Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I am a temple

Photos by Desiree Guarino & MCSN Glenn Slaughter

Alright, so I'm on leave until my 'C' school starts in May.  I'm currently enjoying good friends and some of the best motorcycle riding in the country.  Where else, but South Florida! 

Desiree is a yoga instructor and program coordinator at Hippocrates Health Institute.  It's a place where people come from all over the world seeking to live healthier, more natural lives.  In my profession, physical  and mental health is huge.  Many times, we operate in highly stressful environments.  There's a lot to be said for keeping oneself in top form.

But can wheat grass help?

In the photo above, Desiree squeezes juice from rare wheat grass to make a detoxifying potion aimed at giving the body a natural helping hand.

I reluctantly drank my shot, and was pleasantly surprised by the sweet flavor.  And I must say, I feel pretty good!

McDonald's anyone?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Passing the torch: The new 'A' school blog

Now that I'm an old weathered 'C' schooler, it's time to hand the reins to the young bloods I call shipmates.  The new 'A' school blog went live today, right on time.  Please stop by www.dinfos-navymc.blogspot.com and check it out. There are many students stepping up to contribute and they're currently working out logistics not unlike a newspaper's.  (editor, photographers, writers)

The next phase of my Navy education starts May 10th.  I'll be enrolled in VPD, or Video Production and Documentation.  I stay at DINFOS until the end of August and get to run around with more cool video cameras!  Then it's NPASE San Diego.


This site was originally created to help those either thinking of or waiting to become MCs.  They've started to find us here.  And that's really cool.  I hope to keep putting out good info that the Sailors following can benefit from throughout their careers.

As for this blog, I will continue to document and comment on my journey.  I suspect I'll start to mix more personal flavor with the informative stuff.   Look for more FTX pics, random backlogged stories, surviving 'C' school, surviving NPASE, visiting other countries, first time on a Navy ship, first time in a helicopter, life as a petty officer, and lots more.

Thank you to everyone who stops by.  I will continue to work to get the word out about this and the new blog...again that's  www.dinfos-navymc.blogspot.com.  lol

'A' School Graduation Day


Photos by Lois R. Slaughter

Okay, so before I write about anything let me warn you.  All of these photos will have me in them.  Why?

Because of the lightning bolts.

Confused?  The MC rating badge consists of a satellite orbiting the planet with...four lightning bolts.  The lightning represents the immediacy of news.  Whats current right now is old tomorrow. 

My mother, the photographer, got me her graduation photos FAST.  So they're going up first...because I need to blog about graduation.  And what's a blog without photos?  So get ready to look at lots of pics of me and my family.  Don't worry, I'll add more...objective photos...as they're cleared by Public Affairs. 

Edit:  No need to add them, stop by the new 'A' school blog for great grad pics! 

  Rear Admiral Moynihan presents the McRill award. He told me my family's a hoot.

I was extremely honored and humbled to receive the MC1 Bobby McRill award.  It was presented by the U.S. Navy Chief of Information, Rear Adm. Dennis Moynihan. To have an award handed to me by the CHINFO was in itself an awesome experience.

MC1 McRill was killed in combat in 2007 outside of Sadr City, Iraq.   He was known as the Sailor's Sailor.   Chief Shavers, in an interview about the McRill award, told me he remembers his friend as caring deeply about his shipmates, and conducting his day-to-day business with a strong sense of integrity.

The more I learned about MC1 McRill, the less deserving I felt.  Now that things have calmed down a little, I'm seeing things in a different light.   To me, having my name attached to this award isn't about what I've done, but what I will do.  I have to go out and earn this.   And that's great motivation!

MC1 Bobby McRill


My dad, Glenn, and stepmother, Kathy, outside of the Navy detachment before graduation.

My aunt, Martha Hinkley...who may need a team of SEALs to help out with a rampaging pig problem.

My mama and Perreault, my old roommate.

