Monday, February 28, 2011

More success

I have been on leave from my military duties for some time, and just had the opportunity to log on to the .mil network in order to check my email. As I browsed the new arrivals and deleted ones that were related to my previous billet, I came across one that I misread when I first saw it sitting in my Outlook queue.

"Mike Sadler" were the first words that I took note of, and I continued on to the business of removing others. As I filtered through the remaining new emails a bit more carefully, I realized that I had seen the name of the sender, not the subject line of the email. I opened it quickly and there it was, a reply from Major Mike Sadler himself!

I have yet to reply, but Sadler offered to take a call at my convenience, and apologized for the lack of correspondence, along with the fact that his memory has faded with the 70 years that have passed. The first thing I think I will tell him is that he, of all people, rate privacy and a certain degree of lapse in memory. He has no doubt forgotten more than I will ever know about the subject of navigation.

Friday, February 25, 2011


As it often happens in one's career in the military, you leave an organization that meant a lot to you, in terms of many things. Most of them tend to be intangible, like the opportunities to stand on a expanse of virgin sand that has probably not seen a human tread on it before your presence, where you realize that your profession gives meaning to your life.

I recently left what is likely my last light armored reconnaissance battalion for a billet at one of our infantry schools. While I welcome the break from the grind of preparatory training and eventual deployments, I miss the men who make up that fine battalion already. I have had the opportunity to stand on some remarkable patches of dirt and see some amazing things, just as I did with the first LAR battalion I served with from 2002-2005.

One of the captone operations we conducted was a 160 kilometer raid to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border of Bahram Cha, in order to disrupt insurgent cross-border activity and prevent them from using the Bahram Cha bazaar as a hub for the trafficking of drugs, weapons, foreign fighters and other insurgents. The task force assembled to conduct the mission was immense, by just about every measure imaginable, and movement down and back took its toll on men and machine. I've traveled quite a few long stretches in the variants of the Light Armored Vehicle, the Operation Steel Dawn II was no different. Sadly, that will probably be the last time I traverse the battlefield in one of those beautiful vehicles.

Just a few months after I stepped down from that vehicle, I was saying goodbye to my battalion and my commander, a man who allowed me to be the second-in-command that he needed, and to help forge the unit into the fighting force it was capable of becoming. I gave that man a copy of The Barce Raid: The Long Range Desert Group's Greatest Escapade, by Brendan O'Carroll, to commemorate his joining the ranks, so to speak, of the desert raiders. I inscribed a note of thanks for the opportunity to work with him, and shared the link to this blog. A link to video shot by a combat correspondent is here: