I am pleased to welcome you to my personal blog, which I started in March 2009. I first became interested in blogging about five years ago, using old "blogger.com", which was cumbersome to use and I never mastered. About a year ago I discovered that Google had bought "blogger.com" and had revised it considerably, making it fun to use, so much so that I have devised at least 15 blogs on various subjects and frequently add posts and Gadgets to them.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Being a Leader

While finding the article in the preceding post, I found this article by another child of a soldier that impressed me very much.

The time has come to present the winner of the 2010 Month of the Military Child Blog Submission Award.
And the winner is (drum roll, please)…Ms. Rebecca Sawler of Ft. Drum, NY. Below is Rebecca’s post about what it means to be a leader and how her father, SSG  Sawler (currently deployed to Afghanistan) displays those characteristics. 
The characteristics that I think an exceptional leader should have are responsibility, respect, and courage. The person that I believe has these characteristics is my Dad.
 Responsibility to me means to be accountable for your own actions. It also means that you trustworthy to others. My dad is responsible because he is a squad leader in the army. He is in charge of thirteen to fourteen soldiers that are divided into four groups or teams. Each of these teams have different missions and therefore he has to watch over and make sure that they know where, when, and how to do their job. As a squad leader he also is responsible for helping his soldiers with their problems as far as health, deployment, their safety and more. On top of him leading these soldiers, he also has a family. He takes care of us by providing for us. He helps pay for food, clothing and a home. When he is home he makes an effort to spend his time with us. I see my Dad as the leader of our family and he proves this by taking care of his responsibilities.
To be respectful is to respect other’s ideas and not look down on them. Respect means to listen to other’s ideas, opinions, and decisions. My father has to respect his leaders and commanding officers. He does this by obeying their decisions and any opinions they have that he needs to follow. He also respects the soldiers under him. As their leader, he listens to their ideas and opinions. He also respects their decisions for work and their life even if he doesn’t agree completely with them. I came across this quote that expresses respect perfectly. “You can have a certain arrogance, and I think that’s fine, but what you should never lose is the respect for others.” –Steffi Graf.
I think that the meaning of courage is to face dangers fearlessly for your beliefs. This means to stand up for what you believe and also to put yourself aside for others. I know my dad has courage because he represents his country. He stands proud for his ideas and beliefs because he serves in our military. He sets himself aside for his family and protects us. Not only does he protect us though, he protects the foreign citizens around the world. A leader shows and teaches courage when he can still lead and not let fear get in his way.
“A leader is someone who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”- John C. Maxwell. Like my dad, I use these important traits, responsibility, respect, and courage at school. First of all, I use responsibility when I keep all my papers and homework in order. Homework is also a responsibility of mine because I have to make sure that I complete it correctly. In school I demonstrate respect in every class. I do this by making sure I call each teacher by Mrs., Mr., or Ms. I also do not talk when they are teaching or pass notes during class. The other students in my grade are also people I respect by not bothering them during class, distracting them, or messing their work up. Respecting my fellow students is very important to me, because they can hopefully look up to me as a good example. Ignoring bullies and trying new things despite my fears, is one way I show courage at school. I am very lucky to have my father to look up to and I hope one day I can use these traits to become a good leader.
Congratulations Rebecca!! It is you and all other Army Children that make us Army Strong!!

I am an Army Brat

Just now I realized that I have not published a post since early April. I've been very busy at my new job as secretary of the Washington Kiwanis Club, which is still in process of converting to online. It's been a lot of fun. I've spent all of my life in some form of military - the National Guard, the Army Reserve, active duty, Retired Reserve - so I appreciate the following article.

I was born in Germany, in 1987, on an Army medical facility, people
still ask me if I’m an American. I have moved more times than most
people can comprehend. I have watched more of my friends drive away,
 knowing full well that I will never see them again, than I care to
remember. But I would notthe trade it for anything.
I have lived in Germany, Arizona, North Carolina, Virginia, Rhode
Island, Florida, Indiana, and now, as an adult, I live in Virginia,
and work in Washington D.C., for the Army that I love, that I
trust…that has truly ke pt me agile in an ever changing world.
I was always taught that failure is never an option, quitting is
simply not an acceptable way out.
I feel safer when the city I’m in starts with the word Fort, and my
favorite statue is Iron Mike.
Some kids dressed like Power Rangers for Halloween, I dressed like a
Civilians like fighter jets and fast cars… I love C-130s and HMMWVs.
I understand the difference between BDUs, DCUs, and ACUs, and know
what color boots go with each.
I went to 3 high schools in Rhode Island, Florida, and Arizona, most
other kids would have been battered, bruised, and broken, I pushed myself
to excel.
I have watched my dad leave to fight the enemy whenever he is needed,
and it has taught me that there are leaders, and there are followers:
soldiers follow orders, so that everyone else can lead normal lives.
I am an Army brat.
I am the son of a Warrior, and my family is a team.
My father serves the people of the United States and we live the Army Values.
I am happy to sacrifice, Mission First!
I was taught to never accept defeat.
I will never quit, it is not in my blood.
I will be there whenever my family needs me.
I am disciplined, taught to adapt and overcome; proficient in
communication and perseverance.
I always understand who I am, and equip myself with skills to overcome.
I am an expert; I will not stand for less.
I stand ready to assist, defend, and protect all that my family unit stands for.
I am the son of a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an Army Brat.
Submitted by Alexander T. Miller

