"Hopefully this Buck won't stopone of the best damn MilBloggers to ever knock sand from his boots." -- The Mudville Gazette

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THE BUCK STOPS HERE


photo of Buck Sargent by Buck Sargent
Mosul, Iraq - September 2005

Once we have a war there is only one thing to do. It must be won. For defeat brings worse things than any that can ever happen in war.
-Ernest Hemingway


Due to technical difficulties at my current undisclosed location in Baghdad, I will for the time being be unable to continue to post either regularly or at length. I am no longer able to upload my own material to the available public computers, thus I am limited to updates or commentary of a necessarily brief duration.

Obviously, recent events have also rendered moot the planned September release date of Give War a Chance, which is fortunate for me considering I have not yet begun the work of editing even a single minute of the nearly 100 GB of raw footage I have acculmulated over the past year. But ultimately, a finished project will emerge. Our story simply isn't finished unfolding yet.

Our Stryker Brigade is currently in the preparation stage for the upcoming operations planned throughout the capital city. It remains to be seen exactly what form they will take, but it's likely they will be decisive one way or the other in the months to come. I will continue to write and document the journey regardless of my ability to post, even if only in the interests of historical accuracy. I would like to think that our unit's additional time spent in Iraq was worth the cost when all is said and done. With time, we'll both know the answer to that question. I only hope that it is a satisfactory one.

I'll bid thee farewell (though not yet to arms) with more from Hemingway:

If a writer goes to war for a year, he will have enough to write about for the rest of his lifetime.

How much do you figure I can milk out of a year and a half?


I'd like to thank everyone who has contributed to the support of this blog over the past twelve months and counting, the men who lived the words and deeds I've described within it, and especially all those who continue to wait patiently for their soldiers to return home to them.

We'll try not to miss Christmas. Again.

Happy Hunting Buck

Stay safe Brother and make those Mahdi bastards pay.

Stay safe Buck Sargent, and since I read about it on t.f.'s blog happy birthday. Will look forward to future posts at some point in the future...

Thanks, but the rumors of my birthday have been greatly exaggerated. Mainly by me. (See T.F.'s site for explanation).

Again, to reiterate: It's not my birthday. Yet.

Heck why not milk the birthday thing for the duration. I am confident you will all be home for Christmas. There must be some law out there that prevents soldiers from missing two in a row.

Take care and stay safe.

15 of Dec. - they better stick to it!
Strykers are the best.
Stay safe.

Good luck, good hunting, stay safe, keep your head in the game, your game face on, and your eye on the ball.

Really, I'm not kidding. I'm also glad that my early misgivings about the Stryker seem to have been overdone. Just don't drive to close to the edges of any canals, y'hear?

*hugs* So sorry y'all got stuck over there. Will most certainly stay tuned to your blog in anticipation of the day you return, both to blogging, and especially back here to the real world...

You are ALL in our thoughts and prayers, more than you could possibly imagine. We are incredibly proud of you.

Luv & Prayers,
Momma Kat

Hey, Buck! Since you're still in the hunt, be sure to STAY in the hunt. Hope y'all get to *clean house* while you're there. Take good care & holler at us when you can.

BTB, I've linked to you here: http://consul-at-arms.blogspot.com/2006/08/re-buck-stops-here.html

We will be waiting in anticipation for many things: your next blog, "Give War A Chance", your safe return, the inevitable publication of your blog entries and journals. Stay safe and well. Thank you again.

I am so sorry that you guys were diverted and are still in the zone. But I believe you are the best people for the job and I pray daily for your safety and success. You have a lot of support from people like my family that pray for all our troops daily and do what we can to support you in all ways. Stay safe and be assured that you are loved and honored.

Thanks Buck and Company. Be watching for more from you. Kiss your Stryker for us. Have confidence you will kick there rears and be home by Christmas. It is our prayer.

Saw you statement from Hemmingway and then your question:"If a writer goes to war for a year, he will have enough to write about for the rest of his lifetime."
"How much do you figure I can milk out of a year and a half?"

