Postcards from Tradocia

the senator


Today me and six other soldiers from B Company – along with an assortment of people from other units – went to a dinner event at the DFAC with Minnesota’s own Norm Coleman, along with Tennessee Senator Bill Frist and three others (didn’t get their names – from Ohio and Louisiana).

I didn’t know Coleman was going to be there until I got to the DFAC, and I was pleased to hear that he would; he gave an excellent speech at our going away ceremony in March.

We got to eat from real plates with real silverware – a revelation after three months of plastic! – though of course they were late, which meant we had to wait for about an hour for them to arrive by helicopter from their last stop.

Senator Coleman was friendly and energetic; he seemed geniuinely eager to be here and to speak with us, and he even accomodated various stragglers, Minnesotans from other units who saw the senator and walked up to talk to him. He spoke forcefully about the UN and the Oil-for-Food scandal, and solicited questions from us.

I asked about blogs, of course, asking him if he read any and what he thought about the phenomenon as it related to politics. I mentioned Power Line, since they’re from Minnesota, and he said he knew the proprietors well and had read the site. He mentioned the importance of bloggers in the Dan Rather/”Memogate” situation, as well as the Oil-for-Food scandal, and said that various blogs provided for him a valuable perspective from outside the Washington milieu. His statements weren’t anything earth-shattering, but he spoke easily and smoothly about the topic – fairly impressive since he probably wasn’t planning on talking about the internet in Iraq.

Then one of our cable dogs brought up a serious issue with Guard education benefits – in short, we’re losing almost two years of eligibility for our education benefits, since unlike the active duty GI Bill, Guard soldiers have to be serving to receive money. (The active duty GI Bill lasts for up to 10 years after separating from the military.) Many of our troops were in college when we got deployed, and many of those same soldiers will be finished with their terms of enlistment when we return – but they won’t be finished with college. Coleman was quite surprised when he heard this, and he gave our guy his contact information and told him to send a complete description of the problem to his office and promised to follow up on it. It was a great gesture and he seemed sincerely concerned about the situation.

Finally, we posed for a few more pictures, then moved out, while the senators met with the 1st Cavalry Division commander. It was a good time and a great opportunity – I didn’t think much about it beforehand, but afterwards I realized that it was pretty exciting.

Delobius, rubbing elbows with the powers-that-be – all to get you the hot scoop!

UPDATE: Welcome, Power Line readers! :)


  1. Mom and Dad

    I was taking a nap this afternoon when Senator Coleman called your Mom from Kuwait. He said you looked great, and enjoyed seeing you and your comrades.

    Your Mom wanted wanted to know when you’re coming home, and he said he hoped in October!

    Love, Dad and Mom

  2. Lola Barnes

    Cheers!! we’re very proud of you—you look wonderful. Love, G&G

  3. cindy

    Wow- what a celebrity! It’s a great picture.

  4. SGT P

    The general to be forms his alliances early…

  5. Pat in NC

    I am impressed with Coleman and his investigation
    of the UN. Glad he will look into the college thing for you guys and gals. I am hoping one of the milbloggers saw Kerry and will comment on his visit. Take care. I hope you do not post Emails since my pawigo @ yahoo is blacklisted. I never write nasty comments. I come to the milblogs to thank you and encourage only.

  6. SGT P

    Check out the Senator’s website, you guys are on the front page!

    PS I wrote about the whole education benefits concern that we have spoke of. All you have to do is click on the Contact tab, then click on the form. Too easy.

  7. kimber

    You know what’s funny about the whole UN scandal thing?
    If you look at the list that was published in Azzaman back in 2003, the countries and companies on the list are some of the ones the US was buying oil from. Do yall really think us and our oil companies didn’t know where that oil was coming from? Where was our outrage then? Yall need to at least LOOK at this shit.

    Hi – I’m kimber. I was at Victory from May to Feb of ’04. I’m an analyst. I’m a friend of Kelly Ray’s. An Artist, no less. She turned me on to your blog. I’ve been catching up on it’s writings. Wow – did yall spend a lot of time training. I didn’t have any of the free time yall appear to have. My soldiers didn’t have enough ammo or uniforms. Victory still had bodies and 3rd ID shit everywhere when my people – or rather the unit I was cross leveled to- got there.

