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Normandy -GPS Track & Photos

Eurosatory and Normandy at EveryTrail

View Eurosatory and Normandy at EveryTrail

It’s getting there. I just found a site called and it does exactly what I was looking for. It’s the only site I’ve found that allows you to place geotagged photos and GPS tracks together on an interactive map. Its free, for now, but it shows. The interface is wonky and the uploader only allows 4 images at a time.

I found a workaround by uploading the geotaged images to Flikr, then importing them into But it still choked after 16 images, leaving 8 behind. I can’t seem to get the last 8 to load.

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And from the other side

Here’s a zoomable image of Point du Hoc looking to the east.

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Trip To Point du Hoc

This is pretty cool! Here is the track log from my GPS on my side trip to Point du Hoc, France. You can see the routes Dave and I took along the Normandy coast. I’m going to try to figure out how to add geotagged photos to the map, next.

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Smallest kid and Fastest car!

Hey everybody- Bella won 1st place in her Brownie Pinewood Derby tonight! She was undefeated all night. I’ll post some more pics over the weekend.

Oh, yeah, and I’m back safely from my latest trip to Iraq.

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Overheard While on Patrol

“Were they witches or ninjas?”

Overlooking the P.C. aspect of it –they’re grunts ferkrisake, it’s pretty funny. While out on a patrol with Marines near Ramadi I learned that in the grunt’s eyes one can identify a female in the Iraqi countryside in two ways:

“Witches” are the older, more crotchety women that wear traditional garb, but don’t bother with a veil.

“Ninjas” are the younger women that keep their faces covered with a veil that only reveals their eyes.

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Inside a Stryker Mobile Gun System


Here’s a QTVR from the vehicle commander’s seat inside a Stryker MGS. Click and drag inside the page that opens up to look around. I’m using a flash based viewer, instead of Quicktime, so everybody should be able to open it even if you are on an office computer.

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Back Up & In position

I’m finally over a nasty viral infection that had me down hard for a few days. Matt and I have moved down to the battallion this morning and will be getting into our story over the next few weeks.

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OMFG We Are Still At CPIC

What can I say? We did the whole haul-our-crap-over-to-LZ-Washington last night to get a space a flight up to Speicher. No more had we grounded our gear and walked into the trailer/office to be told there wasn’t one space-a seat/flight/prayer to be had this evening.

On our way walking back to to our bags we walked by a group of private military contractors. One of them asked Matt were we were going. Matt stopped to talk to the guy and became apparent that the guy had mistaken us for PMCs since he asked us who our”principle” was. I guess we have the contractor look down with our facial hair, softshell jackets, cargo pants and hiking boots.

That was last night. After we got back from the LZ. We called our powerful friends back in Washington to see if we could shake something loose. Tonight, we supossedly have reserved seats on a flight. Coincidence? Hmmmm…

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Hello Condi!

I woke up to the sight of the entire Iraqi press corps at the foot of my bed today. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Baghdad and gave a joint press conference with the Iraqi Foreign Minister.

The message from the press conference was that Iraq is fine. The surge worked and now it’s just down to democratic growing pains. I guess that’s what she calls car bombs and mortars.

Matt has dubbed the Iraqis that frequent the CPIC embed room, “the eaters”. They are here, no doubt to work some, but by-and-large many just they bullshit with each other, talk on their mobile phones very loudly, surf the internet and eat everything in sight. I used to think that mobile ring tones in the states were annoying. Not any more.

Leaving the bathroom before going to bed I heard the incoming alarm followed by 2-3 explosions that sounded like they were a few blocks away.

I watched the remake of 3:10 to Yuma on my laptop. Not a bad western, but the end was pretty improbable with the bad guy having a huge change of heart. Wouldn’t it be great if people could realized they were “evil”, giving them the ability to have an epiphany like Russell Crowe’s character? Problem is that nobody really is evil, or at least “evil” people don’t see themselves as evil. They just make choices and to them all those choices and deeds are justified based on the circumstances that brought them to that point. Evil is just a term people use to pigeonhole people with diametrically opposed ideologies so they can deal with them.

Deep thoughts, I know, but wow am I bored.

On the uspide, it’s Gunner’s birthday today. I wish him lots of love and laughs and I can’t wait to get home to play with him. He and his sister got light sabers right before I left. I imagine the house is taking a beating.

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Waiting in the IZ.

We are still in Baghdad, probably leaving on the 15th for Camp Speicher, a little ways north of here. We had breakfast at the Al Rashid, acrss the street in the Green Zone. $20 for a plate of cold food. Yum. Christian is out in Ramadi, he wrote to tell me his laptop died and he’s got to buy a new one at the PX. It just made me think that it won’t be long before there is a freaking Apple Store here. I remember all the crap i brought with me for the first trip when there wasn’t a darn thing available to buy here. If it went down and you needed it, you were screwed. And we had to walk uphill to the chow hall, both ways, in a snowstorm…

Bad news/good news on the cell phone front. Both of the Iraqna SIM cards we brought were dead. It also seems that Iraqna is changing their system and it’s hard as hell to get recharge cards. However, we
did manage to get an Iraqna SIM card from a helpful guy at CPIC and some recharge cards across the street at the Al Rasheed so we have at least one local cell number. I pulled my Nextel SIM card from my US phone and put it in an unlocked Nokia and found that it worked! Until we can luck into another Iraqna SIM, I guess I’ll use my Nextel.

