24 December 2017

OPORD for Operation Reindeer Games 2017

PHOTO: Army Spc. Jess Nemec and 1st Lt. Sarah Johnson/Released

Blog-editor's note: This post was originally published on the Red Bull Rising blog Dec. 23, 2013, and again here at the now-archived mil-blog digest "The Sandbox." Starting in 2014, we FRAGO'd the dates and the illumination data, and topped it off anew with a holiday shot (above) from the Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter (2-147 A.H.B.), 34th Combat Aviation Brigade (34th CAB). Those Red Bull aviation soldiers were deployed to Camp Beuhring, Kuwait, and elsewhere. While all Red Bull units are now currently at home, let's remember deployed service members and their families in thoughts and prayers this holiday season! 


I. SITUATION: TASK FORCE SHERPA continues holiday sustainment operations vicinity FOB LIVINGROOM.
1. Enemy Forces: 
Refer to Appendix X, "Naughty List." 
2. Friendly Forces / Attachments: 
a. One (1) soldier, callsign "SCOOP," from TF GI-JOE Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, location OP ELFONSHELF.  
b. One (1) Pathfinder-qualified soldier from 1225th Special Operations Aviation Regiment ("The Night-stockers"), callsign "RUDOLPH," location AO ROOFTOP.
c. Five (1) soldiers from 334th Brigade Support Battalion, 2-34th BCT attached as Forward Logistics Elf Element (FLEE), callsign "WORKSHOP," location AO UNDERTREE.
d. Ten (10) 03s-a-leaping from HHC, 2-34th BCT attached as command-and-control cell.
PHOTO: 34th CAB, Minn. Army National Guard, 2013
3. Weather and Terrain: 
High of 25 degrees Fahrenheit; low of 12 degrees. No effects on current snow cover. Condition WHITE for sleigh-borne operations.
4. Illumination:
At only 34 percent peak illumination, the moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow is not likely to give the lustre of mid-day to objects below. Moonset is 241101DEC17. Civil twilight is 250740DEC17. Sunrise is 250740DEC17. 
As noted in After Action Reviews of past holiday ops, however, SUGARPLUM elements have been known to stir well before light conditions warrant, or even Christmas Reveille.
"TF SHERPA secures LANDING ZONE CHIMNEY NLT 242330DEC16 and conducts resupply via reindeer-drawn miniature sleigh during hours of darkness prior to 250740DEC17. On order, commences opening of presents and distribution of holiday themes and messages."
1. Commander's Intent:
TF SHERPA will conduct safe and secure receipt of Christmas gifts, minimizing boots-on-ground time and distractions for RED-RYDER-6. Endstate is a Happy Christmas to all personnel, and to all a good night.
2. Concept of Operation:
We will start by ceasing all garrison activities, troop movements, and roving patrols beginning 242100DEC17. No personnel should be stirring. Not even a mouse. Stockings will be hung by the objective with care. All SUGARPLUM elements will be nestled all snug in their bunks. 
RED-RYDER-6 will arrive LZ CHIMNEY during hours of darkness, and will successfully evade detection by SUGARPLUM elements and local civilian air-traffic control. 
Following the operation, TF SHERPA personnel will prepare to conduct Key Leader Engagements with both sides of the family. 
Throughout this operation, TF SHERPA personnel will also reinforce themes and messages of "Peace on Earth, goodwill to all" via appropriate official STRATCOM channels, including social media and telephone.
3. Maneuver:
Under no circumstances should unauthorized personnel stir to investigate clatter from exterior areas, including rooftops.
4. Fires:
On order, 1-194th Field Artillery will provide 1.55 cm artillery-delivered tinsel as chaff to defeat detection of TF RED-RYDER by regional air-traffic control radar.
5. Coordinating instructions:
Authorized sleeping uniform is kerchief, cap, or green fleecy hat; MultiCam pajamas; and red-and-white "candy stripe" reflective safety belt. Noise and light discipline will be maintained per SOP. Senior personnel are encouraged to employ red-light headlamps or night-vision devices.
6. Specific instructions:
Headquarters will redeploy public affairs team member SCOOP from OP ELFONSHELF to vicinity LZ CHIMNEY for documentation of gift-giving operations NLT 250700DEC17. Mission focus will be on "telling the Christmas story by telling our Army story."
1. 334th BSB will provide (1) Meal, Ready-to-Eat to RED-RYDER-6. Ranger cookies and shelf-stable milk are appropriate. On order, also provide one (1) 64 lb. bag of Reindeer Chow.
2. Religious services are 241900DEC17, and 251000DEC17.
1. Location of Key Leaders: 
HOUSEHOLD-6 and HOUSEHOLD-7 will be in the command bunker after 242100DEC17. 
2. Succession of command: 
3. Callsigns: 
Holiday callsigns are NOT authorized. Under no circumstances should SUGARPLUM elements refer to HOUSEHOLD-6 as "NUTCRACKER-6." The previously published SOI was in error. HOUSEHOLD-7 is very, very sorry. 
4. Challenge / Password for 24DEC14 is: "SMOKE" / "WREATH." 
5. Challenge / Password for 25DEC14 is: "BOWLFUL" / "JELLY." 
6. Running password is "FIGGY PUDDING."
1. Use ground guides when backing reindeer. 
2. Use drip pans and chocks when parking sleighs. 
3. Don't drink nog and drive. 
4. "Safety first, Christmas always."