My answer is a much longer life time to start with!!

God bless and keep you, and all those now converging on Baghdad. Take care and let us know what you can when you can. Praying for you all.

God bless and keep you all. Good luck and good hunting!

Fhat post sounded like a good bye. Well, I won't accept that! When you can, you know we are here for you. So keep you six down, your eyes open, and be safe all of you. I will check the unit site for updates. You are all in my prayers. God blesss you all and your families. Know this, we love you all and support you 150%, lol!

Good luck, good hunting, stay safe. God Bless.
Peace
G

Godspeed, Buck, stay safe!

Keep your head on swivel!
Do what you have to do and come home safe and sound ~ we'll be praying on you all.

Buck, I am going to drink a Guiness in your name tonight. Gotta love not being in Iraq right?

Buck, take them big bad guns and kill those Mahdis ... err, those Sunnis ... no wait, I mean the insurgency ... or was it Al Qaeda in Iraq sporting those weapons of mass destruction? Well then again, maybe it was the Mahdis ... this week.

Ahh, hell. Just kill 'em all. They do have oil, after all.

Strykers = Streetsweepers Today, Redeployed Yearly, Killers Enforcing Republican (*clearing throat) "Strategy"

Anon,

Sorry that this war hasn't unfolded like an easily understandable X-Men comic. We'll try to find and kill the Joker on our next patrol so you can figure out who the bad guys are.

Anon,

Your acronym blows.

Buck,

All I can say is good luck out there. I'll miss the updates!

Good luck and God Bless.

Buck,
I'm sorry you are going to miss all of the salmon runs. I pray you and your men stay safe. Just remember, when you do get home, Anchorage will have its lights on for you.

Thinking of you guys daily, knowing if anyone can open up a can of whoop-ass, it's y'all.

God speed, my friend, and thanks.

Dear Buck Sargent
My thoughts and prayers remain with each of you and your families. take care,stay safe and God Bless
Sincerely
Cathy
Soldiers Angel

Buck, you guys made Fox News today re the redeployment. Said an extra prayer for you all, be well and be safe...and get some.

Hi Buck Sargent...just wanted to say thoughts and prayers are with all you guys. My son is with the 172nd, and by the middle of this month he too will have had two Birthday's over there. Ya'll be careful and take care. Come home soon. GOD BLESS OUR SOLIDERS...
A VERY PROUD MILITARY WIFE AND MOM

Steve Harrigan on Fox News did a nice story on you men today. It was great to see some of the men and see what they were doing. Hope they do more on you all.

Thinking about you man. What can I say?

If anyone can sort this shit out it is you.

Best of luck and Godspeed.

Plan on seeing us in the news quite a bit in the next few months. The density of the press pool here is nuts. I've seen more reporters in a few weeks in Baghdad than I saw all year in Mosul and Tal Afar.

Just today in fact I chatted up a Newsweek photographer as we strolled along on foot patrol through a Baghdad neighborhood. Newsweek better give us the cover. And I don't mean that wimpy little box-shot they stick you with in the upper corner either.

I've going to try to find a feasible to start posting regularly again. I've got way too much to say about what's going on here not to. I can say this much: the real truth about Baghdad is definitely NOT getting out there. Even I was surprised by what we've found so far. Surprised, but not exactly shocked. If you've followed my message from the beginning, you can probably guess what it is I mean.

In any event, stay tuned. Same Buck time, same Buck channel...

I was so thrilled over the Fox Coverage - I will certainly keep my eye out of for a cover on Newsweek or at the very least a great article with lots of pics! Will stay tuned, same Buck time, same Buck Channel...

God bless you Buck and keep you safe (and all those in the Stryker Combat Brigade) Thank-you so much for all you are doing for us. You guys really are the best.

