Today, we continue the blog interviews with Echo9er... The interview panel is ready... First question? Your 'confessions' say that you've seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Did you have fun - and What is your favorite part? I have to say the first time I saw it, I thought is was pretty lame. After I saw it a couple of times, I thought it was fun. It wasn't until I was re-introduced to it with a few friends, that I really started to enjoy it. Understand, when I first saw it, it was just a movie. It became a cult classic many years after it was released. It was then that people would dress the part and recite the lines, and dance on the theater stage, etc. There used to be a theater here in Tacoma that played the RHPS every Friday and Saturday night. The "True" believers and followers of the movie were in full dress and didn't miss a beat. I never got that involved (I remained a "virgin"), but sure did enjoy the show, not the movie so much, but the show in front of the screen as the movie played. If you have never seen it, be prepared, and visit a couple of more times to get the full impact. It is really a lot of fun. The best part? Hmmm. I think the part I liked best was Tim Curry and "Sweet Transvestite" or maybe the "Time Warp." I have this on DVD and it is a Haloween favorite. Why did you join the service? I guess I joined out a sense of responsibility. Although at 18, I didn't have much sense and absolutely no responsibility. I was undisciplined and just plain trouble. I know now that if I had not joined the Military, I would have ended up as one of those guys on the corner holding a sign, or worse, in jail. My Father was in the Army, as were many of my uncles. I had a few friends from High School that joined (or were drafted) the Marines and Army. I also attended a couple funerals for thos same friends. So, I figured, what the heck. If they can do it, I can do it for 3 years. Well, 3 years turned in to almost 30, and upon reflection, I would have still joined. Joining, for me anyway, was a better choice than waiting for the Draft. I didn't want Infantry. I didn't want to go to Viet Nam. I wanted another skill. I became a medic. I became very good at it. Went to some advanced training and schools, delayed the inevitable rotation to Viet Nam for about a year, but still ended up there. It was there that I grew up and became an adult. It was there that the words of my father came back to haunt me -- "Son, one of these days you will realize that your old man was right." He was, on more than one level. I learned tolerance. I learned patience. Most of all I learned what family was. As I said, I grew up. At age 19, In 12 short, intense, and sometimes very scary months, I became an adult. Do you think people in the Army are tougher than those in the Air Force? I wouldn't say people in the Army are tougher than those in the Air Force. I think the Air Force has more of a "Corporate" mindset than a "Military" mindset. That being said, The Army pounds the ground, killing bad guys and breaking things. The mission is such that there is not a whole lot of time for debate or consideration of options. Here is your target, go get it, secure it, report back that you have accomplished the mission. The Air Force on the other hand, moves equipment and people in some very sophisticated aircraft, some of which drop bombs and missles, killing bad guys and breaking things. The end goal is the same, the method of getting there differs greatly. What the best MOS? Currently, any MOS is good as long as you can learn and transfer what you did in the Military to the Civilian afterlife. Unfortunatley, there is not a lot of call for the straight up Infantry "grunt" or tanker. There is however a way of transfering much of those learned skills to the civilian afterlife as a police officer or in some of the police special operations (SWAT, etc). The best MOS right now is probably something to do with communications, radar, information networks, intelligence gathering etc. What's the worst? As stated above. I don't think there is a worst MOS. Although I have never been one to enjoy the ground pounding of an infantry grunt or the life of somone in the Artillery, or even the Engineers, for that matter. To much of that out in the elements duty to suit me. But then again, the combat medic spends a lot of time with those guys, so... What has been the most rewarding part of the service? Boy, that's a tough one. Being promoted to Sergeant Major (E9) was definately rewarding. But, I think my time as a Platoon Sergeant (E7) and First Sergeant (E8) were probably the most rewarding. Don't get me wrong, being a medic and helping people in crises and emergencies is always rewarding, but the impact on people in your charge are what makes or breaks you as a leader in the Military. I think I had the most influence over people in my charge when I was a Platoon Sergeant. I had 37 