Monday, September 11, 2006

Pogues, REMFs, and 9/11

I told a friend that it looked like I was going to be a pogue, but I'd try not to be a REMF. She had no idea what I was talking about, so I thought I'd explain here.

A pogue (or pogie, or pogey) is someone who works in the rear area, out of harm's way. "Pogie bait" is a common military term for candy, snacks, etc., and is the most common reference to this word that you hear on a regular basis.

It seems that nobody knows for sure where the term came from, but I have read speculation that it's from the Tagalog term for "prostitute", hence "pogie bait". I have also read that it's from "Persons Other than Grunts". Who knows where it really came from, but people in the Army know what you mean when you say it.

REMF = "Rear Echelon M..F...", someone who is basically a bureaucrat with a safe job who doesn't care about the troops up front and just makes life harder for them.

I don't want to be either a pogue or a REMF, but I may not have a choice about the first.


Wow - it wasn't until I took a look at the date on this post that I noticed it's 9/11. Five years later. I suppose I should say something meaningful, but I don't feel especially voluble right now.

I remember exactly where I was that day - I was sitting in the County Gun Board meeting waiting for my hearing to get my permit to carry a concealed weapon. We had worked for years to get the law in Michigan changed from "may issue" to "shall issue", and I was finally going to get my permit under the new law.

Someone came into the room and whispered in the deputy sheriff's ear during the hearings, and a moment later he made an announcement that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. Like everyone else, we thought it was an accident. My turn came, and I had my hearing. While I was sitting there in front of the board, someone came in and whispered to the deputy again, and they made the announcement that a second plane had impacted, and also that the Pentagon had been hit. That was when there began to be a buzz of concern in the air. The police and sheriff's departments were being put on some sort of alert. They finished my hearing, and I left as the meeting was dissolving in some confusion.

It felt very strange driving back to work. Sitting in my office in a high-rise building, I kept looking out the window and thinking of what was going on in New York. We didn't have a radio or anything, and I felt very cut off, and, frankly, vulnerable. I remember wondering what was going on with my kids, and whether they knew, and what they were being told. Since I couldn't really concentrate on work, I decided to go home.

On my way home, I passed under a bridge on the interstate, and there was a person standing in the middle of the bridge waving an American flag at passing traffic. I understood perfectly - I also felt the urge to *do something*, anything to assert some control and create some sense that we weren't just passive victims.

The next day I went down to the National Guard armory to volunteer to return to my old unit, but it was too soon and they weren't prepared to take anyone (at least not anyone my age). Nobody really knew what was going to happen. Then with all the changes in my life, it took me until last year to really wake up and jump through the hoops to get back into the service.

We've come a long way since 9/11/01, but there's a long way to go. I would like to hope that a substantial part of our population has begun to realize that we are at war with radical Islam. More correctly, *they* are at war with *us*, and if we do not take active measures for our defense they will just keep attacking us. They want to wipe out our civilization, and if we don't wake up they will succeed. They have already succeeded in curtailing some of our freedoms - it was a long, thirsty flight to Korea last month. Talk about the tail wagging the dog...

I suppose that's enough for now. I'm learning more and more about Islam and its teachings, as well as the history of conflict between Islam and the West (formerly known as "Christendom"). It's disturbing in many ways. I'll have more to say about that subject later.

I'm not superstitious and I don't believe in fate or anything like that, but it does seem especially appropriate that I am getting on a plane on 9/11 five years later, starting on my process of mobilization to go do my part in the war. I guess it's relative to your point of view - the job they assign me may make me a "pogue" in military parlance, but I'll still feel a whole lot more involved than I have felt for the past few years, watching from the sidelines.

I liked the feature in Livejournal where you could indicate your mood and what music you were listening to. This blogging tool doesn't have that feature, but I think I'll add it in on my own:

Mood: Serious
Music: Darryl Worley - Have You Forgotten

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