In June 2009, I was interviewed by milblogger Hope Radio:
How long have you been blogging?
I started my personal USMC81 blog site toward the end of 2006. In 1997 I started a website for the USMC Combat Helicopter Association (popasmoke.com) where for the past 12 years, have been bringing Marines, who served with each other in combat, together again. Blogging in a sense, that effort requires a lot of posting, correspondence, follow-up, and forum maintenance.
Why did you start?
In 1995 I started a website called “The Marine Guest Book” where former Marines could log their boot camp and tour details and be found by others. I believe that site was one of the first ten Marine Corps websites ever created. I initially started my blog as a place to archive good material for quick reference. My objective then, as now, is to facilitate information sharing for Marines.
How did you come up with the name?
In California, my jeep license plate was “USMC81” which means I became a Marine in 1981. When I moved to Connecticut in 1993, I ordered the same Veteran plate “USMC81” for my truck, which I still drive today. I also own usmc81.com and use usmc81 for my login wherever I can.
Any weirdos? Come on you can tell me.
There are all types out there. Mostly, just good people.
You were a former Marine as my husband Tony is, can you tell me how your service impacts your world view?
I believe I joined the Marines because of my views, not the other way around. I believe in America and that freedom isn’t free. I also believe if necessary, I will be one of the last standing Patriots somewhere, some day.
Your role as a parent?
I think the discipline you gain from military service plays a big part in how you parent in general. The respect and responsibility experience also has its place in parenting. As a parent, I want my (six) kids to be well-mannered, patriotic, courageous, educated, successful, and loving. Many of those qualities are tied to military experiences for sure, but as an adult, we all grow mature in our thinking and actions as we drift far away from active military service.
Your role as a husband?
That’s a tough one. I’m pretty sure my role as a husband is based on disciplines I gained pre or post-military. In a partnership, you need to be open-minded, maintain a 30,000 foot view, be very humble, emotionally mature, and realize your job is to make your spouse happy. Well, that’s my view.
Your kids attitudes?
My kids have very little exposure to anything military other than myself. I always try to set the right example and ensure they have appropriate life lessons, which sometimes have a military story or tone. They are awful proud to have a Marine Dad though.
What’s been the most rewarding aspect of blogging?
Witnessing from the driver’s seat how the Internet and a few good people can positively affect the lives of so many.
Any regrets so far?
What are the pitfalls for you?
Time is a pitfall. I also think proper content management and archiving limits potential. Most of us know what needs to be said, but the ever-changing technologies tend to fragment efforts. Short-term projects have short-term results. Improving on technology and content management is an ongoing struggle we all face.
I notice your twitter as well? What do you get from that that Blogger doesnt’ offer?
Part of understanding WEB 2.0 and now WEB 3.0 is knowing the social networking components well enough to utilize them effectively. Each of these new tools have strengths and weaknesses. What I get from Twitter that Blogger does not offer is the ability to bring a message to the people instead of bringing the people to the message. Folks like the convenient short-message core functionality of Twitter, which is like a maintenance-free limitless opt-in subscription service. Listen to who interests you and ignore the rest. It’s very interesting to see how communities form on Twitter auto-magically.
How do you participate in mil support?
For active-duty troops, I coordinate the “Adopt-A-Shop” program (through popasmoke.com) where care packages are sent to deployed helicopter units. For veterans, there are many opportunities to assist families and loved-ones of vets through knowledge, support, or sometimes, just listening.
Any advice for those thinking about helping out your brothers?
My advice is to do what is within your means to do. Take a look at your skills and determine how those skills might be used in support of active duty military members or veterans. If you have technology or web skills, perhaps you can help create an online community to facilitate others to help. Many people want to help, they just don’t know how.
What advice would you give milbloggers who have slowed down their writing since they have been back?
I think everyone needs to do their own thing at their own pace. Just know that there is interest in the content milbloggers have to contribute. People are very interested in military content. Real-time experiences of deployed military members or information in the heads of our veterans need to be shared. Sharing this information is educational for civilians and therapeutic for those sharing.
What advice would you give those who are thinking about blogging?
Do it for the right reason. If you’re heart is in it, it will be productive.