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Still Here...

Posted by GrYph0n, Jul 10 2007, 11:36 PM in Military Career Related

Well, I figured that I would let everyone know that I am still alive and kicking. Still out here in Iraq, and will be for a while to come. Not really much to say about anything since I am really far behind in the realm of the mobile gadget world, but I look forward to catching up when I get back home. I am glad to see that Pocket Quicken has finally been ported over to the smartphone platform, that is really one of the biggest things that I miss that the pocket pc had over the smartphone, but now I will be able to have my cake and eat it too. I can't wait to get back and see all the phones that are out, and then go through deciding which one I want because I am saving up a little change out here for just that.

Here is a little picture of me with two Iraqi Policemen taken just before we stepped out on a patrol. I had difficulties getting in here to post on the blog, so for those of you with myspace (yes, I caved in and created one) (www.myspace.com/eric_d_jones), you can link up with me on there. I really hope all is well with everyone...Attached Image

Life is Hectic...

Posted by GrYph0n, Jan 9 2007, 04:49 AM in Military Career Related

Well folks, I am sure some of you may have noticed that I haven't been around that much lately. I would like to apologize for that. I am around from time to time, but usually don't find a need to post too much (Our great staff and member base usually beats me to it). I really haven't had much time to my self these days, and it is only getting more and more hectic and fast paced. I am in a workup cycle to head over to Iraq this summer sometime. I will be gone longer this time than I was on the last deployment, but you better believe that I will be keeping everyone posted on things (if at all possible), just like I did on my last deployment.

Some may be wondering what I have been up to these last few months. Well, honestly I have been spending a lot of time training or in the field. I have also been attending professional Marine Corps schools (I'm in one now for the next 9 weeks). I get a lot of homework, and there is a lot of field time with this school as well, so I will be around even less in for a while. I am not stepping down or away, just thought I would let everyone know what I have been up to lately. I will leave you with this picture that was taken a few weeks ago, out on a range to become more familiar with foreign weapons (AK-47).

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This Place is Great

Posted by GrYph0n, Jun 28 2006, 03:47 PM in Military Career Related

On top of Dubai being a Technology hot bed, there are some pretty amazign things to do here. For instance, just today when it was 120 degrees out side, I went to the Mall of the Emirates. While there I went snowboarding in their indoor ski/snowboarding slopes. It was about 21degrees in there, good thing they rent you all the gear you need for a pretty good price. I had a blast for my 2 hour session and plan on getting a day pass for tomorrow. My bum is a little tender though as I have only done it once in the past and that was a couple of years ago, but I picked it right back up.

Ski Dubai

Back on Ship...

Posted by GrYph0n, Jun 22 2006, 01:07 PM in Military Career Related

Well not much to report really, other than I am back on ship.

I don't know why I never provided the following links a long time ago, but here is another way to keep up with what all we are doing out here.

11th Marine Edpeditionary Unit Home Page

Battalion Landing Team 1/4 Home Page (I am in Bravo Company)


Posted by GrYph0n, Jun 15 2006, 05:19 PM in Military Career Related

Just thought that I would let everyone know that I have just reciently reenlisted in the Marine Corps. My new contract will be up in December of 2011. That will take me to twelve years, so I guess that means that I will be pulling the full twenty.

Live from Kuwait!

Posted by GrYph0n, May 23 2006, 01:59 PM in Military Career Related

Well I have finally managed to get off of the ship for a more than a few days of liberty. I am currently sitting out here in the very hot Kuwaity desert. It is only getting hotter as the days near summer. It is in the triple didgets here by 9am, and continues to climb through out the morning and afternoon. I am pretty much used to it though, but is doesn't make it any more pleasent. Life isn't all that bad out here these days, I am currently on an Army camp that has all sorts of great facilities and resturants. When I was out here back in 1999 it was nothing but open desert for what seemed to be an endless distance. It is still pretty much like that, but there is a little more to things these days. I guess that is all I can really get into about it right now without violating anything. I haven't turned my phone on yet to see if I get signal, but I think I will give it is try one of these days. Hope everything is going well with everyone there back in the states (or where ever you are in the world).

