Saturday, March 31, 2007

More Good News From Iraq

Iraqi children gather behind a ribbon at the Al Adel Boys School in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, March 26, to celebrate the renovation of the building by local citizens with a ribbon cutting and grand re-opening ceremony. After a month of repairs and renovations by more than 200 residents, the school is now able to increase its class size from 100 students to 500 students.

March 26, 2007; Submitted on: 03/31/2007 05:49:20 AM ; Story ID#: 200733154920

By Cpl. Paul Robbins Jr., I Marine Expeditionary Force

AR RAMADI, Iraq (March 26, 2007) -- As pink and purple ribbon fell to the ground, the joyful cheers of children rose in celebration of the re-opening of their future.

Led by the West Central Ramadi District Council (WCRDC), the residents of the Al Warar neighborhood of Ar Ramadi, Iraq, held a grand re-opening, ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Al Adel Boys School, March 26.

Saad Hamid Sharqi, of the WCRDC, cut the ribbon to officially re-open the all-boys school after a month-long renovation project led by local residents.

To many in attendance, the happy students cheering the ceremony demonstrated common feelings toward the venture, and its effect on the community.

“Our children are an example of the progress here in Ramadi,” said Saad.

Spearheaded by Sheikh Raad Sabah Mklief, the leader of the local Al Awani Tribe, the $47,000 renovation project repaired walls, added heating/cooling units to the offices, repaired water tanks, installed a new water pump, replaced all doors and windows, repaired stairways, and expanded the school in size.

With the project closely tied to the development of children in the community, the renovation received tremendous support from residents in the area.

“Approximately 200 local residents did the work,” said Warrant Officer Eric M. Strause, 37-year-old civil affairs officer for 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment.

Started at the end of November in 2006, and completed in mid January of 2007, the project was a high priority for the community.

Prior to the renovation, the facility was only able to support 100 students for one session per day, four days per week, which provided for only one fifth of the student population in the area.

The limited capabilities of the school required surrounding facilities to overcrowd their own classes by taking on the excess children.

The hardships produced by the sub-standard facility also lessened the quality of instruction teachers were able to provide to the children.

“This project was vital to lessen the burden on surrounding schools and to ensure the children in the area receive the level of education they need,” said Strause, a native of Fredericksburg, Texas.

Now that the project is complete, the renewed Al Adel Boys School provides four classes per day, four days per week for more than 500 children from the neighborhood.

The success of the project is now widely known in the district, and more renovations and reconstructions are due to begin throughout the city.

The improvements happening through the work of the people, the council and local security forces has caused a stir amongst the residents of the city.

“I hear on a daily basis how the people are excited about what is going on,” said Saad. “The people have faith that we represent their interests.”


Another Funny Video

My son said the video I posted yesterday wasn't nearly as funny as this one. This is one of his favorites.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Marines Ban Sleeve Tats

Associated Press | March 29, 2007
OCEANSIDE, Calif. - Five tattooed skulls stretch from Marine Cpl. Jeremy Slaton's right elbow to his wrist, spelling out the word "Death." He planned to add a tattoo spelling "Life" on his left arm, but that's on hold because of a Marine policy taking effect Sunday.

The Marines are banning any new, extra-large tattoos below the elbow or the knee, saying such body art is harmful to the Corps' spit-and-polish image.

Slaton and other grunts are not pleased.

"I guess I'll get the other half later," grumbled the 24-year-old leatherneck from Eden Prairie, Minn. "It's kind of messed up."

For many Marines, getting a tattoo is a rite of passage. They commonly get their forearms inscribed to remember fallen comrades, combat tours or loved ones, and often ask for exotic designs that incorporate the Marine motto, Semper Fi, or "Always faithful."

Dozens of Marines from Camp Pendleton, the West Coast's biggest Marine base, made last-minute trips to tattoo parlors in nearby Oceanside before the ban kicked in.

"This is something I love to do," said Cpl. David Nadrchal, 20, of Pomona, who made an appointment to get an Iraqi flag and his deployment dates etched onto his lower leg. "The fact I can't put something on my body that I want - it's a big thing to tell me I can't do that."

Nadrchal said he is unsure whether he will re-enlist: "There's all these little things. They are slowly chipping away at us."

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James T. Conway announced the policy change last week.

"Some Marines have taken the liberty of tattooing themselves to a point that is contrary to our professional demeanor and the high standards America has come to expect from us," he said. "I believe tattoos of an excessive nature do not represent our traditional values."

The ban is aimed primarily at "sleeve" tattoos, the large and often elaborate designs on the biceps and forearms of many Marines. Similar designs on the lower legs will be forbidden as well. So will very large tattoos on the upper arm, if they are visible when a Marine wears his workout T-shirt. Small, individual tattoos will still be allowed on the arms and legs. (The Marines already ban them on the hands.)