Sleep has been an issue. Since we had been up for the oh-dark-thirty flight from Kuwait to BIAP, then for the similarly timed Rhino ride into the IZ, I’ve been sleeping from 4pm to 11pm. Not fun. I’m going
to have to go pharmaceutical to get back in line.

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Happy Halloween

Bella and I worked for a while on our pumpkin. We had the jack-o-lantern on one side and the Autobot Transformer symbol on the other. Turned out pretty well.

Pumpkin carving tip- go with manual tools. A Dremel slings pumpkin bits everywhere.

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Bagram Hospital

We spent a few hours at the Bagram hospital tonight. It was a tough night. There were kids there that the medics were talking care of. One was a five-year-old that was shot in the gut accidentaly by an Afghani soldier. We talked to his nurse and his dad, who was there taking care of him. Another kid had fallen out the back of a pickup and was unconcious, another was blown up in a suicide bomb attack…

With that behind us, we are flying out tonight for Ramstein, then home.

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Gone from Ghazni

We left a sad group of JTACs behind in Ghazni this morning. The only thing I could do was shoot a photo of Waters and Sangha using mIRC chat to illustrate the story… I felt like we sold them short, since we never got to see them in ‘action’. The JTACs are some of the most ‘hooah’ guys in the Air Force and we didn’t get to go out in to the field with them. We’ll have to try doing the JTAC story again down the road.

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What’s a Step Below Fishwrapping?

So, we’ve just washed our hands in the chowhall atrium at Ghazni and we can’t find any paper towels to dry our hands. Then we notice the soldiers grabbing Stars and Stripes and drying their hands with a page a person. Erik noted that the printing was top notch because the ink didn’t transfer to his hands… At least it wasn’t Army Times.

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He’s fine, Meg…

I was in the 2 Fury TOC the other night for a BUB (or BOA as they are now called) and who do I spy across the room? Capt. Jason Davis from the Widowmakers. He’s now a company commander in the 82nd and doing great. We had ate a couple of [bad] meals together at the Ghazni DFAC and caught up a bit. Just to further illustrate how life has us intersecting in all sorts of ways, turns out he had Lt. Josh Shaver as a student at the infantry officers course a while back.

I tried to get out with him or one of his platoons, but transportation was iffy and we had already blown quite a few days waiting for the battalion to get into something. So, we waited a day to see if we could get down to his FOB, when that fell apart we lamented and parted ways…

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Still in Ghazni

We are still here in Ghazni. The TACPs haven’t really done anything aside from the mission that just ended. We couldn’t get here in time to go out, so the pictures didn’t come together. Erik got a mission wrap up story and I sent in a couple of photos of the soldiers and airmen returning to the FOB.

The battalion has been great to work with and has offered us pretty much open access. But, we arrived just in time for their post mission refit period. Nutz.

wAF050507rcBazaar008We did make it out to the FOB Bazaar with the airmen to buy some trinkets and smokes. We ran into a local celebrity. A bracelet on his table caught Rich’s eye and a little haggling ensued…

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Doesn’t matter how you spell it. We are here. South-eastern Afghanistan. Embedded with the 504th PIR of the 82nd ABN, we are going to try to follow their attached JTACs. That is, the AF guys that call in air support for the army.

They go out in 2 man teams for days on end and watch the infantry’s butt (nod, Mom). Problem is, that we are getting here right between missions. So, we are settling in to see what the battalion has coming down the pike.

The upside- looks like we have access to the TOC. At one point, this wasn’t a big deal. But, now that true embedding has lost it’s luster with some of the mid-level leadership, getting access to sensative areas and info is a lot more of a square dance.

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Did I saw we’d be gone in a day? Oops. We’ll it’s been a couple and the fine folks here in Bagram have been trying to get us out. Apparently Salerno is a bit harder to get to than anybody thought.

We met with the JTAC’s higher yesterday and got a great brief about their mission. There seems to be something going on down there that the JTACs are part of, so it’s a race to get there before whatever is going on down there is over with.

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Erik and I have arrived in Bagram, Afghanistan this morning. Getting off the C17 and seeing the snow-capped mountains to the north was a welcome sight after seeing nothing but the flat landscapes of Iraq and Kuwait.
It was a long night, as the flight manifested at midnight and didn’t leave till about 2. It was a 4+ hour flight in the web seats that didn’t allow for much sleeping. There were so many pax that there was no room to lay out and enjoy the space afforded by the C17.
We were greeted by the AF and the Bagram MPAD right off the flight. The two soldiers from the MPAD were awesome and gave us a ride to our hooch. We should be here for a night and then on to the JTACs.

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Stormy Weather

SherpaWe made it to Kuwait on a Sherpa flight after all the other flights were canceled. Neat plane that I didn’t know about before this trip. I think I will keep it a secret for a little longer.

SandstormIt looks like we might not make it to Bagram tonight, as a sandstorm rolled in.


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