Bosnia Diary – Pg. 11

Green Bay to Bosnia LogoMired in a Mine

27 Feb 96, Tue — Ðurðevik

A 2nd grade class from Denton, TX, wrote me. The letters were so cute they took the edge of what was otherwise the crappiest day I’ve had since I’ve been here.

“This letter isn’t about my bike’s tire going flat this is about my friend is becoming a dork.”

“I hop you and your friends win the peas.

Everytime I read Trace’s letter I get a chuckle. And Josh shows amazing insight for an eight year old. Maybe he should be President.

Kids saluting in Vares.
Kids saluting in Vares.

Superman Anti-Mine Education Comic for Bosnian Kids

28 Feb 96, Wed — Ðurðevik

Total stress today trying to hammer as many smooth edges onto my CA database as possible before the 30th Med Bde people showed up for their copy. Forget normalization. I was just trying to put together a few forms and reports. When they arrived they didn’t have any disks. Then the database was too big for one disk, so I had to compress it. Then I had to figure out how to compress the path info so they could unzip the files right into where they were supposed to be without having to manually copy them. All the while they were waiting: hovering, while at the same time they were carrying on a political debate with the guys on my team. Not the best environment in which to be doing accurate technical work. But they seemed to be happy with the results, such as they were.

After dinner I went over to the TOC to print out my letter to the kids. When I returned, I found the Monkey virus on my floppy. Oh shit. Luckily it didn’t get onto my laptop’s hard drive. I cleaned the floppy with McAfee, then hustled over back over to the TOC to warn them. It took me a couple of hours until I was happy that the computer I’d gotten infected from was clean.

I told them that a virus is like VD — you never know where a floppy has been before it has been in your slot, and you are in contact with every slot the floppy has been in contact with. But they have probably a half dozen computers, and innumerable floppies, in the TOC. I told them that if they wanted to prevent another infection they need to do a 100% innoculation of every floppy and hard drive in the battalion, including the server, then not allow any non-innoculated media to come in contact with theirs. I’ve heard rumors of virii in other parts of the division: once a couple of weeks ago the translator’s laptop in G-5 mysteriously lost all its Microsoft Office executables; last week the same thing may have happened to our team at 40th Eng Bde. So much of the military runs on computers these days — and even more will when the next military doctrine, “Force XXI”, is enacted — that a data attack could bring us to our knees. Geeks in green, data wars are the wave of the future.

29 Feb 96, Thu — Ðurðevik

Despite yesterday’s run through, and the instruction sheet I gave them, the 30th Med CA folks couldn’t get the database up. My 45-minute phone call to support them would have been even longer if the MSE hadn’t had one of its frequent breakdowns. The major I talked to wasn’t even familiar with Windows File Manager. If he has problems with that, there is no way they will ever be able to figure out my still very rough database.

CPT Ponkratz’s CA team from 2/68 Armor in Olovo is supposed to be picking us up at 0900 tomorrow. Looks like we’re leaving earlier than planned.

1 Mar 96, Fri — Ðurðevik
TF 2-68 Armor Battalion SOP
TF 2-68 Armor Battalion SOP

We had all stuff packed up and ready to go on time, but our convoy didn’t show up until 1130. So I went over to the TOC to try to contact the 30th Med CA people one more time. They were out on a mission, so I told a lieutenant in their TOC what they needed to do (to include actually installing Access, which they did not have.)

A postcard I sent to a friend in Canada was returned — in yet another selfless act of charity — by the military postal system today. Seems that even though postcards cost less to send than letters in regular mail, and even though I actually put $.32 on the card (what a letter costs in the States), it still wasn’t enough. Yes, I had to fork over $.64 in postage just to send a lousy damn postcard!

We finally left the coal mine about 1500. The first 35 klicks were familiar because we travelled those every Sunday on our way to the 2BCT CA meetings in Vlasenica. But instead of turning east at Kladanj, we continued south to Olovo. The mountains between Kladanj and Olovo are pretty hairy. The highway runs right down the middle of the ZOS. The area is largely abandoned between the two cities.

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