A young man's strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk...and apparently, back again.

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Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

The details of my life are quite inconsequential, really. Summers in Rangoon...luge lessons...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Braadar Urdu

Goin' through the motions by now? My folks have commissioned their sons into the Army, Navy and Marine Corps. Don't they seem too young to have managed that?

(Title translation: Army brother.)  This post is a shout out to my little bro Steve, who celebrates a birthday today and begins his real period of military service tomorrow.  Two months ago he was commissioned as a shiny new 2nd Lieutenant, as was my cousin Liam, and I couldn't be prouder of them.  Since I was here and not there, I'll take the unusual step of posting photos from some places I was not (well, with on).

Two Huvanes at once...what the heck was the Army thinking?
U of Scranton commissioning, May 2010

As these two lieutenants begin formal schooling in active military service, I want them to know a few things...and not just that they are still kids to this suddenly very old-timer.  First, your family is behind you always, and will support you in everything that you do.  Crucially, you will encounter days that make you regret like hell the decision to join up.  Even as a Marine, I have experienced more than my share of those, and you joined the Army, for God's sake! (har de har)  Grit through them, and try to remember how noble it is that you made the decision to serve your country and earn something much greater than a paycheck.

Oath of Commissioning at U of Delaware, May 2010

Trust yourselves -- you are outstanding young men with great values, so lead by example.  Always take care of your soldiers...they've got lives, families, dreams of their own, and you owe it to them to do everything you can to enable their success.  And finally, you can make things better.  Don't simply go along with the way things are always done ('big Army' way?), when those ways can be improved.  Never quit trying...and you'll keep on making us all proud.  OK, unsolicited speech over!

2LT Goo breathes a sigh of relief with his sister Kate...

How cool it is to have bubbly nieces celebrate with you!

Here's the exception to my absence, to which I referred: With the help of smart people on each end, we managed an oath-by-Skype on the day reserved for family commissioning, one before the formal one pictured above.  So I had the honor and privilege of delivering the oath of office to my brother by the grace of modern technology.  Sure, two-way sound failed, but he could hear me, so it counted, alright?  It was surely the highlight of the early days of my deployment to pull that off.

Great shot by my sister Meg...whose husband served here with me.
But what is this young officer looking at?

This guy! The proud older brother, aka crusty old Marine.

Of course I owe the guidance of my own early service to my big bro Paddy the Squid, who led the way.  Notice my attentive godson taking heed of all this..."Are you saying that I'm next??"

While the rest of the clan gathered for the commissioning and graduation events, I came to appreciate that I've gained new lalahaa ("brothers" in Pashto) here.  It's funny how that works sometimes.

Is that a beer garden behind Joe and me? Now don't get any funny ideas...there are only nonalcoholic choices, believe me!

Despite my expression, I couldn't be flanked by better colleagues...

...or better cultural advisors, my lalahaa Esmat & Qais.

I count my blessings tonight, both for the family I'm blessed to have and the colleagues I'm blessed to work with.  It's impossible for me to imagine doing all that we do here (and managing to laugh about it) with anyone else, just as I can't imagine holidays without an enormous, raucous, loving family back home.  My eternal gratitude go out to all of you 'family' members, by blood or by bond.


Anonymous Gollum said...

Those army 2nd Lt's seem to be better looking than those Marine Majors

August 25, 2010 at 6:01 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

That is a great story Dan...and I can not believe that is the little brother that was in diapers like...yesterday??!!!!

August 25, 2010 at 11:34 PM  
Blogger Major Dan said...

In your wildest dreams, Gollum you little freak!
Yes Liz, it's pretty crazy. This was the toddler who greeted me when I came home from schooldays at MHS. Ouch!

August 26, 2010 at 2:14 AM  
Anonymous LilSisArmyWife said...

Oh yes! I was hoping for some hostile Liam/Paco banter regarding this post! You two never fail to disappoint.
Awesome write up on those new LTs - sound advice from both a big brother/cousin and senior officer.

August 26, 2010 at 7:46 PM  
Blogger Joneser said...

I kept raving about "Iftar!" as being your best post, but now we've got a new one. I'm sure both of those clowns will definitely appreciate the advice from an old sage like you... ha ha. Seriously, a VERY cool shout-out. We're all proud of you, too!

August 27, 2010 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger John Cocktoasten said...

Aside from email, adult content, and this blog, I wasn't aware the internet was all that useful. I'm glad this 'Skype' that you wrote about allowed for a sibling commissioning.

Mazel tov to your baby-bro.

Something to look forward to: They have the snow making guns out at Loveland and A-basin. Should be firing 'em up in a couple more weeks!

August 27, 2010 at 9:11 PM  
Blogger Puertorican girl in Brussels said...

Such a nice post! Best wishes to your brother in this new stage of his life. Looking forward to your stories and I hope that you enjoyed my euro love care package... Bisous!

August 30, 2010 at 8:09 AM  
Blogger Major Dan said...

Boricurena chica, I did - and am so grateful for the package of Euro love! Bisous back at ya.

Cocktoasten, thanks - I'll be dreaming tonight (really, this morning) about bombing down those runs...

August 31, 2010 at 2:03 PM  
Anonymous Paddy the Squid said...

A little late to the party on this one, but great post (as always) there, lad. Some fine advice for the newbies, respex right back atcha from your appreciative fam, and many taaanks for the unnecessary props ... not to mention that pic of the once very wee SoSo, who now seems like a monster compared to the little nugget he was at Christmas time!

September 2, 2010 at 8:41 PM  
Anonymous Leigh said...

I simply adore this day's commentary. The photos are amazing, and you have a seriously awesome family. The family pet names continue to make me laugh!

September 9, 2010 at 12:34 PM  

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