Janet G.
Soldiers Angel

Of course you are going to be on all the media you all are the Best and that is why you are there. Those of us at home promise to stay strong and Postive and here for you all. I am also a mom of one of you and could not be prouder of what you all are doing. Just come home safe and we will be waiting with arms open wide! I am so glad to have found your site and will be waiting to hear more from you as you are able to.
Stay safe and Strong and do your job and come home!
Debbie
Proud Army Mom of one of the BEST

Thanks for your updates. We all look forward to hearing from you and all of our guys. We are praying for your safe and speedy return.

For Debbie the Proud Army Mom: Your message touched me deeply -"Those of us at home promise to stay strong and Postive and here for you all." There can be no better knowledge, in my humble estimation, for the heroes in the Stryker brigade, in harms way, than to know that you at home are OK and making the best of this difficult and heart wrenching change of plans. God bless you Debbie and all the rest of the families supporting the very best of our fighting men!

Buck,
I gotta tell ya, man, I'm having some serious abandonment issues with you and your better half. First, she tells me that she's taking off for tinseltown and now you say that you're slowing the blogging waaaaay down. What am I going to do?

I guess I'll just wish the both of you the best of luck and finally break down and submit to the syren song of the dreaded myspace account.

I know I've said it about a bazillion times but I truly appreciate all that you and your brothers and sisters in arms do for those of us that remain stateside. Godspeed, Buck. I pray for you daily (Rosary's even sometimes because I'm Catholic :->).

Your Friend,
Em Green

More major national news coverage on you guys tonight 8/17, this time focusing a bit on how the families back in Alaska are facing the changes. (link below). I think it's good that they showed supportive spouses from many perspectives -- including those that aren't in with the 'Stepford Wives' line about being sad, but so proud he was chosen because the 172nd is the best, etc.

Then tonight also a story from the American Forces Press Service (Donna Miles) hit the AP wire. This article has got to been seen to be believed. It makes the point that " The most important thing military leaders can offer their people is an up-front assessment of what they're facing, as exemplified by the way the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team's leaders informed the troops about their extension in Iraq..."

Exemplified? I have read way to many voices from soldiers themselves who found out about their own extension on the internet, and not from the chain of command. You've got ABC video showing 172nd troops asking Gen. Chairelli, "Why did you take so long to tell us?"

The story goes on to quote Army Sgt. Major Gainey saying, "It's about getting the information out as quickly as we get it," he said. "Bad news does not get better with time."

The most ironic part of the article is the title. Title: "Styker Brigade Extension Offers Lessons to All Commanders".
Really? Is that lesson that if you have to extend a major combat unit, make sure that they have already sent everything home, have turned in the trucks and armored vehicles, already sent home a tenth of the brigade, with hundreds more waiting on planes to fly home also. Then extend them."

Is that the lesson for all commanders? ...

I forgot the link mentioned above ... here it is (click for video clip 3 minutes long)

http://tinyurl.com/fb4od

Em,

I see you've wasted no time in finding a new fave milblogger (boredsoldier.blogspot.com).
Don't worry, I'm not jealous. Tim's a great guy, and is extremely talented, even if he IS Army Reserve.

The most recent Anon (can't you Anonymice at least just make up a fake name to make this easier?),

I must say that you are SPOT ON in your analysis of the circumstances surrounding our extension. Somebody definitely screwed the pooch on this one. If they had just given us even a hint of what may happen, or even A WEEK or two of notice, a lot of the problems could have been avoided.

I'm working on a new post, BTW. It'll be up as soon as I finish it and can figure out a way to upload it so I don't have to type it all out by hand. Might be a few weeks before it sees the light of day.

Buck,
I was the most recent anon above your post (immediately prior to this post). I'm the creator and administrator of BringHome172nd.ORG . I have certainly learned a lot from your blogs, and I think it's important that there be a dialogue out in public about the situation of our armed forces. This is the reason the site is open for anyone to post their views. Also, there is an outstanding debate ongoing ('outstanding' in the terms of the flow of open debate) in the forums at military.com about the 172nd. No matter what emotion one might feel, it is very evident that the situation of the 172nd Stryker Brigade stirred up these emotions on a nationwide scale.
Thanks,
Travis
admin@bringhome172nd.org

Buck,
Though I may have had to look elsewhere for my milblog fix, rest assured that you will ALWAYS be my 'fave'. If it weren't for you and your lovely wife I would never have been exposed to the vast and enlightening world of milblogs.

