30 August, 2007
Almost every home in Switzerland also has an automatic weapon as part of their military. All military aged males are members of the military. They keep their entire uniform and equipment at home, including their service weapon. They have no problems with the weapons being used in crimes.
28 August, 2007
On 25th of July. I got to see something I had wanted to see for a long time. The Centralia Coal Mine Fire was started accidentally in 1962 when trash burning at the municipal dump (located in an old coal pit) lit an exposed seam of coal on fire. Attempts to extinguish the fire failed and over time, danger of subsidense and carbon monoxide forced the population to leave. The population sat at 1000 in 1981 and is down to 9 today. There is enough coal to fuel the fire for another estimated 250 years. All that exists today are a few houses, the former municpal building, a cemetary, a church and lots of empty lots that contained homes and businesses. A stretch of Highway 61 suffered major cracks and heaves in the road surface.
After a couple of wrong turns, we realized that we were actually there. Everything is so overgrown that it is easy to pass by and almost not notice.
The Postal Service revoked the zip code for Centralia and no street signs were present. Some of the remaining residents have placed homemade street signs on trees to help find their houses. One famous house was once one of fifteen "row" houses that stood together. Now only one remains. Across the street is a war memorial and time capsule marker that former and remaining residents of Centralia will return to remove in 2016
21 August, 2007
Back on the road again.
Getting down to the last couple of road trips before I transfer to my next duty station.
I'll miss the travel and the extra money made off of unspent per diem. I tend not to eat as much as my allowance for food will let me.
The next assignment will lead me back to the Middle East and into eith Iraq or Afghanistan again. I'm more ready now for what awaits me on the ground than I was before my last deployment. I still like it more than being out at sea.
Sea deployments were good for sheer number of places visited. However, I have found that ground deployments into "hostile" lands have more day-to-day excitement. The adrenalin flows more easily.