Marines already tattooed are exempt from the ban but cannot add to their designs; anyone caught with fresh ink in the wrong places could be barred from re-enlistment or face disciplinary action. Getting a prohibited tattoo could constitute a violation of a lawful order, punishable by up to two years in prison and a dishonorable discharge, Marine spokesman 1st Lt. Brian Donnolly said.

Unit commanders must photograph and document sleeve tattoos to ensure Marines do not add to their ink.

The Marines and the other branches of the military already ban tattoos that could be offensive or disruptive, such as images that are sexist, vulgar, gang-related or extremist.

The Army, which has been doing most of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and is struggling to fill its ranks, actually relaxed its tattoo restrictions last year. Soldiers can now get ink on the back of their hands and the lower back of the neck.

The Navy last year decreed that tattoos visible while in short-sleeve uniform cannot be larger than the wearer's hand. The Air Force says tattoos should be covered up if they are bigger than one-quarter the size of the exposed body part.

Tattoo artist Jerry Layton at the Body Temple Tattoo Studio in Oceanside said he was booked up with Marines rushing to beat the deadline.

"These are guys that are dying in the war," Layton said. "They can fight, but they can't get a tattoo? It's ridiculous."


I think this has been in the works for quite some time. My sons have been hearing rumors about this for awhile. Believe it or not neither of my Marine sons has a tattoo. I'm not crazy about tattoos, but I would not throw a fit if one of them got one(like it would do any good anyway...they are adults now). My advice to them has been that if they do get one, they should put some thought into it and make sure it is something they are prepared to live with and make sure it is in a place where it is easily covered up.

My opinion on this tattoo policy is that it's a good thing. No, a tattoo does not make a Marine any less of a warrior, but the Marines have always had high standards. They aren't allowed to wear their hair any way they want, dress any way they want, or pierce anything they want. It is just part of being in the adult world that your appearance matters on the job. A large or offensive tattoo draws attention to itself, rather than the Marine and his/her uniform and the image of the Marine Corps as a whole.

Monday, March 26, 2007

From the Father of a Marine

My friend and fellow Marine mom Elizabeth received the following email today from the father of a Marine. The first part is a quote that she has in her signature on all her outgoing emails. As the email states, this is from a person who does not know her, but chose to email her to criticize her for this quote. She has graciously allowed me to share the email as well as her response to it here on our blog.

On 3/26/07, *****> wrote:
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
John Stewart Mill


I had an e-mail forwarded to me recently with your name on it. I don't know you and vice versa. As my subject heading relates, my son is currently serving in Iraq with the Marine Corps.

The war in Iraq is no doubt a controversial subject with people of strong opinions on both sides. That is the great thing about our country, we are free to argue and debate as we choose.

It troubles me however when I read quotes such as the one copied above to promote war and criticize those who are working to promote peaceful solutions to this situation.

First of all patriotism is the love of your country, not the blind obedience to a government which lies to its people. Those of us opposed to this war, the majority of Americans by the way (nearly 70% of the population), love this country. We just feel this is not in the best interests of the American people.

There are definitely things worth fighting for. This is not one of them. We invaded a country which never attacked us or our allies based on the lie that they had WMDs (which documentation shows they did not and the government knew this) and the were linked to terrorist organizations responsible for 9/11 (which government studies have proven to be false).

Over 3,200 soldiers dead. Over 25,000 wounded. Half a trillion dollars spent already (just think of what we could have done with that domestically). Over 100,000 Iraqis dead (many being innocent civilian bystanders). The loss of respect within the international community. And no plan for success. No definition of what would constitute a "victory" in this war.

Now, here is her response:

Dear sir,
Thank you for your email. I respectfully disagree with you. The documentation and studies you site are not correct, incomplete and continue to be related to the American people inaccurately.

As a mother of a Marine that has just return from deployment and will more than likely be deployed again, the sister-in-law of an Army officer, and a friend of countless other Blue and Gold Star mothers and spouses, I hate the fact that we are at war. I do however believe that this is a just and necessary war and indeed we are fighting against the exact forces that led to the unprovoked attacks on 9/11 and throughout the world beginning as early as, or even earlier than the 1980s.

We agree that there are things worth fighting for. You, however, do not believe that the fight against a decentralized enemy that vows, at the top of their lungs, to wipe our faiths, cultures and people off the face of the earth is necessary. We are at war with Radical Islam. They spring from multiple sources, multiple countries and pledge their allegiance to many different leaders but they all believe it is their divine mission to wipe us off the face of the earth in the name of Allah.

The war we are in is far more complex than reported on in the media, it is far more complex than reports and dog-and-pony Congressional hearings can outline neatly. We are in a battle for our very way of life, for your right to email me with your opinion. I respectfully disagree with your take on the war. I am saddened that so many Americans are blindly giving credence to the media coverage and the grandstanding, cowardly politicians that have not the courage to defend our country against those that have and continue to repeatedly promise the entire world that Islam will wipe out the evil Americans, English, Jews and all others that do not convert to their radical view of Islam.

