The Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti Survival Guide: Dorie Miller Galley

Camp LemonnierOne of the most essential items for surviving at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti is knowing when it is worthwhile to go to the Dorie Miller Galley. This will vary between each person on the camp, but I will share my own experience with dinning at the Dorie Miller Galley for the better part of a year.

It is always worthwhile to go to the Galley for breakfast (M-F) or Breakfast+Brunch (Sat-Sun). Relevant Terminal Lance.

The Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti Survival Guide: Daily Life

In this part of the Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti Survival Guide, we will talk about creating a routine for your time here. Why is this important? Because the camp/galley rules, heat, frequent walking, and work requirements mean you need to be smart and efficient to avoid making multiple trips across camp. Also, I know many people are always deploying here so its nice to hear about a typical day at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.

So what is the right routine? The one with the fewest trips or takes the least amount of time that meets all of your needs. Everyone’s routine is a little different based on their needs and personal situation.
Continue reading “The Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti Survival Guide: Daily Life”

The Camp Lemonnier Survival Guide: Packing List

Camp Lemonnier Survival Guide

Congratulations! You just found out you are coming to Camp Lemonnier. What do you really need to survive in Djibouti? Not really anything. Everything you absolutely need is provided by the camp. That includes bedding, food, gym, and entertainment.

The bigger question is what do you need to be comfortable here? What do you need to bring from home? What can you order on Amazon? And what can you pick up second-hand through the swap shop?

How to Sign Up for the Thrift Savings Plan

Thrift Savings PlanThe smartest thing you can do when you join the military is invest in the Thrift Savings Plan.
The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is the government version of a 401(k) retirement account. The Thrift Savings Plan offers both a regular retirement account and a Roth retirement account.

The Thrift Savings Plan is preferred over civilian retirement accounts because of the low fees associated with the plan options. Every retirement account invests your retirement money into different funds selected by you, these funds charge a management fee for invested money. The lower the fees, the more money comes back to you instead of going to the fund managers.

Investing in the TSP also takes advantage of the tax benefits of military service. Because Basic Allowance for Housing and Basic Allowance for Sustenance are not taxed, military members often have a lower taxable income than they would if they were in a civilian position.

United Nation’s Post-Gulf War Sanctions on Iraq

Written in November 2012

Prior to the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq was a powerful player in the Middle East because of the economic potential of its natural resource reserves, religious and cultural significance, strategic location within the region, and aggressive foreign policy. After Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the United Nations (UN) implemented wide-ranging sanctions against Iraq under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

The UN sought to end Iraq’s long-term threat to international peace and security. The sanctions placed restrictions on Iraq’s export of oil, import of non-humanitarian goods, required the elimination of Iraq’s long-range ballistic missile capabilities, weapons of mass destruction programs, and held Iraq financially liable for the damage caused by the invasion. The sanctions effectively destroyed Iraq’s economy and ability to act as a sovereign nation.

Faced with the prospect of complying with the sanctions or ending his authoritarian regime, Saddam Hussein implemented multiple domestic and international policies to evade sanctions and maintain power in Iraq. UN sanctions against Iraq were ineffective as a non-violent means of coercion and resulted in massive human suffering among the Iraqi people.

The international community considers Iraq a natural leader in the Middle East because of its economic potential, strategic location, and religious, cultural, and historical significance. The International Energy Agency ranks Iraq’s proven oil and gas reserves at 5th and 13th in the world respectively. The International Energy Agency believes Iraq has the potential to contribute greatly to the global supply of oil.[1] Prior to the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Iraq’s oil production was nearing 3 million barrels per day as it recovered from the damage caused by the Iran-Iraq war. Iraq’s pre-Gulf War economy was almost entirely dependent on revenue from oil exports. [2]

Iraq is strategically located on historic trade routes between the larger Asian continent and Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Historical Iraqi civilizations, such as the Assyrians, Sassanians and Babylonians, are significant in the religious history of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Iraq is home to the city of Najaf, which holds the tomb of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the cousin and son and law of Mohammed. Ali is significant to both Sunni and Shia sects of Islam, and is consider the rightful heir to Mohammed and first imam in Shia Islam. Iraq contains many other Shia religious sites, which bring millions of Shia religious tourists to Iraq every year. Iraq’s economic and cultural position in the region and world ultimately make it a difficult country to isolate with long-term economic sanctions.

Prior to WWII, the international community formed the League of Nations with the simplified goal of preventing further wars; the UN continues this legacy. The founders of the UN envisioned several fundamental purposes for the successor to the League of Nations. Primarily, the UN would use its powers to maintain peace and security. To that end, the UN could arbitrate international disputes and help settle the disputes by peaceful means.

