Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thought You Should Know

We got an email today from our son letting us know that one of the soldiers he served with for three years at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery was killed in Afghanistan on Thursday, October 28 - "Thought you should know" was the title line. Yesterday
there was a short report on the NPR Morning Edition radio program about a memorial service held earlier in the week in Afghanistan for another soldier in the 101 Airborne Division who was recently killed. I make a point not to tune out reports of casualties - to stare at the reality, and try not to become callous. When checking the Corvallis news earlier in the week, I also saw that a Marine from nearby Albany had recently been killed. A few months ago I happened on a report in the Los Angeles Times that showed a picture of a father holding his son's Army photograph after learning of his son's death - I knew the father from high school. All of these reports touch me - sons of former classmates, soldiers from
towns or states where we have once lived, loved ones of old friends who go to former churches we attended, and most recently - graduates of the Naval Academy. But this is the first time someone I have met has been killed in war - closer still since our son,  Badge 536, had worked with him. The news about Staff Sergeant Adam Dickmyer, Badge 528, is close to home. We had met him several times when visiting the Tomb, and he was the commander of the relief when Mike took his last walk on the Fourth of July three years ago - he ate the meal we brought to the sentinel's quarters to celebrate the end of Mike's 38 month tour.

I read that the family of Staff Sergeant Dickmyer wants to have him buried at Arlington where he served for six years (1). The daily funeral schedules is posted at the bottom of the cemetery's Website homepage. A photographic memorial put together by Rex Looney who regularly photographs life at the Tomb of the Unknowns is found here. The Associated Press has posted a number of photographs of Staff Sergeant Dickmyer when he was received at Dover Air Force Base (2).
(1) Internment is scheduled for Wednesday, November 17 from 9:00-11:00 AM in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery, the service begins at the Memorial Chapel at Fort Myer.!/event.php?eid=130725056983236

(2) See an earlier post about the significance of Dover Air Force Base.

Fort Campbell Soldier on patrol dies after being struck by an IED 

October 30, 2010

Fort Campbell, KY – A 101st Airborne Division Soldier died October 28th, when struck by an improvised explosive device while on dismounted foot patrol in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Adam L. Dickmyer, 26, of Winston Salem, NC, was an Infantryman assigned to 2nd Battalion, 502th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). He joined the Army in October 2002 and arrived at Fort Campbell in November 2009.

His awards and decorations include:  Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal; Army Superior Unit Award; Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; Non Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon; Air Assault Badge; Expert Infantry Badge; Parachutists Badge; Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Identification Badge and Marksmanship Qualification Expert Badge.

Dickmyer is survived by his wife, Melinda K. Dickmyer of Arlington, VA; father, David Dickmyer of Winston Salem, NC; and mother, Stephanie L. Dickmyer, of New Port Richey, FL.
Other follow up articles reporting Adam's funeral at Arlington National Cemetery are found at:
Boston Globe
Washington Post and here
Winston-Salem Journal

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Aves de Uruguay y Argentina

As soon as we drove out of Colonia into the country side, I knew I was going to be disappointed. I couldn't believe the diversity of birds I saw out the car window on our way to our scheduled appointment at the Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria research center at La Estanzuela, but there was no time to stop and look. All I could do is jot down descriptions of what I saw - hoping I could recognize the birds by my notes and memory later when in my hotel room with my copy of Field Guide to the Songbirds of South America, The Passerines by Ridgely and Tudor. It was a wonderland of new species. I saw birds in Argentina as well, especially the last day near Buenos Aires, but nothing like what was across the rolling hills of farm land in southern Uruguay. For sure, I would love to go back again in spring and spend all of the time in world just looking.

a. White banded mockingbird
b. Shiny cowbird
c. Forked tailed flycatcher
d. Red-crested cardinal
e. Rufous hornero
f. Brown-chested martin
g. Southern burrowing owl
h. Yellow brown tyrant
i. Scimitar-billed woodcreeper
j. White-tipped dove
k. Plumbeous ibis
l. White monjita
m. Chimango caracara
n. Snowy egret
o. Rufous hornero nest

