September 26, 2006

I haven’t been a big fan of war films since I have returned from Iraq. Before Iraq, I was a huge fan. All the action, and the patriotic inuendo in the films. But since Iraq, I have come to realize that films like “Saving Private Ryan”, “We Were Soldiers” and “Black Hawk Down” spout patriotism, and use soldiers, and, in the case of “Black Hawk Down”, the civilians of Somalia, as props, just to be blown up for the entertainment of the audience watching, and to raise the testosterone of potential recruits for the military. There are very few war films that I feel show the realism of warfare, while not preaching to the audience too much about the necessities of warfare. Soldiers are real people with real emotions and dreams and goals and lives. Films like “Born of the Fourth of July”, “Platoon”, “The Thin Red Line”, and “Full Metal Jacket” I feel are the most disturbing, realistic war films, that show the emotions and the mixed feelings that soldiers go through. I feel the the new movie “Jarhead” JUST ABOUT fits that description.

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Greetings from Ft. Hood, TX

September 10, 2006

Greetings from Ft. Hood, TX. My first week here has come to an end, and in all honesty, it was a good week. It was a week spent reuniting with old friends, meeting new soldiers, getting acquainted with my chain-of-command, and, in general, re-familiarizing myself with the military. My body is sore now from all the exercising I’m doing again. But it’s a good pain-I’m getting in shape again. And that feels nice. And while it’s nice to be spending time with my Army friends, after work it definitely feels nice to go to my own room and spend some time with myself. I’m reading more again. I haven’t read this much since my deployment to Iraq. It’s something I’ve always loved doing, but I always make excuses to not do it. Well, no more. This week alone I’ve read Fast Food Nation, 1984, Creature by John Saul, and The Husband by Dean Koontz.

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When Spc. Mark Wilkerson enlisted in the U.S. Army, he thought he knew who he was. “It’s like most 18-year-olds,” he explains. “You think you know who you are, but it changes.” [READ ARTICLE]

Video of Press Conference

September 7, 2006


… or read a complete transcript [HERE]

1984 by George Orwell

September 3, 2006

Saturday, Sept. 2nd

1984 by George Orwell.  It’s a book that I’ve been told by many people recently that I need to read.  Reading is something I never do unless there is nothing else to do – a backup plan, so to say.  Now I seem to find myself with plenty of free time.  And with no TV or computer in my room, reading’s the perfect antidote for a lazy evening.  And I am so glad I read 1984.  I think it should be required of every young person to read, and for a number of reasons:

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Mark’s Surrender

September 2, 2006

Yesterday, at approximately 1:30pm Mark turned himself in to his unit at Fort Hood, Texas. Prior to his surrender he gave a press conference at Camp Casey in Crawford, TX with Ann Wright (26 years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves and diplomat in the State Department for 15 years), Geoffrey Millard (former National Guard sergeant), Chaz Davis (former military police officer), Charlie Anderson (Petty Officer 2nd Class, U.S. Navy, assigned to the second marine division, second tank battalion 5th regimental combat team.), & Cindy Sheehan. You can read the transcript of his statement HERE and watch video from the press conference HERE.

Several of Mark’s supporters escorted Mark to Fort Hood, where he was met at the visitors center by media and Army Representative Major Joe Edstrom. After a brief statement he was escorted back on base. In a phone call received from Mark later than night he said that “I have been treated remarkably well.” After leaving his supports he said he was given a basic search, and ushered into the offices of his commanding officers who assured him that they wanted to treat him professionally and proceed in the proper way.

While Mark is restricted on-post, he can move freely around the base and have visitors.

While much of his original command has changed, he has encountered several of his old buddy’s. He said that several soldiers told him that “everyone has been supportive since the beginning, and knew that he tried to get out the right way before making the decision to go AWOL.”

For more on Mark’s story and yesterday’s events visit the following news links:

– National Public Radio: AWOL Iraq Veteran Returns to Base by Steve Inskeep

– Colorado Springs Gazette: Soldier from Springs surrenders after 20 months AWOL by Cary Vogrin

– Waco Tribune: AWOL U.S. soldier surrenders by Mike Anderson

– Democracy Now: “I Am Not Willing To Kill Or Be Killed For Something I Don’t Believe In” : AWOL Soldier Refuses to Return to Iraq