The UN would also promote friendly inter-state relations based on equal rights and self-determination, foster economic and social cooperation, and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons. [3] Antonio Cassese notes that the UN has often failed to maintain international peace and security, elicit disarmament, or bridge the gap between rich and poor countries. [4]

One of the key differences between the League of Nations and the UN is the UN Security Council (UNSC) and its powers under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Chapter VII gives the UNSC the authority to, “…determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression.” [5] Chapter VII also allows the UNSC to instruct member states to take economic, diplomatic, and military actions to remove the threat to peace and security. [6][7]

The UNSC responded to the invasion of Kuwait by demanding the immediate withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait in UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 660. [8] Four days later, the UN invoked Chapter VII of the UN Charter in its adoption of UNSCR 661, which restricted all States from importing any commodities or products from Iraq and occupied Kuwait. [9]

UNSCR 665 further reinforced the restrictions from UNSCR 661 by authorizing the maritime forces of UN member states to halt and inspect inbound and outbound maritime traffic in the Persian Gulf to ensure compliance with UNSCR 661. [10] At the time, Iraq exported a majority of its oil through two offshore oil terminals in the Persian Gulf. These two sanctions effectively halted Iraq’s export of oil and significantly affected Iraq’s economy.

On 29 November 1990, the UN approved UNSCR 678, which gave Iraq until 15 January 1991 to implement its obligations under UNSCR 660. UNSCR 678 also noted Iraq’s failure to implement UN resolutions related to Iraq’s violations of international law due to its invasion of Kuwait. If Iraq failed to comply, the UN authorized member states to use all necessary means to implement UN Security Council Resolutions related to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

Operation Desert Storm began on 17 January 1991 with a massive bombing campaign against Iraq. The bombing campaign severely damaged Iraq’s oil production and public health infrastructure. A post war UN report noted the widespread damage to Iraq’s infrastructure and recommended “…immediate steps be taken to alleviate the priority needs identified by the mission in the areas of food supply, health services, water and sanitation, power generation, the oil sector and telecommunications.” [11]

On 2 March 1991, UNSCR 686 called for the arrangement of a formal cease-fire with the condition Iraq accept and implement its responsibilities under UNSCRs related to its invasion of Kuwait. [12] UNSCR 687 declared a formal cease-fire and laid out Iraq’s formal obligations under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. UNSCR 687 called for the formal demarcation of the Iraq-Kuwait border, Iraq’s acceptance of the demarcated border, and required Iraq to reaffirm unconditionally its obligations under international non-proliferation, chemical, biological and nuclear materials treaties.

The international community sought to inspect and destroy Iraq’s mass destruction and ballistic missiles with longer ranges and required Iraq to declare the size and location of all weapons of mass destruction. Iraq was required to located and repatriate Kuwait missing persons and state archives. Iraq would reject prior statements nullifying its foreign debt obligations and would be financially liable for its debts as well as all damage to foreign governments, corporations, and persons caused by the invasion of Kuwait. Restrictions on Iraq’s export of oil, import of non-humanitarian goods, foreign financial transactions, military equipment, and dual-use technology (technology with both military-civilian applications) would continue under the auspices of a UNSC appointed committee until lifted by the UN Security Council. [13]

The main obstacle to the recovery of Iraq’s post war economy was the recovery of Iraq’s oil sector. The bombing campaign severely damaged Iraq’s oil infrastructure and would require extensive repairs. UN sanctions restricted the purchase of non-humanitarian goods and placed overbearing restrictions on the import of dual-use items to repair oil facilities.

Iraq’s economy also faced UN sanctions that required Iraq to pay for UN administrative costs, weapons inspections, and its liability for damage caused by the invasion through a percentage of its petroleum revenue. [14] The UN initially permitted the sale of up to $1.6 billion of Iraqi petroleum and set Iraq’s compensation obligation at 30% of all petroleum revenue.[15][16] Iraq’s economic dependence on oil exports and inability to restore its pre-war oil production capacity severely strained Iraq’s economic influence in the world. Despite the economic sanctions, Iraq continually refused to comply with the terms of the cease-fire as laid out in UNSCR 687.

As required by UNSCR 687, the UN moved to demarcate and physically mark the border between Iraq and Kuwait. The result was UNSCR 833 and an accompanying report, which specified the official demarcation of the Iraq-Kuwait land and maritime border under the 1963 Agreed Minutes between the State of Kuwait and the Republic of Iraq regarding the restoration of friendly relations, recognition and related matters.

