Updated 18-Sep: Welcome to the Schriefer Blog, my name is Tavis Schriefer. Recently, my wife Jill and I raised money to supply driFIRE shirts to every soldier in Apache Company of the 1-501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. We were successful in raising over $6500 and we would like to thank everyone for all their support to make this happen.
Please read our entire message here...

Monday, December 26, 2005

Jon's Homecoming

Here are pictures from Jon's homecoming at Baylor University's stadium 10-DEC-2005. There is a video as well, but I don't have it ready yet - will let you know. (click on the picture to see the album)


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Jonathan in the USA

Jonathan called. He has landed in Maine and should be arriving in Ft. Hood around 8:30AM.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Texas National Guard Homecoming - 10 December

Below is the press release for the homecoming in Waco. At this moment, I do not know if Jon will be back in country by then. He left me a voicemail on 4 Dec and said he would not be able to speak with me for a couple days. My assumption is that he has not yet reached Kuwait. Will update when I know more.


Welcome Home Ceremony Dec. 10 for 56th Brigade
Nov. 28, 2005

Media: See important contact information below.

Baylor media contact: Lori Fogleman (254) 710-6275 or mobile (254) 709-5959

For more on the Jan. 1, 2005, sendoff ceremony, please click on this link.

Soldiers of the 56th Brigade Combat Team will receive their official welcome home at Baylor University's Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas, on Saturday, Dec. 10, starting at 2:00 p.m.

While the return of some units and rear detachments of the 56th BCT may be delayed until after Dec. 10, members of main body can anticipate reunion with their families and the demonstrated appreciation of a crowd that may exceed 30,000 well-wishers.

Approximately 3,000 soldiers comprise the brigade, which is part of the Texas National Guard's 36th Infantry Division. Although headquartered in Fort Worth, brigade members come from all regions of Texas.

They will be returning to the same site where family, friends and community said good-bye to them Jan. 1. The brigade was mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom Aug. 15, 2004, and trained during the months leading up to their deployment. Following the Dec. 10 event, the soldiers will demobilize and return to their homes, families and civilian jobs.

"The men and women of the 56th Brigade Combat Team have made a significant contribution to the Global War on Terrorism, and now it is time for them to resume their lives in the civilian world," said Maj. Gen. Charles G. Rodriguez, Adjutant General of Texas, who commands the state's military forces. "We will be happy to have them back home in Texas. We know their friends and family will cherish their return home -- a very special holiday homecoming."

Among the returning soldiers are 29 who at the time of deployment were not American citizens yet, but who loved their chosen country so much that they decided to serve it. Also on Dec. 10, they will be sworn in as American citizens by U.S. District Judge Walter Smith Jr., and will stand together with their fellow citizens to receive thanks from their fellow Americans.

The 56th Brigade Combat Team consists of the following units:

•Abilene - Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 111th Engineer Battalion; Company A, 111th Engineer Battalion;
•Amarillo - Company A, 2nd Battalion, 142nd Infantry;
•Arlington - Company B, 2nd Battalion, 112th Armor;
•Big Spring - Detachment 1, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 142nd Infantry;
•Brady - Company C, 3rd Battalion, 112th Armor;
•Brownwood - 3rd Battalion, 112th Armor; Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 112th Armor;
•Coleman - Detachment 1, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 112th Armor;
•Denton - Company A, 2nd Battalion, 112th Armor;•El Paso - 3rd Battalion, 133rd Field Artillery;
•Fort Worth - Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 56th Brigade; H Troop, 124th Cavalry; Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 112th Armor;
•Irving - Company C, 111th Engineer Battalion;
•Lubbock - Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 142nd Infantry;
•Midland - Company C, 2nd Battalion, 142nd Infantry;
•Mineral Wells - Company B, 111th Engineer Battalion;
•Odessa - Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 133rd Field Artillery;
•Pampa - Detachment 1, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 142nd Infantry;
•Plainview - Detachment 1, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 142nd Infantry;
•San Angelo - Company A, 3rd Battalion, 112th Armor;
•Snyder - Detachment 1, Company A, 111th Engineer Battalion;
•Stephenville - Company B, 3rd Battalion, 112th Armor;
•Weatherford - Company C, 2nd Battalion, 112th Armor;
•Wellington - Company B, 2nd Battalion, 142nd Infantry.

In addition, individuals from other units throughout Texas - although not their entire units, were deployed as members of the 56th Brigade Combat Team.

Baylor campus map: http://www.baylor.edu/map/

Stadium Seating/gate chart: http://graphics.fansonly.com/photos/schools/bay/sports/m-foo

Driving directions to Floyd Casey Stadium: http://baylorbears.collegesports.com/trads/bay-findingstadiu

Media Information

News media representatives are invited to cover the official welcome ceremony for members of the Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team, 36th Infantry Division, who deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom on Jan. 1, 2005, and will officially be welcomed back Dec. 10, 2005.

The ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. at Baylor University's Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas. Access the venue from Interstate Highway 35 by exiting Valley Mills Drive east to the stadium. Please be at the stadium no later than 11:30 a.m. to avoid traffic jams. Public Affairs representatives will meet media at the designated visitors' parking lot.

The press box will be made available for print media.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Information Regarding Jonathan's Return

Below is a link to the 56th Brigade Combat Team website. Once you are on this page, click on [CMDR's "DEMOB" PLAN] on the left side of the page for a letter from the Commander.

56 Brigade Combat Team

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Great article on the rebuilding efforts - Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone From Yahoo! News

I read this article this morning along with some of the feedback given by readers. I think its very well written and points to the good we are doing in Iraq. Almost everything we see in media is the bad that's going on, because for whatever reason, the media thinks thats what we want to know about.

Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone From Yahoo! News

Monday, October 31, 2005

56th BCT Welcome Home Ceremony

It is very possible that Jonathan will be coming home around this time and will be at this ceremony. Of course we plan to be there and hope everyone can make it as well to welcome home all the Texas troops coming back from Iraq. -Tavis

Who - All units under the 56th BCT returning from Iraq
What - Welcome Home Ceremony
When - 10 Dec 2005, 2 pm

Where - Baylor's "Floyd Casey" stadium - Waco, TX
Driving Directions to Floyd Casey stadium -

Letter Courtesy of Darrell Mitchell - Oct 26, 2005

Soldiers and Families of HHC 111TH EN BN,

As schedules have synchorinized, it is very likely that we will be back in time to attend the 56th BCT Re-Deployment Ceremony in Waco at Baylor Stadium. More information was posted in an earlier news post regarding the ceremony.

Please remain flexible as the schedule is tight and there are no guarantees. If you plan on meeting your Solider it may be a good idea to start looking at the lodging availability as soon as possible.

I know everyone's question will be when are we going to hit ground.....It is likely to be some few days prior to the ceremony but undetermined at this point. The schedules remain to be finalized and we will not be able to give out any exacts in order to maintain security. Once we are in route Soldiers will be able to give you better ideas of when they may be landing. Please also keep in mind that the Soldiers will not be released from Active Duty as this time. We will remain at Fort Hood some duration of time before and after the ceremony in order to process from active duty.

The best news of all is that your loved ones will be home for Christmas as it appears now and I feel we are all blessed to have been able to spend the previous Christmas and the upcoming one with our families during this time of year.

As always your soldiers are doing an OUTSTANDING JOB and help them to remain focused on finishing up the next several weeks. I know there a lot of decisions that everyone has to start thinking about for the re-integration back into our lives; but if at all possible minimize the destracting items from the Soldiers current lives so they can come home safe to you.

God Speed to you all, and THANK YOU for your support to our Soldiers.

CPT Mitchell

Nicholas trained on the Javelin

Check out the new toy that Nick has trained for...

Click picture to play video

Read more about the Javelin Anti-Tank Missle here:

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Nick - New Address

Nick's new address is:

PFC Nicholas Schriefer
700 Quartermaster Road #704
Ft. Richardson, AK 99505-8220

Heard from both boys

Jon called today. His internet is screwing up quite a bit so he is considering terminating it. He said that they have now told them that we can continue to mail packages until November now. Also, there is rumors of extending their tour, but nothing firm yet.

Nick IM'd me breifly this morning. They went swimming this morning and he says they had to race to see who could get two bricks from the bottom of the 10ft deep pool first and make it back up with them. Fun Fun.

Nothing firm yet for Christmas for either of them.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Quick Update

Jon thinks he will be back around 26 December. We should not send any more mail to him because he may not be able to get it. He is going to start shipping his personal stuff back to USA.

Nick is back from Fairbanks. Sounds like he had a good time playing Rambo. Looks like he will be home for Christmas - 10-26 December.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Jonathan Back At Work

IM'd with Jon this morning. He is back in Iraq and went straight to a shift as soon as he arrived. Looks like he is changing squads, but job remains same with some new faces. All is fine.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Nicholas Goes to Fairbanks

Nick has left for a 2 week exercise in Fairbanks. He understands that they will be jumping in and spending the time in intensive training clearing houses and villages during live-fire exercises. He will be out of contact until first of the month.

Nick said it is getting colder up there and much darker in the mornings.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Nick's Trip to Australia - Complete Album

While Nick was visiting last week, he gave me all the pictures from Australia. A few of them I already had, but here is a link to the complete album of his pictures.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Jon and Nick visit

Jon came home on leave for a couple weeks. Nick made a suprise weekend visit, so all of us got to spend a little time together. Both have returned to their bases now, but here are a few pictures taken during their visit.

