Sunday, July 29, 2007

American Idol

The entire Hall family is desending on Corpus Christi for Courtney's graduation. But first, number one son, Garry, auditions for American Idol in San Diego California. Read about it here.

Land of the Free

I've arrived in Corpus Chrsti Texas for Courtney's college graduation. 30+ hours of travels, 3 pat downs and five bag searches later I'm in the home of the Whataburger. Grill the onions and the buns please.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

One of my Favorites

Still as funny today as it was decades ago. The king of the double entendre.

Warlord Logo

Seventeen years ago I became the first commanding officer of HSL-51 in Atsugi Japan. I asked my brother, a professional designer and advertiser to design a logo for the squadron. Howie captured the spirit of the squadron and met my request for it to be impressive, unique and visible from a distance when worn on your flight suit. In those 17 years the squadron has won numerous awards for warfighting and public service. The commanders of the squadron have gone on to command numerous capital ships and stations in the Navy.

I have traveled the world and I am always surprised at the various places I've discovered our patch - zapped in some far flung location. This one was found zapped to a tool box on the HMAS Anzac, an Australian frigate serving in the extreme Northern Arabian Gulf. I spied it as I was transiting her hangar to hop on my Desert Hawk to fly into Bahrain. To se more on that trip click here.

Thanks Howie, your logo will continue to inspired LAMPS pilots and crews for years to come.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Royal Navy Hands Over Combined Task Force 158 to U.S. Forces

OCEAN 6, At Sea (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Garry E. Hall relieved Royal Navy
Commodore Nick Lambert as commander of Combined Task Force (CTF) 158 and Capt. Paul Severs relieved Royal Navy Capt. Bob Sanguinetti as commander of Combined Task Group (CTG) 158.1 on July 17 aboard Ocean 6, an afloat forward operating barge in the north Persian Gulf.

Command of CTF 158 typically rotates among coalition partners Australia,
United Kingdom, and the United States.

CTF 158 is comprised of coalition ships and its primary mission in the
Gulf is maintaining security in and around both the Al Basrah and Khawr
Al Amaya Oil Terminals -- ABOT and KAAOT, respectively -- in support of
U.N. Security Council Resolution 1723. This resolution charges the
multinational force with the responsibility and authority to maintain
security and stability in the Iraqi territorial waters and also supports
the Iraqi government's request for security support.

"I am looking forward to [continuing] the hard work the Royal Navy and
the coalition has done in the [Gulf]," said Hall, who is also commander
of Task Forces 51 and 59. "It is a very important mission to assist the
Iraqi nation for self-determination."

The primary mission of CTG 158.1 is to provide 24-hour protection to
Iraq's oil terminals, KAAOT and ABOT. The task group operates from Ocean 6, which is a command and control platform in support of personnel assigned to protect the oil platforms.

"My staff is ready and prepared to take on this coalition mission," said
Severs who is also the commodore for Destroyer Squadron 50. "We will
play a vital role in maritime operations."

Maritime operations help set the conditions for security and stability
in the NAG and protect Iraq's sea-based infrastructure, which provides
the Iraqi people the opportunity for self-determination. Iraq's oil
platforms account for about 90 percent of the country's gross domestic

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Iraqi Oil Platform Visit

Iraq's oil provides them with over 90% of their GDP. 95 % of that oil flows through two platforms in the extreme northern Arabian Gulf. These two platforms reside inside Iraqi territorial waters which are often under dispute with both Iran and Kuwait. Iran is the most aggressive in claiming Iraq's waters as there own. This dispute led to the unlawful detention of 15 UK Naval personnel on March 23 2007 by the Iranian Republican Guard Corps Navy. Next week ESG 2 will take the lead in protecting these waters by commanding the coalition task force whose members include the UK, Australia, Iraq and Singapore navies.

This is a quick look at how you get around this territory and a glimpse of the young men and women who work tirelessly in this difficult and harsh environment. The temperature was a mire 120+ degrees F during this visit.

Friday, July 6, 2007

No Fireworks

It's never a good idea to light off fireworks in the Middle East. Everyone tends to hit the deck.

However, a good cookout is always in order on Independence Day no matter where the location. This year it was atop one of our high rise flats in Bahrain. Everyone left full on steaks, chicken, hot dogs and hamburgers. The young folks did all the work. They're great!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Enemies in War, in Peace Friends

Happy 4th of July. In a few hours here in Manama Bahrain 50 or so American Sailors and Marines will be grilling hot dogs and hamburgers on the roof patio of our high rise complex. There will be no fireworks or red white and blue bunting. But there will be country and rock music coming from Jerry's Bose iDock. We will enjoy the day off, talk of family back home and reflect on why we are so far from home. These Sailors and Marines are making a true difference in this war against violent extremists. Extremists who would love to end our way of life. Your Sailors and your Marines will not let that happen.

Someone from home asked what he could do to help. My simple response, "go to church and celebrate your faith."

Today, take time to read "The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America."

If you've taken the time to read the Declaration, thank you. I hope you see the connection between the wrongs that were addressed and the freedoms you enjoy these 231 years later. No matter what anyone says on the news, this is a pretty damn great country.

God Bless America and God Bless our Sailors and Marines.

And God Bless and watch over our families as they watch the fireworks with out us. We miss you.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The last time I saw her face

Here are four smiling fun faces. Can you see them all? The last time I saw her face, as always it made me smile. She's fun, she's funny, she's not afraid to laugh or mug for the camera. She loves her puppy, who she named after a hip girl's surf wear line. And Roxy loves her - who doesn't.

She loves Christmas and everything to do with Christmas. She knows it's more than gifts and glitter.

She loves her brothers - but hates to loose to them in Wii boxing. That pout has always worked on dad but not brother. Play again?
The last time I saw her face I wasn't sure when I'd see it again. Barring world events beyond my control the next time I see her face she'll be wearing a cap and gown and be receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology with a minor in Business from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi Texas. Congratulations Courtney!

I can't wait to see your face.