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Everything posted by ElementalJay

  1. Just my coupla pennies worth here - I would pass right by a pocket watch or a ticket to Woodstock if I found them in a cache. Those are "junk" to me because I have no use for them. However, the 25 cent "Ich liebe Duetche" button that I found recently got snatched up by me (and my kids) quickly because we spent three years stationed in Germany - "Jackpot!" While broken McToys suck, I would argue that there is plenty of valuable swag out there, depending on the finder's definition of valuable. (And yes, I have set a few of my LE personal coins loose in caches which I felt were outstanding (one might even say they had a good deal of class...). Good luck finding one, though. Talk about stuff going missing in a daggone hurry! Yeesh! )
  2. Sure, he can ask his Commander, but I only wish I had the authority to send someone home early!!! That took a O-6's approval. I was his CO while we were in Iraq. I was the one who started at least 5 other guys in our company caching. TheLoneSapper was a driver on my PSD team - so becoming a "Fobbit" wasn't even a close description of what we did over there. But, we did have days where we didn't have a mission, so we were able to find some caches. I don't want to argue whether or not caches placed on military bases in Iraq are "against the rules" but it did provide a nice relief to all the other stresses, and brought together a bunch of people in friendly competition to make the most out of a tough situation. I didn't get involved in the forums before for this exact reason - I didn't want to ruin the fun of geocaching by arguing over the rules and other issues. So what if some guys found the time to go caching? Most of the time we stayed up late, borrowed a truck when we could, or found a few caches while stuck at some remote base while overnighting on a long haul drive or flight. It was fun, and got me back into geocaching after a long absence. Iraq provided some amazing cache opportunities, and I sincerely hope that Soldiers there continue to be able to place caches as long as there is a coalition presence there. I can see plenty of reasons NOT to have it over there. 1) Coordinates are broadcasted to the world 2) Not uncommon are unauthorized entry into posts 3) Who is to say #2 doesnt lead to something harmful being planted because 4) Geocaching.com is available to the world 5) OPSEC. Nice pictures of you on Post there LT 6) On par with blogging? Did you, or the placers of geocaches get post Commander approval? 7) Clear violation of the rules, unless you have a memorandum from CENTCOM claiming the opposite to be true. Wow - I was going to ignore this thread until your last post here. I, too, just finished my third tour in Iraq. Welcome home to you AND to StarWolve (small world, huh dude?) who attended one of my meet-n-greets there. I've gotta tell you that from where I'm sitting it sounds like you haven't really even looked into the caching situation over there much at all. Please allow me to reply to your list of concerns. 1) Moot point. Anyone with access to the internet can get the same coordinates from plenty of OTHER sources. Heck, you don't suppose THEIR military ever had any maps of the place that might have coordinates on them, do you? I'll bet we didn't collect all THOSE up when we got into town. 2) I believe you are looking at this point backwards. Bad guys who get unauthorized entry don't NEED coordinates. They are doing their own recon and measurements. Once they have the coordinates, the assumption is that they are using them for targeting of rockets from a distance. They aren't going to carry a mortar in, are they? 3) and 4). Wow. Of all the bad things a bad guy might do to harm us, I have a difficult time imagining that they would sabotage a geocache. Kinda... specific, don't you think? Especially knowing that only a couple of people would ever be around one at any given time? There have been almost 300 caches placed on bases in Iraq since 2003, and I have yet to hear of a single incident involving bad guys messing with them. 5) Finally - a valid concern. As an MI officer, I am definitely attentive to this. It would extremely bad to hide a cache beside the embassy and post on the cache page that "this is right next to the back door of the embassy." Definitely a rocket magnet then. But of the nearly 50 caches that I either hid or found in Iraq this past year, none had a "here's the coordinates to a big important building" message in them. Just to keep from being spotted and shot by friendlies, the caches in Iraq are mostly in out of the way places. The ones that ARE in public areas don't tell the purpose of the building or identify the units occupying the area. As long as we are watching out for each other and keeping OPSEC in mind when posting cache descriptions or pictures, the worst that might happen is somebody's tree stump gets blown up. (And while I appreciate the attempt at humor, I was one of those LTs posting pictures of myself at caches, and I assure you I violated no OPSEC. In fact, this LT - now a CPT - has more miles driving HMMWVs on the streets and highways of Iraq than probably any non-MP in the army, so I am a bit touchy about the "dumb lieutenant jokes") 6) Ummm...who said this was on par with blogging? Although permission from the mayor (there is no "post commander") is not required, I for one discussed caching with the Camp Victory mayor before placing my first cache there. As long as caches aren't placed in sensitive areas and OPSEC is maintained, he had no problems with it. Again, police yourself and watch your buddy's back and these won't BE issues. Military cachers are more responsible and aware of consequenses than their civilian counterparts, I assure you. 7) What "rules" are we talking about here? By and large, people who start telling me that it's against "the rules" can't ever produce one of these "rules" for me to consider. The next words I hear from them are invariably "well, they told me..." By all means, if you can show me the "rule" that says I can't cache in Baghdad I promise you I will remove my caches as soon as I get there for round 4. And lastly, are you seriously telling me that you worked 18 hours every day for a year over there? If so, I truly hate it for you. I can tell you have serious disdain for fobbits, but let's face it. The nature of the military is such that for every grunt going out the gate, there are 10 fobbits staying behind to support him. And while I acknowledge that they get more time off than others, they are still doing everything asked of them and dodging mortars while doing it. You should be thankful that they are out there keeping your pay straight and making sure your letters are getting home to mom. And when they get a little time off, I hope they enjoy the heck out of finding my Saddams' Love Boat" cache or any of the 50 others on that post. "This concludes my brief. What are your questions?"
