#BourbonOfTheMonth – May 2016

If you’re looking for the perfect Memorial Day weekend drink, look no further. Whether you’re remembering the sacrifice of a fallen comrade or family member or celebrating their life with a stiff drink, this bourbon will do the trick:

Colonel E.H. Taylor Small Batch

Good bourbon with a bonus kickass pig calendar in the background.

Continue reading #BourbonOfTheMonth – May 2016


Lessons from a First Year in ACS

About five months ago, around the time I started this still-young blog, I shared my lessons from a first semester in ACS – the Army’s Advanced Civil Schooling program. It didn’t seem like there were many firsthand experiences shared, so I decided to pitch my voice into that void on the off chance that I might help someone out or at least get them to think about ACS.

One semester later, I feel like there are a few more lessons worthy of sharing as I wrap up my first of two years in grad school. The overarching lesson? Grad school isn’t that different from many things I’ve learned in the Army: Continue reading Lessons from a First Year in ACS

On Administration and Leadership: Wisdom from 1942

Once upon a time while working on a history project about US Army casualty operations since World War II, I collected a bunch of old Adjutant General Corps-related documents. One of my favorite eBay scores was Technical Manual (TM) 12-250, the War Department Technical Manual for Administration, dated October 10, 1942.

Captain Phillipps failed miserably at making sure this thing wasn’t removed from Headquarters.

Continue reading On Administration and Leadership: Wisdom from 1942



Since the first time I stepped foot into one of your air conditioned tactical tents as a lieutenant, I knew you were something great. You could be assembled and torn down rapidly. You could provide troops with reprieve from the elements. You could be designed and configured in a variety of ways because of your modularity. You could be a Tactical Operations Center (TOC), sleeping quarters, or even a soft-shell motor pool bay for vehicle maintenance. And thanks to the Army’s Standardized Integrated Command Post System (SICPS) Trailer Mounted Support System (TMSS) fielding, you came in a neatly contained trailer package complete with a generator, lights, environmental control system, and even tables.

You were everything a leader could want in a command post. Plus, you could be accessorized like the world’s most expensive Lego set.

Then, one winter day, we took our relationship to the next level, and I was suddenly signed for several of your TMSS systems. It didn’t take long for the honeymoon phase to wear off.

Inventorying you is a pain in the ass, and what the hell is a “gusset” anyway? When your endcap rods break, the tents suddenly become saggy messes that can’t keep in the cold or hot air from the ECU.

And everyone who didn’t have you wanted to borrow you. I get it, for all the cool reasons mentioned above. But you always came back worse off than you left (though you probably left in bad condition anyway).

I always marvel at how a group of motivated soldiers can break camp and pack up at lightning speeds once someone hollers “ENDEX,” but marvel turned to alarm when I learned how easily parts could break on you if done carelessly and too fast.

My point, DRASH, is that I love and hate you at the same time.

Someone else is signed for you now, and I’m okay with that. Going through your things before you started your relationship with a new commander was painful and arduous, and afterward I didn’t miss you one bit. Good riddance.

But now, it seems like all I can remember are the good times. Remember that time there was a bad storm in the field, and that old raggedy GP large partially collapsed on a bunch of sleeping troops (luckily no one was hurt)? You remained perfectly intact, proving your worth and providing shelter for the night shift.

Or how about that time you became my unit’s home away from home for Operation Key Resolve in South Korea? Snow piled up by the foot, but you gave us a dry and warm place to work and only asked that we knock the snow off the roof every once in a while.

I know we’ll run into each other again one day, DRASH. We’ll spend time together, I’m sure, and maybe we can even be friends. But we’ll never have the same relationship as when I first signed for you and your pages of COEI and BII.


Thanks for everything,
A former commander

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Put a Hat on It

In statistics, there is a symbol known simply as a “hat.” It looks like this: ^. According to Wikipedia (the grad student’s seedy dealer, from whom you can never academically admit getting your stuff), the hat operator “is used to denote an estimator or an estimated value.”

Seriously, we call “p” just “p” (like the actual letter), and “hat_p” is called “p hat.” It doesn’t get much lazier than that.

Continue reading Put a Hat on It