of ravenous zombie co-workers chasing me through the desk labyrinth chanting, "We want our bagels!"

Well, I made the panicked run to Panera Bread - - that is a bakery chain here in the U.S. They make the best breads and baked goods. So I got bagels and pastries.

Luckily when I returned, most of the project was in a meeting. My life and limbs were spared from the hungry stampede of zombie co-workers.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Personal Before Picture


The off again, on again workouts have prevented the consistency required for any noticeable results!

I have done 3 weeks then been injured (remember the neck strain that lasted the entire month of December?) Then I got back and was going really well for 3 weeks and then I had three straight days of cold showers in the locker room at work. The cold showers took their toll and I got a really bad cold. So I was out again for a couple weeks. So anyway, three weeks back in again and then I decide to go swim laps. Wouldn't you know the darn gym ran out of hot water as I was showering after my swim! The next day I had the flu and that just lingered.

I started again last week, just two days. This week my goal is 3 days.

My goal was to run in a 5k sponsored by work in May. They only allow the first 350 people who sign up run - - otherwise all of us employees would be out running, not such a bad thing really. Well, I didn't get my registration in early enough. All the slots filled up in the first week. I am really bummed. I'll have to find another 5k to run this spring.

I'd like to compete in a dualathon, kind of like a triathlon but only 2 events. Since I don't own a bike, it would be running and swimming. I'd like to do one so I'm going to find one and I'm going to do it.

The BIG fitness goal is to run the Marine Corps 10k. There is no way I could do a marathon and to be honest, I have no desire to run 26 miles. 6.2 miles is more my speed. Registration opens on June 4th - - I'm going to do it!

The other fitness goal, tied into all these running goals, is to lose weight. Now I know I look fine to everyone - - but I am NOT where I want to be or where I should be. My Body Mass Index is 25.1 - - If you are in the 25 - 29.9 range, you are considered overweight.

Boy is that some humble pie for a former three sport varsity athlete. Athletics have always been a big part of my life. Being fit has always been a big part of my life. While I am healthy - - I recognize I am on the border of not being healthy and I need to nip in the bud right now. I really don't like the way I look or feel. I'm tired. I want my energy back.

Oh, who am I kidding...

I want to fit into my skinny jeans!

I've often said that I want to live until I am 120. And I want to be walking to the top of mountains when I'm 120. I can't do that if I let myself go.

So, here is where I start. I look fine, I know I do. But I want to be better, for me, not for anyone else -- well God - - because maybe he needs me to do something 40 years from now and if I don't get myself in gear - - I won't be able to do it.

Here are the stats:

Height 5feet 6 inches, Weight 155 pounds
Measurements: Bust 39, Waist 32.5, Hips 40.5, Upper thigh 22, upper arm 12

Do you know what is scary, when I was in college, my waist was 24 inches and my thigh is almost that size!

The goal:
In six weeks, lose 5 pounds and lose at least 1 inch from my chest, waist and hips. Oh and to remain 5 feet 6 inches (I don't want to start shrinking yet! or ever!)
So that is it, that is my goal.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Baby Got Book

I found this video last night and just thought it was cool.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Semper Fi Memorial Park Updates

Oh my goodness, the Memorial Park looks so awesome with its landscaping. I look forward to spring and the re-birth of all the trees and flowers. Let me take you for a walk.

But anyway, along the walk way, there are new markers, not only have the individual bricks paid the way for the paving but larger donations from groups and individuals to honor their marines.


I was touched to see three bricks dedicated to Marines lost in Iraq. So many of the bricks are dedicated to veterans from wars long ago. I was amazed as I looked down at this new stretch to see these three Corporals. The Lance Corporals and Corporals have taken the brunt of casualties in Iraq. These men are typically about 20 years old and are in their second year of service to the Corps. Is it by chance that I happened to look down and see their names? I don't know. I believe nothing is random - - so maybe I'll have to do some research on these three young men and tell you about them later.


4,000 additional bricks have been added, bringing the total so far to 11,000.
From the Taylor overlook, this is the walkway into the woods and up to the chapel site. The landscaping and the chrome letters on the wall are all new from my last visit.
"We are proud to claim the title of United States Marine"


Do you know what I particularly like about the landscaping? They used leaves for mulch. I really like the lines of the wall benches. Many of the trees have lights that will shine up through the leaves. I hope some of these are flowering trees. While they will kill my allergies, they are so beautiful to photograph. I'm anticipating spring to watch Mother Nature unwrap her gifts to us!



This is the site of the non-denominational chapel, below. Not much now but I will keep you abreast of the changes as they occur. It will certainly be beautiful. The plan is an open design with etched glass windows, stone walls and and natural wood beams and roof. It will seat about 70 people and will be available for small ceremonies such as funerals and weddings.


The chapel was designed by Fentress Architects of Denver. It is the centerpiece of the park. The funds for the Chapel were donated by Tim Day and his wife Sandy. Day served as a Captain of Marines from 1959 to 1962. He is the founder and chairman of Bar-S-Foods in Arizona.
Day credits the Marine Corps with teaching him values and leadership skills that have played significant roles in his success in business and continue to influence his life.

In addition to the 4,000 new bricks, 4 new monuments have been added. I have shared with you the Osprey Memorial Monument in an earlier post. Below is the monument dedicated to the "Soldiers of the Sea".


