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This blog exists only as an archive. It is a journal that serves as a window into my life as a Marine combat veteran serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; it was written with no filter, no politics and no agenda. Please feel free to follow my journey from beginning to end. Welcome to my life.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

New Look

The new look for this site can be attributed to my graphic-designer sister Sarah, who wrote me a heart to heart email in which she 'leveled' with me. "Jake, I don't like the look of your site, would you mind if I tweaked it???"

Sure Sarah, go ahead, because I'm just an amateur. I must say it probably does look better though.


  1. I can't take credit for it, because it's a template! Haha. But I am glad those &*$% circles are gone!

    Love you lots. Be safe.

  2. made me feel kinda dizzy at first, with the photos on the right ...

  3. Glad to see a post from you, Jake! I think about you every day! You are in my prayers. We miss you.
    Much love,

  4. This looks a bit better, thanks Sarah.

    Today is Memorial Day and I'd like to take a moment to thank Jake and our finest young men and women who are serving in the military, far far away from home. I'm also far away from home, but still in a comfortable office (this one is in the UK). I appreciate the sacrifices you all are making, and I'm proud to call each and every one of you America's finest.

    Well I just read another article about Jake:


    At this pace, blogger may have to setup a dedicated server for the traffic that Jake's life is generating!

  5. I just read about you in a NY Daily News article by Mike Lupica. Thank you so much for fighting in this war. I usually just pray for the troops in general, but now I have a specific name and face. I will continue to read your blog and I wish you and all the soliders a safe and healthy return. I don't even know you, but I already care so much. Be safe.

  6. My name is Teressa and I wanted to thank you for doing this blog. The "real face" of war (found your blog via a news article in the NY Times) is not as horrifying as my democrat compadres would claim, nor is it the angelic visage that the Republicans would claim, either.

    It's you, Jake and the people that serve with you. It's people, complicated and bueatiful.

    I really appreciate this look into what I can only otherwise rely on the headlines for. Thank you.

  7. Jake,
    I read about your blog in today's New York Daily News. I'm glad I came across it. It has immediately been added to my bookmarks.

    I'm a NYC firefighter, and was a probie (about eight months in) on 9/11. I appreciate so much the sacrifice you and all other soldiers make. You are the true heroes of this country.

    Like you, I don't believe in the Bush/Cheney agenda. But I do support the troops, and I do support the cause as it should be... true fighting of terrorists.

    Keep up the great writings about life, and all that comes with it.

    With great respect,

  8. Hi Jake,
    Happy Memorial Day. We hope that you got the cookies we sent a few weeks ago. If not, Tom says to take it up with your superiors. Haha...Take care. Love you, Tom and Kelsey

  9. Thinking of you and your friends this Memorial Day and everyday... miss you

  10. Thank you for doing what you do. You are clearly a very good soldier and an excellent writer!
    Please know as you go about your daily life in Iraq that you are appreciated and supported by us here at home.
    Take care and God Speed
    Ms. Aerie

  11. Thinking of you today buddy, and praying for your safe return for you and all of our troops out there. Have a good memorial day there are a lot of us thinking about you today and everyday.

    There is a cold beer and fresh steak waiting for you when you come back.


  12. Hi,

    I learned of your blog through the article in the Daily News that I read this morning. When I got home I went to your blog and read all of your blogs. I think it is amazing what you are doing. My name is Colleen and I am 18 years old. If you would like to communicate back my email address is mooreco@rider.edu.

    Thank you for doing what you do,

  13. I found your blog via another a board I frequent, just wanted to say as a veteran who served during the first gulf crisis, I totally support the troops without reserve. I have nothing but the highest respect for you and all of the troops currently serving!

    Wishing you a safe and speedy return home! Dude, the spiders creeped me out too!!!

    Much respect and many thanks !!

