Geeky Bob

Just a short, simple blog for Bob to share his thoughts.

Be sure to check out my technical blog at


100 Things the 511th Learned During the ARTEP of 1991

Today's contribution marks the 7th installment in my series about the 511th MI Company's misadventures, which I collected during my tenure there from 1988 through 1991. This list was composed by the EW2 platoon during the ARTEP of 1991 - I believe it was in April - which we dubbed "Operation Pogo Stick." This name seemed apropos because of the considerable frequency that the EW platoons were required to jump sites, for no apparent reason other than the sheer fun of watching the level of aggravation that it caused. I think that this was the last deployment that I went on with the 511th; shortly after the ARTEP had ended, DeGrood and I got our orders to PCS back to the states, and everyone else got orders to Kuwait.

Things we learned during ARTEP '91

  1. Hot refuels really are (with lanterns).
  2. Point fire extinguishers at flames.
  3. Don't play Russian Roulette with a .45.
  4. Mosquito nets make good kindling.
  5. Calling SGT Tabbert "Larry" is effective aggravation.
  6. Being "killed" is the only way to get a couple hours' sleep.
  7. The Official ARTEP Song: "Jump" by Van Halen.
  8. There are no weapon mounts on HMMWV bumpers.
  9. SGT Rice makes a 2LT with a map look good.
  10. MI-51's radio has a maximum effective range of 100 meters, and MI-52's is about 100 inches.
  11. You can get away at MOPP 0 in a MOPP 1 environment, until the MAJ sees you.
  12. Ken be nimble, Ken be lean, Can't jump over the Concertine. He jump high, he jump low. He get caught, down he go.
  13. TCAE can get tracks to the field, but not back.
  14. Security isn't.
  15. Chase vehicles don't.
  16. The best form of land navigation is a well-informed German.
  17. An unheated, unlit tent and a pile of BOGINT tapes is an effective TRQ-32 simulator (bring your own paper).
  18. The latest in EW sleepware is the DA Morris Improved Stealth Tent.
  19. Mumbly-Peg is easier with the knife unsheathed.
  20. This was a very well thought out, and carefully planned exercise. NOT!!!
  21. Mumbly-Pistol is a game as yet untried.
  22. SGT Cyr relates well with farm animals. ("Moo...")
  23. Reimers can sham out of anything if he really wants to.
  24. Germans on holidays make interesting navigational obstacles.
  25. The TRQ-32 is the coffee-making, radio watch sitting, front seat sleeping, $800,000 car stereo wonder of the 20th century.
  26. Fred can never be in too warm an environment.
  27. The TRQ-32 glove box is hell on the shins.
  28. Handcopying BOGINT in MOPP 3 is a joyous experience.
  29. It's just no fun wearing a protective mask with a runny nose.
  30. GRA-39's make excellent car stereo amplifiers.
  31. TRQ-30 DF antennas are better left in the rear.
  32. M-8 alarms work better without batteries.
  33. We can ID more types of static now.
  34. You can teach the LT something new every day.
  35. LT's aren't sensitive items, but they have feelings, too.
  36. The LT wigs out when challenged.
  37. It was good training. NOT!!!
  38. Who's the a****** who made those 2-minute intercept to 2-hour static tapes?
  39. Blind TCAE geeks should not be allowed to recon intercept sites.
  40. The TACJAM squad is now cross-trained in landscaping.
  41. Duerksen can "hold it" for 4.5 days.
  42. Roddick don't know s*** about whoopie lights.
  43. Menthol cigarettes don't cut it.
  44. Roddick's new discovery - wet newspaper. It camos as it cleans.
  45. It's more fun 4-wheeling.
  46. Starvation is preferable over chili-mac and lima beans.
  47. Duerksen and Roddick can eat a whole cow.
  48. German kids love MREs. (That looks bad as a culture, doesn't it?)
  49. Braddy is too lazy to drive 10 minutes to see us. (So the d*** flew.)
  50. Germans don't like having M-60s pointed at them.
  51. Noise discipline need not be observed near 200 decibel generators.
  52. Propane heaters are heaven.
  53. Rich is a lying son-of-a-b**** when asked about this ARTEP.
  54. The CO has no sense of humor where guard posts are concerned.
  55. O'Conner has no tact.
  56. The TLQ squad is still the Kase-Camo Net Meisters.
  57. It seems like you always jump during your sleep shift.
  58. TCAE goons sleep more in one night than EW geeks do in a whole week.
  59. Mumbly-Peg doesn't work with swiss army knives.
  60. Lanterns with broken globes are somewhat dangerous.
  61. Field coffee isn't.
  62. Guard duty sucks. (That's why officers don't do it, right?)
  63. Vehicles, though forbidden, are still the preferred sleeping areas.
  64. Hooches get simpler the more you jump. ("All I need is a cot...")
  65. The TACJAM squad knows Germany.
  66. After a week in the field, even the locals smell good.
  67. World War II issue maps are not effective navigational tools.
  68. Only the TLQ squad can out Black-6.
  69. (This number is still not seen hereabouts.)
  70. Sure DeGrood has tonsillitis.
  71. Reimers' other foot will be broken upon our return.
  72. When you're a minute early on shift you're the greatest, when you're a minute late you're an a******.
  73. Johnson's magazine subscriptions are enjoyed by all.
  74. Where's the Jam button?
  75. Where's the Fix button?
  76. What freq am I on?
  77. Are we on Zulu or Local time?
  78. Mr. Roller is as effective an NBC alarm as an M-8 without batteries.
  79. Just because it looks like rain doesn't mean that it will.
  80. You know that you need a haircut when you can grow dreads in the field.
  81. Brush guards do.
  82. Brushing your teeth is really a morale booster.
  83. If German's can find our sites, why can't we?
  84. Never ask DA for a light. ("But he looks good with a singed face...")
  85. Burning tents are wonderful reference points at night.
  86. What do Germans do with all that lumber?
  87. The TRQ-32 needs a microwave.
  88. After a week of ARTEP, even TROJAN sounds good.
  89. The TRQ-32 has the only working radio in the PLT.
  90. It's nice to pull radio watch in a vehicle with a good heater.
  91. Cold mornings suck. (1 week from summer.)
  92. We never thought we'd be so happy to see a 1-week field problem end.
  93. Duerksen doesn't like grits.
  94. Groovy man remembers lots of worthless music.
  95. Everybody still wants to be a jammer.
  96. MOPP 1 is quite warm.
  97. Civilian life can't be all that bad.
  98. Newbies whine almost as much as EW1, but not quite.
  99. TCAE can drop the ball, duck the issue, pass the buck, and wash their hands of it better than anyone else.
  100. I wonder what Hohenfels will be like this year...?