If anyone has additional photos to add, please send them to me and I will add them to the album.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Nicholas successfully completed his EIB testing yesterday and has been awarded the Expert Infantryman Badge. Info on the badge

Here is an article describing the EIB testing and the badge: Expert Infantryman's Badge

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Article - Fighting Smarter (Popular Mechanics, Aug 2005)

Here's a good article I ready recently form the August issue of Popular Mechanics...

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Welcome Home!
Jon arriving at DFW

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Nick in Australia

Here's a few more pictures of Nick in Australia. He says he's sending me the whole CD of pictures... We'll see.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Iraq Pictures (Apr - Jun 2005)

Here's some new pictures from Jon...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Videos from Iraq

Jon sent me these three videos a while back and I just realized that I never posted them online. To play any of them, just click on the picture.

2005-04. Video Jon took in Iraq showing his current living quarters

2005-03. Video Jon took during his unit's Easter barbecue.

2005-02. Video Jon took from the tower of a dog playing with a plastic bag.

Australia Photos

Nick sent me seven photos from Australia. Hopefully more to follow.
I spoke with him yesterday and all is fine. Some of his unit is on leave right now, so he's just doing miscellaneous stuff around for a few weeks.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Good Website: www.welcometroops.com

This website details the daily Welcome Home events at DFW airport for returning soldiers

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy 4th of July!

Shadow wanted to wish everyone a Happy 4th of July, and show her patriotism! Click the link below to see her Stars & Stripes picture! To see the "Making of" video, click here.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Spoke with Jon yesterday

Yesterday I IM'd with Jon. His internet service has been down for a while now so he went to the Gym and used the computer there. He said all is fine. There is a sand storm going on, but it wasn't too severe - just makes it harder to breath. He said the weather hasn't been too hot there (I think its stayed below 110 F). Recently, he worked at one of the entry gates and checked vehicles as they entered the base. He said the day goes by pretty fast there.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Welcoming The Troops Home at DFW

This is a great website that talks about welcoming troops home at DFW. There are flights coming in daily and they always have groups of people there to welcome the troops and shake their hands.


Friday, June 17, 2005

Nick Leaving on a Jet Plane...

Nick is leaving today for Rockhampton, Australia. He will be flying non-stop from Anchorage on his 17 hour flight. His Unit will be flying there aboard six C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. Info on the aircraft is available here.

His flight will take him 6,900 miles to Rockhampton near the East NE coastline of the Great Barrier Reaf. Temperatures currently are 50-75° F. - about the same as Anchorage. There is an 18 hour time difference between the two locations.

Rockhampton, Australia

Friday, June 10, 2005

Nick Going to Battle Crocodile Dundee

Nick leaving in a couple days to Australia. He will enjoy a lengthly flight aboard a military trasnport plane from Alaska to Australia accompanied by a jump into the Outback to invade and take over an air base. He will enjoy 10 action packed days with 180 of his closest battle buddies battling Ausi Insurgents to capture their "Barbe".

He said there will be six aircraft and they will have to make two passes to allow everyone to jump off the planes. Sounds like a wild ride.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Two New Articles in Dallas Morning News

Two new articles appeared in the Dallas Morning News recently.

The first is about a unit in the 56th BCT (Jon's Brigade) looking for IEDs.

The second is about a Sgt in the 111th Engineering Battallion (Jon's Battallion) fishing in Victory Lake. (You may recall that Jon sent several pictures of Victory Lake - see April 18, Pictures from Baghdad)

Friday, May 27, 2005

Mowing Grass in Iraq

This photo and text is from one of the soldier's families of the 56th BCT. Its amazing what we will do for reminders of home.

"Here is a soldier stationed in Iraq, stationed in a big sand box. He asked his wife to send him dirt (U.S. soil), fertilizer and some grass seeds, so he can have the sweet aroma and feel the grass grow beneath his feet.If you notice, he is even cutting the grass with a pair of a scissors. Sometimes we are in such a hurry that we don't stop and think about the little things that we take for granted. "

Mowing Grass in Iraq

Thursday, May 26, 2005

PV2 Nick's New Job

Spoke to Nick briefly. He now has a stripe so he's a Private 2nd Class (PV2).

He also has a new job - AG (Alternate Gunner maybe?). He's the guy who carries the rounds and the tripod for the M240 machine gun. Another guy carries the machine gun and additional rounds. Nick's job is to feed the rounds to the machine gun and point at the targets for the gunner to shoot at.

