All posts by JD Pendry

Memorial Day


In honor of the men and women of our Armed Forces who served and sacrificed for our great nation, a poetry tribute from the Bunker Poetry page:

Russ “Poetrooper” Vaughn Poetry
That Ragged Old Flag

The ‘Eathen 

Dog Faced Soldier
In Flanders Fields 

The Ballad of the Green Beret
Fiddlers’ Green – GarryOwen

Charge of the Light Brigade
A Soldier’s Christmas

Audie Murphy – Warrior Poet
The Final Inspection

Visit the poetry page for original poetry from Serving Members, Veterans and others.  Take time to thank God for the brave souls who gallantly served us.

JD’s Retirement Woes

Up out of the Bunker Archives 1998-99

I went on the retired rolls October 1, 1999.  When General Reimer was Army Chief of Staff he would send out memos to his staff title Random Thoughts While Running.  Naturally those filtered out to the troops and I read a few.  So I stole his idea – sort of.  In the time leading up to retirement to several months after, I wrote about some experiences intending to tell those headed for retirement what to expect.    It was nothing earth shattering but that section of the Bunker is restored.  The restoration project is time consuming, but I predict I will be done before the Republican Congress accomplishes anything.

Garden Party
Thoughts While Krogering
Thoughts While Painting the Basement
Thoughts While Sitting at the DMV
My Compliments to Your Wife
Thoughts While Staring at My Decapitated Clock
Thoughts While On Hold With the AVRS
Thoughts While Actually Running
Thoughts While Teaching Drill
Thoughts While Looking in the Mirror
Thoughts While Sitting on the Back Porch

Fishing in the right spot?

Sometimes I have a  burning introspective  question to answer.  As often as it happens, the more I ponder the question the farther away I get from answering it.  Instead new questions emerge such as:  Is there an answer?  Do I really want to know the answer?

In the book of Luke, Jesus instructs the fishermen to put their boat out in to deeper water and again drop their nets.  The fishermen told Jesus that they had been out all night and had caught nothing, but still they did as He told them.  When they cast their nets as Jesus instructed, the catch was so large that it threatened to sink their boat and tear up their nets.  They had to call others to help them haul it in.

Each summer, I used to take week long fishing trips with my brothers.  At least I did until my favorite Uncle Sam sent me to Germany.  We spent 7 straight years there on the first trip. Our fishing trips sort of petered out.  We fished for everything.  Bass, Muskie, Walleye… sometimes though, we would just find a likely spot to anchor the boat and lazily fish for Crappie.  All you need is a thermos of coffee and a bucket of Crappie minnows, a rig with a single small split shot sinker and a small hook.  It is also helpful if you know where the fish are.  Crappie fishing is not a great challenge.  You cast the line and let it drift and if something doesn’t hit it you reel it in and toss in another spot.  Continue that until you catch one.  Crappies are not loners and they never stop feeding.  Once you locate them, you reel them in until the coffee and minnows run out.  Generally, we were successful filling our basket and ultimately our coolers with a great pan fish with which to stock the freezer.

Interesting things happen when you are successful.  After a couple of good catches, people will actually follow you to “the spot.”  Then they will haul out their rigs of bobbers and hooks and gigantic sinkers and “Crappie jigs”, and they’ll make noise in the boat and catch nothing.  All of this while they were watching us fill our basket.  Eventually, some would start casting their lines near our boat.  They would bang their big ole sinkers on the side of our boat and sometimes tangle our lines.  They tried everything and still didn’t catch any fish.  The problem was that they were not fishing were the fish were or using the proper rig.

When done, we would haul up our full basket for everyone to see.  Haul up the anchor and head back to the campsite where we would fry some Crappie.  As we were leaving, some would actually try to reposition their boats into the spot where we were anchored thinking that was the answer.  It’s not where the boat sits.  It’s where you cast your line.  Of course it also helps if you don’t knock the fish out with your giant sinker.

For me, that is a valuable life lesson applicable to any endeavor.  Am I fishing in the right spot?  I have been fooling around with this website for a lot of years.  Sometimes, it is all too plain that along with a bazillion others I too often fish in a crowded hole – banging my sinkers off the side of someone else’s boat.   It is like all of the local talk radio types holding out hope that someday they’ll be Rush Limbaugh.

