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Since learning the fiddle wasn’t hard enough I’ve purchased two, yes two, mandolins to play on. One is strictly an acoustical Mandolin that I practice on and the other is an electric. However the electric has a neck issue and only plays easily in the first position. However both are fun to play and I’m having a good time learning a new instrument.

 Mandolins have the same tuning as a Fiddle and have almost the same fingering. Thus, this shouldn’t be too terribly hard to learn. Well, maybe. Anyhow, I can take a lot of the songs I already know and port them to the Mando without too much difficulty.

I’ve done some research and found a really good Mando page by Nigel Gather. He actually teaches the mandolin in Edinburgh England of all places. There are some really good tutorials there and also a listing of tunes he teaches in his classes. His Beginner page and his Improvers page both have some really good tunes.

Anyhow. I’m going to learn the Mandolin. That’s my current goal.


I haven’t written on this blog lately. Mainly because, now that John’s funeral is over and most folk have gone back to a normal life, I still can’t seem to just move on. I know that once I start writing again here that things will slowly start to return to a more normal type of life. You may have noticed I haven’t put up any pictures of the funeral or gatherings yet. I will soon. I just have to do it. So, I’m going to put up a post about nothing but Mandolin playing.

I’ve made another tribute video/slideshow for John. This one won’t make a lot of sense unless your family. If you are. Then here you go. Just click the picture.

Tribute to John

dThis happens to be my favorite picture of John. We were headed back to Ft. Campbell KY. after picking up my truck in Washington. It was your typical trip for us. No money, no backup plans, no worries. Then again I think we were only 20 at the time.

John enjoying the day

I have created a small tribute video/slideshow about John. It’s my first attempt and only covers his time in Iraq. But here it is. Beware it’s just shy of 8 mb. If you have a nice fast connection it should be fine. Otherwise write click on the picture and save it.

Farewell John

FYI. It’s in windows media format.

Here is a link to the same thing on youtube.

Memorial services Staff Sergeant John Hartman Jr. will be held December 15th at 3:30pm in Bradenton Florida. The services will be held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

St. Joseph's Catholic Church

3100 26th St. W.

Bradenton FL. 34205

Map to Location

I’ve been called by multiple reporters at this point. Each with their own questions and ideas about what to write. One, however, has stood out to me. I’ve spoken several times now with a reporter out of Tampa FL. by the name of Jan Wesner. She is currently doing a project called Standing By at the St. Petersburg Times.

What makes Jan different? Well, she’s a mom to young children, writer, blogger, and wife to a Major in the army who is about to head for Iraq. Doing what you might ask? The exact same thing as John, that’s what. He’s going to be part of an MITT group, a group that will be training the Iraqi Army.

So, as you can imagine. Jan has some ties to John’s story. She also wrote a very nice article that I just finished reading.

Jan, if you ever read this, well, I can’t promise your husband will come home safe. No one can. But I will promise you that his buddies over there will do everything in their power to bring him home, as he will for them. Good luck with your story, I’ll be watching it and I’ll keep in touch.

For those who haven’t heard of them. There is now an organization called the Patriot Guard Riders. This is a group of citizens (mainly riders) who have taken it upon themselves to show support at all military funerals. They may be better known for keeping Unwanted Guests (UG’s) from protesting at the funerals of our military personel. This is the part that gets the most news coverage sadly. Only this is only a small portion of what they do, their main focus is to show the colors and help those who have lost loved ones in the service of their county.

The reason I bring them up is that there are many many notes of sorrow and condolenses on their Forum pages in regards to John and to his family. Here is a link to their section on John. I ran across this almost by accident.

The second reason for bringing this up. They will be attending John’s service. The family has given approval for them being there. And yes, if the family asks them not to show they won’t. I don’t know them yet, I’ve only had a few emails and phone calls with them so far, but, so far I’m impressed. They seem to be a very good group of people, just ordinary people doing what they can to help out the families.


John is back in the states. His step sister Leela will be escorting his remains back from Dover, MD to Sarasota the first of the week, (11 Dec.). It looks like the funeral will take place on Friday afternoon the 15th of December. I’ll update this post as things firm up.

Sgt. John L. Hartman Jr. and Iraqi kids.

John in Iraq

Staff Sergeant John L. Hartman Jr. Killed in Action 30 November 2006

I think I need to set the record straight. There have been several versions of what happened to John and how he passed.

Believe it or not, the military officer in charge of telling the family what happened has come up with at least three different stories. None of them correct. This, franky, pisses me off beyond belief!

I spoke with one of his team mates in Iraq tonight, and someone who was there with John when he was hit by the IED, or road side bomb, and subsequently perished.

John was the only causualty, both his other team mates in the vehicle survived. One of them has some damage to his hearing, temporary damage, he will get better. The other had no serious injuries. His team mates did everything in there power to save him. Everything! When I spoke with them, I got the impression they don’t believe that, but it’s true. There was not a damn thing else they could have done but what they did.

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December 2006
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