I think what you do is very important and no matter where I look, I can find no one who does it better than you Buck. (though I love Boggs. Very smart and cute too;->)

Looking forward to your next post.

Em Green

Buck, I know you guys are angry. You have a right to be angry. They did, as you say, "screw the pooch!" But, right now is not the time for this debate or disccussion. For the sake of morale and enemy propaganda value, wouldn't it be better at this point to focus on the mission and safe return of you all?

I can certainly appreciate the value and need for "barracks talk." I sure did enough of it when I was in the Corps. It's part of the nature of the beast so to speak.

I don't mean this as a criticism. It's just that of all you guysa have accomplished over there, by the time the press and the left side of the house finishes with it, this issue will be your defining moment. It shouldn't be the case.

I looked up everything I could on Stryker Brigades. You guys toan extent are an anomoly. A new concept in warfare technology. One thing I noticed or at least I think I have it right, is the Stryker Brigades ability to be a self contained, complete, and autonomous fighting force. You're like the Army nersion of the Navy seals on dry land. Everytrhing about your brigades is meant to streamlkie and provide a force capable of moving at a moments notice to a troublespot. Your training and equipment and everything about your brigade and all Stryker Brigades are elite in every respect.

It was wrong not to have told you guys sooner; but, your particular brigade has the unique added plus of having been combat tested and well honed. Your brigade was really the only logical choice. No other unit at this time is as capable and well honed as yours. When you guys get your job done al Sadr will wish he had chosen another time to be the "big guy" he's trying to make hinself. It is even possible that the reason you were given this assignment at the last minute was because of the uniquebess of your brigade and to prevent the enemy from havig for knowledge and prepare for your arrival. Once you guys got there, there was no way in h#^^ the enemy could get those outside forces in they will need to fight you guys.

I am pleased to say that Fox News has finally started doing what no other network will do, openly discuss the Iranian role in all of this.They have been actively involved in all aspects of the whole Al-Qaeda movement from the very beginning. An Iranian re[resentative has been at every major strategy conference. Iran has even, at times, asked Al-Qaeda to delay an event to a time of more significant impact. A really great read is, "Bin Laden, The only man to Declare War on America."

As a side interests. you'll be pleased to know that poor Cynthia McKinney "lost: her election. She just won't know what to do with herself with no Capitol Hill Police Officers to bully around! Her father said she kost it due to "4" letters, J-E-W=S! In actuality, that is true. She kept shooting her mouth off and the Jewish voters rallied behindher opponent. Next ought to be Pelosi and Woolsley (sp). That shouldn't be too far off. Fox has actually started calling ANSWER a radical group sponsoring the anti-war effort.

Anyway, you guys watch your six, keep your heads down, and come home safe. I'll continue to pray for you all and those wonderful families you all have back home. I just love reading all the wonderful things your families and it seems your whole community does and says to show their support for you guys. I wish more units had the support you guys have from home. I also wish Their families had as mich support as yours do from your people vback home.

I think the story of your redployment and the way your family and community jumped in to sup[port you guys has impacted much of the country. Maybe it even shamed some, as it should. The day you guys come home, the rumble will be felt all the way to the East Coast.

Fake care and God bless you and yours.

"But, right now is not the time for this debate or disccussion. For the sake of morale and enemy propaganda value, wouldn't it be better at this point to focus on the mission and safe return of you all?"

I can appreciate your POV, Devildog, but fear not, we have no problem multitasking. That's part of our job: Hunting bad guys and hugging babies all at the same time.