Jon's and Nick's Addresses

Here is a reminder of the mailing addresses for the boys...

PV2 Jonathan Schriefer
B Co. 111th EN BN WPMUB0 (<-- zero)
APO, AE 09342-1400

PV2 Nicholas Schriefer
FCO 1st BN, 19th INF
618 Access Drive
Mailbox 28
Fort Richardson AK 99505

I have found that USPS Priority Mail is the best method to ship packages to both of them. A Priority Mail envelope takes about 1.5 weeks to reach Jonathan and a Priority Mail package takes about 2 weeks. For Nicholas, Priority Mail takes 3 days - plus its cheaper and faster than UPS or FedEx ground services (taking 5-6 days).

You can get free Priority Mail boxes in various sizes for free from the Post Office and online at usps.com. There are several sizes, two of which are flat rate ($7.70) and are the cheapest way to ship if over 2 lbs. Shipments to Jonathan must also have a Customs Declaration form (PS Form 2976) since it is an International package. All of these supplies can be ordered from the USPS website for free so that you always have them available and don't have to search at your local Post Office (takes 2 weeks to deliver them).

Mail going to Jonathan must be taken to the Post Office in person, but can be sealed prior. You cannot use online postage for International packages. Mail to Nicholas can be sent just like any other US package and you can print the postage online at USPS.com.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Quick Update - Nick

I've also spoken with Nick several times over past couple weeks, the last time during the Desperados game. There are some recent rumors regarding his deployment. Instead of waiting until mid-2006 to deploy to Iraq, they may be deploying in several months to Afghanistan for a while, then on to Iraq. I think he will be coming home on leave prior to deployment.

Nick went camping weekend before last and said it was a blast. He sent a few pictures (click on pic)

Camping Trip

Quick Update - Jon

I've spoken / IM'd with Jon several times over past couple weeks. Everything is fine. He went to a USO concert on base the other night to see Toby Keith (sings "American Soldier"). He said he had a good time, even though it was Country music.

Toby Kieth at Victory

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Dallas Desperados

Sunday, the Dallas Desperados (arena football) provided 500 tickets to families of the 56th Brigade Combat Team (Jon's Brigade). Jill and I went, along with Jill's parents and my Mother. There were quite a few families there and we all wore t-shirts with US and Texas flags. They honored some of the soldiers on the field during the game and Channel 5 had a blurb about it on the news Sunday night - here's the news clip... http://photos.imageevent.com/schriefer/jonsvideos/Desperados_20050522.WMV

There's also some pictures I took at the game (click on the pic below). Sorry some are a bit blurry, but we were pretty far back. I tried to keep the boys in mind by including some cheerleader pictures too! ;)

Desperados Game

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Jon's Units in the News

Here's an article I read about K-9 bomb sniffing dogs being used in the 111th EN (Jonathan's unit). http://www.defendamerica.mil/articles/apr2005/a042805la1.html

An article appeared in Friday's Dallas Morning News about internet access and other comforts of home that Jon's units have. Click on the picture to download the PDF file.

A previous article appeared in the DMN about a school that the 56th Brigade helped build in Bahgdad. This is probably one of several Iraqi schools that the 56th is currently taking donations to help buy schools supplies (info at serveoursoldiers.us).

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Nick's New Address and Phone Number

Nick sent me a couple pictures earlier this month and I'm just now getting them online. He said he has some more to send, but don't have them yet. Clicking on the picture below will take you to his photo album.

Also, here is Nick's new address and phone:

Pvt Schriefer
A Co. TF1 / 501st ABN
618 Access Drive, Mailbox 28
Fort Richardson, AK 99505-8105

Nick's cell phone plan has unlimited minutes after 7:00 PM (10:00 PM Central) and on weekends.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Pictures from Baghdad

Friday, I received a CD from Jonathan with lots of pictures he has taken over the past few months. Here is a link to the album on Snapfish.com. There were videos on the CD as well - I will be uploading them in the next few days. -Tavis

"Hello from Iraq"

Friday, April 08, 2005

Update from Nick

Nick is now settled in his new room and so far looks like he has it to himself. He has now finished with his in-processing and is now starting to do training exercises and lots of PT (Physical Training).

My thoughts turn to Gomer Pyle out on the snowy tundra doing jumping jacks - I'm sure Nick thinks it was that easy. From what I understand, it is quite strenuous to run in a foot of snow, however he likes the moments when they have to "take a knee", putting one knee on the ground (packed snow) because it acts as an ice pack to his strained knee.

He has spent a bit of money lately buying and preparing his uniforms with the various patches and such. Seems they will provide the stuff eventually, but they will hound you until its done - so better to just do it at your own expense. As one of the "new guys", many of the NCOs give them shit for a while - sort of like a Freshman in High School, but instead of punches in the arm, they make you see how many push-ups you can do or see how long you can "pick cherries" (stand with your arms fully extended and touch alternating fingers to your thumb).