  14. Jake -- happened across a link to your blog while happily reading abou the Yankees' misery at the NY Daily News website. I am a lifelong Red Sox fan. More importantly, I am a "management and technology consultant" who spent several years (4) working for clients within two Headquarters United States Marine Corps organizations -- M&RA and C4. One of the things I became adept at in my time there was building relationships and cutting through red tape. If you or any of your buddies ever need help navigating the bureaucracy (I know personally how hard that can be, as I worked professionally with several deployed officer and enlisted personnel during their Iraq tours), please don't hesitate to let me know. I can't promise anything but that I will give it my best to help any Devil Dogs who need it. My e-mail address is brianrchapin@gmail.com. Semper Fidelis, and stay safe.

  15. Hi Jake,

    My family and I attended a beautiful Memorial Day Ceremony today high atop Mt. Scott in Portland, OR. Thank you to all of the sacrifices you and your fellow soldiers are making to fight the war on terror and help ensure peace for the Iraqi people. I also read the article about you in the NY Daily News. That is really cool. I will continue to spread the word about your blog site and my family includes you and your fellow soldiers in our daily prayers. Good luck and stay safe.

    Portland, OR

  16. I also read about you in the NY Daily News, and like Melanie, it puts a different spinn on things when you have a name and face.
    I wish you well. Know that you and all the troops are in my thoughts and prayers.

  17. Jake, you're an inspiration to all of us back home who take the daily routine (i.e. boarding the subway without incident, strolling through a crowd in Times Square, enjoying a meal at a pizzeria, catching the latest "Pirates" flick) for granted. Please know that your courage, commitment, and sacrifice is not being wasted.

    Thanks from a New Yorker.

  18. Hello Jake :) I also learned about your blog from reading the NY Daily News. I've been meaning to leave a comment since Monday when I read it but I decided to read your blog first.

    Thank you for everything you and the others are doing for us back home.

  19. I cannot really agree that the personal experiences of one soldier are the "true face" of war. Explicit in such comments (see Teressa) is the notion that there is a "real" war beyond politics, and it is just about people. Ergo, one can make no judgments, or discuss morality, because it is all so complicated, and ultimately personal.

    But let me ask: what makes Jake's personal experience more "true" for looking at this horrific war than, say, the experiences of Iraqis who have been devastated physically and mentally by years of war? This "truth" begins to look like evasion of reality -- a wishful thinking. If you want to think about the truth, look at the number of Iraqis who have died. Even conservative estimates dwarf our military casuaties. This is a war we started -- not the Iraqis, not Iran, not Bin Laden. We started it.

    Sometimes, "personal stories" are used to actually hide a larger truth. In this sense, such stories are deeply political.

    Once a personal blog is used by a media columnist to "personalize" and soften the image of the war, personal accounts become innately political. There is nothing more political than claiming that a war (or other phenomenon) is "beyond" politics or is just about individidual people.

    We need to use two sets of eyes to read Jake's blog: one set which looks at his personal experience and wishes him well, and another, analytical, set of eyes which sees how the war is being sold with such personal ("apolitical") narratives.

    War is politics that has failed.

    Wars of choice that exploit uninformed people's wish to do good ultimately undermine democracy.

    Some people clearly still believe that Iraq threatens us. This is absurd. What this war does threaten is our democratic system. Nothing corrodes democracy faster than hysterical fear, (a phenomonon seen so often through history) a fear I see on many of the comments on this blog. The whole rhetoric of the "war on terror" is nothing more than a macho way to say one is terrified of death and ready to embrace any military solution, any subversion of democracy, to feel like a "man" again.

    Let us be rational and brave. Weaponry cannot solve a psychological fear.

  20. Somebody needs to tell that Ratbert dude to throw on his birkenstocks, eat some granola and go throw the frisbee around...and maybe hug some trees while he is at it.

  21. For those of us who know and love Jake, his blog holds more truth than you see on T.V. or read in the newspaper. If you can get an Iraqi to post a blog about his/her expirieces in this war I'll read it and weigh what it says.Until then, when Jake, who is in the heart of the battle grounds talking to the Iraqi people writes a post, will get my full undivided attention!To know Jake is to know the truth is written. (FYI, don't mess with family)

  22. Jake,

    I am sorry that media attention has dragged politics into your personal blog. Keep your chin up, head down, and please continue to use this journal for its true purpose--to keep your friends and family in the loop.