The UN Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission invited Iraq and Kuwait to assist the demarcation, which would allow both countries to provide input on the placement of border markers in addition to the information contained in historical agreements. Iraq initially participated in the work of the commission, but withdrew with complaints that commission was illegitimate. [17] After the UN published UNSCR 833 in 1993, Iraq refused to recognize the border as demarcated, because:

“…the Council had no right, pursuant to its functions and powers under the Charter, to impose a boundary delimitation on a Member State because, under international law, that sphere of competence was governed by the principle of agreement between the States concerned and because it had, with the precision legally required, no relation to questions of the maintenance of international peace and security that were the sphere of competence of the Council.” [18]

Iraq’s Minister of Foreign Affairs further contended:

“…the decisions adopted by the Commission represented, inter alia, a purely political decision imposed by the Powers dominating the Security Council and the UN, which would constitute a dangerous precedent contrary in substance and consequences to the duties and responsibilities entrusted to the Council by the Charter.” [19]

The UN Security Council responded by citing Iraq’s acceptance of UNSCR 687, which specified border demarcation as a condition of the cease-fire. After the adoption of UNSCR 833, Iraq became increasingly aggressive toward Kuwait. Iraq deployed elements of the Republican Guard to Southern Iraq in 1994. The UN responded with UNSCR 949, which noted Iraq aggressive actions towards Kuwait and demanded the end of Iraq’s aggressive actions. [20]

Iraq eventually relented on its deployment of Republican Guard units and accepted the border as demarcated under UNSCR 833 on 10 November 1994. Iraq continued to dispute the legitimacy of UNSCR 833 even after the removal of the Saddam Hussein regime by the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Kuwait’s decision to build a commercial port on Bubiyan Island in the Khor Abdallah (Shared waterway between Iraq and Kuwait, UNSCR 833 divided border along median rather than thalweg, which placed deep water channel in Kuwaiti territory) antagonized Iraqi politicians, who viewed it as a Kuwaiti attempt to block access to Iraq’s only deep water port.[21]

In the 1990s, Iraq also repeatedly challenged UN weapons inspections within Iraq. Multiple UN Security Council Resolutions throughout the 1990s show Iraq’s refusal to comply with weapons inspection as required by UNSCR 687. Iraq would at times, show acceptance of its obligations to declare and allow inspections of its weapons programs but then release statements questioning the legitimacy of the UN Security Council and its resolutions regarding Iraq.

Iraq’s declarations of its weapons programs and stockpiles were often incomplete and were revised and expanded multiple times. Iraqi troops often blocked or harassed the attempts by the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) to inspect sites. Iraq also continually threatened to cease cooperation with UNSCOM. Between 1991 and 1999, eleven UNSCRs found Iraq in violation of its obligations under UNSCR 687 because of its refusal to declare its weapons programs and stockpiles, allow UNSCOM access to various sites, and its repeated refusals to cooperate with UNSCOM. The United States used the continued rejection of weapons inspections as part of its justifications for the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.[22]

In 1995, the United States proposed the Oil for Food program because of the declining humanitarian situation in Iraq. Under the program, Iraq’s deposited oil revenue into an escrow account controlled by the UN. Iraq could then sign contracts to import humanitarian goods to Iraq.

Saddam Hussein manipulated the program accept bribes from vendors and then steer contracts signed by the Government of Iraq to the bribe-paying vendor (this form of bribery is known as kickbacks.) Iraq also illicitly exported oil outside the scope of the Oil for Food program and used the proceeds to purchase items restricted under UNSCR 687. A UN investigation of the Oil for Food program showed the program director received over $150,000 in bribes from Saddam Hussein. The Oil for Food program gave Iraq the ability to withstand UN sanctions despite its original intention of alleviating the suffering of the Iraqi people.[23]

Child mortality rates rose in Iraq after the First Gulf War and continued to rise under the UN sanctions on Iraq. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) conducted parallel household surveys in 1999 that estimated the First Gulf War and its aftermath contributed to 400,000 and 500,000 excess deaths of children under 5 years old. [24] According to University of Vermont Economics Professior Abbas Alnasrawi, the consequences of UN sanctions led to:

“…[Iraq’s] death rates across the board have increased and life expectancy has declined by several years. Estimates of the number of people who lost their lives because of the sanctions range up to 1.5 million people, including more than 500,000 children. The World Health Organization concluded that the health system had been set back by some 50 years. This is not surprising in the light of the fact that per capita GDP in the 1990s was lower than that of 1950.” [25]

The United States and several UNSCR cited these statistics to justify the creation of the Oil for Food program.

Iraq also contributed to the suffering of the Iraqi people by refusing to accept the conditions placed on Iraqi oil sales by the UNSC. Iraq’s belief that the UN Sanctions were illegitimate led to Iraq’s rejection of UNSCR 706 and 986, which would have allowed the sale of oil to purchase humanitarian goods.