In another strange turn of events, after I PCS'd to Fort Huachuca, I met the guy that made those 2-minute intercept to 2-hour static tapes that we mentioned in item #38 of the list, and I wound up working with him. (And just to satisfy anyone's curiosity - yes, he made those on purpose. He was a nice guy, but he had a wicked sense of humor.) Later on, I was asked to create intercept tapes for the MI officer school at Fort Huachuca, and I followed his lead by creating tapes that sounded like HF traffic - with hours and hours of radio printers, static, and morse code transmissions stomping on top of the voice messages. (FYI - The officers hated these tapes - mission accomplished.) But here's a quick behind-the-scenes trivia fact: I didn't actually record any actual radio printer or morse code transmissions from HF frequencies - I created them on my computer. Most radio printer traffic is simple Frequency Shift Key transmissions, so I wrote some algorithms that would allow me to enter a text string into my computer, which would be converted to binary, and then encoded into an audio stream based on a baud rate and space/mark frequencies that I picked. When I was done - they sounded identical to the real thing. So what did all of those ear-splitting radio printer messages actually say if you plugged them into a computer? Things like, "I hate the Army," "I can't wait to ETS," etc. Yes - even then I was a geek.

IHateTheArmy.mp3 (76.73 kb) "I Hate The Army" Frequency Shift Key (FSK) Sample

Posted: Jan 30 2011, 09:33 by Bob | Comments (0)
  • Currently 0/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Filed under: Military
Social Bookmarks: E-mail | Kick it! | DZone it! |

Famous 511th Quotations from Hohenfels 1990

In the 6th part of my series on the 511th MI Company, I have a short list of quotes that the ESM guys collected at Hohenfels, 1990.

  • "Don't [dip] chew when expecting chow; it always arrives in 2 minutes." - D.A. Morris
  • "Sorry, I used the wrong grid." - Bill McCollum
  • "So, this is where we are...?" - Jeff Norris
  • "I wish I were an Oscar Meyer Wiener." - Joe Masten
  • "You guys aren't Prima Donnas!" - 1LT Innocenti
  • "You talk a lot of s***, but you're just another officer." - Fred
  • "More follows..." - CPT Quinn
  • "Who's f***in' around, dammit?!!" - J. Morris
  • "I'll either make a career in or out of the Army." - Jeff Norris
  • "F*** the camo nets..." - EW2's ESM squad
  • "Slow that thing down or I'll have you force-marching everywhere!" - CPT Quinn
  • "Are we doing the speed limit?" - 1LT Innocenti
  • "This is good training." - LTG Joulwan
  • "It's hard to convince Fred that he's wrong." - Whitfield
  • "I'm not wrong!" - Fred
  • "That's the problem with NCO's..." - Felix
  • "The 511th MI Company thanks you for that grid..." - Steve Barnes
  • "You have to go to MOPP4? I hate it when that happens!" - Dork

Ah, CPT Quinn - everyone tried to explain to him that "break" was the proper proword to use when you had more to send over the radio, but he steadfastly refused to use anything other than "more follows." Obviously CPT Quinn was trained incorrectly when he went through MI Officer Basic. In one of those weird full circle coincidences, when I transferred to Fort Huachuca the following year, I wound up being the NCO that was in charge of training and grading the officers that were going through MI Officer Basic. I had no qualms whatsoever about telling any officer that they were a "NOGO" at my station, because I knew that these officers were going to wind up in charge of some poor MI platoon, and I couldn't put my fellow MI brethren through the embarrassment of having an officer that didn't know how to use the darn radio correctly.

1LT Innocenti and I did not get along on this field problem - although I don't think that he got along with anyone else in the EW platoons. Since 1LT Innocenti moved to GSR immediately after we returned to garrison, we only had him as a platoon leader for the combined duration of Hohenfels and Grafenwoehr, or about six weeks total, making that one of the shortest durations for a platoon leader that I saw in my eight years of military service. D.A. Morris saved my career while we were out in the field at Hohenfels when I stepped towards 1LT Innocenti with the full intention of decking him after he refused to let D.A. and I take everyone's guard duty and radio watch shifts to make up for all their hard work over the past several weeks. 1LT Innocenti claimed that he had done more work than anyone else, while in reality the only duty that he performed was running chow for us when he wasn't sleeping. What was even worse, his poor choices for words were accusing all of my subordinates of being lazy, while in reality they had been working nearly round-the-clock for several days. This was too much for me to take, so my right arm clenched into a fist and it would have been travelling in the direction of 1LT Innocenti's face when D.A. caught my arm and pulled me aside. I found out later that 1LT Innocenti had a black belt in Karate - so I probably wouldn't have been able to land a single punch before being hauled away to prison for assaulting an officer. (Thanks D.A. for saving my life!)