people in my platoon. I was responsible for the care feeding training and career development of each and every one of them. What I did and how I did it affected all of them. I think I did OK. As a platoon Sergeant, I had one soldier that was always in trouble. She would be late to formation. She came up positive on a drug screen. She did not have a military attitude. My First Sergeant at the time wanted to initiate paperwork to chapter her out of the Army. I fought to keep her in. I thought there wa something there that we could salvage. As it turned out, I was right. I counseled her. Told her she was on track to being chaptered out and gave her some options, straighten up, lose the attitude, and take on the Army, the way she took on school (she was a 4.0 GPA in High School and had a Associates degree in health sciences with a 3.9 GPA). She took my advice. She became a model soldier. She was reassigned to Madigan Army Medical Center for the Army LPN course and later graduated 3rd in her class. She later went to the NCO Academy. She sent me an invitation to her graduation. I was First Sergeant by that time. I attended, She was 2nd in her class. She caught up with me after graduation and thanked me for setting her on the right track. I was humbled. The last I heard she had been promoted to E7 and was doing well. I guess there are a handfull of those stories. Every NCO leader has them. They are few and far between. But they are the ones that make you sit back and say to yourself "Ya Done Good by this one." When humans finally kill each other off, what species will take over the world? The insects. There was a documentary I saw many years ago. I don't remember the name. The introduction was something to the effect that after all other life has ceased to exist on earth, the insects will dominate. Which of these Republican Presidents do you most identify with: Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight Eisenhower, George W. Bush? Probably Bush. He is tough. He stays on message. He is not afraid to stand his ground. Ike originally got us into Vietnam. He had the vision of our Interstae Highway System, and held a strong belief that the cold war was a "...hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose and insidious in method," Hmmm! Isn't that similar to what our current President has been saying about terrorism? Coolidge was tough on public safety and chastised the labor leadership responsible for the Boston Police Department Strike in 1919. ..."there is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, anytime." I liked cowboys and indians as a kid. Roosevelt is one of those guys.I think he felt more comfortable as a Rough Rider than President. What prompted you to start a blog? I actually had the Blogger site Echo9er for 2 years before I started writing. I'm not sure why, but I thought it was something I might enjoy doing. I figured I could write what is on my mind, link to a few other sites, insert a little humor, and just have fun. I have no visions of a million page views (that would be cool). I have no visions of public notariety. I have no visions of fame. I just want to have fun. However, once I started posting the DoD Casualty reports, I felt an obligation to keep the blog going. I felt a need to put a name next to that number. I have been a Casualty Notification Officer and Assistance Officer. I know first hand what the families go through when they hear of the death of a loved one, be it a training accident, and auto accident, a skliing accident, or hostile actions. As a Casualty Affairs Officer, I also had that knowledge. I may not get a lot of the "Back Story" on the Cassualty, but I still feel an obligation to post it. That is really what keeps the Blog going. As for the fun, you'll see some of those posts every once in a while. Now that the Final Four has been set, who will win the NCAA Men's Championship? I don't follow sports that much, especially basketball. So, I can't begin to answer this question. I'm going out on a limb and predict that the Mariners will win 75 games this season. I know that's a stretch, but hey... Has anyone figured out your "true" identity? I don't think so. I do identify myself as "Echo9er (aka David)" when I leave a comment. So for now, that's about as far as I will go. I think the mystery is good. Can you tell me about your dogs? The dogs, both purebred German Shepherd Dogs, are my kids since my Son and Daughter have moved out. They are great companions. Brewster, the Male has been with me since he was 7 weeks old (he is now 12). He is such a gentleman. He tolerates me, jumps for joy when I come home from work and is ALWAYS ready to be petted and be rewarded with a treat. He does not strive for attention, however, he will let you know when you need to do something. Usually around dinner time. Buffy, the Female came to us at the ripe age of almost 2 (she is now almost 4). Her previous owner