Friday, September 26, 2008

"Brotherly Love" and "Tough Love"

To say that I cherish Masonry is an understatement. I have been a Mason since 1982, and I will be a Mason all my life. I will be buried in my Masonic Apron. For the past quarter century, I have done everything I can, to live up to my Masonic obligations, and to serve this Craft to the best of my ability. I have no apologies for my service to Masonry.

I have been enriched by Masonry, solely in the symbolic sense, as I have been paid Master's wages. I have never profited financially from any of my Masonic activities. I have donated many hundreds of hours to the fraternity (including the appendant/concordant bodies).

I have never "used" Masonry for my own purposes. I have worked with many other individuals, in trying to bring Masonry to Iraq, and to the soldiers and civilians who risk their lives in that wretched country. I am now in Afghanistan, and I will continue to do what I can, to bring Masonry to the civilians and military personnel who are on the "roof of the world". If any Masonic brother comes to me for assistance, I will give it. I will help, because I am a MASON.

I believe in the value of Brotherly Love, as much as any true Mason. But I also believe in "Tough Love". There are many problems with Masonry, because it is an institution, run by humans, and it is susceptible to all of the problems and difficulties inherent, when humans are involved.

I will continue to criticize any policy, any regulation, any action by any lodge or Grand Lodge, anywhere, that is acting in a manner, that is not in line with the best interests of this Fraternity. Masonry is NOT a religion, and its leaders are NOT infallible. The situation in West Virginia, is one glaring example. The on-going scandal with the Royal Order of Jesters is another. If a Mason had spoken out, earlier, a lot of scandal and heartache could have been avoided. All too often in Masonry (and I include the appendant/concordant bodies here), men are just willing to "go along", and not speak up, and not offer any criticism, and not step in to help our cherished Fraternity. We are reaping what we have sowed for the last twenty years.

I will never be silenced, nor gagged, when it comes to Freemasonry. This institution can always benefit from change, and change will come! The recent situation in North Carolina, is one example of positive change. All masons nationwide, should take a look at the courage and foresight of our North Carolina brothers, and emulate their example.

So in closing, let us all continue to work together as brothers. Let us examine the problems and difficulties in our midst, and work together to find appropriate solutions. Let us be free to speak our minds in internet forums, and in person, in our lodges and Grand Lodges.

"Tough Love" is the only way.

Letter from the Grand Master of Masons in KY to me.

(This letter is an EXACT copy of a communication from the Grand Master of Masons in KY. It is published VERBATIM)

(Small portion, not related to the text has been deleted)

you have again tried to mask your situation and use the cloak ofthis fraternity for your own betterment. You continue to berate, insultand generally to fault everyone and every Grand Lodge or Grand Lodgeofficer be it Kentucky, New York, etc. You use masonry for your ownpurpose! You have here again tried to mask your actions and get theapproval through everyone else rather than looking at yourself to see ifyou really are a mason or just a man using masonry for himself. In you blogs you have continued to throw everything and anyone that doesnot do or say what you want to them say about Masonry to the side asbeneath you and your brothers. You use Masonry, rather than practicingMasonry. Masonry is not a item or a card it is a belief that we as brothers canwork together as a band of brothers cemented by our obligation to upholdthe Constitution practice Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth! Our Honorand Integrity before all else. You Sir, have, in my opinion, used thisfraternity as an item for your own discussion and advancement in trying toprove yourself something you or not! This is a shame that a man of your ability has tried to take thisfraternity and put it on display for his own amusement or advancement. Inall of your blogs, you always refer to "I" rather than "we". It is alwaysyou that stands to do battle with the Grand Lodges. This Sir is not abattle it is a love that each of us has about the fraternity and eachother. Sir, if nothing else remember this......"You represent this fraternity inthe world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year! Does youractions each day prove you to be a Mason? Remember someone each day willsee you for what you are in this world and does your actions representthis fraternity?" Keith DreierGrand Master

Thursday, September 25, 2008

status of Land, Sea. and Air Lodge #1

An individual has expressed interest in the traveling military lodge, Land, Sea, and Air Lodge #1. The charter has been in existence since 1917 (World War 1). The charter is currently on display in a Masonic Museum in New York City. The last time the lodge held a meeting, was in the Fall of 2005, at Speicher Base, in Iraq.

You can learn more about the lodge, by contacting the current Worhshipful Master, E. Dan Walther IV, who is resident in Buffalo NY. If you wish to contact the WM, please send an email to me at ( and I will forward it on to Bro. Dan.

There was an excellent article written about the lodge in Empire State Mason magazine, fall 2005 issue. see

My feelings about Masonry

I have been criticized for some of my postings in my blog. I want to state for the record, that I stand behind every word. Masonry is NOT a religion, and its leaders are NOT infallible. If Masonry needs to be criticized, I will criticize it. If the fraternity is taking a position, that is not in the best interests of the craft, it needs to be criticized.