  1. Dawn Miller
    I am the mom of this Army brat, who has learned so much from our nomadic lifestyle. I am proud of him and our family and our values. This life is anything but easy. It is so difficult to say good-bye to friends every year or two. But all the factors that make up our life have made us stronger and better people. In the end, that is what life is all about.

  2. #2
    Thank you, everyone, for the support.

  3. Stacy Bathrick
    This is awesome! I want to frame this and put it in my children’s bedroom! Thank you for so articulately telling the story for other Army Brats!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Geeks and Guns

When you think about the U.S. Military, you probably think about steely eyed men and women wearing camo and carrying around a rifle. Right?
Well, what about steely eyed academics walking around with finely sharpened pencils and an heart for counterinsurgency doctrine?
Today’s military is much more than a grunt on the ground. Soldiers rising to the tops of the ranks have savvy minds and a heart for academia. Enter in National Defense University (NDU) based in Washington, D.C.  NDU’s mission is to advance joint professional military education and national security policy – a pretty important charter and one with a direct impact on today’s warfighter.
This week I visited NDU to speak on social media and hear what they’re up to in the social media space. Like most government organizations looking to reach out and communicate better with both the American public and their internal audiences, NDU is pursuing the use of social media platforms to help tell their story. From a blog, to Twitter and Facebook, they’re looking to reach out and tell you more about what they do to support today’s warfighter.   
If you’re interested in learning more about some of the academics helping to educate our leaders or read some of the work they’re doing, I encourage you to check them out, and drop a comment on their blog. For today’s Army, it takes more than a hot meal and a weapon – it takes teams of researchers committed to providing Soldiers with the skills and knowledge to fight smart.
So, geeks with guns? Absolutely!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Resin identification code

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Sorted household plastic waiting to be hauled away for reprocessing.

Polypropylene lid of a Tic Tac box, with a living hinge and the resin identification code under its flap
The SPI resin identification coding system is a set of symbols placed on plastics to identify the polymer type. It was developed by the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) in 1988, and used internationally. The primary purpose of the codes is to allow efficient separation of different polymer types for recycling.
The symbols used in the code consist of arrows that cycle clockwise to form a rounded triangle and enclosing a number, often with an acronym representing the plastic below the triangle. When the number is omitted, the symbol is known as the universal Recycling Symbol, indicating generic recyclable materials. In this case, other text and labels are used to indicate the material(s) used. Previously recycled resins are coded with an "R" prefix (for example, a PETE bottle made of recycled resin could be marked as RPETE using same numbering).
Contrary to misconceptions, the number does not indicate how hard the item is to recycle, nor how often the plastic was recycled. It is an arbitrary number and has no other meaning aside from identifying the specific plastic.
The Unicode character encoding standard includes the resin identification codes, between code points U+2673 and U+2679 inclusive. The generic material recycling symbol is encoded as code point U+267A.



[edit] Table of resin codes

Recycling number  ↓ Image  ↓ Unicode  ↓ Symbol  ↓ Abbreviation  ↓ Polymer name  ↓ Uses  ↓
1 ♳ U+2673 PETE or PET Polyethylene terephthalate Polyester fibres, thermoformed sheet, strapping, and soft drink bottles (See also: Recycling of PET bottles)
2 ♴ U+2674 HDPE High density polyethylene Bottles, grocery bags, milk jugs, recycling bins, agricultural pipe, base cups, car stops, playground equipment, and plastic lumber
3 ♵ U+2675 PVC or V Polyvinyl chloride Pipe, fencing, and non-food bottles
4 ♶ U+2676 LDPE Low density polyethylene Plastic bags, 6 pack rings, various containers, dispensing bottles, wash bottles, tubing, and various molded laboratory equipment
5 ♷ U+2677 PP Polypropylene Auto parts, industrial fibers, food containers, and dishware
6 ♸ U+2678 PS Polystyrene Desk accessories, cafeteria trays, plastic utensils, toys, video cassettes and cases, and insulation board and other expanded polystyrene products (e.g., Styrofoam)
7 ♹ U+2679 OTHER or O Other plastics, including acrylic, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, fiberglass, nylon, polycarbonate, and polylactic acid Bottles, plastic lumber applications