I bumped into CPT Innocenti several years later when he was going through the MI Officer Advanced Course in Ft. Huachuca, where I was helping to teach MI Operations. By that time we were able to have a few laughs about our shared history with no hard feelings. (CPT Innocenti - if you ever read this, my apologies once again; I was pretty young at the time.)

Another funny story about Hohenfels in 1990 was that I was one of only a handful of people that were chosen from the 11th ACR to brief LTG Joulwan, (who was the commanding general for all of the US Army forces in Europe), about regimental operations in Hohenfels. When the general arrived, I gave him a tour of the ESM gear, showed him how it worked, explained how we conducted operations, etc. After fifteen minutes or so, LTG Joulwan asked me what I thought of his field problem. I looked him right in the eye and said, "Frankly sir, I think it sucks." At that moment, 1LT Innocenti was standing behind the general, and I watched as he put his face in his hands - probably feeling that his career had just ended. The general was momentarily taken aback, and then he asked, "Why?" So I took the next five to ten minutes or so explaining how his deployment of US forces didn't match actual enemy tactics, how their radio communications were completely dissimilar, how we were able to wreak havoc simply by ICD'ing everyone on the planet, etc. The general and I had a pretty good conversation that lasted for several minutes, and eventually we agreed to disagree on several points. Before his departure, LTG Joulwan gave me one of his custom-made USAEUR coins "in recognition of my outstanding achievements," then he got in his humvee and drove off. CPT Quinn dropped by later and informed me that out of the hundreds of people that LTG Joulwan had met that day, I was one of only two people to which the general had given a coin. (CPT Quinn also asked me never to do that again.) So I like to remember that I received a medal (more or less) for being one of the few people who was willing to tell a three-star general to his face that I thought his training sucked.

Posted: Jan 29 2011, 09:54 by Bob | Comments (0)
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Filed under: Military
Social Bookmarks: E-mail | Kick it! | DZone it! |

More Famous Moments in the 511th History

My 5th installment of this series about the 511th MI Company is pretty much a sequel to the 4th installment. I'm fairly certain that I had two lists in my notes because they were more than likely created during different field problems a year or so apart.

It was also a great day for the 511th when...

  • Alex hits a lady's car to get a date, totals the car, and doesn't get the date (Reforger, 1990)
  • 10-Pin walked into an enemy HQ and asked for their crypto fills, and he got them (Hohenfels, 1989)
  • Alex was relieved as platoon sergeant for EW2, and got a better job in the process (February, 1990)
  • Babs gets lost in Augsburg with his prized possession; his 1:100,000 scale map (Reforger, 1990)
  • Felix screamed at OCE's he thought were attacking while he was [relieving himself] in the bushes (Hohenfels, 1990)
  • The Tacjam went down for the count (Reforger, 1990)
  • The TRQ-32 team loses 5 people to a 10th Mountain suicide squad, but still manages to kill the whole squad (Reforger, 1990)
  • Romero and Meador rolled MI-28 when their brakes failed (Hohenfels, 1990)
  • Nada picks a fight with a wall in the Tacjam, and loses (Reforger, 1990)
  • J.J. qualifies on the M16, on the 198th round fired (Grafenwoehr, 1990)
  • Alex ordered Whitfield to be thrown into the mud pit for taking a shower while everyone else was unloading vehicles in the MOPO (Caravan Guard, 1989)
  • Dodge hits himself in the head with his M16 getting out of a HMMWV (2 minutes after Reforger, 1990)
  • Someone threw up all over the Bay of Pigs at Mt. Meissner, but no one ever found out who (November, 1989)
  • Martin and Dodge ICD'd a Medevac net, a little too successfully (Reforger, 1990)
  • D.A. becomes a BOGINT Master (Sudden Eudy, 1989)
  • Mason asked Cyr for a can to [relieve himself] in, then asked Cyr to dump it for him (Reforger, 1990)
  • D.A. got a date! (March 1, 1990)
  • Fred made a mistake on the TRQ-32 (Hohenfels, 1990)
  • EW2's ECM squad ambushed the ESM squad and no one cared enough to get out of bed (Hohenfels, 1990)

I should like to point out that the mistake that I made on the TRQ-32 was not opening the ventilation flap on the side of the generator. I pointed that out myself, but that didn’t stop the rest of the squad from holding me down and giving me a pink belly. I believe D.A. was the overall ringleader for my punishment, but I'm sure that I had it coming. ;-]

Posted: Jan 27 2011, 15:32 by Bob | Comments (0)
  • Currently 0/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Filed under: Military
Social Bookmarks: E-mail | Kick it! | DZone it! |

Famous Moments in the 511th History

In the 4th installment of this series about the 511th MI Company, I have a list of what we thought were great moments in 511th history. I don't know if anyone else recalls, but whenever morale was hitting a low point during a field problem - I'd pull out a pad of paper and have everyone make an obnoxious list of some sort. These lists were usually laced with a great deal of cynicism - and more often than not a great deal of profanity. So I'll have to clean these up a little before posting. ;-]

It was a great day for the 511th when...

