Episode 42-New Adventure, New Opportunity (Fall Fun and new destinations)

October 18, 2020

Happy Sunday afternoon VFOT fans and followers. This has been a relatively low-key and uneventful weekend. I took the opportunity to relax and recharge. I really needed the time for some overdue self-care. Here’s what had been going on prior to the weekend.


I finally picked another pro-reading title this week. I went back to one of my favorite leadership authors, John Maxwell and selected one of his older titles, Developing the Leader Within You (Maxwell, John, C. Developing the Leader Within You. 1993. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson). I’ve read many of Maxwell’s books, but for some reason, this one sat on my shelf unread. I don’t know why. It’s comparatively short and an easy read. I’m only a couple of chapters into it, but so far I’m enjoying it and getting a lot out of it.

Other Reading

If you’ve read earlier blog entries, you know that I’m a regular listener of The Jocko Podcast. One of the source works that Commander Willink frequently cites is About Face, by Colonel David H. Hackworth (Hackworth, David, H. and Sherman, Julie. About Face-The Odyssey of an American Warrior. 1989. New York: Touchstone.) He recently shared that this title, which had been out of print for awhile was being reprinted and that he had been privileged to write the new Foreword. Although I own several copies of this book from my time at Annapolis and Quantico, I have no idea where any of them are. I was happy to buy a new copy, with the new Foreword, and start re-reading it. I’m about halfway through it and I am really enjoying this one too. I probably haven’t read it since the early nineties, so I actually don’t remember most of it. This is a fascinating autobiography, tracking military career that stretched from shortly after WWII through Viet Nam. I understand why Commander Willink is such a fan.

Other Learning Opportunities

I completed delivering my portion of the fall in-service training rotation. This was a great training block. I’m really proud of the program that our team put together. They did a great job.

I’ve managed to keep up with my jiu-jitsu training several days a week.

Finally, on Thursday, I got to pay a brief visit to the Dalton firing range and watch some drills from the new Firearms Instructor program. There are going to be some interesting changes to the program.

We’ve had some great opportunities to have some fun in the past couple of weeks. Last week, date night started at District. We managed to get in for an early dinner without a reservation. It was delicious as always.

Last weekend, after training in the morning, the Bride and I headed out for a late lunch. We ended up in the Town of Lee. I’d forgotten that it was Columbus Day weekend and that everywhere was going to be busy. Our late lunch turned out to be more of an early dinner at 51 Park. It was a wonderful fall day in the Berkshires.

For the holiday, we took a drive to a new destination for a hike. We had a wonderful brief trip on the Tannery Trail to Tannery Falls. Hiking in our beautiful Berkshire forests during Autumn is always a treat.

This week’s date night was another success. We decided to try Mission for dinner. We hadn’t been there since before the emergency was declared. It was great to visit another favorite destination. The rest of the night was occupied with dancing in our living room and playing with the pup on the rug.

Yesterday, we headed north for a late afternoon visit to Bright Ideas Brewing in North Adams. Their new fall Porter and Stout are awesome. The barbecue from A-OK Berkshire Barbecue was outstanding too.

Well, that’s enough for now. Be well. Stay healthy. Until next time…

Be Safe, Keep the Faith, Do Good Work, 1*

Episode 41: New Adventure, New Opportunity–It is fully Fall and we entertain family

October 4, 2020

Good late Sunday afternoon on this fine Fall day VFOT fans and followers. It has been a busy weekend with a lot going on. It’s actually late in the day for me to be sitting down to write this, but I’m just getting a chance to get to the computer, so let’s get right to it.


I haven’t picked up a new pro-reading text after finishing Daring Greatly. I shifted my morning reading time to some other alternative titles and need to select a new text before I turn in tonight.

