I've been remiss at posting about the Sixth Annual Milblog Conference that just concluded in DC and Virginia. I hated that I wasn't able to go this year but I had a prior commitment that was then shoved to the side due to this crazy weather. So instead of being in DC and Virginia with some wonderful people I've been dealing with contractors, insurance adjusters and repair people. NOT COMPLAINING. Compared to so many across the south I'm VERY FORTUNATE that my damage is repairable and I'm alive.
Mark Wills at the United States Navy Memorial in Washington, DC. Mr. Wills debuted his new song Crazy Being Home. Jonn Lilyea of This Ain't Hell has video of Mr. Wills debuting the song here. Jonn admits the video could be a bit improved but the cameraman was distracted by USO Girl #1 Jamie. Keep your eye on the V A You Served website in the coming days. I imagine they will have several videos posted from many, if not all, of the events.
I've seen a few photos and heard some stories about Friday night. All in all sounds like it was a superb time and a huge success. Many thanks to JP, Andi and all of the others who, once again, went above and beyond to make this year's conference even better than ones in the past. Not an easy challenge since every conference has been stellar.
Around 10:30 PM my phone rang. It was Matt Burden calling to tell me that From Cow Pastures To Kosovo had been voted as Best U S Military Supporter Blog. I was genuinely humbled and equally as excited. As all of you know who read this blog it's not "mine". It is a blog that brings together hundreds of great Americans to support and honor our active duty and deployed military personnel, our Veterans, our Wounded and their families. This win was a win for all of you. We were nominated with some might fine and awesome blogs folks. I am grateful to everyone who voted and for all of the incredible support.
Other nominees in the Best U S Military Supporter Blog were:
Boston Maggie - A dear friend who is facing quite a challenge in her life right now & inspires me every day.
USO Girls - Mu buds Jamie (according to Donald Rumsfeld the #1 USO girl) & Caro (USO Girl #2 as endorsed by Donald Rumnsfeld)
Assoluta Tranquillita - A Canadian, and great friend, who supports our allied forces every single day
Little Drops - My friend Lynnis who, well as the title of the category states, is a huge troop supporter
Family Matters Blog
Words for Warriors
Tails From The Front Line
If you don't currently follow these blogs I encourage you to do so. They, and so many other Military Supporter Blogs have so much to offer.
The winners in the other milblog categories were:
Best U.S. Army Blog – Chief Wiggles
Best U.S. Military Spouse Blog – Katie and Ben
Best U.S. Military Parent Blog – My Yellow Ribbon
Best U.S. Marine Corps Blog – One Marine's View - Major Pain
Best U.S. Navy Blog – USNI Blog
Best U.S. Coast Guard Blog – Coast Guard Compass
Best U.S. Air Force Blog – I'm Big In Japan
Best U.S. Military Veteran Blog – Neptunus Lex
Best U.S. Reporter Blog – The Unknown Soldiers
All of those blogs as well as all of the others ones nominated in each category deserve a "look see" by everyone. As a matter of fact all of the blogs registered at Milblogging dot com deserve support. But there are thousands so I'm not sure we could read through them all. Check out Milblogging dot com, though. Register and peruse the various blogs in each category. You're sure to find a few that you will want to follow each day.
Troy and Marcus of V A You Served provided live streaming of the events on the conference on Saturday. Those of us who weren't able to attend are grateful to them for making it possible for us to view and listen in to all of the speakers and panels. They also provided a chat room that allowed views to pose questions to the speakers and panelists.
Saturday morning began with Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld who took questions for about an hour before signing his book Known and Unknown - A Memoir. Thanks to V A You Served I was able to watch and listen in on the live stream. I was a bit surprised at the incredible sense of humor Secretary Rumsfeld has.
After Secretary Rumsfeld there was a panel Social Media and the Military - "Social Media specialists from branches of the Armed Forces examine how the rise of social media has changed the way they disseminate information and communicate with their audience." Moderator was Lindy Kyzer and panelists included Captain David Werner, LTC Andrew Morton, Gregory Reeder and Robert M. "Bob" Bohanek.
Next up was the DoD Bloggers Roundtable with LTG William B Caldwell IV the Commander, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan and Commander, Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan who was live via satellite from Afghanistan. LTG Caldwell talked about about the future of NTM-A, the Afghan National Security Force (ANSF), transition from International Security Forces to the ANSF, and other topics of interest. NTM-A’s role as the trainer of the ANSF is foundation of transition because transition can only occur with a professional Afghan National Army and Police force.
After lunch was an incredibly moving and informative panel of Gold Star family members. The panel was moderated by Bonnie Carroll the President and Founder of T A P S (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors). The panelists included Joanne M Steen a military widow and the founder of Grief Solutions, LLC, Shelly Hall Gold Star widow of fallen hero CW2 Kelly Hall, Tricia Hall Gold Star daughter of fallen hero CW2 Kelly Hall and Robert Stokely Gold Star father of fallen hero Mike Stokely.
The Gold Star panel was followed by an address by House Armed Services Committee members The Honorable Rob Wittman and The Honorable Adam Smith.
The milblog conference concluded with War and Film: A distinguished panel of film directors and producers discuss the process of bringing the stories of combat veterans to life on the big screen. Moderated by: Brandon L. Millett Panelists: Gary Mortensen, Lorrel Manning, Rodney Ray.
What an incredible conference. I hate that I missed it but, again, am thankful to VA You Served for allowing those of us not able to be there to view via their live stream.
MANY, MANY thanks to JP, Andi and all of the others who worked so hard to make this such an informative and successful conference.