Iraq finally accepted UN control of its oil revenue and the escrow program that would allow it to sell oil in 1996. Yet, Iraq still faced difficulties restoring oil production because of restrictions on dual use imports, UN requirements that capped Iraq’s oil exports, and requiring 25-30% of Iraqi oil revenue be set aside to fulfill compensation payments to Kuwait. [26]

UN Sanctions against Iraq highlighted the difficulties of enforcing economic sanctions against a domestically repressive and externally aggressive regime. Iraq was able to resist its obligations to declare and allow for the destruction of its chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons program and to accept reconciliation requirements with Kuwait. Economic sanctions only enticed Iraq to submit to short-term acceptance of various terms of the sanctions and then reject them as illegitimate when they were determined to be inconvenient for the regime.

UN economic sanctions were not able to elicit cooperation from Iraq despite the level of hardship they placed on the regime and Iraqi people. The only level of success attributed to the sanctions is that they prevented Iraq from invading Kuwait for a second time.


[1] International Energy Agency. “Iraq Energy Outlook 2012.” International Energy Agency. (accessed November 14, 2012).

[2] International Energy Agency. “Iraq Energy Outlook 2012.” International Energy Agency. (accessed November 14, 2012).

[3] Cassese, Antonio. International law. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. 320. Print.

[4] Cassese, Antonio. International law. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. 336. Print.

[5] “Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace and Acts of Aggression.” In Charter of the UN. San Francisco: UN, 1945. Article 39.

[6] “Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace and Acts of Aggression.” In Charter of the UN. San Francisco: UN, 1945. Article 40.

[7] “Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace and Acts of Aggression.” In Charter of the UN. San Francisco: UN, 1945. Article 41.

[8] U.N. Security Council, 2932nd Meeting. “Resolution 660 (1990) [Iraq’s Invasion of Kuwait]” (S/RES/660). 2 August 1990. (

[9] U.N. Security Council, 2933rd Meeting. “Resolution 661 (1990) [Initial Sanctions Against Iraq]” (S/RES/661). 6 August 1990. (

[10] U.N. Security Council, 2938th Meeting. “Resolution 665 (1990) [Enforcement of Iraqi Sanctions]” (S/RES/665). 25 August 1990. (

[11] U.N. Security Council, “Report to the Secretary-General on Humanitarian needs in Iraq” (S/22799). 17 July 1991. (

[12] U.N. Security Council, 2978th Meeting. “Resolution 686 (1991) [Conditions for Ceasefire]” (S/RES/686). 2 March 1991. (

[13] U.N. Security Council, 2983rd Meeting. “Resolution 687 (1991) [Iraq’s Post War Chapter VII Obligations]” (S/RES/687). 3 April 1991. (

[14] U.N. Security Council, 2987th Meeting. “Resolution 692 (1991) [Establishment of UN Compensation Commission]” (S/RES/692). 20 May 1991. (

[15] U.N. Security Council, 3004th Meeting. “Resolution 705 (1991) [Sets Compensation at Thirty Percent]” (S/RES/705). 15 August 1991. (

[16] U.N. Security Council, 3004th Meeting. “Resolution 706 (1991) [Limited Sale of Iraqi Oil]” (S/RES/706). 15 August 1991. (

[17] U.N. Security Council, 3224th Meeting. “Resolution 883 (1993) [Iraq-Kuwait Border Demarcation]” (S/RES/833). 27 May 1993. (

[18] U.N Security Council; Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council: Supplement 1989-1992; Page 976. URL:

[19] U.N Security Council; Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council: Supplement 1989-1992; Page 976. URL:

[20] U.N. Security Council, 3224th Meeting. “Resolution 883 (1993) [Iraq-Kuwait Border Demarcation]” (S/RES/833). 27 May 1993. (

[21] Arab Times Online, Iraq Threatens UN action over Mubarak Port Project, URL:

[22] UN Special Commission. Chronology of Main Events.

[23] Kenneth Katzman; Congressional Research Service. Iraq: Oil-For-Food Program, International Sanctions, and Illicit Trade; April 16 2003; URL:

[24] Erratum: Annual Mortality Rates and Excess Deaths of Children under Five in Iraq, 1991-98 Population Studies, Vol. 59, No. 1 (Mar., 2005), p. 117; Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of the Population Investigation Committee Article Stable URL:

[25] Iraq: Economic Sanctions and Consequences, 1990-2000; Abbas Alnasrawi; Third World Quarterly , Vol. 22, No. 2 (Apr., 2001), pp. 205-218 URL:

[26] Iraq: Economic Sanctions and Consequences, 1990-2000; Abbas Alnasrawi; Third World Quarterly , Vol. 22, No. 2 (Apr., 2001), pp. 205-218 URL:

Republic of Columbia Writing Assignment

Written in May 2015

The purpose of this paper is to explore the current and future significance of the Republic of Colombia to the United States and its regional role in both North and South America. Colombia’s location, history, and desire to end the domestic production and exportation of illicit drugs make it an important strategic ally for the U.S. in South America.

