03 September 2005

Inaugural Post

The purpose of this blog is to share some news, information and personal views on the National Guard Hurricane Katrina relief operations. In particular it will show the perspective of SSG Jim Syler, 2nd Team Leader, 2nd Squad, 2nd Platoon, 1344th Transportation Company, 232nd Combat Support Battalion, Operation Crescent Relief. Everything here is completely unofficial, and only my own perspective. Nonetheless, I hope you find it useful and informative.

I'm certain the family members of the units involved will be particularly interested in the information presented here, as well as other members of the general public. There are a few points to keep in mind:

• Anything labeled as "rumor" or "hearsay" is just that: unsubstantiated hearsay, and probably, in my experience, false. I include it here only to give you a perspective on what we're hearing, NOT to pass along information. Items marked as "rumor" should NOT be taken with a grain of salt; they should not be believed at all, and only used to better understand what we're going through.

• Items labeled as "fact" are true to the best of my knowledge, unless I goof. That doesn't mean that they are true, just that I think that they're true. But they're probably right.

• I am a member of the military. Therefore, don't expect to see criticisms of the government, my leadership, or indeed any specific person (except perhaps myself) in this blog. It's simply inappropriate. That doesn't necessarily mean I think everything is always hunky-dory, and I'll probably express some of the frustrations we're bound to have. But nothing here should be construed as criticism of our civilian or military leadership. That's not just to cover my butt, but because it's true. This simply isn't the place for it. That said, I may tell stories, with names removed, of some boneheaded things people do. When your loved one(s) get home, you can ask them, "was that you?"

• I am a team leader in the 1344th Transportation Company. The experiences I have are not going to be the same as for people in any other unit. Beware of extrapolating our conditions, mission, etc. to any other unit in this operation. Also, there are other units or elements of units than the 1344th in the 232nd CSB involved in this operation, namely the 126th Maintenance Company, the 1544th Transportation Company, the 3637th Maintenance Company, and probably others I don't know about. While we're all involved in this operation together, unless members of the other units are attached to the 1344th (many are), I'm not going to know much or anything about them.

• OPSEC (OPerational SECurity) is important. Guardsmen have reportedly already been shot at, and besides, we are still involved in the Global War on Terror. Therefore, there's plenty of stuff people would probably be interested in that I won't feel it appropriate to post here. For instance, I will rarely if ever tell where we're going tomorrow. I will try to keep you posted on where we went today (at least generally), because by then it will be too late for any potential enemies to act on.

• Lastly, no promises on how often I'll be able to post, or even if I'll keep posting all through our mobilization. I get little enough sleep as it is. But I'll try to write something every day. If I don't post anything for a while, it does not mean that I am hurt, or that the unit is in trouble, or anything like that. It only means that either I don't have cell signal, or more likely, that I have no time.