I continue to support our President as he defends our country and way of life. I know we are in a worldwide struggle against an enemy that vows our total destruction. I pray that people who believe we should "cut and run" will wake up and realize we can fight this war over there or we can fight this war in our own streets, but it must be fought. We did not start this war, but we must win it! I am devastated for my friends who have lost children or spouses or have had children or spouses wounded, I worried about my son daily while he was Down Range. I am fiercely proud of all our men and women serving our country; we are all so very lucky that we have these American men and women fighting to defend our country. We need to stand together united as a nation to defeat this enemy. We need not call for peace against an enemy that has absolutely no intention of ever backing down or stopping their aggressions. This is war and there is no "playing nice" if we are to survive on this planet.

Sir, thank you for your email. You and your family will be in my prayers. Your son has been in my prayers since day one as I daily ask God to protect our soldiers as they protect us.

God Bless,

I'm so proud of her! Good job Elizabeth!

Visual DNA

Here's another just for fun post. What's your visual DNA?

Former Marine on the march to make a difference

By SUZAN CLARKE THE JOURNAL NEWS(Original Publication: March 26, 2007)

How to donate
- To donate to Brian Gallagher's fundraising effort to benefit The Coalition to Salute America's Heroes, visit For more information on The Coalition to Salute America's Heroes, visit
CORTLANDT -When Brian Gallagher got stuck in traffic recently on his way home from his job in Orangeburg, he did, he said, what "any good New Yorker" would do.
He began to complain. Then, as he sat there, he heard a news report on the radio about an explosion overseas that had injured two U.S. Marines.
"And I thought to myself, you know, that guy has something to complain about," the 36-year-old Thiells resident said, "and I felt selfish. I felt selfish that here I am, I'm home, I'm allowed to see my wife and 2-year-old son, and I'm in traffic complaining about it."
Gallagher stopped complaining, and resolved to do something about the situation.
Those efforts culminated yesterday when Gallagher set out on a 27-mile march from his Thiells home to Ossining, headed for the headquarters of The Coalition to Salute America's Heroes.
In the months leading up to the event, named Rock to West because it began in Rockland and ended in Westchester, Gallagher raised $18,000 of the $25,000 goal he set for himself, through individual pledges and corporate sponsorships.
The Coalition to Salute America's Heroes provides assistance to veterans across the nation who have been disabled or severely wounded in Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Gallagher, who works for a defense contractor in Orangeburg, said every penny of the funds he raises in his effort will go to the organization.
The effort is particularly important to Gallagher, a former Marine corporal who served during Operation Enduring Freedom in Somalia.
"As a combat veteran myself, I knew the importance of organizations such as this and how much the community and people in Rockland and Westchester need to know about this..." he said during a stop at Camp Smith in Cortlandt.
Gallagher dedicated yesterday's walk to Marine Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, whose widely reported act of courage saved the lives of two of his fellow Marines but caused him to lose his own.
Dunham was leading a patrol in Iraq in 2004 when his unit was attacked. An enemy grenade was tossed into their position, and in an effort to save his men, Dunham threw himself on it, absorbing the explosion with his body. He died of his injuries a few days later.
"I read that story, and I was just, I was brought to tears ..." Gallagher said. "In the Marine Corps you're taught to take care of your own and that's what Cpl. Dunham did, and Cpl. Dunham showed that one man can make a difference in other people's lives."
Dunham of Scio, N.Y., was 22. He belonged to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.
Gallagher plans to start what he called an annual Dunham Run around Rockland Lake to benefit the Cpl. Jason Dunham Scholarship Foundation.
In khaki pants and a navy blue jacket, and with a water pack on his back, Gallagher walked briskly along the Bear Mountain Bridge Road in Cortlandt in the mid-morning yesterday.
The walk - for which he had prepared himself with gym workouts and 15 miles of running per week for two months - went well.
"The cold weather kind of held me back a little, my legs feel a little tight, but for the most part, I'm in good shape," he said.
Gallagher carried the red flag of Dunham's unit. He was trailed by a state police cruiser and a Hummer.
"This was graciously loaned to me by Mahwah Hummer," Gallagher said, pointing to the large vehicle that was decorated in camouflage print wrap. "I went in there, and I said, 'I'm doing this road march, and I'd like to borrow a ... Hummer' " to promote the event.
The dealership's owner agreed. The vehicle was decorated by AIT Digital in Orangeburg, Gallagher said.
"It's a $6,000 wrap, and they donated it for free for the cause," Gallagher said.
At the 24th mile, Gallagher was to be joined by other Marines who would run the final three miles with him. Once at the coalition headquarters, Gallagher planned to present a $10,000 check - from the funds he has raised so far - to Chris Ryan, father of Sgt. Eddie Ryan.
Ryan, a Marine from Ellenville, N.Y., was shot twice in the head during his service in Iraq. His family needs money for his rehabilitation.
Gallagher said he's proud to have raised as much money as he has, and is happy to have made a difference in his own way. That is why the slogan for the walk was "One Man, One Cause," he said.
"I didn't sit there and say, 'You know what? It would be nice to do that, but it's just me, what can one man do?' Well, this is what one man can do."