    I am interested in what it is like there now? Just as I was leaving, they were making it the lap of luxury. Saw a piture of the new OPs center in a magazine and couldn’t believe how nice it was. But, I’m guessing yall don’t get out much anymore. Not that I was allowed to go no where much. Especially to do – say- my JOB effectively. Do you have to where the full battle rattle to the latrine like Kosivo, or can you wait till you go outside the gate like we got to? Do they still have the cheapest plasticware in the chow hall? Do CSMs with nothing to do wonder around looking for soldiers with a button out of place or laundry hanging out front of the houses (unsightly)?
    I’m curious.
    You seem like a good little republican, but I won’t pick on you too much.
    write me back

  8. Toni

    Hey that’s great that you got to rub shoulders with Coleman. I’ll go check out the story on his site. I like Norm (altho he’s conservative lite) and campaigned for him in ’01. I really hope the UNSCAM doesn’t get swept under the rug like Kofi and the rest of the world are trying to do. I was expecting to see some pics of the former presidential candidate JFK from his visit to Iraq! There are pics of him with the Syrian leader with comments of how the US can do better with our relations. Yeah – ok on the JFK thingy I was just being snarky.

  9. Delobius

    “good little republican”? Way to be condescending…welcome to my domain.

    Re: the oil situation…if there were Americans or American companies who profited from Saddam’s little shell game, then by all means they should be punished. But the point is that the whole deal was run by the UN, so they bear the ultimate responsibility for what happened.

    We only wear battle rattle when we’re outside the gate or when it’s a period of elevated risk – we were wearing it around Christmas time. As for this being the lap of luxury…well…yes, it is. LOL…the fact that I’m writing this from my air conditioned/heated trailer is evidence of that…:)

  10. Peg C.

    Thanks for a great write-up of your meeting with Senator Coleman. He’s definitely one of the good guys.

    SGT P – Are you the SGT P that RedSix writes about? I am addicted to his tales! You guys are great!

    Kimber ought to learn how not to write the way she speaks. From perusing the blogosphere I’ve found the writings of most troops to be far above that of the general population but she’s sure the exception to the rule.

  11. cindy

    Alex- Check out the Powerline site as soon as you get a chance!
    Love, Cindy

  12. Scriptfox

    Just another shot from the peanut gallery re the oil for food scandal.

    The “problem” with the whole thing wasn’t that Iraqi oil was flowing out of the country- it was that some people were illegally profiting by it. This was either by running contracts below market price through middlemen (who sold it for higher figures and pocketed the difference) or by delivering over-priced goods (the ‘food’) into Iraq.

    It’s very possible that the oil companies knew it was coming from Iraq- if it went through the ‘proper’ channels, that part was perfectly legal. What was… shall we say… ethically challenged… was how some people (at Saddam’s discretion) managed to profit in other ways from it.

    At any rate, nice picture, and good luck on the college problem. The way I figure it, you just need a regulation that states that time served on active duty overseas is ‘added’ to the eligibility (sp?) time for your education benefits. Shouldn’t be too hard to pass…

  13. Spike

    >Your Mom wanted wanted to know when you’re >coming home, and he said he hoped in October!

    Tomorrow would be even better.

  14. Steve H.

    I have just bookmarked this blog. My daughter is a Phsyops fresh out of AIT. Her unit is Arden Hills and is to be deployed in one of the next two cycles. She also enlisted to get college money, so I am especially interested in this post.

    I’ll be back!

    Oh I know a happy soldier is a bitching soldier, but Kimber really does go over the top. As a Navy Vet I used to say sailor, but I am sure it works in the Army too. Kimber’s pathetic whining makes her a perfect little Democrat.

  15. Mrs. Melobi

    I just feel compelled to let folks know that Delobius married a “perfect little Democrat.” Although I think I only whine about cooking and mowing the lawn.

  16. Steve H.

    When some says they are a Democrat, the only good response is, “I’m sorry!”

    I say that a lot here in Minnesota.

  17. Delobius

    Hey! That’s my woman you’re talking about. She might be a Democrat but she’s *my* Democrat.

  18. SGT P

    Well, there is a lot to comment on isn’t there?! I don’t think you’ve reached this level of commentary on any other post to date, Delobi (correct me if I’m wrong).

    Lets go through them:
    1. I don’t know “RedSix” but if he says that SGT P is The Man, then yes, I am the one and only SGT P. (Seriously, I doubt that I am the same SGT P.)

    2. I’ve subscribed to listserv’s and posted on many bulletin boards, and what I’ve learned over time is that although I tend to lean toward Republican values, a comprise is most often needed, practically speaking. So let’s welcome the democrats to the forum as well.

    3. Melobi, get back to the kitchen! That is, after you finished mowing the lawn.

  19. Mrs. Melobi

    Damn, Pope. I just got done shoveling the walk! And in my bare feet, too.

  20. Steve H - USA

    I thought I was being nice!

    I think the Redsix refered to is a tankjockey. His last post was from Fallujah in November. Here is his site,

    Pope’s self-description sounds like a Neocon, a bleeding heart conservative. Much like myself. Social programs need help, but they also need limits.

  21. Steve H - USA

    Redsix’s posts are new, they are just about events that are 2 months old.

    My mistake!

  22. Jokur

    Bloody hell this is crazy let me get this strait SGT P is a freakin tanker and a democrat. That is insane.

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