It looks like his unit is going to be quite busy. Here are the plans as he knows so far...

  • Next week he is on a 4-day exercise on the base where they will drop in (parachute) and take over a mock city.
  • Sometime before July they will be going to Australia and then to Thailand for additional maneuvers
  • He will be home in July for leave - don't know how long yet
  • Mid-2006 it looks like their unit will be going to Iraq for a tour of duty. Obviously this info will change 48 times before then as well.

I gave him a book before he left, titled "Generation Kill", that I started reading on my trip to Germany. He told me last night that he has been reading it a lot and really likes it (wow, Nick likes a book). I planned to send (or have Nick send) it to Jonathan after Nick was done with it.

All for now.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Message from Nick

Its pretty nice down here so far, ive heard many things bout the "hazings" that go on here when ur new to tha unit. I think it was last year when a SGT got in trouble for gettin a soldier all cut up and beat to hell. im not really to worried bout it. It also seems lik EVERYONE i talk to that has lived here thier whole life hates it and wants to leave. They say the Summer is great, but the winter SUKS! sooo cant decide if i like it or not until ive been here for at LEAST 1 winter.P.S.- I do know that im goin to the 501 INF Unit and it IS an airborne unit. SWEEEEEEEEEEEEET!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Nick called last night

Nick called last night. He will probably have his new cell phone by Monday. He said they are still building the dorms that he will be living in for the next 3 years - and he hears that they may have their own rooms. He said it doesn't feel as cold as the temp really is, probably because its dry. According to Nick, Fort Richardson is a very small base with only about 4 main streets. They have to go to Elmendorf AFB to go to the PX. He said that there are free transprotation around the bases provided by a wife's club. Sounds like he likes it there and the people have been very nice to him.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Desert Jon called today

Jonathan called today. Its getting warmer there now and apparently the mosquitoes are out in force. His Grandmother gave me some citronella candles to ship him and I will be adding a few movies to the box.

Everything is going fine.

Polar Nick has landed

Nick called me a few minutes ago. He has landed in Anchorage and said there is about 2 feet of snow. He said the mountains are beautiful. He also didn't waste any time meeting women and has already got a phone number. He was joined in Salt Lake City by several of his Airborne buddies who are stationed at Fort Richardson as well.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Nick Goes To Alaska

Here's an update on Nick. He graduated Airborne school on 11 March and came home for leave before going to his first duty station at Fort Richardson, Alaska (in Anchorage and next to Elmendorf AFB).

Fort Richardson

Looks like the "polar" opposite of Jon's current location. His cell phone won't work there because Sprint's "nationwide" service doesn't cover Alaska, so everyone that has his number, just hold on to it until you hear of a new one.

Nick leaves tomorrow and will probably enjoy the weather there since he is complaining that our 70 degree weather is too hot. Here are a couple links to the area with some pictures...



Spoke with Jon yesterday

I spoke with Jon yesterday - first time by phone in a while. I did IM with him a couple times while I was in Germany. He is doing fine. He has access to internet from time to time, but its slow . He said he had pictures to send when he can. He also IM'd with Nick for a while the other day (Nick has been back home on leave)

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Online Photo Albums

It's taking me forever, but I'm starting to get our photo albums online. I've created a second blog to make it easier for everyone else to see our general family photo albums. However I will continue to update this blog with information and pictures regarding the boys and their tours of duty. The Schrifer Photo Album blog is at http://schrieferphotos.blogspot.com/

Here are the new additions for Jon and Nick...

8/19/2004 - Jon's Bootcamp Graduation
Here are pictures of Jon's graduation from Bootcamp at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Tavis, Nick and Jan drove there and spent 4 days.

10/8/2004 - Jon's AIT Graduation Ceremony
Here are pictures of Jon's AIT Graduation Ceremony at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Tavis and Jill drove there for the ceremony and brought Jon back for a few days before he reported in at Fort Hood, Texas.

2/11/2005 - Nick's Bootcamp Graduation Ceremony
Here is the photo album of Nick's Turning Blue Ceremony (10 Feb 2005) and Graduation Ceremony (11 Feb 2005) at Fort Benning, Georgia. There are also pictures of the Infantry Museum at Fort Benning.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Baghdad Update

Hey everyone, we finally got internet in our barracks! It's not all that fast, but it IS faster than a dial-up connection and it actually works, so I'm happy with it. Especially since i don't have to ride my bike to go to the gym to get online :D Although I still don't have a phone close by. The DSN phone line (military phones) that is close by me didn't work last I checked on Saturday. I've also taken a lot more pics and now that I have my own internet, i can start uploading them. Also, I mailed a letter to Lenn (did i spell that right??). And I don't have grandpa and grandnan's yahoo id's yet...but I did want to say thank you for the care packages - they are all very much appreciated not only by me but by the rest of the guys in my platoon as well!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Videos from Iraq

Here are two videos Jon sent from Iraq: one of his old room, the other of his watch tower and his "sector of fire". There is some language at the beginnig of the watch tower video - just an FYI.