  3. Woo-hoo! I got coins in the mail today. Of course, the postmark on the package is 14 August 2007 !! Team SandDollar asked to trade a couple of their coins for two of my Bessie coins last summer. I sent them my coins. A month or so later I sent an e-mail and they said that had sent me their coins, but would send out replacements. I got the replacements in Iraq a couple weeks later. The originals arrived today with postmarks from Michigan, and Iraq.
  4. PARTY AT MY PLACE! Who's coming? Anyone? *crickets chirp softly* Anyone? There is another one just down the street a couple of weeks earlier, too.
  5. I wondered why the heck my event was getting so many notes a month late. Thanks so much to everyone who has posted notes. I have several non-cacher co-workers who have been reading the notes with me. It is as heartening to them as to any of us cachers out here. I am going to make sure that everyone who attended checks back to the page to see the messages as well. On behalf of all of us serving out here, thank you. To all of you. The fact that you took a moment out of your day to say something nice to someone you've never met is enough to make this entire tour worth the effort. ...and Okie? There are cache containers everywhere out here, but they all seem to be full, if you know what I mean.
  6. cincol, If I am allowed to take a pass into Qatar, I would love to find some of the local caches not located on military property. As far as "officially" visiting the mentioned countries, I have to disagree with you. While I am on land that is currently controlled by Coalition Forces, there is no doubt in my mind as I look outside that I am in Iraq. There is modern and ancient history all around me, even on this base. I meet weekly with locals and talk with them about their families and mine and practice my Arabic as they practice their English. On my last tour out here, I was in downtown Baghdad on a weekly basis. While I didn't need a passport to get here, there is no question in my mind that I have "officially" visited this country. The same goes for my numerous trips to and through downtown Kuwait City four years ago. While I acknowledge that mine is a minority case, I am proud of the fact that I have, indeed, definitely visited these countries, no matter where the caches were located when I found them.
  7. The Coolest Cache I Ever Found was a puzzle cache. You had to read a classic short story by Edgar Allen Poe, retrieve a document from a regular cache, figure out the secret to the document, solve the code, find a location without coordinates, shoot an azimuth from THAT position, retrieve a second set of coordinates from there, and then finally locate a well-hidden cache in the woods. The entire thing closely followed the Poe story. It was fun and not TERRIBLY difficult. The caching community would suffer a loss if this cache wasn't available.
  8. I placed Curt's Cache specifically so that the cache itself could be reached from a wheelchair without leaving the sidewalk. The cache is still challenging enough that a lot of cachers spend a while before they find it. I think wheeled cachers would actually find it quicker because they aren't trying to outthink me.
  9. As far as I can tell, all 152 caches in Iraq as of this morning are on US- or Coalition-controlled installations. I personally have placed one on a base in Iraq and one on a base in Kuwait. And no, if you don't have access to the base, you won't get access to the cache. The corollary to that, of course, is that at least one of the caches in Kuwait that I am aware of is NOT on a military base. BECAUSE I am in the military, I can not get access to that cache. If any "locals" in Iraq choose to place caches outside the confines of the military installations, I will not have access to any of those, either. In essence, they would be in "restricted areas" as far as the vast majority of cachers in Iraq are concerned. If you try not to be too upset at me for placing a cache where I know that 99% of all cachers in the entire country can access it, I promise to not get upset with you for placing one where we can't. Okay? (And let me know how the caches in Qatar are - I apparently can't get to THOSE, either. )
  10. I found Stack of Sticks Cache just as I was getting tired of looking. It's a micro embedded in a stick thrown into the middle of a pile of other sticks in the middle of an illegal dump just off a highway. The place smelled bad and the "view" mostly consisted of broken glass, a shattered bowling ball, several large appliances, and many bags of trash. Not interesting. Not a nice place. Make sure your tetanus shots are up to date and don't take small children. Of course, none of this is outlined on the cache page. On the plus side, the container was very creative, and if it had been hidden in a better area it would have been a challenging find that was worth the hike. I still would not recommend this cache to anyone because everything AROUND the cache took all the fun out of finding the cache. edit: and yes, I am guilty of adding to the wrong perception of this cache by not stating any of my negative thoughts in the log. Anyone else who read my log would likely think this would be a cache worth looking for. I'm not going to go back and edit my log, but I try to be more careful about not giving the wrong impression of a cache while still not coming across as a negative old fart now.