Remember our Military

This video was emailed to me over the weekend. It touched me so and I thought I would share it with you all. This is very close to LMP hearts. Remember our carepack drives, this is part of what they are for, so our military will feel that they are remembered and thought of back home. Consider making a donation to our cause. It doesn't take much, just a little box, a little note, a big prayer, and lots of love. I would also encouge any and all, if you ever hear of a homecoming taking place, go! Even if you do not have a loved one coming home go and support those who do, you will walk away changed! The pride and joy that is shared in those moments are beyond words. Share with our young men and women the love and pride before you have to share it with their loved ones who have faced the ultimate sacrifice. Share your pride in them now, remember them all! Semper Fi!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Navy Names New Guided-Missile Destroyer USS Jason Dunham

Special release from the U.S. Department of Defense

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Department of Navy announced March 23 that the Navy's newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer will be USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), honoring the late Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, the first Marine awarded the Medal of Honor for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Donald C. Winter, made the announcement in Dunham’s hometown of Scio, N.Y.

"Jason Dunham, the friendly, kind-hearted, gifted athlete who followed his star in the United States Marine Corps went on to become one of the most courageous, heroic, and admired Marines this great country has ever known," said Winter. "His name will be forever associated with DDG 109. May those who serve in her always be inspired by the heroic deeds of Jason Dunham, and may all of us strive to be worthy of his sacrifice."

Dunham was born in Scio on Nov., 10, 1981, sharing the same birthday as the United States Marine Corps. After high school graduation, he enlisted in the Marine Corps in July 2000, and completed recruit training 13 weeks later at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.

Following his first duty assignment with Marine Corps Security Forces, Kings Bay, Ga., Dunham transferred to the infantry and was later assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, based in Twentynine Palms, Calif. Before deploying to Iraq in spring of 2004, Dunham was selected to lead a rifle squad -- a position that ultimately placed him on the front line in the war with the Iraqi insurgency.

On April 14, 2004, Dunham’s squad was conducting a reconnaissance mission in Karabilah, Iraq, when his battalion commander’s convoy was ambushed. When Dunham’s squad approached to provide fire support, an Iraqi insurgent leapt out of a vehicle and attacked Dunham. As Dunham wrestled the insurgent to the ground, he noticed that the enemy fighter had a grenade in his hand. Dunham immediately alerted his fellow Marines, and when the enemy dropped the live grenade, Dunham took off his Kevlar helmet, covered the grenade, and threw himself on top to smother the blast. In an ultimately selfless act of courage, in which he was mortally wounded, he saved the lives of two fellow Marines.

In November 2006, at the dedication of the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Va., President Bush announced that the Medal of Honor would be awarded posthumously to Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham.

During his speech, Bush said, “As long as we have Marines like Cpl. Dunham, America will never fear for her liberty."

President Bush presented Cpl. Dunham's family with the Medal of Honor during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on Jan. 11.

In the spirit of this Marine, USS Jason Dunham will continue protecting America’s liberty by providing a dynamic multimission platform to lead the Navy into the future. Utilizing a gas-turbine propulsion system, the ship can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups, and underway replenishment groups. The ship’s combat systems center on the Aegis combat system and the SPY-Ld (V) multifunction phased array radar. With the combination of Aegis, the vertical launching system, an advanced anti-submarine warfare system, advanced anti-aircraft missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles, the Arleigh Burke-class continues the revolution at sea.

For more information on Arleigh Burke class destroyers, visit

For more news from around the fleet, visit


Thinking Blogger Award

I am so honored that our little blog was awarded the Thinking Blogger Award by De'on at Gunz Up. You can read what she has to say about the award here.

Should you choose to participate, please make sure you pass this list of rules to the blogs you are tagging. I thought it would be appropriate to include them with the meme. The participation rules are simple:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.

2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote.

Please, remember to tag blogs with real merits, i.e. relative content, and above all - blogs that really get you thinking!

I guess I can't tag De'on since she was awarded the Thinking Blogger Award by Flag Gazer, even though her blog most definitely makes me think and is one of my daily reads. De'on also gave the award to Jarhead John who is another of my daily reads, so that at least narrows things down a bit. It's very tough to choose just 5, but here they are:

5 blogs that are always well written and thought provoking.

