02 April 2010

Milblogging Awards and Rewards

As a writer, I came pretty late to the blog-party. That was partly by design--the old rule of "Write What You Know" means first achieving a certain level of self-awareness about ... well, Just What Exactly Do You Know. That, and I've always turned away from journaling and diary-keeping: Why write about writing, after all, instead of just writing?

Yes, some of that last paragraph is internally contradictory. Sue me: I contain multitudes.

I finally realized that, after more than 20 years in my country's uniform--one weekend at a time and two weeks a year--I knew the Army National Guard. And serving God, Country, and Community. And something--not everything--about what it was like to leave friends and family to deploy overseas. For a second time.

I've learned a lot, personally and professionally, from reading blogs by military personnel and supporters--"mil-blogs." The Army encourages a culture of learning from others shared experiences. We call it "lessons-learned integration" or "L2I." (Remember, the Army loves acronyms almost as much as lessons.) Homeland security and emergency management types call it "lessons-learned information-sharing (LLIS)." Either way, the mantra goes something like this:
  • A "lesson" is knowledge gained from experience.
  • A "lesson-learned" is knowledge gained from experience that results in a change of individual or organizational behavior.
  • A lesson is not "integrated" until shared with others.
Mil-blogging is its own form of lessons-learned integration. Through others' words, we learn what it's like to be Over There, or Over Here, or Back Home, or Whatever. By reading and writing and sharing, we each gain a better idea of What's Going On, of What We Think, of What Our Neighbors Think. It's not always Big Picture stuff. In fact, it's likely just the opposite: Small bits and bytes and slices of life. But it's always Another Perspective, and the world can always use more of that.

The website Milblogging.com is currently taking nominations for its annual "Milbloggies Awards." You have to register to nominate blogs (but it's free); there are many categories (Army, Navy, Air Force, Mil-spouses, etc.); nominations end 2159 hours EST (sic) Sat., 03 April, and then there is voting. May I respectfully suggest the following for your consideration? By Milbloggies category, my suggestions are:
You can click on the above links to help nominate these blogs to the voting phase of the competition.

I need to make a special mention of "A Little Bit of Pink ..." Just last month, the 23-year-old author and mother lost her Marine husband in the war in Afghanistan. That she has continued to write through her loss and grief is ... words almost fail me here ... it's a gift. It's a gift beyond measure, beyond her family's already unimaginable sacrifice. A "People's Choice" kind of contest probably isn't a worthy recognition of how special and amazing I think this is, but it's all I've got for now. People need to read her words. People need to stand witness. People need to Be There.

Milblogging.com has a searchable index of thousands of blogs. Whatever perspective or experience or words or witness you're looking for, you could do much worse than to click over there and read a little more.


  1. Charlie,

    You're absolutely right on "people need to be there." Prayers for them daily.

    Oh,,Thank You most kindly for the exhorting of nominations. Let's just say I agree with you 100% on all but mine. There are so many who do so much more than I. Honestly.
    Still, I do appreciate you thinking of me. :)

  2. I know that it must seem like I'm bucking to be elected chairman of your fan club--and I wish I had a higher mountaintop from which to sing your praises--but the insight and information that you've provided rivals some of the hard-to-read-or-understand stuff that Uncle Sam is force-feeding us right now.

    You may not feel like you do much, but you do make a difference. I know you have for me and my buddies.

    "Many hands ... Small steps ... Little drops ..." All variations on a theme, no?

  3. I hereby declare "Charlie Sherpa" duly elected chairman of "Little Drops" official fan club...*snort giggle giggle*

    I'm glad that anything I've said has helped you along the path you've chosen to tread. Blogging has it's own rewards, I think. You've done an amazing job with Red Bull Rising. Hmmm, maybe I should apply for chairman for your fan club!

    Yep, many hands make the load lighter. Pretty amazing, that. Tickles me, it does.

  4. Hey, thank you! That's really nice!
    "Pink Camo" is very brave to be sharing her feelings. She's writing so clearly and honestly, not a speck of self pity or sentimentality --yet her heartbreak comes through.

    Anyway, I appreciate all the votes. Winning something like the milbloggies was never a goal, or even on my horizon. After all, I have a whole lifetime of accolades given to me over my career. My reward in being able to write my blog is the number of people I can move to perhaps see things in a different light.

  5. You're right, "Little Bit of Pink" deserves recognition. It's heartbreaking to read. I'm voting today. And I'll see if I can get some others to vote too...


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