Wednesday, November 14, 2007

El Paso's return of the mighty 4th of the 1st

photo by Mark Lambie/ El Paso Times
Specialist Kim Choy, 4th Brigade, 1st Calvary Division, Ft. Bliss, TX

I ran this picture of Kim Choy last October as she was preparing to board a plane for Iraq. I also ran it again this past January. I guess it's the irony of the image that I find so difficult to let go. Of the feminine, the nurturing, dressed in the garb of her male counterpart soldiers, the warriors; of the Teddy bear she protects in one arm, M-16 in the other. The look of uncertainty at what the future holds. It's an image that made a definite impression on my brain.

Kim Choy is part of the 4th Brigade, 1st Calvary Division headquartered here at Fort Bliss. I don't know exactly how many went to Iraq last October, but it was a sizable number. Now, nearly 15 months later, the first contingency of 100 of those calvary troops returned this past weekend. Appropriately, it was on Veteran's Day.

By mid-December they will all have returned. And while I don't know the number of this group who came back early as casualties of their duty , I do know at least 31 of them won't be returning to loved ones--ever.

In that the local paper kept good tabs on those who have died from the 4th of the 1st these past 14 months, I believe Kim Choy will be among her fellow troopers who will likely make it home safely.

But I wonder how her experiences in Iraq will have have changed her? And I wonder if Teddy, her bear, made it through and, if he did, how he may have weathered the experience as well.

As the 4th of the 1st Cav troops return over the next few weeks, the army is gearing up for their annual AUSA arms bizarre held each December here in the civic center downtown. The stated goal of the convention is...

"to provide a forum for intellectual discussion between military, civilian, and industry leaders on holistic DTLOMS-PF (Doctrine, Training, Leader Development, Organization, Material, Soldier Support, Personnel, & Facilities) approaches to modernizing the current and future Modular Force." [Dada note: while I know how organizations, the government especially, love acronyms, I'm not yet sure how to pronounce DTLOMS-PF.]

It's a wonderful chance for the arms manufacturing arm of our economy to rub elbows with those who ultimately use their products to rain mayhem down on anyone, anywhere globally. Occurring here each December, it gives the military a chance to develop wish lists of new toys for the war on terror.

While I don't really understand what the goal of DTLOMS-PF is, from this year's theme I get an idea: This is what their online brochure says of this year's gathering: "Building an Expeditionary Army for Persistent Conflict."

Nice title. It gives us an insight into what we can expect in the 21st Century from a nation whose economic health increasingly relies on arms merchants, purveyors of power and peddlers of death.

Sadly, the more sensitive, more tender goods are no longer manufactured in the USA. They are now imported from China. Like Teddy bears.



enigma4ever said...

great post...deja vu...that you are blogging about her and that unit again...makes me worry much will you have to blog about them to get them home for good....

you are in blogroundup today :-)

D.K. Raed said...

"persistent conflict" ... now there's a comforting thought. I have a feeling we will all need Teddy Bears before this is over..

Oh, I'd pronounce the acronym "Deetle-Ohms-Poof" myself. Kind of like a Mantra!

ps, I reworked the avatar. Any clearer, or still too small?

eProf2 said...

"Building an Expeditionary Army for Persistent Conflict." Wow, Orwell would be proud! Nice post about the humans behind the numbers given to us in the msm.

dada said...

Thanks enigma for that nice mention over on WS--I DO appreciate that (and, frankly, attribute much of my increased hits to you!).

d.k. "Deetle-Ohms-Poof" pretty well sums up how freakin' frustrated I am by this entire mess. I never expected to come this far in life and have to be concerned/involved in this kind of bullshit at this stage. But that's the nature of a "profit" driven capitalistic society where it's $$$ over lives anyday!

eprof2: Yes, two words, huh? "Persistent Conflict" sums it all up. And, of course, while industry is hawking these bullshit death schemes courtesy of the latest hi-technologies, they're also exporting the same shit to our 'allies' publicly or (maybe other, less desirable regimes, privately).

But if one is willing to forgo taking this seriously by stepping over a line, then suddenly the inanity of it all becomes almost laughable. But more on that later in another blog soon perhaps.

Fran said...

Surreal photo. The Mom of Suzanne Swift (Daughter experienced command rape while in active duty in Iraq), spoke at a gathering, and mentioned these are kids we are sending over to Iraq. She is a social worker & said physiologically, their brains are not yet fully developed. No wonder this photo stuck in your mind.... I'm no psychologist, but mixing M-16 rifles and teddy bears can't be a good thing.

dada said...

fran: Absolutely true. It's the pre-frontal lobe. As I discussed in a blog on 1/27/06, "it takes the first 25-30 years of one's life for the pre-frontal lobe of an individual's brain to reach maturity. It's that part of the brain that weighs risk, has a tremendous sense of loyalty to its peer group and an irrational sense of its own immortality."

Sadly, older, "wiser" men leading nations seem to know this and exploit these traits of their country's youth, using them to make war.