19 January 2010

On the Net: Blogs of Interest

As always, Sherpa's looking for plain-speaking news, books, and blogs for citizen-soldiers heading downrange to Afghanistan, as well as for those soldiers' friends and family.

When it comes to blogs, I'm disappointed to find that there's a lot of "link rot" out there, particularly when browsing other mil-blogger's "blog rolls" of allegedly favorite sites. I'll try to avoid this with Red Bull Rising, and only put stuff out there that's well-maintained and specifically relevant to the mission at hand.

Unfortunately for Sherpa's purposes, the Marine writing "Embedded in Afghanistan" is now mission-complete, and it doesn't sound like he's going to continue writing. He operated as an Embedded Training Team (ETT) member in Kunar Province from November 2008 to August 2009. I hope he keeps his archived blog on the Internet, however; he gives great detail and insight into working with the Afghans. He's probably got a book in him.

Fardin Waezi is a professional freelance photographer based in Kabul, who regularly posts photos at "Thru Afghan Eyes." Like they say, pictures are worth thousands. Just browsing his pictures gives you a feeling for the country, its people, and the challenges we face together.

In the "coming attractions" category: "A Major's Perspective," a blog written by a North Carolina National Guard (?) officer, is currently off the net while he transitions downrange to Afghanistan. This will be "Major C's" second or third deployment--evidenced by pictures of him in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He's definitely got the mil-blogging battle rhythm thing down, however, and I look forward to seeing what he has to say when he comes back on-line.


  1. glad to have found your blog. I take it that you've not left for the suck yet? You're right, there aren't many ETT blogs coming out of A'stan anymore. In case you haven't seen or read Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure(prior ETT), he's now back in country but writing at http://afghanquest.com. Not as an ETT but trainer for COIN Academy in Kabul. If you'd like a few more from in country, shoot me a email, or just drop by the blog to click on a few links on my blogroll.

  2. Thanks for the good words! The blog has already taken a few turns as I try to establish a working battle rhythm during pre-deployment, but my objectives are still to help educate friends, family, and others on what this National Guard/Reserves animal is all about ("I care," one good friend recently told me, "I just don't know the lingo.") and how it fits into our democracy, our foreign policy, and our military strategery (sorry, bad habit). I have a particular interest in Afghanistan, as do a number of buddies of mine. 'Nuff said.

    You are correct, by the way--Sherpa and family are current in the pre-Suck phase. Wanted to get the how-to-blog learnin' done ahead of the game.

    Your suggestion of the Afghanquest.com blog is steel-on-target, thanks! I could also get lost for hours in your blog-roll at pebbledrops.blogspot.com. I've already found some must-haves (again, including your own) for my growing collection of resources. The ETT mission is of interest, mostly for reasons related to personal history. But Agribusiness Development Training (ADT) teams and Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) are of equal interest, as are other angles to OEF. It all becomes so much alphabet soup to people back at home ...

    In short: I'd love to define Afghanistan in 25 words or less, using two examples. Ain't gonna happen, but it'll be fun to try. I'd look forward to any specific favorites or recommendations you might point to.

    Thanks again for your good words, and for listing Red Bull Rising on your blog-roll. I'll be sure to return the compliment as soon as I get a chance. I can already tell, you do a great job telling inspirational stories of success--just want I want to do, too. Where you been all my (admittedly short) bloggin' life?

    Keep fighting the good fight!

  3. Sherpa,

    Why thank you, Sir. I started reading a few of your posts, and couldn't stop the laughter. Your writing prose is spot on.
    Now, I have a question for you...Have you been to http://milblogging.com ? 'Cause if not, hie theeself over there ASAP. I know the webmaster, and he's a great guy. List your blog under A'stan. And if any of your battle buddies are going along, please encourage them to start a blog themselves. WE need more voices from the 'boots on the ground' perspective. Seriously.
    There are several other PRT's and ADT's that I follow or have bookmarked but don't have them linked yet. I'll try to compile a more complete list for you to peruse. This can become addictive, ya know?

    Good luck on the 25 word descriptions. I'll look forward to reading each one as you discover them.

    As for where I've been? Searching for those little drops... :)

  4. Ah Brother Sherpa -
    You've struck a nerve! I've oftten wondered why so many milbloggers seem to abandon their "posts" after returning from the frontlines.

    Having been there and done that - I understand that life back home can be overwhelming when Soldiers return.

    Besides, once we're again among the friends and family who were our primary audience, what's the point of continuing?

    To me - that logic misses the point.

    As you know, when I returned from a recent tour, I wrote a book based on my blog (Afghan Journal). And now I continue to keep the lights on under a new blog moniker, http://www.LifeLoveandTruth.com.

    Tell you what. Stay tuned. You've inspired me to bust-out a post of my own - piggybacking on your "where-have-all-the-milblogs-gone" topic!

    (After all, this is only supposed to be a comment - I don't want to overstay my welcome...)

    But back to the question you raise - where to look for signs of life in the milblogging community - and especially among ETTs?

    Not sure I can answer the question in full, but here's a very short list:

    1) http://www.milblogging.com (overwhelming choices there - many have gone dark)

    2) http://www.smallwarsjournal.com (the blogroll is stellar)

    3) http://www.michaelyon-online.com (an amazing soldier-now-freelance-war-journalist)

    4) http://gocomics.typepad.com/the_sandbox (Slate's collection of select blog posts from those currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan)

    5) http://atwar.blogs-nytimes.com (You're no doubt familiar with this cross-section of blog contributions from war correspondents, military personnel and others on the front lines. The commentary is often penetrating and profound.)

    6) And of course, the latest addition to my hotlist - http://www.RedBullRising.com!

    OK - those are my top-of-mind best shots. Hope there's some good stuff to chew on in there...

    My best advice, however, is to do what works for you. Make it your own. But moreover, keep your head down, and stay safe!

    Zool out!

  5. Here's a great "one-stop-shop" snapshot for leading military blogs. It compiles RSS feeds from a great cross-section of sources.


    You can look at the 5 most recent titles across news/blog sites. A great way to keep your finger on the pulse - and inspire your own writing.

    You're off to a great start. Can't wait to see what you cook-up as you build your body of work.

    Rock on, RedBullRising!


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