  11. This picture is one of only two that got posted for an unfortunate travel bug, Mountaineer III. I picked it up from its origin and took it up a mountain. I then placed it in a cache. The next person picked it up and it has not been heard from in the last 2 1/2 years. I try to get any requested pictures for a TB and try to only head TBs closer to their goals.
  12. Actually, #1 of that was a pretty decent hide. It would fool the N00bs for a while. It was my first find in Iraq - just a short distance from my new office. Guess I should get around to logging that one eventually, huh? edit: oh, wait. You meant interesting NAMES. Yeah, there are definitely more creative ones out there. And for the record, it WASN'T an Altoids Tin!
  13. Woo-hoo!! The copper and silver Bessie coins are finally for sale at C&P. For those who didn't see the pictures before my other thread disappeared into the ether, here are the pictures of the finished products. The last one is my personal LE that I will only be sending/giving to friends.
  14. Oroborus, do you think you could come up with something for my personal coin that would not obscure much of the back logo? I just got these in and at least one friend has already pointed out that she'd like to get hers done that way. Any thoughts?
  15. so when is the sale? Wish I knew. I'd like to get some of the silver ones!! Seriously, I think C&P does their sales around the middle and the end of the month. I haven't heard anything definite, though.
  16. It's official... C&P's sale of the Bessie coin!
  17. Not sure where the other thread about this went. Short answer is that my LE coins are in hand. This means that C&P likely will start selling the others soon. More to follow...
  18. Okay. Even though my Compass Rose coin is 200 miles from me right now, I figured I would post this anyway, since it's the last day. I got this done in Mannheim, Germany at the Dragon Tattoo parlor when I got back from Iraq in 2003. I was going to take a picture of the tattoo with my '06 coin laying next to it, but you get the idea. I know it doesn't qualify for the contest, but I thought some folks would get a kick out of it anyway.
  19. Dang. Stupid work filters won't let the photo of the prize coin through. Can anyone re-host it in a non-hosting site (photobucket doesn't work, either)? Thanks in advance to anyone who can help with this.
  20. For personal reasons, I have more interest in the #007 coin. Any word on when IT is likely to hit the market?
  21. Just a quick question in return. What is the other coin?
  22. I recommend a moderately low reserve (well under $100) just to avoid scaring off potential initial bids. I also recommend asking the coin's designer if he has a preferred group to which he would like to see the money sent. (and expect some high bidding from at least ONE person )
  23. Just an alternate viewpoint here. I've been in the military for 20 years. I had personal coins from folks LONG before I ever heard of geocaching. Military commanders (and top NCOs) use them as immediate-recognition rewards. Of the 20-some-odd I have earned, I can tell you who gave each to me and for what. Now that I have discovered geocaching, then geocoins, the geocoins I have in my collection are all from people who are special or important to me in one way or another. I just received the die art for my first coin, and hope to have it in hand soon. In order to cover the costs of production, two finishes will be sold online. But I am keeping a third finish for myself that will not ever go on sale. I will ONLY give it to the folks who are important to me or who have done something I consider special. (What they do with it is up to them, so I guess one or two COULD end up on e-bay ) Anyway, whatever your motivation, as long as you remember why you like the coins you want and why you make the coins you decide to, you should enjoy them immensely.
  24. Wow. Thank you. I have two coin racks in my office. One for geocoins, and one for the coins that I have earned in the Army. This one now has a special place on my Army challenge coin rack. As soon as my LE Bessie coins are in hand, I have to send one to you in thanks for such a great coin. Again, thank you. Jay E 1LT, MI (20 years and 6 months - so far - including a tour in Desert Storm and one in OIF, returning to Baghad this summer)
  25. Oh, is that in the box that the garbage man just hauled off with the rest of the Christmas wrapping paper and bows and such? Dang.
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