  23. Hey, Jake,

    As said earlier on here, don't worry about any of the comments fo the trolls and politicos on here. You keep doing what you are doing, blog what you want (and can) and those that support you will and to hell with the rest.

    - Ethan

  24. This is the true face of war for one person-Jake Wood. He never claimed it was any other person's story. Leave yourself out of it.

  25. I agree with anonymous' comment (after ratbert's comment).

    ratbert, you need to relax. This is just one man's experience of life as HE is living it. There are no politics in this blog. When I read this blog, I only read what Jake is going through so far away from home and his loved ones. He's a wonderful person and it all comes through in this blog.

  26. I agree with the comments from the people after ratbert. This is not the place to express what you expressed. This is one man's experience and if you read his whole blog you would see that it has no influence of politics in it. Again Thank You Jake for what you and everyone else over there is doing. Be Safe.

  27. Dear Ratbert-

    It is only because of men like Jake that you have the freedom here in America to voice your opinion publicly. Oh yeah, that reminds me that I can voice mine, too - go spout off your political agenda somewhere else!

  28. Hey Ratbert,

    It's the soldiers like Jake and the many that came before him that have risked their lives to protect our freedom and ensure our right to express our opinions, right or wrong. Aside from spouting off a bunch of cr@p on a soldier's blog site, what have you done to better the world? Rock on, Badger Jake!!

    Portland, OR, USA

  29. Mr. (or Ms.) Ratbert (although I am under the assumption that you are a Mr.) I see from your blog profile that one of your favorite pastimes is to subvert. How appropriate.

    You say: I cannot really agree that the personal experiences of one soldier are the "true face" of war.

    I say: Firstly, a Marine is referred to as a warrior, not a soldier. Secondly, I ask upon what do you base your assumption that the personal experience of one warrior is not the "true face" of war? Thirdly, you are certainly entitled to your opinion and are free to express said opinion openly without fear of repercussions only because of men (like Jake) and women that have fought and/or died to defend that right.

    You say: What makes Jake's personal experience more "true" for looking at this horrific war than, say, the experiences of Iraqis who have been devastated physically and mentally by years of war?

    I say: Truth rings through in everything that Jake has written in his blog; the truth as seen through the eyes of one young man's convictions and experiences. If you wish to know the truth through the perspective of an Iraqi's eyes then you are reading the wrong blog.

    You say: Wars of choice that exploit uninformed people's (sic)wish to do good ultimately undermine democracy.

    I say: Firstly, democracy is a rule of majority or mob rule. Democracy is two wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for dinner. The United States of America is a Republic. The wishes of the many can never override the rights of the one. Sadly our hallowed halls of academia fail to teach this distinction today. This if further evidenced by the number of times that you have referred to this nation as a 'democracy'. Secondly, this comment also indicates your ignorance of Bible doctrine. Jesus said, "There will be wars and rumors of wars until I come." It matters not if 99% of the world wishes for peace if the other 1% wishes to wage war. Thirdly, in case you haven't noticed, it is Iraqis that are killing Iraqis wholesale. So much for the 'conservative estimates'. The Iraqi death rate will most certainly rise if our troops are brought home before the area can be stabilized.

    You say: Let us be rational and brave. Weaponry cannot solve a psychological fear.

    I say (since it appears you have directed this comment to the readers versus the blogger):I am being rational and brave. I have no hysteria or 'pyschological fear'. I know for certain that I will not depart this life until it is my appointed time, and yet I still possess weapons and am fully capable of using them in defense of myself and/or my country and would not hesitate to do so. Jesus even told his disciples to sell their cloak to buy a sword because He knew that they would be traveling into areas where their lives would be in danger due to persecution.

    Overall, your tone is one of condescension and is actually quite supercilious. It would serve you well to practice a bit of humility.


