The Best Defense

Rebecca's War Dog of the Week: Dude's travels from Afghanistan to Fort Bragg

Today is Dude's day. This story comes to us by way of Staff Sergeant Jaekeun Lee, whose unit, while based in Afghanistan, came to love one little stray... 

Dude was brought to our compound in Helmand province only a few days after a coordinated insurgent rocket attack on our base that resulted in the wounding of six local national children. Many of the members of our unit worked on saving these children: five were medevac'd and four of them survived and recovered. Needless to say the attack and dealing with the casualties had a large impact on the morale of the soldiers of our unit and Dude's arrival did much to lift the spirits of all of the soldiers on our compound.

Some local children brought Dude to our compound to sell to us but instead we offered them humanitarian assistance supplies of blankets, backpacks and food that they gladly accepted in exchange. All of the soldiers on the base took care of Dude and enjoyed his presence to help lighten the mood in the highly kinetic environment that we were experiencing every day. CPT Allen, one of the soldiers that arranged for the trade for Dude, wanted to make sure that the dog that had done so much for the morale of the soldiers would also be taken care of when we re-deployed. 

CPT Allen contacted the Nowzad Dogs organization that helps animals adopted by coalition soldiers make their way back to the U.K. and the U.S. On the way out of the country, CPT Allen arranged for Nowzad Dogs to pick up Dude in one of the larger cities near our village. Dude was then transported to Kabul where he underwent quarantine and treatment by Nowzad for two months. 

While this was going on, CPT Allen with the help of other members of our unit, friends, and family raised the money required to get Dude sent back to the United States. After two months, Dude was sent through Dubai then on to Atlanta and finally, to his new home near Ft Bragg, North Carolina. Dude has been adjusting well to his new home and will always be remembered by the soldiers of our unit for the joy that he brought during some trying times. 

Courtesy of Unk

The Best Defense

Last from Gen. Buffett: Clear thinking from a small, well-run headquarters

Most people who can write clearly aren't billionaires. Even so, I suspect that the ease of Warren Buffett's prose is related to his business success, because his simple, informative writing reflects his clear, unfettered thinking.

Buffett writes plainly even when discussing complex financial theories: "Both Charlie and I believe that Black-Scholes [a financial formula for valuing stock options and other derivative financial instruments] produces wildly inappropriate values when applied to long-dated options.… Part of the appeal of Black-Scholes to auditors and regulators is that it produces a precise number. Charlie and I can't supply one of those.… Our inability to pinpoint a number doesn't bother us: We would rather be approximately right than precisely wrong." (p. 21)  (Tom's italics, because I just liked that phrasing so much. And so should all you J-2s out there.) 

He also discusses his criteria for buying companies: "A line from a country song expresses our feeling about new ventures, turnarounds, or auction-like sales: ‘When the phone don't ring, you'll know it's me.'" (p. 28)        

But, you may wonder, isn't the military just too big to be run like Buffett runs Berkshire Hathaway? Consider this: In 2010, the company's revenue was $136.2 billion, and the total payroll of entities in which it is involved numbers more than 260,000. (p. 106) Not as big as the Pentagon overall, but almost in the same league as the military services, and, as I noted last year, actually bigger than the Marine Corps. So consider this final note in the annual report: He thanks "the 20 men and women who work with me at our corporate office (all on one floor, which is the way we intend to keep it!)." (p. 26)

That's not a typo for 20,000. His headquarters consists of twenty people -- down one from last year.