Thursday, April 14, 2005

Tastes Like Chicken

Yeah, I really ate these.

Mmmmm Good.

I'm experimenting with putting pictures into my blog. So, if any of you were wondering what I looked like, you can now regret it. I'll bet this picture doesn't help me with the female demographic. Should I send this to "hot or not"?

This is from Cobra Gold '04. I took a slice of my company over to Thailand along with part of our Battalion. This was taken at a promotion party for one of our Thai counterparts--this crazy Thai Major, now LTC, who could drink beer like he had a hollow leg.

Anyway, I've always been an adventurous eater and wanted to be a good ambassador so I ended up eating these frogs, fried shrimp heads, grasshoppers, and some other stuff that I didn't ID--and probably don't want to. I can assure you that there was no beer involved at all. No sireee, no beer.

I ended up spending the rest of the exercise having "Mikey likes it" moments as the Thais tried to see exactly how far I would go. I grew up in South Texas eating stuff like this so they didn't have shit on me...well except for this soup I got that literally made me gag. I wimped out on that.

It was a good exercise and we had a good time. I hope all our Thai buddies made it through the tsunami okay. Cobra Gold was more or less CANX this year because of the tsunami, but I'm definitely signing up for next year.

Note: When I was looking through my Cobra Gold pictures last night, it reminded me of something. We were there when the Abu Ghraib scandal really started to heat up, and it lead to some very tough questioning from the Thais.

One soldier in my company got caught up in the whole Abu Ghraib mess. He didn't do anything, but he was a witness. Its made life very difficult for him in the past year.

I've spent a lot of time talking with my soldiers about it. One of my soldiers said that what happened at Abu Ghraib wasn't any worse than fraternity hazing. One of my sharp young officers shot back that in a fraternity you could just get up and leave. The Iraqi prisoners had no such option. Plus, I wasn't in a frat so I don't know that much about the "greek" life, but if any asshole in a Sigma Nu t-shirt tried to stack Mrs. Alexander's boy into a pile of naked man-flesh, he'd get his ass kicked.

Our actions as soldiers have global implications. It was hard to explain to the Thais that Abu Ghraib was an anomaly, a tremendous failure of leadership and accountability that would be punished. But, conversations were sometimes strained as images of Lindy England & Co. were flashed over and over again on CNN.

The American military is a unique entity in the world, and other armies look to us as an example. Look at the some of the guys in the new Iraqi Army. How do they wear their gear? Like Americans.

Soldiers are often the best, and only, ambassadors for our great nation. So last year in Thailand we weren't just participating in an exercise. We were a counterpoint to fellow soldiers who failed to live up to our country's high expectations.


At April 15, 2005, Blogger Mr Bob said...

We had a few members of our unit go to Cobra Gold last year. I am looking for what I will do next year for an AT. I may do an at sea AT...since I are a swabbie, and I think those exersices are only for intel types, not the computer types like me.

At April 17, 2005, Anonymous Bobby said...

Ugh! That photo brought back some harsh memories. As an embedded advisor with the Afghan National Army, we used to engage in the age-old debate of whether to "score points" and eat with the Afghans, or whether to preserve our health and eat an MRE.

In those six months, I never ate one single MRE. I ate their (often infested) rice that had been cooked in water that had allegedly tested positive for e coli every day. I got sick. A lot. But it was like a rite of passage for myself and my colleagues, and the Afghans really did appreciate it.

My team chief and his NCOIC (code named "Dumb and Dumber"), on the other hand, avoided it every single time. They thought they were slick, but the Afghans saw right through them and never developed any respect for them.

At May 10, 2005, Blogger tcalla said...

Nice. I was with Kris during the excursion to CG 04 and can independently verify that he in fact ate that little bugger. But by far the oddest part of the trip was the Thai LTC who insisted on doing 70's and 80's karoake at the Golf club during lunch. What two hour lunches in Thailand aren't allowed?

At May 10, 2005, Blogger Kris Alexander said...

That's because tommorow is a "holiday", right?

And "I'm okay to drive, trust me."


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