My aunt, Ruth Newnam, or "mama #2".


It was great to have my family there to celebrate this milestone.  And they all said they really enjoyed such a personal ceremony.  (also, RDML Moynihan charmed every one of them.) Each Sailor was able to introduce their family, as well as show some of their 'A' school work on the big screen up front.

Stop by the new 'A' school blog for great graduation pics! SR Asato's working hard on it as I type.


I recently thanked my class for helping me get to where I am.  I didn't come to Fort Meade expecting to do the things I've done.  I wanted to get good grades and learn how to be a better Sailor.  I wasn't thinking about Section Leader or Student Leader.  But from the very beginning my classmates believed in me.  It started with "Slaughter you're our alarm clock ok?" to jokes about "MCPON Slaughter" to "this class would be headless without you". 

I've been helped by so many of them, it'd be tough to record them all.  Perreault helped me go out the door prepared on many occasions, Jones showed me many camera tricks and fixed mechanical issues I never would've been able to on my own.  Bell helped me to study for a test at the last minute.  Cheek and Arzola chanted "Team Slaughter" every time they saw me for the first few weeks.

AND I can't forget the support I got from the instructors, the MTIs, and the guys in the class ahead of me.  Thanks to LT Soltes, Chief Carter, Ensign Larson, MC1 Farr, CS2 Preston, Johnson, Votaw, Raegen, Stevens,  Pittman, Kogler, Brandt....it goes on and on.

Let me tell you, if you get enough positive reinforcement, you start to live it.  Many days I got out of bed with ZERO energy.  But every time I made it through by looking at myself the way my classmates did.

Powerful stuff.  Thanks guys.  Don't stop believing in your shipmates and in yourselves.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

FTX: "When you wake up screaming, and realize you haven't fallen asleep yet."

Two things right off the bat:

1.  I can't talk about FTX much.  A friend of mine in the class below me asked about it and I replied:

"Do you ever know what your nightmares will be about?"

2. A certain Chief is missing from these pics.  That's because he's a ninja and you don't see him until you feel the kill shot hit you.

If you haven't built up your stamina before now, heaven help you.  Class 010-10 after the run, in full gear, to the FTX site.

Bell and I prepare for WAR.

Someone's poker game is about to get a rude interruption...

Cheek is my Godpod!  Here we shoot a caterpillar nest covered in paint.  -Nature vs. War-

MC2 Vernon hands a terrorist a fist-full of STFU.

A grenade roll is executed to check for hidden explosives.

Student Warriors warm up by pretending to shoot at instructors.  I'm down on the end by Chief Miller.

Corporal Maggert checks a terrorist (Chief Miller) for weapons as "a badass" covers him.

The main objective of FTX is to force MCs to produce a product under strict time constraints and elevated stress levels.  Here, I give an interview, or standup, shortly after an intense firefight.

This is the one part of FTX that really bothered me.

This is where I died. 

I was busy shooting photos in another direction when this terrorist (MC1 Simoes) pulled a hidden weapon and aimed it at me.  I didn't notice until he'd fired off five rounds, ending my existence.

In the middle of all the post-exercise chatter, I couldn't stop thinking...

"My mom and dad just got a visit from the chaplain."

Monday, April 12, 2010

FTX - Countdown to the Unknown

The seniors are set to graduate on Thursday. We can see the light and smell the victory. But there is one beast we must slay first. It's name is... FTX. ----------------------- This is my last transmission for a while... I will write when I can... I am now in the hands of my shipmates.... I'll see you on the other side.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Weekend Tradition --- (also please sign the new Guestbook on the left)

Video by SN Matthew Perreault & SR Ashley Wright
Edited by SN Glenn Slaughter

very Friday at afternoon quarters, we do honor pushups. It's a tradition that was started long, long ago. Spirits are usually pretty high at this point, it being the weekend... :)


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Happiness = dogs and blue crabs?