  • Sarge took a mud bath (O-Day, 1989)
  • J.D.'s guitar was destroyed by J.J.
  • Caudill threw his computer out the barracks window, then jumped out the window after it and jumped up and down on it (1988)
  • Dodge got stuck in the turnstile at Mt. Meissner
  • Cyr was attacked in the Snow Bear Pit (November, 1988)
  • Punky took a swing at Duncan
  • Fred took a swing at Duncan
  • Anybody else took a swing at Duncan
  • Ortiz rolled MI-40 four times (RTCE, 1989)
  • TCAE's tent caught fire (Wildflecken, 1989)
  • Punky and Fred slid down Meissner in a GLQ-3B (February, 1988)
  • Duncan and Skip got thrown out of Wobeck (February, 1988)
  • 1SG Ross went to the field the first and last time (Reforger, 1987)
  • J.J. called 1LT Stahl a geek at the Irish Pub
  • Cyr and 2LT Gibson got lost in Turkey (Ally Express, 1988)
  • 10-Pin sicked his dog, Presely, on Paski (Pre-Artep, 1989)
  • Paski got stung by a bee (RTCE, 1989)
  • Skip and Duncan threw Felix in the shower
  • A waitress told Punky that she didn't speak English after he ordered in German (TRQ-32 TNG, 1988)
  • A recon patrol suprised Babbs and scared him to death (Caravan Guard, 1989)
  • Skip got beat up by a group of drunk germans at FLTCE
  • Whitfield went to the field without a sleeping bag (Bold Lancer, 1989)
  • Whitfield went to the field with only one uniform (Caravan Guard, 1989)
  • Heave came back from FLTCE with lower scores than he went there with
  • Duncan threw up blood at the Kreuz Club
  • EW1 was thrown out of a Turkish brothel (Ally Express, 1989)
  • Dodge, J.J., Nada, and Stayszyk got drunk and [did something foul] on SGT Berger's truck
  • CPT MacDonald threw SSG Alexander off the radio the first time (Caravan Guard, 1989)
  • CPT MacDonald threw SSG Alexander off the radio the second time (Reforger, 1990)
  • Duncan's car broke down on the way to Meissner, and Degrood wouldn't stop for him
  • Dexter got his clearance and lost it in the same weekend
  • Lay taught a group of drunk Brits how to rap (RTCE, 1988)
  • The Tacjam rolled out of the MOPO
  • EW2 helped a German farmer chase his cows (Caravan Guard, 1989)
  • EW was QRC'd and didn't find a single freq (Ghost Chaser, 1988)
  • Duncan asked why he didn't get a Good Conduct Medal
  • J.J. made Duncan clean his bathroom to use his Nintendo
  • CPT Stahl left
  • The Commo platoon, despite a great deal of cheating, lost to EW2 (O-Day, 1989)
  • Paski was promoted to SPC and faced the "Gauntlet"
  • Smith, Fred, and Martin stole Whitfield's clothes from the shower room at Mt. Meissner
  • 1LT McNeil pulled a bayonet on a group of would-be kidnappers (RTCE, 1989)
  • Martin and Fred attacked Hjerrild with pillows at Meissner
  • Woolery slipped on black ice when going up to be promoted and hit MAJ Bute
  • SSG Valier couldn't pronounce "Patriotism" ("Potatochism!")

Bryant - I'd like to apologize on behalf of Smith, Martin, and myself for stealing your clothes at Mt. Meissner. :-S

I'd also like to state - both emphatically and for the record - that I was a member of EW2 when EW1 was thrown out of the Turkish brothel. :-O

And it would be a great disservice if I didn't point out that there's no way that Cyr would have been lost in Turkey if it had not been for 2LT Gibson - the age old adage that the only thing more dangerous than a 2LT with a gun is a 2LT with a map certainly applies to that situation.

Posted: Jan 26 2011, 16:08 by Bob | Comments (0)
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Filed under: Military
Social Bookmarks: E-mail | Kick it! | DZone it! |

Famous Quotations of the Fighting 511th

In part 3 of this series about the 511th MI Company, we'll take a look at some common quotes that were said by several members of the 511th, although this list is obviously not exhaustive. These particular phrases were compiled by members of the EW platoons during one of our field problems, although it's been so many years I don't recall which one. ;-]

  • "Not!" - J.J. Simmons
  • (Anything J.J. says) - Dave Dodge
  • "Figure the odds..." - Tim "Sarge" Meador
  • "Easy Psycho" - Scott Smith
  • "I've gotta go get the mail" - Frank "Skip" Walker (Whenever work needs to be done)
  • "Want to hear a joke? Skip." - James Leamon
  • "Well, back on the farm..." - Steve Myers
  • "Why is everybody always picking on me?" - Bryant Whitfield (and Charlie Brown)
  • "Fred, why haven't you made the coffee yet?" - SGT Morris or SGT Alexander
  • "But I don't know my telephone number..." - Rich Aylward
  • "This ain't Puerto Rico, Mother @#$%!" - Daniel Nadalaliciea
  • "Questions? Comments? War stories?" - LTC Harry K. Lesser
  • "Hey Stud!" - CPT MacDonald
  • "Punky, you're a failure!" - Duncan Habberly
  • "You're right." - James "Punky" Brewster
  • "Sup wi dat?" - Larry Blanco
  • "Hey Guys!" - Tom Haldeman
  • "What's up?" - Alvin Heggie
  • "Son of a biscuit eater!" - Dave Paski
  • "Listen Geek..." - Bob "Fred" McMurray
  • "Word" - J.J. Simmons
  • "Did you ever see...(any war movie)?" - SGT D.A. Morris
  • "Hey, hey, hey." - Breck Tarr
  • "C'mere" - Danny Browning
  • "Good stuff." - 1LT Stahl
  • "Listen Specialist..." - Bill "SGT" Magan
  • "That's special." - Ray Neuharth
  • "Thank you, Luigi." - Jerome Robinson
  • "Omygod! Omygod! Omygod!" - 1LT Babakan
  • "Easy..." - Van Cleave
  • "Listen buttface..." - Dave Paski
  • "Grow up guys!" - Scott Smith
  • "Where's chow?" - SGT Alexander
  • "Holy Cow!" - Steve Myers
  • "What's up?" - Raul Villareal
  • "Don't ask ME!" - Anyone who can get away with it
  • "Cool points." - 1LT Stahl
  • "But SGT Morris..." - 1LT Innocenti
  • "What? Huh?" - Larry Blanco
  • "Why?" - Johann "Bahn" Hoff
  • "More Follows..." - CPT Quinn

