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Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

A heads up to DT readers out there…

This week is the annual Modern Day Marine Expo at MCB Quantico outside DC. Ward and I will be hitting it today and may do some follow ups later in the week, so stay tuned here for updates and vids and please excuse the delay in posts.

– Christian

The Forested Vales of Afghanistan

Thursday, July 9th, 2009


Just to clear up some confusion with some readers of yesterday’s camo post (“forested vales of eastern Afghanistan.– lost ma (sic) right here..”).

OK, so, maybe the word “vales” wasn’t technically right since Afghanistan might not have limestone cliffs. But according to the definition online: “a long depression in the surface of the land that usually contains a river”…and forested? Well, I’ve seen several in my travels there.

I don’t do this that often, but I just thought I had to use my bully pulpit this time to answer my detractors. Let the picture do the talking…

(Photo cutline: Soldiers navigate across a creek during a dismounted patrol in the Nerkh Valley, Afghanistan, June 4, 2009.)

– Christian


Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

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An apology and explanation to Defense Tech readers…

For the last 48 hours, we have been experiencing a network breakdown due to a major electrical fire in downtown San Francisco where our servers are based. The fiber optic line was severed and therefore we were unable to post and edit content for Defense Tech or Military​.com.

This shutdown unfortunately coincided with the July 4th holiday so the gruel has been relatively thin around these parts. And for that, I sincerely apologize.

We’re back up to 100 percent and we’ll be posting compelling content at our normal — if not enhanced — rate. I hope you understand that sometimes these contingencies pop up and you’ll bear with us as we spool back up.


– Christian

MilBlog conference begins

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

The 4th annual MilBlog conference kicked off April 24 with a bunch of bang-bang last night as Bouhammer introduced the first “world premier” of the docu-film “At War.” For many of the 150 bloggers and bloggerfans in attendance at the Westin Arlington Gateway hotel just outside DC it was a bit of a time warp — remembrances of deployments or embeds past — and for others it was a vivid, violent, frustrating, heartwarming window into the world of the troops these bloggers write and care about.

As TSO from This Ain’t Hell said: “I thought I was having flash backs…”

Here’s a tidbit of the well-done movie shot and directed by Scott Kesterson, a former building contractor who at 41 decided it was time to be a war correspondent/blogger, which will have a limited release across the United States.

– Christian

DT/Milcom on TV

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Last night I appeared on the Federal News Tonight show on Washington, D.C.‘s, News Channel 8 to discuss the controversy over the Navy’s awarding Rep. John Murtha the Distinguished Public Service award.

I thought I should at least share how stupid I look on TV…


– Christian

Friends of the Family

Friday, January 16th, 2009


I ran into the maniacs from Mil-Spec Monkey, a site devoted to gear reviews and news and also a designer of innovative (and hilarious) motivational patches.

We’ve run a few of their posts and reviews here before — they’re close friends with our buddies at BreachBangClear — but I’d never had the opportunity to meet them in person.

The Monkeys are based in the Bay area and are either working for, or alums of the America’s Army video game. They have a lot of technical expertise, no military experience, but a lot of enthusiasm. Their moto patches are generating quite a following and the “rad guy” element of the tactical community are giving their news and reviews a lot of credibility.

We look forward to working more closely with the Mil-Spec Monkey crew of chimps, and will feature some of their SHOT Show content here when they’ve got it ready.

Now, back onto the floor of the show!

– Christian

A Solemn Thanks to American Vets

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008


In honor of Veteran’s Day, I wanted to share with you all a quick story on a Soldier’s valor to help us all remember the heroism and sacrifice our armed forces display each and every day on the job:

On Sept. 24, 2008, Staff Sgt. Christopher Upp, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, was awarded the Silver Star for actions on July 31, 2007 in Chowkay Valley, Afghanistan.

While at Vehicle Patrol Base Seray, an incoming mortar round struck the bases mortar pit, killing the platoon leader and initiating an attack. Staff Sgt. Upp led a small group through machine gun and rocket propelled grenade (RPG) fire towards the mortar position.