This past weekend I went home to Salisbury, Md (just outside Ocean City) to pick up my motorcycle. While I was there I did what every single man, woman, and child born and raised on the Chesapeake Bay does this time of year.

I ate steamed blue crabs at an all-you-can-eat crab house.

If you're coming to the area don't miss out on this delicious and messy tradition. Forget lobster tail and king crab. Picking blue crab is as hard core as it gets. They come out completely whole and must be cracked open with skill and patience. The guts and organs must be cleared out. The meat should be dipped in butter or vinegar and then dipped in Old Bay seasoning.

Suddenly my peanut butter and jelly sandwich sucks.

My dad, Glenn, and stepmom, Kathy, at the Red Roost crab house. It used to be a chicken shack. Yeah, that's how we roll on the Eastern Shore.

My bike was stored on my family's property in Easton, Md. Since before I was born, generations have come together in the houses that line the dirt road in the background.

We have all sorts of dogs, usually labs, running around. Here Duke barks impatiently for me to throw the ball. Ali, on the right, is older and wiser. She knows I'll throw it eventually.

Being a good Sailor isn't easy. You have to be on your toes all the time. Keeping your personal and professional level top notch can be exhausting. A remedy for that is...dogs. Don't laugh, many of the students here will agree. One of the volunteer groups I put the Navy in touch with is HART, or Homeless Animals Rescue Team. Dogs love unconditionally, and playing with them is meditation for the soul.

We'll have a story on that and other volunteer events coming up on the new 'A' School blog.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Navy Easter

The kids, and the adults as well, have fun decorating their eggs and spending time with their loved ones.
Photos and Story by SN Rosa Arzola Every day is a good day to spend quality time with family, and today was no exception. Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Farr and Lieutenant Junior Grade Soltes organized an egg decorating event at the Navy Detachment for sailors to spend some quality time with their families and loved ones. Events like these are always fun morale boosters. Sailors are lucky to have a staff who, apart from being professional, are always coming up with events to keep us motivated. The young ones had a lot of fun decorating their Easter eggs, and so did the grown-ups!
MC1 Farr's son Kendall is busy and very focused on getting his water to turn blue and green. He really loved painting Easter eggs and anything in general.
LTJG Soltes trys to get her nephew Christian to decorate his Easter egg. He, on the other hand, wants to be chased around.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

We're not in Staples anymore.

Bilderback uses a light to check for proper document alignment.
The final classroom portion of our DINFOS training is Production. This means working in teams and printing. A lot of printing. We're in a new room surrounded by every type of printer, puncher, and stapler ever made.
I went to use this printer and it asked me why my boots weren't shinier. Not really, but I bet it could...if it wanted to.
Here Chief Miller shows us the belly of the beast. This bad boy uses electricity to place toner on the paper.
Cheek smiles after being told it's not a radioactive device she's holding, but a massive ink cylinder! This isn't the color cartridge you pick up at Staples. It must be handled with extra care.
Steinberg and Bryan make measurements on their recently printed job orders. This practice flyer is designed to educate Iraqis on proper procedures when interacting with the military.
After printing and measuring, we cut.
Melchor makes a last minute inspection on her memo pad design before cutting. Johndro cuts his printouts to fit the job orders requirement. He must yell "clear!" before lowering the blade. Anyone in the area must respond "clear!" before he continues.
Bell works on the Photography section of his class book.
Another project we've been working on continuously over the last week is our class book. Each student designs a 12-page booklet covering everything from classes and instructor photos, to personal information and future plans.
Each Sailor uses programs learned in previous classes. The project poses a challenge for those lacking the most important part....an eye for layout.
At the end of the day, Chief Miller demonstrates how to dispose of dirty, staining ink.
I think many of us sense the toughest part of training is over. We've been together for almost six months. And while we've been an outstanding group, I think many are ready to move on. The challenge now is to stay focused on class while working together in a professional manner.
I'm confident we're up to the job!