Sunday, August 24, 2008

Alpha vet Johnny Conroy in Alaska

John recently had a chance to visit Alaska and took that opportunity to visit todays active duty A 1/501 Geronimo's at Ft. Richardson Alaska. Here is his short account of what took place along with a photo.

I arrived at Fort Richardson on 30 July and made it to the battalion at about 1000 hours. No one home. The whole battalion was out for a run "up the mountain" according to the exec for HHC. I looked at the surrounding mountains and was quite awed. I agreed to come back in an hour and went to the PX to browse.
I arrived at the Company A barracks at 1105 hours. I entered and asked the SP4 on Charge of Quarters to see the first sergeant. Not there. I asked for the CO, XO, or any officer. Not there. All Officers and senior NCO's in the battalion were off training or seminaring or something. So I asked the CQ to get me the senior NCO present. He did. Staff Sergeant Schenk arrived and took me into the CO's office. I told him I was there to present a flag, signed by 31 combat veterans of Company A in Nam, to the current company as a show of respect and support for all of their efforts. SSG Schenk asked me to write contact data on the Captain's eraser board. I wrote my email address, and Cpt Zapert's email address and his message to the C O. I did, while SGT Schenk went out in the hall and gave a few orders. He returned and I told him that Val Zapert wished to be the liason between the company and us old-timers in order to coordinate equipping the troops with anything they need and can't get through channels for their next deployment.
He then took me back outside the barracks where he stated, sounding disappointed, that he could only get about a platoon of men together. All 20 men available were formed into ranks, wondering what was up.
I was plannning on addressing the troops and telling them how much we honor them and their service, but SSG Schenk began by introducing me to the men and going into detail about how I was one of the guys who went before them and made the battalion what it was, etc, etc. I was very humbled.
When I addressed the formation I did tell them that we appreciate their service and sacrifices, and pointed out that, although the flag was a 101st flag and they belonged to the 25th Infantry Division now, only Company A combat vets of the Viet Nam War signed the flag, it was their martial heritage, and I was proud to present it to them. It was quite an emotional moment for me. SSG Schenk and I opened the flag up and held it up for them, and he addressed them again, telling them more of the same about guys from our era.
I spoke a few final words and the formation was dissolved. Every man who left formation spontaneously got into a line and shook my hand, thanking me for what I had done in Nam. I was shocked and unable to speak. When SP4 Velez (I hope the name is right) reached out to shake my hand he gave me the subdued plastic CIB he had removed from his uniform, and thanked me. What an honor! I am not going to part with that.
Anyway, a few of the guys had asked questions as we shook hands, or afterward. At least half a dozen asked me if I was in the A Shau. I couldn't believe they even knew of the place. I learned that when they arrive for duty in the battalion they are given a pretty thorough history lesson on the battalion's past. It is to instill pride in them, I suppose.
I went to the Colonel's office, inspected the gladius there, had my photo taken with the regimental flag of our day, and received a command challenge coin from the colonel's clerk.
Those guys just all treated me like gold. I tried constantly to turn the tables and thank them, but I think they knew that we appreciate them and they were more interested in me as a Geronimo soldier of old.
I decided to hit the road since I have been known to say the wrong thing and screw up a perfect time. In doing so, I left in good standing.
I could not make it back to watch the battalion parachute jump later in the week as invited, but will never forget the time I spent there.
I was really inpressed with these guys. They are always positive, professional, courteous, and respectful. Twenty of America's finest paratroopers, how could I not be overawed? The brigade will deploy (probably to Afghanistan) before year's end. Most of the men in the formation have at least one prior combat deployment because they are wearing (besides jump wings and CIB's) 25th ID patches and AIRBORNE tabs on their right shoulder (One guy wore a USMC patch on his right, but he had seen the light). SSG Schenk has been in the company for 9 years, and has no desire to transfer. That's what these guys think of their unit.
It wasn't such a short report after all, nor was the visit that will last a lifetime for me.
Click photo to enlarge.

Thanks John, a really classy move on your part.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Where's Barry?

If there is anything going on related to Namvets anywhere near Barry Gregorich's home turf in Pennsylvania you can be sure to find him there. Last weekend "The Moving Wall" was nearby. Here's a few pics. (click to enlarge)

Barry and his lovely wife Jill strike a pose. That's a great T-shirt Barry!


Friday, August 15, 2008

What's Going On Here?

Well... for starters I decided to try a new color scheme. I was getting tired of the light blue/dark blue look and these old eyes of mine were finding it harder to read the text. So now we have a light tan background with a clean red, blue and black for text and links. I've already got some positive feedback (mainly about better readability) and have begun changing over pages at the website. It will take a while for the change-over to be completed but I hope you will all think it a change for the better.


About a year ago I thought it would be cool to put jukeboxes on the Flashbacks pages. I've been watching the stats for those pages and it seems I was wrong. While the Flashbacks pages are still popular they are getting nowhere near the hits that the database with the individual clickable/downloadable music links were stored. I think a big reason for this is that you can't download the songs from the jukebox to save on your own PC.

Ok, I learned my lesson and the database links are going back up and the jukeboxes are coming down. The database links were visited by over 60 counties around the world with hundreds of clicks per day so I'm gonna go with the majority on this call.

A little about the music: All music files at Flashbacks will be in Windows Media Audio format (.wma - streaming audio). When a link is clicked your default media player should open and begin streaming the file. Depending on your settings you may be prompted to download the file first. Make sure your default player is set to accept and play streaming audio files. If you would rather save the file to your PC for play later just "right click/save target as" and it's yours. All Flashbacks music files have been optimized for play on your personal computer and in thier current form will not play on standard home or auto CD players. However you can save and burn them to a disk that will play on any PC.

I going to start by loading up 25 songs in each year from 1965 to 1975 which will be quite a bit more songs than are currently in the Jukes. So that you can all get an idea how this will turn out I have already made the changes to the 1968 page at the website. The rest will follow as soon as I can get them coded.


Have you ever asked yourself "what's with the google ads here at the blog and around the website?" Well the answer is "I put them there." A little over a year ago I applied to be a member of the Google AdSense program. They checked the site out for about a week and it was accepted. The idea was to see if I could earn enough money to offset my web hosting fee which is about $10.25 a month. This is not a high volume website. It's primarily a site aimed at Vietnam veterans of a specific military unit and there ain't a whole lot of us out there. A nice thing about the AdSense program is that it creates ads based on the content of the pages they are on and that's why you see a lot of military oriented stuff advertised here.

The first day ads were displayed here was April 1st, 2007 almost exactly 16.5 months ago. Here are the actual stats for that time period as of today. Page impressions (how many times a page with ads was viewed) 31,082, how many times an ad was clicked 838, Total earnings $102.61 (about 20 cents a day - $6.22 a month) This is not a get rich quick scheme but it's putting a nice dent in my webhosting fees.

Please don't get me wrong on this. I'm in no way suggesting visitors here start randomly clicking on ads. Google is not stupid and will notice any radical changes. I do not want to be kicked out of this program so please be cool. My intent is just to make you aware of the fact that when an ad is clicked the Geronimo website will benefit. If an ad does catch your eye keep that in mind.

Now you know!

later, Joynt