Saturday, April 4, 2015

D is for Djibouti

Djibouti beat out drama and Devil's Teeth Rapid in today's fierce competition to represent the letter "D" in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. In the event that Djibouti cannot fulfill its term, the first and second runnerups, drama and Devil's Teeth Rapid, will take Djibouti's place in fulfilling any remaining obligations.

With that bit of contractual paranoia now firmly in the rear view mirror, we can plow new ground in furthering the background of River and Ranch which, as mentioned before, is at times ripped straight from the headlines and at other times merely from researching.

Cale and Lane are two of the MCs in River and Ranch. In a long running series though, there has to be room to go back in time and develop earlier episodes and pieces of storyline. Africa proves fertile ground for that. Even better, the quiet roar that is the steady growth of AFRICOM, provides abundant bits of truth, which I greatly enjoy using as the kernel of truth around which my fiction is wrapped.

Camp Lemonnier is the USA military's largest and most official entity in all of Africa. I'm tempted to ramble through the interesting history of this military post. Suffice it to say that a garbage filled swimming pool, the French Foreign Legion, and free roaming goats are all part of that history. If pool, goats, and French Foreign Legion all appearing in the same sentence have piqued your curiosity, by all means click on the link above and read up on the abundant details in the excellent Wikipedia entry on the Camp.

In today's first digression, a bit of mostly relevant history pops into my head. The USA's entry into the European theater of WWII started with an invasion force going ashore in north Africa. In relying on memory and distilling what I remember, some small part of the reasoning for this first step was that the US military was "rusty". Not much had been done since WWI and there were very few leaders or followers with live experience. So the first step was on African soil, because it was perceived as perhaps the easiest place to start and get some seasoning (for lack of a better word). The big players in WWII got up to speed fighting (and getting beat quite often) by the wily old desert fox, Erwin Rommel, as he was known. Eventually he was pounded into submission, as Americans then as now are the badasses of the planet and while we lose on occasion, we do not give up and eventually emerge standing on top (sorry my American pride and ego popped up there).

Fast forward to now and these first "official" steps on African soil may remind some of first steps taken back in the day by Eisenhower and his fighting forces. There are many many differences, but I do bring this bit of history up as it is interesting to see steps made on African soil, a couple generations apart. Afghanistan and Iraq are of course HUGE differences between then and now, but steps onto Africa are facts then and now. Then it was over on the coast of Morocco, heading towards Libya. Now, it is the Horn of Africa aimed at the Sahel and points unknown or undivulged.

The shepherd's hook is out and the music is growing louder. I must concede the floor and hope that you will return for tomorrow's monologue on the letter "E".

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