06 December 2017

New Essay Reveals the Origins of the 'Red Bull' Patch!

From the writer of the Red Bull Rising blog! New work includes "10 haiku about Operation Desert Storm," appears in the latest volume of "Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors" anthology series, released earlier this week! Written in the snarky spirit of "Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire," the work includes such gems as:
Saddam promises
the “Mother of All Battles”
if we take Kuwait.

Voice of Darth Vader
adds commercial gravitas:
“This ... is C.N.N.”

Laser-guided gaze
reveals war is really just
Super Nintendo.
Also appearing in the 230-page anthology is "Marvin Cone Goes to War," a 3,000-word essay about how artist Marvin Cone, then a U.S. National Guard private first class from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, came to design the 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division insignia. The story involves trips that Cone took with his unit's officers, into the New Mexico desert, seeking out treasures from archeological dig sites first established by Smithsonian Institution scientists. Think of it as ... "Raiders of the Lost Bowl"!

Published by the Southeast Missouri State University Press, the book can be purchased via Amazon here.

Other recently published books about the 34th Inf. "Red Bull" Division can be found at this link.

20 November 2017

Great Red Bull Book & Holiday Gift Ideas!

Here are some new finds and old favorites for this year's grab-bag of holiday gift ideas for 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division service members, veterans, family, and other boosters:

"Reporting for Duty: U.S. Citizen-Soldier Journalism from the Afghan Surge, 2010-2011," edited by Randy Brown, chronicles the year-long deployment of the Iowa National Guard's 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division (2-34th BCT) as one of the only U.S. National Guard brigades to engage in Full-Spectrum Operations in Operation Enduring Freedom. Relive all the missions—humanitarian and combat, morale-building and training—from the largest deployment of Iowa troops since World War II!

("Citizen-Soldier," a 2016 documentary film about Oklahoma National Guard's 45th Inf. "Thunderbird" BCT, which replaced the Red Bull in Eastern Afghanistan's Laghman Province, makes a great companion gift!)

Not a big reader? There's a "Red Bull Rising" Zazzle store with holiday cards, ornaments, and other designs! One favorite? This "Red Bull" snowflake ornament!

"Roaring Bull: The 34th Infantry Division in the Global War on Terror" by Brian Leehan is a 220-page yearbook-style collection of oral history, chronology, and photographs, tracing the division's multiple deployments between the years 2002 and 2016. (Leehan is also author of the civil war history "Pale Horse at Plum Run: The First Minnesota at Gettysburg." That unit's lineage is maintained the modern-day Red Bull's 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment.)

Underwritten by the 34th Infantry Division Association, Johnston, Iowa, the "Roaring Bull" book project will be an essential foothold for future family and unit historians. The 8.5-by-11-inch hardcover features interviews with approximately 60 current and former Red Bull soldiers, and more than 250 color photographs and maps. Cover price is $39.99. It can be mail-ordered with personal check or PayPal (for $37, including $5 shipping and handling), or purchased for $32 at the following locations, while supplies last:
"Deming, New Mexico's Camp Cody: A World War One Training Camp" by Jim Eckles is a fun tour of the training hardships faced by the citizen-soldiers of Minnesota, Iowa, North and South Dakota who first organized as the U.S. 34th Infantry Division. While the unit has always been represented by the distinctive shoulder patch designed by painter and solider Marvin Cone of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, it was first named the "Sunshine" and then "Sandstorm" Division, the latter based on conditions in the dusty, hardscrabble camp. (The unit's "Red Bull" moniker was a World War II invention.)

The book's production and the author's tone are both friendly and accessible—reading it is a bit like conversing with a knowledgeable museum guide. The facts and anecdotes come freely, and, while readers may struggle to place each nugget into context, they'll certainly walk away entertained and informed. One favorite factoid? On April 7, 1918, the Chicago Cubs faced off in an exhibition game with players from the 34th Inf. Div. The Cubs won, 8-0.

"Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire" by Randy Brown is an award-winning collection of snarky poetry that often packs a powerful emotional punch. Brown takes from his experiences as a former "Red Bull" citizen-soldier, and as a civilian journalist who briefly embedded with the Iowa National Guard's 2-34th BCT in Afghanistan. (A 3,000-word essay by the same author, titled "Marvin Cone Goes to War," is featured in the latest volume of "Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors" anthology series.The essay describes how artist Marvin Cone, then a private first class, came to design the Red Bull insignia.)

In one "FOB Haiku" poem, titled "From a Red Bull in Winter," Brown describes the Red Bull patch and the people it represents:
[…] The army wears its stories on our sleeves.
Every scrap is a battle, every stitch is a past.
We are canvas, leather, dust, and blood.

At airport gates and main street parades,
the right shoulder patch carries with it
Africa and Afghanistan, Italy and Iraq.

But you are more than these threads, these fragments, those bones:
You continue the march. You are the present, armed.
You are the “Attack!”