First, this year's event coincides with the actual 20th Anniversary of the actual Operation Gothic Serpent mission in Somalia by Task Force Ranger....it is a very special year and this will be a very special event because of it. Every year has been special to me, but this year in particular stands out for many reasons...the biggest being that it is a time to honor and remember those lost in that mission in 1993 in Somalia, and honor those VIPs that will be with us that did make it back from that mission, and who have chosen to spend that weekend with us. They could be anywhere they wanted, but some of them have chosen to attend Operation Irene this year....to spend a very special time in rememberance with all of you....so do your part and give them the respect and honor they deserve if you attend. Show up on time, be proffessional, and never forget the whole weekend WHY we are there....honor those lost and those who are there with your attention, repsect, proffesionalism, sportsmanship, and good judgement....anything less is not acceptable. More so than any other year, your good behavior, following of rules, sportsmanship, etc...is EXPECTED....not suggested. If you can not or will not do these things, we do not need you, do NOT sign up! Stay home and allow someone that does "get it" to attend in that slot. There will be a ZERO tolerance position by staff to bad behavior, blatant rules violations, poor sportsmanship, etc....Operation Irene STAFF reserves the right to determine what constitutes such an offense, including but not limited to written rules.....do NOT test us, you may find yourself on an early trip home, no refunds, no apologies. We do not care that you "paid" to be there....that does NOT give you the right to make the AO your own, go off and do your "own thing", treat others badly, ignore the chain of command, ignore or break the rules, etc.... Your "paying" to be there entitles you to the "privaledge" to part of this event, to meet and partcipate WITH the VIPs and other likeminded players from around the country, it entitles you to a roster slot on a squad that is expected to follow the chain of command, orders when directed, and courtesy to the VIPS and your fellow players. If this is not what being a "paying" player means to you....DO NOT sign up....that is as plain as I can make it. We DO NOT WANT your entry fee, your money, your time....if you can not follow the rules and participate in the event in the spirit it is intended.
Second, this will "officially" be my last Operation Irene as event Chief of Staff. I have enjoyed meeting so many of you over the years....forming lasting friendships with many of you, and seeing all of you make Irene a truly special event for all of us. It is time to hand over the reins to someone else for future Irene events....there are truly a lot of great people well qualified within the OLCMSS family, as well as many of you out there that can take this event to even greater heights and longevity in the future. I will continue to be a part of the OLCMSS family in various capacities, location scout, event consultant, etc...and I'm sure I will see some of you from time to time at other events (as a player again I hope
It has been a great honor for me to serve as the CoS since OPI II (except for last year, when I took the year off) and it has been even more of an honor and privaledge to have been allowed to mold and shape the event over the years to truly be a "tribute" event to honor the real veterans and fallen of Operation Gothic Serpent. I will, and I hope all who have attended Operation Irene over years....never forget their sacrifices.
Thank you to all of you who have made this an incredibly fun journey over the years....hope to see you again this year, and please come by and say hello if you get the chance.