The incoming fire knocked them to the ground several times. When they reached the 120-mm mortar, an incoming RPG damaged the tripod and shrapnel tore a large gash in Staff Sgt. Upps left arm. With the mortars support legs damaged, Staff Sgt. Upp used his hands — and when the tube got too hot, his back — to guide return fire. Through heavy fighting, he fired 75 rounds at the attacking enemy and significantly contributed to the successful defense of the patrol base.

I’ve been honored to witness acts like this in my many days and months covering the armed forces as a reporter. Thank you for all of the great times and endearing memories.

– Christian

Catch the “Buzz” with C-Double

Thursday, April 24th, 2008


All right folks, you’re about to get a true “first.”

Over the last several months, Ward and I have been brain storming, kicking, screaming, cajoling, whining and moaning to put together a new product for Military​.com that focuses heavily on investigative reporting of the defense industry.

Well, our temper tantrums have paid off and we’re going to launch the new online blog/newsletter in May (which will remain nameless until launch). But in the meantime, I’d like to introduce the product’s new editor, Colin Clark.

I’ve known Colin my entire career and we’ve been good friends out on the hustings as we both kicked over rocks for the next big story. He’s a powerhouse in the defense industry news business, with a resume that sports stints at Defense Week, Defense News, Congressional Quarterly and, more recently, Space News.

While we’re putting together the final design and wrapping up marketing plans for Colin’s new gig, he’s going to keep the engines turning and post his content here. He knows he’s being thrown into a pot of boiling oil head first with you guys, and I don’t expect you to pull any punches.

So please welcome Colin and we all look forward to his kick butt reporting.

– Christian

Off to the Sandbox

Friday, January 4th, 2008

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Alright folks, here’s the deal.

I’m headed back to Iraq after about a two year hiatus. It was pretty violent and crazy the last time I was there and I’m interested to see how things have changed for the better — or worse — first hand.

I go with a different mindset this time, however. Though it’s my third trip there, I’m much more cautious this time around. Don’t be expecting rip roaring firefight dispacthes and daily raid and QRF debriefs from me. I’ve got a kid now, so running into the Humvee at every sound of an IED or small arms ain’t gonna happen, sorry.

But as you probably imagine, I can’t stand sitting around the FOB picking my nose. So, I’ll be “oscar mike” quite a bit, seeing the lay of the land and getting into operations.

I plan to travel first to Anbar and hang out with the Marines for a week. I’ll get a gander at some of the “awakening” progress and hopefully take a stroll down Route Michigan in Ramadi after spending a violent month there in ’05. Then I’m off for a few days to the MV-22 squadron based at al Asad. After that, I chop to the Army in Diyala and hook up with a unit employing the interim Land Warrior suite of technologies.

I’ll be posting entries here when they pertain to “techy” stuff, but I’ll be writing a lot of content for our regular Military​.com audience and will be updating a blog designed specifically for the “From the Front” assignment.

Ward will be honchoing the blog while I’m gone, so try not to give him too hard a time. I’ll be throwing blog posts, pics and videos his way, so I’ll stay in touch with loyal DT readers. Feel free to drop me a line if you have any buddies over there you want me to give a shout out to, or if you have any coverage ideas where I’m gonna be.

So, for now, adios. I’m hopping on a United flight to Kuwait tonight, then off to “the suck.” I’ll be back in DC in a month. Keep in touch!


Texting Thanks to the Troops

Friday, November 16th, 2007

Heres a cool idea from our friends at America Supports You:

This holiday season, America Supports You is giving you a new way to send your thanks to the troops — by text message! When you send your message of thanks to 89279 (TXASY) between November 17th and 22nd, youll receive a special thanks in return. Also, well be displaying those messages on our ASY Giving Thanks widget far and wide across the internet. Just another way that you can support our brave military men and women serving in 177 countries around the world.

Click on the widget above to link to the ASY site. And Happy Thanksgiving to all of those serving the nation away from home this year.

(Gouge: JF)

– Ward