Free State


The pictures this week are of buildings on the main drag in Lawrence, the home of Kansas University.  Lawrence is indeed a cool college town with a long history.  It was at the epicenter of the “Bleeding Kansas” events of the 1850s, when residents made a principled stand against the introduction of slavery in the territory.  They fought hard for what was right, at a time when it would have been easy not to, and when there was much to lose.  References to the town’s proud legacy are everywhere today, as in the name of the brewery pictured above.   

Lawrence is on my mind because I went there today to meet an old Army friend.  We ate, talked, watched football, drank coffee, and checked out a couple of bookstores.  

Training here at Fort Riley is drawing to a close.  Last week was a busy one, with several all-day training events leading up to a “Capstone Exercise.”  The Capstone put our team through a series of scenarios meant to test us on everything we have learned over the past two months.  It was kind of fun, driving from one place to another not knowing what was to come next.  By day’s end we had quelled unruly crowds, reacted to IED attacks, broken up an illegal checkpoint set up by insurgents, mediated a meeting of local mayors and police chiefs, searched a house and detained a bombmaker, and performed many other tasks we might face in Afghanistan.

My team did well enough, and good thing, too.  Even if we had performed poorly we’d still be shipping out.  Just a couple of more weeks now.

The old Opera House, now a live music venue

Liberty Hall, an old Opera House, now a theater and live music venue. John Brown spoke near here back in the day.


2 Responses to “Free State”

  1. Chris Brown Says:

    Hey Pete,

    I’m glad you made it over to Lawrence–a great town with some fine restaurants! Lawrence was one of the reasons I started doing walking exercises. I mentioned to you that I went to a conference at KU, which is on an incredibly steep hill. Going down the hill to restaurants was no problem, but climbing that hill after stuffing a gut was an entirely different (and embarrassingly breathless) proposition!

    I’m glad your training is going well.

    Best and be safe,

  2. Pedaldrive Says:


    You might have seen these already, but on MSNBC Nightly news has sent a reporter, Richard Engle, to the front lines in Afganistan. A few months ago “Vanity Fair” (that magazine has some hard hitting articles) had an article about a small outpost named camp Restrepo (named after their medic who had been killed). Engel gets out there, and has about four video dispatches.

    In one of them a US morter scores a direct hit on a team from Restrepo hiding in an abandoned house. Looks like somebody mistook where they were with where they wanted a morter shot.

    To get there go to, click on world report, if you point to a video it will tell you the date. The ones from Restrepo are on Oct. 20,21,23,and 25.

    Hope you’re really hammering it with the pt. That place looks high and rugged. To paraphrase a famous movie “everyday the taliban spends squatting on a steppe they get stronger.”

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