Sea Story 7

 

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Italian protesters outside the Naval Base Sigonella gate. Aerial view broadcasted on the guard tower’s TV.

Every year for the reserves, naval personnel has to go on what is known as an AT, or annual training. These trips can last for as little as two weeks to almost a full year. Either way, it’s good work and it keeps service members updated on their roles in the military.

I’m part of a reserve unit known as Naval Support Activity Naples, Detachment 106 Chicago. As an Information Systems Technician, my main role over at NSA Naples is to manage network systems and to operate general computer equipment wherever necessary. NSA Naples is not based in Florida, but it is based in Naples, Italy. If you can guess, every year I get to go to Italy to perform my AT. The work is a lot of fun and I get a lot of leave time to explore the city and Italy as a whole. More on that later. This last summer was my first year at Naples, so it was a unique experience to say the least.

The first day I arrived there, I reported to N6, also known as Information Systems. The shop was 100% government contractors, and all of them were pretty damn chill. The work was cake as well; I would go and DRMO equipment (basically take them apart and recycle them) and log them in a excel spreadsheet. It’s a bit below my ability level, but I’m not complaining. I’m getting paid for this.

A few days go by of doing that, and we are notified that in a few weeks, the base will be inspected by other government agencies to look for network vulnerabilities. In preparation for this inspection, the government contractors and I would do an in-house inspection to make sure that we don’t fail the big inspection. Did I mention that we’re doing an inspection?

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Want to Join the Space Force? Read the Manual: Starship Troopers

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Last time I tried using a balloon for a parachute, I faceplanted off my roof.

 

Just last August, President Trump announced that the US Government will develop a United States Space Force by 2020. Some of of the main missions include maritime security among the US forces and our allies, and to protect potential future ventures for commercial business in space. Some people think that the proposition is ridiculous (I am in agreement; the necessity of a space force is not prevalent enough to create another branch of the military) while others fully support Trump’s decision to develop such a force.

I think that humanity has always looked to the stars for answers, but in 1959, Science Fiction writer Robert Heinlein wrote Starship Troopers, a penultimate novel about the life of a young Army recruit who earns his way through the ranks and becomes a commissioned officer. The recruit’s name is Juan Rico, and joins an elite fighting division called the Mobile Infantry; power-armor donning space soldiers, if you will. The backdrop of the story is set in the near future, where interstellar travel is made possible by FTL, (Faster Than Light) known as Cherenkov Drive. The Terrans are at war with multiple alien factions, and Rico finds himself in the midst of what they call the “Bug War”.

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5 Tips To Stay Motivated During Syllabus Week — and My Personal Back To School Playlist

uic.jpgUIC’s Brutalist architecture might be unique in Chicago, but it doesn’t mean it’s attractive. University Hall looks like a giant air conditioner.

Hey, how’s it going? Matt Cuartero here.

I just wanted to take a quick moment to welcome you to my blog here at UIC Radio: M4 – Matt’s Monday Morning Mailbox (although I do not always release on Mondays exclusively). I answer viewer’s submitted questions, and I also like to write about the military, music, video games, and track and field. I also do reporting on school events from time to time. If you’re returning to UIC, welcome back to another great year; thank you for joining me again. If you’re a first year student here, I welcome you too. I hope you’ll find Chicago an exciting city to be in.

With a new year comes new classes, responsibilities, and opportunities. It also comes with what I like to call “Warm Up Season”. I don’t know about you guys, but the first few weeks of school are always my laziest. I don’t know; until I realize that classes are getting serious (usually I am notified by this with a bad grade) I take a long time to get into action and really buckle down on studying. I wanted to provide you with a plan of attack of my own to hit the ground running and get the jump on the semester before it gets a jump on you. Some say the most important part of the semester is the very beginning and I would agree with that.

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Matt’s Monday Morning Mailbox – KOD: kids on drugs, king overdose, kill our demons? (4/30/18)

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Good morning everyone! My name is Matt, your host for today’s Monday Morning Mailbox. Today’s question was asked by Brady M.

Brady M: I just listened to J Cole’s new album, KOD. I have my own interpretations on it; what are your first impressions?