Other Reading

I finished, Inside Seal Team Six, by Don Mann (Mann, Don and Pezzullo, Ralph. Inside Seal Team Six. 2011. New York: Little, Brown and Company). This was a really good book about the evolution of the Team between its formation (Rogue Warrior) and the more recent titles from the Global War on Terror. It fills in a lot of the gaps and answers a lot of questions. It is well done.

That title prompted a recommendation on my Kindle for the new offering by Sean Parnell. Parnell’s One True Patriot, is the third title in the Eric Steele series (Parnell, Sean. One True Patriot. 2020. New York. Harper Collins). Parnell is the author of Outlaw Platoon. After that book’s success, Parnell turned his hand to fiction. I’ve really enjoyed all three of these titles. They are a little over the top and fantastic, but they’re really good.

After that, I worked my way through another title that was covered on the Jocko Podcast. This one, Whisky Tango Foxtrot, by Lynne M. Black, Jr. (Black, Lynn, M., Jr. Whisky Tango Foxtrot. 2011. Self-published). This is another one of the stories about the heroic operations conducted by the soldiers of SOG in Viet Nam. Callsign and code name Blackjack was one of the soldiers described by Tilt in his SOG Chronicles. This is an amazing book. I really enjoyed it.

Following those 3, I needed a break and went back to an old standby by Clive Cussler. I just needed a break, so I picked up one of the old tales of the Oregon to unplug my brain.

I’ve also been listening to About Face by Colonel David Hackworth on Audible. I was excited to find out that a new edition of this book is being published.

Other Learning Opportunities

Our in-service rotation continues. On our Wednesday training days I’m covering the blocks on Fair and Impartial Policing, Procedural Justice, and ICAT. The days include ½ a day of reality-based scenario training and running drills on the new judgmental use of force simulator. These have been amazing blocks to participate in.

This week, I got to get back on the road for supervisory training for the 1st time since December. I headed out Wednesday night for a 2-day training trip for the Institute. Due to the precautions and restrictions put in place for COVID, we aren’t allowed to conduct training at the BayPoint in Rhode Island, so the training was moved across the border into Massachusetts. I got to my hotel late Wednesday evening and got set up for 2-days of training on Situational Leadership and Leading in a Crisis. It was awesome to be back in the saddle and work with a group of high performing professionals who were looking to improve themselves. I had a blast.


Late last month we learned that we had won a Programming Excellence Award from Pittsfield Community Television and WTBR for our weekly radio program, On Patrol With the PPD. I’m pretty proud of that.

We had a great date night on the Wednesday of the week that I was home. We had to make up date night this week by going out on Friday.

We had some home improvement projects finished this week and the yard and the deck are looking sharp. It’s a comfortable extension of our home and we’re getting a lot of good use from it.

Last weekend we celebrated C’s birthday. I planned a little adventure and we packed a picnic and headed out. We visited a new brewery that C had discovered in nearby New Lebanon, NY. This place, the Roaring 20’s Brewery and Taproom, was amazing and they let us enjoy our picnic there. After that, we headed back to one of our new favorites, the Home Range Winery, to enjoy some wine and the desserts that I had packed. I got to give her the birthday gifts there. It was a nice afternoon.

This weekend, my in-laws came for a visit to continue the celebration. After I trained at the dojo yesterday, I came home and got cleaned up. After that, we started with lunch at On A Roll Café in Lenox. From there, we headed back over to the Roaring 20’s for a couple of pints of microbrew. That was followed by apple picking at Bartlett’s. When we were done filling the bags, we headed home, and I got to work. Dinner was charbroiled oysters on the grill, followed by steamed Maryland blue crabs and crawfish on the deck. That was finished by burgers and dogs for anyone who was still hungry.

Today, after getting everybody fed and on the road, I headed out to complete my virtual Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk. I did my 6-mile ruck with my weighted vest and ruck on. It was a great day to be outdoors and get some exercise and to support a good cause.

Well, that’s enough for now. Be well. Stay healthy. Until next time…

Be Safe, Keep the Faith, Do Good Work, 1*