In the 1960s, Colombia sought the help of the U.S. due to on-going internal conflict. U.S. assistance led to the refocusing of Colombian military, police, and intelligence forces to internal security. The rise of Colombia as the largest supplier of cocaine to world drug markets in the 1970s only complicated its internal security situation. To this day, the U.S. continues to support Colombian internal security through various counter-narcotic and counter-terror programs.
In the 1950s, the United States worried about Soviet influence in the Western Hemisphere and sought strategies to support U.S. friendly governments in Latin America. By 1958, Colombia had faced a 10 year period of political turmoil and countrywide violence known as “La Violencia.” This period ended with the formation of the National Front, an alliance between conservative and liberal political blocs. The National Front actively excluded dissent political blocs, including the Colombian Communist Party. This led to the creation of small, politically distant peasant enclaves in rural regions and many Marxist influenced guerrilla groups. (Library of Congress – Federal Research Division, 2007)

The formation of the National Front led to Colombia’s government requesting U.S. assistance in restoring internal order. The U.S. responded by sending a Special Survey Team to Colombia to assess the situation and make recommendations. In 1960, the Special Survey Team made six recommendations in its in-depth report. These recommendations included creating a special counter-guerilla force, developing and reorganizing Colombian intelligence services, building government public information and psychological warfare capability, rehabilitating public opinion of the Colombian military and police, and building up the capability of the National Police. The most important recommendation from the Special Survey Team was to support long-term national development with an emphasis on building strong democratic ideals. (Rempe, 2002)

In the early 1960s, Colombia used U.S. funding and recommendations to make great strides in both its rural and civic development programs. Colombia built a rural communications and road network to improve early warning and military access to rural areas. Colombia also built trust and extended central government control by expanding medical care and potable water systems to rural areas. The military and police served at the forefront of these development programs, leading to greater trust in government security forces and better intelligence from rural populations. However, this progress was fleeting. The National Front agreement required the shifting between liberal and conservative governments every four years from 1958-1974. This led to inconsistent resolve towards implementing U.S. recommended reforms. (Rempe, 2002)

Rural Colombia became a permissive environment for guerrilla groups and eventually, coca farmers and drug smugglers. By the 1970s, Colombia had become the leading producer and trafficker of illicit drugs. Colombia sought additional assistance from the U.S. to manage the threat of the increasingly wealthy and violent Colombian drug cartels. Colombia and the United States moved to link counter-narcotic and counter-guerrilla operations. Guerrilla groups increasingly relied on illicit drug profits to finance their operations against the government. The U.S. served as the main market for Colombian drugs.

Colombia has served as our strongest ally in South America for decades. The U.S. and Colombia will continue to hold strong ties as Colombia gradually overcomes the decades of internal violence due to guerillas and drug cartels. Colombia is unlikely to forsake its alliance with the U.S. and will likely leverage our alliance to improve its standing in international politics and organizations. The U.S. can also benefit greatly through our alliance with Colombia. Access to Colombian natural resources and markets through strong trade agreements, such as the United States–Colombia Free Trade Agreement, is a continued benefit to the United States.

The two greatest threats facing modern Colombia are guerrillas and drug cartels. Colombia does not face any external security threats from neighboring countries. Poverty is a major threat to individual Colombians and directly contributes to Colombia’s internal security issues. According to Raul Reyes, a prominent member of FARC, said that had the Colombian government “truly implemented fundamental land reform and political reform in the 1950s and 1960s instead of opting for military solutions to address our grievances, the FARC would not exist today.” (Murillo, 2004) Land reform is one of the major pieces of the current peace process aiming to disarm FARC rebels. (BBC, 2013)

In 1964, Colombia feared rural peasant enclaves, formed after the National Front alliance, would lead to a Cuban style insurgency. Colombia had adopted the U.S. counterinsurgency methodology which called for the recruitment of informers, infiltration of guerrilla groups, psychological operations to control the civilian population and target guerrilla leadership, and isolating guerillas from their support base. (Rempe, 2002) Operation Marquetalia would be an overwhelming attack against a Colombian Communist Party guerrilla group. (Murillo, 2004) This group had declared an independent “Republic of Manquetalia” in rural Colombia. Operation Marquetalia successfully drove the guerrillas from the enclave but failed to kill or capture its influential leader. In the aftermath of Operation Marquetalia, Colombian Communist Party guerrillas regrouped and consolidated command into the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). (Rempe, 2002)

The expansion of internal security issues due to FARC and similar rebel groups created a permissive environment for the growth of the drug cartels. Colombia sought assistance from the U.S. to manage the threat of the increasingly wealthy and violent Colombian drug cartels. (Rempe, 2002) The Medellín Cartel, led by Pablo Escobar, brought levels of violence to extreme levels through targeted killings of police and government officials. In 1985, Pablo Escobar allegedly supported the M-19 guerilla group when they committed the Palace of Justice Siege, which killed over half of the Colombian Supreme Court. (Vallejo, 2007)