Brief Update...

Posted by GrYph0n, Apr 30 2006, 05:01 PM in Military Career Related

Just thought I would let you all know that I am still out here somewhere. I haven't been in Bahrain for sometime now, but I am still somewhere in the world cool.gif . I really don't have much that I can say at this point other than I am just livin day by day, and waiting to get back home to the family. I will try to post some more pictures in the coming weeks. I am getting a lot of good stuff out here, I just need to screen them for security reasons, and need to make them much much smaller.

Now in Bahrain

Posted by GrYph0n, Apr 19 2006, 12:53 PM in Military Career Related

Well I am currently sitting in an internet cafe in the Kindom of Bahrain. Not really much to talk about since I am not leaving the base here during my visit. This is my 5th time here so it isn't really anything new. I did activate Cingular International, and within minutes of clicking submit, my phone started roaming on Mobile One. Guess they use the 1800 band as well. Funny with all the talks of needing a quadband phone (which I still prefer), I have been able to use my phone everywhere we have stopped. Not that I am going to use international for much more than SMS though (which for Bahrain it is $0.50 sent, and free incoming sms). For phone calls I will still rely on DSN and make a local or $0.03 per minute call versus $1.69 per minute. Still nice to have the ability though, so I will be able to use it if I really feel the need. Well that is about it for now. Until next time...

What have I been up to? Here are some pics...

Posted by GrYph0n, Apr 16 2006, 12:04 AM in Military Career Related

Well as you may have guessed from the update below, I managed to get that new camera I was after in Singapore. Nikon 6mpxl camera for a pretty good price that was well within my budget. I love it when you can talk them down (dropped the price by $100SD which is about $63USD).

I know it has been a while since I last updated, but I have been really busy. There has been a lot going on lately, and here are a few pictures of what has happened. Not going to go into details on some of them for various reasons, but I don't think the pictures will hurt anything.

First off, some of you may wonder how we get from ship to shore. Well there are several ways...

You can take a Helo, or even a boat. It doesn't stop there though. We have these things called Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV) that look like this.
Now these things are pretty amazing in the fact that they are completly amphibious. Yes, that means they go in the water. They litterally drive them off of the back of the ship, and then onto a beach. Scary if you think about being in the back of a giant metal box and driving it into the ocean, but in my normal job, that is what I ride around in.
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See told you it was pretty amazing.

Now that is a little part of my normal job. Now lets talk about what I am doing now. I am in charge of Combat Cargo, which used to be known as Ships Company or Ships Platoon. Personally I think the term Combat Cargo is pretty self explanatory, but if you must know, I deal with all the Marines side of the cargo, vehicles, and equipment aboard the ship. I am largely involved with offloading and on loading as far as the Marine aspect is concerned. Here are just a few more pictures of some of the things along those lines.
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Okay that isn't showing near what I have recently done, but for security reasons, that is all I am going to show you.

Now you may be asking yourself, how do we get all that big stuff ashore when we are at sea. It's simple, we use giant hovercrafts.
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Yes, those to just pull in and out of the ship, but are much much larger than an AAV, matter of fact these things can carry AAVs.

One may also wonder how the ships refuel and resupply without pulling into ports all the time. Well I just so happen to have pictures that show that as well.
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That about covers that.

I will leave this with a picture of me at sunset, and then one of me sitting here at the computer.

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Well that's it for now, until next time...

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Welcome to Singapore...

Posted by GrYph0n, Mar 29 2006, 04:47 AM in Military Career Related

Well I arrived in beautiful Singapore yesterday. I have been here before, spent New Years 2001 here, and I can say that this city is very impressive. It is the cleanest city in the world, and prob one of the most strict as well.
The first thing I did once I was off the boat was change my money from Australian to Sing Dollar, then I stopped by a local cell phone shop. This place had it all, and it was just a little hole in the wall shop that sold and repaired phones. I think they had almost every WM device that is out on GSM, though I thought it was weird when the guy told me he had never seen a phone like mine. Anywho, I picked up a local Starhub SIM card (that is the carrier my phone was roaming on), and it fired right up. Now I am able to call back to the U.S. much cheaper with the local SIM and a local phone card. Total out of pocket expence is less than $30(SD). Today I plan on going gadget shopping, I am looking for a camera, and also to see what kind of phones they have on the market out here.

