Friday, December 19, 2008

Feature writing

We had to do some MOS training the other week. The training was used to hone our skills as writers or broadcasters. The task for the writers was to pick a Soldier and do a feature on that Soldier. I picked my roommate, Sgt. Joshua Risner, who is my idol and the wind beneath my wings. Without further ado...

Tours provide inspiration for Soldier-musician
Story by Staff Sgt. Mark C. Burrell
After a long, hot day in the deserts of Northern Iraq, music drifts into the air. An upbeat guitar tempo is accompanied by a chorus of cheers, shouts and jubilation. A sea of about 2,500 servicemembers crowds the stage at the Mosul Airfield during a USO tour in July, 2003. This crowd isn’t cheering for a famous band, it’s cheering for one of its own. It’s cheering for Sgt. Joshua M. Risner who jumped at the chance to showcase his talents.
“The USO tour band had a set break and I jumped right on up there,” said Risner, a public affairs NCO, now attached to the 211th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, from Bryan, Texas. “I felt a connection to everybody out there in the crowd.”
Although Risner prefers small venues because they’re more personal, he plays anywhere and to anybody who will listen. After playing guitar or almost 14 and a half years, entertaining comes naturally to him.
Throughout Risner’s musical career he has gleaned inspiration from many sources. He is from Tennessee, near Nashville, the home of some of the country’s biggest musical influences. In his younger years, Risner was influenced by popular culture through TV.
“I watched MTV and wanted to be Slash from Guns N’ Roses,” he said in a thick Tennessee drawl. “He was the essence of cool.”
One of Risner’s largest sources of inspiration is the Photos by 1st Sgt. Anthony J. Martinez army. “The army is a catalyst for me,” he explained. “The more uncomfortable I am; the more creativity is sparked.” In 2009, there should be plenty of opportunities for the musician as he prepares to deploy for the second time to Iraq in 2009.
His main goal while deployed is to successfully accomplish his mission and take care of his Soldiers. In his downtime, Risner said, “I plan on creating a studio and continuing to make music while deployed.”
Thriving on chaos and drawing from his life experiences makes Risner a unique Soldier-musician. Still, he is realistic and doesn’t have visions of grandeur. “I don’t care about being famous or rich, I just want to be able to quit my day job and make a living off of my music,” said Risner with a toothy grin. Being a professional musician in the military isn’t always easy, but doing something that you love is priceless.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

This is team one at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Although we are supposed to look like killers and have all this Hooah gear on, some forgot to take those cool little bright-red blank adapters off the end of our rifles. Kill.

In this unit, you have two choices:

"You either surf or you fight."
"Are you crazy God damnit? Don't you think its a little risky for some R&R?"
"If I say its safe to surf this beach Captain, then its safe to surf this beach. I mean I'm not afraid to surf this place, I'll surf this whole fucking place! Charlie don't surf!"

Monday, December 1, 2008

Texas Turkey Day

Being away from home is sometimes a difficult time for Soldiers. Luckily, this year we were able to spend it with the Delgado family. They were downright nice enough to invite six Soldiers from the 211th to spend a day with them watching football and grubbing on a ton of good food. Good 'ole southern hospitality. I love Texas.

Though I was in Texas, my dad was very worried that I wouldn't get any BBQ on Thanksgiving here. I want to put all worries to rest and let people know that I did in fact, get some BBQ brisket. Yum yum. I love Texas.

We also watched the Cowboys (both on TV and in the streets), so it was an excellent holiday. Later that evening, we headed out to Northgate on the Texas A&M campus to find the lonely single women crying into their beers. I love Texas.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The EZist place in Texas

I've learned to appreciate the little things. Clean towels, an aroma of bleach in the air, empty trash bins, and fresh sheets are among the best things in life. All these things I learn from Spc. Alperin. Staying at the EZ motel in Texas awaiting our trip to the sandbox has given me great respect for the little things. Although I sometimes overlook the little things, I am constantly reminded every day about the simplicity that comes with living in a motel.

"I can't wait to get home. Aren't you excited, sergeant?"

Sometimes I'm not, but I am overjoyed with the fact that some of us can help the others enjoy the little things. These little things make life EZ.