1. Big White Hat

2. Military Families Voice of Victory

3. Hillbilly White Trash

4. Political Pistachio

5. An Ol' Broad's Ramblings

Friday, March 23, 2007

Saving Private Pepin (Marine Bootcamp)

This is an excellent video about bootcamp graduation at Parris Island. It looks a little different than San Diego graduation. This video shows parents getting to see inside the barracks and see the rifle range. We didn't get to do that at San Diego graduation. Of course we didn't get to see the rifle range because it is at Camp Pendleton rather than MCRD.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Former NFL Player to Deploy to Iraq

I found this article today. I watch more highschool football than I do NFL, but I'm still surprised that I had not heard about Jeremy Staat before. After you read the article, click here to see a video about him done by his church. What an awesome young man!

HONOLULU (AP) -- A former NFL player who joined the Marines and was motivated by college roommate Pat Tillman, who died in Afghanistan, was heading for the war in Iraq Tuesday night.

Lance Cpl. Jeremy Staat, a former defensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers and St. Louis Rams who had been playing Arena Football, was one of 300 Marines in the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment being deployed from Kaneohe Bay. The unit is expected to be in Iraq for seven months.

"The way I look at it, we're spreading freedom, and you have to support the troops and you have to support the war," Staat, 29, told KITV in Honolulu on Tuesday as he prepared to leave from Hawaii. "You can't just tell some Marine who just lost his buddy that we supported you but not the war, because in that case you're basically saying that Marine, his buddy, just died for nothing. We're one team."

Tillman, who played defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals, was killed by friendly fire near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in April 2004. The Defense Department is investigating allegations of a coverup, including the Army's failure to tell Tillman's family for several weeks that he had been killed by gunfire from his fellow Army Rangers, not by enemy fire, as they initially were told.

Tillman gave up a $1.2 million NFL contract to join the Army Rangers.

Staat said he felt compelled to join the military after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but Tillman, who was his roommate at Arizona State, advised him to stay with professional football until he qualified for retirement benefits.

"I felt there is more to life than just a game," Staat said, adding that Tillman's death helped motivate him to enlist.

Staat played for the Steelers from 1998-2000, and played two games with the Rams in 2003. He was playing for the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League before being put on the league's suspended list.

He graduated from the San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot in March 2006.

To enlist, the 6-foot-5 Staat said last year he dropped from 310 to 260 pounds. He said three months of boot camp training gave him a deeper appreciation for team camaraderie.

Updated on Wednesday, Mar 21, 2007 7:02 am EDT


Sunday, March 18, 2007

More Homecoming Pictures

Here are some more pictures from the homecoming taken by Lubbock Marine Parents member Debbie, proud mom of Cpl Julia.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Homecoming: Part 3

More pictures from the Thursday night homecoming of the 6th MTBN. The first 2 pictures are our very own TXMarinemom1987 and her son (and her dad in the 2nd picture).

Friday, March 16, 2007

Homecoming: Part 2

Here are some pictures of the Patriot Guard. They were so wonderful! They lined up outside the airport and clapped for all the Marines as they walked out to their bus and escorted the bus from the airport to the reserve center. They really made the homecoming even more special. Thank you so much PGR!!!

Cook Book "U.S. Marine Cuisine"

This post will remain at the top for several weeks, so scroll down for new posts.

We are ready to begin collecting recipes for our cook book! We decided to call it "U.S. Marine Cuisine". What do you think? The picture is the cover that we have chosen. We really need everyone who can to contribute recipes. It's so easy and you can do it online. We have it set up with "typensave". This way you can type in your own recipes and it saves us money because we don't have to have everything typeset. All you do is click here, then click on login. The group login is LubbockMarines and the contributor password is hcx8w. There's a place for your name on the "add a recipe" page and if you are a Marine family member please list that also. Example: "Mom of Cpl Steven". The deadline for contributing recipes is April 15th, 2007. We hope to have the cook book ready to go for the 4th on Broadway.

I hope all our blogging friends will help too. I know y'all are all great cooks aren't you?

If you have any questions, just email me at Remember that the funds we raise go toward carepacks and other support for our Marines and all of our military.

**EDIT:A friend asked me about what she should put for her name. Here is how I plan to do it. I'll put my real name, and then in the lines where it says you can list additional contributors to the recipe you are adding I will put something like "proud mom of 2 Marines". Maybe I'll list their names. You are also welcome to use your blog name and even list your website.


The Lubbock reserve unit, 6th MTBN made it home after a 7 month tour in Iraq last night! Some of our Lubbock Marine Parents have Marines in this unit and the rest of us just wanted to be there to welcome them home. There was a HUGE crowd and the wonderful Patriot Guard Riders were there. I took lots and lots of pictures, so you can expect several posts about this over the next day or two.

This first picture shows Lubbock Marine Parents members Marlise, Irma and Tanya with the poster that Marlise made.