Thank you for your inquiry. This album really hit me with its message, and I have a few things to say about the album.


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Matt’s Monday Morning Mailbox – PUBG vs. Fortnite (3/19/18)

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This is a series that I would like to start here at UIC Radio. Every Monday, I want to answer questions regarding the military, video games, track and field, or really anything presented to me. Anyone can submit a topic to me via email (mcuart2@uic.edu), and I will humbly answer these questions with the best response I can muster. I hope this gives you the level of power an espresso shot would give you to start your Monday morning, and I hope you all enjoy!

Good morning everyone! My name is Matt, your host for today’s Monday Morning Mailbox. Today’s question was asked by Ryan H:

Ryan H: I play both PlayerUnknown’s Battleground’s and Fortnite’s Battle Royale Mode. Which one do you think is better?

Thank you for your inquiry. I think that this is a question many fans argue about. Let’s compare and contrast the two.

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Fortnite Battle Royale (With Cheese)

In my opinion, Fortnite Battle Royale contributes a lot of its success to the fact that it is free. Fortnite’s Battle Royale has received a lot of positive reception since its release in September 2017 (The full game was released in July 2017). The game mode is highlighted due to its easy accessibility to the general public and is a game that is easy to learn and play. The skill ceiling is somewhat low too, so it is not hard to master. Fortnite, like other battle royale games, is played with singles (lone wolf), doubles, or squads (four players) to try to be the last surviving member(s) alive.

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2018’s “Little Dark Age” (Also MGMT concert in Chicago!)

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I’d like to begin this article by saying welcome back to another glorious semester here at University of Illinois at Chicago; as usual, I ushered in the new year by being incredibly lazy, and I’m sure you had the same response.

Whatever. Let’s talk about MGMT who is releasing their 4th studio album on February 9, 2018. 

This marks MGMT’s fourth studio album, and a lot of the aesthetic of the album pertains to the Gothic medieval era, similar to the album’s namesake. The themes are very apathetic, evil, and has the typical trippy vibe of MGMT. “When You Die” is my favorite single on the album, and it is a very warm and tangy song for how dark its lyrics truly are. Just watch the music video and you’ll understand what I mean:

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Sea Stories IV – Moment of Truth

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(This is the first grilling you’ll receive; on top of the weight of your disappointed parents, you have been sleep deprived for the past 36 hours.)

Getting denied head privileges by the Filipino Chief was my first taste of what was to come in the next few months. I was expecting some Full Metal Jacket type things, and I was getting a similar result.

The next couple of hours involved the new recruits going through gear issue. Everything that every recruit brings is put in a 1×2 box: this includes your phone, your wallet, any civilian clothes, and just anything that a recruit brings. Everything that made you who you are, as an individual, is taken and shipped back home. After exchanging personal items, I went with the rest of the recruits to get issued our basic uniforms and toiletry items.

There are 3 times in boot camp where you are issued gear. The first one includes very basic things:

x2 set of PT gear (work out clothes)

x7 white socks

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Nail Clippers

Sneakers (nicknamed “go fasters”)

Gillette Fusion Proglide 5

(Some other sh*t, there’s a lot of stuff)

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Sea Stories III: Angry Filipinos

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(By the way, I’m going to begin to use stock photos from now on. What, you think you can take photos in basic training? By the way, these girls look about excited as I was. Even I’m impressed with their enthusiasm.)

The Petty Officer rounds us up, not unlike cattle. Wide-eyed, matching the looks of the individuals around me, we all sternly follow this strangely dressed man down by the departure gates of O’Hare airport. I almost forgot my bag in the USO office; it’s a bit redundant to say, but that would have sucked big time.

It was strange. O’Hare was an airport that I was so comfortable with. From the departure gates, I could see all of the terminals and check-in booths and rent-a-car stations that I remembered from when I was younger and I would be going on family vacations to wherever around the country or world. I felt pretty old now, and I just turned 18.

We were instructed to sit down on the floor of the terminal and to “shut the f*ck up”. I say that in quotes as I do not use sentence enhancers lightly. The guys in charge of us really did have mouths like sailors, and that scared a few of us. I thought it was hilarious.

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