The recent events in North Carolina show one point. It took courage, and integrity, to "buck the trend", and move North Carolina Masonry into the correct decision, to recognize Prince Hall Masonry. Bravo to the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, and the members!! I have written a letter to the MW Grand Master of Masons, praising him for his courage and leadership.

I use the pronoun "I", in my posts, when I am referring to myself. I am the only one person, working with the Grand Lodge of New York, to get a charter for Land, Sea, and Air Lodge #1. When I work with other people, I will use the pronoun "we".

Remember- "Only a dead fish goes downstream 100% of the time"

A week here

Been getting my inprocessing done. The Army needs the paperwork completed. I am not so comfortable here. I am in a tent, on a cot, the airport is next door, and the planes roar in and out all day long. I still have some jet lag, I get worn out by 4pm, and I must sleep. Then I get up at 0200am, and I cannot fall back to sleep.

The food is good here, no problem in this area. I get only short periods on the internet, so I cannot write long missives on the blog.

I have received some very nice comments from people back in the USA, for this I am grateful.

Man, it is good to be working!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

First night on the ground

Flew into Bagram. COLD COLD COLD. I am in a tent, sleeping on a cot. Shower tent about 100 yards out the front door. Unlimited HOT water, thanks for this.

Chow hall is a large tent. Food is good, about what I remembered. I ate chicken jamabalaya last night. Breakfast this morning, eggs, grits, french toast. Wish they had bagels.

I could really use some cold weather clothing, my size is not obtainable in Afghanistan. If any one has something they could send, I would be grateful.

Back to the roof of the world at last

I am at Bagram Afghanistan. I am on the roof of the world. Jet-lagged, and feeling pretty miserable.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Flying to Kyrgyzstan

I am in the Baltimore Airport. I checked my baggage through to Manaus, Kyrgyzstan. Tonight, I will get on the plane, we have stops in Europe, and we will arrive Friday afternoon. We will be stuck in Kyrgyzstan for a couple of days, and then fly on into Afghanistan.

I am glad to be done with the preparations, and I am looking forward to an exciting time on the Roof of the World.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The ides of September

I am about to wrap it up here in Huntsville. I took my equipment, and winter clothing down to the office today, for shipment on to Afghanistan. I had lunch, and went back to the hotel, to finish packing.

I will fly to Baltimore on Wednesday, and then on Thursday, I will leave for Kyrgyztan. I do not know how long I will be in Manaus.

The housing for civilians in Bagram is very tight. There may a "No Vacancy" sign hanging out. I may have to stay at Salerno, which is 25 miles from Bagram. The situation is "fluid".

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


10 Sept

The phone rang June 15, and the man asked me if I was interested in a position in Iraq. I interviewed by telephone, and then I was offered a position. I was directed to report for training in Huntsville, and after a short orientation, I was informed that my assignment was changed to Afghanistan.
Last month, I was directed to spend a week in Fort Benning Georgia, for orientation, and equipment issue. I picked up a gas mask, body armor, a helmet, and a sleeping bag. Then my firm sent me to an outdoor outfitter, where I was issued winter pants, and combat boots. Now that all of my gear is with me, I can leave for Afghanistan.
I will be flying to Baltimore, and then on to Manaus, Kyrgyzstan. (Every time I read that country’s name, I think they need to buy a vowel). Our team will remain in Manaus for a few days, until we can catch a ride to Bagram, Afghanistan. I first saw Bagram, way back in 2004, and it was primitive. The Army has spent a lot of money on the place, and now the housing is modernized, and they have a modern recreation center, and the dining halls are first-rate. Bagram is a major hub for Afghanistan, and many of the fixed-wing and helicopter flights change/originate/terminate at Bagram. Bagram is the “Atlanta” of Afghanistan.
I will be working on an unclassified video security project. I have worked in broadcast and cable TV, as well as closed-circuit TV. I am excited about installing security cameras on military bases in Afghanistan. If you want to see the cameras we will be using, just check out any Wal-Mart.
There are other countries with higher elevations, but Afghanistan is called the “roof of the world”. I spent three months on Sharana base, at 7400 feet above sea level. One of my lungs developed a blockage, and I was definitely oxygen-challenged. The doc checked me into the M*A*S*H, and after a chest x-ray, the doc prescibed an inhaler.
Afghanistan is an unusual country, to be sure. I have worked on three other contracts in Afghanistan, and the country is definetly an “acquired taste”. The principal languages are Dari and Pashto, but I have no fluency in either of these languages. I speak electronics, and that is enough!