Look at the crowd! You can see some of the crowd in these pictures. The atmosphere was charged with excitement. None of these Marines were even mine, but I was just as excited as everyone else. It was contagious! Such a wonderful evening. The local TV crews and newspaper were there as well, so I'm sure some of this was on TV. I just made it home too late last night to see the news.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Big Thank You

Lubbock Marine Parent officers had the opportunity to present a "thank you" plaque to the Elk's Lodge today. They were instrumental in making our Christmas and Valentine care pack drives such successes. We truly appreciate all that they have done for us. I forgot to take a picture of the plaque, but did get a picture of us at the lodge after we presented the plaque. See the Elk in the background?

Meeting Change!

Our meeting has had a change of time and place. We will still be meeting this Thursday, the 15th, but we will be meeting at 7:00 p.m. and we will be meeting at the reserve center. If you have any questions or need directions, please email me. semperfimomx2 at

Sunday, March 11, 2007

March Meeting

Yes, it's that time again! Time for our March meeting. We will be meeting this Thursday, March 15th at 8:00 p.m. at Daybreak Coffee on 19th and Quaker. We look forward to seeing you there!

Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard

Did you know that the Marine Corps has a mounted color guard? I didn't either, until one of the moms on the EZboard mentioned it. It's a VERY interesting story. I hope they make an appearance somewhere nearby. I would love to see them!

The Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard was formed aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow in 1967 and designated an official Mounted Color Guard by Headquarters Marine Corps in 1968. This is the only remaining Mounted Color Guard in the Marine Corps today.

This elite military unit has performed throughout the Western United States, traveling as far as Memphis, Tenn. The Mounted Color Guard has received numerous national awards including Overall High Point Champion and Class Champion from the California National Association of Paraders from 1980 to 1985, 1989 and 1991 to 1997, and Overall Outstanding Equestrian Group from 1987 to 1989. The Mounted Color Guard no longer competes due to military regulations.

In January 1985, the Mounted Color Guard made its first appearance in the Tournament of Roses Parade. Since January 1990, the Mounted Color Guard has participated in the Tournament of Roses. The Mounted Color Guard has been given the extreme honor of the first military unit to lead the parade 1990, 1995, 1998, 2001 and 2002.

The Mounted Color Guard has also participated in events such as the Fiesta Bowl, Super Bowl Parades and Military Finals Rodeos. This unit is active with public schools and participates with the DARE Program and Good Citizenship Programs. This unit also sponsors and provides training for the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Mounted Color Guard in Sturgis, S.D.

The Mounted Color Guard rides wild mustangs of Palomino color adopted from the Bureau of Land Management’s Adopt a Horse and Burro Program. The mounts are gentled and trained by the Marines.

The Bureau of Land Management honored this unit by portraying it on the first edition of the BLM’s “Wild Horse” trading cards.

The Mounted Color Guard members are active-duty Marines who volunteer their time evening, weekends, and holidays and perform these duties in addition to their regular duties.

This unit travels all over the Western United States participating in parades, rodeos, and many other numerous events and ceremonies. Call (760) 577-7302 or DSN 282-7302 for more information.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Random Act of Kindness

Maj. Sean Quinlan (right), commanding officer of Company D, part of the Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, talks to an Iraqi man in Rawah, Iraq, a city of roughly 30,000 people about 150 miles northwest of Baghdad, with help from one of his Marines who is fluent in Arabic, March 1.. Marines learned the man’s daughter had burned herself badly, and they returned later in the day with medicine and toys. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Nathaniel Sapp)

March 7, 2007; Submitted on: 03/07/2007 01:49:47 AM ; Story ID#: 20073714947

By Lance Cpl. Nathaniel Sapp, 2nd Marine Division

RAWAH, Iraq (March 7, 2007) -- In a town set on the Euphrates River, 150 miles northwest of Baghdad, two Marines stood calmly as a group of local Iraqi men surrounded them.

Although Marines from the Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion had posted security up and down the street in the city of roughly 30,000 people, ready for any situation, Maj. Sean Quinlan’s hands weren’t anywhere near his own weapon.

Instead, his hands were gripping those of the elderly men around him in friendly greeting. Mostly former school teachers, the Iraqi’s told Quinlan, the commanding officer for the Company D “Outlaws,” about exactly what he could do for them to make their city better.

During the patrol, it meant helping out a 3-year-old girl, daughter to one of the Iraqi elders.

Months back, in her innocent curiosity, she pulled a pot of boiling liquid from the stove. Marines remember ushering the family’s vehicle quickly through checkpoints to get the child to a hospital to treat her severe burns.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Derek Parker, a 25-year-old Navy corpsman from Morris, Okla., joined Quinlan and the rest of the group to see how he could help with the girl’s constant pain.

At the time, Parker didn’t have any ointment or medication that could help the girl, so Quinlan made a promise to the men. Several hours later, that promise was fulfilled when the Outlaws returned with supplies.

“Her father put his hand over his heart, looked me in the eye and shook my hand,” said Parker, who has children of his own. “The family was very happy with us, they really seemed to like that we cared so much about them.”