As the violence of the Cartels grew, Colombia and the United States moved to link counter-narcotics and counter-insurgency operations. Guerrilla groups increasingly relied on illicit drug profits to finance their operations against the government. The U.S., the largest market for Colombian drugs, began indicting Colombian drug lords for breaking U.S. trafficking laws. The initial U.S.-Colombia extradition treaty was in force from 1982-1991, when Colombia’s new constitution prohibited the extradition of Colombian nationals by birth. In 1997, Colombia passed a constitutional amendment to re-permit the extradition of all Colombians for narcotics trafficking and transnational crimes.

In the late 1990s, Colombia developed an ambitious counter-narcotic and counter-terror campaign named Plan Colombia. President Pastrana of Colombia (1998-2002) developed Plan Colombia as a consolidated plan to promote peace and economic development, increase security, and end drug trafficking. (Veillette, 2005) Between 2000 and 2012, the U.S. Congress appropriated more than $8 billion in assistance to carry out Plan Colombia. (Beittel, June S., 2012) From 2000 to 2006 under Plan Colombia, opium poppy cultivation and heroin production declined about 50 percent, while coca cultivation and cocaine production levels increased by about 15 and 4 percent, respectively. (United States Government Accountability Office, 2008)

Plan Colombia is responsible for increased internal security in Colombia. U.S. funding for Plan Colombia mainly supports military counter-narcotic and counter-insurgent operations. International organizations and Colombia’s neighbors have criticized Colombia because U.S. funding focuses on military solutions rather than national development projects. (Barrionuevo & Romero, 2009) A former Colombian Minister of Defense also criticized Plan Colombia because it focuses on eradication efforts in Colombia but does nothing to lessen demand for cocaine in the United States. Plan Colombia places the burden of violence on poor Colombian’s caught in the middle of a drug war. (Romo, 2011)

Already in 2015, Colombia is making strides in the peace process with FARC through peace talks in Havana, Cuba. (New York Times Editorial Board, 2015) Colombia is very close to finally achieving reconciliation with FARC and closing that chapter in Colombian history. Reconciliation will still require strong political will from Colombia. The violence caused by both FARC rebels and the Colombian government will be difficult to forgive. But Colombia’s success in disarming FARC will serve as a roadmap for the rest of the world. Iraq, Afghanistan, Mexico, and many other countries face similar problems to Colombia. Colombian history shows that even with long-term, comprehensive U.S. military and civilian assistance, a country can face decades of internal security issues. The U.S. can use both the positive and negative lessons learned in Colombia to benefit our efforts in Afghanistan.

In the next 1-5 years, Colombia will finalize a peace accord with FARC. Colombia’s President Santos has made the peace process a priority in his administration. (News Wires, 2012)President Santos is determined to succeed in peace talks with FARC and is likely using the strong bargaining position brought about by the successes of Plan Colombia to bring FARC to the negotiating table. FARC’s chief concerns with the peace process are a bilateral ceasefire with the government, political participation after disarmament, and prosecution for past crimes and human rights abuses. President Santos refuses to stop government operations against FARC rebels or to offer a demilitarized zone. In the past, FARC has used ceasefires and demilitarized zones as a tactic to rearm and expand its drug smuggling operations. (Romo, 2011) President Santos has shown that he is open to peace talks but firm enough to prevent FARC from exploiting the process.

In the next 5-10 years, the disarmament of FARC in the short term will lead to improved security in the long term. Colombia may still face internal security issues, but the absence of FARC rebels in rural areas and the reintegration of FARC into the political process will improve security. Colombia will rely on its alliance with the U.S. to continue its fight against drug cartels. Colombia is unlikely to completely rid itself of drug cartels due to its monetary value and Colombia’s inability to completely secure rural regions.


Barrionuevo, A., & Romero, S. (2009). Leaders Criticize Colombia Over U.S. Military Pact. New York: New York Times.

BBC. (2013, May 27). BBC. Retrieved from Colombia and Farc rebels reach agreement on land reform:

BBC. (2015, January 15). BBC News. Retrieved from BBC News:

Beittel, June S. (2012, November 28). Colombia: Background, U.S. Relations, and Congressional Interest. Washington D.C.: Congressional Research Service. Retrieved from SOUTHCOM: Colombia:

Library of Congress – Federal Research Division. (2007). Country Profile: Colombia. Washington D.C.: Library of Congress.

Maullin, R. L. (1971). Soldiers, Guerrillas and Politics in Colombia. Santa Monica: Rand Corporation.

