Postcards from Tradocia

crew served stew 2


“I just wanted to take pictures,” I whined, wiping the worthless sweat from my face with my sleeve. I say worthless because the heat was oppressive and the wind nonexistent; in the furious midday Texas heat, it was as if I could feel the entire volume of Earth’s atmosphere concentrated into a burning hand pushing me into the gravel.

My body armor was a tight, heat-absorbing corset – being black and green instead of desert tan, it has special powers of solar energy collection. My heartbeat thumped in my ears, pounding at twice my normal resting rate from the exertion of laying down. To touch any metal part of my weapon or the tripod meant instant pain, the black steel becoming dangerous just by existing under the glare of the sun.

I just wanted to go take pictures, in my role as UPAR (Unit Public Affairs Representative – my new title instead of PAO), but they made me take my SAW – and a tripod – instead.

On the plus side, I got to zero my MGO. It’s amazing how long it takes a bullet to travel 800 meters; looking through the optic, one can see the tracer leave the barrel, then hurtle in an arc downrange to hit the target some second or two later. The view through the sight was reminiscent of World War II gun camera footage, where the vibration of the guns firing would turn tracers into squiggly lines on film.

Then, of course, we fired at night, which was too easy with the illuminated reticle – just line up the target on the appropriate range marker and squeeze the trigger. Though it was made more difficult considering we didn’t shoot until about 0300…once again delerium and live ammunition combined in a fury of firepower!


  1. Bryce and Lola

    Great toga fun! We are going to Christy’s graduation party this evening and according to Paul Douglas the weather will be great after the rain of yesterday afternoon. Your parents will be there among the invited guests. Christy is excited about the event which will take place at the pavillion at the lake. Lots of food, games and bonfire are planned.
    Love G&G

  2. cindy

    Alex- How about some names to go along with these faces? Speaking of names- what does “delobi” mean? Cindy

  3. kelly

    Hey Alex!
    Love the military monk look. I know some monks from Thailand and you nailed the color scheme. It is the color of the monks- earth tones. You all are one with the one!

  4. scott

    hey barnes, i’ll admit it. i am a lurker. but reski and partlow are as well and we love to read your site out loud and laugh at the ridiculous life all of us lead. it is good stuff-keep it coming!

  5. Pfc. Bauer

    Not to sound overbearing, but some of the information posted on your blog here is a violation of OPSEC. Ive shown some ofthe information to a specialist here at Ft. Reilly and he concurs. I’m not trying to get you to shut down your blog, i think its very articulate. But im sure as a mobbed soldier youve been to the OPSEC briefings just like my unit has, and you should know not to post formation times, names, and specific gear issued to your unit. Other than the Opsec violations your site is very well put together and I will monitor it in the future for continued humor on our specific situation.

    [Ed.: I think it’s pretty common knowledge that the US Army issues M16 rifles and night vision devices. As far as names – anyone reading any number of newspapers in our home state would find many more names (and complete ones, and hometowns) than on my site. Thanks for commenting anyway.]

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