The majority of the people in Rawah don’t want to hurt Marines, said Quinlan. In fact, it seems as though the vast majority of the population are good people who want to live a calm, normal life, he said.

“It’s all about random acts of kindness,” Quinlan reiterated to his Marines after the patrol. “It’s not all about fighting the insurgents; we need to show the people that we care.”

Actions speak louder than words, and although most Marines aren’t anywhere near fluent in Arabic, their generosity is a language local people can understand.

After a chance encounter with a family of 12 who live away from the city, in a tent tending a farm, Marines found themselves wanting to “go the extra mile” to help improve their living conditions.

The “Outlaws” arrived at the remote farm with bunk beds, mattresses, blankets and toys.
Local Iraqi Police, who work side-by-side with the Marines, brought clothes to the family.

“Little things like that really help us win over the people,” said Parker. “When people see us trying to help them, they try to help us.”

Recently, Marines were warned by locals of an improvised explosive device that could have wounded or killed several of them.

The instances of insurgency in the area are growing less and less frequent, the Marines say. This is partially due to locals questioning outsiders extensively when they move into their neighborhoods, deterring insurgents from other parts of the country.

“They’re working with us,” said Parker. “I think us being here, and the way we act, has influenced them to take more pride in their community, in their city.”

See the rest of the pictures here

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Ooh Rah Beanie!

This post comes from TXMarineMom1987. She tried and tried to log in to post today and just couldn't do it, so I am posting this for her.

As many of our readers know, we had a large Christmas Care Package drive. We had a generous donor who gave us a huge box of Beanie Babies. One of those was a Marine Beanie (picture above). When I saw it, I really wanted to take it home and add it to my Marine paraphernalia; however, I ultimately decided that he should go into one of our care packs. Well, one group that received our boxes was my son’s unit stationed in Iraq. And lo and behold, Ooh Rah Beanie wound up in the care package that my son got. My son told me that he and Ooh Rah Beanie have since been on all the convoys together. It really makes me glad that I decided to let this little guardian angel take the journey to watch my Marine’s back.

My son and his unit are due back soon and we are all planning on a great Homecoming for all our Marines……and Ooh Rah Beanie too!!!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

One of Our Marines

AL TAQADDUM, Iraq, (Feb. 24, 2007) ■ Corporal Julia K. Venegas stays with an Iraqi child to ensure he maintains consciousness after he sustained injuries during an explosion. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Thomas J. Griffith)

We are so proud of our Marines! One of them was featured in an article at Read the story here.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Texas Independence Day

Texas Independence Day is a state holiday. Most state offices are closed today. I knew you all would want to know more about that, so I found this great article for you! :) Hopefully the Texans reading this already know. Texas history is taught in school here.

On March 2, 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico and became the Republic of Texas.

Life was never the same again.

For ten years, from 1836 to 1846, Texas existed precariously as a separate and unique nation. In Texas, March 2 is an official state holiday - Texas Independence Day. Each year, there are numerous parades, festivals and even a complete historical reenactment of the event.

Independence is declared; it must be maintained.
Sam Houston
Washington - March 2, 1836

The History

Fifty-four delegates of the Convention of 1836 began meeting on March 1 at the village of Washington-on-the-Brazos, located today between present-day Houston and Austin. Each of the settlements of Texas were represented by delegates elected one month earlier. The convention elected Richard Ellis president of the convention, and Herbert S. Kimble secretary.

The delegates had very little time to debate over their mission. Delegates of Convention of 1836 wrote and adopted the Texas Declaration of Independence. This was done literally overnight. They elected a committee of five delegates to draft the document. The committee, consisted of George C. Childress, Edward Conrad, James Gaines, Bailey Hardeman, and Collin McKinney, prepared the declaration in record time. It was briefly reviewed, then adopted by the delegates of the convention the following day. Afterwards they prepared a Constitution for the newly formed Republic, and organized an an interim government. These actions were accomplished amid almost daily reports of the invasion on Texas soil by Mexico, and the collapse of the Alamo and destruction of its defenders.
The ad interim government that was created by the delegates took office at the close of the convention, and served until the following October, when general elections could be held. Officers of the newly formed Republic included:

David G. Burnet, President
Lorenzo de Zavala, Vice-president
Samuel P. Carson, Secretary of State
Thomas J. Rusk, Secretary of War
Bailey Hardeman, Secretary of Treasury
David Thomas, Attorney General
With their mission accomplished, the delegates and the newly formed government of the Republic of Texas adjourned in haste during the early morning hours of March 17, following news of the approach of Santa Anna and the Mexican army.

Read this article and the Texas Declaration of Independence here.

Happy Texas Independence Day!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Texas Farm Kid

You may have all seen this before, but I got it again in an email today and it's just too cute not to share.