My spot is not where others are anchored nor in their wake.  My spot is writing about whatever is laid on my heart.  Fishing in the spot where I feel led.  I will stick to that.  Maybe I can fill the basket without getting my line tangled.

© 2017 J. D. Pendry

Yellow Jackets

I haven’t figured it out yet, but the cranial hard drive is spinning.  It’s spinning so fast the cooling fan can’t keep pace.  The gears may lock up any minute.  It could be bad.

When I was about 10 or maybe 11 years old, Bubby, Leroy and I were out in the woods.  We were looking for ginseng, but had nothing to show for it.  After a few hours, we sat down on a very inviting moss covered log.  Following our rest, we decided to head back down the mountain toward home.  It was then, as they are prone to say over here in wild and wonderful, that all hell broke loose.  Turns out the cool, comfortable, moss covered log was home to a nest of yellow jackets.  Yellow jackets are a particularly nasty little bee.

One of us did it but all of us denied it.  For the long period we were sitting there telling lies and enjoying nature, someone’s posterior was covering the entrance to the bees nest.  When the guilty party got up an angry swarm of yellow jackets attacked unmercifully.  We yelled and ran and swatted and ran and yelled some more.  By the time we left the woods and hit the dirt road that ran past our houses, the bees had petered out.  My baseball cap was and probably still is up there in the woods, but I was not inclined to look for it.  If there was anything funny it was Bubby’s right ear.  It was about the size of a pancake looking as though the entire swarm of bees may have parked there.  There’s been tall tales over the years concerning who got the most stings, but I think no one knows for certain.  What I do know is that while Mom was making me undress for the baking soda application there was one more bee in my pants.

Since then, I have tried to avoid stirring up a bee’s nest.  You see bees don’t like me anyway.  Over time, they have taken every opportunity to sting me.  They will never like me and never will they believe that I accidentally sat on their hollow log.  And if enough of them, filled with unbridled anger because I unexpectedly stepped on their queen, come after me at the same time it could be deadly.

Mr. President, we out here in the working America trust no one, not a single soul that resides in Washington, DC.  Neither should you, not even during your supposedly private conversations.  The dishonesty is palpable in Babylon on the Potomac.  When surrounded by subversives who would love to have your scalp as a trophy, you have to fight smarter.  Never stop fighting, just fight smarter.  Can you top this insults just won’t cut it.  Otherwise, it is America rather than the swamp that will continue to swirl down the drain.  Forget the tweets.  In fact, you don’t even need a damn phone.  You really want to get their goat?  Just get above and stay above the fray.  You have professional people to speak for you.  Let them do your talking and tweeting.  Do you want to have the fight that counts?  Go behind closed doors and begin knocking together the enlarged heads of Congress.  Hire some media savvy people and start publicly exposing relationships with special interest groups.  Tell your Department of Justice to find and prosecute leakers.  The Art of the Deal needs to become the Art of the Political deal where the American people are actually the winners.

© 2017 J. D. Pendry

Leading in the Three-Meter Zone

Up out of the Bunker Archives – 1999.

Also published in the Field Artillery Journal. May-June 99

The choice of non-commissioned officers is an object of the greatest importance: The order and discipline of a regiment depends so much upon their behaviour, that too much care cannot be taken in preferring none to that trust but those who by their merit and good conduct are entitled to it. Honesty, sobriety, and a remarkable attention to every point of duty, with a neatness in their dress, are indispensable requisites; a spirit to command respect and obedience from the men, an expertness in performing every part of the exercise, and an ability to teach it, are absolutely necessary, nor can a sergeant or corporal be said to be qualified who does not write and read in a tolerable manner.”-Major General Friedrich Baron von Steuben, Baron Von Steuben’s Revolutionary War Drill Manual: A Facsimile Reprint of the 1794 Edition (Dover Military History, Weapons, Armor)

In the beginning, standing between independence and the superpower of the day, we were an Army of citizen soldiers in desperate need of professional leadership, discipline, and training. Today, we’re the world’s best trained, most powerful, and professionally led Army. We owe our strength to a willingness to change when necessary and the good sense to understand and leave alone the enduring things that must never change. Ours has been a dramatic evolution from a collection of citizen soldier militia units to the force of Desert Storm.  (continue reading)