For the future, I have some great lists of famous moments in 511th history, and famous quotations from Hohenfels 1990.

Posted: Jan 24 2011, 15:12 by Bob | Comments (0)
  • Currently 0/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Filed under: Military
Social Bookmarks: E-mail | Kick it! | DZone it! |

Famous Nicknames of the Fighting 511th

In part 2 of my series on the 511th MI Company, we'll take a look at some of the nicknames from the 511th that I managed to write down; although I need to stick to my disclaimer that I did not come up with these nicknames - I just took the time to write them down. ;-]

  • Captain Caveman - Tim Leavitt
  • 10 Pin - Bobby Thanepohn
  • Sleazer - Jim Leamon
  • Punky - Jim Brewster
  • Shaggy, Eugene, and J.J. Not - John Simmons
  • Ichabod and Felix - Steve Myers
  • Tick - Jim Titkemeyer
  • Sarge - Tim Meador
  • Schone Frau - Dave Young
  • Witless and Grimmace - Bryant Whitfield
  • Honkytonk Man - D.A. Morris
  • The Duke - Danny Browning
  • Heave - Steve Maurer
  • Maull and Knoore - Terry Knaul and Tim Moore
  • J.D. - John Davis
  • Fred and Ernie - Bob McMurray
  • Eggdod - Dave Dodge
  • Skip - Frank Walker
  • Lick and Snaggle Tooth - Rick Irvine
  • Van Cheese - Kyle Van Cleave
  • Michelin Man, Uncle Fester, Bleu Cheese, and Sta-Puf - Steve Terry
  • Degrudge - Dave Degrood
  • Mr. Peabody and Mr. Maturity - Scott Smith
  • Buffalo Bill - Bill Magan
  • The Pegster and Heggster - Alvin Heggie
  • Burt - Ramon Ortiz
  • Oreo Cookie Man, Roly-Poly and Karlik - Dan Onstead
  • Splugie - Eudy
  • Hanker - Kent Hawks
  • Spaski - Dave Paski
  • Nada - Daniel Nadalalicea
  • Bhudda - Jeff Morris
  • Snorris - Jeff Norris
  • Roj - Roger Jordan
  • Haystacks - Steve Calhoun
  • Bahn - Johann Hoff
  • Beaver - 1LT Innocenti
  • Uncle Martin - Ken Martin
  • Dork - Heath Duerksen
  • The Three Amigos - Paski, Fred, and J.J.
  • The Fat Boys - Duncan, Skip, and Leamon
  • The Three Stooges - Felix, Blanco, and Whitfield
  • Bullseye Babbs - 1LT Babakan
  • Alfalfa - Rich Aylward
  • Spanky - 1LT McNeil
  • Darla - Some female 1LT from the 108th that 1LT McNeil was chasing
  • LT Stahl and D.A.T. - CPT Stahl
  • Don Knots - 1SG Hall
  • Smelvin - 1SG Ross
  • Chief - CW2 Klebo
  • Harry K. - LTC Lesser
  • Neily D. - MAJ Bute
  • Quinn the Eskimo - MAJ Quinn
  • Frank or Bob - Richard Lebron

And my personal favorite:

  • The Evil Lord Torak - CW2 Torak

There is one nickname that I wrote down that I didn't post here, and that was for Bill McCollum. I didn't add his nickname to this list because it might not be fit for the public. If you remember his nickname, you can smile about it now. If you don't, that'll remain a secret between the rest of us.

Who did I miss?

10/21/2014 Update - Bullseye Babbs was a 1LT who took over one of the EW platoons. He earned his nickname on one of the M-60 ranges when he failed to understand how his weapon's scopes worked, so instead of throwing rounds 1km downrange like everyone else, he was thoroughly pulverizing the ground about 5-10 feet in front of us; huge amounts of debris were being thrown into the air as everyone was screaming at him to cease fire. (It probably would have been funny if it hadn't been so dangerous.)

03/14/2018 Update - Terry Knaul dropped me a line to let me know that I had his name listed incorrectly; my apologies, and that has been fixed.

Posted: Jan 23 2011, 03:17 by Bob | Comments (0)
  • Currently 0/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Filed under: Military
Social Bookmarks: E-mail | Kick it! | DZone it! |

Famous Callsigns of the Fighting 511th

Over the 3.5 years that I spent in the Fulda Gap with the 511th MI Company, I collected and saved a lot of the stories and lists that the EW and TCAE teams put together. All of this nostalgic trivia is twenty years old now, but it still makes me laugh when I think about the people and times that it represents. Of course, this is mostly a collection of inside jokes with the people that were there.

