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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, June 12, 2008

Pictures From the 'Stan

Jake sent us some pictures and I asked him if I could post them, so here they are. Jake has also said he has received many packages from friends known and unknown and he and the platoon are grateful.

The competition- set up 2 sets of six Coke cans a couple hundred yards out. Each member of each six man team gets one 7.62 round. Then, 10 pushups at the start, a 100 yard sprint to the gun, 20 jumping jacks, get down, load your round, get your breathing and heart under control, shoot a can, run back and tag the next guy. Team Revolution won.

Cytosport was kind enough to send Jake's team two boxes of protein for free...so props to them.

This is a .50 Caliber semi-automatic rifle that weighs a bunch.

Badger Mom likes her Jakey's hair longer!


  1. where can we send the stuff you are looking for?

  2. This is SWAG and stand by for corrections if I've got it sideways, but, for perspective:

    The need for protein mixes and other calorie dense, light weight, low volume and low prep type food stuffs may have little to nothing to do with vanity (wanting to stay buff and "man pretty") or casual comfort, and may have much to do with survival.

    The job this Marine and his crew are doing could be requiring them to live out of their packs for extended periods in the roughest possible terrain in an area where the day temp may reach into the high 90s and the night temps drop down to near, or below freezing.

    Also, with situations that tend to develop the way they do, what was scheduled to be a 3 to 5 day "field trip" might well end up extended to a 10+ day adventure. Resupply in such situations may not even be possible. There's nothing like a helo showing up to drop off a resupply package to give away a position.

    Also, remember, that this isn't a normal camping type load-out in the rucks. There's comm gear, ammo, demo, etc etc all taking up room and adding weight, so foods need to be light, calorie dense, low volume.

    The job requirement of being in a very small team in an area dominated by the bad guys with little to no back up within calling distance can also mean that food prep can be a bit problematic.

    This last one is a true, blue and total guess, but I would assume that scent neutral foods might also be a good idea. Just because you can shoot someone at a mile or so distance, does not mean that they'll always be a mile or so distant. Sometimes a peculiar stink is the first hint that someone strange in creeping around near by.

  3. SWAG,

    You are spot on with your analysis. Nutritional density is the key. Flavor or taste is not even on the radar. High energy low weight and size are the key. I suspect you have been there. Thanks.

  4. Glad to see pics of Jake & his team! Please keep us posted & we'll try to keep Jake & the boys supplied with nutrient-dense, high energy, low weight goodies. BTW, I'm with Badger Mom...I like my Marine son's hair longer, too.

  5. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 06/13/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.

  6. By SWAG, I meant Scientific, Wild Arsed Guess.

    Nope. Haven't been there. Just extrapolating a bit from lessons learned during peace time USMC grunt training.

    The Iraq tactical method seemed, from this far distance, to have been about establishing a COP as a temp base of ops then patrolling out from there. That would give an established hard point for the daily sustainment needs, such as cooking, weapon cleaning, resupply, etc.

    The Afghan tactical method seems to be more akin to how we trained in the long ago. Put what you're going to need in your pack for a week or so and that's what you have, regardless of what you end up needing.

    But, like said, it's all guessing.

  7. Thanks for the pictures. We think of you and those serving often. Thanks for all you do.

  8. It's Fourth of July weekend. Just wanted to say thank you for protecting this free democracy. As tough as things are now, I would rather go through the tough times in America than anywhere else. I, as well as countless Americans, appreciate your service Jake. Stay safe!

  9. God love ya, Jake, and all our men and women! And all our families at home. You are all in my daily prayers,

  10. Susan (Clay's mom)Tuesday, July 08, 2008 4:31:00 PM

    Hi Jake's mom and dad,
    I am Clay's mother and would really like to correspond with you while they are deployed. I have had the pleasure of spending time with Jake before both of their deployments and am so proud of them. Please contact me through email so we can stay in touch. After Clay's experience in Iraq, it makes this one a little harder. I'm glad he and Jake are together this time. Blessings to you and your family. Susan

  11. Susan (Clay's mom)Tuesday, July 08, 2008 4:40:00 PM

    My email is susanselke@austin.rr.com My husband, Richard, and I look forward to meeting you next fall when the boys come home! It will be quite a celebration!

  12. Great pictures! Nice to know that soldiers still have time to take a pose in front of the camera and show their smiles.

  13. A bit of an explanation of what a MEU is made of:


    The "related" tab on the right of the page has other vids that serve to give insight on the actions of 24 MEU and the conditions under which they are operating.

  14. Thanks, all of you.
    I was a Marine a long time ago, Vietnam. I think I know what's happenin', maybe not. Lots have changed. Have as much fun as you can and be safe!
    Al Brown