We apologize for the blog not being updated recently, but we've both been extremely busy catching up from going to Georgia, and getting ready for Germany. BUT, it will be updated before we leave, so check back soon!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Nick's new mailing address

Nick has a new mailing address, but it will only be good for about a month - while he's in Airborne school. This is a box at the UPS Store nearby, so there are no special markings required on the envelopes and can accept all types of mail delivery (USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.)

Pvt. Nicholas Schriefer
7600 Schomburg Rd., #210A
Columbus, GA 31909

Nicholas' Graduation and Next Steps

I'm running behind a bit on updating the blog.

Jill and I went to Nick's Basic Training graduation in Ft. Benning last Friday. The graduation was really good, with Bradley Fighting Vehicles, mortars, and more. The weather was cold, but not as bad as the previous day's Turning Blue ceremony.

The ceremony started out with soldiers launching mortars and smoke grenades, then Bradleys rushed out on the parade grounds and troops emerged from them and did a mock manuever. The speaker then described the weapons that the infantry squads carry while the soldiers showed them to the crowd. Then the Bradleys rushed over and all the soldiers crammed into them and the vehicles rushed off. During this time, the smoke grenades created a wall of smoke that the wind took right into the VIP area, and just a small amount came into the "regular folk" stands. After the Bradleys left the grounds, the graduates all came marching on to the field and the main ceremony began. There were two companys graduating, Echo and Foxtrot, each with four platoons - so there were quite a few soldiers out there. We were able to narrow down to Nick's platoon, but beyond that were not able to locate him until almost the end of the ceremony.

We have pictures that I hope to get online this weekend. We also have some video that I will try and share. They had videographers there and we purchased a DVD, but it will take about 4 weeks.

Nick has now moved to Airborne school on the same base and is scheduled to begin next week. He is joined by several of his battle buddies from basic training and is meeting new people from all branches of the service. Airborne school trains all US branches and I think some other countries as well.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Passing on an email from Lenn

Hey there,

I sent a couple of boxes of interesting stuff to Jon from all of us Hoosiers. If you talk to him, let him know that what he can't use or doesn't need, he can give to his buddies. Randy and I had a good time looking for neat stuff to send. Hopefully it will make it to them ok. Love the blog.

Happy VD day,

Friday, February 11, 2005

Phone call with Jonathan

Spoke with Jonathan for a while this evening. It was good timing, because I'm at Fort Benning with Nick, who just graduated basic training. Nick spoke with Jon for a while, then I spoke with him.

Jon said he has now moved into baracks (he was living in a type of trailer before) and shares a large room with 6 others. He said the personal space area is just as large as it was in the trailer, so not so bad. He received the first package that I shipped and its been really cold there.

Nick's "Turning Blue" Ceremony

We attended Nick's Turning Blue Ceremony yesterday at Fort Benning. This signifies where they officially become Infantrymen and the parents (or a drill sgt for those whose parents didn't come) put the blue braided cord around their arm and shoulder. It was about 50° and windy - so everyone was freezing. They stood out there about 20 minutes before starting. Here's some quick shots. Today is his graduation ceremony - more pics to come.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Brief IM with Jonathan

Spoke to Jon for a few minutes this morning. All is fine - he's keeping busy. He said that the morar fire the other day wasn't the pic I had up here before. He told me where he is, but I won't post here. I don't think he's received any of the packages yet, but I think it takes several weeks. I will be shipping another package to him in next couple days (smaller one), before I go to Georgia.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Pics from Iraq - Thumbs Up Jon

IM'ed with Jon this morning. All doing well, but there was mortar fire going on. He has bought a new camera and sent these pictures. Its the Ba'ath Party house. He's been trying some of the local food, didn't say if he liked it or not.