So this will be part one of a series, and I should point out that I did not create this information - I just took the time to write it down. ;-]

  • Bleu Cheese - Steve Terry
  • Red Chief - Chief Klebo
  • Red Stool - Alvin Heggie (With a case of local sickness in Turkey)
  • White Spank - Lt. McNiel
  • Blue Babs - Lt. Babakan
  • Blue Lips - Dan Nadalalicea (aka Davy Crockett)
  • Blue Popeye - David Alexander
  • Snow White - Dave Paski
  • Black Sheep, Blue Honk, or Blue Mustang - D.A. Morris
  • The D.J. - Mike Tabbert
  • Blue Grimmace - Bryant Whitfield
  • Blue Shag - J.J. Simmons
  • White Duke - Danny Browning
  • Blue Ears - Dave Degrood
  • Blue Alf - Rich Aylward
  • Blue Geek - Bob "Fred" McMurray
  • White Whine - Scott Smith
  • Red Whine - Jeff Norris
  • The Wacky World of Cartoon Characters - The 511th Jammers
  • Blue Bahn - Johan Hoff
  • Blue Beaver - 1LT Innocenti

UPDATE: While these were not entirely unique, we often used the following color-coded generic callsigns when we were on recon assignments where only one radio entity was present from each of the different platoons:

  • Whitesnake
  • Black Sabbath
  • Red Rider
  • Blue Oyster Cult
Posted: Jan 22 2011, 04:41 by Bob | Comments (0)
  • Currently 0/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Filed under: Military
Social Bookmarks: E-mail | Kick it! | DZone it! |

Killer Rabbits from Antiquity

For those of you who thought that the killer rabbit in Monty Python's "Holy Grail" was a work of fiction, I suggest that you see the top center pane in this stained glass detail from the West Rose Window of Notre Dame in Paris. Apparently brutal bunnies must have been an issue when the French built this cathedral, or perhaps the French will run away from anything.

(Note: Giving credit where it is due, this image is originally from the web page at La Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris.)


Posted: Jan 06 2011, 18:10 by Bob | Comments (1)
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Filed under: Humor
Social Bookmarks: E-mail | Kick it! | DZone it! |

Replacing a Military Radio - The Hard Way

Many years ago - more years than I would care to admit - I spent eight years in the Army as a 98G Voice Intercept Operator, which is a long title for someone that spends a lot of time listening to what other people are saying, taking notes, and then telling someone else what was being said. I won't go into any more details about what I did for a living, but for several years I was stationed in Fulda, Germany, where I was a member of the 511th Military Intelligence Company, which was attached to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.

My fellow soldiers and I spent a lot of time hiding in the forests along what was then the border between East and West Germany, which is where the conditions were generally the best for our line of work. During the day we used an AN/TRQ-32(V) Radio Receiving Set, which we affectionately called the "Turkey 32."

The Turkey 32 was my favorite piece of equipment, and it's primarily used for direction finding operations. (Which means "locating the bad guys.") The only trouble with the Turkey 32 was - it used a great deal of fuel, and its generator was horribly loud, so at night we would shut down the Turkey 32 and use our AN/TRQ-30 Manpack Radio Receiving Set to continue our listening activities... which we called the "Turkey 30."

These radios were left over from a bygone era in the distant past - like the Korean War, or maybe the Civil War - so they were really starting to show their age. One of our radios was falling apart - literally. The knobs on the face panel kept falling off, the reception was terrible, the tuner barely moved, etc. I knew that my Turkey 30 was on its last legs and was in dire need of some kind of emergency maintenance, so one day I hauled my Turkey 30 to our Circuits & Electronics (C&E) office to see what my options were. (I was secretly hoping that C&E would replace the radio, but I was almost certain that it would simply spend a few weeks in the shop for repairs.) I had a good friend who was working in C&E that day, SP4 Villarreal, and he replied that as long as the radio was working, there was nothing that he could do about it.

So I started to pack up the radio, and I was probably muttering something about the fact that I had no idea how long it would take for the radio to eventually die, when Villarreal stopped me and said, "Perhaps you weren't paying attention, so listen to me very closely this time - we can't fix it, but if it doesn't work then we can replace it."

And suddenly - the light bulb turned on.

I blissfully carried the Turkey 30 back to our platoon office in the 511th building and announced to everyone, "Gentlemen, this radio has to die - today." So we spent the next hour or so having a contest to see who could throw the Turkey 30 the furthest from the 2nd-story window where our platoon office was located. After everyone had made their share of attempts at breaking the previous distance record, we declared the contest winners with the usual pomp and circumstance that is called for in such occasions - which means that several people were undoubtedly punched a few times before heading back to work.

Once that was taken care of, I packed up the Turkey 30 and strolled back to the C&E office, where I announced to Villarreal that, "For some reason my Turkey 30 has stopped working." Villarreal didn't blink as he overlooked the massive dents and broken glass and replied, "Well, we'll just have to order you a replacement."

It's times like that when it's great to have friends in the right places. Smile

Posted: Jan 04 2011, 06:50 by Bob | Comments (1)
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Filed under: Humor | Military
Social Bookmarks: E-mail | Kick it! | DZone it! |

100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time? Not Even Close.

There was a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away where Rolling Stone Magazine (RSM) had an ounce or two of actual journalistic and editorial credibility. Sadly, that time and place is long gone. Each time RSM puts out another list of the "100 Greatest This" or "50 Greatest That," RSM continues to show just how out of date and out of touch its editors really are.