Murillo, M. A. (2004). Colombia and the United States: War, Unrest and Destabilization. New York: Seven Stories Press.

New York Times Editorial Board. (2015, March 9). New York Times. Retrieved from Hope for Colombias Peace Process:

News Wires. (2012, October 12). Colombian government in talks with FARC rebels. Retrieved from France 24:

Rempe, D. M. (2002). The Past as a Prologue? A History of U.S. Counterinsurgency Policy in Colombia, 1958-66. Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute.

Romo, R. (2011, January 17). Plan Colombia revisited: Mixed results for U.S. anti-drug initiative. Retrieved from CNN:

Stanton, K. (2005). The Colombian Conflict: Regional Impact and Policy Responses. Washington D.C.: Washington Office on Latin America.

United States Government Accountability Office. (2008). Plan Colombia: Drug Reduction Goals Were Not Fully Met, but Security Has Improved; U.S. Agencies Need More Detailed Plans for Reducing Assistance. Washington D.C.: United States Government Accountability Office.

Vallejo, V. (2007). Amando a Pablo, odiando a Escobar. Random House.

Veillette, C. (2005). Plan Colombia: A Progress Report. Washington D.C.: Congressional Research Service.

Christ Lutheran Church of Lower Saucon Cemetery Pt. 2


My last blog post focused on the grave of Jacob Shimer (the second, 14 June 1734 – 6 June 1764) and the bronze plaque that honored his father, Jacob Schiemer (1679 – 1757), and five brothers. Jacob Shimer’s grave is located in Christ Lutheran Church of Lower Saucon Cemetery.

This post will offer more details about the overall graveyard of the Christ Lutheran Church of Lower Saucon. This graveyard features the oldest Shimer family grave in America and the graves of many of the first Shimers to live in America.

One of the Original Marine Corps Devil Dogs, Private Chester Lancaster

Devil Dogs
Chet in France

Private Chester Lancaster served as an United States Marine in World War I. He found at the Battle of Belleau Wood and is one of the original USMC Devil Dogs.

He enlisted on 5 May 1917 and went to basic training at Mare Island California. He transferred to the 78th Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Corps Regiment on 14 July 1917. On 19 January 1918, he sailed aboard the U.S.S. Henderson from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Saint-Nazaire, France.

From 18 March 1918 to 13 May 1918, he participated in active operations against the enemy in the Toulon Sector. From 1-5 June 1918, he participated in active operations against the enemy in the Aisne Operation. From 6-14 June 1918, he participated in active operations against the enemy at the Battle of Belleau Wood. He was gassed in action on 14 June, along with a majority of the 78th Company.

From June to December, he spent time in various hospitals because of the injuries sustained by the gas attack. He returned to the United States aboard the U.S.S. North Carolina and served at Quantico, Virginia until his discharge.

If you are interested in hearing a first-hand account of the Battle of Belleau Wood from an actual Devil Dog, we have a recording from the 1970s where Chester talks about his time in France. Please see the recording here. The recording is an hour long, and the Battle of Belleau Wood section is about 30 minutes into the recording.

Below, you will find various photos that show memorabilia, photos, news articles, and actual documents from on of the original USMC Devil Dogs.

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Chet in California at Basic Training
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Chet’s WWI Medals, Including Purple Heart for Wounds Sustained at the Battle of Belleau Wood
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Chester’s Discharge Document
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Chester’s Discharge Document
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Close up of Chester’s Discharge Document Noting his Sobriety
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Chester’s Dogtags
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Badge of the U.S. Army’s 2nd Infantry Division
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News Story about Chester
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Blind Ex-Marine ‘Devil Dog’ Keeping Busy with Career
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U.S. Army 2nd Infantry Division Artwork from Book on the Battle of Belleau Wood
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Chronological List of Chester’s Service as a Marine Corps Devil Dog
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2nd Page of Chronological List of Service
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List of Marches and Movements of the Marine Corps Devil Dogs
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Chronological List of Chester’s Jobs after World War I


Things to do at Fort Huachuca – Bisbee

No stay at Fort Huachuca would be complete without a trip or two out to Bisbee. A former mining town, it has developed an eccentric identity of its own. The gradual closure of many of the local mines led Bisbee to move towards tourism as the basis for its economy in the latter half of the 20th century.

We can thank those who envisioned Bisbee as a tourist destination because it has given us a beautiful and interesting city to visit. If you are coming out to Bisbee on a weekend, I highly recommend getting up early and eating breakfast at the Bisbee Breakfast Club.

After you eat at the Bisbee Breakfast Club, you can walk along Erie Street and check out the old Lowell motorcycle shops. A single motorcycle shop remains, but you can peer into the windows of the old buildings and see classic motorcycles displayed.