Nick survives Ice Storm

Nick called a few days ago. He survived FTX (field training exercise) during the worst ice storm this winter. He said he froze his ass off! He lived outside for about a week during the storm. When they got back there was a major inspection of the quarters looking for all contraband. He said that some of the guys were caught with booze (dumb-shits). He is now finished with all the training and gets to spend down time cleaning stuff until they graduate this Friday. I also received a letter from him which indicates he will be looking for wine and women following graduation. Jill and I are driving over there on Thursday to see him, so it should be a couple days of fun sandwiched between two days of grueling 12 hour drives. I will send the letter in an email. If you don't get it, let me know.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Nick and the North Pole

Haven't heard from Nick, but he is supposed to be out on his 7-day field training, living in the woods in Georgia. As it turns out, this is the same area that we saw quite a bit of coverage on CNN yesterday - fully covered in a huge ice storm. As I recall from Jon's training, they have to dig their own fox hole and sleep in it with all their gear. When Jon went through this, it was raining and really muddy. Nick was unhappy because the forecast looked like rain - so I bet he's REALLY hating life about now.

1st Care Package Shipping

Now that Jon has a mailing address, I'm sending off the 1st care package tomorrow. I will also begin putting together items with the goal of sending the next package in about a week. I want to get this one off even if it won't have a lot in it, because it will have his field jacket. He sent me an email the same day he posted the blog and said that food is OK (he mentioned his Grandmother's fudge specifically). He also asked for some DVDs of movies or TV shows. I've been making some DVDs lately of shows from TV, etc. and will be including some with the package.

I got up at 6AM this fine Sunday morning planning on making updates to the IDEATIVE website, but instead have been sitting here, enjoying my coffee and reading other blogs and online news sites from around the world. It came to me that Jonathan loved Starbucks so much, I thought I would get some coffee from there and include in his package as well.

One thing I read on a London newspaper (on-line) this morning - its really sticking in my head - is that a columnist referred to the fastest growing generation of web surfers (over 65) and termed them "Silver Surfers" - I thought that was pretty funny. I thought I would throw that out, in case my parents are reading ;)

Off and on, I read several blogs from soldiers in Iraq. They provide a perspective of how things are and how different soldiers feel about what they are going through. Here are the blogs I've been looking at so far:

Sgt Steven Kiel's blog, http://stevenkiel.blogspot.com/
American Soldier, http://www.soldierlife.com/
A Line In The Sand, http://missick.blogs.com/warblog/

One Item I would like to point out is on Steven Kiel's blog titled "Iraqi Elections" (January 25). The comments are interesting as well.

Below is a list of care package ideas from Steven Kiel's blog. This isn't necessarily what Jonathan would want, just some feedback from other soldiers. Some of the items I personally don't think Jonathan would want - at least not yet, but I didn't edit the list below. Jon, let us know what kind of stuff you would like and we'll take care of it.

On Steven's blog, he said, "I know many of you have asked about care packages and what kind of things we need. I’ve come up with a list, which is surely not exclusive. Out of the ordinary things are always kind of nice too, so don’t limit yourself to these things if you’re thinking of sending something. If possible, try to get things in sealable containers so the bugs won’t get into them. Just have fun looking for things and the package will be good. I intend to share this with my platoon, so don’t restrict yourself to things that you think just I would like."


  • Granola bars
  • Power Bars
  • Protein powder
  • Candy - please no Skittles though, they put those in some of our MRE’s and we’re all kind of sick of them.
  • Gourmet coffee
  • Beef Jerky/Slim Jim’s
  • Trail Mix
  • Peanuts
  • Chips- like Pringles
  • Gum- sugar free preferably, so my teeth don’t rot out.
  • Microwaveable popcorn


  • Toilet seat covers
  • Mach 3 razors
  • Mouthwash
  • Baby wipes
  • Vitamins
  • Floss
  • Foot powder
  • Those poofy things for liquid soap (yeah, I don’t know what they’re called)
  • Deodorant
  • Eye drops
  • Cough medicine, Aleve, Nyquil


  • Magazines – National Review, Weekly Standard anyone?
  • Books
  • DVD’s
  • CD’s


  • Little flashlights
  • Stationary
  • Pens
  • Air fresheners
  • I think Citronella candles would be good to get rid of the bugs when it gets warmer out, but I don’t know if it’s possible to mail those
  • Tupperware
  • Plastic forks and knives
  • Coffee cups
  • Dish soap
  • Sponges

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Who's your Baghdaddy??