And, this was just the start. For a check list of Uruguary birds, click here. For a check list of Argentina birds, click here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Argentine Politics - On Display

I knew nothing of contemporary news about Argentina before visiting last week, much less Argentinian politics. So it caught my attention this morning while listening to the morning radio news when a report came on that the former president and husband of the present President of Argentina had died today. While out walking back to our hotel the
first night after the reception for the conference I was to speak at the next day, I noticed a sign board at the side of the street with posters for a political candidate. As it turned out, he was a former friend of the President's husband's against whom he would be running in the 2011 election - now that won't be. It is interesting that in Argentina, most anyone you talk with has a political opinion - just like here in the United States. Also, on my last afternoon in Buenos Aires, the traffic in the city was particularly bad - by any standard. The Embassy folks said their was a follow up protest to one the day before because some one had been killed during the  
previous day's demonstration. At a stop light from across the boulevard going in the opposite direction, I took a picture of the marchers - an image of times past as I remember seeing in the news - also not mattering whether it was in the U.S. or Argentina. When reading the State Department briefings about Argentina (and other South American countries) before leaving on my trip, there was a warning to avoid political rallies, so I was fortunate to see one from a distance - and catch a photograph.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Itsy Bitsy Spider...

All summer I have been trying to get a look at what I thought was a black widow spider, living in the valve box that holds the irrigation controllers that water our yard. I didn't know black widows lived in Maryland until my wife mentioned earlier in the year that she had seen one in the valve box. I have several times cleared the sticky webs that reminded me of the ones we always had in our garage in California - just no sight of one. But today, when I went to turn on the valve to give the resident female eastern box turtle a little wetting down, there was the spider hiding in the valve box cover. A quick visual identification guide of the spiders found in Maryland can be found by accessing the link by clicking here. A nice general guide to identify various insect orders can be found by clicking here.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Very Good Day

Three favorite college football teams, three wins.

Ricky Dobbs leads Navy to last-second win over Wake Forest.
Associated Press

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Ricky Dobbs led a brilliant touchdown drive capped by a 6-yard pass to Greg Jones with 26 seconds left to give Navy a 28-27 win and hand Wake Forest its second straight last-minute loss.

Dobbs, who had been knocked out of the game briefly after taking a sack on the previous drive, found an open Gee Gee Greene for a 34-yard gain to the Wake Forest 15 with just over a minute left.

Then on third down he hit Jones in the right corner of the end zone. Joe Buckley kicked the tie breaking extra point and Navy (3-2) avoided a second straight loss.
Final: Oregon State 29, Arizona 27
By Ted Miller

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Arizona couldn't defend its No. 9 ranking against a resurgent Oregon State team that again appears to be making a turnaround after a slow start.

That slow start is attributable to having played a pair of top-five teams, TCU and Boise State -- two teams that will be pleased with this result.

There is some bad news, however, from the Beavers 29-27 win over Arizona. All-American receiver James Rodgers suffered a knee injury that looked like it might be serious, though there was no official word.

The Beavers win was a coming out party for quarterback Ryan Katz, who turned in a career best day, passing for 393 yards and two touchdowns, completing 30-of-42.
Oregon wins with no style points
By Ted Miller

Sometimes a 20-point win on the road doesn't feel so good.

No. 3 Oregon piled up 558 yards and beat Washington State 43-23, but it was a costly day. And not just because the win lacked the style points that are often required to keep moving up in the polls.

First, quarterback Darron Thomas was knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury. Also, running back Kenjon Barner was seemingly knocked out, though the nature of his injury hasn't been revealed. He was was in stable condition and undergoing tests at the hospital, Oregon reported.

Oregon is 6-0 for the first time since 2002. With Alabama's loss at South Carolina, it's possible it could take another step forward in the polls.