Marriage in the Middle East

Dowries are often paid in the Middle East. But this case of a ninety year-old man trying to “buy” a fifteen year-old girl is revolting. I will say, I am glad there is public traction against these sort of arrangements. Saudi National Association for Human Rights member Suhaila Zein al-Abedin urged authorities to get involved, according to Al Arabiya. It is a start.

Have You Served Under a Toxic Leader?

I can’t say I’ve ever served under a toxic leader. I have, though, worked for an odd duck or two. One in particular had no people skills. And it was painful to predict his reaction. He would get incensed at the slightest misstep. But when something really bad happened, he was sometimes unfazed. (Um, like the time my Sailors lost a $300K piece of gear. We found it. On a flight to the States. And we were in the middle of the Middle East. I lost one hundred 1/8-inch pieces of hair over that one.)

Sam Fellman ( over at Navy Times wants to know: Have you served under a toxic leader? 

One common but harsh treatment is screaming. Have you been shouted at? Have you resorted to screaming? What about cursing, another type of harsh tactic?

Navy Times wants to hear about your experiences and thoughts. Please contact staff writer Sam Fellman. And be specific. Your comments may be used in an upcoming story.

Don’t tell him about my little equipment snafu. We got it back ten days later from an inbound repo flight. All nicely bubble-wrapped by the command who received it. I got my hair, but not my pucker, back. . .

Tip of the Spear

Out in 5th Fleet, the Middle East, we used to remind ourselves that we were at the tip of the spear. So much so, that one of our 1st Class Petty Officers used to get real annoyed hearing it. Big mistake. Never vocalize what bugs you. Not in the Navy. We would drop the line, Tip of the Spear, on her at will. (Me less so than her fellow Petty Officers. But I uttered it once or twice.)

Here is one guy who should not us the term. Too close to home. . .

An X-ray shows a spear that pierced through the head of 16-year-old Yasser Lopez, at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida. Lopez was spear fishing with a friend when he was accidentally shot in the head. The spear entered just above his right eye, and penetrated through his brain to the back of his skull. Miraculously, no vital brain structures were damaged.

Secret Service to Hire All Air Force Retired Chiefs

Air Force Glow Belt

If you have ever been stationed at an Air Force base and have worked around some of their senior enlisted folks, you may/will find this funny:

******, you finally have a job!
The Secret Service is in need of hundreds of chaperones and who better than retired Chiefs of the Reflective Belt Police?

To all who do not get the joke, reflective belts are mandatory on Air Force bases (in the Middle East.) And woe to be those who don’t wear one.

The Reflective Belt Police: chortle, snort. . .

Navy SEALs and UC Berkeley

When I was deployed to the Middle East, I met an officer who had washed out of BUDs (SEAL training.) He had gotten injured and had to find another officer community.

Long story short: he and I were chatting and he asked me where I went to school. I told him Cal and he responded that he had too. I thought he was joking, but he assured me he had indeed gone to Berkeley. A SEAL wannabe at Bezerkeley. I love it.

Here is a woman who met her husband, a future SEAL, at Berkeley. In philosophy class: 

We met my freshman year of college at UC Berkeley. Through my Philosophy class, I was introduced to one of his teammates and quickly fell in “like” with the guy. Because I ate in the same dining commons as my Navy SEAL and his entire team, I came to know each and every one of the athletes. He was the first guy to walk over and introduce himself. We dated other people over the years, but became close friends and spent a good deal of time together, cultivating a unique platonic relationship.

Yes, Berkeley and the military, we are like two peas in the pod!

Happy Place

I may be opening up myself up to some chortles at my expense, but I have a happy place. After a long deployment in the Middle East sandbox, I realized my happy place is the ocean. I think about it, for a second, and I get de-stressed. Or, even better, is to gaze at a picture of the ocean. Like this one here:

One House Bay in Greece, in clear water. The boat seems to float on the air, no?

Two posts back-to-back on the ocean. I better slow down, one might think I’m in the Navy.