Bogota Judo


“Throw…throw..throw.” The sensei chanted it like a metronome. I ran the mat, with an uke on either side. Each time I reached uke, I threw him with the assigned throw, and then turned and jogged–well, trundled, really, to the throw-ee on the other side of the mat. The exercise was meant to shape and chisel throwing technique so that good technique could challenge exhaustion. And pain. And, apparently, hypoxia.... [Read More]


Ladies And Gentlemen: Once Again, It. Is. On.

Today was the opening ceremony for Fuerzas Comando 19. This year, the competition will be held in Chile. Special Operators from about 19 countries from the Caribbean, the US, and Central and South America will square off to see who will be the Fuerzas Comando champion.

It’s a week of suck. Don’t come if you don’t want to hurt. You can follow the competition on Facebook via the SOCSOUTH page.... [Read More]


The San Andrés Tango

Leo and Patricia sat at a table in the open air bar of the San Andrés Yacht Club, on San Andrés Island, Colombia. The Island was closer to Nicaragua and Panama than Colombia, on the Caribbean side. The island was destination party central for Colombians. A little slice of paradise for the affluent and the backpack bum and slum crowd alike.

Patricia sipped delicately from a large, icy glass holding a frozen concoction and festooned with umbrellas and little plastic swords spearing a variety of tropical fruits. Leo just drank a Club Colombia beer, though the edge of his glass was rimed with salt and there was a chunk of lemon in his beer. They languished like leisurely vacationers, watching the boats come in and out of the yacht club. The scenery was absolutely stunning. No green water off the beach; the water was a pure brilliant blue.... [Read More]


The Squad Leader

Staff Sergeant Canell, squad leader, finished with inspecting the personnel and moved on to the vehicles. The Staff Sergeant was exacting, two previous tours in Iraq had taught the young leader that there are no second chances, and that if a troop didn’t make his own good luck, ain’t no way luck was going to be a lady.

Pre-Combat Inspections (PCIs) were, in the young staff sergeant’s mind, the most important part of being a leader. Meticulously inspecting everything that would contribute to individuals and the unit’s ability to shoot, move, communicate and survive had to be inspected, assessed and cleared. Troops that had their individual and crew weapons and equipment good to go and ready to rock would perform well. Troops that didn’t would get themselves–or worse, their brothers and sisters in arms–wounded, maimed or killed. In Canell’s mind, there was no excuse for letting subordinates roll out the wire without every bet hedged in their favor. As always, the squad leader’s own vehicle was inspected first, with the two squad team leaders observing.... [Read More]