had a child that would pull on her hair and tail and she was just afraid that Buffy would turn on the child and bite or otherwise hurt her. She is VERY tolerant of tail pullng and other teases. She is paranoid of loud noises (thunder, artillary fire, gunshots, fireworks, etc). She is always wanting attention. I call her my "Attention Grabing irl Dog" because no matter what I'm doing, she will horn in and try to take the attention her way. Great dogs, both of them. Glad to have them. And no, I don't think I will ever have more than 2. By the way. I'm reading Marley and Me by John Grogan. It a story about a hyper-active Golden Lab. I see a lot of Buffy in this book. As I get closer to the end of the book, and Marley is getting older, I see a lot of Brewster as well. This is an excellent book and I recommend this as a good read for everyone. So if the other 746 people ahead of you in the Presidential succession are removed, and you become President, what will be your first act? I have no idea. I think the Military would become a MUCH higher priority.I think there is much improvemnment to be found everywher, but unfortunately, the President has to fight to many battles with the Senate and Congress to make them. My 1st act?? How about a "National Blogger Day" to recognize all the fine blogs out here and allow a day off from all other commitments so they can just Blog? Khakis or fatigues? By fatigues, do you mean the old fatigues with the shirt worn in the trousers or the current BDU/ACU (Battle Dress Uniform/Army Combat Uniform)? Either way, I have to answer fatigues/BDU. I never really liked the "Dress" uniform, of which the Khakis was a Class B. Anything that caused me to feel uncomfortable at work was not for me. As for the current ACU, I had mixed feelings about it when they first came out. But the more I see it and the more Soldiers I talk to about it, I wish I could have had some. The BDU was/is a good uniform, but my favorite of all time was the "Jungle Fatigue.' It was super comfortable, light weight, and just plain looked good. If you could meet one person you admire, who would that be and why? Currently living: Lance Armstrong. An amazing individual who defied the odds, beat cancer, won 7 Tour de France races, and continues to dedicate his life to serving others with his foundation. Oliver North. A true American. A true Patriot. Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh for obvious reasons. Deceased: Ronald Reagan, Willie Mays, Vince Lombardi. Is the Sergeant Major a Lady Suffragette? No. What Democratic President do you most identify with? You're kidding, Right? If life came with a "do over" button, what would you like to do over, if anything? Do better in High School. I was a real troublemaker. I had difficulty paying attention. I disrupted classes. I ran more laps around the school during PE class than I spent doing PE. I should have cared more and studied harder. Other than that, what is there to change. Then again. If I did do better in High School, I may not be where I am today. I may not have the wife or kids I have today or the life I now know. Maybe I should just decide not to press that button. Does your Granddaughter think you are "cool" because you blog? I think once she gets old enough, she will. After all, she has her own page that hopefully she will look at when she's a Mom and say, "Grandpa David did this." My hope is that her mom and dad will continue it, and that Emily will somehow add her own life and words to it when she gets older and for many years to come. What will the title of your book be? Have never thought about a book. But it would have to be something about the Military, and the Army and Air Force specifically. What's your favorite genre of books, movies, music? Books: Action, Spy, some drama, mystery (Frederick Forsyth, Stephen King, Robert Ludlum, James Patterson, etc) Movies: much the same. Sex and violence are always good. Action, thrillers, horror and science Fiction. Not much into the animations. Music: Country is my first favorite. I also like jazz and music from the "Big Band Era". Some of the Classic Rock from the 70's and 80's (Stix, Boston, Foreigner, The Who, The Doors, etc). There is a group out there today called Bond. Four absolutely gorgeous women with adanced degrees in music with their own take on the Classical music of yesteryear.Very good. I call it Classics on Steroids. They rock it up and the beat is fast enough that I can get a good workout while listening. Otherwise, Classical is not high on my list, but was good to listen to while I was studying or writing those papers for college. Now, we have questions from a journalism student in Finland... Obviously for Finland, being close to Denmark geographically this is an important issue. How are the reactions across the pond? How do you feel about the muslim world's reaction to the cartoons? I am both appalled and not surprised by the