Well time to get to it, I hope all is well with everyone back in the USA, and everywhere else for that matter.
If anyone happens to be in Singapore between now and 31 March, feel free to give me a call at (65) 9164 5049

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Another Sleepless Night...

Posted by GrYph0n, Mar 26 2006, 06:59 PM in Military Career Related

Found a little time to actually get on a computer for more than a few minutes. Granted it is almost 3am in this time zone (16 hours ahead of PST), so there aren't that many people up and about. We are nearing our next port of call, and I am looking forward to it. I have been to this place before about 4 or 5 years ago and really enjoyed it. Some say it is the cleanest city in the world (sorry but that is as specific I can get right now), and I belive it. I am hoping to find some interesting and inexpensive electronics here as well. I regret in many ways that I didn't upgrade to a new phone before leaving, yes I still have and use my old trusty 5600 (longest I have maintained and used any single gadget), my regrets are only because of the lack of the 900 band. Well luckily I was able to find a carrier for the next port that actually uses the 1800 band (Thanks to GSMWorld.com), so I plan on purchasing a pre-paid SIM card, and a phone card so I will be able to use my phone verses standing in lines to use public pay phones out in the heat of the day. I am really looking forward to getting off the boat for some R&R considering that I haven't left the ship since we pulled out of Hawaii (seems like forever ago). I can already tell that my patience is starting to ware really thin with some of the people around here. I am easily annoyed by little things that never really bothered me much in the beginning, but that is expected to happen in such close quarters for extended periods of time. Heh, now one of my concerns is hoping that if I break down and buy a PSP game or two, that it will actually work in my PSP. I am sure that they are regionally coded, but I don't know if that will apply to the games. I don't plan on buying any UMD movies, but I would like to pick up a few games since I have beaten the ones that I have. If anyone knows any more on that front please let me know. I don't have the patience to research it with this sub-dialup speed connection. Well I guess that pretty much covers it for now, I will try to post more once I am in port if I can manage to get a connection that doesn't cost me an arm and a leg. Hope all is well in all your worlds.

Things Change

Posted by GrYph0n, Mar 19 2006, 12:24 PM in Military Career Related

Well if there is one thing a person at sea can count on is that plans and things change. Usually they change at the last possible minute. Most of the time it isn't a big deal because I can roll with the punches and think on the move, but some changes really throw a wrench in the works and bring everyone down. This change in particular involves the port I mentioned before for R&R. We were scheduled to pull into Townsville, Australia yesterday, but we were diverted within 20 hours of pulling in. Now it is going to be much longer until we hit a port and I am about out of smokes. I had pleanty to get me through what was to be the next port. It isn't even a big deal on that though, we pulled into a port prior (Cairns) where I wasn't able to get off the ship at all, but I did manage to change quiet a bit of money to Australian dollars in preparation for Townsville because I didn't want to have to wait in even longer lines to do it there. Heh, now I have limited cash to use at the ship store and for sodas, so it is going to be an interesting period of time between now and the next port of call. Yeah, it may seem like I am complaining, but honestly I am, it was within reach and then we pulled away because of cyclone Larry (the reason we left). Anyone that has been to Australia knows exactly why I am a little more than upset we didn't get to go. I have been to Australia once before and it was the most amazing place that I have visited yet, but Thialand is a close second. I can't really get into where I am going, but it is known for cheaper electronics and such so I may stumble upon some pretty cool gadgets. I will make sure I have my phone with me to take some pictures if I see anything before I have the chance to get a camera. I will try to post more once we get there, esp. if I have anything interesting to report. Hope everyone is doing well back in the states, I am doing what I can to maintain sanity out here...

I really need a camera...

Posted by GrYph0n, Mar 13 2006, 09:53 AM in Military Career Related

Yup, I think I am going to break down and finally get another camera. I left my only one back home with the wife, and it isn't all that great to begin with.