Well, we're in Baghdad now (have been for about 5 days, but dad hasn't answered my email to his msn account so i just sent one to his Ideative account and Yahoo) This place is beautiful (on our camp) there are four or five palaces on the two camps that i have access to, which when i can i will post some more pics (my camera is definately destroyed - i took it apart to try to get the sand out and it wont work anymore) we didn't get attacked when we landed and there was no way anyone could have gotten to us anyways... So far I've met a bunch of Iraqi children from up in the towers that we work in - they are all fairly nice. Outside of our camp looks a lot like Tijuana, Mexico (according to our Platoon Leader) and mostly the Iraqi people like us. The elections are starting tomorrow so we won't have any contact with the outside world for a while (about 3 or 4 days maybe a little longer depending on what happens). My mailing address is :
PV2 Schriefer, Jonathan L.
B co. 111th EN BN WPMUB0 <--(that's a zero)
APO AE 09342-1400

apparently you only have to pay for postage to New York.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Pvt Nick Update

Heard from Nick yesterday. All good - been doing details (and hates that). They are leaving on their 7-day "camping" trip with a 13 mile Airborne Shuffle (slow jog) to their urban warfare area. After that, he's been told that this will be the conclusion of their training and the remaining time will be spent cleaning their gear and preparing for graduation. He said that spending a week cleaning gear will be the worst part of the entire time at boot camp.

He said he has mailed another letter, but I haven't received it yet.

I found three more pictures of Nick on the soldierschapel website that were taken at church service on Jan. 16 - click on the thumnails below to go to the actual pictures.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Letter from Nicholas (2005-01-17)

Received a letter from Nicholas yesterday. I had spoken to him on the phone between the time he wrote this and the time I received his letter.

I tried to put it on the Blog, but had trouble getting anything other than a picture file out there, so resorted to email. If you didn't get a copy and want to see it, send me an email to tavis_schriefer@yahoo.com


Thursday, January 20, 2005

Phone calls from Jonathan

Jonathan called yesterday around 4:30 AM and we talked for almost an hour. He is all packed up and ready to go - they will be leaving very soon to Iraq.

He had a sinus infection a couple days ago trying to get used to the dry climate. He said he was having to run from one CARE package to another, checking contents and it gets hard to catch your breath. He said they drink plenty of water and that there are pallets of bottled water everywhere. They gave him a couple shots and he slept for quite a while - he's better now.

There was some concern over the ballistic goggles he has - they are not prescription lenses and they are of a type that cannot be on your face along with your glasses. I spent some time with the manufacturer discussing his prescription and the goggles he has vs. What he can/should have - then discussed it with Jon when he called again yesterday afternoon. The goggles issued by the military cannot handle his level of prescription, so I'm going to get him new ones here in the States ($220) and ship to him in a few weeks when he has a shipping address. In the meantime, he is using the older, larger goggles that go on over your glasses and are attached to his helmet (these can be seen in many of the pictures of guys who have been over there for a long while)

He hasn't been able to take any more pictures as his new camera's lens cover doesn't want to open - don't know if its sand or some other problem. His computer still works fine, but does make some noise (from the fan) when you first power it on (likely sand).

He has now used all of his phone cards (it died while we were on the phone). He had a WalMart card from Xmas and a AAFES 550 card that was given to them at the departure ceremony in Waco. He bought some other calling card at the shop he was at, from a Kuwaiti shopkeeper, but had to go find someone with an old $20 bill because his was a new one with colors on it and the shopkeeper thought it was counterfeit. I plan to get him another card from AAFES.com in the next couple weeks and have it delivered to the house. We've determined that he doesn't have to have the physical card, just the numbers on the card - so I can email him the info.

They will be shipping out very soon, so that was the last contact we will have for next few weeks, until they arrive at their new base. Without going into specifics, he said they will be at a very large base with around 10K troops. He is on the first flight out and they have been informed to expect a firefight from the time they land until their convoy arrives at the base.

He is doing well and ready to go. They have plenty of ammo and he is wearing all of his safety gear, so we will hear from him again in a couple weeks. -Tavis

Monday, January 17, 2005

News from the boys

Instant Messaged with Jon today and spoke with Nick. Jon said they are shipping out soon to Iraq. His mission has changed but no details. He said he would try and call me on the phone in the next 24 hours.

Nick called and said they had their PT final - he passed with no problems. They are packing their ruck sacks for a 10 mile ruck march then going to have urban assault training for next few days. After that they will have a 12-14 mile ruck march.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Christmas Pictures Online

It took me forever, but I finally have our Christmas 2004 pictures online at Snapfish.com.

View Pictures

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Nick plays Laser Tag

Heard from Nick yesterday. They "played Army" with the laser vests and guns - he said it was pretty fun. Next they are going to be doing the army crawl through the mud with the barbwire above and the machine guns firing overhead. All and all, he seems to be having fun and actually enjoying it - I guess like I would like to be relaxing on a cruise ship. Yep, he's strange.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Here's me and my friend Tucker at Ft. Hood the night we were leaving Posted by Hello

Here's a couple of my friends - Ross on the left, Villani on the right Posted by Hello

This is my First Sergeant on the plane overseas...The crew talked both the 1st Sgt.s into dressing like this and giving us hot towels and dinner(our second dinner) Posted by Hello

this is what's outside of the base Posted by Hello