Target Centermass


My Interview by TexasBestGrok

Filed under: — Gunner @ 12:03 am

It’s a meme. JohnL at TexasBestGrok subjected himself, and now it’s my turn.

He asked the questions. I’ll give the answers. To perpetuate the meme, leave a comment saying you want to be interviewed. The first five doing so will be asked six questions, of which you can choose to answer five. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post. I’ll provide a link to your answers.

Here are John’s questions and my responses:

1. For anyone new to your blog, why did you choose the name Target Centermass?

After I decided to start a blog, my first step was to come up with a name. I anticipated correctly that a great deal of my content would be related to military matters and I’d decided to blog anonymously (no longer the case) under the name Gunner, which I’d already been using for years on an Aggie discussion forum and which was my last position as a tanker.

So I thought. And thought. I actually found my list of ideas:

  • Centermass — where Gunners are taught to aim
  • GunnerSabotTank — the fire command issued by the tank commander
  • Dinotanker — a tribute to my start on the old M60-A3 at a time when the active Army was already through with the old beasts
  • Jeditanker — as a nod to my M1 and M1-A1 time, dubbed so because of the tech jump from the M60
  • Blue Six Golf — the radio call sign for my last position, gunner on 3rd Platoon Leader’s vehicle

Finally I chose Target Centermass, describing a perfectly placed hit on the target. Still, I liked Blue Six Golf, so my blog took the TCm name and started at

2. While a student at Texas A&M, did you get to help build any of the bonfires? Any memorable anecdotes? (For the benefit of any non-Aggie/non-Longhorn/non-Texan readers you might want to give a short explanation about the Aggie bonfire tradition).

Alas! No, and it’s one of my greatest regrets. I’ve seen several burn, but I never could be bothered to chip in on the labor. It was only later that I realized the camaraderie that I missed.

As to those unfamiliar with the tradition that dates to 1909, the Bonfire symbolizes the burning desire in Texas Aggies to beat the hell out of the University of Texas, or t.u. in Aggie jargon. As the world’s biggest bonfire, it once reached a height of 110 feet in the ’70s before being constrained to a more modest 55 feet. The Bonfire has not burned since the tragic collapse in 1999 that cost the lives of twelve Aggies.

3. What do you think about the current long term force “transformation” policy of the DoD, i.e., the “modular” Army based on swappable brigades like the new Stryker brigades? (On that note, what do you think about the Stryker vehicle? Competitor or complement to heavy armor?)

I like the transformation, to a degree. Rummy drove for it before the current state of events made it seem obvious; it was well past time we branched from Cold War doctrine. I’ve blogged before about the traps of always preparing for the previous fight. My concern is that it may go too far, sapping us in potential conflicts with China or North Korea.

As to the Stryker, I have no experience with the vehicle but I know the troopers serving on it sure like them. They certainly have a value in urban warfare, something never really expected of heavy armor. I view it more as a complement to the main battle tank and a competitor to the Bradley. Certainly not a competitor to the M1 in mass armor engagement.

4. What’s your favorite Tex-Mex place in the Dallas area? Do you normally order the same thing, or something different each time? Favorite dish/drink?

I’ve always felt the best Tex-Mex could never be found in a chain place — not that I won’t eat at those, just the better food seems to be at the small hole-in-the-wall type places. In the Dallas area, I’d say I’d pick El Paso Cafe on Central in Plano. Fast, cheap and delicious (and close to work). I’d say about 80 percent of the time I’ll order the tacos al carbon or the carne asada.

Now, the best Tex-Mex place I’ve ever frequented would be Las Nortenos in old downtown Bryan, Texas. However, I’m always open to trying new places. Any suggestions? Also, here’s a tip: there is no good Tex-Mex in Washington, D.C.

5. While you were in the Army, what was the most exotic posting you had? Any fun stories related to that specific location?

I don’t know. Do you consider Ft. Knox, Ky., or Killeen, Texas, to be exotic? Yeah, me neither.

6. What got you into blogging? If you had to write a mission statement for your blog, whoat would it be? Do you have any conscious role models for or influences in your blogging?

My love of journalism and my disgust at how it is currently practiced.

As long as I can remember, I have been a newspaper junkie. I took the first jounalism course I was able, joining my high school newspaper staff my freshman year. I went on to be editor of that paper, at the time one of the most respected and awarded high school rags in the state of Texas.

My journalistic strength was always in straight newswriting, something that seems to be lacking in today’s media stalwarts. At some point in time, I stumbled across Eject! Eject! Eject! and admired the amazing content. After that, I found similar enjoyment at USS Clueless. Those were my introduction to blogs. I’d been posting for years on an internet forum, putting forth my views and spouting occasional drunken rants. An occasional poster there also happened to be a blogger, elgato at the Swanky Conservative. I figured, hey, two plus two equals five, given large values of two. Maybe, just maybe, I could do this blogging thing.

A mission statement? I’ll go bland:

Postings, meandering thoughts and rants from a former-Libertarian-again-Republican, hawkish Texan. Whatever I want, whenever I want.

Role models or influences? A little more than the brevity of your typical Instapundit post. A touch of the Fat Guy when he’s angry. Heck, I’m still trying to find my sea legs. I don’t think I’ve yet settled into my final blogging style. In the real world, I’ve a far more sarcastic and dry wit than I typically use on Target Centermass. I mean far, far more. Oh yeah, my sense of humor on matters of a sexual nature suspended maturing at about the age of fifteen. Sooner or later, this will come out on the blog. I’ll keep plugging and see how things develop; I’m no essayist, but the site could probably use an occasional drunken rant. We’ll see.

7 responses to “My Interview by TexasBestGrok”

  1. Eric says:

    Great answers. At one time my call sign was also Blue Six Golf! My last call sign on active duty was Black Seven. I’ve also been known as Red Two and Blue Three.

    By the way, an interview would be cool.

  2. JohnL says:

    Great answers! Thanks for playing along.

  3. Gunner’s Answers
    Gunner has posted a great set of answers to his interview questions. Check back here soon for questions to LDH, Lysander, and Eric….

  4. Hammertime says:

    Sign me up. I’m adding you to my blogroll anyhow!

  5. Phil says:

    Sign me up, too – this is quite interesting!

  6. Gunner says:

    Okay, interviews coming up for Eric, Hammertime and Phil. Two spots left.

    I’ll try to get at least one set of questions up today and, hopefully, all three no later than tomorrow.

  7. Answer’s to Gunner’s Interview
    It’s a meme. Gunner at Target Centermass subjected himself, and now it’s my turn. He asked the questions. I’ll give the answers. To perpetuate the meme, leave a comment saying you want to be interviewed. The first five doing so…

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