I just really need to digitally capture all the things that there is to see out here. Everything from helo operations, refueling (belive it or not, it is pretty cool), and other misc things. Plus the amazing scenes, like the water where I am at is so amazingly clear (well a blue greenish color) you can almost see to the bottom. I have been here before and done a little snorkling off of the reef (think hard about that one), and it was amazing. I should be stopping in a port for some R&R in the coming future (where I plan to buy a camera). Once I get a camera, I will try to share some of my pictures depending on time and computer availablilty since the internet is sub dialup speeds normally. I guess I should be greatful considering that there was a day that snail mail was your best bet.

Well guess that is about it for now, I am going to try to catch up on some site reading...

Still Here... (Somewhere!?!?!)

Posted by GrYph0n, Mar 9 2006, 12:28 PM in Military Career Related

Well I had some time to kill this evening, and thought I would check in with everyone. Not really too much to say from my end other than the ocean is a very big place wink.gif (No, this is not my first deployment by anymeans). I haven't seen land since we pulled out of Hawaii, and that can sometimes get depressing. One thing is for sure though, you will never see as beautiful of a night sky as you will at sea with absolutly no lights around (not even on the ship... Darken Ship). Belive it or not, I still use my phone (SMT5600) religiously, but not as a phone. It is my organizer and source of entertainment when I don't feel like lugging my PSP around. I have a few movies, games, music, etc stored on it so it helps me pass some time. Can't say where I am going, until I am there or already gone, it is that whole little Operational Security thing that I am sure you all understand. Heh, I just really wish I would have brought my camera, there are some amazing sites that most people won't ever have the chance to see themselves. Well guess that is it for now, still just chugging a long in the deep blue ocean waiting for my feet to be on land once again. Until then...

Oh yeah, Internet on ship is dreadfully slow (slower than dialup it seems), and it is difficult to find time on a computer. That is why I haven't been posting more, but I do try to check the headlines every few days or so...

Officially Deployed Overseas

Posted by GrYph0n, Feb 26 2006, 04:56 AM in Military Career Related

Well, it is totally official now. I am on deployment with the United States Marine Corps (Primary Career). I figured I would try to keep people posted on what I can, in-case anyone is interested. Yeah, not going to be too much gadget related stuff in here, unless I see some cool gadgets while in other countries.

For those that didn't know, I am deployed with the 11th MEU(SOC) which is Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable). I am aboard the USS Germantown, doing what I can to maintain sanity (a lot of PSP action with 8 on 8 SoCom matches). Don't let that mislead you though, I have a lot of work that I do on a daily basis, but that is something that I do in the evenings to help make things go faster and make it more enjoyable. Currently on ship I am the Combat Cargo Platoon Sergeant which in tels too much to really get into, and most isn't very interesting. If we were to go "in country" then I would return to my position in the infantry company that I am assigned to, the Combat Cargo thing is a temp duty while on deployment. It makes life interesting for me as I am an in between for the Marines and the Navy (Blue/Green Team) on the ship, I have connections and try to get things done for the Marines through the naval crew. Interestingly I answer to both sides while doing this job, I have a Navy boss and a Marine boss, as well as being the boss of the Combat Cargo crew, some days can be very interesting when being pulled in different directions at once depending on what is going on. Guess that is about it on that front.

I am currently in Hawaii, Oahu to be more specific. I am staying in a hotel on Waikiki beach, just to get off ship and relax. It is really a shame that I didn't bring my digital camera, the view is amazing from my balcony at the Sheraton Moana Surfrider. I have only been deployed for ten days now, but honestly it has seemed like much much longer. This deployment is pretty uncertain considering everything that is going on in the world, so it is untelling what I may be up to in the coming months.

If anyone is interested in sending care packages to Marines, you can ship to the following address.

Care of Sgt Jones, Eric D.
1/4 B CO Combat Cargo
UNIT 40260
FPO AP 96610-0260

Guess that about covers it for now, stay tuned for more. I will add more when and if I get the chance. Thanks for reading.