[edit] Availability of recycling facilities

Use of the recycling symbol in the coding of plastics has led to on going consumer confusion about which plastics are readily recyclable. In most communities throughout the United States, PETE and HDPE are the only plastics collected in municipal recycling programs. Some regions, though, are expanding the range of plastics collected as markets become available. (Los Angeles, for example, recycles all clean plastics numbered 1 through 7.[1])

[edit] Possible new codes

In 2007, a State Senate bill in California (SB 898) proposed adding a "0" code for compostable polylactic acid.[2] However, this provision of the bill was removed before passage.[3][4]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ http://www.lacity.org/san/solid_resources/recycling/what_is_recyclable.htm "What is Recyclable" from the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation website.
  2. ^ http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_898&sess=CUR&house=B&author=simitian Full text and version history of California State Senate Bill 898
  3. ^ http://www.cawrecycles.org/issues/current_legislation/sb898_07 Bill summary from Californians Against Waste, an environmental group
  4. ^ SB 898 Senate Bill - AMENDED

[edit] External links

Sunday, March 21, 2010

When in Doubt, Go Up

blog post 03-19LTC Marc Hoffmeister: Photo Courtesy of the Veterans Coalition
Imagine climbing Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America. Now imagine doing it while recovering from wounds sustained from a roadside bomb in Iraq.
This is exactly what Army Lt. Col. Marc Hoffmeister did and by overcoming his injuries and encouraging others to do the same, he was awarded National Geographic’s Reader’s Choice Adventurer of the Year Award.
Hoffmeister organized “Operation Denali” and trained with a mountaineering team, which was comprised of three other Soldiers who were injured in Iraq: Army Spc. David Shebib, Marine Capt. Jon Kuniholm and retired Army Sgt. 1stClass Matthew Nyman.
2blog post 03-19Left to Right: David Shebib, Bob Haines and Marc Hoffmeister stop to take a picture after reaching the summit of Mt. McKinley (also known as Denali). Photo Courtesy of the Veterans Coalition
Hoffmeister was injured during his second deployment to Iraq in 2007. The Humvee he was riding in was hit by an improvised explosive device and Hoffmeister lost significant use of his left arm. After receiving medical care at Madigan Army Medical Center at Fort Lewis, Wash., Hoffmeister returned home to Fort Richardson, Alaska. Beginning a long, painful recovery process, Hoffmeister said he relied on tough love from his wife.
Hoffmeister said a spouse’s role in recovery is essential and provides a “degree of intimacy and care.” Hoffmeister said a spouse can often push a wounded Soldier beyond what he or she thinks is possible and he credits his wife with motivating him to continue recovery.
The idea of Operation Denali started when Hoffmeister’s wife, Gayle told him she was going to climb Denali. She “laid down the gauntlet,” forcing him to realize it was time to face his fears and resume his life.
Hoffmeister realized others would feel the same challenges, overcoming injuries and trying to resume “normal” life. He got in touch with Mark Hamm from the Army Wounded Warrior Program at Walter Reed Army Hospital and Hamm assisted him in pushing out invitations.
While sifting through the applicants, Hoffmeister acknowledged he wanted Soldiers  who had minimal climbing experience. He felt this way the climb would serve as a true life-changing experience for the participants. The team spent a year on developing skills and conditioning for the climb.
Hoffmeister said the mountaineering team and their goals directly paralleled skills learned in the Army, such as training and battle drills.
“It’s all about practicing how you react to situations,” said Hoffmeister.
Perhaps the biggest similarity was the required team work.
“The greatest value of a team is being able to recognize when one is down and you have to motivate them.”
As one could imagine Hoffmeister acknowledged there were periods of hardships and challenges throughout the journey, but the team kept in mind that those times were fleeting.
“You just have to remember that in 10 minutes, an hour or tomorrow, that pack would be lighter, that blister would be better,” said Hoffmeister. “It’s all about perspective.”
Hoffmeister said his bucket list is long and it includes plans for organizing a future climb in Argentina with Wounded Warriors. As for the National Geographic award, he said it’s important for other Wounded Warriors; as it serves as an example of what can happen with persistence and overcoming obstacles.
“You never know what life will deal you,” said Hoffmeister. “Everything is achieved through small steps.”
Hoffmeister said he encourages Wounded Warriors to confront their challenges, or what he referred to as their “personal summit.”
“When in doubt, go up.”
Written by Jessica Maxwell, Public Affairs Specialist, Online and Social Media