  30. i have to disagree with the criticisms of my post. i am not free because of jake but because of a long line of people -- some with weapons and many more without -- who struggled for a constitutional system and a bill of rights. it is reason, not force, that makes us free. read the founding fathers. if it had just been about guns, and not reason, washington and the rest would simply have set up a monarchy. they did not because of their readings in philosophy.

    i suppose the references to "granola," birkenstocks, and the like are supposed to be insulting. interesting, since you know nothing of me. at least i bothered to read jake's blog before making my comments. clearly most of the critics did not read what i wrote. and let me stress again, my comments are not personal -- i am not lobbing insults like the mr. anonymous below.

    there are iraqis blogging. have you looked?

    i have no doubt jake is a wonderful person. i never suggested otherwise. nor am i "messing with" family. i am expressing principles on a public blog. if that is unwelcome, and jake tells me so, i will not comment.

    there are politics on the blog. have you read all the posts? how can one go to war and not be somehow linked to politics? note the praise of the israeli bombardments of lebanon. note the reference to "pimp slapping" russ feingold. not political? interesting definition of "nonpolitical."

    i am not commenting on the personal aspects of the blog, which i applaud.

    if this is only a blog for family and friends, then i have to wonder why the columnist from the daily news featured it and urged people to look at it. was this man reporting on jake's blog without his permission? if so, that is a problem. if not, then there is nothing wrong with my comments. unless, of course, jake makes it known that he only wants family, friends, and pro-war posts.

    and if anyone still is offended by my posting, i am sorry.

  31. Ratbert-

    Actually, I am under the impression that Jake had no idea that his story and blog was featured in the NY Daily News on Monday.

    Unfortunately, he does not even know of the existence of the article nor is he here to answer your questions because he has been on patrol away from base since May 25.

    I know he can answer all your questions as soon as he can.

    -Jacob's sister Sarah

  32. Ratbert,

    I have known Jake for a long time and we have spent many hours in earnest discussion of things whimsical and serious. Like Jake's sister said above, he has been on patrol for over a week and has no idea any of this has transpired. But I would venture a guess that he would find your post interesting in what was said and suggested. He would never approve of insults or name calling in an exchange of differing ideas.

    I am sure that in a different time and place, it could be a spirited discussion.

    Jake's free time is so precious and limited that i am sure he will not engage you on the blog. He has too many friends and family reading his blog for that.

    I would encourage you to continue to read his thoughts and comments.

  33. I don't really have much to say on this one, other than this: when people give someone as much attention and respond the way they have about this one person's comment, you are giving them exactly what they want and crave. I hope we can ignore them from now on.

    As a close friend and brother of Jake's who knows firsthand just how real the bullets and IED's are, I would like to ask all of the readers of his blog to please try and keep their political views, as much as is appropriate, out of their comments. If you would like to discuss the war, or politics, or your feelings about either, i encourage you to do so but to please do it elsewhere. This just isn't the place.

    I know for a fact that Jake appreciates everyones support and he can't wait to come home and share a cold beer with us all. Until then, let's just try and keep him and the rest of the Marines of 2/7 in our thoughts, and hope they all come home safely. Please keep up the support, it's what gets us through the days over there.

    LCPL Hunt

  34. i appreciate everything you are doing over there jake, and the updates are really great to hear. i only know you from the daily news article, but i check your blog daily now, and i am praying for your (and all of the troops') safe return.
    caitlin from ny

  35. oh yeah and those spiders look NASTY! definitely sleep with your rifle.

  36. freevolition: of course iraqis are killing iraqis; of course the bible speaks of wars and rumors of wars. but these facts do not allow us to pretend that our nation has played no part in these wars and killings.

    many people say iraq is the central front in the "war on terror." like most half truths, it shows selective reasoning.

    iraq has al qaeda elements only because we destroyed the iraqi state. before march of 2003 al qaeda was no more than a rumor in iraq. so for all the people who have died at their hands, we americans share responsibility.

    this is the bravery i refer to: the bravery to stand up and take responsibility for our own sins. why is this principle -- the core of biblical teachings -- derided by many in the conservative media as "blame america first"? to me, such a self-righteous attitude is the height of superciliousness.

    so i suppose you are right: faced with the supercilious, i am also supercilious.

    faced with the humble and the morally courageous, i too am humble.

    sarah, you are right: i did not realize jake did not know about the lupica piece. such are the hazards of public blogging. thank you for your kind tone.

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