As for myself, I've supported and defended the DoD all year against all manner of ridiculous charges, from body armor to troop levels to the conduct of the war itself. But if I don't call them on their BS now, what sort of credibility could I possibly have? I may as well be the fake pajama milblogger that the miltrolls accuse me of being.

I'm still going to do my best to complete the mission that we've been given. But I'm also going to continue to call it like I see it. I really don't think the opposition (whether enemy, or merely political) needs any help coming up with propaganda issues. They seem to make them up out of whole cloth with ease. It helps when nearly every newspaper in America will always see the glass as half-empty on Iraq no matter what transpires here.

ZERO Iraqis have been killed in our sectors since we've been patrolling them, yet the media will simply turn to: "Well, there's not enough electricity, water, employment, etc. etc. etc..."

We can win over here, but the American public will never be allowed to believe it. There's over three years of op-ed credibility at stake now.

FYI:

I'll try to get a new post up sometime this week.

-Buck

Travis
bringhome172nd.org,

Uh, yeah... I just scrolled through your site, and I may have jumped the gun endorsing your efforts. Spouses and moms bitching about their soldier's job is not what I had in mind. A lot of wives have the right attitude, but I've found that the ones that still claim to be "totally devasted and demoralized" over two weeks later have husbands who are basically worthless to us over here.

Be angry all you want. I know I still am. But then suck it the F up and support your husband and his efforts and the job he still has to do. He volunteered for this shit, and so did you by marrying him. If he didn't want to risk serving in a war, then he should have joined the Coast Guard.

Buck,

You'll find plenty of folks posting at the site who share the opinion you expressed above. The effort (at least from my end) of the site is to keep the dialogue open. To that end, no voice is censored there -- posters have the right to feel what they feel, and say what they want when they want.

When you wrote above that you felt my analysis of the brigade's situation was "spot on" -- I did not perceive this to be an endorsement of my efforts, or anyone else's. It was your opinion, and it happened to be my opinion also. We share an opinion on that *One Particular Point*. Who knows if you and I happen to completely diverge on every other point... it's impossible to know without dialogue.

One thing that's really very clear to me from the many posts and comments at bringhome172nd.org : There are many shades of the color grey with regard to this war, to this extension, to this situation, to our nation. Despite the media culture of 'discourse' from both sides of the house ...

it is not a "You are either with us or against us" world. This is the whole reason I created the site: to let people speak for themselves. If my personal efforts do nothing else, it is to make that available to everyone/anyone.

Thanks again for your blogs, Travis

I have just cheered, Buck, as I read your later comment to Travis of bringhome172nd.org. I too have read his collection of letters from desperate housewives and moms and wondered what the guys of these gals were doing while they report status: unglued and weeping unceasingly. I too have been a military wife and have no use for the useless. Your comments were perfect. A military wife, particularly, needs to have the same intestinal fortitude as her man or she risks his job effectiveness and possibly his life. Thank-you for readdressing Travis et al.

God bless and keep you as you "work"!

Bless you, Sgt Buck and the 172nd ~
Looking forward to when you get back to regular posting and we get to know how all this is really going.

Just want to say thank you to Debbie and Janet for keeping strong here at home. We do have to watch our soldiers' backs.

Deb ~ another proud Army mom

Yep, I've gone and done it finally. I've created a monster.

The lovely and talented Mrs. Sargent is now a blogger in her own right:

http://kellyjcameron.blogspot.com

Feel free to drop in and say hello.

-Sgt. Buck

Competition? I'll check her out & tell her you said "hey". Take good care (and some names!), Buck!

Checked it out and was impressed - will comment on her initial post as it is a topic close to my own heart but will need the time to set up a blogger acct - probably this week-end. Your wife is indeed lovely and talented!! Fitting - she has an incredibly hunky and brilliant hubby!! Meanwhile to you and all those in Big Bad Baghdad, God bless you and give you a double portion of protection!!

Buck, Fox news is starting to cover more of of the good news coming out of Baghdad. More than once this week alone I heard them discussing the difference in media reports versus troop reports.