Dear Ma and Pa,

I am well. Hope you are. Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Marine Corps beats working for old man Larson by a mile. Tell them to join up quick before all of the places are filled.

I was restless at first because you got to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m. but I am getting so I like to sleep late. Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot, and shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Practically nothing.

Men got to shave but it is not so bad, there's warm water. Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, pie and other regular food, but tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit by the two city boys that live on coffee. Their food,plus yours,holds you until noon when you get fed again. It's no wonder these city boys can't walk much.

We go on "route marches," which the platoon sergeant says are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it's not my place to tell him different. A "route march" is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks.

The country is nice but awful flat. The sergeant is like a school teacher. He nags a lot. The captain is like the school board. Majors and colonels just ride around and frown. They don't bother you none.

This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting medals for shooting. I don't know why. The bulls-eye is near as big as a chipmunk head and don't move, and it ain't shooting at you like the Higgett boys at home. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it. You don't even load your own cartridges. They come in boxes.

Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat training. You get to wrestle with them city boys. I have to be real careful though, they break real easy. It ain't like fighting with that ole bull at home. I'm about the best they got in this except for that Tug Jordan from over in Devils Lake . I only beat him once. He joined up the same time as me, but I'm only 5'6" and 130 pounds and he's 6'8" and near 300 pounds dry.

Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellers get onto this setup and come stampeding in.

Your loving daughter,

How Texas Are You?

You Are 96% Texas

Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit. This ain't your first rodeo!

Well, I must say, I'm not surprised. How about the rest of you?

H/T Texas Fred

Ordnance Marines

Sgt. Matthew E. McNew, the ordnance line non-commissioned officer with Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron 167, downloads the rocket pod of an AH-1W “Super Cobra,” Feb. 16. The rocket pod can hold 2.75 inch or five inch rockets.

My son who is still in MOS school is going to be an ordnance Marine, as I've already mentioned here. I found this article today that shows some of what he will be doing and it is very interesting. At least to me.

By Lance Cpl. Ryan R. Jackson, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (FWD)

AL ASAD, Iraq (Feb. 16, 2007) -- The strength of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) can be seen at Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron 167. The might of ‘167’s UH-1N “Hueys,” and AH-1W “Super Cobras,” is enabled by the Marines who load and arm the ordnance they carry.

The Marines behind the scenes providing and installing all of the weaponry and munitions are the ‘167 ordnance shop. With approximately 30 Marines split into two shifts, the ordnance Marines ensure the Huey and Cobra pilots constantly have ammo under their trigger finger.

“Our work output is seven times higher here in Iraq than it is in the rear,” said Sgt. Robert W. Smith Jr., an ordnance line chief with ‘167. “There’s not one Marine we can perform without.”

The ordnance shop’s day begins by making sure all designated aircraft are prepared for flight. This includes ensuring all the required missiles, rounds, and defensive countermeasures are loaded on each aircraft. If additional aircraft are required for joint tactical air requests or for troops in contact missions, the ordnance crew loads the additional aircraft with munitions. The Huey crew chiefs arm their crew served weapons and the ordnance Marines arm the Cobra before take off.

Before a section, which consists of one Huey and one Cobra, leaves for a mission, a team of ordnance Marines must arm the Cobra. The Cobra pilots move their hands above their heads away from all controls, while the ordnance team leader gives hand signals to a team member who arms each weapon system by removing safety pins. A quality-assurance safety observer ensures that safety and proper procedures are used throughout the process.

“The ordnance Marines are the beginning,” said Capt. Christopher D. Hunt, a Cobra pilot with HML/A-167. “They load the aircraft and make sure everything’s operating correctly. We start the aircraft, they arm us up. We execute the mission and come back. They de-arm us and ask if there were problems with the munitions. So, they are involved with the mission from the beginning to the very end.”

Each helicopter is armed with weapons to compliment each other, making for a well balanced team.

“The Huey can provide an immediate response from any threat against the flight covering a 360 degree radius; this is very advantageous to local security for the flight,” said Hunt, a Lumberton, N.C., native. “The Cobra brings precision, long range, and destructive firepower capability by utilizing the Hellfire and tube-launched, optically tracked, and wire-guided missile systems aboard the aircraft.”

The best part of the day for an ordnance Marine is when an aircraft returns home without any munitions.

“We tend to do what we call an ‘ordnance dance’ if they come back with nothing on the aircraft, which is a tradition,” said Smith, a Little Rock, Ark., native. “It boosts our morale as well as the morale of the pilots and crew chiefs. It makes us happy because it’s gone and we don’t have to see it again.”

The ordnance Marines of ‘167 maintain a high tempo to provide aircraft that are always fully stocked with munitions and ready for combat.

“These are some of the finest Marines in the Corps,” said Gunnery Sgt. James A. D’Errico III, the squadron ordnance chief. “They are multi-faceted in their ability to adjust to extreme conditions and stay focused on mission accomplishment.”