This leads me to my current rant, which is the following article by RSM:

100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time

I realize that these types of lists are highly subjective, and as such no single person will ever be 100% happy with the results - with the notable exception of the guy that made the list. But just the same, here's how I would measure any guitarist's legacy - I use the TOAD elements to gauge their level of impact:

  • Talent
    (And by this I mean technical prowess on the guitar; songwriting skills and vocal talent do not matter here.)
  • Originality
    (Guitarists that make a career out of sounding like some other guitarist aren't worth much in my book.)
  • Affect on other guitar players
    (What influence does this guitar player have on other guitar players?)
  • Durability in the music industry
    (Even a one-hit wonder can still impact future generations, while other guitar players might have an entire catalog of utterly forgettable music.)

With this in mind, I took a long look at the RSM list, and it's really quite pathetic. Most of the guitarists in their list simply don't belong on anybody's list of guitar greats, while many others are badly slighted or given way more credit than they are due.

Here's a few of my thoughts on the top ten, in the order that they appear on the list:

  1. Jimi Hendix:
    I'd have to agree with RSM, more or less. Whenever you create a list with all of the guitarists who have had significant talent, originality, and influence on other guitar players - Hendrix has to be in the top 10. I may not like everything that he did, and he may have acted like an idiot when he was offstage, but few guitarists have had Jimi's level of direct or indirect influence on future generations of guitarists.
  2. Duane Allman:
    You have got to be kidding me. I like the Allman Brothers, and Duane may certainly belong in the top 100, but he should never he be at #2. Sure, Duane was a skilled guitar player, but few people in the past two decades (1990 through 2010) pay much attention, so Affect and Durability are moot.
  3. BB King:
    Mr. King always belongs in a top 100 list; good call. Maybe not always in the top 10, but certainly in the top 100.
  4. Eric Clapton:
    I would more or less agree with a top 10 rank - for sheer volume of work, guitar skills, influence, etc. Clapton always deserves to be on anyone's top 100 list.
  5. Robert Johnson:
    RJ definitely had chops, but Johnson has influenced more guitar players indirectly than directly; his influence is there, but typically as someone who influenced someone else who influenced someone else, etc. I would put him in a top 100 list, but not in the top 10.
  6. Chuck Berry:
    One of the first real showmen on the guitar, Chuck has all of the TOAD elements, and several of his signature riffs are copied to this day. I would always put Chuck in a top 100 list, but perhaps not in the top 10.
  7. Stevie Ray Vaughn:
    Stevie had all four TOAD elements and plenty to spare. As 80's-era guitarists kept branching off into neo-classical styles, Stevie kept mercilessly stomping everyone into the ground with killer blues chops. I would always put Stevie in a top 100 list, if not in the top 10.
  8. Ry Cooder:
    RC is a lot like Duane Allman - a lot of guitar players from the past twenty years ask, "Who's Roy Cooper?" [sic] Ry definitely has chops and probably deserves to be in anyone's top 100 list, but he just doesn't have the lasting impact to belong in anyone's top 10 list. (With the notable exception of lists that are created by Ry Cooder fans.)
  9. Jimmy Page:
    I'd have to more or less agree. All too often I see Page at #1 on these types of lists, and I would never put him there. But Page always belongs in the top 10 for the sheer variety and volume of work, not to mention his influence on other guitar players. Even though it has long since been proven that Zep ripped off a lot of other artists for many of their most significant works, Page still gets kudos from me for his arrangements of other people's songs.
  10. Keith Richards:
    Three words: No Freaking Way. I'm sorry to all of you Rolling Stones fans out there, but Keith just does not belong in anyone's top 10 list - he doesn't have the chops, or the originality, or the influence on other guitar players. Personally, I wouldn't put Keith in a top 100 list if it meant leaving out the scores of guitar players that didn't make the RSM list.

That wraps up my tirade for the top ten, so here are some assorted thoughts for the rest of the list:

  • Kurt Cobain (#11):
    I live in Seattle where KC is still worshipped as the prophet of angry youth and misplaced rage. That being said, no one can argue the point that Cobain had a tremendous affect on other guitarists in his age group as one of the heralds for the emerging grunge invasion. The trouble is - Kurt was attempting to distance himself from the blazing speed metal guitar gods of the 1980's, so Kurt made his claim to fame by being bad at his instrument, somewhat like members of the punk phase did back in the 1970's. So when you look at the TOAD elements:
    • Talent - Kurt was only a so-so guitarist
    • Originality - Kurt was definitely original (although I would go out of my way to not sound like him; for example - by tuning my guitar)
    • Affect - Kurt definitely influenced other guitarists (for better or for worse)
    • Durability - only time will tell
    So in the end, Kurt might deserve a place in a top 100 list, but certainly not at #11. (Maybe at #100.)
  • Dick Dale (#31):
    Yup - Mr. Dale defined surf guitar back in the 1960's. Good call.
  • John McLaughlin (#49):
    I have no arguments with McLaughlin's inclusion - but if you're going to include one jazz player, then where are the others? Where's Al Di Meola? Pat Metheny? Joe Pass? Allan Holdsworth?
  • Ike Turner (#61):
    No way. Never. Nope. Nada. Ike doesn't belong in a top 100 list. Not for what he did to Tina, but simply because he doesn't really measure on the TOAD scale as a guitarist.
  • Vernon Reid (#61):
    Always an underrated artist, it was good to see Vernon on this list.
  • Eddie Van Halen (#70):
    Like him or hate him - Eddie Van Halen defined rock guitar for the 1980's, inasmuch or to an even greater level than Hendrix did for the 1970's. No guitar player of the 1980's was more copied and no rock group name was more immediately recognizable in the 1980's than Van Halen - period. Even if you didn't listen to rock music you still knew who Van Halen was. Eddie has a solid grasp on all of the TOAD elements (with plenty of room to spare), so to see him at #70 is just plain stupid.
  • Joni Mitchell (#72):
    This launches a weird dilemma - Joni doesn't have any chops where great guitar players are concerned, but she is a very skilled singer/songwriter that has all of the TOAD elements if you are willing to look the other way for her technical chops on the guitar. But if you do so, then you need to add Jim Croce, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, and a whole host of other singer/songwriters that may not have had killer guitar skills but have everything else that it takes to be an original and durable artist with plenty of influence on future generations. Personally, I'd rather drop Joni and everyone else that I just mentioned from any top 100 guitarists list, and I'd drop George Harrison (#21) from the list at the same time.
  • David Gilmour (#82):
    Gilmour definitely needed to be on this list, but #82 is probably too low on the list. David's impact on rock guitar is considerably more valuable than the contributions made by the endless barrage of average guitarists that were placed higher in the list. And the fact that David is lower on the list than Joni Mitchell (#72) is ridiculous.
  • Joan Jett (#87):
    In the Runaways it was Lita Ford doing all the dangerous guitar, and in the Blackhearts it was Eric Ambel or Ricky Byrd on guitar during their heyday back in the 1980's. While Joan's music has something of lasting durability, she just doesn't have it where it counts as a guitar player - she doesn't have the chops, or the originality, or any level of influence on other guitar players.

So who got missed? A lot of truly great guitarists. Here are just a few:

  • Joe Satriani:
    The fact that Joe didn't make this list shows just how out of touch the idiots people that put this list together really are. Anyone that knows anything about guitar knows that Joe belongs on any top 100 guitarists list - and usually in the top 10.
  • Ted Nugent:
    The fact that Uncle Ted didn't make this list is further proof that the people who write for RSM are on drugs. When Ted doesn't make the list and Duane Allman gets a #2 slot even though Ted's guitar could single-handedly track Duane through five Midwestern states in a blizzard, then capture Duane and skin him before his heart stops beating is ample proof that this list's priorities are seriously in question.
  • Steve Vai:
    Steve's music is way too weird for me, but look at his credits: Frank Zappa's band, Alcatrazz (replacing Yngwie Malmsteen), David Lee Roth's band (more or less replacing Eddie Van Halen), Whitesnake (replacing both Vivian Campbell and Adrian Vandenberg), and a recurring slot on the G3 tour. Vai has a solid grasp of all the TOAD elements - dropping Vai from this list is ridiculous.
  • Eric Johnson:
    Eric gets nominated for Grammy awards every few years because - let's face it - he's a really talented guitarist with boatloads of originality. The fact that Eric was dissed on RSM's list is a travesty.
  • Prince:
    Personally, I can't stand Prince. He's a pompous idiot and his music makes me want to hurl. But I cannot argue the fact that he has all of the TOAD elements, even if I don't like him.
  • Yngwie Malmsteen:
    Yngwie is probably the most arrogant son-of-a-gun on the planet, but it's undeniable that he has Talent, Originality, and Affect elements to spare, even if Durability remains to be seen. But it's inescapable that he was one of the biggest heralds of the neo-classical rock guitar genre, for better or worse.
  • Alex Lifeson:
    Since everyone knows that RSM hates Rush, it's easy to understand why Alex didn't make this list. But come on people, whether you like Rush or not is irrelevant here - Alex has put out more music with greater originality than probably 90% of the guitarists that made the list. And he did so by not ripping off other artists like Jimmy Page (#9) and George Harrison (#21) did.
  • Al Di Meola:
    The omission of countless scores of great Jazz guitarists from this list is bad enough, but leaving out Al Di Meola, who is probably one of the greatest fusion guitarists ever, shows that this list's creators just don't get it.
  • Kerry Livgren:
    The music of Kansas has an incredible legacy - and generations of future guitarists will still be trying to master Carry On Wayward Son or Dust In The Wind, even if it's just on the latest version of Guitar Hero. All of that music is thanks to one ingenious and soft-spoken guitarist from Kansas named Kerry Livgren.
  • Steve Morse:
    Besides the fact that Steve Morse is probably one of the most talented guitarists in history, he's also been in the Dixie Dregs, Kansas (replacing Kerry Livgren), and Deep Purple (replacing Ritchie Blackmore).

I am, of course, leaving out the incredible number of great classical, fingerstyle, and country guitar players; people like Chet Atkins, Andres Segovia, Leo Kottke, Julian Bream, Doc Watson, Christopher Parkening, etc. Each of these guitarists have talent, originality, influence, and durability way beyond most of the guitar players that made the list. Leaving them out is just as dim-witted as the omission of the other guitarists that I had already mentioned.

So there you have it - Rolling Stone Magazine put out another worthless list, and once again they demonstrated that their editorial staff is so out of touch with musical reality that their journalistic credibility is probably beyond reconciliation with their readers. Perhaps someone should explain to them what a guitar is and how it's played, and then build on that foundation until these idiots people understand what it means to be a truly great guitarist.

Posted: Dec 28 2010, 10:57 by Bob | Comments (8)
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Filed under: Guitar | Rants
Social Bookmarks: E-mail | Kick it! | DZone it! |