A blogger in Afghanistan even said they had far more IED annd VBIED's on a dail;y basis there but because those in Iraq were centered around Baghdad, they seemed to be reported more.

Fox has been covering the huge weapons caches and high ranking terrorists you guys have captured.They seem to be trying hard to give you guys [finally] all the credit you are due.

I bet I know why? They can now leave the Baghdad Hotel and go for a Latte' [sp] now, hee! hee!

keep up the good work Buck, you and the rest of our guys. Tel, your Iraqi compatriots itis nice the seed the pride of nationalism n their faces as they work side by side with you guys.

Be safe. I will keep my prayers up for you all.

Semper Fi, Dude. You and yours deserve that distinction!!

Hey Buck,
I figured I'd stop by and see what was going on in your comments section eventhough I knew you hadn't posted yet. I guess I needed my Buck fix for the week.

As I expected I saw that you were dicussing me and why not? I mean I am me, what isn't there to discuss about me. I mean me being on FOX News and all right?

So I have two days left on leave and I am gearing up to go back to the sandbox. Well not really but I think I can squeeze a few more pints in and one of them will surely have your name on it. One day we'll be able to have beers together I suppose.

Well I'll look forward to your next post cause I have no idea what is going on in Iraq which if you ask me, and I am sure you wouldn't, is a beautiful thing. Take care playa.

The Fox turn around because of war correspondent named Harrigan and his great cameraman named Rudden who aren't sitting on their rears but are our every day getting the truth. They may not get face time but are getting it for the others to report. Give credit where credit is due. Thank them and let Fox news know it is appreciated. Which reporters are reporting makes a hell of a big difference. They too have battles to fight. If Fox viewers let Fox know who and what they want it DOES make a difference. Thanks Buck for what you men are doing in Baghdad. Dirty nasty work and not many in the world can or will do it. Let's call a spade a spade here and not just think things happen because of the big shots. It is the good reporters doing their job and our men on the ground doing the fighting and we need to realize that.

I have been going back and rereading and in some cases reading for the first time 'round posts from the past. I am doing so because your thinking is so precise and clear and I am missing your input in ways that being unable to read you regularly highlights in a truly significant way.

You and all the Strykers are much in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you. Trust all is well...

Hey, Buck! Just checkin' in on you. Hope all is well with you & your compadres.

Sorry I haven't delivered yet as promised on the latest from Baghdad, but obviously the job itself comes first.

Keep checking back. I promise to try and get it up soon.

-Buck

Absolutely no apology is needed in this situation Buck; I will admit to a real appreciation of this wee comment that says by virtue of its placement that you are doing well over the promised post for the time being and however long it takes. There will be a time for that and we will devour it when it comes!! You are so well thought of Buck, because the job DOES COME FIRST!! Please do not knock yourself out on the promised post in lieu of R&R in down times. If a post IS R&R for you, fine but relaxation is your best friend I would imagine when the on the go, work times are so incredibly demanding. Please do not mistake my week-end activities here for anything more that being concerned for you and coming to your work to ease it!! God bless you and take care of you and your good buddies!!

Still thinking about you guys every day. We will always be glad to read your stories whenever you get them out. Please just take as good a care of yourself as possible right now and don't worry about your readers. You guys are much more important to us that anything else.
A

Still thinking about you guys every day. We will always be glad to read your stories whenever you get them out. Please just take as good a care of yourself as possible right now and don't worry about your readers. You guys are much more important to us that anything else.
A

Glad to see my son wasn't the only one having some difficulty finding resources, but looks like both of you had some success with that in the last few days! Glad to read your newest entry....sounds like you have the same point of view of things...and I doubt you are in the same unit....so it must be verifiable! We're standing for you guys, so please know you have some support over here and we understand!

Good luck in the soon to come Siege of Sadr City, Buck. Just kill 'em all and let the virgins sort it out.

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"Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed." -- Abraham Lincoln