This monument is dedicated to 2/4, the Magnificent Bastards.


I'll have to get photos of the other monuments.

Below, is an overlook that branches off from the main walkway. I don't know if they are going to build a structure here or if it will just be the way it is.

This is the view of the museum from this overlook. In addition to the paved pathways, there are unpaved "rustic" switchback trails through the woods. At points on the paved paths and "rustic" paths will be "rally points" with a monument as its focal point.
Of course, as things blossom, I will share!


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Through the Lens

Yes, I'm still posting on the Iwo Jima Reunion. I'm behind thanks to my paying day job. Pictured above is Norman Hatch, a combat Cameraman for the United States Marine Corps during WW2. I had the pleasure of interviewing him.

The primary job of combat camera was to capture Marines doing what Marines do in order to make training films. Basically, they were taking the 'game' film that would be analyzed by military leadership to figure out what they did correctly and what could be improved upon for the next battle.

In addition to creating training films, the footage was edited and distributed to news organizations where it ended up on those news reels that played before the movies. In our current information overloaded society, it is hard to imagine a time where people only got their news from news papers, radio and the news reels at the town theater.

ou may notice while watching the clips below that often times, the camera man is standing while he's filming. How the heck did they not get shot? Norm responded that he thought camera men survived because the Japanese may have thought the cameramen were crazy and therefore, killing a crazy man on the battlefield would have been bad luck.

If you are interested in watching this academy award winning documentary, here it is:

Hatch then went on to land on Iwo Jima as a motion picture cameraman with 90 other combat journalists where film shot by the pool was edited into another short documentary and released in April 1945, just a month after the battle. This documentary was nominated for an Academy award but did not get the nod.

Here we go, to the Shores of Iwo Jima with the Marines (I can't believe I found this on You Tube!)

Believe it or not, Marine Corps and Navy combat camera only lost two men on Iwo Jima.
Combat cameramen in World War 2 operated a bit differently than they do today. Today, Marine combat cameramen are riflemen first, they carry standard weapons in addition to their cameras. At the beginning of WW2, combat cameramen didn't carry any weapons. Norm Hatch requested that cameramen be permitted to at least carry a pistol. I have been told by docents at the Museum, that a General told Hatch combat camera could not carry weapons because their job was not to fight but to film. Besides, having a cameraman present made the Marine's fight harder (gotta look good in the news reel for the folks back home).

Hatch did say that cameramen were permitted to carry a pistol. They couldn't carry a rifle because having it slung over their shoulders would have gotten in the way and prevented them from doing their job correctly.

For the battle for Iwo Jima, the Marine Corps had 30 combat cameramen assigned to each Division. These included both still and motion picture cameramen. Three Marine Corps Divisions were committed to taking Iwo Jima. Doing the math, there were 90 combat cameraman. Seems like a lot of camera coverage for an island that is only 5 miles long and 2 miles wide. Consider this, there were 20,000 Japanese soldiers dug in and the US landed with some 70,000 Marines, Navy Corpsmen and Seabees.

The photographers were assigned to each unit and they were part of their units during training on Hawaii.

On Iwo Jima, motion picture photographers shot in color and in black and white. the B&W film could be tinted back at the studios.

In order to get the film and written correspondence off the beach in a timely manner, there was a landing craft dedicated to the press. It came ashore several times aday to collect items and return them to the ships. From the ships, a PBY or PBM aircraft would fly everything out to Saipan where the Navy would edit and develop the items and then send them to the United States.

All combat cameramen were to return to the ships every 2 days to turn in film, have their cameras serviced and check-in so it could be confirmed they were still alive. This was how Bob Campbell, Bill Genaust and Joe Rosenthal got sent to cover the raising of the replacement flag on Mt. Suribachi.

Since the film was sent out for processing, no one on the island, including the photographers had seen any of the flag raising photos. Rosenthall's photo had been shot in horizontal on 4-inch (medium format) film. The actual frame was unremarkable, according to Hatch, because it had a lot of 'noise'. The actual flag raising was a little portion of the image, right in the middle of the frame, to the left you could see the beach with all of the landing craft, you could see the top of the mountain with all of the debris, and to the right, you could see blurry ships surrounding the island. A photo editor back on Saipan cropped the photo, getting rid of all the 'noise' and focusing on the flag raising. Hatch said that while Rosenthal took the picture, it was this unnamed photo editor that made it into the iconic image that it is.

Almost immediately there was controversy back in the states over this photo. When Hatch returned to the US to deliver motion picture film to the War Department, he got summoned to the Commandant's office. He was the first person to return to the states from the battle, which was still raging. Without a shower or a change of clothes, Hatch arrived in the General's office were representatives from Time and the Associated Press were waiting. They wanted to Hatch to confirm whether or not the photo had been posed.

Hatch hadn't even seen the photo yet. However, he knew Genaust and Campbell had also been present and they had taken motion pictures as well as still photos. In fact, Campbell had taken photos from an angle that allowed him to capture the lowering of the first flag and the raising of the second, together. Hatch had no doubts that the Rosenthal photo was un staged and spontaneous, because he had two other photographers photos to prove it.

It is amazing that even with all the photographic evidence that there continues to be so much controversy 63 years later. Controversy that gets fed by inconsistencies with the stories the veterans themselves are telling. But, more on that when I take a look at a new book coming out this spring.