Saturday, May 30, 2009


If you weren't at the Clash and Ramones tribute show at Valentines tonight...well, your idea of fun is shit and you missed out.

Sweet dreams.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Larry Meistrich (hollywood filmmaker) wants you!

Well, only if you are active military or a veteran. Meistrich is soliciting movie and TV pitches from the country's finest, with the intent to choose one project per year to produce and finance.

Meistrich wants the projects to be entirely produced by military personnel and family members. This includes writing, directing, producing, acting, production, etc.

Sounds awesome, right? Let's make a movie! Anyone have a script?

Read the article here: "We wanted to support the troops with more than just a yellow ribbon," Meistrich said.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sincerely, Uncle Sam

I am in the middle of a desert, alone, separated from the other soldiers in the firefight. My boots pound the sand, then the paved street, then the grass. I lean against a brick building as if it
is the only thing I can rely on. A towering tree rises to my left, its bright green leaves swaying over an empty field. Its reassuring bulk allows me to close my eyes and imagine all the other places I could be.
I put my M16 on burst and squeeze the trigger slowly with my left index finger. I don’t hit anything: not a building, a car, or a person. It’s like my bullets know the fight isn’t worth it, but I keep shooting, and between shots, I cry out for the other soldiers.
“Wait…Don’t leave!”
I close my eyes and run my palms down the bricks. Even, they are sweating. I realized that if I don’t take cover, I will be killed. I open my eyes and peer around the corner. I see the other soldiers running through the streets, taking cover. I step from behind the building, and it hits me: a bullet in my left cheek, then two more. A man with dark oily hair, bright brown eyes, and crooked overlapping teeth emerges from, behind the brick wall. His bullets sedate me. I am unable to move. I don’t care. The bullets expand gently in my face. Some nights my fingers seem to dissolve as I run them over the gaping holes in my cheek. There is never any blood, any death. I always wake up the same way - staring at my bedroom wall, wondering if I am going to die in Iraq. A good soldier was supposed to run through the bullets, accept that they might get shot in the face, but at least shoot something before they die. Shit, I don’t want to get shot in the face. I do not want to shoot anyone in the face. After having the same dream for a few weeks in a row, I think for sure I am going to get killed in Iraq. I imagine the letter my parents will get notifying them about my death.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Hoit,
We are sorry to inform you but your daughter, Specialist Kate Hoit, was shot in the face by a man who didn‘t believe in using shampoo. You should know the Army trained her well but apparently she liked to do things her own way. On the day of her death she separated herself from the other soldiers, hid behind a building, and she was a terrible shot. By the way, her face ate her fingers so we suggest a closed casket. We are sorry for your loss.
Uncle Sam

Monday, May 18, 2009

Life updates...

I've been horrible about updating my blog. My semester ended on the 14th, get my grades back tomorrow, and my two summer classes start in a week. I'm taking the History of Photography and a math course. They are Monday-Friday, 8:30-2:50...but they'll be done in four weeks! I'm still working on my memoir piece...the editing process is interesting. It's as though the first 20 drafts didn't matter and now it's time to really say what I want to say. I'm working with a professor who has a few books out and really pushing me. Hopefully one day my piece will be published somewhere.

Germany! Thanks for the emails and facebook messages. Your English doesn't suck! I'll be taking German in the fall...can you guys help me out?

Rold and Mr.England, you guys made it over!! I hope you guys are well! Rold, how's the baby? Harm? Mr.England, coming to the states?

I'm at my Army unit until Thursday to make up some time. I've been working on soldiers promotion packets...real exciting.

Trying to meet some Iraqis who are taking English classes at the school my mom works at. Hopefully tomorrow I get the chance to meet them!

Hope all of you are well!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Five Soldiers killed at Camp Libery, What are Stress Clinics?

U.S. soldier killed five at Camp Liberty’s stress clinic.

What's a stress clinic?

In July 2005, I did a story on the stress clinic at Camp Anaconda in Balad, Iraq. This stress clinic is separate from the stress clinic at Camp Liberty. However, I figured this could shed some light on what exactly a stress clinic is.

"Being deployed in a war zone can affect Soldiers in a variety of ways. Whether a Soldier suffers from combat stress, problems at home, substance abuse, or unit and leadership conflicts the 55th Medical Company, Combat Stress Control, Indianapolis, Ind., here has an assortment of programs set up for intervention.

The Soldiers at the Restoration Clinic understand that many people need an opportunity to express their thoughts, feelings, and problems in a non-judgmental, therapeutic way. Soldiers on Anaconda have the choice of walking in, making an appointment, or they may be recommended by their command to receive individual counseling and treatment.

"We don't turn anyone way, and they would be seen and evaluated the day they walk-in," said Maj. Richard Boone, officer-in-charge of the Restoration Program.

The clinic offers therapeutic intervention classes to include: Relaxation Techniques, Stress Management, Home Front Issues, Communication Skills, Anger Management, Anxiety Awareness, Open Forum, and Depression Awareness. The main objective of the classes is for soldiers to communicate what they are experiencing, look at their own reactions to the stressors, and to see if they can resolve or alter the issue themselves.

"We are about returning Soldiers to full duty, better equipped to handle their stressors, and having a greater sense of personal well-being," Boone said.

When Soldiers come to the clinic, they may enter the Restoration Program. The program is over a three-day period, and focuses on certain classes that would benefit the individual Soldier and one-on-one counseling. However, many Soldiers do not need the full program and they would usually be back to duty within a day with follow-up care as needed, Boone said. In case a Soldier needs more then 72 hours of intervention, the staff offers a Residential Program, where they may stay up to two weeks depending on their condition and response to the treatment.

For Soldiers at other forward operating bases, the staff put together a squad known as the Prevention Team; these Soldiers travel frequently to assist troops. When they visit Soldiers their goals are to offer critical incident debriefings if someone suffered a traumatic event and to make them aware that they have someone to talk to if need be. Soldiers may also be brought into the clinic to be given additional counseling.

The staff is aware that Soldiers may feel awkward about talking to an unfamiliar person about personal problems and anxious about the process. Soldiers will be glad to know that the information they share with the combat stress staff is almost always confidential, Boone said. There are exceptions, however, when issues of dangerous behavior or illegality arise or if the Soldier is a direct command referral. In such cases some information could be shared with other healthcare providers or with the Soldier's command.

"We treat everyone who comes in here as adults, as Soldiers who are doing important work," Boone said. "We treat them with respect, friendliness, and compassion."

Being expected to carry out missions is challenging and dangerous situations may cause emotional and physiological issues. The Soldiers at the Restoration Clinic will be working with Soldiers until the end of their tour in late fall. A replacement unit is expected to arrive to continue this vital work."

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Good quote from a good book...

I'm getting ready for my final in Vietnam War and Literature and I came across a perfect quote from one of the books I had to read.

The Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh...

"It was hard to remember a time when his whole personality and character had been intact, a time before the cruelty and the destruction of war had warped his soul. A time when he had been deeply in love, passionate, aching with desire, hilariously frivolous and light-hearted, or quickly depressed by love and suffering. Or blushing in embarrassment. When he, too, was worthy of being a lover and in love...
But war was a world with no home, no roof, no comforts. A happy journey, of endless drifting. War was a world without real men, without real women, without feeling."