reaction from the Muslim world. I am appalled because these cartoons, in the larger scheme of things, are not important. They are a harmless representation and, in my opinion, do not depict reality. I am not surprised because it does not take much to incite this type of reaction. If it weren't these cartoons, there would be another issue. How has the whole episode been reported in the US? It hasn't. What has been reported are the demonstrations. There has been no real effort to show or explain the conflict by the Major News Services, what we call the Main Stream Media (MSM). The Blogs have reported it. The Blogs have posted the cartoons and commented, and followed up on the demonstrations. The MSM decided not to publish the cartoons in "respect" for Islam. My opinion, they did not publish the cartoons because they were afraid. After all, they have reporters in the Middle East, and if they published the cartoons, there may be reprisals against their own reporters. Since the sale of our Ports has become news, this story has fallen in importatnce. What do you think? Is it just hiding the racism that the danes and the (western world in general) claim this to be a matter of freedom of speech more than the fear of cultural differences? I don't think racism is a factor. I think it is a lack of understanding of the West. It is a lack of understanding (or an unwillingness to understand) the concept of Freedom of The Press and Free Speech. Should these images have ever been published? If Freedom of the Press and Free Speech are to survive, then yes. Publish the cartoons. Learn to be tolerant of other cultures. Become more diverse. If it offends, there are other means by which to protest. Public demonstrations, hatred, burning flags only contibutes to the strife between our counties and our cultures. How would you feel if a muslim newspaper published cartoons that would show Jesus as a homosexual or catholic priests abusing choirboys? I am appalled that anyone would do so. Catholic priests are in the news a lot because of their alleged misconduct. So are High School and Elementary School teachers. These are people that we learn to trust, and when these acts occur, it creates a division in the trust. As for depicting Jesus as a homosexual, a student newspaper in Canada published a cartoon of Jesus performing a homosexual act on a pig. Am I upset? Yes. Am I angry? Yes. Am I about to go out and wreak havock on the school or the publishers of the paper? No. That is what is great about Democracy and Freedom of the Press and Speech. There have been no demonstrations that I have heard of from Christians over this cartoon. The Blogs are starting to follow the story and it will continue to grow, but I don't think you will see a similar reaction as we saw from the Danes. Again. Thank you for your questions. I hope you visit Echo9er and feel free to comment. Please read the interview once Basil has posted it. This is my 1st effort at such a thing and I am looking forward to it. What was your best day in the Army? November 21st, 1987. That was the day I went over 20 years in the Army. That was the day that the weight of the world was listed off my shoulders. That was when being in the Army started to be fun. That was when I knew all commitments were up, and that I could pretty much leave when I wanted to. Of course that didn't happen for another 8 1/2 years. What is your second-favorite peanut? Almonds and Cashews What's with all the Mark Twain quotes? Mrs. Echo9er and I went to see Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain. It was just an awesome show. I grew up in Missouri, have lived near and visited Hannibal many times. Knew much of Twain, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, the mighty Mississippi, and the show rekindled my interest. So, "Daily Twain" was started. He was never short of words, so I guess I'll be posting him for a while longer. When I run out of Twain quotes, I'll start on Einstine or Patton. Who would you rather spend a day with: Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox, or Slartibartfast? Probably Zaphod Beeblebrox. While I have one or two of his characteristics (insesitivity (towards stupidity)), he is prettyy much the opposite of me, so I think we should get along. Of course Slartibartfast and I may have more in common, since he is a designer and one of my early dreams in High School was to be an Architect or Draftsman (that is the ONE talent I did have in HS) Basil and everyone that posted questions, thank you. This was fun and I enjoyed it. As I read through the questions, I am happy that many of you actually read the Blog. I hope you become regulars, and I hope you learned something about me. Yours in Blogging -- Echo9er (aka: David) Out!!
Thanks to you, Echo9er, for taking the time to answer the questions. It was a thrill having you participate. We really appreciate it.
Tomorrow, it's Lost in Lima Ohio.