Moving on from the motorcycle shops in Lowell, you can get back on the highway and head back towards the historic part of Bisbee. There is a viewing area on the left side of the highway to peer into the old Copper Queen Mining Pit. The pit is almost surreal due to its size. From this roadside vantage point, you can’t even see the whole mine. A covered area provides a history of the mine and information on local geology.

Once you’ve taken in the sheer size of the Copper Queen Mine, it’s time to head North again. The main drag of Old Bisbee is a long winding road. It features lots of unique shops that carry interesting items and the works of local artists. I recommend taking the first exit as you head North and parking in the dirt lots near the on/off ramps. These two parking areas are free to park at. If you go a little bit further North, there is a paid lot available as well as on street parking if you are lucky.

Once you start walking up the road, you’ll see the historical mining equipment outside the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum. This Museum offers lots of historical detail on the history of The Town of Bisbee and the Copper Queen Mine. Many of these smaller museums offer a lot of detail on early residents and the development of the town. It is a really good stop at the beginning of your day because as you explore the town and mine, you’ll be able to look back on the information from the museum to better understand the details of the town.
Museums can be a little stale for some people so if it’s not your thing, don’t sweat it. The $7.50 entry fee is a little steep for larger groups. I wish they would lower it to an even $5 or switch to a recommended donation box. 
Across from the Mining Museum is a building full of shops and restaurants. The architecture of this building leaves no doubt that it is a former school. The ground floor features the Bisbee Coffee Company, Bisbee’s Table, and many small jewelry and knickknack shops. 
The most important feature of this building is the PUBLIC BATHROOM!! As far as I know, this is the only public bathroom in Old Bisbee. It is located on the second floor right next to the main stairs. 
From here, you have a few options. The main drag of Old Bisbee is past the Western Bank and Post Office. This is where you will find most of the shops in Old Bisbee. It starts out with lots of antique stores whose inventory doesn’t really change much. As you move up the hill, you start to see more art focused and non-antique shops. The shop selection has gotten better in the past few years. Some of the stuff isn’t as unique as you’d expect, but its much better than only seeing the stagnating antique shops.

You can also go up Subway street, which kinda looks like a back alley. Subway Street and the main road connect in several places between buildings. So you can duck between them if your looking for a change. 

The Main Street has most of the shops in Bisbee and a few smaller Cafes. Subway Street has some good shops too but they are a little bit more specialized, like with the knitting/sewing shop. 
If your looking to drink or eat, Brewery Avenue is where you want to be. Head uphill past the Mining Museum. You’ll see the Copper Queen Hotel on the left. If you keep going, you’ll hit Santiago’s, Stock Exchange Saloon, St Elmo’s Bar, and The Quarry. As you’ll get to the top of this road, you can move over to OK Street and check out the Old Bisbee Brewing Company. 
These places can get really busy and there is always the possibility of slower service. 
My personal favorite place to eat is Screaming Banshee Pizza at the top of Tombstone Canyon Road. If Screaming Banshee is crowded, you can also walk over to Contessa’s Cantina. There is parking along side Contessa’s Cantina if you don’t want to walk all the way up here. 
The High Desert Market and Cafe is also really good. The market features lots of food items you are unlikely to find in normal supermarkets. The Market is filled with pretty fancy stuff with prices to match. The Cafe is good and reasonably priced.
The area near Screaming Banshee Pizza also has the Cochise County Courthouse. The Courthouse is well known for its Art Deco Decor.

After you’ve seen Old Bisbee, it’s time to check out the Bisbee Queen Mine Tours. The Mine Tour is a can’t-miss part of visiting Bisbee. Tours leave a set times during the day with a limited number of people. If you have a large group, you should absolutely make a reservation. 
You will get to put on your mining gear and head down into the cool depths of the Copper Queen Mine. The large open pit is only half of the story with the Copper Queen Mine, the tour will take you into the underground mines.

Up Next

This blog post only covers a fraction of what you can experience in Bisbee. It is definitely one of those towns you need to see and experience for yourself. 
Lastly, as with all the entertainment around Fort Huachuca, it is what you make of it. Keep and open mind and go into Bisbee with a positive attitude and a few friends.
My next few posts will explore the Town of Tombstone, the wilderness around Sierra Vista, and Tucson.

If you haven’t seen them, check out my other posts on Things to do around Fort Huachuca!

Things to do at Fort Huachuca – On Post

Things to do at Fort Huachuca – Sierra Vista Area

Things to do at Fort Huachuca – Sierra Vista Area

Sierra VistaI’m not going to lie, Sierra Vista is pretty bare on the entertainment options if you are in town for training. You are better off staying on base or venturing further out to Bisbee, Tombstone, and other surrounding attractions.
Several of these locations are bars/restaurants. If you are in training status for Fort Huachuca and can’t resist the allure of a cold beer, you might be better off avoiding these places.